There’s a lot of talk today about bugging out in the event of a crisis. It seems like everyone and his brother has a bug out bag and is making plans to head for the hills at the first sign of trouble… at least, it seems that way within the prepping community; I’m not so sure about the rest of the world.
There are times when it might become necessary to bug out of your home; especially if confronted by a natural disaster or severe violence. But that doesn’t mean that any and every disaster requires bugging out. In fact, I’d venture to say there are actually very few circumstances in which you’d be better off bugging out, rather than bugging in.
Let me explain.
Why Not Bug Out?
We have to start by realizing that there are different types of bug outs:
- Bugging out in a general evacuation – This generally means bugging out to a government shelter; not a great idea.
- Bugging out to a prepared survival retreat – This is the ideal; the proverbial “cabin in the woods.” Unfortunately, few can afford it.
- Bugging out to a rural location – This would require some preparation, scouting and preparing a location, but wouldn’t be as costly as a survival retreat.
- Bugging out into the wild – Let’s play mountain man and live off the land… if we can.
If you’re one of those small minority of preppers who has the money to build yourself a prepared survival retreat, then more power to you. You have what the rest of us dream for, someplace where you can be secure. In that case, I’d take just about any excuse to bug out, just to get away from the city and enjoy my cabin in the woods.
But those aren’t the people I’m really talking to. I’m talking to the rest of us; those who can’t afford that bug out retreat but are still contemplating bugging out. For us, there isn’t a stockpile of supplies waiting in our cabin. In fact, the only supplies we are likely to have are those we can carry on our backs. That’s not as attractive a picture.
You see, no matter how big or strong you are, you really can’t carry that many supplies on your back. So, you’re going to run out of food rather quickly, leaving you with the problem of feeding yourself from nature; not something that’s all that easy to do.
Many people think they’re going to take their car or truck on their bug out. I’m sure they will; but that doesn’t mean they’ll get all the way to their bug out location in that vehicle. There’s a good chance that the roads will turn into a parking lot, from all the people who don’t have their gas tanks full and their car’s properly maintained. In a general evacuation, you’re probably going to end up stuck in traffic. If that happens, your choices are to sit there and run out of gas, or head out on foot.
Why Stay Home?
Let’s take a look at the flip side of the coin; a disaster happens and you decide to stay home, rather than bugging out into the wild. What happens then?
First of all, by staying home, you have access to just about everything you own.
You have shelter, tools and whatever supplies you have stockpiled in your home. In other words, while it may not be perfect, you have a survival retreat right there in your home.
Your chances of survival will be much greater, surrounded by your home, tools, equipment and supplies, than they will be just about anywhere else. So, unless you really have to bug out, you’re probably a whole lot better off staying home and bugging in.
There’s another major advantage of staying home, as well.
That’s the advantage of emotional comfort. Dealing with a disaster is bad enough, without being uprooted from your home. Being able to weather the storm from the comfort of your own home is much easier, emotionally speaking, than being thrust into a new situation and a new location all at once. Your family will have an easier time staying home than bugging out.
Of course, there are some times when you absolutely have to bug out. When Hurricane Katrina was heading for New Orleans, there really wasn’t any other choice. Those who tried bugging in ended up being rescued from the rooftops, or ended up dying in the storm. You’ve got to know when it’s time to go.
So, if you’re going to bug in, then you need to make the appropriate plans for it and make sure your home is as ready as possible for it. Build your stockpile, find a way to get water and put in some alternative electrical power. At the same time, build your bug out bags, make your plans and be ready to go, if the circumstances warrant it.
Whichever situation you find yourself in it’s important that you have enough food and water available to keep your family.