Should You Bug In or Bug Out? What to Know

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If over the years you’ve become an established prepper that’s taken the precautionary measures of gathering supplies while learning critical survival skills, you’re already way ahead of most Americans. Maybe you’ve taken it a step further by preparing a bug-out location that your family can escape to if the desperate situation calls for it? Let’s talk about whether you should bug in or bug out?

No one ever wants to imagine having to abandon their home, but there may come a day that you’re left with no choice. But there are also situations where bugging-out may not be the right choice. So how do you know whether to stay put or head for the hills? Here’s more on whether you should bug-in or bug-out following an emergency and what you need to know. 

“Prepare Your Family For Survival” by Linda Loosli

Flashlights and Batteries

Goal Lanterns

In case you missed this post, 15 Reasons Why You Do Not Want To Bug Out  

Benefits of Bugging In


For starters, bugging-in allows you to continue living in the comfort and safety of your own home. You know your home better than anyone: it’s strengths and weaknesses, which gives you the home advantage. Riding out the threat inside the confines of your home brings you the best chances of survival. 


Another valuable and priceless asset that bugging-in brings, is that you would have so many more resources at your disposal. You’ll have exponentially more supplies on-hand, such as stockpiled food and water, along with tools and even proper sanitation. Not to mention a shelter that you wouldn’t have to take with you everywhere you went. Bugging in also allows you to continue growing and harvesting produce from your own garden, if you’ve planned ahead and planted one.  

Safety In Numbers

Choosing to bug-in gives you safety in numbers, something that you wouldn’t have if your family were to go off on their own. There would be a community of friends, family, and neighbors who have various skills and strengths that could work for everyone’s benefit. There’s sure to be someone fairly close by who has a medical background and can assist you if you were to get sick or badly injured.    

Read More of My Articles  15 Reasons Why You Do Not Want To Bug Out

Benefits of Bugging Out 

Removes You From Imminent Danger

A natural disaster may put you in a position where you’re forced to evacuate your home. Unfortunate circumstances may prove so serious that you’ll be left with no choice but to bug-out. If your home was destroyed or badly damaged by a tornado or an earthquake are good examples. On the bright side, there’s typically aid and help available to you for recovery following a natural disaster.  

Or maybe your area is preparing for an oncoming hurricane, flooding, or an out-of-control wildfire? Making the decision to bug out is the correct course of action in these situations. If authorities are urging you and other residents to evacuate, don’t hesitate or blow them off. Timing is critical. Waiting too long can put your family in harm’s way or left stranded in stand-still traffic out on the highway.   

Better Location

If you are living in a highly-populated city when an emergency strikes, there’s sure to be plenty of chaos, along with possible looting as people begin fighting over very limited resources. Making the quick decision to get out promptly and head to your bug-out location that’s further out in the suburbs or countryside will certainly be a safer bet for you.      

Drawbacks to Bugging In

Unprepared Family and Friends

Most people simply aren’t prepared for any type of emergency. They simply didn’t stock up on food and supplies ahead of time. If your family and friends know that you hold a decent supply of resources, they’re sure to come knocking. Those supplies that you intended for your family will dwindle to nothing much sooner if you’re having to care for a larger community. 

Poor Location

Bunkering down in your home after SHTF may seem like the best way to go in most situations, but not if it’s a bad location. As mentioned earlier, living in the city is not the place to be following an emergency that causes civil unrest. 

There may come a point where your supplies and resources that you’ve gathered may not be enough. Does your bug-in location have outdoor resources, such as a river for drinking water, or a wooded area for firewood? Is there any wildlife that you could hunt to provide food for your family or enough backyard to grow a garden? If not, bugging-in may not be a good option.      

Read More of My Articles  A Recession is Coming! Are You Prepared? 7 Easy Ways to Prepare

Drawbacks to Bugging Out

Weather Conditions

Chances are, an emergency isn’t going to wait around to present itself on a day that promises you beautiful sunshiny weather. There’s the possibility that you’ll need to take flight during a winter snowstorm, an unforgiving heatwave, or a flood prompting rainstorm. Are you prepared to sleep out on the frozen ground at night? You’ll have to take these harsh weather conditions into account as you make preparations before you set out.

Your Bug-Out Location Isn’t So Secret

Putting all your eggs in one basket can be dangerous when relying on a bug-out location to sustain you. Setting out on foot already puts your family in a vulnerable situation, but what happens if you arrive at your bug-out location and find that it’s already been occupied? Where will you go then? Pouring all of your resources and supplies into that one location may come back to haunt you.  

Too Many Uncertainties

Having to live as a refugee in a different environment with very few resources is sure to cause an insurmountable amount of stress when you’re faced with so many unknowns. Especially when you begin to run low on supplies or realize that your current bug-out location is no longer deemed safe. 

Having to worry about the next place your family will rest for the night or where you will find your next meal and clean water can make you desperate. Once you’ve become desperate, that’s when you’re more susceptible to making deadly mistakes. 

Requires Survival Skills

Bugging out will prove that much harder to do for those who lack basic survival skills, and most people don’t have them. Not only will you need these skills to survive, but you may also need to be at a higher level of fitness to perform certain difficult tasks.     

Final Word

Bugging out should always be your last resort when you’re facing an emergency, but there may come a time that your home no longer offers your family comfort and security and forces your hand. 

Determining whether to bug in or bug out has a lot to do with the emergency you are facing, your family circumstances, along with any useful information you’ve been given ahead of time. Making wise decisions on a timely basis that prove best for you and your family will be critical. May God Bless this world, Linda.

Copyright Images: Grey Craftsman House Deposit photos_9583334_s-2019

15 thoughts on “Should You Bug In or Bug Out? What to Know

  • October 31, 2020 at 7:59 am

    You must plan on the “unprepared” not just those who don’t but it is very possible someone in your group could lose everything in route or before.
    Fire, tornado, flood or ambush.
    I’ll not turn them away because of it. This is why we have somewhat standardized equipment, shoot together, train together and work together so we all know each other and what we’ve got. In fact mine is coming today to help me clean up from the ice storm. We will see chain saws and abilities today. We will have extra firewood too for the next bug in.
    Great article and spot on Linda.

    • October 31, 2020 at 8:12 am

      Hi Matt, thanks for your kind words. I always love hearing about your team, it inspires me and others. I’m so glad you have people coming to clear the trees. Ice storms are brutal. Stay safe, my friend, you are on the front line, we thank you for your service. Linda

  • October 31, 2020 at 8:38 am

    I sincerely hope your readers pay attention to all the pros and cons you so ably stated. I am so glad I live rural because if I still lived inner city, I’d be worried, maybe checking on rural property my son’s dad owns as an alternative but there’d be No supplies at any of them. Possibly neighbors would think I’m a squatter/intruder. I would have had to outfit these places already and it’s hard enough to make sure I have enough extra in my own home. A wierd thought popped into my head: when I lived inner city, we found that my yard soil was contaminated by lead from when cars ran on leaded gas. I replaced 12 inches of topsoil in the front yard where my youngest played, then never allowed him to play in backyard. In spite of the Very Clear Disclosure about this on property sale, the young people promptly planted a huge garden there. If a city person thinks they will ever plant a garden, especially if they think they may have to, it’s not too late to have your soil tested. If it comes back contaminated, take the time Now to set up raised beds. Just a wierd thought…

    • October 31, 2020 at 9:18 am

      Hi Wendy, WOW WOW WOW! I never knew this about the soil and cars with leaded gas!!! I know when I was a realtor we had to disclose the soil test for new homes. But never was I ever taught about the lead in the soil. Wow! I have raised garden beds because I don’t want to lean over. I will not bug out, I have everything I need here. But I do not live in a major city either. God bless our country during the next few weeks or months. Stay safe, Linda

  • October 31, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Being in a rural housing area on two acres, it would be an extreme last resort for us to bug out. Unfortunately, because it is so rocky here in the Texas Hill Country, a garden is basically impossible. We have thought about raised beds, but have just not gotten around to it. We will probably soon have a truckload of good soil hauled in and stockpile it until we can prepare the raised beds. We only have a couple of neighbors who are very loosely considered prepared slightly. We also have friends about six miles away that have 30 acres of somewhat bottom land with a continuous spring. They have a small garden that we could expand if need. If push came to shove, we could load a lot of our preps and bug out there for a while. But, that is about as far as we would go. They also have a loosely formed group who we are acquainted with and who will accept us if it comes to that. Hopefully, we will be able to stay here where we have all our supplies, tools, food and defensive tools.

    • October 31, 2020 at 10:44 am

      Hi Harry, I would love to have two acres, but we will be here for a few more years. Mark and I will not bug out, the closest city that I worry about is Las Vegas, Nevada. I grew up there and it’s so different now. I picture them having major riots, but they are 1-1/2 hours away. I tried to teach classes in my home 8-9 years ago but very few were interested in the neighborhood. They didn’t see the need that I do. So that’s when I started my blog to teach the world. So Mark and I will most likely be on our own. You are blessed to have options if it comes to that. Stay safe, my friend, Linda

    • October 31, 2020 at 2:43 pm

      I used concrete blocks for my raised beds. Great because I could move around any time I wanted to.
      And, positioned just right, the holes in blocks were for marigolds.

  • October 31, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    Like Jayjay, I have also used concrete blocks for raised beds one year and then measured the harvest. I was very careful to do a layered soil using instructions on lasagna gardening. This was a small space 2 blocks wide and 7 blocks long. We planted 3 tomato plants and the harvest was 109 lbs. of delicious tomatoes. So Harry the Texas Patriot might also think about concrete blocks to start a raised bed garden. Linda, I also do raised beds because of having difficulty bending over. Growing to me is an essential skill when you will not be able to buy fresh produce. I live in a community where the backyards aren’t big but I try to make it productive. Salad greens, beets, green onions, tomatoes, peas and beans are grown. We (in our 70’s) will bug in. My husband has dementia and our medications are a big concern. We also have a mini Aussie dog.
    This week, I had an unplanned event/emergency. When I went to an appointment at a new PC doctor, he informed me that my heartbeat was 175, not my usual 71. So here I was with my husband who can’t drive at the ER and was admitted for an overnight stay for additional testing. We began calling neighbors who came through with a ride home for my husband and back the next day. The ER administered the drug that got my heart rhythm straightened out and I came home with medication and added a cardiologist to my healthcare team. I had NO WARNING. It helped me see the importance of neighbors willing to help out can be. So thankful for life today!

    • October 31, 2020 at 3:52 pm

      Hi Carol, oh my gosh what a week for you! I like your idea of the blocks for a raised garden. I bought seven 4 foot by 4 foot by 18-inches deep boxes. They sure take a lot of soil, more than you would guess. I paid a college student to put them together and haul the bags of soil to my back yard which is only .16 of an acre as in tiny for my entire lot. What a blessing to have young men who want to work and earn money. Do you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol? What causes a heartbeat to be that high?? Oh my gosh. I will be praying for you, take care, Linda

    • October 31, 2020 at 4:07 pm

      Please take care of your health. My husband has had a heart condition for 40 years. I envy Matt and his extensive knowledge. I miss the neighbors we had for 30 years. We are lucky that our son is only 5 minutes away…… or as my grandson said, 3 minutes if Daddy is driving……. We are fortunate to be far enough from the city to feel reasonable safe, and my son has more than 15 acres with a creek. We have been here 4 years, and while our neighbors are nice enough, we don’t know them that well. Our daughter and her husband are 15 minutes away and would take us in if safety was an issue. I think our kids know enough about what is going on, and who is in charge, to let us know of any danger. I hate thinking and feeling this way.

    • November 1, 2020 at 11:02 am

      Carol, my husband and I can totally relate to your issue! Last year, he went to his PCP for a cough-and was in rapid Afib, almost 200bpm. He landed in the hospital and was there for 5 days. They tried to convert him but it didn’t work so he was put on tons of meds for almost a month before an ablation procedure got him back in sinus rhythm. We also had No Warning! My husband was 66 at the time and in good health other than slightly elevated blood sugar. We are alone except for our adult handicapped daughter who lives with us (she’s 48, doesn’t drive, and is recovering from breast cancer) and another daughter who thankfully lives close by. Gkids and great gkids are all living their lives. We know our neighbors but not that well and couldn’t rely on them. Life is fragile, that’s fer sure…take care of yourself!

  • October 31, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    Linda, thanks for your comment and prayers. No high blood pressure. Cholesterol is very controlled with drug. The cardiologist will be trying to figure out what caused it. He told me that with the heart suddenly beating that fast that it causes the blood to pool in the heart and coagulate. Then a clot can separate and go directly to the brain for a stroke. With no warning symptoms, it is a dangerous type of AFIB. It is all so new and I will be learning along the way. So sometimes, like the COVID pandemic, it comes out of the blue, totally unexpected.

    • October 31, 2020 at 6:57 pm

      Hi Carol, I will continue to pray for your health, when we were young we didn’t have a care in the world. Wow, has that changed!! We must have positive thoughts and that’s very hard right now. I have to turn off the news and all the negative campaign ads. I have to watch a funny movie or call a happy friend just to hear a voice. Stay well, we will get through this. Linda

  • November 1, 2020 at 11:07 am

    Wonderful article, Linda! My husband and I (68 and 65) will always try to bug in. We’re just too old with too many issues to bug out. Besides, we literally have nowhere to go. We will try everything we can to stay home but still, we do have out bug out bags, etc. We live rural on 1/3 acre but there isn’t good soil to grow and definitely not enough good weather. We get late freezes and early frosts every year, enough to ruin gardens. I’ve tried numerous times, different ideas, areas, plants, etc. and it’s just useless. The only thing I can grow are fruits from trees, peaches, apricots, cherries and apples. That’s all I can get so hopefully if SHTF I can barter. I’ve completely gone through my pantry and cleaned it up, threw away dated stuff and reorganized (thank you The Home Edit!) and have started on my basement. Still, I think as long as we can stay in our home, we’ll do pretty good…as long as that neighbor doesn’t sneak off with my firewood anymore! LOL I know we have several areas that need improvement and I’m working on them as I can. I read each and every one of your articles and while I know a fair amount of things, I always, always come away with more tidbits and knowledge to help me. I can’t understand why more people don’t prepare. You don’t have to be a fanatic about it; just basic, common sense. Aha! therein lies the conundrum-people don’t have common sense…it’s definitely a learned trait, IMO.

    As always, Linda, keep up the good work!

    • November 1, 2020 at 11:27 am

      Hi Robbie, I agree, I do not know why people do not prepare. I try to write things to remind people to think about preparing. In other words, make a way of life. Mark and I will not be bugging out unless an earthquake hits our home. Some people never learned commonsense. Thank you for your kind words, Linda


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