Camping & Survival

TT: Urban Survival and Prepping for Beginners: Bugging In vs. Bugging Out

Buggin' Out with the JIC

Previously, we discussed the bare essentials for survival—food and water. This week’s two rules are “Bugging in means bugging in”and the importance of mapping out and practicing an escape plan. Not everyone has the ways and means to leave when the S really HTF. Some have unreliable transportation or no personal transportation at all. Others may not have the luxury of having a bug-out location, family, or friends to run to. That doesn’t mean you can’t survive. In some cases, bugging in is the best and safest option—especially if you live in the middle of a cramped and crowded city where leaving would be next to impossible.

Rule #3: Bugging In Means Bugging In

This is why it is so important to begin building your preps now—a month worth of non-perishable food items and plenty of water.

Wondering the streets during upheaval and social chaos is incredibly dangerous. You not only face law enforcement and possibly military troops, but city curfews, street closures, rioters, and looters, as well as the desperate or criminal types who want what you have. Why risk it when stores will be ransacked, empty and even boarded up?

Rule #4: Have an Exit Strategy

Fire or damage to your building, or criminal or squatter takeover will force you out. You will need a safe way to escape.

Follow the American Red Cross’ fire escape plan:

  • Designate a meeting place outside your home. Make sure every family member is clear where that meeting place is.
  • Plan two escape routes out of your home.
  • You have two minutes to get out if there is a fire. Practice your two-minute escape drill at least twice a year.

If you live in a tall building or have a multi-story house, keep a fire escape ladder in each bedroom. Install emergency release latches if you have bars on the windows of your home.

Have a packed bug-out bag for every member of the family in case you are forced to leave. If you have a vehicle, always keep the gas tank full. Now would not be the time to try to get gas from your local or even out-of-the-way gas station. One of four things is likely to happen. There will be no more gas. There will be a very long line to get gas. The state will control how much gas you are allowed. Any number of those issues will cause people to become stressed, aggravated and angry. This is not a good mix. The quicker you can leave town, the better.

Your bug-out bag (at the very least) should include:

  • A water filter
  • First aid kit
  • Firestarter
  • Copies of important documents
  • Essential prescription medications
  • Cell phone charger
  • Emergency poncho
  • Boots or sturdy tennis shoes
  • Extra pairs of socks
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Cash
  • Firearm and ammo
  • Emergency blanket

Of course, we all have our separate individual needs, some care for elderly family members, young children, or people with special medical or behavior needs. Everyone will need to be accommodated. It is impossible to have you fully prepared by just one post, but this one is a great step in the right direction. If you have questions or tips and suggestions, leave them in the comment section.

To learn more about bug-out bags, click here.

Do you have set rules for deciding when to bug out or bug in? Share them in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (11)

  1. Also.i think.a small good drone surveilance or even get help.if hurt.the dji spark or even phantoms which ate bigger ..but spark.can.have planned flight paths with obstacle avoidance system .and carry messages or retrieve messages .even during no wifi and power outages .and salt /citrus ..with water purifiers..i got some small grab bags but youth family laugh im d nutt ..maybe true plus i cant hardlly walk ..butt been their and done that ..not imaginary video game life

  2. As far as transportation goes ,gasolene and deisel fuel will be in short supply that is why I invested in mountain bikes and bike trailers and able to down load so to speak to carry on our backs using the bike/trailer combination is more of a convenience

  3. I tell people party is at my farm and what are you bringing. Safety will be in numbers.He who as the biggest number and the most supplies wins. Just ask Custer. Otherwise us older people can wander, keep a low profile, no flashy shouldered weapons for example and know that your the prey. We wont go down easy.

  4. Communication in the beginning will be hell. Everyone and their brother will have a handheld CB or those little Motorola two ways. They will be stepping all over each other and not getting anything said.

    I recall talking to my wife on two ways a few years back while we were at an amusement park. Park Security broke in and told us we were on their reserved channel. They didn’t like what I had to say back to them but it just goes to show that even when you plan things out it can still get messed up.

  5. Many people who read this article and others likely belong to and post on a couple other sites. I’ll occasionally read a thread in which the “OP” wants to know if this vehicle or that would be a good bug-out vehicle. They then go on to post about how they have this suburban/expedition and they want to put huge tires on it and black it out and so on, and so on. Most of these guys are twenty-somethings just looking for something to supe up like many of us at that age. Many of these folks stop at that. They don’t have a place to go, other than the state forest, BLM land, the campground they spent a few weekends at or the local lake. The usual places where everyone else will run to. They don’t get that if everyone else in their town decides to bug out for whatever reason all the highway lanes, outbound and inbound, will be outbound lanes and as soon as one fool rear-ends another fool the whole world stops and the place becomes a parking lot. Yeah, they can then hit the surface roads, like everyone else behind fool #1 and fool #2. either way they are in traffic jams watching or even participating in fist fights or worse. All their fuel being wasted sitting in traffic. Well then out hero decides he can bust through a couple fences blow across a couple cow pastures and roll out on to the rural back roads. Well, granting he misses the occasional in-ground pool situated in so many suburban backyards, doesn’t get a fence post through his radiator and doesn’t get his axle tangled in the wire, he just may be one of the thousands who makes it to his hideaway bugout location. When all he could have done was put money in to his stash, fortify his digs a bit and wait until it was safer to roll out in the family mover, granting the whole world hasn’t ended and the roads aren’t parking lots full of abandoned gasless cars and SUVs.

    Or he could live outside the city limits in a rural area and his only bugging out is a get home plan.

    1. Well said.

      As I mentioned elsewhere/previously, anyone who is considering this plan should simply do an internet search for images of evacuation traffic. It will yield pictures of exactly what you just described.

    2. I live 40 miles from my job. Because of my job I will be getting home late. There is no getting around that. I’ve accounted for parking lot highways and realize that I will likely be on foot. I keep a bag in my car with food for three days and some extra ammo. I also bring extra clothing because sometimes I have to dress down at work. I figure that at a 3 to 3.5 MPH walk without being molested I can make it home in less than 24 hours. If I have to duck and dive and go stealth then it could take up to 3 days. I’ve got my route picked out but can change it and roll on with ease. My biggest obstacle is a river and there are a number of places to cross. The river crossing would be the most dangerous thing if it was a SHTF situation.

    3. I understand.

      I am a security consultant so I can work from home quite a bit since I am talking to people over Skype and providing security guidance, but there are days I have to drive 50 miles to a client’s office in Northern VA. On those days I am like you. I have a survival pack and extra clothes, a gun and ammo, boots, and a compass. I know where I need to go and I have the E&E training to help me out. With the grace of God and a good .45, I will get home to my wife.

  6. I’d add a small pair of citizen band radios (walkie talkies), a small collapsible binoculars or a monocular, a hat, gloves, GI type can opener, loud emergency whistle and signal mirror.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.