Anyone who wants to be prepared for when SHTF needs to address this question: should you bug in or bug out when SHTF?
There’s no easy answer to this question because it depends on your circumstances and the nature and severity of the SHTF scenario.
Rather than give you a single answer that might not be right in every situation, I’m going to show you the pros and cons of each and how to know when you should bug in or bug out.
Pros and Cons of Bugging In
The biggest benefit of bugging in is that you don’t have to risk traveling anywhere. If you’re at home, then you’re already exactly where you need to be when SHTF. That means there’s no risk of getting stuck in traffic or being attacked by anyone.
And since this is where you’re going to be bugging in, you’re already going to have lots of supplies stocked up to last you a reasonably long time.
The drawback to bugging in is that it’s not sustainable. When you bug in, you’re assuming that things will return to normal at some point and that your supplies will last until then. But if things never return to normal, where will you get food and water after your supplies run out?
Plus, if the situation continues long enough, you might have to deal with the hordes of unprepared masses who are desperate to get what they need even if they have to break into your home or kill to get it.
Pros and Cons of Bugging Out
There are two big benefits to bugging out: you’re isolated from most people and you’ll be able to live a sustainable life for the foreseeable future.
If you bug out to a remote location, you can grow your own food, source your own water, and harvest natural resources from the outdoors.
However, there are some drawbacks to bugging out.
First, you need to be able to get to your bug-out location safely. A good bug-out location will be a good distance away from the city, but that means it’ll take longer to get there and more things can go wrong.
The other problem you might have with bugging out is that it’s an extra expense that you might not be able to afford. Having a bug-out location is basically like owning a second home, which many people can’t afford or maintain.
If you simply can’t afford a bug-out location, then you’ll have to bug in. Still, there are ways to buy a cheap property that most people can afford even without having a big income. Check out this post to see if you can afford a cheap bug-out location.
How to Make the Right Choice
Now that we’re clear on the pros and cons of each, it should be easier to decide which is the right choice for certain SHTF situations.
First, let’s make one thing clear…you might not even have a choice. If the SHTF event is a hurricane, flood, or a fire, you’re going to have to bug out whether you want to or not.
But now let’s imagine that you do have a choice…what now?
Quickly get informed about what happened. Was it an EMP? Riots that went out of control? A pandemic? Find out what happened so you can make an informed decision.
The biggest factor you need to consider is time. Think about how long it will be before things go back to normal…if ever.
If it’s not going to be that long, it’s probably not worth the risk of traveling to your bug-out location.
For example, riots will die down eventually, so you can safely bug in, but there’s no recovering from an EMP attack, so bugging out is the best choice there.
Also, consider what other people are doing in response to the SHTF situation. Are they panicking and fleeing, or are they waiting around in disbelief?
If they’re still waiting around, you have a good opportunity to bug out without much resistance. But if everyone is fleeing, you can bug in for a few days and wait for things to die down before bugging out.
I understand that some of you might not be physically capable of bugging out and that bugging in is your only choice. In that case, you’ll either need to stock up even more supplies or try to get your neighbors on board with prepping so you can rely on a small group of like-minded people for support.