The Bugging In or Out Decision


I recently received the following email questioning my thoughts regarding the decision to bug-in OR to bug-out, and I would like to respond to it…

I came across your website a few days ago and I really like it. I’ve been working (very slowly) on prep since 2008. Since then a lot more prep blogs are showing up. I bookmarked your website because it’s definitely one of the better ones.

But here’s the deal. I have a few questions that remain unresolved after hours of research. Many different websites give conflicting advice.

The bugging in or out decision. It would be nice to have enough food and supplies for years on end without having to leave our street, but I don’t think that would work if the country experienced major long-term changes. We live in a house with some extra space, so I do have storage, but we don’t have near enough room for a whole new lifestyle, and we’re very much afraid that a generator would just be a “please come loot this house” sign. What words of wisdom would you give to a young couple in a suburban house?

First, thanks for the question, and it is a VERY GOOD ONE – which is why I would like to respond here on the site, rather than directly emailing you a reply.

It’s always a good thing to review this topic:

NOTE: I originally posted this article back during 2012 (time flies!). I just re-read it now 4 years later and felt it worthy enough of renewed discussion. So bear with me through the nearly 2,000 words of opinion (way more than I usually write per article ;) )



I recognize that statistically, a lot of people live in the suburbs and are in a very similar situation that you are in. That is, you work for a living, you are interested in preparedness, you live in a house – but not with a whole lot of land, you cannot readily move to an ideal location because of your job and your circumstances and the cost of doing so, and you have lots of questions about ‘how’ or ‘what if’ this or that…

We all face a number of risks together, some are potentially wide reaching while other risks that are more local.  All of the risks that you can dream up, each have their own likelihood of actually occurring, or occurring in your lifetime. And each of those risks will have effects that may vary extremely widely compared to each other (some worse than others).

There are risk events that will surely doom you in the suburbs and there are other risk events that will not (doom you). There are end-of-the-world ‘Armageddon’ scenarios and there are those that are not as bad (even though they may still be ‘bad’).

The decision to Bug-Out or to stay put and Bug-In, depends on a number of very important factors, not the least of which is ‘how prepared and capable are you to actually successfully bug out?” and “for how long?” and “how bad is (or will be) the unfolding disaster?”

I will make a very general statement that for most end-of-the-world, apocalyptic type disaster scenarios, your survival will likely depend on you bugging out of your suburban home if you live in population-dense suburbia. For city dwellers, the answer is a no-brainer… ‘get out’.

I will also make another very general statement that for most likely-to-occur disaster scenarios (which are not quite so apocalyptic), your survival should be assured if you ‘bug in’ and stay put in your suburban home provided that you have adequately prepared.

We could all argue the exceptions to these two general statements, of which there are many.

For example, it is not unreasonable to imagine that following a major EMP, a suburban neighborhood of like-minded, and sufficient number of motivated people who have prepared for disaster (or even a banding together of like-minded neighbors) to successfully acquire what they need for short term survival – while also planning a longer term solution by utilization of the resources that they have and the property that they live on. Security would be of paramount importance (which it always is during desperate times), followed by all the details and capabilities of building and implementing a survival plan.

It is also reasonable to imagine how suburban homes will be ransacked during end-of-the-world type disaster scenarios as desperate people and gangs of people will do desperate things to survive, assuming no help from the government. The sheer number of people today who do not know how to live without ‘the system’ have NEVER BEFORE been challenged in a very big way. We already have an idea of what would begin to happen after a week or two without ‘the system’ based on what we saw following Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. Looting. Desperation. Cold. Misery. Social chaos begins.

The level of success for staying put in your suburban house depends on the level of disaster, the specifics of the disaster, the length of the disaster’s aftermath, the geographical coverage of the disaster, your proximity and relation to the real population density of your region, your level of preparedness, and your level of success based on your decision making and implementation of your survival plan.

There are far more ‘lesser’ disasters that are likely to occur (compared to the worst-case-scenarios) which you could survive with relative ease by being prepared at home. It is often more sensational to discuss or write about the apocalyptic type scenarios, but the fact is though that although several of these worst-case scenarios could indeed realistically occur in our lifetime, chances are that some of them might happen in a sort of ‘slow motion’ as they unfold – giving more chance for survival at home in suburbia.

Of all the disasters, those that wipe out your power, the electrical power grid (regional or worse), will result in worst case scenarios. Electricity is what keeps countless 100’s of millions alive. How many of us could truly survive for long if all the power goes out? People will stay put until they run out of food and water. Then what? They will either die, or their instinct to survive will bring them out in search of supplies. This is the dangerous period of time (before the first wave die-off) when you will be the least safe in your suburban home. If you had bugged out to a more rural location (assuming you had a thought-out safe place to go), you will be less likely to encounter the initial wave of desperate people. Your rural location will probably not save you from a 2nd wave of those who have made it through the first and are venturing out further. But that’s another story…

You mentioned using a generator, and your concern that it would just be a “please come loot this house” sign. This will likely be true at some point during an unfolding major disaster. The question is… when? How long will it take? Certainly the longer that time has passed without power, the more likely you will draw attention to yourself. Unfortunately most generators are very loud. I happen to have a very quiet Yamaha 4500, the quietest on the market, but even it isn’t that quiet to go undetected (when everything else around you is quiet). I don’t foresee problems using a generator unless the duration of the disaster becomes apparent to everyone that truly the S is hitting the fan (realization of a long term and disastrous outcome). This would have to be something major like an EMP attack (or natural EMP from a major solar flare) that knocks out the power grid and electronics, etc.

Let’s touch on bugging out…

If you felt that you had to, where would you go? You need to have a very clear answer to this question, as well as a Plan B or Plan C. I hope you are not envisioning bugging out to ‘the woods’. You will not survive there, unless you are part of a very small percentage of people with adequate wilderness survival skills. If you have a friend or relative’s house in mind, then you better be sure they will take you in. Bugging out is the least attractive option, unless you are fortunate enough to have built up a secondary location that is stocked and ready to go. Most people do not have the financial resources to do that… buying a 2nd home or cabin somewhere in addition to their primary residence. Even if you are planning to stay home during a disaster, you should still have a bug-out plan. You must think about it, and decide on some options as to where you would go.


So I have rambled on a bit, and still haven’t answered your question of advice for a young couple in a suburban house.

Here it is…

Open your eyes and ears to the risks that we are facing as a nation and a world that is intertwined. How? Go beyond the main stream media (alphabet channel soup) and find an array of alternative news sources. The more variety, the more likely you will find some truth. Don’t trust everything that you hear or read. Be skeptical about everything that you hear or read. If your gut tells you something, it’s probably right. When you find the ‘truth’, it usually has a ring to it, so to speak. You will know. Apply your common sense.

You are young. Do your very best to stay out of, or minimize your debt burden. Debt will keep you from obtaining self reliance. Trust me on this…

Identify risks and begin thinking about them. Think about ‘what if’ scenarios, and how you would get through them.

Make a list or plan as to what you need (skills and/or materials) to implement a survival plan.

Learn how to do things yourself. Learn skills that utilize your own hands. Don’t be afraid to get dirty.

Learn the basics, things our grandparents do (did) on a regular basis as part of their daily routine.

Buy books on these subjects. Build a reference library with them.

Then go after it. Don’t be overwhelmed. It’s not about hoarding, so much as it is about knowing ‘how to’ stay alive under various circumstances. Knowing how to adapt.

Start small. Build a supply of food and water. Later, build it bigger.

Learn how to grow your own food, even if it is a small garden. If you don’t have room for a garden, at least experiment with a container garden to give you some experience. I know winter is coming now as I write this post, but think about it this winter and start early.

Imagine your life without electricity. Then discover the non-electric appliances, tools and supplies that you will need to help you through it. Then go out and get them. Use them. Practice.

Browse this website for more ideas. We have more than a thousand articles here so far (update: up to 2,300) – not all of which are directly related to this subject, but lots of it is. Browse other websites for ideas. Read. Learn and do what feels interesting for you.


By the way, I believe that some of the disagreement out there on the bug-in or bug-out subject may have to do with the various assumptions that are being made for the disaster itself and the assumptions made regarding the suburban home and its location. These assumptions are crucial to the decision. Assumptions need to be clearly defined, and if they are not, then the decision becomes unclear to the reader.

Wow, that was a long winded answer ;)


  1. Thank you for this! I think you are right, it’s a personal decision each couple has to make based on their abilities and where they could go if they had to leave. I think I will talk to my spouse and come up with a few possibilities that could help in more than one scenario.

    Practice, practice, practice. This stuff is hard work but I do enjoy being able to do new things.

  2. Great article. I’m “stuck in the ‘burbs” too (1950s version). I add a few more box veggie gardens (4 X 8) every year – and I NEVER use pesticides on my lawn – I may have to plant the whole thing for food some day (and I keep enough seeds on hand to plant the whole yard 3-times over).

    Also rain barrels. And some spots way in the back where I can dig a pit to put up an outhouse (another reason to keep a small supply of lumber in the basement and attic). And a few sacks of ground lyme in the shed.

    I’d rather have a 40-acre farm in Virginia – but I don’t – so I make the most of my 1/2-acre in the ‘burbs. (“Always improve your fighting position”).

  3. Read “Lights Out” for a good perspective on life “after” it hits the fan.

    Read “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times” — this paints an EXCELLENT picture of why it is a bad idea to “bug in” if you live in an urban or semi-urban area.

  4. I know in horrifying circumstances, people lose their pets. I’ve heard a lot of stories; most recently, the couple who lost their five cats when they left Breezy Point because the water got too high, then the house burned down. Those stories make my heart ache because I know how much people love and care for their pets. SO, we’ll be bugging in. That’s where all our preps will be AND all the animals we’ve adopted over the last few years, who were abandoned after people started losing their homes and jobs.

    There is no way with our wild menagerie, anyone would allow us to move in with them, that we’d make it as a caravan and we don’t have two separate places of our own. The only way we could do it is to split up the family and animals or let our animals go somehow. I can’t see how to prepare for THAT. My pets are my dependents. Family. I would have to be panicking for my last breath before I could come up with a plan. Maybe I’m not cut out for this; who is really? But someday you may read about the nut who wouldn’t leave her house.

  5. Lol… deep breaths… that’s it… all better.

    All joking aside, that’s just it – to face the question during ‘good times’ – which will make it easier while under stress. Stress can really mess with your logic.

  6. All great advice Ken. Library, think of games and activities for the kids, talk to others and build while you can come together and share ideas with those around you. Now is an excellent time to include your neighbors as the discussion is easily lead with “What could we do to be prepared as a community if something were to happen here as it just did in New York”. People really seem to want to talk about it now. “Blessing in disguise”.

    Just a suggestion but our family practice a black out weekend. We shut the breakers off to the appliances other than the fridge/freezers,(the rule is if it is in those you can’t use it) or as it is very cold here, we leave the furnace just enough to keep the pipes from freezing and trickle the water a bit. We block off the basement from the upstairs to make it authentic in regard to the cold.

    We only use our wood burning stove and cook small things inside and practice with larger outdoors. We practice water collection, basin washing, and everything we can think of. It gives us a great idea on what we actually need more of in regard to supplies or fuels by doing this. Make a note of everything. It is surprising to actually account for toilet paper and other goods being used, as we want to replace them as well as know what we need over a year of this situation. Journal writing or listing is critical.

    When the weekend is over everyone is happy to have warm water and showers. However we all know what it takes to make it more comfortable now. No illusions. During the warmer months we practice for longer periods. Spring, Summer and Fall are all great times to learn. I find it so important as even with my grandchildren the shock of it will not be so traumatic. We are urban survivalists. The only thing we have not practiced is the shock of our neighbors knocking on our doors. However with this new insight into Katrina and Hurricane Sandy our clan is expanding into the block and beyond. We are networking now, and it is inspiring to see the progress. Start at home and it will grow.

    One more note or lesson we are learning. If push comes to shove it is empowering to know you can do just fine. Actually the kids and I think of a time when we could tell the electric and gas company to go ahead and cut the power we will be just fine without your price gouging.

  7. Target touched on this subject, but I would like to emphasize it: band together! Whether you bug in in suburbia or bug out elsewhere, there is absolutely no way that a “young couple”–perhaps with a couple of kids–will survive on their own.

    For a very short-term emergency, they might be fine, but after that, forget it. If they can’t find other preppers in their neighborhood (or persuade some neighbors to become preppers), then maybe they could make a lateral move to a nearby area that does have a prepper community. In any case, partnering with like-minded people is more crucial than having all the preps and stockpiles in the world. imho, of course.

  8. We live in a small town that is growing. Our home is in one of the older neighborhoods. Our property is about an acre with everyone around us on about an acre. Lots of land surrounding small houses. We have several (and adding more every year) raised beds for gardening. We don’t use chemicals on our lawn either, and I’ve got lots of seeds. I installed a deep well, with a hand pump so when there’s no electricity we can get water. We have a deep pantry that includes canned goods as well as Freeze-Dried. And a deep pantry for the doggy! Lots of water stored, first aid supplies, stocking up on our prescription meds., gas generator and solar generator, etc. I don’t want to do a list here, Ken has great lists!

    We’ve bugged in for several hurricanes and after the storms everyone comes together and helps each other out. Don’t know if they are prepared for much more than a storm. But, I suspect several of our closest neighbors are. I think if we were in a true SHTF situation, we would be at risk of being looted. I have ways to block the windows (shutters), and doors. But, how do you go outside to garden or guard your garden? We both carry, and there is a always a shotgun right beside us. I’ve read lots of good suggestions on MSB about how to make your house look like a less desirable place to loot. We’re working on a large fence, but looters will get through a fence anyway.

    We could bug out to family, unfortunately 3 hours away but we’d be unable to take all our survival stuff. I think they are prepared for a short termed emergency, but nothing more. I believe we’d be in more danger just trying to get there too.

    Anyway, we’re only capable of bugging in right now. My latest project is figuring out how to install sprinklers on the roof in case of fires. We’re a brick house, but still have asphalt shingles. Fire is my biggest fear! I figure that we could run the sprinklers from the well, even if we had to take turns hand-pumping.

    Okay, I’ve rambled enough. Luv ya’ll, Beach’n

    1. Beach’n
      For you and anyone else you is interested there is a product on the market you mix in a tank sprayer. This product is applied to your home, it is a jelly like material that attaches to the home. NOT inexpensive but when tested in Reno a few years ago during their wild fire those homes that were sprayed were still standing with no damage. I will try to locate the paperwork I have on it an post on next Saturdays open forum so look to see if I found it.

      Oh, and the nice part, it hoses off the home and is bio degradable.

    2. I would suggest investing in some four legged protection, preferably dogs. :)

  9. Consider the bug in vs. bug out option, my trek as a prepper is now about 5o years due to the fact my parents were older when I was born, they had survived the depression of the 30s….their awareness continued even into their later years and they passed those lessons on to me.

    My options are to combine both, and have a fallback in case the home can not be maintained, a number of secondary locations are identified,and included is the option of getting there by vehicle, ATV, bike, or shank’s mare…….so bottom line do not limit your options otherwise you may discover that your thinking was short sighted and a plain wrong.

  10. Great article, again, thank you.

    Our first step is bugging in since all our supplies and support gear are staged at our home. Population is not dense, but growing. Looking to relocate more rural, until and if that happens. The back up relocation spot in the north country (very rural) that our small family (6) would meet up at.

    All our “supplies” are stored to be quickly loaded for transport.

    Being older (64), I have the “I wish I knew then what I know now” regret of not starting a self-sufficient life 30+ years ago. Chasing career goals and objectives I lost sight of what I now consider important. I was fortunate to work, relocate twice, both times moving more rural (rural young guy goes to big city and moves back to rural). Two years in a major city was an education on people, security, stress and eye opening on how I wanted to live.

    Much credit to you for working through subjects that others may never have a thought about.

    1. You are in the majority, I chased the Corp dream (maybe nightmare is a better term.)
      You had to be a team player (yes person) I suffered many setbacks because I spoke from my heart. What I discovered that working two jobs one for someone else and another for me I was able to retire 25 years ago.

      You are never ever too late to change your path in life, today is a start or a gift that is why its called the “present” the only people who fail are the ones who waited until tomorrow. One of my favorite quotes from Will Rogers…”There are three types of people, the ones who make things happen, those that watch things happen, and the rest who wondered what in the hell happened”. Ken tries to get all of us who are willing ‘to think’ and to be aware and take action so that none of us ends up in the 3rd group (sheeple) God bless us all and this great blog.

  11. After an EMP don’t plan on bugging out with a car that has an electronic ignition. That’s any car built after 1982. The ignition will likely be toast.

  12. Unless you have a specific place to go such as another property or a friend/relative home then bugging out is not even an option IMHO. Why would you consider leaving all the preps you have accumulated and the protection of the home you have for life either in the wild or on the road? Except in a situation of fire/flood etc. the leaving your home should be a last resort at best.

    I understand that looting etc. could happen but I ,in truth, I would just as soon go defending my home and preps as starving while trying to bug out. Of course that’s just my opinion. I am 60 years old and don’t plan on living the last days of my life or the life of my wife suffering. If it comes it comes.

    1. Exactly my opinion, too… Being over 60. I am too old to jump over logs and play ninja anymore. Most people will try to form family clans in the best location the clan already has available to them. But, they will be local family groups, unless there is quite a long warning time, and travel isn’t restricted. But, as supplies run out for them, these small groups will begin to seek out, and prey upon, other groups, loners, who have what they need.

      Bugging out to some fairly close location, where one might “hide” until most of the zombies die, might be smart. It’s just finding a sanctuary where you can lie low, some bunker in the woods, where you can stock canned goods and enough stuff to last two months, might be rough..especially if your location is also the exact place many others might choose.

      Bugging out is only Bugging IN at a different location, safe from whatever hazard which forced the move. Once you relocate, you are again stationary, in a place where all your stuff is..and are bugging in.

      I guess having a large sailboat might be nice during the initial horrors. No fuel required to move it. Easy to isolate on the water. Easy access to food. One could travel to nearby islands and set up camp… Not a bad idea.

  13. At this stage of my life I am forced to “bug in.” Hopefully I will have a bug out location by the end of 2017 after I cash in my 401-k (59 1/2). I am in the middle of Phoenix. There are a lot of conservatives and nice people here. Unfortunately there are a lot of liberals and mean people.

    I have made my home pretty safe by putting bars on the windows. I have raised the fence on my back patio after an intruder. And I am in the process of securing my home in other ways. Such as razor blades placed to “reward” anyone who tries to climb over my fence again. I am also blacking out my fence screen so people cannot see what I have on my patio.

    I have plenty of water (2 years) and plenty of food (5 years). If SHTF before I get my bug out location up and running; the goal will be just to out wait those who have not prepared. They will be done in by the elements here. You cannot be out foraging in Phoenix in the summertime.

    I just completed some plywood covers for the inside of my windows. I put metal sheeting on the outside to prevent fires from spreading. (expect to be attacked with some form of molotov cocktails) I expect my windows to be busted even though I have bars on them. I have the ability to collect rainwater. Home depot sells metal tubs that can hold about 20 gallons. I have prepared for no toilet.

  14. Bugging out is a last resort, bugging out for most means you have become a refugee.

    There are few scenarios that will cause me to bug out. I would be more inclined to burn my house to the ground with us and all our stuff in it rather than be overrun by grabbers. But who knows, this is one of those things we can ponder but that has a million and one different answers and scenarios.

    I would hope that our little area on this little island could come together, but then again I am surrounded by liberal democrats, more likely than not they will think I need to share what I have so we can all eventually starve to death. That is where my aversion steps in, I have scrimped and creatively built a stash, so have no clue why I should have to share it with anyone, some of my neighbors, sure, will do whatever I can, others…yea, not going to happen. While they were busy drinking beer, I was figuring out a food solution, or while they were busy killing local business with their environmental message, I was figuring out how I was going to survive when they get exactly what they asked for plus ALLLLL the unintended consequences that go along with it.

    It’s a tough one, I know I will be a target if there is ever a large scale event. I have food growing , chickens etc,, so will be like a magnet, early on there was a stark realization that my being prepared could possibly be more of a liability than a benefit. And that I will most likely need to use those guns to save my butt at some point. It all sort of sucks, if I have to bug out I do have a plan, the ideal in that situation is to be able to load the truck with supplies and go, its close by and yet well out of sight, but how many others know of this?

  15. I like to think of my Small Town USA as my family’s BOL. We, the grands, would be staying here as this is where all the preps are. They, as unprepared family members, should bug out to here.

    If we, the grands, have to consider bugging out, well… it truly is TEOTW.

    I gave ‘One Second After’ to my Small Town USA mayor/neighbor in hopes that he would consider he options wisely.

    What is that I heard? Your community is your country.

  16. Bugging out without a location to go to makes you a refugee, and history tells us refugees don’t fare well.

    If it’s impossible to move to a better situation, start subtly looking for like minded people close by. Go to a thrift store and buy clothes a couple sizes too big for you. If you don’t have weapons, consider short barrel shotguns in appropriate gauges, stock #4 and 00 buckshot. Buy heirloom seeds and store them in the fridge. Determine your best options to have water.


  17. I prefer choices. I live in the country on several acres, my biggest threat is wild fires, so I perched a 24ft. camping trailer for emergencies. I can load up my goods and get out to a safe area in less than 24hr. I recommend this to everyone. Even a small tent trailer is better shelter than the government warehouses they’re going to stuff all the unprepared people in and it’s a lot easier to ask a friend or relative if you can park your trailer on their property than asking them for room in their house. I keep my trailer pre-packed with some clothing and other items so that all I have to load is my food and security items. Also on my property I have installed hookups for trailers electric, water, and septic for friends and relatives if they need to get out of the city.

    1. CR
      Read the article, it is going to other SF that we know. Hopefully they are aware of what is happening…..if not.

      They will be now.

  18. Beachin–
    I think about sprinklers on the roof quite often as I have a couple of big trees and there is a lot of farm land around. A fire could get out of control especially if there is a little wind. So, I have sprinklers and hopefully not fall on my a** getting them put up there. I think that oscillating type will work and 2 or maybe 3 would work but I have a small single story house.

  19. I know everyone has their own opinion as to ‘bugging out’ (Hitting the Road). When the SHTF, and everyone’s situation is unique, but it’s very difficult for me to see anything positive about a family ‘on the road’ when that type of situation occurs. A very, very dangerous situation. I would think that this would be the ‘last resort’ when no other options are left.

  20. This discussion reminds me of the movie “After Armageddon” by the History Channel. We bought it on DVD and it opened our eyes. In the film, the suburban family decided to bug-in after a global flu pandemic has them house-bound for fear of catching it. When roaming gangs begin moving from house to house in their neighborhood to scavenge and prey upon people, they have to make some serious changes to their position about bugging in because they have neither a plan nor resources to protect themselves in their bug-in location. It is a very well-made film and worth watching.

  21. I think of my residence (house & property) as my Ship, and I am the Captain.
    I will defend it with my life, and if necessary, I will ‘go down’ with my Ship, and will not desert her.

  22. Huge subject and a very controversial one to say the least.

    Unfortunately there is NO ONE answer to the question posed, “Bug-In or Bug-Out?”, or one might say/argue the correct answer is “yes”. With that said here is my 2¢ worth.

    Bugging-Out, as many have/will say. Where you going to go? How are you going to get there? Do you have supplies when you get there? Can your family make the trip? Are you putting you/family at a HUGE risk by traveling? Are you just heading into a FEMA camp at the end? How many millions of people are heading the same place? On and ON are those types of questions. FYI, you (99%) will NOT survive in the “woods”, period!!!! Don’t even try.

    Bugging-In, Where are you located? Can you protect your “stash”/location? Are your supplies enough to NOT go out for that one little thing you forgot? Can you “hide” within your Bug-In location for a long period of time without detection? How many people know you got “stuff” and are you ready to kill to keep your “stuff”? How many people are you planning to “allow” coming to your Bug-In location? Again on and on with the questions.

    So here is a question for ya who think they are going to Bug-In, how about those 60,000 homes in LA that are under water? Or how about those hundreds/thousands of homes burned this year in CA every year? Maybe that Volcano in WY will blow? Heck what will happen if you and spouse lose your jobs and have ZERO money to pay the Taxes and have to “Bug-Out”?

    The point I’m trying to make is you have to decide what boogie-man/disaster you’re most likely to get hit with and Plan for that. Am I going to get a flat tire this year? Probably so I plan for that and have everything I need to change that tire. AM I going to need firewood this winter, yeppers, so guess what???

    The question is not if one is going to “Bug-In or Bug-Out” the real question becomes what are you needing to prepare for? And that LIST is HUGE, granted preparing for one thing will/may cover a lot of other problems. Give up on trying deciding if to prepare for any particular disaster or Bugging-In/Bugging-Out but prepare for just living your life with the protection/Food/Water/So-On that you would normally need anyways.

    Make sure you have the means to get out of the way of that Flood or Fire sure, but also make sure you can Hunker-Down and outlast that Ice/Snow storm that takes out every “modern” conveniences you may have had for 2-3 months. If ya want to get even crazier, think EMP and no help for 5-10 years. Like I said, the probabilities are endless.

    Me? I just want to finish that Stake I grilled last night on that open-pit campfire made with a nice pile of Apple-Wood. One day at a time my friends, One day at a time, that goes for prepping also, do NOT go into panic mood. Please think more about a lifestyle change than having to “Bugging-Out” to your safe location in a HUGE emergency, why are you not living there already? And PLEASE do NOT say money, that’s a bunch of Bull Manure of an excuse.

    Hey Ken, I kept it to a 565 word answer….. LOLOL


    1. I hope you have steel teeth for that “stake”. I prefer steak made for human consumption. lol.

      To the question in hand: I live in my BO place, and I have other places to go if my place is compromised if things get that bad. Every emergency that may come, you should have a few plans in case one fails.

      The rest is good advice by many here.

      1. @Stardust

        I have told you I’m a tough old SOB so it’s stake for me… HAHAHA

        Love ya kido


  23. I believe my name says it all. I have read and contributed to this site for years and posted about my adventures in moving from the Socialist Democratic Republic of California to a state in the Pacific Northwest. I relocated in the aftermath of the Great Recession onset of 2008. My wife’s company was out-of-business and my company was talking of paying me in IOU’s. When faced with options like that, I view it as we were forced out of our small home in a high tax state.

    When I moved, I laid out plans. I went on trips to recon the areas of work and the areas I would like to live in. The research and planning became another time-consuming hobby. Relocation and licensing in another state (medical worker) combined with hiring for myself took about a full year. It was a lot of work but the research we did and the labor put into it was worth it. This prevents one from moving from the “frying pan into the fire.” You give up a lot. You want to make sure the change was worth it.

    I now live in a much larger house with plenty of room for my preps and toilet paper (Cottonelle for me and Charmin Xtra strong for my wife.) The location is the bread basket of the state so we are surrounded by neighbors that have large gardens and sell their surplus produce.(Rich soil and good growing conditions 10 of 12 months of the year.) My wife no longer makes fun of my preps and no longer questions my financial decisions.(I tracked the housing bubble and predicted the crash about 2 years in advance- I observed this dangerous trend by visiting relatives in Stockton, CA.)

    I continue to work within health care and our garden is more fun than productive.(I feed the birds and the deer come out of the hills to drink water from my sprinklers and eat my squash.) We buy lots of canned food and I reload ammunition and have been teaching others in my new location to do the same. I do most of the cooking at home and I make contributions to the local food bank. My hunting trips are with a guide service in Eastern portion of the state.

    I’m happy here for now and do not look forward to having to move again though I always know in the back of my mind, I may have to one day.(I still live along the Pacific Ring of Fire and the large Metro Area close to us has an active volcano within the city limits.)

    1. @ CaliRufgee

      Ok Ok I have to laugh a little my friend… you said —“When I moved, I laid out plans. I went on trips to recon the areas of work and the areas I would like to live in. the research and planning became another time-consuming hobby.”

      That is exactly 100% opposite of how I/we got out of Calif.

      The late wife and I were on our Honeymoon in CO in 1980 and happened to end up in Durango camping in a nice little secluded canyon. Low and Behold there was this little 5X7 index card stapled to a HUGE pine tree. “Land For Sale” with a single phone number. Well what the heck, gave it a call, and took a look see. Long story short, we owned the property 2 days later, YES 2 whole days HAHAHA went back to San Diego sold everything we had and moved within 1 year….

      BEST thing we ever did was to get out of CA when we did, was hard moving to a place with no money and no jobs, but I would do it again in a Nano-Second.

      FYI, the new tally for “Southern California Population 39,100,000”, 39 MILLION People in an area the size of 1/2 of New Mexico???? Really? And you think you “might” Bug-Out”? Really?

      PS; I still have that Ocean-Front land in Arizona for sale……


    2. I’m beginning to sense that TP is becoming a “thing” here.

      For what it’s worth- POM Bath Tissue, 45 roll carton, 19.98 (473 sheets to a roll). SC value pack.

      They stack nice, 5 cartons, $100 + tax, 225 rolls. Not a major league TP player yet.

      1. @ Gray Lensman

        To try and keep this slightly on topic, could you just imagine Bugging-Out with 500 rolls of Charmin TP? I could just hear the wife now… “Honey forget the firearms, grab the TP” HAHAHA


        1. @NRP, I can see it! Strapped to the roof! Hoping for no rain! “We’re being chased….cut the TP ropes Honey! That will slow ’em down?”


          Now back to your regularly scheduled program…..

        2. @Grey Lensman

          Speaking of TP, NRP does indeed seem to be obsessed with it. Since he’s a Buddhist, it makes me wonder what he did in a previous life to cause this obsession. Or is he righting a wrong he committed. :-)

          But back to today’s topic. We’re bugging in unless it becomes apparent that it’s no longer a viable option. DH is 60 and handicapped. I’m older and rapidly losing my mobility so walking out of here just won’t happen.


        3. @ kk

          Not an obsession just an observation. Butt have ya ever been without for a month or 4? NOT comfortable place to be. LOLOL


        4. Hi NRP

          Well as a matter of fact, I have been without TP. Not a dang I forgot to bring some into the bathroom but living in an area where there was no TP. It was in Europe, a small microscopic village with no running water or electricity. The farm animals were just milling around and no nice fenced in pastures. Chickens in the “house” cuz there wasn’t a door. Yeah, it was an eye opener to be sure.

          And I was just pulling your leg, but you probably already knew that.



        5. @ kk

          Ever been to the back country of Thailand ?????
          FYI, never and I do mean NEVER ask what yar eating. “ohhh don’t mind the hair sir” is the quite often response.
          OMG Quite the experience, that’s for sure… :-) :-)


        6. NRP

          Never been to Thailand but traveled behind the Iron Curtain and a few socialist countries.

          Makes me grateful to live in North America.


        7. NRP, yep! Just eat it. I have eaten dog, cat, monkey, rat. Snakes, gator, turtle, eel. When ya go out of the CONUS ya never quite know what’s mixed in with the rice.
          People say they wouldn’t /couldn’t eat this stuff until they go hungry for 2 or 3 days. Then folks minds change…

  24. What happens when everyone decides to bug out to some far away place only to discover upon arrival at their new fantasy BOL (Bug Out Location) that all the people at the BOL already bugged out and went to the place they just bugged out from? Or worse, what happens when you arrive at your BOL and find it over-run with other buggers and realize you made a serious mistake and have to fight your way back home only to discover someone else has taken up refuge at your home and is munching on your preps and shooting at you with all the guns and ammo you left behind that you thought you had hidden away in a secure place?

    I’ve thought about this for many years and decided that only under the most extreme circumstances would I ever consider leaving my home and then only if and when it becomes totally uninhabitable by either me or any other human or beast. I would simply have to resort to living like a wild animal like people did 50,000 year ago. At my age, I’m not sure how that would work but pray I never have to find out. My current location is both my home and my BOL.

    1. Well CrabbeNebula I’m probably with you on Bugging In. I’m too old to participate in the rebirth of civilization on some rugged frontier. Besides the more I think about bugging out the more I regret never having purchased a string of pack mules ’cause you just know that streets, roads and highways will be gridlocked. They’ll also be the place where the phrase ‘highway robbery’ will take on a whole new level of aptness. As close to bugging out as I’m likely to get is just moving out from my current location in a town with a population of +/- 60K. Say, maybe you could call that ‘pre-need bugoutery’.

  25. Anyone thinking of bugging out of the Portland metro area- good luck. I have been putting off a “fun’ day trip that direction and decided that a Sunday should be good. No rush hour etc. Hah! Late morning was fine and by early afternoon every highway and freeway had long backups and/or was stopped for a couple of miles. That is why I go south and east. : )
    The roads were Highways 6, 26, 47 and 217 and I-5.

  26. I’ve said it before, but here goes again…. You need to move to a secluded area and make your home your BOL. Yes, there may be reason at some point to abandon the home, but there would be very few reasons to do so if you are already secluded. Ken is spot on in his post.

    The only thing I would add is an emphasis on firearms. Post SHTF will be very dangerous. If you cannot protect yourself, you will be at the mercy of the vicious roaming looters/gangs, and they will not have mercy. Shooting can be a fun hobby in good times, and it will save your life in bad times. Have a handgun and long gun for each adult. I keep smaller caliber rifles for the kids and several extra rifles for family who may show up. I will not, however, be sharing my extra toilet paper :)

  27. Simple. Both. Stay home where we are safe with preps, board up the windows and put a condemned sign up, hide and survive until or unless we can’t. Then pack up the rig and go, only as a last resort. Plan for the worst but hope for the best.

  28. I have a question for the hoards leaving the cities. Where are you going? All land is owned by someone and they will not want you squatting on it. I know cities will be terrible but consider how you will survive with just a bug out bag. It will be extremely hard to live in the woods without knowing how to survive off the land. The woods don’t have that much food available. Yes, there are some wild plants but will they know which ones they can eat. Hopefully, those bugging out will have prepared a place to go but I can all most bet most have not.

    I plan on bugging in. There is no way I can take all my preps with me if I bugged out. I live in the country and am blessed to have quite a few water sources available. I grew up canning and preparing for the winter so prepping is just an extension of that. I have several family homes near by that can ban together to face the looters.

    It is a hard decision to make for some. I pray all of us can survive the terrible time that is coming.

    1. @pencilpusher6

      Ditto on the bugging in. Bugging out is no option due to caring for sick mate and elderly parent. Even if leaving was possible, it would just be aggravating to get to the BOL and need to fix something, only to realize all the stuff needed to rig up a fix are back at the house. Besides with pets, critters, and poultry, and all the gear and feed needed for them, how could one bug out? If only I could pack my BOB like Merlin from Disney’s “The Sword in the Stone”.

  29. Bugging in. It’s a matter of necessity. Yes, I live in suburbia. Yes, if I had the resources I would purchase a BOL and move. Since I don’t, and all my family are either in other cities or thousands of miles away, bugging out would be a really bad decision.

    Add to that the fact that my parents probably couldn’t walk more than half a mile (and no, I’m NOT leaving them behind) any plans to bug out are for the future.

    With that in mind I have a number of different strategies based on the situation. Bugging out with nowhere to go is so ridiculous it might as well not even be on the list.

  30. I wish I knew what asteroids are coming to our vicinity soon. Usually you can go to Space Weather. com and scroll down to find a half dozen or dozen, or sometimes even more “Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters.” Yesterday where were several in the coming couple of weeks. But today, they are all gone. The entire grid has been empty all day. They have deleted all the incoming asteroids — just from their website, not from the sky.

    If we knew where the asteroid is going to hit, we would know whether to stay where we are or leave.

  31. Good comments, and I agree with most of them. But as you all know, like the man said “No one here gets out alive”. Not to go all Holy Roller on everyone, but let’s not forget to mention what an absolutely incredibly beautiful place awaits us on the other side. They should say it’s The End Of THIS World As We Know It. I hope the last acts I perform here are gracious ones, and the transition over is as easy as jumping in a cool creek.

    “Yea verily” & “I say unto you” etc., they will find me slumped over next to my depleted supply of Ozarka water, Scott brand T.P., and #10 cans wearing a relieved, relaxed look on my dirty face…
    -gone fishin’.

    1. Yep as the old saying goes ” everyone want to go to heaven but no one wants to get dead”

  32. There is and always will be only one answer… you bug in until you have to leave. Period. (LOL I know it’s probably not helping you much right now, but hang on..)

    The set of circumstances that define “until” will vary a million ways from Sunday and you should know a few cases that would dictate said “until” in your area based on local emergency possibilities.

    Here it’s fire, then earthquake, then drought, then EMP, then comet. I have to be ready to go NOW but I also have to be able to stay until FOREVER. I’ve got an acre to play with and I’m learning all the time so my preference is to stay until forever.

    Other places have to deal with extreme cold or hurricanes or floods or whatever. You’ll have to plan based on your situation. Be ready to stay as long as you can be be ready to leave with next to nothing (i.e. waking up at 3:00am to a raging house or forest fire and have to leave NOW with nothing on your back.)

  33. If you decide that you have to bug out, and you do not have a secure, stocked place to go,(and you can get there), you will be a refugee.
    Refugee’s will not make out well, IMO.
    You never want to run out of TP!
    How much can you carry?

    1. First of all unless you live way, way out there in a very rural area, give up any idea you will probably make it after 30 days TOPS. This scenario includes me who lives 60 minutes away from the Chicago suburbs. At some point if it’s full blast SHTF you will be sniped off as you have to be outside sometime and no matter what– you will be a statistic at some point no matter how careful you THINK you are. Bugging out will be impossible on so many levels so do the best you can as long as you can but if it’s bad– and I hope I’m wrong but too much to go wrong at some point and bugging out is NOT an option–got over that fantasy!

  34. It’s kinda obvious to anyone reading this Blog, that Americans are totally obsessed with TOILET PAPER!
    I can hear it now: “Spoiled Americans! Can’t leave home without it.”
    At least 1/2 of the world’s population does OK without it.
    And these people expect to survive?

  35. Before you make the final decision to bug out or stay put, I would go on Amazon and invest in an excellent book titled: A FAILURE OF CIVILITY. The authors are former military and law enforcement professionals who have: “Seen the elephant.” Pay special attention to the first part which details the break-up and disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. It will scare the peanuts out of your M&M’s!

  36. Like many here, I’m getting to old to run. Besides, I’m not the running off type to start with. I guess it’s the Texas boy in me, but, this is my “Alamo”. If I can make “13 days of glory”, maybe they’ll write songs and remember me in history books.

  37. For those wanting to bug out! An old friend, now gone, grew up in Hamilton, MT. during the depression. He was one of the younger of a lot of children. His father ranged farther and farther for game as time went on, so did the neighbors. He snowshoe’d toward Yellowstone National Park through the winter for game. He finally hunted cougar as they were all that still survived. During that era there were a lot fewer people and more a sense of community. If you think people in small country areas will let city slickers horn in on THEIR game you need a brain transplant.
    I am too old and slow to run.

  38. I agree with the above comments – why bug out if your home is still livable? At my home I have a fireplace w/ large stock of firewood, food preps, ammo preps, tools etc.

    But if it becomes necessary to move, then move! Don’t hang around hoping a deadly situation might change or pass you by.

    For me, bugging out would be a temporary thing – emergency evacuation until the situation improves.

  39. To aka:

    If you live in the Portland Metro area, you are north of us by several hours. I have checked out small towns bordering national forests and wilderness areas located along rivers and drain-ages south of Portland and have discovered that they are over-run with homeless squatters that set up camp and do what they can to get by to include: growing marijuana, collecting bottles and cans and petty theft on residents that live along the borderlands.

    We had a bit of this problem in California but it appears to be a much bigger problem here in Oregon. The low cost of living and food and the relative lack of enforcement has made this state a destination for people that want to live the carefree and precarious lifestyle of the homeless. Evidence of this is the fact that many homeless here came from other states that are tough on the homeless like Idaho, Washington and California.

    There is a motto in Portland which says: “Keep Portland Weird”. It seems the large numbers of homeless within the city are doing just that. This post was to add to those thinking they can move out of a city and go to “God’s Country and live off the fat of the land.” Bad News: There is somebody already there trying to do just that.

    1. CaliRefugee

      I live close to Salem. I have ventured all over the valley and there really isn’t any place that a person is going to run to that tens of thousands aren’t already going to beat your there. I thought that maybe outside of Sweet Home – but not really. Portland’s homeless problem is out of this world crazy.

  40. My place is the BOL for others in my group. They have their own storage and cabin here if their primary location becomes untenable. I’m not going anywhere. That’s why I worked hard on this location.
    The question is what type of SHTF we find ourselves in. A slow economic spiral down to a deep depression or one where it turns to crap over night or in a second. I’m fortunate to have neighbors who are like minded and see the need to be prepared. Most are but not all. At least they all have land to grow food on.

    Bugging out without a place to go to would to me be the absolutely worse case scenario …
    The person who posted about having a travel trailer is not a bad idea. Knowing when to leave so you can get where you need to be will be the trick.

  41. If you’re headed to rural property and a cabin…expect it to be broken into often while not there…the meth and heroin epidemic in this country is growing like wildfire and there is more break ins and robberies in rural areas looking for a house alone than there is in busy neighborhoods now.

    Either live where your staying at BOL with all your stuff or stay put!

    If your planning on leaving with your BOB and trying to find a place and live off the land….Your already dead.

    1. SGT,
      Locally having some problems with squatters. Most are meth heads and drunks. They find it is healthier to leave than to stay. These boys around here will turn them into fertilizer.

      Your dead on about people thinking they can live off the land. Nowadays most people lead a sedentary life. They will die in short order in the wild. Mother Nature is a cruel Bitch who will kill you quick if given the chance.

      The guy from Viking Preparedness on you tube had a good video today that is worth listening to. A non pc rant if you will but a lot of good common sense. Fits right in to what Ken has posted about lately.
      Hope Ken doesn’t mind me mentioning it…

      1. @ Bill Jenkins Horse

        I’ll defiantly need to give the Pastor some “rant” lessons…. LOLOL


  42. Warvet,
    If you wanna live without TP, rock on.
    Life is short, live as you wish.

  43. When I was a child if my grandmother wanted to bake a cake she got out the flour and the baking soda, a couple of eggs and some milk, maybe a little vanilla extract. By the time I had children you got out a box of cake mix. If my grandchildren want a cake their mother goes to the store and buys one.

    That is the problem with our culture, we’ve allowed ourselves to get so far from the source of our needs that we no longer know where it comes from. If an EMP struck tomorrow and you were fortunate enough to have chickens and goats and cows to sustain you, who among you is prepared to wring that chickens neck or slit the throat of that goat? And that cow? Forget about it.

    If you need to feed a family of four and you want to “grow your own” you’re going to need as much as an acre of land and a LOT OF EXPERIENCE. Survival gardening isn’t something you do on Saturdays. It’s a daily activity requiring an investment of hours of time each and every day. Miss a day, lose something.

    The best most can hope for is to have enough to survive until the catastrophe de jour is over and order returns. Something like that EMP is going to be a near extinction event. Wish I could say otherwise but sadly it’s true. So do what you can and hope for the best. We are prepared but we don’t drive new cars, take vacations or eat out. If you aren’t prepared to make sacrifices now you won’t survive. It’s a way of life not a hobby. You can’t buy it, you have to build it.

    May God bless you and yours.

    1. @ Fifth Disciple

      Good post, slightly off topic, but it does fit.

      What you describe is what most people don’t get (a HECK of a lot of people here do though.) Bugging-Out or trying to live after the major SHTF, good luck if your a part-timer (buy this, buy that) into prepping. I 1000% agree with you in the aspect, if you prep and don’t live the “lifestyle” or at least practice what you learn, you’ll do great for the short term, but any long-term SHTF (aka EMP as you mentioned), well just not going to happen for very long, those buckets of 4-week food will really not so good after 3 weeks.

      People please make a commitment, a true commitment. If/When the SHTF really happens HARD, think about it.

      FYI Italy just got hit with another a 6.8 earthquake…. that’s just one of HUNDREDS of catastrophes happening all over the world, right now. How about those fires in CA, and the flooding in LA? The list goes on and on, why would one NOT make a commitment to save yourself and your family?


      PS; I would have NO problem with that Chicken….. Or that Garden.
      Know how to make soap from ash and a little fat?

      1. Yea, I’m a fan of pine tar soap myself. The original post went on ad-nauseum about the bug in/out thing. If you couldn’t tell I’m a bug in guy. I’ve just gotten tired of preaching about it. That old Don’t give advice thing. The wise don’t need it and fools won’t heed it.

        1. Fifth_Disciple

          “Pine Tar Soap” …is this something you make/buy?

          how (please).

          what are its advantages ?


        2. Just Google “Making Pine Tar Soap”. There are dozens of recipes out there or you can buy it ready made. I started using it because it is a natural remedy for eczema.

  44. There has been a program on called “Homestead Rescue”. There was just a few shows – pilot season I guess. A guy from Alaska and his 2 kids go and fix homesteads that people jump into figuring that they will live off the land. Worth watching!

  45. aka

    That guy on Homestead Rescue, Marty Rainey (sic) was on a show called ‘Ultimate Survival Alaska’ in which four teams of 4 people each raced over all kinds of terrain to reach a goal (the lv). They were supposed to live off the land. They got points for being the first, then a helo would pick them all up and take them to a new location where they raced to a new lv. I think there were 11 or 13 launching points and lvs. Marty was on the show twice and I think he won at least once. He was my favorite player.

  46. DaisyK— I thought that he looked familiar. I saw a little of that show. He has that bad boy look, always wears the partially unbuttoned white shirt, Kinda reminded me of an old boyfriend (lol). They do a great job on the show. Unbelievable what people will pile their life savings into without a clue how to make it work.

  47. The ultimate question is where do you all plan on bugging out to?

    I live out in the country on a farm about 70 miles from the nearest city and I’m going to assume if you are bugging out it will be to the country/woods since their aren’t enough mountain paradises for everyone. Let me break the bad news to y’all, we farmers are (heavily) armed and will not be too friendly when flocks of people show up on our land depleting our resources. We will not welcome outsiders with open arms like some may think just because we feed you now don’t mean we will when SHTF.

    I suppose what I’m getting at is some folks need to do a little critical thinking unpack your bob and think. Why or what would make you leave an area that your familiar with that will give you a tactical advantage to run out into the countryside to be slaughtered like a coyote or wild hog? What advantage would you gain by coming out (less people?)(our food supply?). When I hear everyone talk about bugging out I immediately envision a zombie hoard of city dwellers coming to my door and I have planned appropriately for just that.

    1. Good point. I have fishermen among my friends. They feel exactly the same way.

  48. To aka:

    Relating to an earlier topic: You can shoot trap at Albany Gun club trap range about an hour south of Salem. This is where I shoot trap on Sunday mornings about 2x/month. Bring your 20 gauge shotgun, $20 cash and some target loads.

    In September, I will be working some Saturdays at Four Corners rifle range helping local folks sight in their deer rifles pre-season. Weekends it is open to the public in September and the service costs about $5-$6 per rifle.

    I’m around Salem myself and I work in the city.

    1. CaliRefugee– Hey thanks! The Albany facility while farther away sounds more like what I am looking for. I can go anytime. I will give them a call and maybe we can run into one another also? I need to get some safety glasses and hearing protection. I’ll see if I need a gun case too.

  49. To SGT:

    I have to say that the meth use and heroin epidemic has been around a long time. 32 years ago as a young LEO I was part of the team making raids on labs in the Sierra foothills in California. I carried the shotgun and was the breacher or I was posted in high ground with a scoped rifle doing overwatch. Lots of labs and business was good. I have no illusions about our impact. Trying to stamp out this problems was like trying to eliminate roaches with a shoe. Ronny Reagan was President back then and I still had hair on top of my head.

    These days, I just try to make sure they are not in my neighborhood. Meth heads and addicts are another reason to stay put and avoid life on the road or rails.

  50. To aka and NRP:

    The Urban Disguised Gun Case: Terry cloth Beach Towel with either Little Mermaid or Spongebob Squarepants tied on with string. It’s cheap and available at Wally-World.

    I carry my shells and membership card in a reusable grocery sack from a California based Natural Food Store. I also dress weird so people think I’m the weird Asian hippie rather than a gun-toting redneck.(Days off- grooming standards are relaxed)

    Don’t panic! It’s organic!

    1. @ CaliRefugee

      Organic 12GA shotgun shells…. I LIKE it… LOL
      And the Little Mermaid gun case…. WHAT A HOOT!!!!


  51. @CaliRefugee

    Called the Albany club and there is a shooting match going on thru this weekend. They said that if I come in next Thursday they can get me started. I thought that you would need target but they said no – you shoot at moving targets. Clay pigeons? Guess I’ll find out.

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