In case you don’t know what a bug out location (or BOL, for short) is, it’s a place you can run to, hide in or even live on for an undetermined amount of time in case of an emergency. War, chemical attacks, EMP, hurricanes, Martial Law, these can all force you to abandon your home and find shelter and safety somewhere else.
Though many preppers see themselves bugging in in case of an emergency, bug out scenarios are just as important and should never be disregarded. Many need to put more thought into what they’ll be doing when they’re out there on the run. The migrant crisis in Europe, the biggest mass bug out in recent history has taught us valuable lessons.
Now, most preppers have a bug out location somewhere 30 to 100 miles away. They purchased some land or maybe they inherited it from their parents and grandparents. Maybe they went ahead and build a cabin or even a house and started to store gear and supplies inside.
The only problem is, them safely getting there is not 100% guaranteed. The only certainty in emergency situations is uncertainty, that’s why we should always follow the old saying: two is one, one is none.
Here’s a crazy thought: how about having multiple bug out locations? As you’re about to see, you don’t have to pay dozens of thousands of dollars for each and then build a cabin. Not all bug out locations need to be permanent; the main requirement is that they offer you shelter until you’re ready to move to a more permanent place.
The bug out location basics are straightforward: you need a place that’s low key to protect you from the elements as well as uninvited guests. It has to:
- be low key,
- have good visibility so you have plenty of time to prepare in case someone or something is getting close,
- have one or several ways out in case someone finds you and comes after you
- ...and ideally be located in a mountain area, although that’s not a requirement for all BOLs, as you’re about to see.
Of course, a more permanent retreat is going to need a few “extras”, such as:
- a water source (a river, a well, a rainwater harvesting system etc.),
- the possibility to grow food,
- offering a permanent shelter (that you’ve built in advance),
- offer means of protecting it, yourself and your supplies (you might have to fight a group of people, not just one)
- and to be fully stocked with supplies for at least a few months (a few years, maybe)
OK, now that we talked about the importance of having more than one location, let’s see some ideas of where to find them. I bet you haven’t thought about some of them and, even if you did, you probably didn’t see them as BOLs. Here we go!
A Friend’s House
Having a place within walking distance from your house could be a lifesaver. Maybe your building catches fire or there’s an explosion inside. Maybe you wake up with a burglar or a rapist and you need a place to run to and stay there for a few nights to calm down.
If you have a friend you can count on, that’d be great. In fact, in personal emergencies such as the ones mentioned above, any friend’s house can be seen a bug out location.
If you have a job, I bet you have keys or an access card to get inside. If you’re not able to get home or evacuate, this could be a good temporary location. The big benefit is that if you have a desk or a locker, you can keep a small survival bag with some food, water, a water filter and a mini first aid kit.
Places You Used to Play as a Kid
Abandoned houses or warehouses, narrow spaces between apartment buildings, I bet you can remember playing in a lot of such places. As children, our natural curiosity drove us to find them while playing hide-and-seek. Can you remember what they were?
One other thing you can do as you run errands across town is to look for places that would make good bug out locations. You never know what part of town you’ll be forced to spend a few hours or even the night when it hits.
Caveat: it’s very likely that some of those places already have people inside. Remember you won’t be the only one looking for shelter so you must proceed with caution as you get near. If you think someone else might be in there, you might as well keep walking than risk getting into a face-to-face confrontation.
Places You Went Hiking or Camping
It’s not enough just to know about them and say:
Oh yeah, I guess I could hide there for a little while.
You have to inspect them to make sure they’re a good fit. The most important thing is to be able to make shelter or set up your tent. If you’re on the trail and you see such a place, remember others will see you if you camp there. You have to find a hidden spot that’s as low key as possible.
Buying More Land
Well, if you have the money, maybe you can use that land for more than just SHTF emergencies. It’s a lot better than buying a bunker or more of the things you already have too much of.
If you decide to start a business related to survival and preparedness such as raising bees or growing veggies, you might actually recover your initial investment (in time, that is).
If you’re gonna buy a second property or even a third, you need to make sure it’s in a strategic location. If the first piece of land (your main bug out location) is north of your town or city, you don’t want your second one to be in the same direction. Start looking in other places because you never know which bug out route you’re going to use to evacuate.
Your Relatives’ Land
It doesn’t matter whether they are preppers or not, you should probably mark it on your map just in case you have no better options. Remember these would be temporary locations.
Shared Bug-Out Locations
I didn’t want to end this list without mentioning this. What would you say to the idea of sharing a bug out location with other preppers?
I know many fear that, the more people know about their BOL, the riskier it gets but not in this particular case. Sure, people (preppers included) could do irrational things to keep themselves and their families alive but hear me out...
You already have one or more bug out locations that only you know about, right? So you already have options. A shared BOL is extra and whether or not you will use it is something to be decided when the time comes. (Who knows, maybe the others won’t show up so you’ll have the whole place to yourself.)
The big benefit of having them is that you:
- split the cost of the land with everyone else,
- can make a bigger better house or cabin (also by splitting the costs)
- and get to share resources such as gear, weapons and food.
There’re a few things you can do to make all of these locations a part of your survival plan...
- You should mark all of them on your maps...
- You need to find all the possible ways to get from your house to each of them and, after that, out of town (both on foot and by car). Even better, you can mark these routes on your maps as well.
- If possible, you should hide some supplies there (maybe bury them underground).
- Keep phone numbers of the people whose homes are on your map to be able to contact them in an emergency and see if you can stay there. Store them in places such as your bug out bag, your get home bag and your car.
Can you think of such locations that would fit the bill? Leave a comment below.