What Is Bugging Out?
The term “bug out” originated in the military, meaning to leave a position quickly. Bugging out is the only option when the position is about to be overrun or become indefensible. Preppers use the term bug out to mean leaving home in a disaster scenario to a safe place elsewhere. This could be an emergency just affecting the home, such as a burst pipe or heating failure. It could also be a larger scale disaster affecting the area, such as flooding.
A bug out bag is a back pack containing survival kit, ready to grab and go at a moments notice. Prepare your own bug out bag so that you are ready should a situation arise that requires leaving home quickly.
Why Bug Out?
The main reason to bug out would be if your home or area becomes unsafe during a disaster or emergency situation. Only consider bugging out if you know that your current location is unsafe and you can get to somewhere safer. For example, if the area you live is likely to be affected by severe floods, it would be safer to go somewhere else before the floods arrive. In this scenario, it would be dangerous to be caught by the floods while bugging out, so make sure you plan and act early enough. Bugging out at the last minute might be more dangerous than sheltering in place.
In the majority of disaster scenarios, it is safer to shelter in place instead of bug out. If your home can protect you from the disaster, use its protection. Don’t put yourself in danger by bugging out and potentially being caught up by a disaster scenario without shelter. Take a look at our article about bugging out vs. staying in place for more information.
Where To Bug Out To
Once you’ve decided that you are definitely going to bug out, you need to know exactly where to go to be safe. Many preppers have kit prepared for bugging out, but never actually consider where they would go. Planning what to do in a variety of possible scenarios is just as important as preparing the kit to help you survive.
For a small scale emergency that affects just the one home or a small area, finding a safe place to go and some temporary accommodation to will not be difficult.
For a larger scale disaster or an apocalyptic scenario, bugging out could become extremely difficult. In this situation, there will be many people trying to evacuate to a safe place. Most of those people will not be very well prepared, and may see prepared people as a target. Identify a location for bugging out that is unlikely to be targeted by large numbers of people.
Your bug out location should not be so far away that it takes you days to reach it. There should be ways to easily make shelter at your bug out location. It should have a suitable water supply, and a way to obtain food. This could be a combination of using stored food, foraging and growing food.
Bug Out Vehicle Vs. Bugging Out On Foot
Many preppers plan bugging out using a vehicle. A capable off-road vehicle prepared with survival kit and camping gear would be ideal for bugging out. You could use the vehicle to bug out to a wilderness location. You could also use the vehicle as a base at your bug out location.
This would be great if you already live in a fairly remote area. You could use the vehicle to get away from your home into a safe wilderness area. It would be impractical to use a bug out vehicle in many serious disaster and apocalyptic scenarios. In a major disaster scenario, it is highly likely that roads will be jammed with traffic or unpassable. An obviously well prepared and well stocked vehicle would also become a very obvious target in an apocalyptic scenario.
Being Prepared: Bug Out Bag
For some great ideas for what to include in your bug out bag, take a look at our article on preparing your own bug out bag.