Bug In vs. Bug Out Strategies

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Bug in vs. bug out – what is better? Bugging in is sheltering from a disaster or SHTF in your home, and bug out is in the wilderness. A prepper should know how they will act in every scenario, what the bug out location will be, and how to organize their gear, vehicle, bug out bag, food, weapons, and a first aid kit. We will help you make your mind about the ways of bugging in and out.

Main Disaster Scenarios

Main Disaster Scenarios When a disaster occurs, the people caught in the epicenter actually have to decide what course of action they want to choose: Bug In or Bug Out. The former means that you want to stay put and hide at home, hoping that the danger will quickly disappear or pass you by. Another option is to leave your home searching for a better and safer location. If you are an experienced prepper, you probably have already found the best potential bug-out locations around, and all you need to do in a survival situation is to take your family and go to your bug-out retreat to avoid the danger.

However, there are some problems with any of these decisions in reality. In fact, it is impossible to plan your actions in case of an emergency clearly. Simply because at any moment, everything can go wrong. Catastrophes and disasters are highly unpredictable. Therefore, it is very short-sighted to say that you will definitely stay at home with your family members and food supplies in case of danger. So, the best option for you is to prep for different situations and plan for bugging out, not only plan on bugging in.

Of course, you can make your emergency preparedness only for one specific scenario that you like the most. This article is devoted to each scenario’s pros and cons, and it will be constructive for those who are choosing the best survival strategy right now. Nevertheless, I strongly recommend you take both bug-in and bug-out scenarios into account because making action plans for both situations is an excellent idea.

Why You Should Choose Bug In Strategy

Even experienced survivalists prefer to stay at home in case of danger rather than get to their bug-out location. However, you need to understand in which circumstances you can stay put and in which it is absolutely unwise to do.

First of all, you should understand that bugging in may not always be the most preferred option for you, especially if you live in a large metropolis. The high population density means that its major part or about thousands of people will simultaneously be seeking shelter in a dangerous situation. If your apartment is in the city center, you likely will find yourself in the middle of this chaos and civil unrest. Then common sense says you that staying at home base may not be the best idea.

You better prefer Bug In strategy if:

  1. You have enough weapons and ammunition to protect your home and guarantee the safety of your family. If you are sure that your home is reliably protected from external threats, then you can safely stay at home to wait out the disaster. But do not forget to assess the situation correctly. If there are planes flying over your city and bombing it, then you’d better get as far away as possible.
  2. You live in remote locations because, in a disaster situation, this will be your advantage. The countryside will protect you from the crowds of starving people who will try to take your supplies, weapons, and tools. Besides, you will be more self-sufficient than the preppers in the city because you will not be so dependent on external circumstances, such as other people, civil unrest, traffic jams, etc.
  3. You are a person with a disability, or your loved one has a disability that prevents you from seeking shelter outside. Agree. Trying to bug out with a wheelchair will take much more time, and these hours can become fatal for you and your family.
  4. There are others near you who you can count on and who can help you if necessary. For example, if you communicate closely with your neighbors and trust them, you can cooperate and survive together, jointly get supplies, defend your homes, and so on. You also have to be ready to protect each other and be a real team during the short-term or long-term emergency. In other words, you must completely rely on these people and be sure of their good intentions.
  5. You have a pregnant wife, you are a pregnant woman yourself, or you have small children. By going out to seek shelter, you can put the lives of your loved ones in great danger, and you better keep this in your mind. Please note that there is a high probability that there will make no phone connection, or you will not be able to charge your phone due to a power outage. So, to exchange information, you can use walkie-talkies devices. This will help you stay connected and to know what is going on outside, especially if you don’t have a HAM radio.

Why You Should Take Bug Out Bag And Move to Bug Out Location

Leaving your home place can be a real challenge for you, even if it’s a forced measure. The truth is, you don’t know what dangers lie ahead, how long you’ll have to walk, or if you will manage to make it at all.

Often, people don’t even have a final destination, trying to escape as far away from danger as possible. Next time when you want to get a rough idea of what to expect in your bug-out trip, imagine yourself in the shoes of a refugee from the Middle East who is trying to get to Europe. You take a bug-out bag with a few necessary things and run away from home from the terror that has engulfed your country. Then you look for people who would be willing to take you across the sea, travel many hundreds of miles overland, cross several country borders, in order to reach the final destination, where you will have to start your life from scratch.

Besides, here is one thing you need to remember about as well – you will have to starve. You won’t be able to take a whole refrigerator with food with you, no matter how much you want it, so it means that your supplies will be barely enough for a week. After all the food that you were able to carry away runs out, you will have to get food yourself. You will need basic knowledge about hunting, fishing, what plants you can and can’t eat, how to prepare prey, and much more. You should also know how to provide first aid with basic medicines because nobody knows what may happen to you on this dangerous trip.

Also, to own a bug-out location, you need to invest in it and in your prepper retreat. During the survival preparations, make sure to provide yourself with two sets of supplies – for the house and for the bug-out place, as you will not be able to predict your survival strategy for sure in advance.

So What Is The Best Strategy For Prepper?

So What Is The Best Strategy For Prepper? If you compare both scenarios, then bugging in looks much easier. If you thought out an emergency plan a few years ago, stocked up on food, water, first aid kit, and all you need to survive, then you can stay at home for a long time without having to make a trip for supplies replenishment. Because you have everything, you are going to need to satisfy your basic survival needs for a relatively long time.

Hiding at home is much easier, and that is why preppers often choose this way of survival instead of developing their physical endurance in order to bug out. Obviously, bugging out requires additional skills and effort and this scenario is much more unpredictable. Also, bugging out will require physical activity, ingenuity, and endurance, which many people find very challenging. However, as I mentioned above, you can’t be sure that you will be able to bug in the home during a disaster. For example, if the sea level rises significantly and your city is underwater, you will have to leave it as soon as possible and search for bug out location.

So, of course, you can stock up on provisions and prepare your house for survival purposes, but don’t avoid designing a bug-out plan just because it looks too complicated and you do not want to think about it. If the situation forces you to leave your home, you must be prepared for it and act according to your bug-out plan.


What is a bug-out situation?

It’s a survival scenario where you are escaping an artificial or natural disaster, and you are forced to leave your home and seek bug-out locations outside. For such cases, it makes sense to look find such a place where you will go with your family in an emergency in advance. Otherwise, you risk finding yourself in the center of civil unrest caused by long-term disasters.

Why is bugging out a bad idea?

If you have serious health problems, small children, a pregnant wife, or you are completely unprepared for the difficulties that will await you in the event of a bug-out scenario. Then you should stay put at home. Bugging out is a much more unpredictable and dangerous way to survive, as it will require you to have extra prepper skills and physical stamina.

What do you do if you don’t have a bug-out location?

If you don’t own a remote location or relatives to hide with, then there are several temporary options. For example, it might make more sense to go to the local campgrounds, parks, ghost towns, forests, or even factories instead of hiding home if it is located in a dangerous area.

What does bug mean?

This word is usually used in combination with other words. For instance, “bug out” means the situation when you need to abandon your home in search of a safer destination to stay alive. Besides, a person who is “bugging in” is a guy who decided to stay at home during a disaster.


A former USA Army sergeant and a highly educated survivalist and prepper with a degree and interest in Engineering and Electronics, Mike Millerson applies his extensive expertise in survivalism, homesteading, backpacking, hiking and hunting, spreading his deep knowledge about handling emergencies and prepping for them reasonably and effectively.




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