Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Topics in this category pertain to planning. Discussions include how to prepare yourself, your family and your community for catastrophes and what you plan to do when they hit you.

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Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by woodsghost » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:11 pm

Ok, this guy pissed in my metaphorical pool of tranquility.

Following some of his influences, I think I get where he is coming from and see legitimacy in his points.

Youtube vid:



His blog post (basically his video but also links to an earlier video and that page includes a link to the originator of his thoughts and videos. Linked further below)

http://alphacharlieconcepts.wordpress.c ... gging-out/

And the Mason Dixon Tactical blog post which started this ball of wax:

http://masondixontactical.wordpress.com ... c-bug-out/

Ok, I"ll hit some of Alpha Charlie's main points and then some of Mason Dixon Tactical's main points for those who do not like watching YT vids. TacAir, this means you. ;)


Alpha Charlie:

1) Bugging out is dumb. It takes tons of gear to live even a few days away from home. And TONs of food to carry a heavy pack for miles and days.

2) Sure, maybe you can live a week out of a pack on your back, but aches and pains from tent living will catch up with you and make life hell. Psychological and physical health will decline.

3) Quality/durable gear is heavy. Only quality gear will last the daily rigors of a bug out. Don't pack light weight gear, pack durable gear. If your durable gear happens to be light, count yourself lucky.


Mason Dixon Tactical:

1) People who plan to "bug out" usually do so out of laziness or cheapness. It is easier to plan to "bug out" than to prepare your own home for bugging in and doing the proper assessments, homework, and making necessary changes.

2) People who plan to bug out suffer from a lack of reality. Bugging out will suck. Practice frequently and maybe plant cashes.


Woodsghost's reactions:

1) The term "bug out" is not defined, but seems to include living off the land after some sort of disaster in a WROL situation for more than 7 days. This does not match the majority of bug outs I have seen. Natural disasters seem to lend credibility to the 3-5 day type scenarios typically discussed on this forum. My own fantasies do push me to be ready for up to 30 days in the bush though.

2) It does not take tons of gear to live in the woods. At a minimum it takes a few simple tools which will allow you to construct a new home "in the woods." I agree though that most bug out bags and plans include too little food and water. With a little practice I suspect most of us, including Alpha Charlie, could get along with less gear. To borrow from this guy's ideas about camping ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGQTcQhL08A ), I suspect we tend to overpack disaster bags because we don't know what to expect and therefore prepare for "everything." Both practice and seeking the experiences of others I think helps reduce items carried and thereby reduces load carried.

3) I doubt most of those "living in the wild" for more than 7 days would live that entire time traveling. If actually "heading for the hills" then simply find a good place and plant a more permanent dwelling, assuming legalities are satisfied. Otherwise the only people I really see traveling such long distances on foot in the wilderness are those who are doing long range reconnaissance. Unless the mission is to bug out to escape either a civil war or interstate war. I just don't see people doing that when they are bugging out from wars across the globe. However, I suffer from selection bias. I only read the stories of those who made it to safety, not the stories of those who failed and died.

4) As to quality/durable gear, I"m torn. I happen to agree here. I'd rather have a few heavy simple tools and create a life with them, than a bunch of light-weight gizmos. However, a few multi-use tools makes sense if the disaster ends the world as we know it. Light weight items make sense if the world has not actually ended. It depends on the mission of your bug out gear. If your gear is meant to let you establish a new life: buy durable. If your gear is meant to let you survive long enough to get your feet under you and get going again in a modern world, well, consider gear that won't break your back or bank. In such a case all your gear is merely temporary.

5) I never really thought of bugging out as "being lazy." I do like the point that "assembling a bag and planning to bug out instead of preparing the home first and practicing the hard realities of bugging out" is essentially laziness. Mostly because the camp outs and mock bug outs I have done have exposed lots of holes in my thinking and planning. I think too that we need to really understand what it is that would cause a bug out. For most people that is a natural disaster. For a select few a war (civil or interstate) might erupt and that would cause a bug out.

So there you have my reactions. I wonder if others here have strong thoughts or reactions. I wonder if others might have additional ways of viewing, explaining, or understanding things.
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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by flybynight » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:28 pm

I think he's right for all the wrong reasons.

Edit to add The moment you decide to bug out. With that first step away from your home. You have become a refugee. All the planning and preps in the world will not change that.
Last edited by flybynight on Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by woodsghost » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:54 pm

flybynight wrote:I think he's right for all the wrong reasons.
All right. Could you explain further?
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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by majorhavoc » Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:27 pm

People over-emphasize the concept of bugging out because the concept of sheltering in isn't nearly so sexy.

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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by MPMalloy » Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:44 pm

I agree with everyone's basic point so far. I am at a loss...let's see...If there was a fire in my building (a possibility), My BOB (should it [myself?] survive), is completely unprepared to "bug-out" to a hotel.

I think that there is a perception that bugging out means the forest, and that may not be the case. I would not need a tent for Motel 6.

Or a friend's couch.

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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by boskone » Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:58 pm

It seems like they're mixing up INCH and BoB, which to me are different things, and overlooking that you bug out because you've assessed that bugging in just isn't viable.

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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by majorhavoc » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:43 pm

boskone wrote:It seems like they're mixing up INCH and BoB, which to me are different things, and overlooking that you bug out because you've assessed that bugging in just isn't viable.
I agree with you up to a point. But so many people new to prepping lavish time, money and energy on creating the ideal bug out bag while neglecting preps for the far more likely scenario of sheltering in. Canned goods and water jugs aren't nearly as much fun as that hammock sleeping system or the perfect tactical backpack.

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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by MPMalloy » Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:16 pm

Sudden job loss is nowhere near as sexy as total economic collapse, but it is more likely. The majority of one's resource should be put towards what is most probable to happen. I am far from the first person to say this, maybe there should be a sticky that is required reading. Thoughts?

I mean, if your spouse comes down with cancer, and you have to take off work to care for them & the kids; your not moving your family into the woods, are you?

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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by taipan821 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:26 pm

it sounds like the idea of bugging out is bad due to poor planning

sure, It is cheaper and easier for me to bug out, but the home is safer for 3/4 likely scenarios. As a professional I encourage people to stay home, not only is it usually safer, it is more comfortable and reduces the problems emergency services have with sudeen evacuations (fire and cyclones, flooding is a different matter)
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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by teotwaki » Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:34 pm

Overall I agree with him:

Preparing to Bug In is your first priority

If forced to leave have somewhere to go and that somewhere is well prepared

At the Mason Dixon blog one comment included this good summary:

“My goal in the event of a catastrophic event is to be prepared to survive the initial conditions of the event, keep my family and those dependent on me safe and protect the resources at my disposal to ensure our ability to continue to survive. Depending on the type of event that has occurred this may be anywhere from a period of a few days to a couple of years. Further it may include relocation and involve a subsistence lifestyle inclusive of living off the land.”

Bugging out should not be due to poor planning. It should be used to mitigate circumstances that forced you to leave your Bug In location.
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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by Hiroshima_Morphine » Fri Feb 03, 2017 2:33 pm

majorhavoc wrote:People over-emphasize the concept of bugging out because the concept of sheltering in isn't nearly so sexy.
Personally, I find nothing erotically enticing about being forced off my land by a shambling horde of undead.

On the concept of bugging in vs. bugging out; I have voiced my opinion in numerous other threads.
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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by raptor » Fri Feb 03, 2017 3:24 pm

Thank you woodghost for an interesting thread and thank you everyone else for some well said thoughts on the matter.


I have said many time my preference for not bugging out. It exposes you and yours to too many random and unplanned variables to be Plan A.

That said there are many instances when the only logical and safer alternative to bug out:

1) A wildfire coming in your direction.
2) A flood is imminent.
3) A Category 3 or above hurricane is expected within 35 NM of your area.
4) A tsunami and you are in the area of likely inundation.
5) A Fukashima style nuclear reactor leak within 25 NM of your area

These are to name a few. The safest course of action here is to get some distance between you and the risk. Then assess your next course of action from a safer location.
woodsghost wrote: 1) The term "bug out" is not defined, but seems to include living off the land after some sort of disaster in a WROL situation for more than 7 days. This does not match the majority of bug outs I have seen. Natural disasters seem to lend credibility to the 3-5 day type scenarios typically discussed on this forum. My own fantasies do push me to be ready for up to 30 days in the bush though.
I think woodghost hits the key issue on the head here.

What exactly is bug out and what does it mean to you.

I would agree buying a backpack and packing camping gear, food and water and then leaving it in the closet with the "plan" being if the SHTF "I am going to grab my bag and run to the woods and live there" (hereafter referred to as the "Red Dawn Plan" the original BTW, not the shitty remake), is a plan to fail.

Likewise the "plan" of walking out to safety in the genre of "The Road" is also a plan to fail. (Hereafter referred to as the "The Road Plan").

IMO everyone needs to assess their personal situation and that of the loved ones. That would include taking into consideration geography, skills, fitness levels and most important probable risks. There also needs to be good plan a, plan b and even if possible a plan c that is appropriate for the risk.

If for instance if you are physically fit used to camping and know the area involved, The Red Dawn Plan may actually be a decent Plan A assuming of course proper training, planning, permissions and such are addressed.


That said we all seen people claim they can carry their INCH bag for days on end, fast walking 50 miles a day while existing on only sunlight, oxygen and the humidity that they absorb from the air. So IMO the criticisms of many people's bug out plan is often times valid. That said it does not mean it is valid for your plan. You are the only one who determine the reality and advisability of your bug out plans. You need to be brutally honest with yourself in the assessment and at the same time assume multiple failures occur.

Hope is not a plan and hoping for good luck is truly a shitty plan.


Edited to add:

I have shared my plans many times in the past. They have evolved over the years, but they all involve bugging in or bugging out to my BOL.

Risks that require me to bug out:

1) Local rioting or other violence. Go to my BOL
2) Category 3 or above hurricane (If BOL is affected go to a hotel in a safe location for the duration)

All others will be assessed on a case by case basis.
Last edited by raptor on Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by MacWa77ace » Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:38 pm

Wow, that was a 5 minute video that lasted 15 minutes. :gonk:

In real life scenarios, not involving TWD or Global Apocolypse, I shelter in place, Secure my property, Help Neighbors. Then bug out to one of two locations if, and only if, my AO is not safe, or w/out power and/or water. To BOLs that are far enough away that they will probably have full infrastructure and creature comforts.

If it is a TEOTWAWKI scenario then I'll bug in for 90 days, minimum. All ZS knowledge applied for full on survival.
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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by ROCK6 » Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:09 pm

Raptor shared why bugging out should always be an option even if your primary preparation is to bug in. Another aspect includes all those situations where you really don't have a "bug-in" home. College kids, travel jobs, on a road-trip vacation, etc. all are viable situations where bugging out (or home) is the primary plan.

I'm all for hardening and making your home the best bug-in option; it makes the most sense on so many levels. However, that should never be your only plan; you need other options. For those other options you need a bug-out plan and preferably one involving vehicles that can carry more gear than what you can carry on your back. Still, the lowest common denominator when it comes to bugging out is what you can carry on your feet. It may sound romantic in novels but that's where it ends and even though it's the least preferred method, if you're serious, you need to plan for it.

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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by majorhavoc » Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:35 pm

If your plan is to bug out, you damn well need to know ahead of time exactly where you're bugging out to.

"Somebody's barn" or "the woods up north" isn't going to cut it.

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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by MPMalloy » Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:40 pm

majorhavoc wrote:If your plan is to bug out, you damn well need to know ahead of time exactly where you're bugging out to.

"Somebody's barn" or "the woods up north" isn't going to cut it.
Yup.

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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by raptor » Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:56 pm

Planning and forethought is the key to success here. Planning of course does guarantee success but lack planning is a fool proof way to fail.

Planning coupled with a realistic risk/abilities/capabilities assessment is the way to go.

After reading the responses I think we are all on the same page here.

My $.02

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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by MPMalloy » Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:27 pm

Hey Everyone:

Just a thought: Where you are going must be a better place than where you are leaving & it must be better enough to justify the risk(s) of getting there. There is always something to lose & things can always get worse.

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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by madoka » Sun Feb 05, 2017 12:29 pm

MacWa77ace wrote:Wow, that was a 5 minute video that lasted 15 minutes. :gonk:
I think 5 minutes is being generous. If he edited himself and stayed focused, he had about 3 minutes of content.

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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by drop bear » Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:57 pm

majorhavoc wrote:If your plan is to bug out, you damn well need to know ahead of time exactly where you're bugging out to.

"Somebody's barn" or "the woods up north" isn't going to cut it.
The opposite direction from where the drama is.

precisely like what refugees do. For the reason they do it.

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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by MPMalloy » Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:13 pm

majorhavoc wrote:If your plan is to bug out, you damn well need to know ahead of time exactly where you're bugging out to. "Somebody's barn" or "the woods up north" isn't going to cut it.
True.
drop bear wrote:The opposite direction from where the drama is.
A good idea.
drop bear wrote:precisely like what refugees do. For the reason they do it.
A bad idea.

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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by drop bear » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:11 am

MPMalloy wrote:
majorhavoc wrote:If your plan is to bug out, you damn well need to know ahead of time exactly where you're bugging out to. "Somebody's barn" or "the woods up north" isn't going to cut it.
True.
drop bear wrote:The opposite direction from where the drama is.
A good idea.
drop bear wrote:precisely like what refugees do. For the reason they do it.
A bad idea.
It depends why you are becoming a refugee in the first place. If you are a jew in nazi germany. You pack your stuff and run to Switzerland. If you make it there with shoes on your feet you have won.

Being a refugee is only bad when the alternative isnt worse.
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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by woodsghost » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:33 am

I have posted threads and sought advice on bugging out and the issues with being a refugee. There are many reasons not to become a refugee; there lives can be awful. So yeah, we need to have a plan and location we are bugging out to and all that jazz.

But how many of us are prepared to bug out to a different country? Or travel maybe 10,000 miles (16,000 km?) across multiple countries? It seems to me that is something the wealthy can prepare for, but the average Joe is going to find some difficulty with that.

The US has the luxury of being a big place and we can probably find a bug out location on the other side of whatever is going on. But that cannot be assumed, especially if a civil war (or some equivalent) were to break out. ZS is not just for America. Others live in smaller countries and some of them are at much higher risk of civil or interstate war.

I do think it is important to plan and avoid becoming a refugee. I also think it is important to study refugees in case that becomes our only option.
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Re: Buging out is a bad idea? Some perspectives

Post by Hiroshima_Morphine » Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:32 am

woodsghost wrote:I have posted threads and sought advice on bugging out and the issues with being a refugee. There are many reasons not to become a refugee; there lives can be awful. So yeah, we need to have a plan and location we are bugging out to and all that jazz.

But how many of us are prepared to bug out to a different country? Or travel maybe 10,000 miles (16,000 km?) across multiple countries? It seems to me that is something the wealthy can prepare for, but the average Joe is going to find some difficulty with that.

The US has the luxury of being a big place and we can probably find a bug out location on the other side of whatever is going on. But that cannot be assumed, especially if a civil war (or some equivalent) were to break out. ZS is not just for America. Others live in smaller countries and some of them are at much higher risk of civil or interstate war.

I do think it is important to plan and avoid becoming a refugee. I also think it is important to study refugees in case that becomes our only option.
Civil War: well, the x factor in what I'm about to say will be 150 of technological evolution.

During the little blip in American History during the mid 19th century, there were three major casualty event north of the Mason Dixon. The Battle of Antietam in Maryland, The Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania and the New York City Draft Riots of 1863.

South of the Mason Dixon did not have it so easy- but even the interior 'deep south' was pretty quiet until 1864. The populace suffered more from the blockade on foreign trade than it did from actual war for the majority of the war. And certain frontiers were virtually unscathed, such as Florida and Texas.

And the unorganized territories out west and the state of California were also quiet. You faced more of a threat from Mormons or Native Americans out west during that period.

My point is every where will have risks- but through planning (and luck) you should be able to find a quiet place to go to ground.

But on pre-selected bug out locations: I still say it's hard for me to get on that train. What if my bug out place and cache is only a few miles from Rebel CENTCOM? Or ground zero of an earthquake? Or where the Iranians fire a nuke? Etc. Etc. Etc.

At the end of the day, none of knows what, or where, or even if something will happen. None of us have a crystal ball. And it makes sense to me to devote resources (time and money) into a remote bug in location that (IMHO) is less likely to be affected by a man made disaster. Mother Nature is a threat anywhere- but She is easier to prepare for because She is more predictable than Her children.

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