Is Bugging Out Really Your Best Option?

Posted on: February 17, 2014

Bugging out seems to be the plan of choice for the majority of preppers and survivalists. A Google search of the term “bug out bag” has well over a million hits. “Sheltering in place,” on the other hand, has less than 80K hits.

Why is bugging out so darn popular of an idea or plan? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — bugging out should be your LAST option, not your primary plan.

I know, this seemingly flies in the face of standard prepper thought but bear with me a second and allow me to make my case.

For the average person, survival means stockpiling at least a certain amount of supplies and gear. I’m not talking about you ex-SEALS or Greenie Beanies who have been trained to be able to eat things that would make a billy goat puke (bonus points for those of you who catch that movie reference). Heading for the hills with nothing more than what you can carry in a small pack might be a workable plan for those folks. But, for the average Joe or Jane, who might at best have some limited experience camping in an RV, bugging out probably won’t end well.

Many preppers have been at this for years at this point. They’ve amassed food, water, and other supplies to meet their needs for months, maybe years. Given that most of us can’t afford to purchase and outfit a separate retreat, all that stuff is probably at home. Yet, you’re going to leave it all there, at a moment’s notice and without a second thought? I just don’t understand that thought process.

Yes, you should have a plan in place for evacuation, just in case. Unless your crystal ball is working much better than mine, you have no realistic way to know ahead of time what disaster(s) might befall you in the weeks, months, or years to come. It is just part of prepping common sense to plan for the possibility that your home may become untenable at some point.

But, again, that is just one possibility to plan for. Your primary plan should be to shelter in place until a time comes that staying home isn’t workable anymore.

I mean, let’s look at just a couple of commonly proposed major disaster scenarios.

Pandemic — why in the world would you want to be out and about during a time like that? You’re far better off hunkering down and avoiding other people. I know, I know, some of you are thinking that if you headed for the wilderness, you’d probably be better able to avoid contact with possibly infected people. You’re right, to a degree. However, you’re also exposed to many other threats for which you’d probably end up being ill-equipped to handle, such as severe weather and even loneliness.

EMP — if an electromagnetic pulse were to hit (whether as the result of a solar flare or something man-made), commonly accepted thought indicates we’d be forced back into the dark ages. Technology becomes, for all intents and purposes, useless. How do you figure you’ll have a leg up on the competition by hitting the road on foot or even bike or horseback? How is that advantageous? Given the years it would likely take to get society back on its feet, how long do you figure you can hide out in the brush? (If your answer is “As long as it takes,” take your macho bullshit elsewhere as the grown ups are talking right now.)

Look, I realize sheltering in place isn’t nearly as “sexy” as the thought of bugging out. I get that, I really do. But, y’know what? If actual survival means not being as cool and hip as the other survivalists, I’m ok with that.

1 thought on “Is Bugging Out Really Your Best Option?

  1. Thanks for writing this. It’s long been a mystery to me why so many folks seem as anxious as they do to hit the road and start wandering at the first sign of trouble. Sure, there may be an event that might cause that to be a necessity, but things would have to be absolutely dire for me to subject my family to additional hardships and vulnerabilities of being on the move. That’s a last ditch solution. Much better to be in my own home, with my own stuff and sleeping in my own bed. But, we’ll have a bug-out plan just in case. With a couple of definite destinations……just in case.

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