Choosing and Preparing a Bug Out Location

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    When it comes to prepping, there are bases you need to have covered. You've painstakingly packed your BOB, utilizing every ounce of space to fill a specific need. Your vehicle has been outfitted for survival travel and packed with necessities. Fortifications have been made to your home, which you've also thoroughly stocked with provisions to get you through. All of this sounds well and good, but what if the unexpected happens?

    Having a bug out location is yet another essential part of survival. In a day and age when it can be tough to afford excess property other than your main residence, you may be planning to rely on your home as a place to hole up and ride out the tides of change. While this would be ideal, such an option is not promised, and you may be forced to seek refuge elsewhere. In this event, where will you go?

    Photo: Vanguard Survival

    Having a secondary property does not necessarily matter if you are unable to get there for whatever reason. It is also entirely possible that your secondary location may take a hit before your home does. Because of such possibilities, it is wise to have a few different places with the potential for setting up camp. You have to remember, however, that others may find themselves in the same boat, so competition for prime survival real estate can become a reality. Networking with family, friends, and other preppers is a good start; you can extend the offer to host someone in exchange for their willingness to host you. This will give you both an additional safe haven, and including more preppers will expand possible options. Be sure not to over extend yourself in doing this, but prepare to honor every offer you extend because all too easily the shoe could be on the other foot, and should that happen you do not want another prepper's offer rescinded.

    If you do not have a prepper network or friends and family nearby, it is possible that the wilderness can provide places for temporary shelter as can abandoned or derelict buildings. Scout your area and those nearby for potential locations, spending some time out and about seeing for yourself what you might be able to find. Consult maps as well to familiarize yourself with places and roads or trails you might not have travelled previously, as it is imperative that you are as familiar as possible with routes should your planned roads become impassable. Use this process to find potential failure points as well, such as points where other people are likely to congregate and where a bottleneck might form. Plan for as many means of travel as possible, such as vehicle travel or having to move about by bike or on foot, as you never know when your primary mode of travel will have to change.

    Photo: Bug Out Survival

    Once you've nailed down the places to which you can possibly escape, start making plans to ferry supplies to those locations. Every little bit helps, so the more you are able to access, the better off you will be. It will also prove helpful to have provisions available at various points in your route, should you need to refresh your supplies, or even yourself. This will need to be hidden, of course, as well as inaccessible by animals and weather. This means primary storage made of wood or plastic are out, but a good option is metal, such as ammo cans wrapped in plastic and buried or otherwise secured.

    Any location that you choose as a potential bug out location will require some maintenance and upkeep, whether you own it or not. This means keeping the path to and from clear enough to traverse, but still hidden from anyone else who might come along. Just as you would at home, stock will need to be rotated periodically to keep expiration dates at bay. Upkeep may be a lot of work, but it is work that will pay off when TEOTWAWKI strikes. In addition to keeping supplies fresh, it is vital that you keep your mind fresh with knowledge of all available routes by trekking them seasonally and bringing family members along to learn their own way should you get separated when the SHTF.

    Photo: Doomstead Diner

    What is on your bug out to do list? Have you scouted potential locations? Do you have any tips you'd like to add to aid in bug out location selection? Let us know in the comments.

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