What Makes A Perfect Bug-Out Location?

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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.  

To be prepared to the full, you can find extensive articles at Survive Nature official site.

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.


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  • “What Makes A Perfect Bug-Out Location”

    out in the isolated wilderness but with shopping and medical nearby, surrounded by people who think just like me and no-one who doesn’t.

    • Does that exist for you? I’m surprised if it does. But then, I’ve been in some weird villages in the back of beyond, so it may be possible and not a joke.

  • “However, choosing a bug-out location, you should take into account the characteristics of the environment there”

    like indian reservations. grid down them redskins are gonna be on the warpath again.

  • Good article.
    The USGS has a interactive tool called The Web Soil Survey. You can draw a square, circle, rectangle, polygon etc. around a area of interest, click a button and it will give you the soil types in the area.
    I also did a hydrology study of the area, where the water flows and then how to use it to my advantage. I put in a large drainage ditch to prevent flooding, and direct the water to low lands. A beaver moved in, built three dams, and now I have an area where geese, ducks have made a home.
    I put in a second smaller drainage ditch behind the house, and that one directs water into a quarter acre pond. I stocked fish, and crayfish in that one.
    A note on drainage ditches: Build them right and they are also anti-vehicle ditches. Nothing short of a monster truck is getting over those. I got my ATV stuck twice.
    Speaking of ATVs, the author mentions satellite pictures. I can see my ATV paths on Google Earth.

  • Good article daisy, I have been told that two sources of water, two sources of heat, knowledge to grow your own food (but have some already stored because crops do fail) rabbits, chickens, know how to fish and know how to butcher what you kill, hunting supplies (bullets will run out) bows are nice, trap lines are too. Be above the line of sight of the road, off the road far enough that your “place” can’t easily be seen. Security is nice, a flock of guinea make a lot of noise, and a couple of loyal pooches. Like minded neighbors are a must, unless you can keep your mouth shut about your beliefs. We know what we want, just can’t do it at this very moment, but, we’ll get there.

  • When I lived in the city, a hurricane hit. Our bug out location was grandpa’s farm. Today it’s my farm. I expect my adult kids and their families to show up for supper when the fertilizer meets the fan. Bug out plans- check!

  • If the Social structure in which you exist, becomes Totalitarian … then, there is no ‘safe bug-out location’, except by crossing a National Border.

    And, we have witnessed the eagerness with which Western Man abandons all pretense of ‘liberal values’. All it took was a manufactured campaign of fear. That’s how frail our Societies really are; no depth to them.

  • perfect bugout place?
    A movie.
    Ur learning and experience brings about the knowledge, the tree of knowledge is the false edyfication system we were sac(sent)riced to for the wealth of our parents or in many cases the genie and false promissss, govt.

  • The ideal bug out location for me is where I’ll be going. 80 acres of pasture/field, 80 acres of woods. A river and half a dozen springs at last count, the springs pop up every once in a while. Last year was light on precipitation and the river was still flowing. Surrounded by farms, 10 miles from town on a dead end road. Lots of wildlife plus the animals on the farm.

    All the neighbors are known, they’re all like minded. Most of the neighbors raise cattle, some farm various crops. Lots of family in the county.

    It isn’t the middle of nowhere, but that is very rare to find.

    There is more than enough shelter if you factor in the farm buildings that would need some improvement, or throw up tents inside at first.

    There is a well plus the river for water. Getting water from the springs would not be an issue.

    The downside is that winter is half the year, but if you know how to deal with it winter isn’t that bad.

    Between here and there is another farm in the family, about half way. If we need to go further out there are other members of the family. The family is close knit.

    I count myself damn lucky on having somewhere to bug out to. Home is a few acres 5 miles outside of town, better than in a small town or city but not as good as my bug out location.

    • The upside about winter, keeps the riff raff out.
      During SHTF, how many people will be coming out of a major city, and say, “Hey! I got a great idea! Even though we are not accustomed to it or experienced it for ourselves, lets go North where it snows 20+ feet a winter, single digits or even negative temps are no uncommon! We will heat with wood that we have to fell, cut, split and stack ourselves! What is that? Go South where the climate is more gentle? Nah!”
      And, snow recharges the water tables.
      Notice how out West they are very dependent on snowpack in the mountains for their water supply for the year?

      • “SHTF” All thing came to a stop!! No food to go get no gas
        now is the time where ever you are to make ready !

  • I live in a mostly prepared unincorporated village at the foot of a mountain. There are several real paths to the mountain. All near water but I’d bet on the neighbors to fight to stay at home. If I have to leave I’ll head for the edges of the mountain then climb to an old spring. And see if more of my neighbors on hitting the mountain as well. While my husband was alive it would have been impossible to go to the mountain. Now it would be hard but I could do it. There are ancient shelters like pit dwellings and caves up there. Its mostly Federal land. But the Air Force mountain rescue area should be avoided. Home would still be choice number one.

  • False assumptions lead to bad choices. Gardening can be done only a few months each year, and provides too few calories for the effort involved. For the same amount of effort, buy a used ocean cargo container, spray paint it the same color as the terrain and, if possible, put it in a stand of trees so that it isn’t visible from the air. Then install shelving all along both sides except the last 8′ or so. Install a 1000-gallon water tank in back first. Fill it using a 12-volt pump from 100-gallon tanks you haul in each time you visit. Stock the shelves, front to back, with a two-year supply of canned foods and nitrogen-packed grains. Create a giant pantry with the oldest foods nearest the entrance for rotation of stock. Maintain it. Visit it at least four times each year. Build a small, but sturdy cabin nearby, preferably under a stand of trees. And so on. By the time you’re done, you will be able to live there two years without ever leaving.

    • How do you get a used ocean cargo container into a stand of trees?
      Why go through all that effort and expense for water, when if you do some research of an area, find one accessible sources of water, and just use a hand pump or filter?
      Find varieties of veggies, root veggies that sprout early, or even late, gardening goes a lot further than just a few months. Plant a garden large enough for canning to extend food supplies well into the winter months.

    • That could work until some thugs in ATVs trespass and find it. I´d say much better to bury it and leave a small hidden entrance, but that requires effort. It´s not a bad idea but needs improvement. And…What would you do once that is over?

    • Seeds are more sustainable than just buying canned goods. You will be able to save seeds each year and will have food for much longer than just two years. Canning, root cellaring and other preservation methods can provide produce for the entire year. Not just the months you are able to grow.

  • There’s no such thing as a perfect bug-out place. But there are some that are better than others.

    Remote locations? Ferfal mentioned that remote locations were often raided by gangs.

    Selco tells in a different situation what happened in cities.

    I’ve considered an underground house with a hidden entrance and a heat exchanger air system for fresh air so that it can’t be spotted from the air, but that should have been built two years ago. Another problem with it is where to grow crops in a way that it isn’t noticeable? What about power generation?

    There’s no 100% safe location. One place may be safest is one situation, another safer is a different case. Each must be considered on a case by case evaluation.

  • great article and comments. but this old lady and man will probably just have to stay put. we have nowhere to bug out to, our mtn relatives are too far away, we had a place, sold it, came back south. now I wish I still had it, it wouldve been hard to grow much, but the “mtn boys” right below we could count on for protection, hunting, etc. sister has a creek behind hers….oh well, hindsight better than foresight….so guess we just have to bug out here, and probably wont survive….we dont get around very well anyway, but we’ll go down shooting for sure!!!! lol

  • Let’s be honest. 99.99% of the population will not be bugging out, myself included. I won’t be retiring for several years. I have small children. We simply can’t afford to buy that acreage in the country where we can escape the hordes of starving urban-Americans. Most Americans can’t, either. This is fantasy.

    We will be bugging in. Just like most of the prepping community. The idea that I’m going to pull on a backpack and trek to my shelter in the woods is just silly. Or have my wife and kids do it, too.

    Please, more articles about bugging in.

  • I’m more concerned with my safety from people than whatever disaster that will occur..
    I know I can survive but it’s other people that are the most significant threat.

  • It was interesting when you mentioned that a water source is important for a bug out location. I would think that it would be a good idea to use an underground water tank. An underground tank would keep your water safe.

  • Not gonna bash anyone for their decision.everyone has their own idea of survival. My plan is to have two plans, depending on the situation. Whether I bug in or out depends on the calamity. If I need to bug in , so be it. If I bug out, so be it. I plan for both contingencies. I’m comfortable with both. Confident with both.
    Different situations call for almost the same thing, water, food , shelter, armaments and accoutrements. It’s just the notification or timing with me. Sometime I might not have much notice, that’s bug in . If I have a few days, might be bug out. Depends, I wish to each their own when the time comes. Hope to survive. Plan to survive.

  • Perfect Bug-Out Location? There is no good one! Every one out there have the same Location you like!! We no Island to are self, even if we long fore that!

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