Why Bugging Out is probably the Worst Thing You Can Do if the SHTF

So, you’ve been getting into preparedness for a little while now and you’ve finally completed that big, heavy bug out bag and you’re ready to flee from the ensuing hordes of mutant biker gangs and suburban apocalyptic raiders. Now, you’re probably thinking; “what’s next?”

First and foremost, putting together a bugout bag has gotten far too much publicity in the preparedness world in my opinion. Simply for the fact that, for many of us, bugging out is probably one of the last things you should be doing in a disaster situation. Here are 5 reasons why bugging out doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, we’ll call them the 5 S’s


If you’ve been of the preparedness mindset for any length of time, you’ve probably a lot of food stored up at your residence. Canned foods, MRE’s, freeze dried foods, etc. etc. This stuff isn’t light. As an experiment, gather together 72 hours of food and water (about 6,000 calories and about 3 gallons of water minimum) and then stuff it all into a backpack or even a hiking pack.

How heavy is that pack? Now, put all your other bugout gear in there. Defensive tools, clothing (just the essentials). You’re probably looking at a very big, 60 pound+ pack. Now do the same thing for the rest of your family. For the average person, you’ve now got about 240 pounds of gear you need to get to your bugout location.


One of the biggest drawbacks to bugging out is that you’ve lost your 1st measure of defense; Walls. When you are on the move, you are visible, people can see how many people are in your group, they can often times see your gear, and you simply become a target for anyone that decides they want what you have.

In a real disaster scenario, it isn’t about playing Rambo and fighting through hordes of raiders to get to some bug-out location mecca. It’s about staying alive and thriving while the usual systems of modern life are down. Bugging in allows you to not only be next to all your preps, but it eliminates 90% of all the confrontations you’ll encounter in a disaster. Defending a doorway and a few windows is much easier than trying to outrun hungry survivors.


When bugging out, you’ve got 2 options. On-foot or vehicle, and even when bugging out in a vehicle, you’re going to have to be ready to bug out on foot because that vehicle may break down or run out of fuel. It is also a very poor shelter. It doesn’t retain heat well and can become hot very quickly. It also has big windows that anyone can see though. A normal residence has insulated walls and, with alternative energy, modern conveniences even when the grid is down.


In disaster situations, the biggest threat to survivors isn’t the roaming hordes, its typically disease, dehydration and infection. A bug-in location has dedicated areas for cooking and a restroom separated from the main living area. This alone makes a world of difference when it comes to sanitation and fending off diseases. Regular toilets can be easily modified to a compost toilet in a disaster situation and your kitchen is much easier to sanitize than the hood of a car or tree stump in a bugout situation.


As anyone that’s been on a long car ride can tell you, travelling gets old real fast. There are so many more complications to a bugout plan compared to bugging in that eventually; the road WILL take its toll on you. You’re already going to be at a higher stress level dealing with whatever disaster has struck, you don’t need to add on the stresses of reaching a bugout location. Additionally, with alternative energy, a bug in location allows you to use modern conveniences and electricity, which is much harder to do, and much harder to conceal in a bug out situation.

Now don’t get me wrong. EVERYONE should have a bugout bag. A simple kit that is tailored to your person disaster preparedness plans should be easily available and should be able to sustain you for 72 hours if your current location proves to be less safe than bugging out.

That being said, a bugout bag does not a prepper make. Being prepared means making smart decisions that WILL help you stay alive and thrive in a disaster, not MIGHT help you stay alive. Barring the house coming down around me, I’ll be staying put and hunkering down with my preps.



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  1. Christine

    I advise folks in my town to have a bug out bag, not necessarily top of the line equipment, just good, decent stuff, and the necessary food and water, because we live in a town w/ 2 major interstates and more miles of rails then I could count! See, we don’t get major hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes, so most folks poo-poo the idea. But what if a tanker – truck OR rail – (ESP rail!), derails, gets hit, whatever and you have to evacuate quick, ahead of some cloud of chemicals? Yeah, you’re probably going to some Red Cross shelter, no big deal, and no zombies chasing you (which might disappoint many I’ve spoken with! LOL) But still, you’ll need basic supplies because I’d rather use my own things than count on the Red Cross to have everything I’m gonna want for up to 3 days. There ARE other reasons for needing a bug out bag, that most folks never think of, ESP. if they have babies, etc. (I’m old enough to remember Three Mile Island w/ 3 month old twins. Do I go now or wait until they tell me to go??? Mothers and small children, always the first evacuated, unless it a poison gas cloud from a derailed train or a wrecked tanker on the highway. Then it’s HAUL BUTT as fast you can, in the other direction! You ever see a show about TMI? Yeah, people just randomly shoving stuff into trucks and cars in trash bags, some even trying to MOVE OUT – for real, U-Haul and all! Crazy…)

    It also causes otherwise skeptical people to start thinking about the issue, SENSIBLY!, and then they start picking up sensible information, now that they’re thinking of a small, manageable “bug out”, under circumstances they can understand and justify, sensibly, to others. Now you’ve got a person, or a family, at least basically prepared. And they’re not trying to copy such things as the TV show “Doomsday Preppers”. No simple person could do all that and some of those folks – WHOOO!!! *finger circling ear* Those folks – kudos to them and yeah, it’s a good deal for them, but most folks don’t have $50,000 to put up that much food and everything else, and if they have to bug out – which all of them admit might happen – what happens to all that stuff they simply CANNOT move?

    There’s more than just the end of the world to need a decently stocked BOB. And they don’t have to think of “top of the line” this, that, or the other thing, they can buy a bag set up, like I did and if they want, take it camping and fine tune it as they please.

    Oh and we’re “bugging in” – we’re older, handicapped and simply have no place else to go, unless a friend/family member decides we’d be a good addition to his farm. There’s still chores we can do! 🙂 And like you say, all our food we’re managing to keep back (HARD when meds overwhelm disability $$) is in cans and jars and we couldn’t carry it anywhere!

    Good article, thanks!

    1. Nova

      Great video! After moving to NYC I have been buldiing a new bag, also contemplating bugging in. Anyways there is not a lot of information that I have found in regards to large city bugouts. Thanks again for a few new ideas!

  2. Dale

    I wrote an article about this same thing. I think you hit the nail on the head, whether you are bugging in or bugging out you better know which option gives you the best chance for survival.

    If you go walking out the door all geared up you instantly become a target, you better know how to escape the chaos without being noticed (or as little attention as possible)

    Good article and some valid points.


  3. Burt Walker

    Bugging out for me is going to be a last resort. When I perceive that defninding my home is going to be a problem, that’s when I’ll bug out. Otherwise, I’ll stay right where I’m at.

  4. Papaswamp

    Very good article. I’m set up for both bugging in and out since I live on coastal Florida. Sometimes Mother Nature (or other situations) forces you to go. The point about BOBs is great…just cannot carry everything and move effectively. A get home bag does always go where ever I do.

  5. Eric Ebeling

    The other thing with ‘bugging out’ is you may be entering territory you’re not familiar with… you can suddenly find yourself in cul-de-sac.
    Or even worse, you could find yourself in what I call ‘A rolling graveyard’ – stuck in a traffic jam – and the last thing you want is to be stuck next to a tanker full of chlorine (or worse) if a nightmarish situation kicks off (like a wild fire).

    1. Ready4ItAll

      Absolutely Eric, great point.

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