So, I have been giving more and more thought to a BOL. Here is why: My family’s home, which is my current BOL is 100 miles from my home in NJ. It is rural, but still near major roads and is highly visible to the street, as is the garden, vehicles, etc. Conceptually, while 100 miles, I realize that 100 miles is not that far from my existing location and all major roads eventually lead there when bugging out. I have met a few preppers in my area now, and we are all starting to chat and talk… One of the preppers, I am getting pretty friendly with, and he suggests that the refugees in a SHTF here in the NYC / NJ area are actually locusts that will strip homes and land of all resources because they are not prepped themselves. I have given this much thought over the past month or so, and have looked to blogs, podcasts, magazines, etc for advice on BOLs.  There is some information out there, but not a ton. In the end, it would seem that bugging in, is well, probably not going to be as advisable as bugging out in a real SHTF or TEOTWAWKI situation.

First, let’s keep in mind that I am not made of money, and do not have the money to yet purchase a BOL.  It is going to be a primary goal over the next 12 – 24. Some of what I am looking for begs several questions with a little commentary:

– My personal four criteria for a BOL, (water on property, guns are acceptable, land is good for growing food and livestock are welcome in the community), assuming I buy acreage in a community, vs. a plot of land, although the criteria stay the same for both.

– How far is far enough away, how close is to close?  Whew, what a thought.  Better yet, is 100 miles far enough or is it too close.  Is two hours on the road enough or should I go four?  I am not sure 100 miles to rural PA is enough, however, I am sure that I can find a remote enough spot to be self reliant and self sufficient for the short or long term if I needed to be.  So the search begins.  I do know I do not want to be near any “major” roads or interstates due to the roving number of locusts that will follow the road system to whatever destination they perceive as good for them.

– How much acreage is enough?  Two acres, five acres, 10 acres, 25 acres?  Good question.  I know I want a minimum of five acres, ideally 10 acres.  There are multiple reasons for this:

  • One, to allow enough property around me to isolate the BOL itself,
  • Two, so that I can build an ample size garden, possibly up to one acre in size,
  • Three, so that I can cache preps on the property marked so that only I can find them
  • Four, so that I may hunt and trap on the property, and I believe that five acres is too small for this.
  • Five, so that I may build into the property permiculture changes that benefit the property itself for growth.

– Hidden gotchas to watch out for in buying a piece of property – Not sure what they may be yet, but being too close to other people, where someone could just stumble across your BOL.  In a SHTF, stumbling across my place would be a bad idea unless they had something of value to me to barter.  Property taxes being reassessed every year, increasing the cost of the property to me (not sure how realistic that is), not being able to find water on the property, vandalism as a second property that gets visited only occasionally, etc.  I am sure there is more that I have not touched on or can think of off the top of my head.

– I think that tent camping is not a good idea for a BOL and I would want to put a travel trailer or small cabin on the property ASAP.  I think that psychologically people want a sense of home, even if a travel trailer is on the property, and an outhouse vs. tent camping for long term bug out situations. I also think that if a building is on the property I would tend to use it more than not… It gives the guise of security and shelter in whatever the weather condition(s) may be.

– What type of terrain will the BOL should be on? Quite probably hilly but not mountainous terrain.  I would want something relatively flat with hills to protect whatever area I choose to garden or put a structure on.

– Rough winters, hot summers, global warming and / or cooling?  Still working on this…

– I think that everyone should watch out for potential annexation by surrounding towns/cities.  Admittedly, I got this and several of my ideas for this post from other blogs, but I thought it necessary to mention this because if you or I are too close to state or national land this could possibly be bad.   One of my goals is to keep property taxes as low as possible… I will have “permanent” structure on the property for some time for this reason.

– If eventually moving permanently to the BOL I no longer have a fallback position? My thought on this… Um, let me get the BOL first and then I will figure out the rest from there.

– Have redundancy options for electric, a well, heat, (not grid dependent) – This is a must, and one of the first things I would do after putting a structure of any kind on the property. As little grid dependence as possible.  I may have electric piped in, a large propane tank on property, etc. However, the less grid dependence, the better…

Well, these are my initial thoughts on a Bug Out Location.  I may add some commentary in the near future regarding defending the BOL, etc.  But for now, this is what I have come up with.

Oh, and I am looking forward to M.D. Creekmore’s new book on Bug Out Locations.

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We’re a group of suburban preppers in the Northeast and live in the NYC suburbs that write The Suburban Survival Blog to talk about preparedness and self-reliance out there to help others prepare for what could be an uncertain future due to economic, weather, and other reasons.