Skip to comments.Bugging Out vs. Hunkering Down
Posted on 01/19/2013 3:23:13 PM PST by blam
Bugging Out vs. Hunkering Down
January 19th, 2013
The Survivalist Blog
This article has been contributed by M.D. Creekmore of The Survivalist Blog.
The very idea of leaving the security of your home to bug out to the woods has never sat well with me In nearly every instance its better to hunker down or bug in than to bug out. I mean, why leave the safety and familiar surroundings of your home, for the open and unforgiving wilderness.
For many people this is their first line of preparation against disaster, unfortunately, most will end up joining the multitude of other refugees freezing in a cave and eventually end up dead or wards of whatever government is still functioning.
I live in a fairly safe area and have prepared to survive at home and can conceive of only a few scenarios that would force me to leave. Even then, I would go to an out-of-state relatives house with whom, I have a pre-arranged agreement, where if need be he can come to my place or I to his after a disaster.
I know what youre thinking what about an end of the world as we know it type event, well if such an event were to take place, there would be no 100% safe place for most of us, and really do you think you would be better of making a go of it in the open wilderness as opposed to hunkering down at home.
Dont get me wrong, Im not saying we should never bug out to the wilderness; we should indeed keep all our options open, what I am saying is that there are better ways to survive most disasters than heading into the bush.
You need to weigh the risks of bugging out vs. hunkering down and make your final decision based on logic and type of threat. Thats the way decisions should be made, unfortunately many people when making plans for survival side with emotion (that emotion being to run and hide) instead of the more tried and true form of decision-making known as logic.
Relying on emotion instead of logic can make for some interesting adventures; however without sound planning beforehand those adventures are likely to be sort lived. For example, I recently asked a fellow in his late 30s what he would do if disaster struck his area.
He thought for a moment and said he would gather his family and all the food, guns and ammunition he could find and head for the mountains that lay some seventy-five miles to the north of his home.
Depending on the type of disaster, his plan might work short term for a lone survivor or a small group of individuals in good physical condition with proper gear and mind-set. But he is a new father and his wife is one of those that think missing an appointment at the nail-salon is the end of the world as she knows it.
Making matters worse he has no outdoor survival training or skills other than watching reruns of Less Strouds Survivorman and camping at a national park campground with all the utilities and hookups. Why he thinks he can survive off the wilderness while dragging his family along, I dont know. He isnt thinking logically.
His decision was based on emotion and as a result if he ever has to put his plan to the test in the real world his family will likely suffer or die because of his decision and Red Dawn thinking. Unfortunately, this batman in the boondocks mentality is and will continue to be the chosen survival plan for many who havent thought it through.
When making survival plans for your family you have to honestly weigh the risks of your decision based on logic. In almost every disaster scenario, it is better to stay put (bugging in) or head to a pre-arranged safe place at an out-of-town relatives or friends house than it is to head to the woods to eat twigs and pine bark.
For most people an evacuation bag is a better choice than a bug out bag. An evacuation bag should contain the gear necessary to get you from point A to point B, whereas a bug out bag (in most cases) is geared more toward wilderness survival. I have both, but admittedly my bug out bag is an option of last resort.
Knowing when to go is much more important than the contents of your survival pack or even where you will go. You dont want to jump and run before you need too, but you dont want to wait too long or you may never reach your destination.
If you wait for the authorities to give the order to evacuate it may already be too late. The roads leading to safety could be blocked and impassable by motor vehicle and walking to your destination may be impossible or too dangerous to attempt.
On the other hand if you jump and run in response to every potential disaster youll soon deplete your resources and the patience of your family, school and employers.For example, say you live in an area prone to tornadoes like Texas and you evacuate to Arkansas every time the clouds turn dark or the wind shakes the leaves. You would literally stay on the road. But waiting until the twister is at your door will put you at an unnecessary risk.
There are no easy answers; all you can do is weigh the dangers of bugging out vs. hunkering down depending on the situation and logic. You have to consider the nature of the threat and ask yourself which gives the best chance of survival with regards to the type of disaster you are facing.
Then, there are times when evacuation is a no brainer, say you live on the Florida coast and a category 5 hurricane has been predicted to hit that coast within twenty-four hours, in that case you would be stupid not to go now, even if you have no prearranged bug out location
On the other hand lets say there is snow storm heading your way and you have food, water, heat and a way to cook even if the power goes out for an extended amount of time then you are probably better off to hunker down where you are.
In my opinion the bugging out vs. hunkering down debate is moot because it all comes down to the type of threat, your personal situation and preparedness level in the end youll have to make that decision based on that knowledge and common sense.
A Wal-Mart store might be a good bug-in place if a person were well enough “prepared”.
You want to do whatever puts the most distance between you and the cops.
to me, bugging-out means getting away from the population centers and get to your bug-in prepared location
Dear Lord, it sucks, though. A lot.
I'd rather be home with my tools, my stuff, my neighbors, etc...
If a tornado flattens the house, I'll put up a tarp and still stay here and go through the remains to rebuild.
Well, if that’s the case, my son is dead. Hell, I’m dead. And so is my mother.
May as well pack it all in now.
In a government-controlled disaster, the highways will be closed and guarded, while media messages will all be “stay calm and stay at home”.
A great propaganda film is “Our Cities Must Fight”, although it’s a 60’s film, it shows the current policy of keeping roads clear for emergency responders. That means National Guard at intersections and entrance ramps. It’s on archive.org
If you are going to bug out, you are going to have to do it well before the hurricane (easy) or tornado (not so easy) or chlorine tank rupture.
Another good strange video is “Shelter in place”, designed for folk who live near chemical weapons repositories.
How is that different than the SOP?
Do not bug out unless you have a retreat to go to. You will just die out in the woods.
My plan was always to hunker-down. If I need to bug-out, it’ll be to my dad’s. He’s close, but remote enough to be unbothered, and he has the woodstove and plenty of land for gardening, plus beef cattle. We’ve talked about it in a what-if sort of way, but it’s funny that even though he doesn’t buy into the prepper thing and doomsday scenarios, he’s certainly more prepared than I am.
It wasn’t mentioned as the SOP in the article. It needs to be said for those who are young and/or still learning.
I've always "Hunkered Down", but the day isn't over.
"Bugging Out" might be a viable option.
This sounds smart, but I'm not sure about the naked part. Seems kind of vulnerable.
And study your maps for alternate routes, like dust road alternatives.
Be sure to have the routes planned in place for whichever direction the bad stuff is coming from.
Me too. I've told the wife that whatever disaster strikes the home - even fire - there are still going to be things we can salvage from the wreckage to survive. And I think we'd do better in familiar surroundings.
In a city during a total collapse, some of a prepper’s neighbors would thin themselves out by moving to join family or by moving to government camps.
A prepper would have his own supplies, plus be able to supplement them with whatever the government distributes, also, there is just incredible amounts of salvageable goods and materials in a city, and in abandoned homes, for instance I have access to filthy water, and with a few boards, some caulking, and a couple of window panes and some pvc pipe, I would have all of the pure water I need from my permanent solar stills.
Depending on the lay of the land, and slope, and where the manhole covers are, I might even have a flush toilet.
Fruit trees are abundant, car batteries, rummaged batteries and bullets, all kinds of goodies are in city dwellings and abandoned second cars, depending on how road warrior things got.
I like the idea of being in my regular living space, that is one reason that I am prepared. Those who can afford retreats or who live on one already, well, that is also their home.
Ideally I would have a special fort in the woods somewhere, but in real life I’m fine where I am, something that everyone (rural and city) needs to consider though, is how vulnerable are they to out of control fires if the system breaks down?
Washington, DC, East of the Anacostia? :-)
I view a SHTF situation not as a catastrophe but rather as a reset. Most preppers along with many conservatives with just a basic work ethic will survive. However, the government dependency crowd will be gone in a month and the FEDS will not lift a finger to protect them. They want them gone as well(but would never say it publicly).
You will not find people who will welcome you or share their food with you. You will be made to keep moving with the rest of the refugees by what ever local law enforcement still exists. They do not want you to stay they will push you through their area so you become someone else’s problem. The folks who live out in the country will be forted up, dug in, and well prepared for hungry and thirsty thieves.
Living off the land is not going to happen, period. As stated in other places here it will be survival of the fittest, the meanest, and the one that will pull the trigger first.
In the western states most of the deer and elk herds migrate seasonally so if you are going to depend on them for food you are going to have to know where they are and how to get to them. Their migrations range from 60 to 100 miles twice a year. Good luck with that.
Prepare, fort up, keep you head down, your mouth shut and stay home. Do not tell everyone you know how prepared you are or they will be knocking down your door when they get hungry. One thing that everyone needs to understand is that you will have only what you are willing to protect so make up your mind that your safety and ability to survive are your responsibility. Even if you do all of theses things there are no guarantees that you will make it through all the crap but you stand a lot better chance of staying alive and protecting your family.