Should You Bug Out or Stay In? 5 Things to Consider |
Survival & Bug Out

Should You Bug Out or Stay In? 5 Things to Consider

Let’s face it, disasters cause havoc because of one thing they all share in common. They are unpredictable. Regardless of how they strike or when they strike, apocalyptic events happen when you least expect them, and normally in ways you never assumed could happen in the first place.

No amount of planning can ever prepare you for every possible scenario. But there are ways you can prepare for the two most likely choices you will face. Whether to stay in or bug out.

But what makes one better than the other? The answer isn’t something you can answer until the actual disaster strikes. There are many variables that you will need to consider before choosing either.

If a volcanic eruption suddenly strikes near your home, the chances are that staying in your home is probably not the logical choice. The imminent danger and subsequent damage will mean bugging out is the only real option.

Text area which says "Should You Bug Out or Stay In? 5 Things to Consider," followed by a photo of a man looking out a net with binoculars

But if the emergency was more generalized, like a blackout, chances are you might face the same issues at your bug out location as you would remaining in your own home.

That’s why there are 5 key things to consider when deciding whether to bug out or stay in.

Stay In or Bug Out: Things to Consider

#1: Can I prepare for Both Options?

There are many things to consider when preparing for a disaster large enough to affect an entire country. But don’t doubt the chances of one happening. A meteor strike, nuclear exchange or massive earthquake/tsunami combination can wreak extreme havoc for many miles in every direction.

But while prepping for individual scenarios isn’t really an option, planning for the two simplest decisions might be. Both decisions will require stockpiles of water and food. The amount of food and water you’ll need comes down to personal choice.

Some disasters may only impact a relatively small area, forcing you to flee your home, but leaving your chosen bug out location intact. Other disasters impact on a much greater scale, affecting the population for hundreds if not thousands of miles.

The best decision you can make right now is to agree that every situation is different. The best solution is to plan the best way you can deal with the situation.

However, with disasters able to create havoc on a massive scale, the event itself will determine which option you need to take when the time comes.

Let’s check out some more things you’ll need to consider when making the decision to bug out or stay in.

#2: Food and Water

The human body will last a measly 72 hours without water. That means whatever decision you make; water is going to be with you no matter what.

While you can survive without food for 3 weeks, it’s not going to do you any good to have no food for that time. Lack of sustenance will affect your mental state, strength and ability to function properly.

While stockpiling food is a great way to make sure you have plenty of food for you and your family, how much can you take with you if things go pear-shaped? Food and water are heavy, and there’s no way you could carry enough to last you more than a few days.

While bugging out might be possible if you have a secondary location already set up, your only concern will be getting to it. But if you have already stockpiled food in your own home, the chances of moving all that food and water into a vehicle poses another problem. What if your vehicle breaks down and you lose all of your supplies?

#3: Location of Bug Out Compared to Home

If your home is in the middle of suburbia, how well can you defend your home from desperate people needing what you have? Panic spreads through a population like a wildfire.

Gang mentality and roaming mobs will band together to steal the supplies you’ve worked hard to accumulate.

However, a home in the country will have fewer people around, making it much more defend-able from anyone looking for supplies. You will also have the space needed to grow your own food, giving you the full off-grid capabilities to survive long-term.

Whether to bug out or stay in could come down to what type of threat you are facing. If a war suddenly strikes and the city you live in comes under attack, bugging out might be the only option.

But if an airborne contagion is decimating the population, traveling anywhere outdoors is a bad idea, remaining home being the better option.

#4: Consider your Finances if you Bug Out

The home you live in right now might be the better option if your bank account is on the low side. Bug out locations cost money, sometimes lots of it. The land has to be purchased, renting not really an option. What if the landlord suddenly wants his property back? Your bug out location will quickly cease to exist.

Even if you do rent, your prepping might be as simple as building your stockpile. If you do need to move, dealing with it is as easy as moving your furniture to another home. Maintaining 2 locations with complete stockpiles costs significantly more. Are your pockets deep enough?

#5: What About the Dangers

Leaving the safety of your home during a sizable disaster may prove to be a defining decision. Seismic events have a way of moving people from their homes. That means a lot of desperate people moving about, looking for things they can take to help them stay alive.

If you leave your home to head to another location, is it really necessary? Might you be safer staying where you are and defending your location?

The fact is, once a disaster strikes, many of the services that helped keep you safe, no longer exist.  At least for the time being. It may take time for them to resume operation, but until they do, you are effectively on your own.

However, people might not be the only danger you need to consider when deciding whether to bug out or stay in. The exact type of disaster will also have a major influence on your decision.

Is it a localized disaster or one on a global scale? Will civilization continue after a brief pause to give it time to rebuild?

If the disaster is long term, bugging out might be the better option, if you have a more rural option to get to. But if the disaster is only a few days or weeks, remaining in your urban location might be more suitable.

The Bottom Line

Top view of destroyed buildings

There’s no one answer when it comes to choosing whether to bug out or stay in. With the sheer number of possible scenarios, the best answer is to plan for both. But only if your finances allow for it.

It’s pointless sinking all of your funds into a solution that depends on your remaining home if the disaster that strikes requires you to evacuate.

Some preppers choose to remain mobile, regardless of the situation that arises, but what if the issue is an airborne virus? Moving around might increase your chances of contracting whatever disease is running rampant.

I personally believe that the loss of little solutions is far better than a single one that ties you to a specific location. Have options, as many as you can create and plan for. Who knows, a situation might arise that allows you to use a variety of them.