Where Can I Bug Out?
How you answer this question will greatly influence your preparations. If it's a tornado,
hurricane or other short-term disturbance, your home (assuming it's still where you left it) may still be intact
and usable. Power may be an issue.
Two questions you must answer: 1. Do you have a safe place to go to live, in case you have to
abandon your home for whatever reason, and 2. Have you made preparations for that scenario?
Do not become a refugee. I have worked in many disasters, created and staffed refugee camps,
given food, clothing, bedding and medical care to countless refugees. Trust me, you don't want to be a refugee. So
decide now to take whatever steps you need to remain empowered and in control, even if you lose your home, vehicle
Your bug out Plan A must include a place where you can live in relative safety, until the
danger or crisis has passed. If, for whatever reason, that place (or plan) is no longer an option, have a Plan B,
another safe shelter. Some people may actually have more than one safe shelter available, but many of us don't, so
Plan B might be camping until more permanent arrangements can be made.
Prepare a survival retreat. Give this plan serious
consideration. If you believe that, sooner or later, things will fall apart to the point where you and your family
will not be safe to remain in your home or city, one option is to prepare a survival retreat in a place
you believe will be safer. But you may need a survival retreat for other reasons: your home may be destroyed by a
hurricane, fire, flood or other disaster, or the bank may take it. A survival retreat is where you go when you
can't stay at or return home, and it may be for three days or six months or for years.
This is a major undertaking, buying or building a second (smaller) home, and to help you think about what this
involves, I have another web site at www.SurvivalRetreatPlans.com.
Consider making this a community project, rather than just a family affair. Several families
working together have far more options (like 24/7 security) than a single family, IF they can all work together -
that's a big if.
Since the topic of a survival retreat is covered in detail at my other web site, let's focus on the decision of whether or not to make one.
Will I really have to leave my home? Could it get that bad? Will there be gangs of looters
breaking into homes? Could the power grid go down and stay down? No electricity means no water or lights or
refrigeration, phones, Internet, stores can't sell anything... I'm not predicting anything, but recent history
indicates that a grid-down can last for weeks.
Picture the worst scenario that you believe is possible and likely, got a clear picture? Now,
what is it like in your neighborhood? Scary? Is it a situation you believe you and your family could adjust with
and survive in? Or is the thought of staying there too unpleasant?
If you're worst likely scenario doesn't scare you, then perhaps you will manage to stay in your
home. But if you think that trying to survive in your neighborhood will be a nightmare, seriously consider another
safer shelter in your Plan A. That means that Plan A is a bugout. It also means that Plan B is a bugout, but
to another location, should Plan A fail.
Do you have a good friend or relative with an off-grid cabin in a remote location? If so, this
would be a good time to discuss the possibility of you taking shelter there, if the need arises. Consider making
any modifications and fortifications you think appropriate ASAP, and pre-position food and gear there. If you and
your family do have to bug out, you will be glad to have a secure, well-stocked shelter to welcome you.
Let's say you don't have a friend with a cabin as an option. Is it within your capacity to
create your own survival retreat, if you start now? Before you answer yes or no, let me tell you a bit about my
decision to create a survival retreat.
I bought 20 acres in the desert on eBay, with the idea to make a retreat cabin, teach classes
there... an educational and recreational project. It has evolved into a sustainable, off-grid cabin to showcase
technologies I consider solutions to our global dependence on oil: solar heating, solar hot water, underground
air-conditioning, rainwater harvesting and a gravity-powered water system, solar electricity, and so on.
I began construction at age 60, I'm 66 and its progressing well (see SurvivalRetreatPlans.com). I have no access road, so I carry everything
in on my back 1 mile, uphill, walking in a sandy wash.
This is not a pat on the back. It's a reality check for you to consider what you might be
undertaking. Most people my age should not attempt what I'm doing, because they are in poor physical condition.
Most men 25 shouldn't attempt it either, for the same reason. Age is not the issue. Don't assume that you can do
what I'm doing, but don't assume you can't. Make a realistic assessment of your physical, mental and financial
conditions. Get help if you can, it's a lot to take on alone, as I'm doing. Get land with an access road, you can
block it later.
If you conclude that your best course of action is to create a survival retreat, spend some time at my other
web site, get some useful books and get in shape!
Location, location, location! Where to make a survival retreat? The most serious threat to your
survival will probably be people, people with guns. If a lot of people have to escape a big city to find food and
water, they will probably take major highways and other roads towards places they believe they can find (or take)
what they need. Small towns along these 'escape routes' will be inundated with hungry, thirsty and possibly
desperate visitors. You don't want to be anywhere along these routes, so take out a map and mark them with
a highlighter. Find land elsewhere, far away.
Another possible scenario is where cities and towns are sealed off, no travel in or out, and main roads
have checkpoints and searches. This would be a government-organized event, possibly in response to a viral outbreak
or terrorist attack (faked or real) which may also have been planned. House-to-house searches for firearms, food
and other supplies could be carried out. It would probably involve the military, National Guard. FEMA (camps),
fusion centers (look that up online for a shock!), maybe foreign troops, you name it. Goal: hard to say, but
possibly a take-over of the country by banks and other powerful elites. FEMA (concentration) camps would take care
of dissidents and others opposing the takeover. Many could disappear without a trace, no trial or due process -
I chose the desert, because it is unlikely that people will come here looking for food and
water. Of course, manifesting food and water in the desert requires skill. If this interests you, see my other web
site. See also InstantOrganicFarm.com for info on food growing on poor soil.
For locations in the US where you might be able to hide, check out the book Bug Out. Most of the
book is a series of reviews of the many parks and natural land resources in each state where the author has camped
and/or believes could be good bugout territory. Strategic Relocation by Joel Skousen takes this further,
with discussions of military bases, nuclear targets, economy, local self-sufficiency and more. Facilities will be
absent or sparse, so assume you will have to manage everything - food, shelter, etc. - for yourself. Water, if
present, will probably have to be treated or filtered. We're talking wilderness skills here, so if that's your idea
of a bugout style, these books are good resources. Books by Cody Lundin and others (SAS handbook, Back to
Basics by Readers Digest) on wilderness skills would also be useful, if you opt to rough it in the bush.
However, be realistic about how well you could survive there and for how long. When the food you carried in is used
up, can you really feed yourself? People who consider themselves trained in survival who camped for a month in the
bush have had difficulty finding enough to eat every day. You can trap and shoot animals (maybe) and catch fish (if
present), but do you consider that a balanced diet? Can you, or do you want to live as a carnivore? How long could
you do that? How long before you have hunted and fished yourself out of a food supply? Others may share your area
and might be doing the same thing. Hunter-gatherers have historically been forced to move from place to place, to
allow local resources to regenerate.
If you choose to create a survival retreat, look for land with these features:
1. South-facing slope is best. Next best is southwest-facing, as it gets sunlight in the afternoon when it's
warmer. Southeast-facing is next, and east-facing and west facing follow in that order. North-facing is cold and to
be avoided. A gentle slope drains better than flat and aids rainwater collection. Avoid totally flat, slow-draining
land, caliche, hardpan, clay, rock and eroded soils.
2. Soil fertility would be nice, and good soil depth for growing food. In difficult places, you can create soil,
but it's a lot of work. Weeds will often tell you what kind of soil you have, and what your soil lacks. If you can
dig a hole two feet deep with a shovel without much effort, you probably have a good soil base, but it might be
subsoil, lacking in humus.
3. Water - a spring is a dream come true and probably unrealistic, creeks, streams and so on would be ideal. If
the area gets good rainfall, rainwater collection and storage is possible. Wells are, or could become, unreliable
sources, as water tables drop. Water is necessary for life, so consider a backup source, regardless what your main
source is. Check the groundwater for mineral content. If it's too high, it could be a health issue, and too much
mineral content will harm plants and soil health.
4. Security - Aim for land that can't be seen from any existing road. If they can't see you, they probably won't
bother you. Next aim for lots of bushes and trees that could hide your location from view. Hilltops may have a
commanding view of the surroundings, but they can also be seen from those surroundings. A hillside well below a
ridge and close to the floor or valley would be better.
5. Neighbors - Either none, if you are hiding in a remote place, or, in case you opt to join a small town or
village, near enough to come to your aid. Choose an agrarian (farming) based area with a self-sufficient tradition.
The community may become a source of support, for barter and security.
6. Animals - Consider large, dangerous animals a security issue, especially if you have small children. Bears,
mountain lions, wolves, alligators and the like don't contribute to your safety, however they might keep intruders
away. Your call.
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