When To Bug Out

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

In a survival situation, most of the time it’s best to bug in. That means stay home with your preps and ride it out whatever is going on. You know that you’re in a survival situation whenever there is resource depletion, a natural disaster, terrorist attacks, severe transportation issues, riots, and general panic that could put people in danger. Not all of these situations require bugging in or out. We’re going to go over the ones that require going somewhere temporarily.

First, let’s cover the times when you should stay home. If it’s more dangerous going outside your home or trying to get to a secondary location than staying home, it’s better to stay put. If you don’t know where you’re going or don’t have a safe place to go to, it’s better to stay home and bug in. In a situation where it’s bad where you’re at but you don’t have another place to go, you can end up in a worse situation by leaving. Having a plan of where to go that would be better is necessary to bug out. Finally, if it’s too suspicious for you to leave or it makes you an easier target when you’re on the road, you should probably stay in. Going to an unfamiliar town without any familial ties can make the locals eyeball you suspiciously. The time to go to another town is before anything hits the fan.

Now let’s talk about why you should bug out and when. The first reason you should bug out is when a natural disaster is imminent. If the weatherman is telling you a hurricane is coming or a wildfire is on the way according to the news or there was a massive chemical spill, you should be bugging out with all speed. These are the reasons we have bug-out bags, stored cash, and a bug-out plan.

Also, when staying inside your home could be more dangerous than evacuating, you should bug out. Let’s assume your home is right in the middle of downtown and riots are heading directly for it. It’s very tempting to stay and try to protect your property. However, in this situation bugging out to a safer location would save you and your family a lot of distress. Even if you don’t have a bunker or a second home, head to a location you know you’ll be safe. This can mean driving 30 miles away and staying in a hotel for two weeks.

Another reason to bug out is the transportation system is not delivering. Let’s say diesel, gasoline, or other fuel that’s necessary to move people and goods suddenly disappeared. That means medicines, food, and even water will not be replenished at the stores. This is a recipe for disaster, and if possible, you need to leave that area. People would become desperate for food, medicine, and water. The only exception to this would be if you had a stockpile that was enough to get you through however long this emergency appears it will last. Also, make sure you have enough gas to leave in case your stockpile is stolen or used up.

This brings us to the final point, it’s time to bug out when your stockpile is almost gone. You’ve prepped up, you were ready for everything, but the emergency lasted much longer than you ever expected. Always keep an inventory of your stockpile and keep yourself honest when it comes to how long it will last. Also, keep in mind how much you’ll need to get to the area you intend to bug-out in.


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