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Choosing A Bug Out Location

Choosing a bug out location is an important step toward surviving an apocalyptic event such as a societal collapse. Your bug-out location could be the home you already live in, an apartment, or a family retreat.

I just moved to the Florida panhandle, so I’ve been looking for land for a bug out location. It didn’t take long to figure out that there isn’t a perfect bug-out location, but some areas are better than others. Let’s take a look at what I found.

If you are interested in this subject, you might also like Ready Squirrel’s comprehensive article, “26 Ways to Prepare For Societal Collapse.”

bug out shack for bug out location

#1 19 Types of Bug out Shelter

If you are choosing a bug out shelter, you have a lot of options. Buying a cabin or stick-built home on 40 acres isn’t the only option.

What is a bug out shelter?

A bug-out shelter is a living structure that provides long-term protection from weather and supplies for survival, such as clean water, fuel, food, and protection. Also, The shelter should provide basic creature comforts such as a comfortable place to sleep, running water, and a feeling of safety.

Ok, let’s get down to 19 bug out shelters to choose from.

#1 Garden or Utility Shed.

My favorite inexpensive method of creating a mini-cabin. Build a shed from scratch or purchase a kit—a 15×15 shed, well insulated with a loft, bunk beds, and a wood-burning stove.

Take it a step further and create a bug-out compound with multiple sheds, each for a specific purpose.

#2 Shipping Container

Shipping containers are favored by preppers that want to go subterranean. If you plan to bury them know that shipping containers are only strong in the corners, so they need to be reinforced.

Before you bury a shipping container, I’d consult an engineer to figure out reinforcement, how much load the containers can handle, and how deep you can bury them.

There are some pretty awesome shipping container shelters out there.

Food to stockpile for shortages and economic collapse.

#3 Yurt

Yurts are an expensive tent-like structure preferred by the Mongols. They are also very cool. 90% of rural Mongolians still live in Yurts full-time.

#4 Cabin Tent

If I chose a cabin tent as a bug-out shelter, it would be either temporary or heavy-duty. I don’t like leaving a tent unsecured, especially if I don’t live on site. There are higher-grade cabin tents that accept the pipe for a wood-burning stove.

#5 Camp Trailer

Go with a camp trailer but leave it in place. In my opinion, the chance you will abandon your vehicle in a serious conflagration is high. Drag it behind you during an event, and you might be forced to leave your bug-out shelter on a gridlocked freeway or at a security checkpoint.

I met a guy in New Mexico who parked his trailer on 20 acres and built an elaborate structure to keep the elements out. This compound-like structure included a deck, a gravity-fed shower, a water catchment system, and a place to put a table and chairs.

A pretty nice setup that drastically expands living space. You could take this further and build additional sheds, heated shelters, and other outbuildings.

#6 Line-shack

Line shacks aren’t much different from a shed concept; you have more choices in setup and dimensions.

Another thing to consider. My father built an off-grid cabin in New Mexico, and getting materials to the building site was tough. We used concrete footings and dimensional lumber to build the cabin.

We had a 60-mile round trip to get building supplies when building the cabin.

#7 Tiny House

Kind of a prefab house on a trailer. Very fashionable these days. These structures tend to be fancy and higher-end inside.

#8 Tarp System

A tarp system is like a tent, only for temporary shelter while building something more permanent on-site.

#9 Heavy Duty Guide Tent

Similar to a cabin tent. Usually pretty tough with lots of headroom, four-season, and the ability to place a wood-burning stove inside.

#10 Busch-craft Shelter

You’ve seen the Youtube videos of guys building Viking long-houses, small cabins, or other structures from on-site logs. Building this way is inexpensive but labor-intensive but produces a very nice bug-out shelter, and it’s cool.

As you build this type of Shelter, you’ll be sleeping in a temporary shelter like a tent.

Consider putting in a shed before building this type of structure, so you have a comfortable place to sleep and secure your tools and equipment.

#11 Quonset Hut

If you have thought about living in a big industrial apartment with an elevator for your motorcycle, you might look into Quonset huts. A lot of wide-open space and storage.

First used in World War II, metal structures were made from galvanized steel with a 1/2 cylinder profile. I love these—a ton of room.

Compartmentalizing the interior with dimensional lumber and drywall is the way because smaller spaces are easier to heat.

#12 Military Surplus Shelters

Big tents, small tents, Quonset huts, Instant shelters of every shape and form.

There are many types of military surplus shelters you can look into.

#13 Barn or upgraded utility building

Purchasing land that already has a sound structure on it is the dream. Most of the time, the cost of the structure isn’t included in the purchase price because the structure doesn’t have electricity, running water, etc.

An old sound barn with heavy beams would make an excellent bug-out structure.

Hunting camps also tend to have this type of structure on them. Down in the south, deer hunting camps are all over the place.

#14 Hunting Cabin

Build a hunting cabin or purchase land that has one built.

It will cost more if the cabin is in place and hooked to running water and electricity.

#15 Fifth Wheel

A fifth wheel is the same as a camp trailer but bigger and more expensive.

If you go this route, leave your trailer at the bug-out location.

#16 Sailboat

I’m living in the Florida Panhandle, and I sail, so this is an option.

The problem is you can’t garden. You can access thousands of miles of inland shoreline, the great loop, and the open ocean.

Ideally, you’d have an island and a sailboat. Maybe in the next life.

#17 Underground Bunker

Underground bunkers that are professionally installed cost a mint. Consider doing it yourself with reinforced connex boxes.

I like having one or two connex boxes buried and hidden, but I wouldn’t want to live in this kind of structure as my main bug-out shelter. Life is too short to live in a hole.

#18 Connex Box

The same as a shipping container. A big metal box buried bunker-style used above ground for storage or retrofitted as a shelter.

The cool thing about connex boxes is you can cut and weld multiple boxes together to make bigger structures. And, you can stack them.

#19 Tee Pee

Tee Pees feel too impermanent for a full-time shelter, but I can see using one as a temporary shelter.

If you’re preparing for SHTF, you might be interested in the Ready Squirrel Article, “Societal Collapse: The Road to Self-reliance.”

#2 Buy Land Early (choosing a bug out location)

When choosing a bug out location, try to buy land early in the preparation process to incorporate emergency supplies and logistics into the overall emergency plan.

Also, Setting up early allows for planning and installing the structures that take time to establish.

Examples of systems to get in place include water catchment systems, a smokehouse, an outdoor kitchen, an outhouse or septic system, fruiting trees, bushes, perennial vegetables, and natural camouflage.

Desert Land with blue sky, the perfect bug out location

#3 How Much Land Do You Need?

The consensus is that a bug-out property should be at least 10 acres. More property is always better. If you can afford one acre, that’s the size you’ll purchase. If you live in an apartment in the middle of an urban area with no options to move, that apartment is your bug out location.

You need at least 10 acres of land to sustain bug-out requirements for food, lumber, security, hunting, and animal husbandry.

One exception to this guideline is smaller acreage adjacent to a national forest or large tracts of land that won’t be built on.

Choosing a bug out Location (6 considerations)

So ten acres is the minimum amount of property you need for a bug-out property, but what if you can’t afford that much land? Get the best piece of property you can afford.

Following are six considerations for choosing a bug out location.

#1 Expenses (choosing a bug out location)

Buy land you can afford. Consider the cost of the mortgage, property taxes, HOA dues, improvements, and repairs before you jump in. Ask yourself what it will take to get the bug out location up to snuff.

My father has 120 acres of land in the mountains of New Mexico. It is serene and beautiful and it butts up against a national forest. We built a cabin there about ten years ago. The problem with this land are numerous, however. The property is remote and it takes a 4-wheel drive to access the cabin, water has to be hauled in because we haven’t set up a water catchment system. The nearest store with construction materials is 80 miles away and the access road is nearly impassable in winter. Did I mention the land is off the grid?

Scott, Ready Squirrel

Imagine how much money it would take to get this place ready to support a family for the long haul. The expense of a water well or water catchment system, solar, grading a new road, materials to cut lumber or haul it in. It’s not just the cost of land it is also the cost of improvement and maintenance.

When choosing a bug out location, think about the type of soil on the parcel.

#2 Soil Arability

The more fertile the soil, the more food and lumber produced per acre. This is an easily missed aspect of choosing a bug out location.

In central Iowa and other midwest states, just about anything will grow without amending the soil. You can feed a small family on one acre or much less with vegetables and chickens. The downside with this location is the short growing season.

The high-dessert of Arizona will produce less per acre than a camp in central Iowa. It is tougher keeping a garden watered and producing vegetables.

The plus side of this location is the growing season is much longer, if not year-round and acreage is less expensive.

#3 How much timber?

How much wood will you use to run your camp, including firewood for fuel and lumber for construction and repairs?

“As a rule of thumb, 1 acre of woodland can produce 2/3 cord of hardwood each year. If you own or have access to 10 acres of woodland, you should be able to harvest 6 to 7 cords a year–enough to heat an average three-bedroom house.”

Back to Basics, A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills Abigail R. Gehring
Coppicing Firewood

Coppicing trees is a sustainable means of producing wood for fuel is common in Europe. You need enough land to plant enough trees so you can manage and rotate your firewood coppicing.

For coppicing plant trees like black locusts to trim over and over for wood, the same tree can be trimmed every two years instead of waiting decades for a new tree to grow.

#4 Livestock

Consider the amount of room necessary to raise livestock. Chickens and rabbits are raised on less than an acre. Beef cattle or bison need a minimum of 1 acre per animal. Look at the minimum land requirements for animals normally found on a homestead.

  • Cattle- 1 acre per cow
  • Goats- 200 sqft of pasture per goat
  • Chickens- 10sqft per chicken
  • Rabbits- 24 sqft
  • Pigs- 10 pigs per acre
  • Ducks- 3 to 5 sqft per duck
  • Honey Bees- 5 feet in every direction around the hive(s)
  • Quail- 1 sqft
  • Pheasants- 20 sqft

If you are going for the big animals, check out Silvopasture, which integrates trees and grazing livestock.

#5 Buildings and Enclosures

A bug-out location needs enough room for the main shelter, outbuildings, and mission-critical spaces. If you go with a small lot size, plan ahead to ensure you have enough room to build what you want.

Following is a list of typical structures built on a bug out location.

  • Outdoor Kitchen
  • Barn
  • Stable
  • Chicken Coupe
  • Pasture
  • Garage
  • Guest House/Bunk House
  • Workshop
  • Storage Shed(s)
  • Back-up Shelter

#6 Gardening and Farming

Certain growing techniques like Permaculture and other bio-intensive growing methods will grow a lot of food in a small area. You can grow enough food for a family of four on 1/4 acre.

However, if you plan on raising large animals like beef cattle or planting fields of grain, you will need enough land to feed the cattle and rotate crops.

Man choosing a bug out location

#4 Maximum Distance From Home

Everyone agrees that a bug-out location should be close to your house as you can get it, but one size fit’s all distances don’t work for everyone.

The maximum distance to a bug-out location is one tank of gas or 60 miles on foot.

Increase these distances depending on budget and location.

The ideal distance from your bug-out location is zero miles. Moving to a rural spot and setting up before things change is ideal.

During major catastrophes or civil unrest, curfews, “do not travel orders,” and lockdowns are likely. Under these circumstances, the only way to move safely from point A to point B is probably on foot.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has contingencies to stop cars and have people move out on foot, so plan for hiking to your bug-out camp. If your camp is 2000 miles away, you are hiking 2000 miles if you can’t find alternate transportation.

Bug-Out Locations and Dangerous Routes

Don’t just consider distance to your camp. Think about dangerous areas between where you are and where you are going.

With a bug-out bag and the essentials, it could take two weeks to arrive safely at the retreat on foot by avoiding dangerous areas, like main roads and heavily populated areas. Traveling through a dangerous, highly populated area could take one hour, and you won’t reach your destination.

Want to learn more about collapse? Check out the Ready Squirrel article, “What Happens When Society Collapses?”

#5 Climate (choosing a bug out location)

Avoid bug-out locations in climates with bad winters or desert-like conditions.

Having lived in both climates, I would not pick either location for bugging out. I know people with bug-out locations in Arizona and Alaska are reading this and think I’m full of it, but it’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Admittedly, this is a personal choice. There isn’t much room for error trying to survive a societal collapse in the desert or an area with long cold winters. Both climates are unforgiving.

Avoid Bug Out Locations With Harsh Winters (7 Reasons)

#1 Limited Growing Season

Long drawn-out winters limit gardening, which reduces the amount of food you can grow. A survival garden is a big part of your diet, so why have a short growing season?

#2 Hunter Gatherer

In locations like Alaska, the bounty of natural resources like fish and other game may have a leveling effect, but you will be more like a hunter-gatherer than a settler. Living this way takes great skills.

#3 Fuel

You need a tremendous amount of fuel for heat. (have redundancies built-in like 2 heated structures)

#4 Solar

Solar doesn’t work well, if at all.

#5 Freezing Temperatures

Everything freezes, and equipment breaks

#6 Cabin Fever

During the winter months, you may feel shut-in which isn’t ideal for the psychological aspect of survival.

Avoid Desert Bug Out Locations

#1 Dangerous

Deserts are a dangerous bug-out location if you haven’t dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s.

#2 Water Storage

Water storage is a priority. There is zero room for error.

Have a method to manually pump water out of your well, and plan for redundancy

#3 Gardening

Growing food In the desert is tough. If you go this route, emulate native American gardening techniques.

Summers in the desert is like winter in the Northern states. People stay indoors in an air-conditioned room or by a swimming pool. You won’t have air conditioning.

Dependable year-round natural water sources are rare in most deserts.

#4 Electricity

Imagine surviving day after day in the middle of an Arizona summer with no air conditioning. You would be forced to stay in the shade.

The area I lived in, in the Arizona desert, had a monsoon season that dumped more than enough rainwater to get you through the year, but it takes thousands of gallons of storage to catch it. Once the monsoon season was over, rain was scarce.

Scott, Ready Squirrel

fresh water lake for a bug out location

#6 Water Supply (choosing a bug out location)

A bug-out location should have an excellent water supply. During a societal collapse, there is a good chance that municipal services won’t be reliable or shut down completely. You’ll be out of luck if your water is pumped with electricity.

There are examples of this in Venezuela, where certain areas have been without running water for years.

If you rely on a water catchment system, ensure enough average rainfall.

Ideally, your camp will have natural water sources like streams, creeks, rivers, or freshwater lakes.

10 Uses For Water During A Societal Collapse

  1. Hydration
  2. Cooking Food, including bulk staples like white rice, dried beans, and wheat
  3. Hygiene
  4. Sanitation (Potty stuff)
  5. Gardening-irrigation
  6. Animal husbandry
  7. Food Processing
  8. Hydropower (water turbines/running water)
  9. Aquaculture (raising fish like Talapia to eat)
  10. Hydroponics (raising food without soil)

How much water do I need

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the average person in the United States uses 80 to 100 gallons of water per day for indoor home use. You could probably get that down to 50 gallons in an off-grid situation.

Based on the USGS calculation of water used per person, you would need access to 18,250 gallons per person at 50 gallons per day for one year. At 80 gallons of usage, the number jumps to 29,200 gallons.

The massive amount of water needed per person is a good argument for having a freshwater source at your survival location or a reliable well you can access manually.

#7 Redundancy

When choosing a bug out location, think about building redundancy systems. All of your emergency and survival systems should have at least one backup, i.e., if one method of getting water or heating fails, have another system or method you can fall back on.

As an example, some aspects of your food supply will fail at some point. By having multiple types of food and ways of acquiring it, there is a food source to fall back on.

#8 Survival Garden

A bug-out location needs a survival garden to survive the societal collapse. Keep this in mind when looking for a bug-out retreat. Providing all of your own food is hard.

Prepare the tools and equipment you need, and hold on because you are returning to the days of subsistence farming.

A big healthy garden is much easier if you have good soil. Let’s take a look at soil types.

#9 Soil Types (choosing a bug out location)

Besides climate and average rainfall, soil type is one of the most important considerations for a survival garden. Consider how much work it will take to amend the soil to start a sizeable emergency garden to grow food. Regardless of what you read, it’s tough to be self-sufficient regarding food.

Growing food in the dark, lush loamy soil like that found in the Midwest of the United States and the breadbasket of Ukraine is ideal but not necessary.

Ideally, you will have the necessary ingredients to amend soils, but if you don’t, remedy this by planting nitrogen-fixing plants and trees that can then be used to compost, mulch, and as a top dressing.

Look for the soil you can amend by composting and using natural ingredients readily available on site.

Let’s take a look at the three main soil types.

#1 Loam Soil

It contains roughly equal clay, silt, and sand and is ideal for a survival garden. Loam soil will break apart when squeezed into your hand. Most ancient civilizations were based in areas with loam soil.

Pros of Loam Soil

Loam soil is rich in nutrients and therefore requires fewer amendments. This type of soil also promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisms and earthworms. Finally, it holds moisture but not too much that it rots plant roots.

Cons of Loam Soil

Loam-type soils with higher percentages of clay or sand require more compost and organic materials amendments.

#2 Clay soil

Clay soils are improved by amending with natural materials, but It takes years to do this. You will know the soil is clay because it sticks together like playdough when you squish it into a ball. Clay soils have many nutrients but aren’t bio-available without amending with organic matter.

Pros of clay soil

Clay soils are nutrient-dense and can be made into excellent loam-like soil with time and effort.

Cons of clay soil

Clay soils are heavy & dense and, therefore, hard for roots to penetrate and acquire the nutrients. This type of soil also water logs and compacts (the solution is to use raised beds)

Clay busters:

Plant Dichon radishes or other plants with fibrous root systems and cover your soil with wood chips or mulch because clay soils exposed to rain will compact and erode.

Fix clay soil by adding organic matter such as plant and animal materials after composting. What you compost with will depend on available use: straw, grass, earthworm castings, wood chips, etc. Avoid using sand as it makes the soil worse.

The easiest method to fix clay soil is to put fresh organic material in a 3″ layer on top. It will act as mulch and work its way down into the soil. Don’t mix wood chips into the soil, reducing nitrogen availability for growing plants.

#3 Sandy Soil

Sandy soils don’t hold water or nutrients very well to support plants. It is hands down the worst soil for survival gardening, and not ideal for a bug-out location so avoid it if you can. Keep in mind many areas will have different soil types on the same plot of land.

Pros Of Sandy Soil

Sandy soil heats up, so compost rapidly decomposes, and you won’t have issues with plant roots rotting from standing water.

Cons Of Sandy Soil

Sandy soil doesn’t retain moisture or nutrients and heats up rapidly. Irrigation is important to make sure plants don’t dry out.

Sand Busters (not really)

  • Raised Beds
  • Hugel Kultur Mounds
  • In the top 15″ of soil, add materials like peat moss, coconut core, or vermiculite to hold water
  • Top dress your garden with as much mulch, compost, and manure as you can get
  • Plant cover crops that nitrogen fix and have a webby root system (clover, hairy vetch, red clover, white clover, cowpeas, soybeans)
crowd of people

#10 Population Density

Avoid setting up a bug-out location in an area with high population density or in the direct path of a major exodus from a big city.

Most people are good until they’re not. During times of crisis or societal collapse, the unprepared will be without food and clean water. They want what you have.

8 Areas to avoid

  1. Urban Metropolis
  2. Main roads
  3. Active Railroad Tracks
  4. Highways
  5. Freeways
  6. Choke Points
  7. Low Population areas with high crime. For instance, rural areas have a high rate of meth labs or prescription medicines like Oxycontin abuse.
  8. The high Population States

Let’s look at the 20 states with the lowest population density (residents per square mile) and the 20 states with the highest population density.

20 States With the Lowest Population Density Per Square Mile

  1. Alaska: 1.28
  2. Wyoming: 5.85
  3. Montana: 6.86
  4. North Dakota: 9.7
  5. South Dakota: 10.7
  6. New Mexico 16.2
  7. Idaho: 21.6 residents
  8. Nevada: 21.8 residents
  9. Nebraska: 23.8
  10. Kansas: 35.6
  11. Utah: 33.6
  12. Kansas: 35.6
  13. Oregon: 41.4
  14. Kentucky: 43.51
  15. Maine: 43.1
  16. Iowa: 54.5
  17. Oklahoma: 54.7
  18. Colorado: 55
  19. Mississippi: 63.2
  20. Arizona: 64

20 States With the Highest Population Density Per Square Mile

  1. New Jersey: 1211.3
  2. Rhode Island: 1018.1
  3. Massachusetts: 884.9
  4. Connecticut: 738.1
  5. Maryland: 623. 99
  6. Deleware: 506.32
  7. New York: 414.7
  8. Ohio: 286.1
  9. Pennsylvania: 284
  10. California: 253.9
  11. Illinois: 229.5
  12. Hawaiian Islands: 222.9
  13. Virginia: 215.7
  14. North Carolina: 213.6
  15. Indiana: 186.8
  16. Michigan: 176.8
  17. Tennessee: 162.9
  18. South Carolina: 153.9
  19. Georgia: 149
  20. New Hampshire: 147

#11 Natural Hazards (choosing a bug out location)

The natural catastrophes in a specific area may or may not alter your bug-out decisions, but you should at least be aware of them to plan accordingly.

I chose to live in the Florida Panhandle, also known as Floribama. This area of Florida is hit by hurricanes more than any other area of Florida, with sixty-six recorded hurricanes, fourteen of which were category 3 through 5.

Florida breaks the rules. The population is high, the climate is hot and humid, traditional gardening is difficult (sand for soil), and hurricanes hammer the area.

Knowing this, I chose to live in Florida because I love the lifestyle. I sail and can access the coastline, fishing and hunting thousands of miles. My daily uniform is flip-flops and T-shirts.

I’d like to have a bug-out location further north. I’m primarily looking in Alabama for a bug-out location.

Let’s take a look at natural hazards and nuclear reactors by state.

#12 HOAs, Covenants, Land Restrictions & Land Use

Learn about land restrictions before purchasing land.

Who owns the access road to the property? If it doesn’t belong to you, are you granted access? How much is road maintenance?

Can you get a mailbox, or do you have to travel to a P.O. Box?

Walk the entire property to ensure there’s no hazmat or things you don’t want there.

Know the easements and setbacks.

Walk the land in all types of weather so you know where water sits or builds up. You could purchase a large tract of land, and only 19% is usable.

Just because purchased land is next to a river, creek, or other freshwater source doesn’t mean you have access. Make sure you have access to the water if you buy it.

Many areas have restrictions on livestock, structure type, access to water, road access, building materials, land clearing, or a specific type of structure to be built, etc. Some covenants may not allow you to pull up with a trailer and live off-grid.

If you purchase, do you get the mineral & water rights?

Do HOAs, Covenants, or Land Restrictions limit what you can do with your new land?

#13 Purchasing the Property

Ensure the person selling the property is the owner. When choosing a bug out location, be aware that there are land scams where people sell land that isn’t theirs.

Make sure there is nothing funny with your deed. Get a clear title search. Realtors say the warranty deed is the best.

If you do an owner-financed property, ensure the seller owns it by checking public tax records.

Be aware of county laws, municipal zoning, deed restrictions, covenants, and HOA rules and restrictions that could limit how you use a property. There are HOAs where you might think there aren’t any.

For example, if you plan to raise livestock, ensure there aren’t any restrictions in your area.

Check into mineral rights if it’s a concern.

Check current and proposed land use and zoning on the neighboring tracts. Make sure it’s not zoned for commercial development, intensive livestock operations, oil rigs, or worse, a freeway or major road.

You can’t build a single-family dwelling on a commercially zoned property.

Off-grid: some counties say you must be attached to utilities, i.e., electric and sewer.

#14 Security (choosing a bug out location)

The best security for a bug-out location is invisibility. Look for locations hidden by heavy brush, wooded areas, and geographical features like hills, valleys, or rock outcroppings. High ground with multiple means of coming and going is ideal.

When Choosing a bug out location, don’t pick land where you will get boxed into a canyon or be on the edge of a cliff.

Avoid placing a bug-out shelter in areas of “edge,” such as where a field and forest meet. People gravitate to these areas just like animals.

Avoid putting a bug out shelter near these landmarks.

  • Railway
  • Interstate or Freeway
  • Powerline Trail Head
  • Choke Point
  • Major Bridges
  • Nuclear Power Plant
Criminal with a crowbar

#15 Crime

Avoid setting up camp in areas with high crime. When choosing a bug out location, be aware that Urban areas tend to have a lot of crime, but crime is also high in some rural areas.

Meth labs and prescription drug use are prevalent in parts of small-town America, as is drug trafficking. Border towns in rural Southwest states also have crime issues.

#16 Camouflage

When choosing a bug out location, it is ideal if buildings are camouflaged by plants, trees, and bushes that are already mature. If not, you will have to plant them.

Camouflaging Your Bug Out Location

Like the corners of buildings, right angles aren’t found in nature, so they stick out. Hide them with Camouflage to make them less obvious.

Camouflage windows with shutters to hide reflective glass.

Place radio towers and wind turbines close to tall trees like pines to hide antennas and wind turbines or integrate them into the landscape.

One of the best methods to camouflage bug out structures is to build with natural materials and use netting and flat-colored paints to blend in.

Avoid having anything exposed around camp that is bright, shiny, reflective, or sticks out like a sore thumb.

Man shooting shotgun at bug out shooting range

#17 Shooting Range (choosing a bug out location)

You want a shooting range so consider this when choosing a bug out location.

I could drive out to the desert and shoot anywhere in Arizona. Where I live now, I have to drive 30 miles to shoot at an indoor shooting range which means I shoot less. That’s a problem. Practice does make perfect.

Ideally, I’d like a shooting range at my bug-out location and access to a three-gun range. (Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun)

Firewood for bug out fuel

#18 Fuel & Power

When choosing a bug out location, think about how that location will affect your ability to cook and heat your structures.

What type of fuel will you use? Solar, wood, buried coal, or other dependable fuel. You may plan on roughing it, but you must stay warm, cook food and stay clean.

Getting ready to live off-grid? Check out the Ready Squirrel article, “44 Off-grid Tools for Emergency Survival.”

Fuel and Power: 5 Off-grid Power Sources

#1 Wood

Burn wood in a stove to create direct heat for cooking and heat, or use it to produce steam for electrical turbines.

#2 Micro-Hydro (Pico-Hydro)

The use of running water to turn a water wheel and produce power. Pico-hydro is often used with Solar because it produces power during periods when solar is inefficient.

Learn more about hydro before purchasing your land to ensure the topography is right for maximum effect.

#3 Solar

Install solar panels at camp to turn the sun’s energy into electrical power. Go small scale or go big. There are many options, from inexpensive portable units to full-scale Tesla set-ups that cost hundreds of thousands.

#4 Wind

Wind turbines can be used off-grid to create mechanical or electric power

#5 Make Alternate Fuel Sources

A survivalist tech-nerd might consider making their own fuel.

Bio-diesel is made from planted crops, but It’s a technical process that may not be ideal for a bug-out situation.

Methane is another fuel you can make. Remember that Mad Max movie where they make methane from pig shit. Yeah, talk about redundancy, food, and fuel from one animal.

#19 Topography

An ideal bugout property has diverse terrain features. When choosing a bug out location, consider the Topography or the lay of the land should provide flat areas to build structures and plant a garden and pastures.

Hills and varied ground terrain add to your ability to stay hidden and create choke points for security.

Avoid topography downstream of large dams or flood plains or an open plain, visible from 360 degrees.

Scary person

#20 People

Look for land where you have something in common with the locals. A community of like-minded individuals, if possible.

Get to know the neighbors. Why are they living remotely? Do you fit in, and will you feel comfortable?

Are the locals’ assets in SHTF more likely to be a threat?

When choosing a bug out location, explore the area before purchasing land, eat at local restaurants, talk to people and get a feel for the place.

Talk to everyone you can to get inside information. What strangers tell you might surprise you if you put yourself out there.

outhouse for hygiene and sanitation

#21 Hygiene and Sanitation

A bug-out property should allow you to dispose of bodily waste and garbage and keep your body and gear clean. For example, when choosing a bug out location, avoid getting a cabin built on a huge chunk of granite. It will be more difficult or impossible to install an outhouse or a septic field.

I recognize this is a long article, and I probably left a lot of stuff out. Let me know if the comments if there is something you think I missed or got wrong.

Keep on prepping.


United State Department of Agriculture: Planning a Subsistence Homestead, Farmer Bulletin #1733, May 1934, PDF located on Ready Squirrel link

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