Survival Skills: To Bug In or Bug Out

No topic is proving to be as contentious in the prepper and survival community as the choice to bug in or bug out. Most people often assume it’s better to bug out, but the reality is that the situation at hand should determine one’s choice. 

The key aspect in determining how well an individual survives bad situations is their ability to understand the problem and act accordingly since the choices aren’t always clear-cut. So, do not fall into one camp before considering the numerous factors that determine if you should go or stay.

Here is an overview that illustrates the primary differences between bugging out and bugging in and the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision. 

What’s Bug In?

Preppers often use this term to refer to the time when you opt to face impending dangers from your home. Bugging in refers to sheltering-in-place.  Normally, facing danger from a well-stocked and secured home outweighs leaving by far unless the current situation demands that you vacate.

Remember, there is no wrong or correct answer, so you have to decide depending on the circumstances and personal obligations. For instance, you may bug in if:

  • You reside in a rural area, or your home is fully defended and stocked.
  • You have the means to live self-sufficiently (have plenty of food, water, and energy).
  • You have small kids, or unborn children, or an elderly person.
  • You don’t have a safe haven out there.
  • You lack good wilderness skills.

Pros of Bugging In

Better Protection

Bugging in lets you continue living in the safety and comfort of your residence. Since you know your house better than anyone, you will have the advantage. Besides, you will have a better chance of surviving threats from your home because you can anticipate potential dangers in advance and plan how to improve your home’s self-efficiency to have control in your environment.

Adequate Resources

Another reason for riding out threats from home is the availability of resources. You’ll have more supplies at hand like clean water, food, warm clothing, tools, and power. Surviving in such an environment is easier since you have shelter and can plan before your other resources get depleted.

For instance, you can plan how to harvest rainwater, dig a well, or grow food in the garden. Also, you can store your firearms and ammunition in a safe place so you can quickly access them during an emergency.

Less Mobile Loved One’s Will Not Suffer

When you bug out, you have to leave your home to find new resources elsewhere. This task isn’t as easy as you might think if you have young children, a pregnant loved one, a disabled person, or an elderly person. The best option is to create a safe space that is adequate for the entire family so they don’t face a tough life out there.

Cons of Bugging In

Poor Shelter Location

While hunkering down in your house may be the best way to survive most situations, things can become complex if the shelter is established in a poor location. For instance, choosing to stay in your city home isn’t recommended in a situation of civil unrest. 

Besides, the resources you relied on could quickly run out if you don’t have a good plan, meaning your loved ones will suffer. So unless your home has access to outdoor resources like a river, firewood, or a space to grow your food, it might be better to bug out. 

Dealing with Unprepared Loved Ones

Most family members and friends aren’t usually ready to deal with any form of emergency. Some don’t bother to stock up on food or other essential supplies in advance, so they’ll knock on your door to ask for help. If you share the supplies you had kept for your family, you will have nothing much left for yourself, and surviving won’t be easy.

What’s Bug Out?

This term refers to the time when individuals choose to evacuate their homes fast due to a dangerous situation. You can opt to go live in the wilderness, visit a designated shelter, go to a relative’s home in the country, or a cabin you built in an isolated area.

People often bug out due to impending natural disasters (like volcanos, earthquakes, landslides, wildfire, flooding), war, civil unrest, or nuclear war. But before you bug out, you have to ensure you’re making the best decision. Some key considerations you shouldn’t overlook include:

  • Having a reliable vehicle to facilitate the bug-out process.
  • Determining if you and your loved ones are physically healthy to bug out and survive at your destination.
  • Checking how many people in your team have wilderness survival skills.
  • Finding out if your target location is heavily populated.
  • Verifying if you can leave your home without being stuck in traffic or a stampede of panic.

Pros of Bugging Out

Avoid Imminent Danger

If a situation like a natural disaster is putting your family at risk, you will avoid the imminent danger when you bug out. In such situations, homes can be badly damaged or destroyed, so you might not ride out the situation when you stay, even if you have outstanding survival skills. 

So don’t hesitate to leave when the authorities urge you to evacuate because both the timing and your life are critical. Besides, you don’t want to be left stranded in traffic later on or put your loved ones in harm’s way.

Can Find an Ideal Survival Location

When an emergency strikes, the authorities may provide ideal places for the victims. Take advantage of this opportunity as early as you can because everyone will try to get assistance. Another option would be to hide in the wilderness, especially if you’re being attacked. This lets you respond to the changing environment or events fast.

Won’t be an Easy Target for Looters

Since you are carrying your supplies and most vital possessions while on the move, you won’t be a target for looters. Nonetheless, you have to keep moving and avoid staying in densely populated areas until you get to your destination to avoid pointless confrontations.

Cons of Bugging Out

You Must Have Survival Skills

Leaving your home to go to the wilderness or countryside isn’t always easy. Chances are you will have limited supplies and have to hunt to feed. You will also need to build a shelter, keep warm and respond to any wilderness emergencies. The only way to stay safe and alive is to have high-level survival skills.

No Defense Structures

Since you are on the move, it will be hard to build defense structures to enhance your security. This will make you an easier target for hostiles and predators, and that’s why it’s advisable to carry a weapon you can use to defend yourself or your loved ones. Once you camp, you can build defensive structures fast.

Now that you know the basics, it shouldn’t be challenging to make a smart decision depending on your situation. Remember, bugging in and bugging out are both ideal solutions for riding out disasters, so don’t favor one option over another unless it’s necessary.

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