The Ultimate Guide to Safely Bugging Out from the Suburbs | Suburban Survival BlogThe con­cept of bug­ging out is one that I’ve clear­ly been famil­iar with, and I assume you are too… Many prep­pers like myself have fan­ta­sized that we would have to leave our home and hoof it, jump in the bug out vehi­cle, etc to our bug out loca­tion. Even dur­ing Hur­ri­cane Sandy, I shel­tered in, and had no pow­er for sev­en (7) days, when I was liv­ing in north­ern New Jer­sey.  

As a sub­ur­ban­ite less than an hour’s dri­ve from NYC, the idea of hav­ing to leave my home in case of an emer­gency doesn’t real­ly seem a lit­tle far-fetched. It’s always been spec­u­lat­ed dur­ing a SHTF, the zom­bies from NYC would make their way through the bridges & tun­nels look­ing for a bet­ter life when sup­port doesn’t arrive or when it runs out.  In fact, the COVID-19 scare has proven this.  The pop­u­la­tion where I live near the NJ shore is sky­rock­et­ing, $800,000 town­homes are going up left and right, and the con­scious zom­bies from NYC, and North­ern NJ moved down here and are con­tin­u­ing to, since the COVID-19 threat start­ed every­one sit­ting home in their 500 square foot apart­ments.  The pop­u­la­tion in North­ern NJ is the rea­son Mrs. Prep­per and I moved south to begin with.  The mini COVID-19 wan­na-be SHTF, was con­trolled by dra­con­ian lock­downs which got peo­ple migrat­ing and are con­tin­u­ing to migrate due to high crime, the promise of a bet­ter lifestyle, etc.  

We live just a cou­ple miles from a naval weapons sta­tion, and there are a num­ber of mil­i­tary bases near­by, since we are by the ocean.  Whether the dis­as­ter is man made or nat­ur­al, we need a plan.  And while we have one, it’s worth not­ing it could always use refin­ing and improve­ment.  

The more I think about shel­ter­ing in, and the more the pop­u­la­tion increas­es, the more Bug­ging Out is a high­er option than shel­ter­ing in if the SHTF and we’re in a WROL sit­u­a­tion.  And if WROL becomes the norm after a cou­ple of weeks, it’s going to be crit­i­cal to iden­ti­fy this, and to get out pri­or to a WROL sit­u­a­tion becom­ing the norm.  The longer one waits, the more pre­car­i­ous the Bug Out sit­u­a­tion becomes.

It’s impor­tant to real­ize that dis­as­ters can strike any­where, and hav­ing a bug out strat­e­gy is cru­cial for sur­viv­ing such sit­u­a­tions. In this blog post, I will walk you through every aspect of plan­ning as I see it, and build a safe bug out strat­e­gy from the sub­urbs, includ­ing iden­ti­fy­ing poten­tial threats, fac­tors to con­sid­er, essen­tial gear and sup­plies, choos­ing a bug out loca­tion, trans­porta­tion options, com­mu­ni­ca­tion plan, prac­tice and drills, com­mon mis­takes to avoid, and more.

Understanding the Concept of Bug Out

Before we dive into the specifics of plan­ning a bug out strat­e­gy, let’s first under­stand what it means to “bug out.” Sim­ply put, “bug­ging out” refers to leav­ing your home or cur­rent loca­tion in the event of an emer­gency or dis­as­ter. We see this all the time in the movies.  This could be due to a nat­ur­al dis­as­ter, civ­il unrest, or any oth­er sit­u­a­tion that pos­es a threat to your safe­ty.

The idea behind bug­ging out is to have a well designed plan in place ahead of time so that you can evac­u­ate quick­ly and safe­ly. This means hav­ing the nec­es­sary gear and sup­plies ready to go, as well as a pre­de­ter­mined bug out loca­tion and trans­porta­tion options.

Importance of Planning a Safe Bug Out Strategy

Hav­ing a bug out strat­e­gy is essen­tial for sur­viv­ing emer­gen­cies and dis­as­ters. With­out a plan in place, you could be left scram­bling at the last minute, try­ing to fig­ure out what to do and where to go. This can lead to poor deci­sion-mak­ing and poten­tial­ly dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions.

A well-planned bug out strat­e­gy and check­list can also help reduce stress and anx­i­ety dur­ing an emer­gency. Know­ing that you have a plan in place and the nec­es­sary sup­plies and gear can pro­vide peace of mind and help you stay focused on the task at hand.  

Identifying Potential Threats in the Suburbs

The first step in plan­ning a bug out strat­e­gy is to iden­ti­fy poten­tial threats in your area. This will help you deter­mine what kind of emer­gen­cies you need to pre­pare for and what kind of gear and sup­plies you’ll need.  

We live in a mixed blue col­lar / white col­lar neigh­bor­hood.  We live a mile from a very afflu­ent neigh­bor­hood and a mile from a much less afflu­ent neigh­bor­hood.  These are the breaks when you live in the sub­urbs.  Access to our neigh­bor­hood is unfet­tered.  We have a coun­ty paved walk­ing trail behind our home, and there is access from sev­er­al streets to our neigh­bor­hood.  Secu­ri­ty is a con­cern if shel­ter­ing in or bug­ging out.  These are some con­sid­er­a­tions you should have when think­ing about bug­ging in or out.  Oper­a­tional secu­ri­ty, when you bug out, and with whom are all con­sid­er­a­tions… If shel­ter­ing in place, what will you need to do in order to do so?  If bug­ging out, keep read­ing.  

Some com­mon threats in sub­ur­ban areas include nat­ur­al dis­as­ters ala Hur­ri­cane Sandy this area was under water, tor­na­does, and flood­ing, as well as man-made dis­as­ters such as civ­il unrest or ter­ror­ist attacks. It’s impor­tant to research and under­stand the spe­cif­ic risks in your area and plan accord­ing­ly.

There’s a lot of infor­ma­tion out there on this in text, books, blogs, etc.  The resound­ing theme, how­ev­er, from vet­er­ans that have been in com­bat (which is sort of what I envi­sion the mind­set needs to be like dur­ing a bug out sit­u­a­tion), is that it is com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent than you think it is going to be.  I’m not even sure how to expand on this because my frame of ref­er­ence does not reach (has not been) there.  All I know is that we’re going to need to keep our heads on a swiv­el…  

Factors to Consider When Planning a Bug Out

When plan­ning a bug out, there are sev­er­al fac­tors to con­sid­er, includ­ing your phys­i­cal abil­i­ties, the size of your group, and your bud­get. You’ll need to fac­tor in the cost of gear and sup­plies, trans­porta­tion options, and any fees asso­ci­at­ed with your bug out loca­tion.

It’s also impor­tant to con­sid­er the time of year and weath­er con­di­tions when plan­ning your bug out. For exam­ple, if you live in an area with harsh win­ters, you’ll need to plan for cold weath­er gear and trans­porta­tion that can han­dle snowy or icy con­di­tions.

Where are you bug­ging out to?  What are the routes?  How far is it by car with­out traf­fic?  How long is it going to take if it’s bumper to bumper traf­fic?  How much fuel can you bring?  Will the fuel make you a tar­get? How many con­tin­gency plans are there?  What type of ter­rain is it?  Are you dri­ving, and are you pre­pared to hoof it or go by bike?  Do you have fall­back loca­tions along the way to shel­ter, rest, and regroup?

There real­ly is a LOT to think about.  

What hap­pens if there are injuries or a death along the route.  I’ve not even giv­en this the con­sid­er­a­tion it like­ly deserves…  Igno­rance is bliss, I guess.  But this is a seri­ous ques­tion that came to mind as I am writ­ing this.  

When plan­ning your bug out, ensure you have the vehicle(s), trail­er and/or stor­age capac­i­ty, as well as mul­ti­ple plans with back­up plans in the event some­thing hap­pens and your bug out does not go as planned.

Don’t over­think it.  This can get over­whelm­ing, and expen­sive, so do what you can with­in your bud­get and means.  You’ll still be head and shoul­ders above the sheeple and walk­ing dead.  

Essential Gear and Supplies for a Successful Bug Out

Hav­ing the right gear and sup­plies is cru­cial for a suc­cess­ful bug out. Some essen­tial items to include in your bug out bag or kit include:

  • A way to trans­port your gear (Bug Out Vehi­cle, Trail­er, etc)
  • Water and water fil­tra­tion sys­tem
  • Food and cook­ing sup­plies
  • Shel­ter, such as a tent or tarp (hope­ful­ly this is only inter­im and you have a des­ti­na­tion with a shel­ter as a means to an end).
  • Warm cloth­ing and rain gear for all the weath­er con­di­tions you could encounter.  
  • First aid kit & gear
  • Fire-start­ing tools
  • Nav­i­ga­tion tools, such as a map and com­pass (cause you nev­er know when you are going to need to aban­don your vehi­cle and go off grid)
  • Light­ing, such as a flash­light, head­lamp, etc.
  • Com­mu­ni­ca­tion devices, such as a two-way radios, cell phones, satel­lite comms
  • Defen­sive tools, such as pep­per spray or a firearm (if legal and trained to use)

Depend­ing on your Bug Out Loca­tion will depend on the gear you may bring with you.  If your BOL is 30 — 50 miles away you may not require a lot of gear.  How­ev­er, if your BOL is a cab­in three hours away from your home by vehi­cle with­out traf­fic, this is a dif­fer­ent con­sid­er­a­tion.  You should think about core gear, inter­im gear & sup­plies for the jour­ney (includ­ing fuel), as well as what you may need when you get there.  This may neces­si­tate a trail­er and all your gear, food, etc trail­ered behind you, also risk­ing OPSEC if it is not an enclosed trail­er or camper unit.  

Creating a Bug Out Bag Checklist

To ensure that you have all the nec­es­sary gear and sup­plies for a bug out, it’s help­ful to cre­ate a check­list. This will help you stay orga­nized and make sure you don’t for­get any­thing impor­tant.

Your bug out bag check­list should include all the essen­tial items men­tioned above, as well as any addi­tion­al items spe­cif­ic to your sit­u­a­tion or needs. It’s also impor­tant to peri­od­i­cal­ly review and update your check­list as need­ed.

There are a num­ber of these from oth­er blog­gers online.  I was going to cre­ate one, but why recre­ate the wheel.  Check out this google search here:

Choosing a Bug Out Location

When choos­ing a bug out loca­tion, there are sev­er­al fac­tors to con­sid­er. You’ll want to choose a loca­tion that is safe, acces­si­ble, and has the nec­es­sary resources for sur­vival.

Some poten­tial bug out loca­tions include:

  • A friend or fam­i­ly mem­ber’s home out­side the affect­ed area
  • A des­ig­nat­ed camp­site or cab­in in a remote loca­tion or sec­ondary loca­tion out­side your affect­ed area
  • A hotel or oth­er tem­po­rary shel­ter out­side the affect­ed area

It could be impor­tant to have mul­ti­ple bug out loca­tion options in case one is unavail­able or com­pro­mised.

You’ll also want to con­sid­er the dis­tance and trans­porta­tion need­ed to get to your bug out location(s)

Bug Out Transportation Options

Trans­porta­tion is a crit­i­cal com­po­nent of a bug out strat­e­gy. You’ll need to con­sid­er your options based on your bud­get, phys­i­cal abil­i­ties, and the dis­tance to your bug out loca­tion.

Some trans­porta­tion options to con­sid­er include:

  • Per­son­al vehi­cle
  • Bicy­cle
  • Foot trav­el
  • Pub­lic trans­porta­tion
  • ATV or oth­er off-road vehi­cle

It’s impor­tant to have a back­up plan in case your pri­ma­ry trans­porta­tion option is unavail­able or com­pro­mised. This could include hav­ing a sec­ondary vehi­cle or alter­na­tive trans­porta­tion method.

Bug Out Communication Plan

Hav­ing a com­mu­ni­ca­tion plan in place is essen­tial for stay­ing con­nect­ed with your group and access­ing infor­ma­tion dur­ing an emer­gency. This could include hav­ing a two-way radio or cell phone, as well as a des­ig­nat­ed meet­ing place and time.

It’s also impor­tant to have a plan for com­mu­ni­cat­ing with emer­gency ser­vices or oth­er author­i­ties if need­ed. This could include hav­ing a list of emer­gency con­tacts and know­ing how to access emer­gency ser­vices in your area.

Practice and Drills for Bug Out

Prac­tice and drills are essen­tial for ensur­ing that your bug out strat­e­gy is effec­tive and effi­cient. This could include prac­tic­ing pack­ing and unpack­ing your bug out bag, test­ing your trans­porta­tion options, and run­ning through dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios with your group.

It’s also impor­tant to peri­od­i­cal­ly review and update your bug out plan and check­list as need­ed. This will help ensure that you are pre­pared for any new threats or changes in your sit­u­a­tion.

Common Bug Out Mistakes to Avoid

There are sev­er­al com­mon mis­takes that peo­ple make when plan­ning a bug out strat­e­gy. These are obser­va­tion­al as I have nev­er had to per­form a real bug out sce­nario.  These include:

  • Over­pack­ing or under-pack­ing your bug out bag.  I am guilty of hav­ing too much stuff… 
  • Not hav­ing a back­up plan for trans­porta­tion or bug out loca­tion
  • Not prac­tic­ing or drilling your bug out plan enough (guilty)
  • Focus­ing too much on gear and sup­plies and not enough on strat­e­gy and plan­ning
  • Not con­sid­er­ing the spe­cif­ic threats and risks in your area (I think this one is com­plete­ly under­rat­ed) 

Conclusion: Be Prepared for Anything with a Safe Bug Out Strategy

Plan­ning a bug out strat­e­gy may seem over­whelm­ing, but it’s essen­tial for sur­viv­ing emer­gen­cies and dis­as­ters. By under­stand­ing the con­cept of bug out, iden­ti­fy­ing poten­tial threats, con­sid­er­ing impor­tant fac­tors, and hav­ing the right gear and sup­plies, you can be pre­pared for any­thing.

Remem­ber to peri­od­i­cal­ly review and update your bug out plan, prac­tice and drill with your group, and avoid com­mon mis­takes. With a safe bug out strat­e­gy in place, you can have peace of mind know­ing that you are pre­pared for any sit­u­a­tion that may arise…

Let Us Know What You Think

What does your bug out strat­e­gy look like.  Did we miss any­thing?  Feel free to reg­is­ter, and com­ment with your thoughts about the econ­o­my, if we’re full of $#!^ or what you are con­cerned about.

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