PLANS: Selecting A Bug Out Location


the-roadLeaving the security of your home and deciding to bug out should always be your last resort.  There are many different scenarios in which you could be forced to leave.  It could be a natural or man-made disaster or perhaps the economy has collapsed, society has broken down and the safety of your family is at risk because of looters and increased violence.   Your bug out location could be a friend or relative’s house, a remote cabin or simply a secret place in the woods or in a cave.

I highly recommend that you plan out and decide on at least a minimum of two bug out locations in the event that you are unable to reach one of them.  Depending on the situation, roads could be blocked, washed out or worse, one of your locations could have already be taken over or destroyed.

Compass_and_MapThere are two main scenarios that you need to be aware of and take into consideration when planning your bug out location.  The first one being that a natural or man-made disaster of some sort has occurred and you will need to leave and seek refuge somewhere else until it’s safe to go back.  The other scenario is that the shit has completely hit the fan and you know that you will not be able to return.

To start off, set out and buy yourself a map of your local area as well as a map of your entire state or province.  If you live near a border I suggest that you obtain maps for those neighboring areas as well since you never know which way you will be forced to go.

Plot your current location on the map as well as your selected bug out locations.  Decide on how far you’re willing to travel to these locations and draw a circle around your around your starting location (your home) that represents the radius you’re willing to travel.  That way it will be easier to zone in to that specific region of the map.  Remember that it can take only a matter of seconds for something to happen which could force you to take a different direction or change your plans altogether.  So whether you’re planning on going to a friend’s house in the next town or if you will be running to the hills, here are some key points that you should keep in mind when selecting an area to bug out to:

  1. How many people will be bugging out with you?  This will have a tremendous impact on deciding your bug out location.  Are you by yourself, or do you have children or elderly parents who will be going with you and what is their health condition? What about your pets?
  2. Location and distance – Your vehicle may not always be reliable or the safest way to reach your destination point.  At some point you may need to continue on by foot so picking a location hundreds of miles away might not be the best idea, however, if you live in or near a city you have to remember that many people will be looking to leave as well so you might not have a choice but to select a further and/or harder to reach location.
  3.  Accessibility – How accessible is your bug out location?  Are there many different roads or paths leading to the same place?  If you are cut off from one direction, are you able to access it easily from another?
  4. Geographical features – You need to pay attention to geographical features such as swamps, lakes, hills and mountains that could prove to be too much of an obstacle.
  5. Food resources –  Pay attention to land features such as lakes, rivers, and streams which could be vital in your survival.  Are there wild edibles and wildlife in the area from which you could survive along the way and near your destination?  Is the ground suitable for growing your own food if you absolutely needed to?  If it is at all possible, you could always set up several hidden survival caches along your selected path.
  6. Communication – How do you plan to communicate with others?  Your cell phone may be dead or have no signal.  Consider adding walkie talkies to your bug out bag so you can at least communicate with other people in your party.
  7. Security – Can this area be easily found by others who may pose as a threat?  Keep in mind that you could be forced to protect yourself along the way.  You will want to avoid common well-known areas that most other people would try and retreat to
  8. Shelter – Once you get to your bug out location what will you be living in? Is there already a suitable building in place or will you need to bring your tent or perhaps build your own shelter?
  9. Survival supplies – Hopefully you have a bug out bag put together with all the essentials you would need to survive.  If you do, how much does this pack weigh? Do you think you’d be able to trek with this weight on your back for long distances?  Make sure your bug out bag is as lightweight as possible but complete as being without it could prove to be a fatal mistake.
  10. Equipment – Do you have the necessary equipment which will enable you to access your bug out location?  Do you need to climb or repel down a steep incline or a cliff? Adding specialized equipment will add more overall weight to your bug out bag but could also determine whether you reach your destination or not depending on your selected route. 


p>If it’s possible, you should practice retreating to your bug out location several times.  Play out different scenarios and try accessing your location using different escape routes to see which ones are harder and take the longest.  You may find that the hardest route is the best one since other people may not be as inclined to follow the same path.  You can also bury some survival caches along the way or near your main bug out location so that you have a few extra resources when you get there.

As with any type of disaster, one can never be certain when something will happen and where we’ll end up.  All we can do is prepare as best we can before hand and hope that we never see that day come.

Read the rest of this article and find other worthy stories by visiting

Fair Use Statement
The content of this post/pages/video may contain copyrighted ( © ) material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available to advance understanding of ecological, political, human rights, economic, democratic, freedom, liberty, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior general interest in receiving similar information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. If you are a copyright owner who would like your material removed or credited, please contact us at the CONTACT link above.

Updated: April 13, 2014 — 4:06 pm

The Author

Rich Fleetwood

Rich is the founder of SurvivalRing, now in it's 24th year, author of multimedia CDs and DVDs, loves the outdoors, his family, his geeky skill-set, and lives in rural southern Wyoming, just below the continental divide (long story, that...). Always ready to help others, he shares what he learns on multiple blogs, many social sites, and more. With a background in preparedness and survival skills, training with county, state, and national organizations, and skills in all areas of media and on air experience in live radio and television, Rich is always thinking about the "big picture", when it comes to helping individuals and families prepare for life's little surprises.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.