Bug out locations vary as wildly preppers themselves. Your BOL (bug out location) could be a family member’s house, your own remote acreage, or just a plan to head to a nearby national forest and “winging it.”
By Morgan Rogue, contributing writer
There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to what a bug out location should look like, where it should exist, or what should be there. You could decide to hang out in an abandoned ghost town or maybe your parents’ house. The most important thing is that your SHTF destination is suitable to your needs should a serious natural disaster or societal collapse occur.
How do You Determine What Bug Out Location is Best for You?
There are threat and risk assessments that you need to be aware of and measure before deciding on a final (or locations).Those steps include:
- Determining the threats specific to your location (e.g. tropical storms, riots, etc.)
- Listing you and your family’s specific needs (e.g. children, people with disabilities, etc.)
- Knowing when/if you must bug out
- Determining how far you might have to go to be safe and for how long
- Identifying where such bug out locations might exist
- Having multiple means to get there
Is Your Target Destination Safe?
One thing that few preppers talk about is the security of their bug out location(s). This is especially true if they have their own property. Owning property , whether it is raw land, a house, or an entire apartment building, makes us feel safer.
It is mine and mine alone, no one can possibly bother me!
Unfortunately, in this day and age…
If You Know About Your Bug Out Location, so Does Someone Else
This is especially true when it comes to public places such as ghost towns, parks, abandoned buildings, and so on.
But do not get too comfortable about land that you own. Just because you own the property, doesn’t mean other people don’t know that it exists or have their own plans for it! Even if you feel it’s as remote as possible, people are surprisingly good at exploring. If The Walking Dead has taught us anything, it’s that nowhere is as secure as we think it is. What’s more, prolonged SHTF scenarios may require fluidity, the ability (or need) to change locations depending on the surrounding situation. This could mean you need to bug out of your bug out location, or that others might plan to settle in by or in place of you.
Do not fret! There are plenty of security precautions that you can take.
8 Ways to Increase Your Bug Out Location’s Security
The suggestions that follow are ideally suited for the stereotypical “bug out cabin in the woods,” that is the goal of so many preppers. However, many of these security measures can be used on undeveloped land or even Grandma’s house!
- Get creative – Hidden sink holes, trip wires, DIY alarms, etc. Create random bits of security around the property. If you don’t own the property, you could be on sketchy ground (so to be speak). Be sure to include security items and ideas with your bug out plans. Bring things like door stop alarms or perimeter alarms (see also Boobytraps: FM 5-31).
- Use cameras – I do not recommend fake security cameras. If something does happen, you want proof. The best security cameras would be motion sensor that run on batteries. This way, you can be notified at all times if someone comes wandering onto your property. You can also use game cameras if you plan to be heading to your location frequently. These types of cameras can also be carried with you and easily setup at any location.
- Solar motion sensor lights – I am a big fan of solar motion lights. They not only deter animals, but they certainly deter people. These can also be carried along and setup at any location.
- Get to know the community – When you’re in deep with the community, everyone tends to look out for each other. Get to know your community. If you plan to bug out to the community to sleep at a hotel only when necessary, then be sure to frequent the town as often as possible. Get to know the area, the types of people, the town, etc. Each time you travel to the community, ask about any local crime that has happened recently, or simply do the research yourself. Of course, in times of uncertainty and crisis, crime may go up. Always something to keep an eye on.
- Thorny foliage – Deter those with malicious intent with all types of thorny foliage such as rose bushes and cactus of all types. These would need some time to grow so this wouldn’t be a good option unless you owned your own property.
- Don’t leave valuables – If you have property and you’re not there as often as you’d like to be, while you may want to keep it stocked, don’t leave anything you wouldn’t want to get stolen. If anything, cache your important stuff around the property or even away from the property (see also The Prepper’s Guide to Caches).
- Safety in numbers – While I advise that we should get to know our community, we should also consider the fact that there is safety in numbers. You may want to consider reaching out to friends or family to plan your bug out plans together.
- OPSEC – In general, try not to stand out. Keep your location(s) private. Blend in with the community, act like you belong and keep quiet about who you are, what you do and whether you are or are not a prepper. There’s no need for anyone to know anything about you. Do not draw unnecessary attention to yourself.
Bug Out Security Starts and Ends with You
Just like how we secure our everyday homes and lives, we need to secure our bug out location(s). Do not underestimate strangers, neighbors, or (unfortunately) even family in some cases. What is worse, difficult times will cause some people to turn toward actions they would never have considered before. When someone’s life is on the line – or their loved ones’ lives are on the line – you can bet they will do things otherwise good people would not do under normal circumstances.
If someone is determined to do something bad, they will. However, we can also work on defenses to decrease their odds of being successful while simultaneously increasing our own.
You don’t want (or need) your bug out location to look like Fort Knox. As in, if you have big tall barbed wire fences, a moat and watch towers, you will probably raise some suspicions. People will have conversations like, “WTSHTF, guys, let’s just plan to take that place.”
That is unwanted attention you do not want. Your place should look like everyone else’s. For that matter, YOU should look like everyone else. Be a gray man (or a gray woman). Do not stand out.
Increase security, be smart, and be aware. Just because your spot might seem remote or unsuspecting, doesn’t mean it’s 100% secure. Desperate people will always seek out what they don’t have.
Want further reading? Check out Joe Nobody’s best-selling book on the subject, Holding Your Ground.
Did I miss something? What are the security ideas you use to protect your to-to spot?