Considerations to Bugging Out When SHTF

Suppose SHTF, and the city is turning into a hell hole. It’s the disaster of the century and you happen to be stuck right in the middle it. Looting is rampant, the infrastructure has entirely collapsed and supplies are running low. You see violence picking up as people start to fight over resources. You figure there’s a way out so you find a way to safely get past the gang led roadblocks. So you steal a nice 4×4 and you siphon enough gas to make it 100 miles out of the city. This is what a survivalist calls “Bugging Out”.

Bugging Out When SHTF

Problems with Bugging Out

Being the prepared survivalist that you are, you’ll want to have a BoB (bug out bag) and a BoV (bug out vehicle) stocked and ready “just in case”. Bugging out has it’s advantages depending on the situation but it also comes with major risks and problems that you’ll want to keep in mind before you depart. Some of the problems you may face include:

  • You’re limited by how much you can carry.
  • You can only go as far as your fuel can take you.
  • You risk encountering riots, roadblocks, random violence and gridlocked streets.
  • Your house will be ransacked and looted while you’re gone.
  • Your vehicle may not be up to the task of driving long distances and may be faced with a mechanical breakdown.
  • Unless you know absolutely where a retreat can be found you may be driving a long time before you find a safe place.
  • You’ll have to survive in an unfamiliar environment.

Unless you have a survival retreat or know of a safe place that hasn’t been affected by the disaster, I would advise against bugging out. “Heading for the hills” is not much of a plan and you’ll probably end up with more problems then you’d like. If on the other hand you have friends or family and they’re ready, prepared and willing to accept you… then your safest bet is to leave with the pedal to the metal. Some Ideas to Keep in Mind:

  • Don’t even think about bugging out in a Geo or some other pathetic vehicle. Get a nice big and powerful 4×4 pick-up truck so that you can go off-road, over fallen debris and around stalled or damaged vehicles.
  • You’ll want something big and powerful, good enough to carry at least 1000 pounds of supplies. You’ll need a lot of fuel to carry that much weight so carry that fuel as cargo.
  • If you’ve decided to bug out right away, things should still be relatively non-violent. If it’s several weeks into the disaster, prepare to encounter violence along the ride. Have an armed passenger in case you run into trouble.
  • If you have a survivalist team, plan a location and route and travel together as a convoy. Everyone should agree to leave, don’t leave anyone behind.

What to Take

What you take largely depends on where you’re going. Are you heading for the woods? Are you heading for another city or town? The supply list will vary for each person and I suggest making several to account for different environments. You should bring as much you can, don’t waste any space. Regardless of where you’re going, there are a few must have items to bring along such as:

  • Any essential medicine
  • A weeks worth of non-perishable food for each person.
  • Can opener
  • 20 gallons water
  • Water filters or water purification tablets
  • Cooking utensils and pots, cups,
  • Firearms with appropriate ammo
  • survival, and first aid books
  • Crowbar, axe and shovel
  • High quality survival knife
  • Tarp
  • 50+ feet of nylon cord
  • Garbage bags
  • Several rolls of duct tape
  • Several changes of appropriate clothing
  • Sleeping bag, or blanket
  • First aid kit
  • Sanitizer wipes, soap or bleach.
  • Map and compass
  • 40 gallons of extra fuel or more (and a full gas tank)

Where to go

As previously mentioned, you should have a designated place of refuge (family, friends house or survival retreat). If for some reason you don’t have a designated location, head for an area that’s forested away from the city and is near a creek or river so that you have access to water. If the wilderness is not an option, you’ll need to find a city or town that hasn’t been affected by the disaster and hope that they’ll accept refugees.