Bug Out Location - Assessing Possible Locations for Short or Long-Term Survival


Choosing the best bug out location is often a difficult decision as you don't know what kind of disaster will strike. What you can rely on is that you will need to be out of the town or city as people will start to fight over food, water and territory and any engagement in these will drastically reduce your survival chances. 

However, just getting out of the city won't be enough as you can pick places that will help you prepare for the long term or ones that will do for a few days while you assess the situation.

Temporary Locations

A good temporary bug out site has three key features:

  • Proximity to your home - if your survival plan has you and your family camping out for a couple of days while you wait for news about the future, you need a bug out location that is close to your home. If you have a specific bug out vehicle, you can extend your range a little further, but for most people, somewhere that is walkable in half a day or so will be far enough to be out of the way of danger and close enough to access easily.
  • Flat ground - many people's first thoughts for a survival location will be the woods as they provide a natural windbreak and protection against attackers. However, you need to find somewhere that has flat, soft ground as you'll be camping out in tents. You'll want to be able to pitch the tents quickly and easily and often the ground underfoot in the woods is lumpy and full of rocks and tree roots. 
  • Unpopular - the chances are that if you've thought of somewhere nearby like a national park, other people will have had the same idea. In the long term, you will need to be near other people to trade and socialize with, but initially, everyone will be wary of other people so your temporary location should be somewhere that only you and your survival group know about to avoid any issues.

Long Term Bug Out Locations

If you're thinking more long term, or are planning to move to your permanent bug out location after a few days, you'll need to think about the following features when picking the best spot:

  • Water supply - at most, you'll be able to carry bottled water to last you a few days. Beyond that, you'll need to start using your water purification systems, and you can't rely on the weather to provide you with rain water. A spot close to a river will be your best bet as the movement of the water will keep it fresh and will provide homes for fish for food. However, a lake or a reservoir will also give you access to the water you'll need.
  • Food sources - over time, you should build up your supplies of canned and dried food, as well as emergency rations. However, if the disaster causes permanent damage to society, you'll need access to food sources such as wild game, nuts and vegetables. Be sure to check what grows naturally in your state so you can identify it when you're choosing your location. 
  • Permanent shelter - many people consider buying a pre-fabricated house for their long term bug out plans as these are easy to assemble in the middle of nowhere. If you have time and the skills, consider building your own log cabin to match your needs.

If you can, you should aim to have not one bug out location but a range of options for different survival scenarios. You don't necessarily have to stock each of them to the brim as you can simply increase the size of your bug out gear, giving you the flexibility to go to any location at any time. 

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