bugging out

People Who Might Bug-Out To Your Place After SHTF

I’ve touched upon this topic before. It’s time to do it again. A discussion about people who might ‘bug-out’ to your place after SHTF or TEOTWAWKI. It’s best to think about the topic before anything like this happens. To establish a thought-process and hopefully a plan.

“I’m the one with the farm, the river, the perceived endless cornucopia of abundance, and this is where they’ll head.”

“Have I invited anyone, and what are the conditions?”

“What resources do I have, and which am I willing to share?”

“What arrangements am I making/have I made, and for whom?”

~ said someone on the blog

Some of you won’t allow anyone in. Others of you will, with caveats. Each of us have our reasons. I take no sides in this potential argument because all of our situations are unique.

All of us who are ‘prepared’, preparedness-minded, some may call us ‘preppers’. Regardless, we all have a common potential problem. That is, more than likely, others know that we are prepared to one extent or another. I don’t care how much you’ve tried to keep your mouth shut about it, or stay ‘grey’ in this regard, others have a way of finding out.

So if and when the poop hits the fan, some of them (particularly if the situation is becoming desperate) may ‘bug-out’ to your place. Maybe you’ve invited them. Or maybe you didn’t. How in the world are you going to handle this situation?

I present a few considerations…

Extra Food To Feed Others After SHTF

As most of you know, it takes a significant amount of food (don’t forget water!) per person. We’re talking about a lot of calories. For example, one person may consume approximately 1 million calories per person per year. I’ve not defined the SHTF scenario or how long it may last, but if it’s really bad, it could be a long time. And that’s a lot of food calories (which is just one consideration – though exceedingly important).

Have you properly estimated how much food that you have in your long term storage? How many ‘survival days’ will that provide? What if you take in another person? Or two? Or more… Do you have enough extra? This will rapidly cut into your own food inventory. After doing some soul-searching, and if you feel that there’s a possibility that you might take in another specific person (or more) who bug-out to your place, you better prepare for those extra mouths to feed.

Personality and Character Traits Of Those Who May Come To Be Under Your Roof

Do you already know the person? I mean, do you really know their “true” personality and character traits? Even those who you do know, if they are suddenly living in your home environment, this WILL eventually (and maybe quickly) create issues.

Here’s another consideration. When there are more than one “A-type” personalities in a group, there WILL be even more issues. It could be quite challenging to maintain order and discipline, especially as time goes on.

What Might Other People Contribute Towards The Survivability Of The Group

Lets face it. Most people are lazy. Spoiled in today’s modern world. I certainly would not want to feed someone who cannot, or is not willing to contribute in some way to the overall survivability of the household as everyone works through whatever SHTF circumstances there may be.

From my perspective, I would make it exceedingly clear of the expectations of behavior and contribution, in return for ‘food and shelter’. It certainly would not be a ‘free ride’, so to speak. While I don’t have a tyrant gene, and I’m pretty much a nice guy, there would be rules and law-and-order. It would not be a democracy.

Good management skills would be really important in this scenario for whoever is the head of household – while maintaining the peace and utilizing others to the benefit of the group. Unfortunately, in my experience, most people are not good managers.

Establish The Rules

A simple set of common sense rules should be enough. No one wants to live under a tyrant, so keep it simple, clear, and understandable.

We’re talking about a scenario that’s pretty bad (SHTF), and the daily priorities will not be terribly complicated. Survival. Shelter, Water, Food, Security. Build some rules around these priority areas.

Schedules and Routines

It’s probably going to be a lot of work. Physical work. Build schedules and make routines that work for everyone. Things that compliment individual skills. Focus on each person’s attributes and assign ‘jobs’ and schedules that fit towards water, food, shelter, and security.

Handling Disputes

For certain, there will be some turmoil at times. That’s life. But how will it be handled? Some people are better than others at handling or mediating disputes. I can guarantee you that sooner or later there will be issues. When someone else is suddenly living under your roof, and if that person or persons (and you to an extent) are not willing to compromise here and there… it’s going to be difficult. This goes back to the topic of personality and character traits.

The Affects Of Taking Others In

The notion of taking in someone else under your (prepared) roof due to SHTF circumstances – is difficult at best. It’s a tough one. Some people will flat out never do it. Though others may be willing to take someone in, depending…

Most of us kind of already know the personalities and traits of others within our circles of family and friends. Therefore we sort of know how this would likely turn out, based on what we already know about those people.

I bring up this topic again because the other day I had another look at my approximate (very approximate) overall calorie count of my food storage. Although I feel quite satisfied, the cold hard fact is that “if” one were to feed another from your food storage inventory, those ‘survival days’ of food storage gets dented quite rapidly. Especially if there are two others. Or three…

Is it worth it to put such a dent into your own survival-day count? Only you will be able to answer that, based on your own situation. Have you thought about who you might take in and/or who you would not take in – based on your own circles of family / friends? How in the world would you handle that knock on the door if they are on the ‘no’ list?

I believe it’s good food for thought.


  1. There are many lazy “giv me dats” in my extended family and I know in a real SHTF event they will show up at my ranch uninvited. I have already made it understood to most of them they will not be welcome but they will come. And some will come armed.
    The end result will be that I will meet them at the front gate with a big “NO” and a sincere method of enforcement.
    There are many reasons for my harsh reactions, and you also know those reasons. People that come who I do not know may actually be allowed to join my family, it depends on their attitude.
    I also know this SHTF event is coming.

  2. I would like to see articles on 1. The Rules, 2. Schedules and Routines and 3. Handling Disputes.. Have seen lots of Who you want…doctors, farmers, teachers, military, tradesman and more. The three areas you mentioned are very important to have a harmonious and effective community. And maybe an entrance questionaire too assess abilites and psychological attitude. Just a thought…all jobs have 90 day probation.

  3. Certainly will be interesting. Kids and grandkids all under one roof. Sounds great until ya get to thinking…….
    Hard times will require hard attitudes and lots of effort. It can still be a good thing, but it’ll be a challenge. Living is different from visiting. We have a great family, but still, there will be disagreements and solutions.

    Plenty of work to be done and hopefully, the right number of folks to do the work. No free rides. I doubt anyone is expecting a free ride. I know it’ll be difficult. I also know, it can be done. Working with a smile on your face can make all the difference.

    1. Scout, Ha! Yep, that sums it up when you are used to peace and quiet. The chaos will rein supreme quickly if not managed from the onset.

    1. Yes.

      Thanks for saying this. Asking someone to leave is a pretty big problem. Getting them to leave, maybe a bigger problem. When/if they leave, you now have a problem outside.

  4. It might not take a village at first but, in my case, it will take a small tribe. What do tribal members have in common? Just about everything. I’ve invited some family, and some friends. Most are competent with weapons, everyone fishes. All are hard-working, generous, cheerful, and nearly all are people of faith. Some of the friends are also neighbors and know they will find help here if they need it. I know I can count on them in difficult times because we help each other out now, when times are a little hard but not dire. I’ve prepped food, tools to raise and secure food, and other survival supplies accordingly. I have covered space and those that won’t fit in my small house with me are expected to come with their campers and camping supplies at least. My hope is we can manage for a good piece, while events are shaking out.

  5. Amen Dennis, perspectives change with age, mine is very different even from 2 years or so ago

  6. I’ve thought about this topic many times. I would like to see my children arrive heer after shtf, as they are all living in different states and I would be worrying myself sick. But, I also figured the good Lord will be sending people here whom He wants us to help. I have some 5-gallon buckets with basic foods and hygiene items stored away to help those in need. And when they’re gone, they’re gone. But….here is my true feelings on the matter. I think we will be more of a “Way-Station” in the future. God’s Way-Station. Others passing through to somewhere else – even extended family – trying to reach their immediate families or loved ones. Does that make sense? And the Spirit helps me discern about people now; if they are sincere, genuine, or whatever you want to call it. Or trouble. I listen to that little voice. Oh yeah. I listen and act accordingly. These times are right on our doorstep.

    1. What is with spell-check? ‘Heer?’ Should read “here”……… like I typed it! Sheesh!

      1. DJmile,
        Comms can help ya with your family. Ham has your answer if you can get the “kids” to do their part. Without comms, you’re left with hoping and wondering. With comms, ya might be able to help or at least know. When I explained this to the wife, she was enthusiastically in favor of ham. Amazing what influence ‘MOM’ has on grown children. They all did their part, eventually.

  7. This is the one prep topic that keeps me up at night and just short of building a dormitory, we have set up contingency plans to accommodate as many people as possible. One room upstairs in the barn is filled with mattresses (after family upgrades). Utility sheds that currently hold ATVs and mowers will be converted to rustic cabins. We’ve kept all our older RVs for shelters. Even the granddaughter’s tree house can be used. Sanitation is still my greatest concern.
    We know the core people that will be coming and understand that there will be some interesting dynamics (there already is) that may be intensified in a stressful environment. Throw in a few “unvetted” personalities and things could get interesting. Fortunately, we have some strong leaders and many level heads in the family.
    I love having friends and family visit, but honestly, I really wonder how I will react when I have to share my home for an indefinite period of time. Will I become territorial of my personal space? Will I give up enough? Will I give up too much? Will I feel guilty that I have my own bedroom while someone is in a sleeping bag on a mattress on the floor of a shed?
    For decades we have felt prompted to prepare; thanking God for the means and opportunity to get a lot accomplished, and praying that we will never have to use the preps for anything other than day to day living.
    I think we’re ready…kinda…I hope.

    1. AZoffgrid similar thoughts from here built a 5’ high horse wire fence around the back side of the casa which is about 150’ by 150’ area (the entire ground area is rocked with 1/2 inch crushed rock (no maintenance) with two 16’ access gates. The idea is erect four 10 x 17 all season tents (which I have) with all needed accessories including a central shower and toilet. My 24’ camper also resides in this enclosed area. This keeps the casa as my private space and gives the extended pre screened people basics, but they have to supply their own food and misc items. Safety in numbers and it looks like a small army camp (deliberate opsec plan) which should make any perps think twice before taking it on. I can from my own experiences over my lifetime that providing something to people in a bad situation who have nothing will for most be greatly appreciated, if not well they won’t be here very long. The ideas of tents is that they are portable versus permanent structures and if the situation requires and ALLOWS time I will relocate to a retreat to the Nevada mountains/Outback the entire setup can be taken apart and moved on a 24’ flatbed trailer in a hour or so. Some of my plans mirrors ideas in James Rawles book the patriots. You can plan for everything until the reality of the situation dictates the what is. So the adage that works for me is this “better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it”.

  8. Often thought about, “what if” and the resulting possibly that I might NOT be alive to utilize my prepping efforts (supplies and structures) I have built three compounds/retreats in three states over the years and moved away for various reasons, but the efforts helped to land good income for those decades of effort. In the present and being a “realist” about my age, my current assets may in fact be for others as I am in my mid 70s and time has a way of forcing life’s reality upon you. Maybe the creators plan for me to supply and teach others that come later is in the plan, Change is constant…and the ‘winter is coming’ adage from the game of thrones series hits the nail squarely on the head of reality.

  9. I hope it never happens as it would be very difficult in dealing with entitled relatives. Ones who would be takers…

  10. Only one person said he’s coming to my place if it all falls apart.(smoker)
    I like him, a nice guy and all but he’s been a “house husband” the last, oh something like 15 years.
    Zero survival skills plus he might drag any of his 4 kids with and that wife that has mutual dislike going on with me.

    Beyond rude and expectant possibly dumping 6 eaters on me, that’s back when I only lived 60 miles from him.
    I think I moved far enough away when I headed north to avoid that problem, 200 miles.

    All my family is far better off than I am to a large extent, if they cannot provide for themselves it’s not my problem.
    I saved, went without, bought necessities when I could have gotten some very nice things.
    I have supplies, food, tools..

  11. I was really surprised recently when one of my sons told us that a friend of his plans on bugging out to our place if things go bad. I haven’t talked to this friend of his in years, just knew him a little when he was a teen. It really startled me, thinking, how many other acquaintances are planning the same thing? We can’t even afford to prep as much as I’d like for our family of 9. How are we supposed to handle a bunch of extras who haven’t even contributed? I guess, just because we have 9 acres a little ways out of town, they think they’d be safe. If it’s any kind of serious plan, they should be sending us supplies to store here and buy those pigs, feed and fencing we can’t afford. I’m sure they thought they were joking with my son, because they don’t believe it would ever be necessary.

  12. I have regular telephone discussions with a family member about prepping due to store shortages. I have a 2 bedroom condominium apartment unit which could house said family member in a true emergency (for a while, not permanently). As for the vagrants in the area who use illegal drugs, I do not want them near me. I am almost a senior citizen and put my safety first. My condo building is very senior centric and we have had tornadoes and storms which required an emergency response using generators, having the more mobile residents do grocery runs, etc. Neighbors came together guided by the condo board. There are shared values which makes it much, much easier. I never want to live in a building where it is taken over by the criminal element. I report all suspicious incidents to crime stoppers (and I do not want a financial reward – use the $ to educate youth). Our lives and well-being depend on it. Not since the 1960s and 1970s did I ever feel or live in a place that was so neighborly. This is a suburban condominium and is not in the downtown core but social problems invade the sleepy suburbs. I believe in housing geared towards specific demographics especially for older people as it makes them far less isolated. We have a large variety of ethnic groups but we are mostly over age 60. When I lived in a house in the 1980s to the early 2000s, I did not know my neighbors. People would drive home and open their garage remotely and the car would disappear.

  13. Reply to Condominium Lady: Greetings from the suburbs of Oregon. My wife and I live in the ‘burbs too and the one thing that seems to connect all of us neighbors is when we walk our dogs around the neighborhood. I wash my car out front and will bring in the garbage cans of my neighbors and clean debris from the street or curb. Of the 2 of us, I am the more social one willing to talk to neighbors where my wife would prefer to stay inside. In the past 12 years, the neighborhood is filling up with a 60/40 mix of older retired folks and young families with 2.5 kids. Weekends are louder and busy with the sounds of grandkids running up and down the street. We do not raise our own vegetables or livestock. Us older neighbors talk to each other and help each other out as we see fit. Not a lot of room to park campers or RV’s in our neighborhood. The biggest threat I saw to nice neighborhoods like this? People that buy houses as “investment – rental property” and rent to A-holes and “party-boyz” (or “party-girlz”) In my old state of Cali, We saw whole communities get trashed by this trend (ie. Cambria, CA.).
    I am not willing to move to a mountain top. I still like some aspects of living in the suburbs enough to stay where I am. Part of that is I still like to socialize with my neighbors. People cannot remember my name but they remember me as the owner of a nice springer spaniel.

  14. Being a senior and living in the country does lead to some isolation. T.H. and I have many talks regarding finding like minded people without “outing” outing ourselves. We tried living in a neighborhood six years ago and still have many friends back there. Long story short, when there was a chance of North Korea lounging a missile, we came back to small farm life. We have one close neighbor that is like minded and we enjoy their company. We are all busy, so actual socializing is somewhat limited. We all garden. Both can shoot and are ready.
    Our granddaughter and her finance are going to join us. This is a new development. I taught her to shoot years ago. The finance has a lot of skills for his age. This will be a help to us. We go to bed early, they do not. We will have extra eyes… Right now, I am trying to get ready to “outfit” two extra people. We were good to go for the two of us for a very extended period of time. Now, I have to work faster and smarter on a retirement income. We raised this girl and I could not live not knowing if she was o.k. My heart would probably break in two. We have other grandchildren, but I don’t think their families see anything coming. We try to tell them, but they remember when we warned them about Y-2K, so we cried wolf once already. Hopefully, they will hear enough from other sources. All the grandkids are pretty much grown with the youngest in high school. One is away at college, but not near here. We have a couple very capable friends that may or may not get here and some friends that are way off the radar. One is a retired seal, one three star general, but all the relationships in the world don’t help, if you’re M.A.G. is not down the road or better yet, next door.

  15. My fallout shelter is only large enough for at best a dozen people . I suppose because radiation affects little ones worse than older folks the shelter rules would be babies ,pregnant moms , and younger first . The basement would be filled too but older folks get last place . Unfortunately I’m the oldest old guy and would get the least protection and I built the dang thing ! If you don’t know about radiation the younger you are the harder and quicker it kills . Hence the youth must come first . Besides that us oldsters are used to suffering to protect the younger ones are we not ?

  16. My son lives 11 hours away but his in-laws are preppers so that’s where they’ll go. Spouses son lives 20+ hours away so he, wife and 7 kids will stay put. Our neighbors (closest one is 1/2 mile away) are all on the same page. Worst case we’ll go up into their subdivision with only one entrance and take care of business. We have lots to bring to the party even if we had to abandon our farm. They have a more defensible position.

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