Recently. I have been looking for a BOL property again. I have had several conversations with other preppers about going in on property together, alone, etc. Then I examine my geography and demographic, and it hit me… I live in a highly populated low self sufficiency demographic and geography. I need more than one Bug Out Location… “What?” you might ask… or Why? Various reasons, actually. Lets take a high level look at why that might be.
First, not every SHTF is going to be a TEOTWAWKI. That is just fact. As much as we all prepare, and shows like Doomsday Preppers want you to think, there are clearly smaller more imminent SHTF situations to be worried about. Just ask all the tornado, flood, Earthquake, and other natural disaster victims over the past year or two.
Second, a BOL made for long and short term SHTF situations could be advantageous in a couple different ways. Let’s define a short term BOL and a long term BOL. Please keep in mind this is opinion only and I am sort of brainstorming as I go here, so bear with any random thoughts that get us pulled aside or that you may not agree with. In fact, do not forget to comment and let me know what you think whether you agree or not.
Short term BOL: The short term BOL, is just that. Short term. What do I consider to be short term? I think short term would be from 45 — 60 days. Short term can mean an interim stop for a few days before leaving for home or before trekking on to a longer term Bug Out Location. Or it could bean three to seven days away from home while an emergency such as the floods that happened in NJ this past year after the hurricane passes. The short term Bug Out Location should have a cache or caches of food and supplies to last your stay. It should have a source of water, whether it is well, spring, or water that can be brought to the location from a river, pond, lake, etc, and purified. You may want to have electricity piped in, or have solar and/or wind power. ro a few batteries that can provide you with a couple of amenities.
With that definition, I think that just like caches of supplies along a Bug Out Routes, the short term BOL acts in a similar fashion, providing the essentials you need in a short term situation that will allow you more of the amenities you would like to have. Think “toilet, running water of some sort, possible refrigeration, etc.”
As for the number of short term Bug Out Locations, I am beginning to believe that a prepper should have a couple of them at the least, whether one is “semi-permanent” and another one or two are designated longer term “camping areas” where you have supplies cached for you and the family. That said, it doesn’t have to be a camp site. It could be a hotel room you rent, but near the hotel there are supplies you might need. Everyone’s financial situation is different so I am aware not everyone (including myself) can afford to purchase multiple properties or make available multiple bug out locations. To illustrate, I was at a prepper meetup this weekend, and the topic of discussion was Bug Out Bags, a popular topic amongst preppers when they get together. It’s a good ice breaker conversation, to be honest. It helps to asses how far along or how mature a prepper may be with regard to how far along they may or may not be which their preps. i.e. meaning, my belief is that many or most preppers put together a BOB first…
However, my point still remains the same as I look at situations where I may be forced to go west, or northwest, southwest, or north from my NJ location. In any one of those directions, in a bad disaster situation my assumption is that there will be a plethora of traffic if you do not get out of dodge early. The decision then becomes, what BOL to head to. Interestingly, should you find yourself thinking along the same lines, you may want to have a couple BOLs for “emergency a,” “emergency b,” and another for “emergency c” and “emergency d.” Or you may want multiple short term BOLs for different seasons…
I am not going to offer advise as to where to look or what to do to find one. Scott Williams over at Bug Out Survival wrote a great book about bugging out called “Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late,” with a deep section on potentially choosing a spot. Jack Spirko over at The Survival Podcast has several posts on Bug Out Locations, and MD Creekmore has a great book on setting up a “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat.” If you have not picked them up, you should give them a shot.
Am I over complicating Bugging Out? Complicating the idea of the Bug Out Location? Let me know what you think. Not asking where, of course, but do you have a BOL, and is it more permanent or temporary? Do you have multiple locations or one?
I wouldn’t call it a bug out location, simply because of the connotations associate with this therm, but rather a fall back position; but I agree as someone who lives in a high pop density area where any disaster coould get ugly quickly having multiple local fall back options is a good idea!
A church, a friends house, a club you belong to, a campsite or motel, or even something as primitive as a garage, storage unit, or cargo container–makes a good rally point for your group/family if they get separated and a good fall back position where you can re-evaluate the situation. It could even serve as a shelter for a couple nights until you decide whether the situation demands a real bug out or just a short term evacuation.
The point always being that since a true bug out location really needs to be rural, those of us living in high density areas should begin moving incrementally away from population centers as soon as a SHTF situation is perceived, as soon as possible after a black swan as possible.
@padre4103 You make a good point. A “fall back location” would possibly be a better term…
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Personally I have mapped out two rally points in town and several fall back positions where food, supplies, and shelter can be found on several different routes to my Bug Out Location. Its about 180 miles to my retreat so as you can imagine I have several stops. But having these places pre-planned allows me a place to rest or to run to if I encounter trouble along the way, and if as you suggest a SHTF is only a short term situation, I may not need to go all the way to my mountain top retreat.
@padre4103 Padre — Good planning and preparation. I struggle with having or finding good fall back locations whether on foot or via a BOV. Being so close to NYC, suburbs up to 20+ miles out are still considered urban by most standards, and caching locations are few and far between. That is, unless you are going to pay for a small storage unit, etc. Then there is the issue of finding land to put a cache on and for which or all routes. My primary long term BOL is about 120 miles away, and the ‘hope’ is that I can get out of Dodge prior to too much traffic and make a clean get-away. I know this is not always realistic, however. I also have a camping site (a very close friends property) where I can can last about a week or so with few supplies if I had to in another direction, and thinking about some property near my long term BOL as a fallback to the BOL in the event that area cannot be sustained. Ambitious at best, I know, but I think one needs multiple locations based on the threat/disaster.
@suburban NYC made me SO nervous the last time I visited. If there was any way possible I would get out of there!!! You guys have traffic even when the S isn’t hitting the fan!!!
Well done my prepper brother Suburban. I would lead straight into potential bug-out criterion. When and why would you bug out. Then when the criterion are met, don’t mess around. Pull the trigger.
@Mr Jones It is an interesting question. During the Hurricane this past year I got out of dodge for 24 hours. I should have stayed out for 48 as discussed in this post: https://suburbansurvivalblog.com/the-interesting-road-to-actually-bugging-out-thoughts-during-a-mandatory-evacuation.
That said, there would be multiple criteria for my bugging out, not all of them related, and not all of them unrelated either. i.e.:
— Another terrorist attack in NYC at any level
— Natural disaster, like hurricane coming up the coast
— A publicized false event that is severe enough in nature that it would push people east of me west.
— N.B.C. level event under special circumstance. i.e. the N.B.C. event was far enough away it was safe to move, with the threat of a closer N.B.C. event possibility.
As for having multiple fallback locations as @padre4103 mentioned, or having full BOL’s it is speculative that they are of significant value if they rarely get used. However, in my case BOL A has some drawbacks, even though it would be my first choice. There is a satellite station owned by RR Sat Communications, Inc, between me and my BOL A. It could be a potential target of many sorts because it is a majort comms hub. It is a station that used to be owned by AT&T. BOL B on the other hand is more primitive, and would be good in a three season situation. Long enough to build a plan and make a next move. It is remote, but not too remote, and I do not own the property. It belongs to a family friend. I have unfettered use of the property and it is where I do a lot of camping in the summer a few hours north of NYC…
Now for “fallback locations,” I am at a real loss due to not having cached any supplies anywhere due to the “urban and suburban” nature of my life. I am not opposed to renting a storage unit (a small one), but that puts me in suburbia, and it puts me on the edge financially, and it means I may have long stretches between fall back locations. The upside of of a storage unit I have not heard anyone discuss as well, is depending on the situation at hand, may make for a good 24 hour shelter or lay over if you are out of harms way… A thought for a future post…
@suburban I’d be curious about your thoughts for using a storage unit as a layover. I’m thinking about caching some supplies in one on the far outskirts of town as the more I think about it, the less likely it is I’ll be able to defend my home. If I have to high-tail it out of here in front of a hungry mob, being able to grab supplies from a storage location on my way out would give me one more option.
I’ve also be thinking about looking at the more industrial areas to hide out in as there will likely be plenty of empty buildings with fewer looters at least initially. A small storage unit on the edge of an industrial park may be a path to explore. I also may keep an eye on buildings that are for lease because many of them are empty for years. If I know beforehand that these X buildings are empty, it may give me a few places that will be safer to hole up. You can easily find buildings for lease on the internet and an afternoon driving around will tell you what’s empty. Most of the web sites will also tell you how long it’s been listed so you’ll have an idea if it might be a long-term vacancy. Even if you can’t get in them, many have covered areas outside that will make decent shelters. I’m mostly just trying to figure out how to get away from people.