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Bugging In vs. Bugging Out

(Moving to a safer location vs. hunkering down in your home/apartment)

Bugging In

Bugging in or staying home and sheltering in place will be optimal in most situations.  At home, you have the comforts of shelter, your preparations, food, water and (probably) running water and electricity; depending on the emergency.  Your homestead should be your primary means of survival.  You’ve spent the easy times preparing for the hard.  You’ve stored 3 weeks of food and water (minimum), you have clothing, a bed, 4 walls and a roof.  You’ve also acquired tarps, boards, nails, screws, security cameras, motion detectors/lights, firearms, and flashlights for your home, you’ve  devised a plan with your family for cooking, sleeping and security.


Bugging in will be your most rational option in 95% of situations you may face in your lifetime.  Bugging in can last for a day, a week or a month or longer. 

Bugging in takes planning.  FEMA currently advises that households have 3 weeks of food and water on hand, stored for emergency.  A person needs 1 gallon a day of water.  Do you have the proper food stored in your home and a way to cook if the power, gas and water were out?  Think about starting a “working pantry”.  This will allow you to have double, triple or quadruple the food and supplies you have on hand in your home.  Think of it as a grocery store within your home.  Out of sugar in your main cabinet?  No problem, go shopping in your working pantry.  The next trip to the grocery store, you restock you working panty with what you’ve depleted.  Creating a working pantry is very easy, start with one month of food and water.  Eat 5 cans a soup a month; have 5 extra cans in your pantry.  Go through 4 lbs. of rice a month; have 4 extra pounds in your pantry.  Do you eat a protein bar every day?  Have 30 extra protein bars in your working pantry.

Bugging in also requires one to be as self-sufficient as possible.  Think of situations without running water, heat, air conditioning, electricity, cell service, no cable/tv, no way to recharge your equipment.  What if the toilet will no longer flush?  Start thinking about portable stoves, BBQ’s, solar energy/panels, radio communication, portable heat sources like propane heaters, power banks that can be pre-charged for emergencies, having enough OTC and prescription medicine on hand and portable toilets.  Pretend the grocery store is closed/looted, 911 isn’t answering, your gas, water and electric are off and you have no information about what is going on and how long it will last.  Prepping for any situation mitigates stress, anxiety and reliance on others in an emergency setting.

Topics to Discuss About Bugging In:

1.  Water                                       7.  Gas/Fuel sources

2.  Food                                        8.  Entertainment

3.  Electricity                               9.  Your Neighbors

4.  Water Gathering                  10.  OBSEC  (Observational Security)

5.  Security & Firearms             11.  “Grey Man”

6.  Toilet/Sanitation                  12.  When it’s time to “Bug out”.

Bugging Out

Bugging out means that leaving your home is now a safer option than staying put.  You’ve calculated the risks and probabilities that staying home is no longer an option and hitting the road will provide a safer outcome for you and your family.  Bugging out is “worst-case scenario”, because you are now forced to abandon your home and preparations in search for a more secure location.  Bugging out could mean leaving your home for a very limited amount of time where a threat may quickly pass or a long-term situation.  So, let’s assume that you are NOT heading to a friend’s house, your summer home at the beach or getting in your car and having a leisurely drive to your rental cabin in the mountains.  If that were the case, bugging out would be called a road trip. 


Depending on the level of the emergency, bugging out may be a long-term or final departure from your home.  If it has come to this level of a threat, you are now in a Shit Hits the Fan (SHTF) scenario.  Also, if you do not have a plan of where you are bugging out to, it’s going to be much more difficult.  Creating a bug out plan now could grow your options as to where you travel when you leave your home.  What are your options for bugging out depending on the threat level?

Fantasy vs. Reality

Lots of people say they will head for the mountains or desert when they bug out.  Some also say they’ll get a boat and head out to sea.  If you live in a populated area, millions of people may have the same idea in mind.  But unless your Bear Grylls, Rambo or Jack Sparrow; you’re living in a fantasy land.  Most people cannot and will not survive “living off the land”.  When is the last time you farmed, hunted or had to turn sea water into drinkable water?  What about pitching a tent or building a fire while its pouring rain or snow.  What about simply walking 20 miles to get to your bug out location.  Bugging out is not going camping for the weekend; its survival at the cruelest level.




Fortunately, there are ways to prepare for bugging out.  Although it is going to be one of the most difficult endeavors of your life, we can alleviate some of those hardships now to be better prepared later.    These 5 steps will make bugging out easier when you are stressed and not thinking clearly during an emergency.

  1. Quickly gather as much supplies as you can carry in your vehicle (if not on foot).

  2. Grab your bug out bag.

  3. Rendezvous with your family, friends or others at a pre-determined meeting location.

  4. Take one of your (several) planned routs you have identified as the safest and quickest to your secondary location.

  5. Arrive safely in your pre-chosen spot identified by you and your party.

Notice there is nothing about your final destination.  Bugging out takes lots of planning, time, money and resources to make your travels safe and your destination secure.  Part of prepping is your gear and supplies.  The other parts are you mental and physical worth.  Gear without knowledge of the gear yields the gear worthless.  Knowledge without physical ability to work, will make the work harder to complete.  A well-rounded mind, body and tools will make you best prepared for any situation. 

Topics to Discuss About Bugging Out:

What is your plan, what is in your bag, how to disperse items between family members to carry, communication,  what disasters are most likely in your area, self-defense, food and water, self-awareness, threats, other items in your bugout bag (precious metals, family heirlooms etc) Greyman!

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