Posts tagged: bug out

10 Reasons Why You Do Not Want To Bug Out

10 Reasons Why You Do Not Want to Bug Out

The plan seems simple, doesn’t it? All you need for the best chance of survival for your family is a well-stocked bug out bag, a keen attention to your surroundings and careful monitoring of what is happening in the news. With these bases covered you will be a very informed prepper and will be able to get the jump on all of the clueless sheeple if something bad happens. You will load your family up with your bags and hike off into the sunset way ahead of the approaching death and destruction. You have a plan to bug out.

It sounds perfect, but in this article, I am going to try and convince you how that might not be the best and first option you should consider. There are many reasons and situations I can think of why you do not want to bug out from your home. You may be asking yourself, how can I even say those words on a prepper blog such as this without getting struck by lightning? It’s true that hunkering down is not the option that gets the most press, but in my opinion, during most (but not all) scenarios, it is the better choice. That is unless you are a combat-trained Navy Seal. If you are like me, just an average guy with a family and a giant subterranean monster unleashed by nuclear experiments are not headed your way, you might want to stay put. Here are a few reasons why:

1. You live where your stuff is.

I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of these reasons are going to seem incredibly simple and obvious, but I think sometimes that is the best way to approach a problem. As a prepper you have probably started collecting some supplies to help you get through short and long-term emergencies. Some of you have stored a TON of supplies because you have been doing this for a long time or else you are independently wealthy and you just blew up the Black Friday sales.

Even if you only have a week’s worth of food and water, that is nothing to sneeze at. Everything you have is stored probably in nicely organized bins for easy retrieval. You don’t have to carry it and the supplies aren’t subject to the elements. Leaving your home will make you potentially have to leave most, or all of your survival supplies at home. You could put them all in your best bug out vehicle, the diesel Ford F-250 with the trailer, right? Sure you could, but are you sure that truck will always be in your possession? It’s just better to stay at your home base because there are tons of advantages like…

2. Even your kitchen floor is more comfortable than sleeping in the woods.


Some parts of Mother Nature are best appreciated when you can leave.

Yes, I know that some people sleep perfectly well in the woods and I can too, once I am exhausted from hiking all day. Honestly, you would have to agree that your old lumpy Serta Posturpedic mattress would be preferable to sleeping in the woods or an abandoned building or even a hammock. Why is that important?

Getting plenty of good sleep has a huge impact on our health. It not only affects your moods but alertness and even immune system. In a disaster, you will be stressed in ways you haven’t even considered. You may be working like a dog and having a comfortable and relatively safe place to rest your head, even if that is the living room floor will be an advantage that the people who think they can just bug out into the woods won’t have.

3. Built-in Community whether you know it or not.

In times of crisis, you can almost guarantee that communities will band together in some ways. You probably don’t consider your small neighborhood or dead-end street a community but let some disaster happen and you will see humans come together for support, safety and to help each other out. Being around even just a few neighbors who know you can give you advantages if you need assistance for things like a neighborhood security plan.

Even neighbors you don’t get along with will probably overcome grudges if the disaster is severe enough. Of course, there is the potential that your neighbors could turn on you for being the lone prepper but I think in most cases, things won’t go Mad Max for a little while. If it does you will have to adjust, but I believe that most people would benefit by banding with their neighbors for support. You could have an opportunity for leadership here or compassion by helping out others who haven’t prepared. It is much better to strive for this kind of relationship with people than head out the door and face the world with only what is on your back.

4. Being Cold Sucks and it can kill you.

I bet that most of you like to keep the thermostat somewhere in the upper 60’s to low 70’s during the winter. There might be some play in that range, but there are no thermostats outside. Whatever the temperature is outdoors is what you are going to be living with. Can you start a fire or wear warm layers to regulate your body temperature? Of course, but the last place I want to be on a cold winter night is huddled up in my sleeping bag under a tarp even if I did have a nice roasting fire beside me.

There are some situations where you wouldn’t be able to start a fire. Maybe if it was raining and you couldn’t find any dry wood or tinder, or there were people that didn’t look so friendly following you. Staying in your home, even without power can give you advantages of shelter that you won’t easily find outdoors. You can seal off rooms and even your body heat will generate a little warmth. You can black out your curtains with heavy gauge plastic sheeting and even the heat from a lantern or a couple of candles can put out an amazing amount of heat.

5. You may put yourself in a worse situation.

The problem with most bug out plans is that you don’t have a destination. Where are you bugging out to? Do you think the National Forest is going to be reserved solely for you and your family? Do you think you will just set up a tent and start hunting for small game? In a large regional disaster, there could be millions of people leaving the cities. The concept is called the Golden Horde and they will be competing with you for natural resources. With even a few dozen hunters in the same area game will be depleted in days if not sooner. Then you will be stuck near a bunch of other hungry people who blame you for catching the last squirrel.

6. Being on the road makes you an easier target.

One of the advantages of staying put at home is the home field or defenders advantage. When you go out, you do not know what you are walking or driving into. The best you can do is recon very deliberately which will only slow you down more. By staying put in your home, you can set up a neighborhood watch with your fellow neighbors and monitor who is coming in. This gives you the opportunity to set up defensive positions and plans that anyone walking in with thoughts of taking advantage of you, won’t be aware of.

7. If nobody knows you, you are a stranger.


If the people in the town do not know you, they will treat you as suspicious, maybe even hostile.

Have you ever been walking your dog and seen someone strange walking through your neighborhood? This was someone you didn’t know so obviously they fell under suspicion. Had they been one of your neighbor’s kids you would have recognized them, but this new person stuck out. That is what you will be faced with if you leave your home and go wandering through other towns and cities. In your home neighborhood, you will be dealing with known people that you can grow a deeper relationship with. There is a built-in level of trust because they have lived near you for years. If you start walking into a strange town with your bug out bags and AR-15 slung over your bulletproof vest, you may not like the attention you receive.

8. Gear is heavy and a lot of gear is heavier.

Speaking of walking around in your bulletproof vest and gear, how many of you have walked for 3 days with your bug out bag? OK, now add a full complement of bullets and anything else you think you might need to defend yourself. It adds up quickly even when you try to reduce the weight of your bug out bag as much as possible. These weren’t meant to live for a long time out of. Your food will run out, possibly your ammo and that will help you with the weight, but in a disaster where you are walking out the door in full combat gear, do you think Walmart will be open when you run out of something?

9. In a grid down you won’t get to call AAA.

Maybe you are one of the lucky ones that have a place to go up in the mountains. If you don’t get out before everyone else starts leaving, you could be stuck on the road. What if your old bug out vehicle breaks down? All those supplies you stored in the back of that trailer are either going to feed a lot of other people on the highway or you will most likely die to defend them. If you aren’t already living at your retreat before the disaster happens, you will have to be incredibly fast to avoid getting stranded. Let’s say you are ready to go, do you know when you would actually leave? Do you know when the S has actually HTF and it’s time to leave or will you debate leaving with your wife and mother for two days because they think it will all blow over soon?


10. If you get hurt you want to be near a secure shelter not under a tarp.

I have a decent first aid supply kit. I don’t have IV’s and a ton of medicine but I can take care of garden-variety injuries pretty well. Imagine you somehow break your leg after the grid is down. Would you rather drag yourself into the house, or be stuck in the woods for weeks unable to move? Most hospitals don’t stick their patients out in the backyard for a reason so you will convalesce better with a good roof over your head that is hopefully providing some climate protections. If nothing else, it will be a relatively clean and safe place to get better than beats lying under a log.

So what does staying home mean?

I will write a post about reasons why you may have to bug out later, but staying home doesn’t guarantee you will be safe and secure either. I think each situation has to be taken into consideration as to what is the better option for you and your family. Naturally, if there is a fire heading your way staying at home is stupid. It is something to think about that and that may help you begin to form different plans for different scenarios. What are your plans?

By: Pat Henry

Build A Bug Out Kindle: A Digital Survival Library At Your Fingertips

Build a Bug Out Kindle - A Digital Survival Library at Your Fingertips

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Creek Stewart, Senior Instructor at the Willow Haven Outdoor School for Survival, Preparedness & Bushcraft.

A “bug out situation” is the phrase used to describe a survival scenario which makes staying at home more dangerous than leaving. Disasters — natural and manmade — happen to regular people on a regular basis, driving them from their homes in search of a safer destination. Oftentimes, evacuees are forced to survive with their wits and the survival supplies they can carry on their back. You may have read my article here — How to Make a Bug Out Bag — or my book which that article inspired titled Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag. If so, you already have a head-start in building your own personal 72-hour disaster kit to help you and your family survive a potential bug out evacuation. This article is written with that same conviction — to help further prepare you for when the unthinkable knocks at your front door.

Here’s the good news: survival knowledge weighs nothing.

This is true for those who practice and study survival and preparedness skills on a regular basis. But for those who don’t, access to that survival knowledge only has to weigh about 1 pound – the weight of an Amazon Kindle. I’m not at all suggesting that the practice and study of survival skills should or can be replaced by ebooks. However, an entire survival library of information at your fingertips just may be the one survival tool in your Bug Out Bag that saves your life.


Until recent years, carrying millions of pages of survival information in your Bug Out Bag was not only impractical, it was impossible. Digital readers such as the Amazon Kindle have been a game changer in how we buy, store, organize, and read books. I’ve traditionally been very anti-digital when it comes to packing electronics in my Bug Out Bag. Their fragility and short battery life have always fallen short of the demanding requirements that a bug out situation presents. The recent advent of lightweight portable power and waterproof/shock-resistant cases (both discussed later) now makes this bug out survival resource very durable and practical, no matter what Mother Nature throws your way.

Building Your Survival Library


No digital reader will ever replace the feeling of sitting back in my favorite chair and leafing through the tattered pages of my very early Boy Scout Handbook that I picked up at a flea market for fifteen cents when I was a kid. I’ve dissected that manual for more than 30 years and it never gets old. I’ll hate to leave it and many of my other favorite hard copy books behind when I bug out. But, I have most of them on my Kindle just in case.

When it comes to stocking your Kindle or tablet with survival related information, I definitely have some recommendations. This is far from an exhaustive list, but it is a great start for anyone interested in building a good foundation on a Bug Out Kindle. I’ve divided these suggestions into 6 main categories: Survival Skills, Shelter, Water, Fire, Food, First Aid, and Documents.

Survival Skills

These are titles that discuss a variety of well-rounded survival skills. Many of them are complete survival manuals and therefore touch on all 6 categories mentioned above.

How to Stay Alive in the Woods: A Complete Guide to Food, Shelter and Self-Preservation Anywhere by Bradford Angier


This is a classic wilderness survival book originally written in the 50s. It’s packed full of practical wilderness survival skills revolving around shelter, water, fire, and food. Bradford wrote several other outdoor skills books worth considering as well.

Wilderness Survival by Gregory J. Davenport


Greg is an Air Force SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) specialist and this is one of the best books written on the subject. His discussion and illustrations of protection, sustenance, signaling, travel, and health is as good as it gets.

US ARMY Survival Manual FM 21-76


This is a very straightforward and to-the-point survival manual with field-tested survival techniques bought and paid for by hard-earned US tax dollars. This manual is packed full of great survival know-how and should be in every survival library.

Back to Basics by Abigail Gehring


This book is packed full of practical pioneer-type homesteading skills such as growing food, canning, keeping chickens, generating energy, and herbal medicine. This is a great read for anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of living like our grandparents did at the turn of the century.

Basic Safe Travel and Boreal Handbook by Mors Kochanski


One of the best books written about surviving in the north woods and Canada. Mors is one of the most articulate and intelligent survival authors I have ever read. He has several smaller ebooks available (some mentioned later) that are excellent reads and are very inexpensive. I own pretty much all of them. Some of my favorites are: Basic Wilderness Survival in Cold Lacking Snow, Fire Skills of the Northern Forest, The Lean-To and It’s Variants, A Survival Kit Shelter, and Top Seven Knots.

Outdoor Survival Skills by Larry Dean Olsen


Larry is truly a master of the primitive arts and is an icon in the world of primitive survival skills. His use and skill with natural materials such as leather, bone, rock, and wood are unparalleled. Whether making a bow and arrow or tanning hides, this guy teaches a huge variety of primitive skills.

US Air Force Pocket Survival Manual


This is my favorite of the government survival manuals. I really like the illustrations and it seems to contain a bigger variety of skills. There is also a huge section on the psychological effects of survival and evasion. Most survival guides lack in these categories.

Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-hour Disaster Survival Kit by Yours Truly – Creek Stewart


If you haven’t yet begun the process of building a Bug Out Bag, this book is a great start. It’s more of a manual to help get it done than it is a survival skills book, but I do list tons of survival tips and tricks for getting the biggest bang for your buck when building a Bug Out Bag.


Many of the books in the Survival Skills category above cover shelter in one way, shape, or form, but the books below discuss this topic almost exclusively.

The Lean-To and It’s Variants Used in Survival and Bush Bough Beds by Mors Kochanski


One of the best cold weather shelter reads available. I love Mors’ intellectual approach to survival and shelter building.

The Super Shelter by Mors Kochanski


Mors pretty much invented the “super shelter” design which uses plastic sheeting and mylar blankets to create an amazing cold weather survival shelter.

Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties by D.C. Beard


From lean-tos to log cabins, mountain man shelter ideas abound in this book. This is one that will make you want to go out, build a fort in the woods, and sleep there.


Titles in this category deal almost exclusively with finding, collecting, filtering, and purifying wild water.

Harvesting H2O by Nicholas Hyde


An excellent discussion about the collection, treatment, and storage of water while living off the grid.

Water Purification by Will Jameson


An incredibly thorough discussion about water purification, storage, and acquisition.

Water 4 Survival by Paul Andrulis


Another helpful read about finding water, determining whether it’s safe to drink, and teaching how to make it safe for consumption.


I’ve only listed one title in this category, as many of the titles in the Survival Skills category discuss fire in great detail and are excellent fire resources.

Fire Skills: 50 Methods for Starting Fires Without Matches by David Aman


This is a great primer in exploring many different methods of making fire. It lists 50 different fire-starting methods, some of which are very inventive and fun. Reading this book will not make you a fire master; only practicing fire starting will do this, but you can use this book to get different ideas to challenge your skills and broaden your knowledge base.


Whether foraging for wild foods or stockpiling your own, these titles deal exclusively with sustenance.

21 Native Wild Edible Plants by Mors Kochanski


This inexpensive ebook is worth the money simply to read Mors’ discussion on the plants listed. The line drawings aren’t much for reference so you’ll need a better photo guide for that, but it’s the words that are important in this book. I like that this little guide just covers a few plants because that fits into my personal 80/20 wild edible plants rule which states: “FOCUS on the 20% of the wild edible plants you see 80% of the time. FORGET the rest!”

Wild Edibles by Sergei Boutenko


Sergei is an enthusiastic author and wild edible plant fanatic. I really enjoy his approach to wild edibles. His photos are some the best I’ve seen and his discussions are easy to understand and straight to the point. He covers 60 plants in this book.

Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival by Angela Paskett


Angela is a personal friend of mine and she practices what she preaches. I would consider this a definitive guide to learning and understanding best practices when it comes to long-term food storage. She covers everything from types of containers to methodology. If you’re looking to stockpile your survival pantry, this read is for you.

Backyard Foraging by Ellen Zachos


This is a great wild edible plant book covering 65 plants you didn’t know you could eat. There is certainly some redundancy with other titles mentioned, but this book is a good stand-alone resource for eating your backyard!

Build Your Own Underground Root Cellar by Phyllis Hobson


An underground root cellar has been on my project list for several years and this is the book I purchased to help get the job done. It’s a great little read. This title is part of a series of very informative ebooks called Storey Country Wisdom Bulletins and there are many other titles that may pique your interest.

Urban Foraging by David Craft


This title might be of interest to all of you city dwellers. I enjoyed the urban angle of searching for wild edibles in the city. There is literally food around every corner!

All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew


I love this author’s approach to gardening. He is all about growing more in less space and it just makes sense. His methodical approach to planting in a square-foot design is impressive to say the least. My personal experiments from the skills taught in this book have proven successful beyond measure and I highly recommend this style of growing for any gardening enthusiast.

First Aid

The need for first aid supplies and services go through the roof during disaster and survival scenarios. These are also the first services to become overwhelmed and unavailable. The ability to provide for yourself and loved ones with basic first aid is critical. These books will help.

Where There Is No Doctor by David Werner


Don’t expect to read this in one sitting – it’s LONG! It covers medical advice for everything from toothaches to survival childbirth. I would consider this manual an indispensable guide in any survival library. The premise of the book is that medical knowledge should not be a guarded secret by a select few, but should be freely shared by everyone and that ordinary people who are provided with clear, simple information can prevent and treat most common health problems in their own homes.

Outward Bound Wilderness First-Aid Handbook by Jeffrey Isaac


I like the wilderness-specific angle of this title. If it can happen in the outdoors then it’s probably covered in this book. From altitude illness to constipation, this is a no-nonsense guide to address first aid issues in the wilderness. Outward Bound is a very reputable organization and this handbook has become a classic resource for adventurers all over the world.

The Survival Medicine Handbook by Joseph and Amy Alton


I especially like this title because it’s written by preparedness-minded people for preparedness-minded people. They write from the perspective of asking, “What if access to modern medical facilities no longer exists?” They do not end each scenario or sentence with, “Go to the hospital.” I like that. This is an A-Z medical guide for true survival scenarios written in plain English.


One cool thing about the kindle (at least the newer models) is that you can upload PDFs into an accessible documents area for easy reference. The sky is the limit when it comes to this option. From maps and GPS coordinates to addresses and telephone numbers, this puts literally any kind of information that you wish at your fingertips in the middle of a bug out scenario. I’ve loaded tons of medical documents such as antibiotic doses and measurements to this folder. I also include chemical water purification ratios and PDF manuals for some of my electronics, such as my handheld HAM radio.

This feature, which some e-readers lack, gives you the option of loading personal documents such as insurance paperwork, pet shot records, marriage licenses, bank information, and the like for easy reference. I prefer to keep my personal documents on a secure, password-protected thumb drive, but the Kindle is a great option for less sensitive information.

One other category worth mentioning within this heading is games. I know this sounds crazy initially, but a few games can be a huge asset when bugging out with young children. Anything to distract their minds from the craziness is a good thing. An idle mind leads down troubled paths. Many simple games can be downloaded free of charge.

Protection and Power


Protecting and powering your Bug Out Kindle are two absolute requirements. If both of these options were not possible, a Kindle would not be included in my Bug Out Bag. Options abound when it comes to both.



Military-grade cases and covers are readily available online that are shock-resistant and waterproof – two absolute bug out necessities. A durable waterproof sleeve or map case will suffice at a bare minimum.


Solar power and manual crank USB chargers are readily available as well. Most hand crank emergency radios now have a USB charger built in, which will power the Kindle. Stand-alone Pocket Sockets are also available. I prefer the hand crank power options for recharging, but I have several friends who swear by solar. Ultimately, it’s a personal choice.


Packing a sizable survival library along with hand-picked PDFs which catalog a plethora of facts and references in your Bug Out Bag just makes survival sense. Affordable portable power and protective cases make a Bug Out Kindle a very feasible and practical survival tool that can handle the worst of scenarios. The built-in camera and video features allow the capture of important information for future reference as well.

Albert Einstein once said, “Information is not knowledge.” This is true. However, access to information about a subject which you’re not knowledgeable can be a huge survival advantage. In survival, I’ll take every competitive advantage I can get, including a Bug Out Kindle.

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN.