When you are preparing for a disaster scenario, you should better plan all steps beforehand for your successful escape. One of the most important characteristics of a good escape project is the location of the retreat: your bug-out location. There are several types of areas where you can spend time while the situation outside is an emergency. Most likely, you would prefer to stay away from dangerous spots like big communities and save yourself and your family from possible dangers.
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For this purpose, you have to choose a suitable location away from the city and build a shelter there. This type of retreat is called a bug-out location, and nowadays, it is increasingly popular among peppers in the USA and, in fact, on the global scale.
However, choosing a bug-out location, you should take into account the characteristics of the environment there, the supply of necessary products, the accessibility to the location, and many other factors.
In this review, we will assist you in choosing a perfect bug-out location where you will have totally secure retreats and enjoy your stay there. Make sure that you consider all our recommendations when you build a shelter in the bug-out location, as this will help you to protect your life and the lives of your beloved ones from all external threats.
Bug-out location essentials
First, we should understand what a bug-out location is and its main purposes. All in all, a bug-out location can be any place that is prepared for survival in an emergency. It can be a house, a self-built shelter, or any other type of survival property which corresponds to requirements for a secure stay. Moreover, it has to be located quite far from your main house as you want to be able to escape from your area when any type of emergency starts. Thus, usually, such constructions are located in very remote areas, but the distance from your residence is not the main characteristic.
Let us see what else matters…
A long distance from your home to the bug-out location is important for your safety. Also, the equipment of the shelter and access to all necessary provisions such as food and water sources are vital parts of your successful stay. You have to prepare everything that can be needed during the several months of stay in a bug-out location, as you never know when you can come back to your residence and normal life again. That is why you should pay attention to all characteristics of the bug-out location, including its close positioning to water supply and the proper construction of indoor facilities.
The main idea of bug-out property is that you should know perfectly all facts about the area where it is located and the building itself. These are the minimum requirements for you as a survivalist for the protection of yourself from severe risks.
The safest location for a shelter
Let us start from the first and the most important question which will appear when you need to escape from your residence to a bug-out location — the means of getting there.
Ways to get to your bug-out location
Choosing the perfect location for escape, you should find all possible ways that help you to access it easily and without risk. The main purpose of this construction is to hide there, and there is no chance to survive if you cannot get there quickly enough. Do not focus on major highways as they can be blocked by the objects that natural disasters or other dangers cause. Furthermore, the roads that you use should be less used by people, as some threats can be most harmful along the main roads.
There are several means of transportation that you can use during your escape: trucks, bikes and bicycles, boats, military vehicles, canoes, and others. Try to plan this step in your evasion plan and find as many paths to your shelter as possible. Keep in mind that there will be next to no time to doubt and decide on the type of transportation you want to use — you will have to get safe as soon as possible. That is why the distance from your permanent residence should not be too long and too short as well.
Here is the estimation of the recommended distance between your residence and bug-out property:
Using a vehicle — from 50 to maximum of 100 miles;
- Walking to location — from 25 to maximum 50 miles;
- If you want to hide from nuclear war or tsunami — 100 miles.
Bear in mind that there can be no opportunity to use gas stations. It means that the shelter should be no further than one tank of gas away.
Thus, an isolated location can be suitable for a bug-out property but only when you know several paths to it from the major cities.
Isolation from major population centers
Your survival group’s size matters when you select the best bug-out locations. It is more beneficial to create an environment where every member of a family or a group will be responsible for different tasks if your group is rather big. In this situation, you will have more workforce and will not need to contact any other preppers or strangers to find help. Remember that every extra contact with strangers increases the risks and is harmful to your successful survival. Labor division is always a helpful thing, too.
However, surviving alone or with a couple of preppers may be dangerous for you if you are completely isolated. There is no chance that someone will notice you when you need emergency help if you have chosen the territory isolated from a major city and small villages.
The perfect case is when you are sure that you can feel comfortable and survive in an isolated area, and there is no chance that someone can find your shelter. Make sure that there are no military installations and the territory is not a national park when you purchase property.
Moreover, check the visibility of your bug-out location from satellites using online maps. You do not want someone to notice your protective construction in an emergency.
Growing food and having access to water
The most dangerous threat during natural disasters is the lack of basic supplies. Access to such natural resources as water and soil is crucial for successful survival. It is hard to find an unoccupied land situated next to the water source as people have tended to create their households and communities in such places throughout the history of humankind. You can prefer waterfalls instead of rivers and lakes as they are generally less populated.
Also, survival properties should have at least a 1/4-acre land connected to them. You can use this territory as a survival garden to grow food and provide a food supply for the whole family. Not every area has soil that is suitable for growing your own food. In this case, you can build a greenhouse or another construction which will be suitable for gardening in extreme conditions.
Food and water supply are the basic necessities for every prepper. Do not underestimate this factor when selecting the best bug-out location.
(This is all the more reason to check out our free QUICKSTART Guide on building a 3-layer food storage plan.)
Supply for fire starting
If you imagine an SHTF scenario, you should keep in mind that there might be no electricity and heating for a time. The only source of warmth for you will be fire. That is why you should find a location with enough wood around, which will help you to keep your shelter warm and cook there. Usually, national parks have huge forests, but it is not always the best choice.
The thing is that trees can be dangerous as well as they are the source of forest fires. So, you should select the location that has a forest around but is not really close to your survival construction.
By the way, if you are afraid of using firewood because of government regulations, we think that you should not worry. If the situation is an emergency, no one will count trees and blame you for this activity.
Price for a good bug-out location
When you buy land or property for a bug-out retreat, you spend money not only on the territory itself but sometimes on the rebuilding of the construction. It is important to keep in mind that the costs may increase significantly during the preparation period. For instance, you may need to remodel the house, construct a water supply, and equip the shelter for survival goals. Furthermore, if the location is close to a national forest or is located in a hunting camp, you will overpay for it.
Choose the bug-out location wisely and estimate your budget for this purchase to save money for other survival tools as well.
Area and landscape
As we have already discussed, the area should be big enough for gardening. In addition, you should think about the territory needed to raise livestock and construct protection for long-term stays. The most important concern is the size of the living place, as it should be convenient for every member of your team to reside there. The bug-out location may become your residence not only for a few days but for several months or even years. Here you should think of your comfort because every member of your group needs personal space. It can be a separate room or at least a place where people can sleep, work, or play in solitude.
What can also influence your comfort is the landscape of the chosen territory. For instance, it will be hard for you to survive in rocky mountains as there is a lack of access to it. Moreover, it is impossible to grow something in such areas. Natural barriers may be an advantage for you if they serve as a protection of your shelter and not an obstacle.
So, try to select flat-surfaced territories, as they have more advantages in terms of protection from natural threats and provision of food.
Escape from densely populated areas requires hours of planning and knowledge of basic survival from you. Choose the location and prepare everything in advance while you are staying at your primary location because there can be no time to do it when an SHTF situation breaks out.
Remember that a well-prepared bug-out location may determine the success of your survival. To this end, you should use all our recommendations while comparing multiple bug-out locations and select the perfect location for survival property based on this knowledge.
What about you?
What are your criteria for a bug-out location? Any must-haves or must-not-haves? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
About Mike Millerson
A former USA Army sergeant and a highly educated survivalist and prepper with a degree and interest in Engineering and Electronics, Mike Millerson applies his extensive expertise in survivalism, homesteading, backpacking, hiking, and hunting, spreading his deep knowledge about handling emergencies and prepping for them reasonably and effectively.