Does a bug out location make any sense at all?

article first appeared in March 2016

So, does it make sense to have a Bug Out Location (BOL)?

Why not stay put in your home?

Will you get to your bugout location if you have one?

Is a bugout location realistic for everyone?

What should it look like?

Is it right for you?

Wow, sorry. I probably gave you a headache already just asking the questions. But they are important questions. Why? Well, it might make the difference between your family being safe during disaster or grid-down…or dying with the masses.

Yeah, a little melodramatic, I know. But I am pretty passionate about bugout locations (BOL). Yeah, and I am sure that surprises you…right!

A while back I posted a couple of “myth” articles about BOLs and responded to another prepper blogger and their views on BOLs. And I just wanted to put out some information on what I think is relevant to the subject.

First – Does it make sense to have a BOL? Answer: Absolutely!! Why? I am assuming is your home- is your “shelter in place” location…well, what happens if you have to leave your home? “Shelter in place” is also known as “bugging in”; the terms are interchangeable.

Most professional disaster and emergency responders refer to shelter in place vs. bugging in. Most preppers talk about bugging in.

OK, so back to having a BOL. Of course it makes perfect sense to have a BOL. Where else would you go if you had to leave your home…a FEMA shelter? Something along the lines of the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina? Or, a Walmart parking lot? Really!?!

Second – I want to define a BOL before we go any further. A BOL can be any of the following:

  • A family cabin in the mountains.
  • A co-owned cabin in the mountains that you share with a group of friends or extended family.
  • A church camp owned by whatever church you belong to.
  • A friend’s ranch, farm or cabin in the mountains.
  • A state park.
  • A national park.
  • National forest or other public lands.
  • A Walmart or any other store.
  • A parking lot.

So by now you are getting the idea. A BOL is any location other than your home that you can flee to in times of emergencies, disasters and especially “grid-down”…and most importantly…TEOTWAWKI. Yes, I am serious.

Remember, I am a big believer in Plan A, Plan B, etc. You have to have multiple plans! If you don’t…then you are planning to fail. Your BOL might be your Plan A or Plan Z, or somewhere in between. If I had my way in my perfect post-incident world, sheltering-in-place would always be my Plan A. But, that is not realistic in potential incident scenarios.

But, is a single BOL location sufficient? I say “no” without any hesitation. Let me explain…

In the event of a house fire, your house fire, where does your family meet-up? Across the street at the neighbor’s house or maybe the street light three houses down the street. Wherever that location is…it is a BOL.

Now, what if it there is a large cloud of methyl-ethyl-death headed your way…you going to chance it and stay in your house? Ah, probably not. But where will you go? The street light down the street?

What about TEOTWAWKI? Are people going to realistically stay in their homes with mobs of looters and gangs of bad guys roaming around?

That answer might surprise you, or at least “my” answer. I will say “yes!” if you have an organized community and it is sufficiently large enough to provide security. Otherwise, the answer a resounding “no!” So you might as well start working on a BOL now.

Third – Based on the “layers” system coupled with the “emergencies, disasters, and grid-down” concept…BOL’s workout like this:

  1. Close-in rally point for emergencies such as house fires.
  2. Another rally point within ¼ mile or so of your house for situations where you shouldn’t gather close to the house but not too far away.
  3. A BOL that can serve as a close overnight location. This can be a large culvert, a remote radio or TV tower site (easy to see from a long distance), etc.
  4. A moderate-distance BOL that can serve as a safe refuge for several nights if needed to rally friends and family. This needs to be accessible but remote enough that people won’t be naturally traveling past it.
  5. A long-distance BOL in each general compass direction. Yes, that means 4 BOL’s. The reason being you need 4 is in case you are only able to leave the area in one specific direction…at least you have some place to go.
  6. Now that you have identified 1 – 4 long distance BOL’s you also need to identify several intermediate BOL’s along the way. Something more than just an overnight location to sleep. It needs to be a place where you would feel comfortable staying for a few days, a week, maybe a month.

Please don’t get discouraged reading about the need and “must-have” for BOL’s. This is the “best case” scenario. One way to work on this is taking the family camping and day trips to potential locations. You can learn a lot this way and have fun with your family do it as well. Make prepping fun, it’s not hard to do that.

For specifics of any potential BOL please read The Best Bugout Location – How to pick one < click here to read >



2009 - 2020 Copyright © ~ All rights reserved
No reproduction or other use of this content 
without expressed written permission from
See Content Use Policy for more information.

2 thoughts on “Does a bug out location make any sense at all?

  1. Pingback: Check List – Misc. | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  2. Pingback: Brand new to prepping…where do I start? | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s