Bugging In vs. Bugging Out
One of the most hotly debated questions when it comes to prepping is do you bug in when disaster strikes, or do you bug out? Bugging in means that you stay within your home and try to outlast the disaster from there, while bugging out means that you take what you can with you and hightail it to a rendezvous point or a bug out location.
There is no definitive answer to this question because no two disaster scenarios are exactly the same.
Let’s get started:
As we just explained, bugging in means that you basically dig in at your fortified home and outlast the disaster from within. Many survivalists and disaster preparedness experts are in agreement that, in a majority of potential disaster scenarios, bugging in is a safer course of action than bugging out.
There are many reasons why. When you bug in, you have clear and immediate access to ALL of the stockpiles that you have made. Contrast this with bugging out, where you can only take what you can stuff in your car, and are forced to abandon all of the other preparations that you have made. It’s a huge waste of money and effort on your part.
Another reason why it’s safer to bug in is because you know the area. When you bug out, you may be forced to go to a place that is totally foreign to you, and with people who may not be friendly. If you bug in at your home, you don’t just know the land and any evacuation routes in the event that you do eventually have to bug out, but you also know the people. You can forge alliances with your neighbors to exchange manpower and resources and to build up your neighborhood’s defenses against gangs and angry mobs, which are sure to be a big threat in a post-disaster scenario.
Bugging in is naturally a safer option than bugging out in the strong majority of circumstances, but nonetheless, just because bugging in may usually be ‘safer’ than bugging out does not mean it is completely safe. Here are three tips that you should take to heart and will make your chances of surviving when you bug in even higher:
Be Prepared to Evacuate Anyway
Sure, it may be safer to bug in now, but that can change in an instant. Once it becomes impossible for you to stay, such as if a volcano has exploded again and this time the lava is coming your way, you have to be prepared to bug out. This means having supplies stored away in your car and your bug out bags ready to go.
Fortify Your Home
Assuming the disaster is serious enough, your home needs to be fully fortified. Set up a barbed wire fence in a perimeter around your home and multiple layers of more barbed wire fences inside of that outer layer with nail boards in between each layer; make a stack of sandbags at strategic parts of your home such as the doors and windows; have your guns ready to go; and consider investing now in steel doors and Plexiglas windows that can better withstand home invasions.
Forge Alliances with Neighbors
In the Medieval Ages, castles would form strategic alliances with one another and exchange manpower and resources in order to prevent one another from following. Apply a similar concept to the other homes in your neighborhood. By forming alliances, your neighborhood will be better equipped to defend against outside mobs and can help one another in need. Otherwise, expect everyone to turn on you and one another (including those you thought you could trust) and your neighborhood has just become much weaker and more vulnerable.
We’ve touched on some of the disadvantages of bugging out already: you can’t take as many of your supplies with you and have to abandon much of what you do have; you’ll be vulnerable and exposed out in the open; you might not even make it to your bug out location because of roads clogged with traffic; you don’t know the area as well as your property, and so on.
At the same time, bugging out may be your only course of action for a chance of survival. If a hurricane has struck and your house is in the incoming path of it, if terrorists or enemy military forces have invaded and your home is in the middle of their advance, or if a nuclear power plant disaster has occurred and your home is nearby, you will have literally no choice but to evacuate as soon as possible.
As with bugging in, here are three tips for bugging out that will increase your chances of survival:
Have Multiple Backup Plans and Multiple Evacuation Routes
The old saying goes that nothing goes according to plan. You’ll find that that could not be more true in a disaster scenario. There are a multitude of things that could go wrong and force you to go to Plan B and C and D and down the alphabet: the roads could become clogged with traffic, law enforcement could cut off certain routes, one route may be destroyed in the event of a natural disaster… the list goes on. Have multiple backup plans (and by multiple, we don’t just mean 2-3) and multiple evacuation routes that you can take to make those plans become a reality.
Have Buried Caches at Your Bug Out Locations(s)
Ideally, your bug out location(s) should already have a hidden and healthy stockpile of supplies. Remember that you’re abandoning much of your supplies by leaving your home. You need to replenish at least some of those supplies with what you’ve pre-hidden in your bug out locations. Even if it’s nothing more than a buried cache with a small handful of items, it’s better than nothing. Remember that nothing will go according to plan, so if it’s impossible for you to access your first bug out location, you should still have buried caches in backup locations or at least along the evacuation routes.
Everyone In Your Group Must Have a Complete Bug Out Bag
When you’re forced to evacuate your vehicle and strike it out on food, your bug out bag and what’s in it will be all you can take with you. Every person in your group must not only have a complete bug out bag, they must be fully familiar with the contents of it as well. Your bug out bags need to have enough gear and supplies to allow you to survive for a minimum of seventy two hours, which hopefully will be long enough to reach your bug out locations.