by Gaye Levy
25th October 2013
For all intents and purposes, bugging out represents a last ditch effort to get to safety. Real life examples of events requiring you to flee the comfort of your home are few and far between but they do exist. A devastating storm, earthquake, hurricane, chemical spill or even localized civil unrest may be reason enough to require you to grab your bug out bag and flee.
As much as we need to be prepared for such events, there is an abundance of misinformation on the internet that glamorizes bugging out. I read some of it and think “Wow, I hope I get to bug out someday so I can hike to a remote location and live my days surrounding by my great prepping gear”.
All right, you know that I can be somewhat facetious at times but still, there is a hint of seriousness to all of this. I can not tell you how many times the Survival Husband and I have talked about cashing in our IRAs for a piece of remote farmland that we could flee to in a stuff hits the fan scenario. The reality is that for us, doing so is totally unrealistic. We may be able to afford the land but who will take care of it? How will we defend it? How will we get there and how will we transfer all of the goods we have so carefully stowed away for future sustainability?
This is not a random thought. In the hundreds of emails I receive each week, I hear echoes of the same thing. It is almost as though folks who are otherwise responsible preppers are feeling guilty because they will choose to stay in their homes unless the triggering event is so catastrophic that they will be in danger if they stay.
I recently addressed this topic in the article 16 Items To Help You Hunker Down in Comfort. Shortly after writing that piece, I read Chris Ray’s article on Challenging Bug Out Myths and just knew I had to share it with you. This is an important piece, shared with his permission.
Challenging Bug Out Myths
Over the years I have read several blog posts, and statements in many different preparedness/survival forums about bugging out that I want to challenge today. I call them “myths” because, as I see it, they are just not true.
The trouble with these myths is that the person saying them might not mean it as a hard and fast rule but the person new to preparedness who reads it, might not understand that.
Myth One: You Have to Bug Out
This is probably the biggest of the myths; that there are many reasons that you’ll have to bug out.
The truth is that for the vast majority of scenarios, you will be safer, more secure, and more comfortable by battening down and staying home. Home is where your family feels the safest. It is where you have a routine and familiar surroundings. In dire times, those two things go a long way to uphold our mental wellbeing.
Home is also where all of your preparations are and where you’re best suited to face the most “come, what may” scenarios.
Myth Two: You Don’t Need a Bug Out Plan
This is the other camp that says they won’t ever bug out and don’t need a bug out plan.
As I mentioned above, in the vast majority of scenarios, staying home or “bugging in” is a better solution. To me, this means that the events you do need to bug out for are much more serious.
Events that could push me from my home are things like imminent fire, flooding, a prolonged grid down or civil unrest in an urban and some suburban areas. When do you know you should bug out? When you would be safer leaving than staying. The events I described could be extremely dangerous, so not having a plan to put in action, having BOB’s and a plan for bugging out, is equally as dangerous.
Myth Three: You Need a Bug Out Location (BOL)
The majority of preppers don’t own a separate piece of property that they consider their BOL. The truth is, you don’t need one. Sure, it might be ideal, but it isn’t needed. Below is a way to develop multiple locations. That way you have four routes out of your area.
First, if you have a relative or friend outside of your general area, consider asking them if you could head there. If you don’t have another location to go, I recommend finding a town that’s big enough to have a hotel but small enough to be inconspicuous, which is thirty to sixty miles away.
I say “large enough to have a hotel” because that is the landmark. If they have a room available, stay if you like. If you want to continue on, do so. Do this going north, south, east and west.
Now develop a couple different routes to each location and label the routes “1” and “2”. We purchased plastic foldable maps and have one in our BOBs and one in the vehicle. I think each car should have a map and the directions to each location. If you’re at work and your spouse is at home when you need to bug out, you can send a text or email that says “North, route 2”. Now you know where they are going and the route they’re taking to get there.
Myth Four: BOB’s Need to Last 72 Hours
Many times BOB’s are referred to as “72 hour kits”. The purpose of a BOB should be to get you from your home to your BOL and to last a minimum of three days, or 72 hours. As I have stated above, the events that would actually force me to bug out are pretty serious. If I have to leave, there is a good chance it won’t be safe for me to return to my home in 72 hours.
My point is that you might have to make do for longer than 72 hours. Keep that in mind when stocking your BOB. You don’t know if you’ll find a working ATM while you’re out so you might consider keeping cash or precious metals in your BOB so you can restock while you’re bugged out.