Bug In vs Bug Out? Smart Or Guaranteed Death Trap
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Bug In vs Bug Out? Smart Or Guaranteed Death Trap

By SS Contributor | Last Updated: September 15, 2015

Bug In vs Bug OutBug In vs Bug Out, Which Scenario is Best for You?

No matter how you look at it, regardless of which disaster hits, you’ll only have two choices.

You can either bug in and stay inside your house hoping for the whole thing to be over quickly.

Or you can bug out to no man’s land or your bug out retreat.

Both are plausible, both have sparked controversies, and there’s still some level of confusion related to them.

When I hear people say,

I know what I’ll do, I’ll just bug in no matter what!” or “I don’t need a stockpile, I’ll bug out and never look back!

I just shake my head…

How can one assume things will go his or her way during a disaster?

The only certainty about all SHTF situations is that they’re totally unpredictable.

Not only does it take you by surprise, but circumstances change can every hour or even by the minute. It’s just impossible to assume you can bug in or out ahead of time.

So, which SHTF scenario is best for you?

That’s what we’re going to figure out in this article, but I’d be very happy if you decided to prepare for both.


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Bug-in scenarios are often preferred by serious preppers even though some of them have a bug out location. The one key thing you must understand about many of them is that they’re a safe distance from a city. A city where thousands of people will be bugging out all at the same time.

If you live in an apartment in the middle of a large city, bugging in may not be for you.

You should bug in vs bug out only in the following circumstances:

1. If you have a disability that prevents you from bugging out. Believe it or not, there’ve been preppers who simulated bugging out with a disabled loved one, and it took many extra hours.

2. You have ample means to defend your home. You’ve stocked lots of guns and ammo. You’ve fortified your doors and window. You are ready to defend against rioters, armed gangs patrolling the streets, and home invasions.

Of course, if your house is in the middle of a large city, and airstrikes begin, you’ll quickly reconsider and bug out.

3. You live in a relatively remote area. Remote, rural areas will have fewer starving people knocking on your door and fewer people trying to take what you have.  Plus, you’ll be off-grid and self-sufficient, meaning you won’t have to rely on much outside help to survive.

4. If you’re a lady who’s pregnant or has very small children. Bugging out would just be putting all your lives in danger. You may not have this problem now but if you intend to have children in the future, it’s something to keep in mind.

5. You have a network of like-minded people around you that you can count on. When chaos breaks loose, you can help each other with meds, guns, ammo, skill, and valuable info. Of course, they’ll need to be fairly close to your location, so it’s easy to get from one location to another in case of an emergency.

Plus, you can use walkie-talkies to communicate. Especially if phone communication lines jam and you don’t own a HAM radio. Because using one requires a license and licenses mean you need to register with the Government.

When To Bug Out vs Bug In

Bugging out is a tough call, that’s for sure.

  • You’re abandoning your home
  • You’re putting yourself into the unknown
  • You may or may not have a destination to go to
  • There will be all sorts of dangers along the way

Just look at those refugees from Syria trying to get to Germany.

It’s one of the longest bug-outs I’ve ever witnessed. Put yourself in their shoes for just a minute. You have to flee your city where terror rules the streets. Head for the Mediterranean, then pay off someone $3,000 to take you over 1,500 miles on a boat to Greece. Then travel north to Hungary where you have to deal with the overtaxed police. Then finally take a train to Germany.

Many refugees didn’t stop there and went farther along to Denmark or even Sweden. Let’s not forget that most of them didn’t have enough food or water to last them a week.

When you’re bugging out, you only eat what you can carry. After that, you need to find ways to hunt, fish, forage, or get food from someone else. You’ll also need the knowledge to cook it.

Plus, a bug out location means you have to invest in getting the land as well as into a survival retreat to keep you safe. You’ll also want to split your stockpile between your home and BOL. Because, as I said at the beginning of this article, you never absolutely know for certain if you’ll be bugging in or out until SHTF.

Now, Let’s Compare This With Bug-In Situations

All you technically have to do is stay inside your home and protect it. You’ve should have your food and water stockpiled. A good stock should last you for months, even years without having to go outside the house even once. You might even have some board games to keep you entertained.

Bugging out is a lot harder to plan for, and I think it’s the main reason people don’t like it. Most preppers stockpile and prefer bugging in because it’s easy and takes less skill and skills are harder to master.

Many preppers are unfit and even overweight because diet + exercise is the only way to get into shape, which is hard. Even though it’s clear that SHTF situations will require strength, stamina, and flexibility.

People tend to prefer planning for the things that seem easy because they think bugging in or out is a choice. It’s not a choice (at least not one that you can make now) because no one knows how SHTF will unfold.

If you want to prepare for one more than for the other, be my guest, but please don’t ignore bugging out simply because it seems too hard.

P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?

There are a lot of natural nuclear shelters in the US that are absolutely free. And one of them is near your home.

Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.
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