Five Tips for Choosing and Preparing Your Bug Out Locations
by Sarah Rose Miller
What will you do if we “fall” off the fiscal cliff, sending us back into a recession and leading, perhaps, to economic collapse? Or what if the swine flu mutates to become more deadly this winter? Are you prepared to deal with a biological or chemical terrorist attack, something that could throw society into chaos?
If any of these scenarios has you furrowing your forehead, worry no more. I have the solution. What you need is a “bug out location”—a rural safe house that you can escape to when, for whatever reason, city living grows dangerous.
While stocking up on supplies in your basement may prepare you to live out a blizzard or tornado, having a place out in the country to retreat to can come in handy when the going gets tough in urban areas. But what if you don’t have a cabin up north or a bunker in Montana yet? Here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping for and preparing your own bug out location, gleaned from members of the American Preppers Network in a perusal of their online public forum.
1. Far, But Not Too Far
You’ll need to acquire property far enough away from any city that hordes of desperate city-dwellers won’t come rampaging through the area and find your secret spot, but not so far that you won’t be able to realistically get there. The paradox is, you want to be able to reach your spot without too much trouble, but you don’t want many others to do the same. APN member “timmy” puts the magic distance as 10 to 12 miles away from any town with a population of more than 5,000.
2. Hide Your Shelter
Whether you build a house, put up a log cabin, or just park a reclaimed school bus on your property, make sure that it can’t be seen from the road. Lead up to your shelter with a “long and winding road” just like in the Beatles song. Utilize trees to block your building and driveway from view, “Rod” advises.
3. Have a Source of Water
Water is life. When you’re thinking about your survival, remember this popular rule of threes: you can survive three minutes without oxygen, three days without water, and three weeks without food. No matter how great your location is, how well-built your shelter, how perfect your camouflaging techniques, you won’t last long without water. “A well on your own property is a dream-come-true,” writes “cnote2012.” Wells can be pricey to drill though, cnote2012 cautions. “Where I am a well will run anywhere from $3500-7500, so it’s not cheap.” Also, you’ll need a good filter to go along with it.
4. Stock Supplies Here, There, and Everywhere
While you may already be filling your home basement with canned and freeze dried goods, don’t forget to do the same at you bug out location. If you’re running from societal chaos or a deadly pandemic, you probably aren’t going to have time to ferry all your goods from home to your BOL. But what if somebody else discovers your location and raids your supplies? “Cache supplies in multiple locations, so if someone gets there before you and finds some, they may not find it all,” advises “dogboy.”
If you’re a beginning prepper and you’re not sure what sorts of supplies to stock, go check out bestselling author James Rawles’ survival blog and download his “list of lists.” This monster list (composed of 30 separate lists) will be enough to occupy you for years to come—let’s hope disaster can wait that long.
5. But Supplies Run Out…
Some disasters might drive you out of town for a short time only, and your stocked items will be enough to sustain you until you return to the comfort of home and civilization. But if an extreme scenario forces you to relocate permanently to your BOL, you’ll need sustainable…well, sustenance. Think gardening, farming, foraging and hunting. If you’re a vegetarian, like I am, you may want to focus most on the gardening. “Gunn” recommends keeping to the southern part of Minnesota, where the growing season is longer. “I prefer a mix of open and forested land,” writes “Grendel_0112.” “[O]pen for gardening and forested for wood.” If you’re a voracious carnivore, the forests of northern Minnesota may be more to your liking for hunting, though many preppers caution that if a large societal collapse occurs, game will soon disappear from even the most wild of areas. “timmy” writes, “Plan on raising rabbits for meat, chickens for eggs and meat, and goats for milk and meat, throw in a couple llamas to keep the coyotes away!”
There you have it—from lists to llamas, and you’re on your way! Enjoy the journey.