How To Bug Out

Without Getting Your Ass Killed

bug out by footYou waited to bug out until AFTER disaster struck, and here you are…stuck in a long line of other idiots who just sat around waiting for things to get better.

Your bug out vehicle is loaded to the gills with buckets upon buckets of freeze dried goodness, and you’re armed to the teeth and ready to defend all that stuff you spent thousands of dollars on…

And yet here you sit. Wedged nicely between minivans and yuppie eco-Priuses. Unless you’re the Hulk and can pick up your truck and walk on off into the wilderness with all your stuff – most of your preps have been for nothing.

A Guide on How To Bug Out

Thankfully, the shit hasn’t hit the proverbial fan quite yet, and you have time to evaluate your bug out plan and a wonderful blog about survival to get started.

Wait…you don’t have bug out plan?

Starting a Bug Out Plan

In a previous post we talked about having a basic emergency preparedness plan. It’s a great place to start gathering some basic things for your family, particularly if it’s likely you’re family is separated when a disaster scenario hits.

The next step is making that all important decision…should I stay or should I go? This post should help you figure out what situations will likely require a bug out, and what you can try to ride out at home.

Where will you go?

Long Term Survival HutUnless you’re caught very unprepared, your next step in your bug out plan has to be where to go. Do you have that magical bug out cabin out in the wilderness stocked with extra preps in case you have to leave home?

Have a little known fishing hole where you can pitch a tent and fish/trap until it blows over? Or maybe just out to Aunt Dana’s farm where she has a few extra bedrooms for you and the family?

Having multiple bug out locations (and a plan to get to each) in various directions and distances will give you plenty of options, from just waiting out a short weather event, to living and thriving as a backwoods hermit.

How will you get there?

but out truck

Whether you built that bug out super-tank of your prepper dreams, packing up the ol’ family truckster, or hoofing it on foot – you should have multiple ways of getting to your bug out location.

Are you going for something rugged to hit that old logging trail in the mountains? If so, you can probably count out your Prius.

Are you going grey and want to blend in and not draw attention to your preps?

How much gear is already at your bug out location and how much do you need to pack to get there?

Another major factor in both your bug out location selection AND mode of transportation has to be your route of travel. Will your route take you through heavily populated and possibly congested or contaminated areas?

What happens if you need to take a detour (or five)? Do you have multiple ways of getting to your location to avoid these potential hazards?

Do you have supply caches stored on your route allowing you to resupply (or grab a few things you didn’t have time to pack earlier)

Having your bug out bag (and probably all of your potential bug out vehicles) stocked with maps to your intended locations will allow you to make crucial route changes on the fly and take the lesser traveled way to avoid obstacles. Don’t rely on electronic GPS devices here. They’re great to have – but are notoriously unreliable when you really need them!

Knowing the signs

dontpanicYou don’t have to have an in-house command center with TVs monitoring every major news outlet, live feeds from 20 different conspiracy theory podcasts streaming 24×7, or a bank of HAM and emergency radio broadcasts getting live updates from around the world.

One doesn’t need to be a hermit with an all-consuming information overload lifestyle to stay informed.

Here are some tips to stay in the loop:

Emergency Text/App Alerts – Sure, the government is usually never on time for anything – but at least be prepared to receive the information they provide.

Know your weather – Just watching the news or logging into your favorite weather site every morning will give you some idea of what’s coming in the 5-10 day forecast.

Listen to the radio – Emergency broadcasts are triggered to override your local programming in the event of an emergency. Even if you’re not actively listening to what’s on, those well known alert beeps should immediately trigger you that something important is being broadcast.

Government build-up – Noticing more cops on the street? A military Hummer parked near an important building or resource? Be aware of the government knowing more about a situation than you do.


Preparing to Bug Out

If you don’t have a bug out bag by now…STOP! Seriously, get started on a bug out bag. Come back to this post once it’s started. Even if it’s made up of your kids’ old school book bags and random things around the house…any bag is better than no bag, and you can start building a real one the moment you’re done reading this.

Once you have a bug out bag, it’s time to organize your preps so that you can quickly access the most important items you want to take with you in a bug out situation.

Every prepper has their own ideas on how to store preps. My personal recommendation is to split your preps into modular containers (boxes, buckets, plastic totes) by week or month. This gives you the ability to grab maybe one or two boxes, and have enough in those boxes to get you going.

There’s no use in storing 15 bulk packs of toilet paper all together and then having to cut open the packages just to grab a few rolls to last you until you hit your BOL. The same goes for food, water, and well…everything.

That doesn’t mean all your preps are going to store that way. Obviously it’s more expensive (and time consuming) to bag up little bags of rice, beans, and 20 other long term food ingredients – so they’ll probably stay in big buckets. But you’ll have to prioritize when and if those make it into your bug out vehicle.


Go, Baby, Go!

If your disaster scenario includes bugging out, chances are you’ll have a few decisions to make – and not a whole lot of time to make them.

The decision to bug out is usually made in one of the following time frames:

Get out now!

bug out backpack

This is exactly what your bug out bag is designed for. There’s not much of a decision left to make at this point. The house is on fire or falling down, and your immediate surroundings (the first 100′ around your person) are just not going provide you the basic survival essentials (food, fire, water, shelter).

Chances are you’ll have seconds to grab ONE thing from around you, and that should be your bag.

Imminent Danger

winter storm pax survival
The weather warning hits the TV screen, and it’s coming in your direction. Luckily, you still have a little time to throw a little gear into the truck and get out before everyone else does. Now is the time to grab the most important gear you need to travel to your BOL.

Have Preps, Will Travel

You knew for days, or even weeks that it was coming. You have the time to pack everything you need into the back of your Winnebago and enough diesel (you DID get a diesel, right?) to drive you 3 states over if you have to. You’re already on the road and out of town before the alerts even hit the TV and are well ahead of the pack.


On the road

The most dangerous part of bugging out is being on the road with your preps. You can be the target of those less prepared, government thugs, or even just a panicked general population. A person can be smart, but people (in groups) are usually stupid.

Your route plan should already cover the basics like avoiding heavily populated areas, choke points, or other likely blockades. Being aware of your surroundings is never a more important task than while traveling to your bug out location.

Watch for patterns of traffic. If it seems like more people are going the same direction you are – is that because they’re running from a threat behind them, or more likely – just using the same evacuation route. Heading in the opposite direction of everyone else CAN be the better option.

Avoid stops and slowdowns. Sure, everyone is going to take the one major highway out of town – so that’s probably off your list. Take meandering side roads that don’t have red lights, stop signs, or having to cross traffic.


Getting to your Bug Out Location

Just because you’ve chosen a location you think is safe and secure and nobody else would ever think to go there doesn’t mean it’s safe to hop out of the car like you’ve hit the campground during a summer road trip.

Secure your packed gear and scout your BOL before bringing a truck full of supplies right to the front door of well armed squatters. If you need to change your plan on the fly – do it while you still have some preps with you.

Once you know it’s safe to head in – be prepared to immediately defend. You may be the first to arrive – but you may not be the only one with the same idea. Be prepared for an ambush you didn’t see coming on your scout.


Stay Safe

This is where I leave you to start making your plan. Got a bug out tip to share? Head over to our Facebook Page and let us know!

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TheSurvivalDad is a prepper, head gear tester, primitive skills enthusiast, and lead writer at SurvivalSupplyHQ. He lives with SurvivalWife and SurvivalBaby at their bug out location and homestead in Northern Maryland.
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About TheSurvivalDad (49 Articles)
TheSurvivalDad is a prepper, head gear tester, primitive skills enthusiast, and lead writer at SurvivalSupplyHQ. He lives with SurvivalWife and SurvivalBaby at their bug out location and homestead in Northern Maryland.

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