Home Apocalyptic Philosophy Why I Will Bug Out (Not Bug In) WTSHTF

Why I Will Bug Out (Not Bug In) WTSHTF

by Derrick James

bugging out

Bug In or Bug Out

The debate between bugging in versus bugging out is one that’s been had a thousand times, and is still debated to this day. Everyone has their own beliefs on what makes sense, and the real answer is – there is no one answer.

Whether you should bug in or bug out depends on your personal factors, and it’s a question only you can answer, and that answer could change depending on what “event” prompting the action is at-hand.

Some examples:

  • You live in a large city with kids and a dirty nuke goes off. Obviously, you bug out.
  • You live deep in the woods and an EMP hits, wiping out the grid. Obviously, you bug in.
  • You live deep in the woods and a wildfire is raging toward your homestead. Obviously, you bug out.
  • You’re visiting friends in a neighboring state, you’re single, no family, and an EMP hits. Here, the answer might not be so clear.

If you’re at least a semi-experienced prepper, you’ve debated these scenarios yourself, probably countless times, as you sit on the toilet staring at the tile floor, or on your commute to work wondering when traffic will finally come to a permanent standstill and you’ll have to use your preps to defend against zombie hordes.

By far, the majority of people should plan to bug in. Set yourself up to prep in place. It’s easier this way than going on the run. When you leave your home, unless you have a destination you can reach, you become a refugee. Avoid becoming a refugee at all costs!

Why I Will Bug Out – A Different Reason

Under small-scale, more likely disasters, I have no reason why I would bug out. A winter storm hits, for example. I have food, fuel, and a generator. A highly contagious disease hits that makes interacting with outsiders sketchy. My family can stay indoors for an extended period of time before needing to venture out.

But what the more devastating scenarios, true SHTF events: an EMP that devastates the Eastern seaboard, nuclear war where no clear path back to civilized society exists, etc. In those case, I need to bug out.

All reasons should point to my bugging in, not out. I live in a peaceful suburban area. I have a stocked pantry. I have water stored. My family is here. Why risk traveling, and to what end? I have no remote cabin in the woods to disappear to.

The reason is simple – people know I’m a prepper. Yeah, you know me as “A-Poc” here, but for a variety of reasons (and it’s too late now), many of my friends know me as a prepper, and like many other preppers, I’ve heard the phrase, “If shit hits the fan, I’ll just come to your house,” more often than I’d like.

Keeping my prepping interests and activities, particularly as a blogger who has been involved in the industry for over a decade now, quiet and hidden is virtually impossible. Operational security is too late for me. Yes, I can do my best to limit outside knowledge to the extent possible, but like most preppers that will be targets WTSHTF, I will definitely be a target.

Blogging and becoming actively involved with the prepping community has come with that cost, but it’s a cost I’ve accepted in order to promote prepping. Someone’s gotta do it, right?

(Read: Three Rules Preppers Must Follow to Avoid Becoming Targets.)

So while I admit the odds of a wide-scale socially disruptive event is rare, should it come, and people are scared and starving with no hope in sight, you can bet I’ll be bugging out to… that part I’ll keep to myself.


justjim March 15, 2019 - 11:14 pm

My buddy said that stuff to me. I said: “Sure, c’mon by! Your rotting carcass outside of my front door will be a great deterrent for looters.”

Papa March 30, 2019 - 12:01 am

“You can feed the pigs.”

Frank Vazquez April 5, 2019 - 2:46 pm

You’re assessments are logical and not over the top. I find a lot of people seem eager to follow the “rules” or regurgitated mantras and advice of others. And for people new to survival or prepping it’s confusing. After all these years of interests and reading about the subject, I still find opposing points of view and contradictions.

As you’ve stated but in a nutshell, you bug out if your home is threatened with destruction or your family (group, friends, etc.) faces potential harm that can result in injury or death by humans or nature, imprisonment, slavery, torture or oppression by hostile people. And in the case of severe weather such as a tornado or flooding, one will eventually be able to return to their home to repair or rebuild once the dangers have passed.

My concern in regards to people I know or am related too, is that the subject of prepping has never been discussed and so far nobody has ever come asking for anything, but I fear that if a major event occurs that those who know my father may assume his years as a Marine officer might make him the guy to come too. And this worries me, because I am not going to hand out any of my gear. Besides what they all need is food, water, fuels, and those basic things us prepared people stock up on and store. And we don’t have huge stockpiles to give away. I don’t want to turn my back on others, but if they ask when it’s bright and sunny outside, I can help them to be prepared so they won’t need to come begging for help or suffer miserably when stuff happens. So being open about prepping is always a choice between being totally covert or making others self reliant and a potential asset rather than a liability to your own security and well being.


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