Most of us live in urban areas, cities, and towns where a quick 5-minute drive takes us to our favorite ice cream shop, burger joint, or fave hang out.
Such comfort and accessibility. Such a paradise. Until shit goes down. Then the city or town you live in becomes a personal hell with too many bodies and not enough survival chances.
Not liking that scenario? Time to talk bug out locations.
Why Have a Separate Bug Out Location?
When the world outside goes crazy, do you really wanna be there to see how things go down? Bugging in is great, but when the going gets tough, having an alternative safe location to stay at until things calm down just makes sense.
Now, we've already put out an article that focused on helping you figure out all the things you need to ask yourself about your BOL and how to choose one in a general sense.
But here, we'll focus heavily on hard locations.
Bug Out Must Haves: What to Look For When Choosing a Location
If you're a seasoned survivalist, you'd have a bug out location ready; someplace safe and far from the maddening crowd. But if you're just starting out on the prepper journey, then this is for you.
What characteristics does a good BOL have? Here are a few to start off with:
It's got a fair amount of distance
And we mean from towns, from major cities, from crowds. When you hear BOL, think of distance. It shouldn't be easy to get to by anyone except you. Ideally, you'd want your BOL to be within a 150-mile radius from where you live and should take you 3 to 5 days to get there on foot. If you’re taking a car, you should be able to reach it with one full tank of gas. If it takes more than that, then it's way too far.
It has a stable and reliable structure for shelter
Your BOL is going to be absolutely useless if it can't provide you with shelter. At the most basic level, even a simple tarp shelter will help. Most will choose to have a built structure, like a small cabin or an underground bunker, ready at their BOL.
Ideally, you'd want your BOL to have everything you need to survive for an indefinite amount of time. Running to the nearest Walmart or Target might not be a thing in the SHTF future, so self-sufficiency is essential. A legit source of water, electricity, and food (fish or game) are things your BOL should have aside from your stocked food.
Can you defend it from outsiders and conceal it well enough so that they won't even notice your BOL? If you say "yes," then you've found a wonderful place. If not, you better get to work because no BOL will come with bodyguards and a surveillance system. You have to make it a safe place for you and your family to bug out.
Apart from that, it also has to be secure from natural threats. If you wouldn't get a house in a flood-prone or forest fire-prone area, you probably shouldn't get a BOL there, either.
So What Are Your Options?
It's all about the options you have and weeding them out to find something that works for you. There are two primary ways you can go about this:
Buy Your Own Land or Property
If you've got extra money, this would be the best way to go. Check out real estate listings to find a private property that can work as a BOL. Alternatively, take a look at rural land websites to choose the state and county to see the available properties.
It might be an expensive means of getting a BOL, but at the same time, you can’t put a price on preparedness. Besides, think of the mini-vacation home that you can turn it into when it's not a BOL.
Consider Joining a Mutual Assistance Group
A mutual assistance group is an organization where like-minded preppers and survivalists come together to pledge assistance to one another when SHTF. This can include promising supplies, a particular skill set, even a BOL for the group.
Many people might want to look into this because defending an area as a group is easier. Just make sure you choose the right people to group with and that you trust them.
We did say that these two are the most common ways to go about with a BOL, but it's not the ONLY way. If you can't afford a BOL of your own just yet, let along pledge yourself to provide one for a large number of people, then here are other options for you:
We're sure everyone is thinking of campgrounds as BOLs, and it's not a bad idea. But it only becomes a good idea if it's the offseason AND if you’re using it as a temporary relocation site only.
If there are too many people, it defeats the purpose of bugging out. It might even get dangerous. On the other hand, if you just need to stay at a place for a few days, campgrounds are good enough. They'll have bathrooms, fire pits, grills, tables, as well as plenty of firewood from the surrounding trees. You'll also have some sort of water supply nearby as campgrounds are usually situated near rivers, streams, or lakes.
If you're seriously considering this, make sure you check out potential campgrounds near your home or within the 150-mile radius. Try to stay a night there to see how things are and familiarize yourself with the place.
National Forests and Parks
Another obvious choice would be national forests and parks. Due to how vast it is, you're less likely to get kicked out, especially during a disaster or when SHTF; park rangers might be a bit preoccupied.
Disappearing for a bit in one of these parks or national forests when disaster strikes might be a good idea but only do so if you're confident about your wilderness skills.
Once again, we're going to suggest that you check out the national parks and forests near your area so that you won't be running like a headless chicken when the time comes to hunker down and ride the storm out. Prepare some maps and familiarize yourself with the topography of the area. Better yet, print out a topographical map too.
Largely abandoned factories can be found miles away from the city. They can be a great place to temporarily bug out. It'll be spacious, and there'll be facilities and existing structures so it won't be too bad.
You can expect these places to be empty. The owners won't be there and with no employees around, getting kicked out will be the least of your problems.
Now, these three options of yours are meant to be for temporarily bugging out, and you'll have to make sure these places are safe enough for you to stay, but it is better than nothing.
Remember, consider places with a food source or a place you can outfit with a food source. It should have a water source, too, as well as a shelter sturdy enough to house you and your group. In case of bandits, marauders, or just plain old trouble makers, make sure you can easily make the place defensible.
If you don't want to be caught unawares when SHTF or even when a natural disaster strikes, we strongly suggest you prep a BOL in advance. Finding a location now, while things are still calm, is your best bet. Imagine trying to find a place when everyone else is trying to find one, too. Be a responsible prepper and think ahead.
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