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Friday, March 2, 2012

Bugging Out? To Where?

Received comment/question on Bugging In/Buggin Out,……”UrbanMan.....I read your blog and several others, and bugging out is all good and well but what if you have no place to bug to??? Is there any history of someone bugging out to some rural location without knowing anyone or having any property there?? How likely will you be accepted in the area? I'm in SoCal (Southern California) and there really aren't too many places to bug to, with water being the biggest issue! Any suggestions?”

UrbanMan’s reply: As far as history of someone bugging out to a rural location, going blind into an area they do not know anyone nor own property,….I have no idea. I would assume there are several cases of people getting stranded and surviving for a short term until recovered. Or the example of criminals hiding out in rural or remote America . But the whole basis for surviving a collapse, and I mean a bonafide collapse where infrastructure including the food supply, monetary system and security mechanisms are highly degraded or totally gone, is planning......again the foundation for your survival is planning. 

Planning begets Preparation. More succintly, Planning identifies the Preparation you need and will help identify essential preps, implied preps and secondary preps. Preparation without planning will most likely be a hit and miss affair.

Planning starts with information. Much like the military developing the battlefield through use of all means of intelligence, the survivalist planner should as well,....
In your case, not having a location to Bug Out to, surely you could approach this problem by identify possible locations based on basic needs:

* A location that it is feasible for you to get to by vehicle and by foot if vehicle transit is no longer an options,.e.g..lack of fuel, threat picture, mechanical problems, etc.

* A location probably devoid of large population centers and not an attractive target for armed gangs.

* Offers cover and concealment, maybe ideally next to large parks or forests where contingency safety is available and possibly animals for food procurement.

* Full year round, natural water source. Running river and streams. ...and lakes possibly. May also offer the chance to procure fish for supplemental food.

My assumption is that you cannot just pick a remote area, totally devoid of population, unless you have the resources (time, money and capability) to prepare a site like this. Most long term survival is simply going to require access to other people,…their skills and resources,….think larger team effort.

From your location in Southern California,.....Northern Minnesota would not be a good choice. Unless you move there pre-collapse. But certainly there are areas on the CA-NV border, and in western and northern Nevada and Arizona that may work for you and be realistic to get to. The idea is to Bug Out before the situation gets bad enough to expotenially increase your safety and security concerns.

You could do some weekend trips to possible locations to scout them out, just like you would if you were moving there for a job. Maybe make contact with locals, use the cover story that you are thinking about re-locating there….get a feel for the population. You probably wouldn't want to move to, say, a high percentage Mormon area if you worship animal Gods,....nor to a Southern Baptist enclave if you are a Muslim.  

Making contact, and multiple contact on subsequent trips, with the locals would also serve to diminsh your standing as a stranger. During a collapse, small rural communities are going to see refugees to some degree and may not so inclined to accept strangers….especially when the density of strangers starts to change the dynamics of the community.

In fact, there is a movement towards rural living and not just from the survivalist perspective. Many people are re-locating to rural America , either through early retirement and life style downsizing or through having businesses such as inter based business where location does not inhibit it’s operation. A article just came out recently about some of the fastest growing rural areas:

Your visits to potential Bug Out locations serve also a route reconnaissance, developing alternative routes and noting danger spots such as choke points or terain that can be affected by bad weather.

If you find a location that you think you can Bug Out to, the next step is to procure maps such as available from US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management or many on-line sources. You should rehearse movement and routes to the site, and you may even do preps such as cache emplacement.

I have an acquaintance who lives outside of New York City. He and his wife head into the Adirondack Mountains on vacation to hike and just get away for awhile. They have went out of their way to make and keep contact with many of the locals as their plan is to re-locate (Bug Out) to there as they are becoming less and less strangers and more and more like friends of the locals. The hope to capitalize on this as well as use their Survival skills and resources to secure a place in that community.

Hope this gives you some thoughts. Good luck and prepare well.


  1. I worked with a woman who's husband's family owned a large ranch (8000 acres) and had rights to graze on an adjacent 10,000 acre BLM area. All of this is surrounded by a national forest in a very lightly populated area. I got permission to set up a hunting camp every year for elk hunting and I return the favor by working with them at various times of the year. The location of my little camp is on the edge of their property where it becomes quite hilly and treed and adjacent by 50 fewet or so to BLM land. After 7 years of familiarizing myself with the are I can now drive to within 1/2 a mile on BLM roads and don't actually have to cross their property to get there. I Have cached food and supplies on the BLM land about 1/2 mile from their property and about 3/4 of a mile from the end of the 4 wheel drive "track". I have a tent and small tent stove cached there as well. It is remote and difficult to get to unless you do cross their land and they are particularly agressive in protecting their property. In the event of SHTF and a unlikely and unwanted bugout I will go there. I feel confident my friendship will stay intact but if it does not at least I will be on public property. The hunting is only "fair" for anything other then elk and the elk generally are pretty hard to find until the snow forces them down lower where you can easily hunt them. It is not a "perfect" bugout location but it is adequate.

    Consider asking ranchers if you can hunt on or adjacent to their lands. Make yourself useful or offer to pay for the privilage. Do it even if you don't intend to hunt. Our week hunting/camping is pure fun and we generally explore a new area each season. I find an excuse to go up there a few weekends in the summer and it is a beautiful three season area. Admittedly winters are cold but that is pretty much what hunt week is like and it's bearable with the little stove going.

  2. Again having only the premise that we are bugging out to the unknown I think is out of line. I agree some one that does that is bound to fail. But the vast numbers that are going to bug out have places to go.
    But if you have a planned location well stocked, already set up do it right at the start of any problems not weeks later is a much different story.
    If you attend work again is something that we must think about., If the power grid or some other major problem I don’t see anyone other than a very few going to work. But if we are just looking at the safety of family members and a location that is safer and much easier to replace supply’s, if it is wood for heat and cooking or water for all the other needs a bug out from a city or suburban seems to me to be a no question.

  3. It is extremely unwise to "bug out" to an area unknown to you.
    You may wish to establish contacts somewhere and ask farmers or ranchers if you could work for them with animals in exchange for a safe place to stay.
    An increasing number of large tract owners may shoot those who trespass. Remember that in a dangerous situation, especially following a terrorist attack on the US that large landowners in particular may believe that ISIS may be attempting to infiltrate and use their location as a base. Be advised. Make your plans in advance and know the place you intend to go.

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