So You’re Bugging Out, Are You? Dude, You’re Not Going Anywhere

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 2 months ago

First of all, watch this video in its entirety.  I think John conveys a lot of wisdom in his talk.

This dovetails with a lot of what I have been thinking about the concept of the “bugout” philosophy.  I greatly admire folks like James Wesley Rawles, who made the decision a very long time ago to ensconce in the Northwestern redoubt, although I partial to the Appalachian redoubt being more in my backyard.

Folks like that made a huge decision to leave where they were, plant roots, create a life and lifestyle, make a family, and never leave.  But the problem is that most other people have deep roots too, wherever they are.  Elderly parents need help, children are part of your life, grandchildren need raising by grandparents, friends and family cannot simply be left by the wayside to “bugout” when the going gets tough.

I have a friend who once told me the reason he didn’t “prep” was that he knew where all the preppers in his area were, those who had ammunition, food, and so on, and he had guns and knew whose house to go to in order to find what he needed.

Note well.  He was telling me he would become just like a feral animal whenever the time arose, taking what he needed from his neighbors and leaving trusted folks to suffer in his place.  Now, I know the heart of the man who said this to me, and I know that he would never do that.  So if that man is reading this now, I know that it was all a lot of bluster.  How do I know that?  Because I know you.  You were just giving me excuses for not planning and preparing.

Any bugout bag you build is inadequate.  Do you have a pistol with a few magazines?  Good.  What is you need a CQB carbine?  Do you have that?  Good.  What if you need a longer range standoff rifle?  Do you have that, with all of the ammunition you’ll ever need?  Do you have enough food for you, your family, your neighbors, and your friends?  Can you get to where you’re going in one trip, or at all?  Can you survive without generators or solar power?  Do you have all of the medical supplies you’ll ever need?  Do you have access to professional medical care (you will surely need it at some point).

If you have a designated place to go, do you know that it’s secured until you get there?  Can you secure it when you do get there?  Do you have neighbors and trusted friends there that you’ll need for long term survival?  There are so many questions, issues and considerations attending an event like this that it’s unlikely you’ve thought through them.

The better option is to plan, prepare, purchase, pre-deploy, and practice.

My point is that like John, I don’t believe you’re going to go anywhere.  It may be true that there isn’t a perfect solution to hard situations like we’re posing, but just like it matters how a man lives, it also matters how he dies, and death isn’t the end anyway.  Most people reading this aren’t the kind of people who would run off and leave loved ones, family, friends, and neighbors to suffer if you can help it.  If you are, then you’re the kind of person from whom the rest of us are defending our loved ones, families, friends and neighbors.

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  1. On April 22, 2019 at 5:38 am, CW Buff said:

    I agree with your premise that the vast majority of preppers aren’t going anywhere. My plans have always been to stay put. I live in the country, I know all the neighbors (good and bad), got tools, preps, etc.
    I am almost 70 and have been diagnosed in the past with 2 different kinds of cancer. Through the grace of God and having great medical professionals, I am cancer free right now, but left with a few challenges that don’t lend themselves to living in the bush.
    Also have kids, grandkids and greatgrandkids. Can’t and wouldn’t run out on those responsibilities.
    My plan is to be a PITA to as many people that deserve it as I can. And if things go sidewise in a major way and it comes my time to go, to make sure that I take as many of those people with me as I can.
    Good plan or not, it’s my plan.

    CW Buff out…

  2. On April 22, 2019 at 5:57 am, Duke Norfolk said:

    Yes. The best “bug out” is the one done well in advance. If you’re still living in the city right now, well, you better get the heck outta there. Of course if your whole family lives there as well, that’s more complicated.

    One aspect to this discussion is that unfortunately we are increasingly a fractured society with splintered families; strewn all over the country, and even the world. So maybe some bugging out to consolidate family is reasonable. But it’s not going to make things easy, that’s for sure.

    What a bloody mess.

  3. On April 22, 2019 at 7:38 am, bob sykes said:

    Someone, I forget who, has commented that what a prepper most needs is friends. That the first thing is to build up a network of friends among your neighbors who will cooperate with you if the predicted disaster occurs.

    By the way, a neighbor of friends can survive earthquakes, floods, hurricanes …, too.

  4. On April 22, 2019 at 7:45 am, Fred said:

    If you make plans contrary to your personality you’re wasting your time and money and you may well get yourself killed. If you tend to hunker down and gather forces in crisis then this IS what you will do. If you tend to abandon and look for greener pastures then this is what you WILL do in crisis. You need to know yourself first.

    Also, your woman is going to be much less likely to want to bug out immediately but will be much more likely to know first, before you, when it’s later time to cut and run. Counterwise, a man will be more likely to execute a plan right away and later more likely to stick around too long in the face of danger. Men and women are wired differently for risk taking. Keep these things in mind as you plan.

    To riff off of Sun Tzu; know yourself, know your woman, know your enemy.

  5. On April 22, 2019 at 8:12 am, Ned said:

    I’ve seen numerous posts on what a bug-out bag should contain. Mostly I’ve considered it a tool to get back home with in case I was stranded away from home. YMMV.

  6. On April 22, 2019 at 8:49 am, JoeFour said:

    Here’s a link to Ferfal’s posts on bugging out — he’s a blogger who was in Argentina during its worst times … highly recommended:

  7. On April 22, 2019 at 8:58 am, Pat Hines said:

    I was fortunate to be able to retire 14 years ago, at age 58. I was still strong enough and so forth to work on my current set up. I am in a rural setting and do know most of my neighbors. One of my neighbors, on 16 acres, is an MD, though he’s not particularly friendly. In a dire situation, that could change. His son, very young when we arrived, is now a 20-something and has set up deer stands on the property.

    I have permission to hunt 160 acres of private land, should the need arise, that acreage is less than a mile from mine. My other neighbor, on 11 acres, is a small projects builder in business with his son. His daughter is married to a professional farrier, living on 16 acres one door down. Another neighbor is a retired police lieutenant who teaches concealed carry classes at his home property. My across the road neighbor has beef cattle on 42 acres.

    I like my location quite a lot, I planned to have this sort of place, it’s turned out better than I expected.

    So, yes, I’m not going anywhere, I’m already here.

  8. On April 22, 2019 at 10:38 am, Ned2 said:

    Most of the people thinking they’ll “bug out” when the SHTF are delusional at best.
    You may make it to the ‘burbs in one piece, but beyond that you’re simply going to be regarded as target practice, and a threat to all of us out here in the country.

    If you’re not already at your bug out location full time, and we end up in hell, you’re as good as dead.

  9. On April 22, 2019 at 6:59 pm, Gryphon said:

    The Idea that with a Backpack full of Gear and a Gun, that someone is going to Hike even 50 Miles Away from ‘trouble’ and then “Live off the Land” has always been just Stupid. I have an ‘Overnight Bag’ of Clothing, Food, and a Glock in My Trucks… IF the Vehicle were Immobilized somewhere in my AO, I Might have a chance of Hiking back to one of several Locations where I know the people there, or back to where most of my Equipment is at. I would, if Unable to use my own Vehicle, find the nearest piece of Construction Equipment (the Bigger the Better) and go ‘Overland’ in the right Direction.

    Folks who have a Exurban-to-Rural-to-Wilderness Location ALREADY will be a lot Safer than those who Don’t; It is a Problem with My Situation that I am only slightly ‘Exurban” and close Enough to the Swamp that I’ll have a Good View of the Mushroom Cloud when it happens that the Bear gets Sick of the crap that ‘babylon on the potomac’ is doing and Smacks them Down. Since I have several Big Vehicles (Workshops and Living Quarters) I expect and Plan to get a Jump on the Zombie Apocalypse and Move to a location next to People that I already Know, and would not have a Problem with Me. That may be technically “Bugging Out” but the Key is having someplace to Go To in the First Place.

    and Ned2 – Don’t forget that Someone who DOES manage to Hike Out of the Zombie Zone might be a potential Contributor to your Group or AO, so Think before you Shoot…

  10. On April 23, 2019 at 10:57 am, billrla said:

    Whoever coined the term “bug-out bag” was a great marketer. A genius, in fact.

  11. On April 23, 2019 at 9:01 pm, Dan said:

    There some places, primarily large metropolitan areas, that will simply be untenable no matter HOW well you prepare. But there will be a lot of “small town america” locations that COULD be worth the effort to “bug IN” and stay. The key is building that network of people who can and will help each other BEFORE it becomes life or death. A small town that plans ahead could survive the coming nastiness much better than an small group or a family. The problem is too many people simply refuse to believe the fact that what cannot continue won’t.

  12. On April 23, 2019 at 10:21 pm, Navy Jack said:

    Death is not the end. Eternity is now. Tomorrow may be your day to go. Are you prepared for that?

    If not all your preps make little difference in the end. Live true. Serve Him where He puts you. And be ready to crush the snake’s head where you find that beast.

    All else is just so much sound and fury. Pray hard. Hold fast. And make it count. Godspeed.

  13. On April 23, 2019 at 10:39 pm, mudflap said:

    Been working on my plan for about 15 years, and it’s starting to come together. Had to regroup after the divorce, but remarried a sober woman who believes in collapse, and I ended up in the tail end of Appalachia.

    Almost ready to shingle the roof on my log home that we are building from scratch. Even built my own pulleys. Learned how to weld from the neighbor before he died. Keep an eye on his widow, help her out when needed. His kids all live nearby, and they are good, God-fearing folks.

    We’re about 30 miles from town, probably too close, but I think it’s defensible.

    I agree- get out of the city. Work on farming skills, car repair, welding, security, how to do things without electricity.

    Probably the #1 thing is to get out now and get to know your neighbors.

  14. On April 24, 2019 at 1:29 am, RestEasy said:

    You don’t have..
    Fill in the blanks.
    Basically enough.
    David lived in caves and on the run from Saul for numerous years. Why?
    Why was that necessary? Not sure.
    He was one of the greatest military geniusus of his time at least. And not through his strength. But the Lord’s. Hebron. Finally.
    By any means necessary is not God’s way.

    Check it out. David had Saul twice I believe. You dont know what you don’t know. Only God knows. God’s will is foolishness unto whom? And a stumbling block unto? But we preach what? Christ crucified. He is risen! And by faith, and His blood, and His grace are we saved. In this life. And the life to come.
    So. You may ruck. Is that code for running for your life? I think so. You may fight. Gallantly. Or often otherwise. And. Always. It will be of the Lord. After all is said and done.
    His will. His providence. His timing. His strength. Our faith.

  15. On April 24, 2019 at 3:58 am, Chuck said:

    Just some questions that dont assume an end of the world type thing. Just common sense stuff that could apply to all of us at any time. If you plan for a month, three or four days is a cinch.

    1. Do you have a plan for grabbing what you need if you had to leave your home in 15 minutes from this very second? Would it include important documents as well as personal clothing, bedding, medicine, food, water and shelter? Do you have cash or other valuables on hand to use for purchases?

    2. Are you prepared for a power outage lasting up to a month?

    3. Do you have enough water to care for your family for a month with no municipal delivery? Do you have an emergency water filtration system? A secondary source of water? A means of transporting it?

    4. Do you have enough food to care for your family for a month with no trips to the store? Do you have a plan to cook or preserve it without municipal or utility services?

    5. Do you have a plan to keep your home warm or cool as needed if municipal or utility services were undeliverables for a month? What about lighting?

    6. Do you have a backup sanitation plan in the event that you don’t have running water or disposal services for a month? A way to wash yourself or your clothing?

    7. In the absence of reliable communications with, or response from Emergency Services (Police, Fire, EMS) do you have a plan for assuming responsibility for your own safety and care? Do you have a way of receiving official broadcasts, information or emergency bulletins?

    8. In the event of widespread civil disorder do you have a plan for your family’s security? What about your business? What about your employees? Do you know your neighbors?

    9. Do you have a plan for meeting up with family if a disaster strikes when you are all away from home during the day? If communication systems were down would you still be able to meet up?

    10. Anytime you leave your home, do you know how you would be able to get back to it if you could not rely on your motor vehicle? Do you have items to assist you in this in your vehicle? At all times?

    11. If petroleum derived fuels were unobtainable, do you have a supply of your own or a way to store some if it became available. Do you have a form of transportation sufficient to allow you to evacuate if it should become necessary? If not, are you fit enough to leave home on foot, carrying what you need to survive? Do you have a planned Primary route out of your area if you were forced to leave? What about an Alternate, a Contingency, and an Emergency route? Do you have a destination?

    12. Do you have family members with special needs or health concerns? If so, have you prepared to take care of these needs if you have no power and can’t get to the store, pharmacy or hospital?

    13. Do you have family pets? What are your plans for them?

    14. If you have all the answers to these questions, are you the only one or does the rest of you family know these things too?

  16. On April 24, 2019 at 5:55 am, anonymous said:

    I agree – bearing imminent death due to violence or fires / flooding and unless you are a single unattached individual who is a loner, the chances of walking away into the unknown is pretty small. Being an individual like that (only concerned with their own needs) does give them reason to flee to a better location or distance friends / family.

    Living in a large city in college, I was faced with that choice. Had about 240 miles to get back home to my family. I already had a route but thankfully, it was not needed. Carried a B.O. bag with two gallons of water, some food, a hammock, tarp and an AR7 rifle and .357 handgun. A change of clothes and a multi-tool in belt pouch. And that was it from my memory.

  17. On April 24, 2019 at 8:50 am, Max said:

    I have a GOTO bag in my car. If things go tits up, it should get me home. Which is 6 miles out of town. Not a great plan but, it’s mine. Like CW Buff said. PITA.

  18. On April 24, 2019 at 11:54 am, lineman said:

    People use the bug out bag as a crutch/illusion so they don’t have to do the hard things necessary to increase their odds of survival now…Sad That…

  19. On April 24, 2019 at 2:23 pm, Torque said:

    Good point and something that some of elders have known from some time:
    If you have, they will take.
    Plot: It is a typical evening in a typical suburban community. At the residence of physician Bill Stockton, he enjoys a birthday party being thrown for him by his wife Grace and their son Paul. Also at the party are Jerry Harlowe, Bill’s brother-in-law; Frank Henderson and Marty Weiss, Bill and Jerry’s former roommates; and the wives and children of Jerry, Frank, and Marty. Bill is well known and liked by this gathering; he attended the State University with Marty, Frank, and Jerry. Moreover, Bill has repeatedly administered to the health and well-being of each one of said guests and/or delivered their children. Everyone is especially friendly and jovial, even when mention is made of Bill’s late-night work on a fallout shelter which he has built in his basement. Suddenly, a Civil Defense (CONELRAD) announcement overheard by young Paul is made that unidentified objects have been detected heading for the United States. In these times, everybody knows what that means: nuclear attack. As panic ensues, the doctor locks himself and his family into his shelter. The same gathering of friends becomes hysterical and now wants to occupy the shelter. All of the previous cordiality is now replaced with soaring desperation; pent-up hostility, searing racism, nativism, and other suppressed emotions boil to the surface. Stockton offers his basement to the guests, but the shelter itself has sufficient air, provisions, and space for only three people (the Stocktons themselves). The once-friendly neighbors do not accept this; they break down the shelter door with an improvised battering ram. Just then, a final Civil Defense broadcast announces that the objects have been identified as harmless satellites and that no danger is present. The neighbors apologize for their behavior; yet Stockton wonders if they have destroyed each other without a bomb.

  20. On April 24, 2019 at 3:45 pm, ApoloDoc said:

    As I see several brothers here (as is our host!) I would bring this issue that is becoming more troubling to me. Many in the “Christian patriot” community like to downplay Romans 13, and I do appreciate that the believer is not to directly disobey God in subitting to the State. However, as I really dig into this issue, also addressed in 1Peter, I am less convinced of how much armed resistance God ordains in His Word. I don’t have a problem with deadly force in defense against imminent harm. Where I am struggling is finding a Biblical rationale for an individual engaging in armed resistance against the State when it is not an IMMEDIATE threat.

    Trust me, I truly despise what government has become. But the Roman government was AWFUL as well, and yet Peter directly writes of submission, as does Paul. So give me a rationale, PLEASE!

    Herschel, have you addressed this anywhere? I know you are strongly Reformed in your theology, as am I. Any help would be appreciated greatly!

  21. On April 24, 2019 at 4:09 pm, Mike Nomad said:

    I could see bugging out if a flood or fire happened in my neighborhood, but everyone here thinking they are going to bug out if a race war happens or the communist politburo comes knocking are delusional. If things get to that stage, major transportation routes will be blocked off and you will be a sitting duck as you sit in a traffic jam in your Dodge Cummins pickup with all your useless survival crap. If you think instead “Hey, I’ll just “ruck” out of here, then you end up crossing someone’s private land and end up getting shot to hell. We don’t live in a frontier anymore. Short of a natural disaster, the bug-out thing is just a fantasy.

  22. On April 25, 2019 at 8:47 am, Donk said:

    RE Captain’s friend who said he was going to take from others. The neighbor of a work acquaintance is a DEA Agent and stated that was exactly what he and his comrades planned to do in a EOTWAWKI situation. They would start with the local grocery store and; 1) if there was nothing left or 2) they ran into the National Guard; they would go to plan B which was knocking on doors, flash their badges and stick their .Gov issues machine gun in any resistor’s face. So, there this that….

  23. On April 25, 2019 at 8:32 pm, Gryphon said:

    Torque – that had to have been one of the Creepiest ‘Twilight Zone’ episodes Ever. My Father was an Architect, and Engineer whose Work in the Air Force had included Design of “Hardened” Facilities that even Nukes would not Destroy without Multiple Hits. He did a number of (I’m not sure how many) Designs of Fallout Shelters in the Subdivisions around where we Lived in the mid-60’s. After that Show came out, He told Me that He fully Expected that would be the Outcome for any Shelter Owner if ANYONE knew about it.
    We had a ‘Bugout Plan’ to Evac to My Grandfather’s Farm in Midstate New York, and it was a Preemptive Plan- We went up there a number if Times, always when My Father was ‘tipped off’ to possible Trouble by His associates still in the Military. This happened much more Frequently than the ‘incidents’ were made Public.

    And Grandpa’s Place? It was HIS ‘bugout’ from New York City in 1943, when He was told by other German Expats that Eventually, the German Army would be sending Ballistic War Rockets to the East Coast.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Survival and was published April 21st, 2019 by Herschel Smith.

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