Bugging out is the subject of a lot of discussion amongst preppers, and is a major topic on many prepper websites. However the decision of whether to bug out or shelter in place does not get anywhere near as much coverage. Bugging out is a very serious undertaking with a lot of risks. You have shelter, supplies and security at home, but potentially none of that if you bug out.
For a lot of preppers, bugging out means disappearing into the wilderness while society collapses around them. Realistically, though, bugging out could mean many different things. For example, if your home is likely to be affected by serious flooding, it would be safer to bug out to somewhere safer before the floods. This doesn’t mean disappearing into the wilderness, but maybe just staying with a friend or in a hotel for a few days until danger has passed. For many disaster scenarios, bugging out would actually be a less favourable option than sheltering at home.
Knowing when to bug out and when to stay put is a very important part of prepping. Bugging out should only be considered when staying at home is impossible or dangerous and you have a bug out location that you know will be safer. Consider disaster scenarios that you are preparing for and decide if your planned bug out locations would really be safer than your home.
Why Shelter At Home And Not Bug Out
Bugging out could save your life, but it could also put you in serious danger if you get it wrong. As a prepper, you probably have plenty of supplies and equipment at home to survive a major disaster. Unless you have large caches stored at your bug out location, you probably won’t have much when you bug out.
At home you have shelter from the elements. If you bug out, you will have to cope with whatever weather conditions there are. Shelter is vital for survival, and although you can include tarp shelters or tents in your bug out bag, why not use your home for shelter?
Unless it has been destroyed or compromised during a disaster, your home also provides safety and security. You can prepare your home to be very secure and defensible, whereas you may become a target if bugging out carrying obvious supplies and equipment.
When To Bug Out
There are some situations where bugging out would be safer, or staying at home would be impossible. Bugging out in some scenarios may not always mean leaving the area to camp in the woods somewhere, it could be as simple as having to spend a night in a hotel or some other temporary accommodation if your home becomes temporarily unusable, because of a burst pipe for example.
Reasons to consider bugging out are:
- Home not usable
- Water leak
- Gas leak
- Property damage
- Area unsafe
- Home or area at risk of being overrun
- Bug out location reachable and known to be safer