Tips For Bugging Out

Tips For Picking A Bug Out LocationMore and more lately I have been thinking about what I would do if I needed to bug out. We live in a rural area as it is, but in a SHTF scenario I’m not so sure we are far enough away from the highly populated areas and the golden hoard if they decided to migrate my way.

The considerations for a bug out location listed below are based on my situation and what I am currently thinking about to make the best decision possible for me. Your circumstances might be a little different, but the fundamentals of picking a bug out location are the same.

Bugging out could potentially be something we all need to do, and picking a good bug out location requires thought and planning. As you begin our planning for a perfect bug out location there are a number of different factors to keep in mind like distance, location, finances, accessibility and many more.

Without the proper planning you could find yourself with a bug out location that is inaccessible during a SHTF situation or a location that is ill equipped to sustain you and your family for any given period of time.

Knowing how and when to bug out are great, but if you have nowhere to go you might as well stay put. There is no reason to leave one potentially dangerous situation and thrust yourself into a situation that you are not properly prepared to handle.

This is why we prepare right? This is why survival skills and educating ourselves is just as important as stockpiling food and water, if this stuff runs out, we need to be able to get more, and having a good bug out location could help us do that.

Here are a few things to take into consideration when you are looking for a good bug out location, and keep in mind, your situation will be different than mine.


Picking a location to bug out to is important for not only security, but self-sufficiency as well. The way you prepare will be different for bugging out to the mountains than it will be for bugging out to the plains.

In a mountain area you have more natural resources available and more possibility’s available when it comes to defenses, but you also need to have wilderness survival skills, especially because of those pesky critters. The wildlife could be a great food source, or you could be a great food source for them.

In the plains (or flat lands) you will have less cover and concealment so it’s probably a good idea to get as far away from other people and main roads as you can. There will be less wildlife on the plains and less trees for building and fire wood, but you would have more options when it comes to farming as long as you have a good water supply.

How Will You Get There?

Getting to your bug out location will be just as important as having one in the first place. When choosing a location have at least 3 different routes you can take to get there. Another rule of thumb is to pick a location that is within one tank of gas, you won’t be able to stop at Conoco if the grid is down, and you probably wouldn’t want to anyway.

Pick routes that will not lead you through hot spots or danger zones, avoid populated areas.


How Long Do You Plan on Staying?

How long will your location sustain you and your family? Purchasing an empty plot of land and continually building up your resources and defenses is a low cost way to take a bug out location that you could survive at for a week or two, to a location that you could survive for many months or indefinitely.

If you plan on staying at your location long term, self-defense and homesteading will become more and more critical, your consumable supplies will eventually run out and someone will inevitably cross your path.

Living Off The Land – Survival Skills

Unless you are Grizzly Adams or Old McDonald you are probably not going to be able to live off the land. Everyone knows the basics of gardening or hunting elk, but these are skills that take years of practice, you could very well starve because the elk you weren’t able to kill ate all your corn.

Seriously though, you will need skills to supplement your food supply, but you need to have food stored while you hone your skills.

Does the land you plan on bugging out to have the natural resources you need? What you are able to hunt and grow will need to be a factor when you supply your bug out location. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself.

  • What wildlife lives in this area?
  • Is the soil fertile enough for gardening?
  • What crops can I grow?
  • Is there water near by for farming?
  • Will I be able to have livestock?

Is There a Natural Source of Water Nearby?

As usual water is the most important part, without a natural water supply nearby you will probably find yourself heading off to find water, and putting yourself in danger. A cistern or water storage are great, but at some point you will need a well, river or some other natural water source nearby.

Building some sort of water catchment and water storage is also a good idea to add to your supply.


Weather will play a role in how you prepare also. Here in Colorado we need to take winter into account. We would need to be able to survive for at least 3 months without any food source other than what we have stored.

Plan for severe weather, a tornado, floods, blizzards or natural disasters could put a real kink in you survival plans. Make sure and take your local weather into account when you are thinking about a bug out location.

  • How warm will your shelter be in the winter?
  • Will your crops or shelter be damaged by flooding?
  • Is your shelter strong enough to withstand strong winds?
  • Do you have supplies to get you through any severe weather?

Protection – Geographic Camouflage

Protection is not just guns and ammo, protection begins at your perimeter. As I said earlier, mountain areas offer more protection and natural camouflage but require more survival skills, flat lands will require you to be further off the beaten path and more ingenuity like building underground or other camouflage.

  • How hidden is your bug out location?
  • How easily can someone find your location?
  • How easy would it be for someone take what you have?
  • How will you defend your location?


We all need shelter to survive and withstand the elements. Shelter is also important for avoiding extreme temperatures and ruining your food storage. There is more to shelter than just putting a roof on some walls. There are many options available when it comes to shelter that don’t require you to be an architect or construction worker, here are some examples.

This is just a few ideas, but if you use your imagination you can come up with some unique ideas based on your situation, and sometimes the more unique, the less likely people will see it as “shelter” or “storage”


Population should be a consideration not only for where your bug out location is, but you should also take into account the population along the way to your bug out location.

Always have at least three routes to your location, you never know if one of your routes will be impassable because of riots, traffic or infrastructure damage.

This is a big choice I have to a make, do I go west through Denver? Or do I go further east? I would feel more comfortable going west and run to the hills so to speak, but before I choose that I need to see if there are a few safe routes I can take that don’t lead me through any populated areas.

Who’s Coming?

Who else do you expect at your bug out location in the future? It’s never a good idea to tell everyone about your plans, but you might have a few family members that you will want to help in the future.

If you are prepping and stockpiling supplies for 5 people, make sure you take into account that if someone else comes into the picture you are going to go through more supplies.

Having more people with you could potentially help with building, farming and hunting, but it will also require more supplies so it’s always good to have a little extra just in case.

Final Thoughts

I am all about prepping on a budget and reducing the debt that handcuffs us when it comes to prepping, but if you were to finance 40 acres of land it could only cost you between $75 and $150 a month. I look at this as an investment because over time the value of that property will only increase.

You can find a piece of land that goes for as low as $500 an acre (that’s what I am looking at) and at such a low monthly payment you can pay it off quicker to reduce the interest and also have a little extra money to work on your bug out location over time.

As I research this I have come across a few good articles on picking a bug out location, like this one from and this one from

If you have any ideas or thoughts on this I would love to hear them, just leave a comment below.




Survival and being prepared should not only be a passion, it should be a lifestyle. The definition of a prepper is "An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of, or prior to, any change in normal circumstances, without substantial resources from outside sources" Like the Government, police etc. I don't believe that the end of the world will be the "end of the world" I believe it will be the end of the world as we know it now. You can also find me on Google Plus and Twitter

    6 replies to "Tips For Picking a Bug Out Location"

    • Chris

      Thanks Dale,
      Good article, I like your take on seeing the purchasing of property to bug out to as an investment in your security.


    • Gary

      Hello Dale….Great outline on preparing a Bugout site. I am in the process of preparing 2 sites now and am appreciating the hands-on impact as opposed to education without it. Wow…. I have sat in my bugout shelter and imagined a “virtual crash” and was much more “there” then when we try to educate ourselves at the computer and then expect the reality to be the same.
      I have an earthen 250 Sq ft shelter nearing completion (relatively) and have spent some of the winter out there. I love it out there (too bad the reason it exists is so sad) but to me, you have to live it (even on weekends if you are restricted by your job) to realize that “Shit happens” . I have been playing around with http://www.outofdodge.inf for a short while and have decided to make it a multimedia source for “what it takes to build a bugout secret place.
      Will stay in touch.

    • Patty

      I have land for sale that would make a great bug out/ prepper property. It is just a few hours from major cities like San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. This property has been privately owned by the same family for generations and is currently the only property for sale located directly on the San Antonio River. Description:77.097 high quality agricultural acres with frontage on the San Antonio River (which is perfect for water collecting and fishing) Fenced with access via private road. (Easily barricaded private road with only one way in and out). 2 Stock tanks (1 with pier built and ready for catfish). Plenty of grazing grass for livestock (Once held cattle, and horses for over 50 years and has been previously farmed for corn and hay, now deer roam freely). Mostly level with nicely wooded area at river end of the property. Natural Texas boar and wild turkey are abundant in this area. This preppers paradise is located on the border of the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone and the Artesian zone; where water collected from the Edwards aquifer recharge zone is pulled by gravity and becomes “trapped or held” within. The Artesian Zone has been be a great source of clear, drinkable water for the surrounding area since 1891, and will continue to support drinkable water for 100 more years to come. Utilities (gas, water, electricity, and telephone access avaliable). Water well property avaliable for sale seprately. No fault line, nuclear or population threats. This is truly a preppers paradise. Take a look or call David George 210-422-1767

    • Liza

      We already have a river property. There is one problem: it’s on the other side of the Mississippi River. There is.only one bridge that isn’t near a large city – it’s outside a.small town. Should we look for a place on our side?

      • Kevin

        Got the same problem on the Delaware. Looking into stocking the property and stashing an alternative method of crossing.
        I have an advantage, I can go far enough up river to walk across the two main feed branches, but that may not be practical, but it is a third method.

    • Todd

      I have been thinking about places that could house multiple people and are already equipped for surviving. Like a summer camp. My guess is that other people would be thinking the same way. Either way. Could be a place to check out if you want easy shelter or an opportunity to connect with other people.

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