Bug out vs bug in – those are your two options if SHTF.
With the recent political chaos, terrorism, and economic tension all around the world, this question has proved to be the most divisive on many survival and prepper forums. As a survivalist or a prepper, you must be very interested to know what’s the way to go.
Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong decision. Every situation is different, but I will give you the guidelines to choose the right option for you.
By definition, Bugging Out is packing up your supplies and leaving your home to another safer location. A typical bugging out example is when people are forced out of their residential area due to natural disasters like floods or hurricanes. Such disasters are reasons why FEMA recommends that you always have a bug-out bag with the necessary supplies that will keep you alive for up to 72 hours.
Bugging In (or hunkering down)
Bugging in, on the other hand, is staying put in the comfort of your home with enough supplies that will last you for days to come. You may not know the lurking dangers outside, so bugging in might just be the right choice. Or is it?
Bugging in vs bugging out
Regardless of the type of disaster that hits you, the decision to bug in or bug out may be forced upon a number of factors. Before you make a decision, here are some important factors you have to look into:
1. The Threat
The situation at hand can greatly affect the decision on whether to bug in or bug out.
If there is an economic recession or a civil war, look at how intense the situation is. If the problem escalates, it may be a good idea to bug out.
Also, check the current weather conditions. You wouldn’t want to bug out with 12 inches of snow outside, would you?
Before deciding on leaving your home, ensure that you have the necessary tools and weapons to protect yourself. If you can’t defend yourself outside, let your home be your safe haven and stay put.
2. Your Location
Your decision will also depend on where you live.
Whether you are in the city or the suburbs, you may decide to bug in only if you have enough supplies to last you for days. Otherwise, it’s always a good idea to bug out if your area is severely affected by the crisis.
Moreover, consider other factors such as water supply, power, transportation to your bug out destination, and whether or not you’ll be able to arrive safely.
3. Your Fitness
If you know you are not physically fit, staying put at home may work better for you.
Bugging out may seem like the best option until you run out of water and food. It is no easy task and may require some endurance and survival tactics. You could end up walking for miles!
But, if you believe that you are fit and have the necessary survival skills, then it may be a good idea to bug out. If not, just bug in. You might have better chances of survival at home.
4. Your Family
Let’s not forget that our families are our number one priority in case of a disaster.
If you have children who are old enough to travel for long distances, you may consider bugging out. But, if they are too young to handle the pressure or have some special needs, have them stay at home with you.
Also, consider how long the crisis may take. Sometimes even healthy children can have a hard time coping with bugging out conditions if it lasts for long.
In situations where your wife is pregnant, or you have elderly parents who are not fit to travel, you may decide on hunkering down. Bugging out may be strenuous to them, and you may even fail to reach your destination.
Do you have pets that are part of the family? Some pets such as dogs can sense danger quickly, and they may be useful in bugging out situations. So, it is a good idea to carry them along with you if you decide on leaving your home.
5. The Destination
You should prepare in advance and have a bug out plan ready in case you ever need it. You should know exactly where you would go, how would you get there and how would you survive, if it ever came to that point.
So, if you don’t have any set location to evacuate, or if you don’t have the necessary skills to survive in the wilderness (like finding shelter or starting a fire), it may be a good idea to not adventure outside.
Moreover, if you have some kind of fortified house that will protect you from outside threats, with enough supplies to last you a long time, it would be the best option to stay put and wait for things to get better if the threat type allows it.
The decision to bug out or bug in will depend on the above factors that you will have to assimilate and perceive in the shortest time possible. More importantly, be in the know of what situations might arise in the future and familiarize yourself with their indicators.
Whatever the type of disaster, try not to panic. Panicking will only deter you from making proper decisions. Keep calm and carefully scrutinize the events as they come.
The bottom line is, you should prepare in advance for both scenarios. Bugging in should be the best option for most people and situations, but you must have a bug out plan in place if you want to survive any type of threat. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.