Safest Places To Live When SHTF

I’m filing this article ‘Safest Places To Live When SHTF’ under Prepping & Preparedness Level 4. Why? Because SHTF ($hit Hit The Fan) in the context of preparedness is ‘very bad’.

We view SHTF as a wide reaching and long lasting event, or set of events, that have very bad consequences for most people. Lots of things could fit into this, or trigger it.

There’s one very important concept here regarding SHTF. And that is, you’re going to be mostly or entirely on your own.

Or maybe better said, your environment will become very “local”.

We have hypothesized many scenarios whereby a SHTF event could wreak havoc among the population. Just pick one. It doesn’t really matter.

The point of this article is the following… Regardless (almost) of what the SHTF is, or triggers “it”, an exceedingly important thing will be “where” you are. Where you live. The place.

The “how” you will continue to live is another set of matters. But the “where”… Yes, that will be very important indeed.

IMPORTANT! You Should Already Be Living In The Safest Place!

Those who are seriously concerned about Preparedness Level 4. If you’re not living where you think you should be living, well, what can I say…

You are the boss of you.

If and when the SHTF, it will be too late. Why? Because establishing your ‘safe place’ is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight.

It is wishful thinking for a lot of people. I get that. I’m not here to judge one way or the other. There are careers. Obligations. Commitments. Relationships. All sorts of reasons to stay put.

I know from experience that it’s not easy to uproot and move. I’ve done it a few times, and in a few big ways (major geographical moves). And I have paid some analogous ‘penalty prices’ for it, in more ways than one.

Ultimately, I chose a ‘safest’ place for me. But it was more than that. It was a lifestyle choice. A new chapter in our lives. We have never regretted it (Mrs. J and I, and the dog..). I was done with “the rat race” anyway.

The decisions to uproot were never easy. But I can tell you this. Once the decision was made, it became quite exciting and fun. Motivation really kicks in to high gear once you’ve made up your mind!

But What Is The Safest Place or Where Is The Safest Place For SHTF?

I can tell you that there are LOTS and LOTS of safe places to live for SHTF. I’ve driven across this country several times coast to coast and several times top to bottom. Wow, what a big country! Lots and lot of rural dotted by incredibly population dense regions!

So, I just gave you a BIG hint. Population density! I’ve written about that subject many times here on the site. It’s a huge factor when considering safety and survival during a big-time SHTF event. But I’m sure you know this.

With that said, I believe it to be the highest priority consideration. Or one of. Get away from people packed like sardines in city regions who all rely and depend upon external systems to keep them alive. These people have no contingencies. Really, they have no fear of this in the first place. Which will make them dangerous if and when it all falls down…

Your Personal Preferences

We all have that ideal place in our minds, right? Maybe you’re already there. Or maybe you have a vision of what it might be.

Personal tastes and preferences differ. Lifestyle choices vary. Our interests range in many directions. Abilities. Desires. Talents. Climate preferences. There are so many variables. The choices are yours to make.

Like I said earlier, there are LOTS and LOTS of ‘safe’ places to live for SHTF!

The place of choice may also depend on what you intend to make of it. For example, do you intend to put together a homestead that is self-sustaining to the extent of your choosing? The extent of which can be QUITE extensive if you want it to be… Or maybe it’s something in-between.

Factors To Consider

With that said, I will brainstorm a few high-level thoughts which should factor into “where” your own “safest” place to live for SHTF might be… In no particular order.












I could go on with brainstorming. But I just wanted to kick off the topic of safest places to live when SHTF.

Survival Retreat – Population Density

The Golden Horde – Redirecting & Misdirection

[ Read: Preparedness Level 1 – 4 Series Overview ]


  1. As you have pointed out there many safe places around the country out side of high population density areas. “Safe” is a relative term however. Each safe area has its own hazards, I have weather (hurricanes) and high heat/humidity levels. Others have deep cold, drought, fire, and other such things. My point is you should be very aware of the hazards in the area you pick out/live in. These may not be apparent until you have lived there awhile. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

    By the way this is a very timely article for those thinking about a move. I just wouldn’t wait too long to decide.

  2. Does this article mean that if I live in a city of millions where I have to have three locks and a door bar on the door to keep people out might not be the safest choice ? Hehe. I used to think that a place out in the mountain west might be ideal but with all the left coast loonies moving there I am not so sure now. I’ve heard mention of finding a place that is a gas tank further away from a major population center. That makes sense but really narrows down the options as where to locate the ideal place.
    Just my 2 cents

  3. My friend and I were just discussing this topic. Besides not living in or close to a huge number of “vampires” (those who suck all from you), having fertile and ample acreage, along with unrestricted access to water was number one priority. We are blessed to have a deep well, pond, and creeks below and above surface. We need the water for us, our animals, and for anything to grow – planted by us or wild. With free flowing water you get abundant growth and wildlife. We don’t get hurricanes or wildfires, although earthquakes are possible… we get hard winters. And I like having a hard winter – it keeps the lazy people looking for warmer climates. I love this area.

    1. The safest place to live is where you are the most comfortable and can flourish. By the way Ken, I love the picture you chose – looks idyllic!

  4. I have property that I could move to if necessary, it would need a lot of work to be liveable. but when my wife was alive, her idea was that my idea was not so good ( read: bull crap ( she was a life long iowa democrat )) . Needless to say,I’m still here and not at the river. But that being said, after having had a stroke and being 75, I’m just marking time until I see and be with wife of 48 yrs again.

  5. Ken, Thanks for kicking off level 4. Great topic. Yes to all of the list for consideration, possible exclusion of taxes. I’ll pay a little extra for that extra peace of mind. Noting that should the SHTF, taxes may well be a thing of the past.

  6. Since I already live in a low population area. ( Large city 50-60 miles away ) my hope would be if it ever does hit the fan it will be in the dead of winter. If plows can’t clear the road the golden hoard can’t get to me. A lot of the problem may just be over by spring

  7. Great topic; unfortunately only the one percent can do what you did…that’s not a criticism. Seven years ago I bought a place that was ‘out and away’, from not only the heard but the small community that it adjacent s. Got laid off and moved there. The nearest work was over an hour away. After a year of spending my savings, I decided to move back to a mammoth city, got an apartment, still prepping and should have my ‘get-away’ paid off shortly. But still…SHTF…moments notice…not sure I could make it there, although there is seven years of prepping to insure complete self-reliance for 2-1/2 years. Most don’t even have that/this luxury. Just glad I didn’t move to the Redoubt in those early years—ugly stories of those that sold everything, moved, and went bankrupt for the same reason.

  8. We moved from just outside a city of left wing loons 10 years ago to a conservative, low population rural setting. We considered all the factors on the list in making our decision. We wanted to be in an area where we could have a good chance of surviving whatever the storm is bringing our way. We do have some loons in the area but they are vastly outnumbered.
    We don’t plan to bug out but we do have agreements with like minded friends that live 2 hours away, in somewhat normal times. Drive time would be different in a SHTF time.

  9. Kenia peninsula, Alaska or the valley east Anchorage is my dream location!!! One day it will be reality.

    1. Yep, but still less people in Alaska per square mile then anywhere!! Love the place!!!!

  10. Ken, as you say “And I have paid some analogous ‘penalty prices’ for it, in more ways than one.” there is a price to pay for that indeed. If family has a different idea on where and how each party wants to live, that’s probably the highest short term one I can think of. Luckily for you it sounds like that wasn’t an issue.

  11. I am currently looking at the Spokane Washington area (moving from the North Seattle ‘burbs). I am somewhat experienced with eastern Washington, having family in the central (Yakima) Washington area. Spokane also puts me within a day’s drive of the relations in Montana, and a lessor drive to the relations in Idaho. My employer mgmt is agreeing with me working virtually (which I have been doing for the last 15 months or so), although the upper level mgmt could quash the idea. The Spokane area has its own issues, however I consider it an improvement over the Seattle metro area. Will be a change from my 30+ plus years in the Seattle metro area, but, I think, a good change.

    1. DLS,
      Welcome to the East side. You are right,Spokane is an improvement over the Seattle area for sure , but still a big city .There are many surrounding places that are a little more rural and not quite so city like. From what I see the housing market is moving pretty fast and getting pricey too. Best of luck on your move .

      1. Bluesman,

        Thank you. Due to recent changes with getting my Mom in a place of her liking it looks like the Yakima area is now my prime focus. That is ok, we have family there and I am fairly familiar with the greater Yakima/central WA area (as opposed to me being fairly ignorant of the Spokane area). Will still be a change, but will be a move to the fairly familiar as opposed to mostly ignorant. First step is to get my Mom settled, then me. Will still be good to get out of the Seattle metro area.

        1. DLS, Best to you. My last two years of working for others was spent in Yakima. Enjoyed the pastoral areas. The pockets of criminality not so much. Still have many friends there, that I’ve promised to visit soon. Blessings as you settle your mother.

  12. That is a beautiful scene you chose, Ken. Speaking as someone who moved within the last year, there are definitely pros and cons to consider. I was led to move by a still small voice. The location kind of chose itself – long story, that. All in all, we feel safer here, ticking off many of Ken’s list points. We’re surrounded by like minded people, more freedom/a lot less restrictions, and are still rural. The cons of the move were losing some preps, adjusting to a new climate/environment, building new networks, and becoming familiar with new potential hazards.

    I’d say, unless you’re familiar with the area you want to relocate to, it’s getting late in the game to completely uproot and land somewhere brand new. We were fortunate to find ourselves surrounded by great rural neighbors who welcomed us readily, thanks in part to the previous property owners. We’re still building our networks, though, and I miss the extensive one I had already established. We’re also working long hours getting the homestead in good working order, rebuilding soil, making repairs, etc… (Part of the reason I don’t post as often, and then often late at night when I’m finally done working.)

    At this point, if I were living somewhere inherently unsafe, I’d put all my attention on relocating pronto, with a lot of prayers thrown in. There’s a learning curve and a lot of work to moving and getting re-established. If it were absolutely necessary, I’d do it now; if it isn’t, I’d work on anything that could make the current home environment more secure and prepared.

  13. Good post but I fear it might be a little late for moving , unless one can be completely debt free in a new area it will be nearly impossible . In low population areas most of the people are related in one way or another it takes years to be fully excepted locally . If the SHTF you aint family ! You’ll have to stand on your own two feet unless you can pay dearly and then you might not get help when needed . We’ve had a large influx of people move into summer cabins from the cities , lots of remodeling for the coming winter but they have a city mentality , gas heat , electricity , shopping centers , thinking nothing of driving fifty plus miles to a town to shop . I know I’m putting a damper on hopes but I look at the reality of things , fore warned is fair .

  14. Think I’ll stay right where I’m at, the closest city with a population over 100,000 is over 300 miles away. Most cars can go that far, but they better have a full tank of gas before they start. This is Trump country with lots of guns and few liberals. Don’t need no stinking AC and plenty of beetle killed timber for when the weather gets cold. A river runs through it! Trekker Out

    1. So, who really NEEDS air conditioning ?
      It’s only in the last 50 years that it’s prevalent in the south.
      People have done alright without it for many generations.
      I grew up without it, and the schools didn’t have it until the late ’60s.
      Americans today are completely spoiled, with all the modern conveniences that most of the world doesn’t have.

      1. I have a friend whose child attends school in an Asian country and their classrooms do not have heat or AC. They said everyone survives just fine without.

        1. When I was young and attending classes in the south and on Okinawa, our classrooms were not AC. I do remember one fan, usually directed toward a teacher. I also remember getting a little tired in the afternoon from the heat.

    2. Those beetle killed trees make for plenty of firewood but they sure make the surrounding mountainsides look like poop with all those dead spots. I heard once that a really cold winter will help kill off the beetles. When I lived in Butte, there were some good cold stretches with way below zero temps and it still didn’t seem to dent their spread.

  15. Safest place to live in a fallen society? A place where you can defend your family and property from thieves and an aggressive government. They both will want to take your stuff.

  16. Thanks for sharing this great posting!!!
    I just have to also mention that the beautiful artwork/painting at the top of your article is just mesmerizing…That is the place where I would love to live… so peaceful and beautiful!!! I don’t know who the artist is but they really capture the beauty and majesty of the mountains, forest, lake and the simple cabin. A sanctuary like that is what most of us dream of and seek! The peace and tranquility of our own special retreat!🙏

    1. Mountaingator001- that artist is Thomas Kinkade- all his paintings induce calm thoughts.

    2. Yes, a beautiful painting indeed. My one complaint would be the house is too close to the water. All it takes is a high precipitation year and there could be water coming in through the front door. Or if there is the possibility of ice jams, the ice could relocate the house without consent. Simple fix! Just buildthe house a little further back on higher ground.

  17. For 20 years I commuted 120 miles round trip a day so we could continue to live rural. I’ve worked and lived in the Detroit suburbs for a few years for my first few career years. Moved east to Vermont and live five years in the mountains, then moved further east even more rural. Two of life’s big stressors, changing living location, changing jobs. Now approaching 70, retired 3+ years, where we are now is where we will be, less time in front of me than behind. Hindsight is 20/20; when in the twenties and thirties, stretch for the dream location, as far as you can for land, either build or buy preowned. Or, a second more remote place. A price bubble right now so buying is tricky, risk of going under water when, or if, the price bubble bursts, which they usually do. Think long term, 30 some years, things never get less expensive, act in the shot term, is motivated it all works out, avoid getting suck down the negative what if sinkhole, or analysis paralysis. For what its worth.

  18. Hey folks, been a while since I’ve chimed in but this article hits me right where we’re living right now.

    We purchased 15 acres in north Idaho 3 years ago. Thankfully we were in the position to get it before the prices skyrocketed! We have had a plan in place since then and we’re working the plan the best we can. I just hope the world holds together for another year… that’s all we need.

    We’ve had God’s hands guiding us the entire time, telling my wife and I both this is all meant to be. From meeting with the perfect guy to represent us buying the property, getting the down payment secured in the nick of time (and out of the blue!), finding the perfect piece of land for us, to the most recent sign… 2 weeks from submitting an application to getting 100GPM from our new well!!! Everyone told us 12-18 months at least to get water. BLESSED!!!

    With His influence from the start of this process, I feel pretty good about being able to get settled on the new property before the SHTF.

    CA has turned in to a sewer. From the politicians at the top to the homeless at the bottom, it’s all gone to crap! This state used to be such a beautiful place… NOT ANYMORE!

  19. We’re almost full up out here. People are not too friendly. Grumpy even. Fresh air and clean water are over-rated. Its probably best to stay where you are. :)

  20. Almost West Virginia, I don’t find them grumpy here, no more so than elsewhere.

  21. Whether we used our strength to build high rise cities or hidden bunkers in the middle of no where – death will find us all. I recommend spiritually prepping our hearts and storing up treasures in heaven. Where ever we are geographically located we can love God and love people.

  22. Wherever humans used to subsistence live 100 years ago in permanent structures. That means not most of the Southwest.

    You can be uncomfortable in the Alabama summers and the Minnesota winters. But you can’t eat or drink lifeless dirt.

    I live in liberal country. Does not bother me at all. They can live their “Best Life” all they want, seems kind of a lame one to me, but that is their choice and they are entitled to it. It just means if something bad ever happens I will have an adequate supply of shoes and Cheap Chinese Shit cookware.

    Live where you can thrive with the least effort and discomfort. Some people can’t handle the northern winters. Some can’t handle the southern summers. Some can’t plan or prepare for those things.

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