Real-World Bugging Out and Bug Out Locations

I’d like to address some misconceptions regarding a topic that, while very often talked about but rarely needed to be put to practice, it involves an extreme kind of worst case scenario where we basically lose our home, permanently or for a given period of time. This can be very challenging, and unfortunately it happens more often than we’d think so its important to get real bugging out right.

First, you need to understand what bugging out means, separate fantasy from reality. People that have bugged out for real they do it because there’s no other option left. The default reaction to disasters isn’t to run to the hills, or your house in the woods, or your house in Poland. The default reaction is to stay put. That’s what most official broadcasts recommend in times of crisis and it is in fact the most sound advice unless evacuation orders are specifically enforced. This means that you bug out when staying is no longer an option, not because you don’t like the current president or because Mc Donalds just ran out of chicken nuggets. Your house is burning down, got destroyed by a quake and you barely made it out alive, a wildfire will be destroying your house in a matter of minutes, or a flood. Forces have invaded or you just killed a bunch of would-be home invaders and now the family of those you killed is after you. All of these actually happen and they are the kind of situation that forces you out of your house.

Second, you just can’t already live in a bug out location. This is key, and a common fail of understanding the concept of what bug out location means. Ask all those survivalists living in their Bug Out Locations in Oregon what did they do when the wildfires destroyed their BOL. Did they have to bug out of their bug out locations then? Point is, if youre already living in it, it becomes you place of residence and you need to figure out another BOL.

Bugging out and having a bug out location is not about buying property (doesnt have to be) and its not about having fancy 4×4 vehicles. In fact for bugging out reliability and fuel efficiency are by far more important than off road capability, even if some off road capability can be an asset sometimes and even essential in certain extreme terrains. For 99.9999% of the population though, you just need a car that runs and hopefully balances well load capacity with how many miles it covers per gallon.

As for bug out locations. If you have several properties chances are you are renting them, therefore not immediately available. Its nice to have a holyday home or cabin in the woods to go during weekends to change the scenery, and it can be a valuable asset in specific scenarios, but this doesn’t mean buying a second house is the only way to go. In fact its not even the most practical one. Having friends or family that can take you in during a time of need, making plans with like-minded people and setting mutual support agreements isnt nearly as expensive.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.


Real-World Bugging Out and Bug Out Locations — 2 Comments

  1. >> The default reaction to disasters isn’t to run to the hills, or your house in the woods, or your house in Poland. The default reaction is to stay put. That’s what most official broadcasts recommend in times of crisis and it is in fact the most sound advice unless evacuation orders are specifically enforced… <<

    No, the default reaction is not to bugout but the default is not to bug in either… the default position of a prepper is to soberly think about the situation and its likely resolutions. No one from the government "officially" recommended bugging out before the Germans issued mandatory evacuation orders and forced jews, gypsies, and others to bug out… to concentration camps. Those Jews who bugged out early– not by default but because as thinking persons they were unwilling to risk their lives and their childrens lives on their new chancelor–survived!

    Getting out minutes before a fire engulfs your home, strictly speaking, shows bad preparation, because its not enough to get out of your house you also want to survive the trip elsewhere and cutting you departure close can cost you your life. Waiting on "official" evacuation orders or until the last minute can cost you your life if you get caught in traffic and a tornado, blizard, tsunami, etc hit. Being prepared is about thinking ahead and if you have enough foresight you see the writing on the wall you may also see that large crowds of people, when panicked, can be just as dangerous as the actual situation that causes you to bug out. Having worked crowd control for special events with up to five million people in the past I can tell you crowds can be great fun, but they also make me very anxious. How many car accidents does it take along an evacuation route before the route becomes impassible, the natives restless, and bugging out a death trap. How soft of a target would a highway during an evac make for a terrorist? Sure if we are talking about a hurricane like Katrina, usually the "official" evac order gives you enough time to get out but there are many situations I can think of where official orders may be too late or even intentionally delayed. I live in an area with many wealthy very connected people… people who often have security details from various agencies. I don't think it an impossiblity that their evac might be considered more important than mine by the powers at be, and those "official orders" might be delayed until they have escaped. Disasters such as a nuclear incident at the plant down the road from me where the two evacuation routes provide up to a million people six lanes of travel that lead right by the plant before providing a route to safety would be a death trap if I waited till official notification. In fact, I have already thought through what I would do in that scenario and by the time official evacuation orders are issue I judge it too late to drive or walk to safety–I am flying or boating. My point is simply this all situations are fundamentally different and there can be no default position for a prepper except an awake situationally aware mind.

  2. This has to be the absolute best description, short and precise, to what
    bugging out is all about. And the absolute best reasons for not doing so.

    Thousands of trees have been sacrificed on the subject, appeals to move
    or relocate, away from family or friends or work, without any good reason
    for doing so. Disasters can happen anywhere. Life works that way.

    Stay where you are, maintain your preparedness and build a community for
    each others assistance even if it starts with only one person. And leave only
    when there “is no longer any option” and become the refuge you would prefer not
    to be and hope for the best.

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