10 Reasons Why You Do Not Want to Bug Out

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Last Updated on November 13, 2020

The plan seems simple doesn’t it? All you need for the best chance of survival for your family is a well-stocked bug out bag, a keen attention to your surroundings and careful monitoring of what is happening in the news. With these bases covered you will be a very informed prepper and will be able to get the jump on all of the clueless sheeple if something bad happens. You will load your family up with your bags and hike off into the sunset way ahead of the approaching death and destruction. You have a plan to bug out.

It sounds perfect, but in this article, I am going to try and convince you how that might not be the best and first option you should consider. There are many reasons and situations I can think of why you do not want to bug out from your home. You may be asking yourself, how can I even say those words on a prepper blog such as this without getting struck by lightning? It’s true that hunkering down is not the option that gets the most press, but in my opinion, during most (but not all) scenarios, it is the better choice. That is unless you are a combat-trained Navy Seal. If you are like me, just an average guy with a family and a giant subterranean monster unleashed by nuclear experiments is not headed your way, you might want to stay put. Here are a few reasons why:

1. If you bug out, you leave your stuff behind

You live where your stuff is.

I’ll be the first to admit that a lot of these reasons are going to seem incredibly simple and obvious, but I think sometimes that is the best way to approach a problem. As a prepper, you have probably started collecting some supplies to help you get through short and long term emergencies. Some of you have stored a TON of prepping supplies because you have been doing this for a long time or else you are independently wealthy and you just blew up the Black Friday sales.

Even if you only have a week’s worth of food and water, that is nothing to sneeze at. Everything you have is stored probably in nicely organized bins for easy retrieval. You don’t have to carry it and the supplies aren’t subject to the elements. If you bug out and leave your home you potentially have to leave most, or all of your survival supplies there.

You could put them all in your best bug out vehicle, the diesel Ford F-250 with the trailer, right? Sure you could, but are you sure that truck will always be in your possession? It’s just better to stay at your home base because there are tons of advantages like…

2. Even your kitchen floor is more comfortable than sleeping in the woods

Some parts of Mother Nature are best appreciated when you can leave.
Some parts of Mother Nature are best appreciated when you can leave.

Yes, I know that some people sleep perfectly well in the woods and I can too, once I am exhausted from hiking all day. Honestly, you would have to agree that your old lumpy Serta Posturpedic mattress would be preferable to sleeping in the woods or an abandoned building or even a hammock. Why is that important?

Getting plenty of good sleep has a huge impact on our health. It not only affects your moods, but alertness and even immune system. In a disaster you will be stressed in ways you haven’t even considered. You may be working like a dog and having a comfortable and relatively safe place to rest your head, even if that is the living room floor will be an advantage that the people who think they can just bug out into the woods won’t have.

3. Built-in Community whether you know it or not

In times of crisis, you can almost guarantee that communities will band together in some ways. You probably don’t consider your small neighborhood or dead end street a community but let some disaster happen and you will see humans come together for support, safety and to help each-other out. Being around even just a few neighbors who know you can give you advantages if you need assistance for things like a neighborhood security plan.

Even neighbors you don’t get along with will probably overcome grudges if the disaster is severe enough. Of course there is the potential that your neighbors could turn on you for being the lone prepper but I think in most cases, things won’t go Mad Max for a little while. If it does you will have to adjust, but I believe that most people would benefit by banding with their neighbors for support.

You could also have an opportunity for leadership here or compassion by helping out others who haven’t prepared. It is much better to strive for this kind of relationship with people than head out the door and face the world with only what is on your back.

If you bug out in harsh winter environments, you could suffer more.

4. Being Cold Sucks and it can kill you

I bet that most of you like to keep the thermostat somewhere in the upper 60’s to low 70’s during the winter. There might be some play in that range, but there are no thermostats outside. Whatever the temperature is outdoors is what you are going to be living with. Can you start a fire or wear warm layers to regulate your body temperature? Of course, but the last place I want to be on a cold winter night is huddled up in my sleeping bag under a tarp even if I did have a nice roasting fire beside me.

There are some situations where you wouldn’t be able to start a fire. Maybe if it was raining and you couldn’t find any dry wood or tinder, or there were people that didn’t look so friendly following you. Staying in your home, even without power can give you advantages of shelter that you won’t easily find outdoors. You can seal off rooms and even your body heat will generate a little warmth. You can black out your curtains with heavy gauge plastic sheeting and even the heat from a lantern or a couple of candles can put out an amazing amount of heat.

5. You may put yourself in a worse situation

The problem with most bug out plans are that you don’t have a destination. Where are you bugging out to? Do you think the National Forest is going to be reserved solely for you and your family? Do you think you will just set up a tent and start hunting for small game? In a large regional disaster, there could be millions of people leaving the cities. The concept is called the Golden Horde and they will be competing with you for natural resources. With even a few dozen hunters in the same area game will be depleted in days if not sooner. Then you will be stuck near a bunch of other hungry people who blame you for catching the last squirrel.

6. Being on the road makes you an easier target

One of the advantages of staying put at home is the home field or defenders advantage. When you go out, you do not know what you are walking or driving into. The best you can do is recon very deliberately which will only slow you down more. By staying put in your home, you can set up a neighborhood watch with your fellow neighbors and monitor who is coming in. This gives you the opportunity to set up defensive positions and plans that anyone walking in with thoughts of taking advantage of you, won’t be aware of.

7. If nobody knows you, you are a stranger

If the people in the town do not know you, they will treat you as suspicious, maybe even hostile.
If the people in the town do not know you, they will treat you as suspicious, maybe even hostile.

Have you ever been walking your dog and seen someone strange walking through your neighborhood? This was someone you didn’t know so obviously they fell under suspicion. Had they been one of your neighbors kids you would have recognized them, but this new person stuck out. That is what you will be faced with if you leave your home and go wandering through other towns and cities. In your home neighborhood you will be dealing with known people that you can grow a deeper relationship with. There is a built-in level of trust because they have lived near you for years. If you start walking into a strange town with your bug out bags and AR-15 slung over your bulletproof vest, you may not like the attention you receive.

8. Gear is heavy and a lot of gear is heavier.

Speaking of walking around in your bulletproof vest and gear, how many of you have walked for 3 days with your bug out bag? OK, now add a full complement of bullets and anything else you think you might need to defend yourself. It adds up quickly even when you try to reduce the weight of your bug out bag as much as possible. These weren’t meant to live for a long time out of. Your food will run out, possibly your ammo and that will help you with the weight, but in a disaster where you are walking out the door in full combat gear, do you think Walmart will be open when you run out of something?

9. In a grid down you won’t get to call AAA

Maybe you are one of the lucky ones that have a place to go up in the mountains. If you don’t get out before everyone else starts leaving, you could be stuck on the road. What if your old bug out vehicle breaks down? All those supplies you stored in the back of that trailer are either going to feed a lot of other people on the highway or you will most likely die defending them. If you aren’t already living at your retreat before the disaster happens, you will have to be incredibly fast to avoid getting stranded. Let’s say you are ready to go, do you know when you would actually leave? Do you know when the S has actually HTF and it’s time to leave or will you debate leaving with your wife and mother for two days because they think it will all blow over soon?

Leaving home may put you in a worst situation than staying put.
Leaving home may put you in a worst situation than staying put.

10. If you get hurt you want to be near a secure shelter not under a tarp

I have a decent first aid supply kit. I don’t have IV’s and a ton of medicine but I can take care of garden variety injuries pretty well. Imagine you somehow break your leg after the grid is down. Would you rather drag yourself into the house, or be stuck in the woods for weeks unable to move? Most hospitals don’t stick their patients out in the back yard for a reason so you will convalesce better with a good roof over your head that is hopefully providing some climate protections. If nothing else, it will be a relatively clean and safe place to get better that beats lying under a log.

So if you don’t bug out, what does staying home mean?

I will write a post about reasons why you may have to bug out later, but staying home doesn’t guarantee you will be safe and secure either. I think each situation has to be taken into consideration as to what is the better option for you and your family. Naturally, if there is a fire heading your way staying at home is stupid. It is something to think about that and that may help you begin to form different plans for different scenarios. What are your plans?

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Freedom-loving American doing what I can to help prepare and inform others. Editor and creator of The Prepper Journal 2013-2017, 2020 -

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Bugging in means death, it’s that simple. Bugging out is life: It isn’t called TEOTWAWKI FOR NOTHING. Please watch a documentary called, YOU DON’T KNOW SHIT. Honestly, that’s the name of it. It is about the sewage treatment facilities in NYC. It follows one bowel movement through the treatment facilities before being dumped in the river. NYC has 14 megabig treatment facilities that contain millions and millions of gallons of sewage. They said that in the event of loss of electricity within two hours NYC would become a ghost town due to backed up sewage in the streets. Go figure.… Read more »


Nope, you didn’t upset me about anything. I was just stating what is ironclad fact. When involved in overseas rescue operations the people that survived were the ones who went into the woods and stayed there until the ‘anger management’ as I call it, resulting in sufficient deaths and injury, had ran its course in town and the inhabited countryside. To address some of your comebacks, especially Nuclear, all I can do is prep for that as best I know how and hope for the best. We have dug a bunker, by hand, have two years of food and water… Read more »


I was assigned a case a homeless civilian suffering depression nothing major and one person lived in a big wilderness private park owned by a major company that would have security check the area daily no one ever saw this person that lived there for many years considered it completely safe. And I secured housing for this person they never ever turned on the heater they no longer needed it and could not stand living indoors in the city…some will quickly adapt in a stealth, way and go undetected for years, other will be over come by fear , shock… Read more »

Pat Henry

I can understand how that is possible for a few individuals. It’s not too hard to hide in the wilderness from security guards who don’t really care. It is another thing entirely to be hiding when the rest of the city is out there in the wilderness with you trying to do the same thing.

Bill Harrison

Thing is, I like your article, here’s why: It tells other people to bug in. That means less competition for those who bug out like me. Also, you put too much in the fact that everyone else will do as everyone else. There is an equal split between liberals and conservatives, even though each thinks they’re the best and everyone else should also be one. Same with bugging in and bugging out. Lots of people will do both. I want people to bug in, mostly because I dont want to share space and resources with the masses when I’m out… Read more »

Pat Henry

Thanks for the comments Bill and I think you are right in that people will do all sorts of things. This was just my argument against those who say the only thing you can do is Bug Out. I don’t see that working for everyone.


Yeah, I don’t see hitting the streets trying to get out of a congested city a good idea unless you are ahead of the curve. If you have everything you need to survive a few months, then IMO it is better to stay at home and not be exposed to the elements and others looking to possibly take what you have. And every “woods” are different. The idea of dealing with hunting for food among many other people is not that ideal. And how many “forests” are there…and with enough animals to hunt? I’ve seen the show naked and afraid,… Read more »


I respect you being a Ranger and your service. However, bugging in or bugging out really depends on the circumstances, and your location. Not everyone can find a property somewhere where they can dig a bunker and buy food, guns, and whatever else. If I lived in NYC, yes, I would seriously consider finding a bugout location. I happen to live in a town of less than 10,000 people between 2 major cities. I considered trying to find a bugout location in the hill country in Texas. But, financially, that is just not feasible. Plus the fact it’s a 3-4… Read more »

Peanut Gallery

History has shown that refugee’s never fair well.

Dedi P. Putra

Dude, I live in Indonesia, if S really HTF I choose to stay inside, at least for a month.

you dont want to meet tiger or other hungry pack with big claws during your heroic journey , dont you.
Or even worse to meet hungry pack with no claws , yess hungry human.

Anyway , different place different play …


NYC did have a major power outage in ’03, and no the sewage did not flood the streets. Apparently the shit eperts over think shit.


the gates open on treatment stations and dump raw sewage into the river like they did years ago


Everybody’s gonna choose their own way, and so fwiw, in the debate between Pat Henry and PorkyBeans, I stand firmly with Pat Henry. It’s not even close.


Free Slave, you are entitled to your opinion, but what real life experiences in survival do you have. I’ve been there as a civilian, taken hostage in a foreign country and no I’m not talking about he stuff you see on TV. When the knock comes to your front door you will find out, just as I did, that you are already surrounded. You will also be amazed at just how quickly the neighbors you trutstedwill sell you out. That is exactly how they found me. I was able to come out with my life in 2002. Next time I’ll… Read more »

Tinker Young

I think porky beans is full of pork. As a dependent of a Viet Nam veteran, from my pov, he doesn’t sound humble enough to be a ranger and I think he’s just a Debbie Downer Troll! Somebody who sounds terribly depressed and wants to spread misery because misery loves company. So I’m outa here. KEEP ON PREPPIN’ <3 & Hugs


I have to agree with Pat, everything depends on the situation at the time. If the SHTF right now and you are on the east coast or Midwest where are you going to bug out to? I have to disagree with Porkybeans that most untrained civilians can survive in the outdoors with no training, most people will be dead in a week because they have no idea what to do. If you live in a large city then you are pretty much screwed no matter what happens, if you can hole up long enough you may have a chance, but… Read more »


Porky, if you live in a suburb, couldn’t a $10 shutoff valve on your own sanitary line in your house take care of your poop storm? The answer is yes. If you live in NYC, that’s a sanitary problem. To Pat’s point, it really depends on the situation. I would be best bugging in for a week before considering bugging out.


Poopsicle, in a sensible world, yes a cutoff valve would do the trick. But let us never underestimate the power of the city. A permit is required, they will let only licensed plumbers do the job, and the total coast to cut the outside line and install the valve is just short of two grand. Saved by the government again. Thanks and God bless.

Gary Olson

Are you telling me a well prepared person such as yourself does not know where the cleanout access to the central drain is located? Plug up the drain easy with some trash bags and a blanket.


Or have the equipment to seal it. If local control goes down who gives a S***. Remove porcelain fixture cap and seal. There are plugs for drains pipes like toilets available, seal with epoxy, done.

Have what you need to seal it from inside your home.


Mark, certainly untrained civilians won’t be able to survive. I thot that is what prepping is about, planning the plan, and practicing the plan to perfection. As far as your smartass remark about me going into the woods with a splint on the leg and a tack in the foot…well here goes. If anyone goes in the woods with just what they can carry then they are dead very soon. That is why we have stashes, and lots of them. We also have medical supplies including surgical instruments and the know how to use them. All of you keep making… Read more »

Todd Walker

Pat, good article. Just a heads up, which you have already figured out by now, porky enjoys trolling from his keyboard. He’s one badass and will be the last man standing in any scenario. Just ask him.


Yeah, porky is too stupid to have been a ranger.


Mr. Walker, stop labeling people. I never once claimed to be a tough guy or the last man standing. Troll: Badass: This is the labeling and it’s the last great bastion of ignorance. If you think you can survive in your home then go for it. Maybe it would be a good idea to consult with the inhabitants of Stalingrad, Berlin, Leningrad, Saigon, Petersburg, Va. circa 1864/65, Atlanta, Ga. 1864, Kiev 1941-45, and hundreds of others of which we can add any post-teotwawki American city. Try critical thinking, it works wonders!

Matter of Time- Cheri

I think if anyone had half a brain they’d listen to everyone here and take bits and pieces and come up with a plan, every single post has given others some food for thought. There are few prepper sites or groups, so I suggest the fact that you all have shown up to this site, Shut up and get along. We are ahead of the common group, show some leadership. Do not get me wrong, but to survive you have to have some bad ass in you. RIGHT…. and survival, I appreciate every one of you sharing, it gives me… Read more »

Pat Henry

Thank you very much for the compliments on the article Todd! Hope you are doing well.


Chappy Gypsy Poynter

Not true Todd Walker, I will be the last survivor, I’m Batman…..roflmao

Mike T

Dear Porkybeans, please list your graduation date, battalion and op for Uganda? Since you are a Silver Star winner, I should be able to find you at Ft. Benning hall of fame right?

Mike T

Uganda? Really? Were you in the SA bush wars?


Porkybeans I get where your coming from I did 8 years marine corp 4 infantry and 4 marsoc but the fact is some situations it is best to stay home. I live in a town with a population under 3,000 the biggest city near me is 2 hours away and it’s only a 30,000 population. Basically if you have the resources you need to stay home then yeah I agree stay with pat because let’s be honest a shtf scenario is a lot different than military. For the most part your average civilian won’t have the resources the government has… Read more »

Revolt to save America

texas you are in a great situation to stay put, no doubt at all. I am 30 miles from Hollywood, suburbs of los angeles with 5million potentenially desperate and unprepared people, I don’t want stay here, I’d like to head 300 miles into Arizona. It would be a very dumb move to stay here if full blown civil unrest hit. Look at the cops in balitimore how they stood there, WE ARE ALL ON OUR OWN, and even the common man gets desperate when it comes to bank closures, losing jobs, no money, needing food etc…. my plan is lower… Read more »

Bill Harrison

“If anyone goes in the woods with just what they can carry then they are dead very soon.” Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Yeah right.

You overestimate gear. People have and still do live in the wilderness with much less than what they carry on their backs. For most people, yeah, but with a bit of skill you can thrive with next to nothing.


Your basing your comments on the sewage from NYC when that’s just one place. You are talking about digging a place in the and stocking supplies. How many people you think can do that? How many places you think can do that? Where you going to go in certain areas that don’t have to topography for this? You think you can find plenty to eat in all areas? I think you’re being myopic to your own situation and skill set.


I do not understand why I have not heard of another option. I heard Stay at home, and hope your own neighbors don’t kill you and your family for a scrap of food. I have heard of Bugging Out into the woods, with or without “Stashes” of food, weapons, and medical supplies set aside ahead of time. Of course, who says someone else won’t find your stashes before you do. But, I have NOT heard anyone offer a third option. That being a Bug Out Bunker. A safe space attached to or under your yard, home or nearby. People build… Read more »


Seymour, if graduating second in my class at Ranger School, Ft. Benning, Ga., and bring home a Silver Star from Vietnam makes me stupid then I gladly wear the title. Have a good day son.

Peanut Gallery

Most people I know don’t have the kind of money it takes to be able to build such a structure.


Yikes. Cabin fever! o.O


Joe306tow, this will be my last comment, but in parting, your bunker in the backyard is an excellent idea. We have one, hand dug, 4X8 which admittedly isn’t very big. We put enough inside to keep us for a few days while the radiation dies down, then it’s off to the woods [far away form the roads]. Please don’t depend on your bunker though for the longhaul. If your house was to burn there is a chance you and your family might suffocate if it is very close to your home. Mine is, we just don’t have a big back… Read more »


Hey Porky. If you lived near us, I would offer you a secondary location as a backup. Don’t waster your time with some of these knuckleheads. You know what you know, based on experience, so let these others figure it out on their own. They can’t comprehend at all what you have seen and heard. Let them go. They are not worth your words.

Revolt to save America

Amen, PLEASE Let people talk here, please, thank you.

Capt. William E. Simpson

Greetings! On subject of bugging-out… there are a few options to bug-out with your home and all of your preps… As opposed to detailing it all here; I hope that Pat doesn’t mind my listing the links to articles related to each method: 1)Living on your yacht and bugging out at the drop of a hat… well… most of you know I wrote a whole book about that one; THE NAUTICAL PREPPER… it’s about $12.00 and I think if you buy it from the link here at Pat’s site, he makes 25 cents, which can go towards a cup of… Read more »

Revolt to save America

if the roads are packed, such as leaving los angeles, a motor home wont work out too well, which brings another point, big city V little town, gas may be hard to come by, I’d say a second home somewhere, a place in the woods as plan 3 for me and a motor home incase it works, if you have the funds, prepare in all ways, we will see things we’ve never seen or cant imagine, for the civilian people. The old will die because they will just be there. Those who do not plan at all are screwed, please… Read more »

Tinker Young

Don’t fret CA Girl…people think I’m crazy too but at least we will be ready. Now where did i put that list of top ten things for prepping? Or was it top 7 steps? Friend me CA. Girl? We’ll compare notes. I live in N. CA.


Capt. Bill! Great thought provoking article. I guess it would depend on the circumstances as to whether I would bug out or bug in. I do agree that for the average prepper that bugging out for any other reason than active street to street, door to door looting or CBR emergency would be very difficult if not impossible. So like yourself I have devised a method to move not just myself and my bug out bag to the country, I have a 5 ton US Army 6×6 cargo truck with a 12ft self contained truck camper mounted in the back.… Read more »


LOL! Sorry Pat! I didn’t realize that Capt. Bill didn’t write this one! This is my favorite Prep blog by far, and dittos to your articles being great as well.

Pat Henry

Thank you very much for the compliments and I hope you come back!


if I lived in the city I would definitely if I lived in a big city I would have a bug out plan! living in the middle of no where we live practically off grid year around. I myself would bug in because of where I live, having ample water sources,wildlife, and security. even if there was a wildfire we have places on my property with buildings out of fire danger. point being everyone has there own situation and instead of telling people what they think is wrong it would be helpful just to give some advice and maybe we… Read more »


Pat, you need to allow images in the comments section. It would make this much easier. My apologies to those readers on the fine wine-end of the age spectrum who might not be hip to internet culture, but any other website would have eaten porkybeans alive by now. Pat is a gracious host and kind person – truly someone to emulate. Fortunately, I do not suffer these character flaws. https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/8424643840/h1BAD3C50/ What’s with all the e-peen measuring? http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/good-good-let-the-butthurt-flow-through-you.jpg Porky, it’s one thing to disagree with an article or comments, but you’re ranting like a spoiled child not getting his way. Now… Read more »

Pat Henry

Thanks Matt! Just so you know and anyone else following this thread… I switched comment engines again. This will allow you to add images to comments, just click the small icon to the bottom left of the comment window. I don’t know how this will work, but we will monitor it and see how it flows. Obviously any really bad images are not going to make it through but I will have to see how this works. You still do not have an account to leave a comment so this shouldn’t remove the ability for anyone to comment on these… Read more »

Mike T

Bugging in…better options then trying to run and gun.

Pat Henry


Looks like you might have edited your comment, but I did not intentionally delete any comments. I migrated to a new comment engine so it is possible something fell through the cracks, but I didn’t mean to.


Mike T

Cool, thanks!

Subject: Re: Comment on 10 Reasons Why You Do Not Want to Bug Out


Well, this turned out to be a disappointing read. Pat Henry, I always try to read your Articles with an open mind and follow everyone’s (porkybeans or whoever’s) comments and try to educate myself a little more from each. Unfortunately when some get their feathers ruffled it’s a lot easier to call them “stupid” and ask for credentials. And yes some get rather fluffed/puffed up, but, BUT when did the idea of being not allowed to voice ones opinion opt out? When did this page (comment section) turn Muslim where you will get your head chopped off if you disagree?… Read more »

Pat Henry

I think overall the comments were a pretty good discussion. Yes, there are some minor contentions but I don’t think we descended into full on arguing for the sake of arguing only. PorkyBeans had what seems to be a genuine difference of opinion and even went to great lengths to explain his points of view which I can appreciate. I don’t think I or anyone has all of the answers, so even disagreement about an issue can foster a good dialog that can change minds or flesh out details not expressly stated. Some survival blogs don’t even allow comments on… Read more »


Well I have to disagree with you Pat, I have allllll the answers, mostly wrong, but all the answers none the less. HAHAHAHA I was trying to point out the trash talk, there is never never a reason to call someone “stupid” in any conversation. I personally don’t give a flying fig if someone is completely “proven wrong” in their thinking, if it’s there thinking than ok. Have a discussion about it, don’t try to put them down with trash. Personally I have always been in the thinking that the first one that raises their voice, cusses, or starts the… Read more »


One last word if I may, I really like your articles, makes one actually think and consider the options.
Please keep up the good work.
Thank You

Pat Henry

Thank you very much!


Mike T

NRP when one claims to be a Silver Star winner and talks about Ops in Uganda, only the sane would ask when and where. The average Joe doesn’t go off about winning the Silver Star. Any US Army Ranger who has been awarded such a prestigious award is usually inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame. My question was a simple one since I take being prepared seriously and as a combat vet enjoy such discussions. Yet when I see such chest thumping I tend to call BS. If I am wrong and he truly is a winner of the… Read more »


Isnt it funny -strange -weird- that everyone wants to split- I used to think this way also- Ive come to believe that it isnt necessary to do so but WISE is the word here- If your WISE watch all around u and start making mental; notes- Blend in if yer older look older not the other way around-I love it when i see older people looking younger and trying to act hip- this sucks cause yer the 1st to go because people will think yer crazy – Dont believe this ? then look around and maybe go to walmart hahaha… Read more »


And there are those of us who don’t have much of an option. I have 3 young special needs children and there is no way in hell bugging out would always be the best option for us in every situation. I can see myself pushing wheel chairs thru the woods. Yeah right. As far as survival chances we have a better chance where we are. I am prepared to bug out with difficulty if we absolutely HAVE to (fire sweeping our way, etc) but you are correct in stating that everything we need is right here. Having done nursing in… Read more »

Mike T

Faith, even though my son is not special needs I can honestly say my wife and I have opted for bugging in. He is only three, but the elements are brutal in the winter and I couldn’t dare risk him to that. It is a hard decision none without consequences though. Good Luck!

Pat Henry

Thanks for your comments Faith. Children are tough even without the challenges you mention. I can only imagine how much more stressful your situation would be and only hope that all of us never have to worry about anything like this.



Pat, EXCELLENT article! Well written albeit way too short. I completely agree, that for MOST of the general population, bugging IN, is by far a much better situation, that trying to “think” you have the capability of bugging out. While there are a great many self-anointed experts online these days, most of them are sadly convinced that their way, works for everyone. It doesn’t at all. That IS the reality, of most situations. While as a military veteran who has seen combat in SE Asia, (way back when, couldn’t imagine how tough it is in Iraq or Afghanistan), I’ve also… Read more »

Pat Henry

Thank you very much! I’ll try to make the next one longer 🙂


Dan Moore

I am set to hunker down. Wife is disabled and unable to travel. Besides I have about 200 pounds (not rounds) of ammo plus all the other stuff I would need to carry. Not possible.

Revolt to save America

I live in the subburbs of los angeles and nearby major highways, I think if 5 million people riot , I don’t need to be here. Since I can relocate rather quick, I’m buying a second home 3 hours away. I’m simply too near a big metro area, 30 miles to Hollywood, and altho mountains separate us, I need to get further away, also near water. I will be looking for my 2nd home soon and will meet the neighbors and when things go crazy, be one of the first to leave. its a hard call but its a call… Read more »

Pat Henry

That’s very true. In a situation like yours bugging out might be the best bet and certainly if you have a 2nd home.

Pat Henry

Thank you very much Cheri!

Doug Petri

I have been outside in the area where I live in the Sierra mountains. It certainly CAN kill you, however, the tract home structures in my area are one molotov cocktail away from destruction. Even when standing, the finite resources once a grid down issue occurs will make staying in these structures unrealistic, and moreover harder to defend. I am more easily a target in a neighborhood where criminals can more easily roam. Neither is ideal.

Pat Henry

Very true Doug, but there are always issues with each situation and mitigating circumstances. If shelter was needed and looters with Molotov cocktails weren’t a threat, wouldn’t staying inside be better?


Pat’s correct for sure. There are instances that you might have to leave considering your environment, but in most cases (unless you do live in a very densely populated city), staying in your own home is by far the safest and smartest way to go. Even in those “City” instances, where are you going to go. Most people can’t walk 5 miles before passing out. And, if everyone else has the same idea, good luck on even getting near the city limits.

Pat Henry

Thanks Jeckyll, that’s my immediate plan anyway but most of prepping is planning for contingencies so we will be ready to go if we need to. I don’t even want to think of how bad it would need to get for me to leave.

Tinker Young

Sometimes I’m so glad i live 5 miles out of town and two miles down a rough dirt road. We never have any company cause no one wants a flat tire. I live on a five acre farm in a small community. I prep for power outages mostly and usually only have enough water for two weeks. We have 9 lil doggies for company and only a 3 month supply of food. But we can grow more. I have bug out bags packed but hope we won’t need them. We have only one sleeping bag and a small truck. Where… Read more »

Tinker Young

Thank You to whoever wrote this post. I found it to be very comforting. Mostly because I have nowhere else to go. I have everything I need here to get along and I hope my family will come and see me if they need a place to bug out.

Pat Henry

You are very welcome Tinker! Best of luck to you.



As a veteran of the British armed forces and a former Joint Services Adventure Training Instructor, I’d like to chime in… Digging in or Bugging out always depends on the situation at hand… if your home is getting flooded, is threatened by a wildfire, or is in the line of fire from an active volcano, etc… then bugging out obviously makes sense… but in a great many situations, digging in makes the most sense. First of all let us consider the rule of 3’s which are the requirements and limitations of human survival: We can survive: 3 minutes without air… Read more »

Pat Henry

Great points Mig! Thanks for contributing to the conversation.


If this is your advice in a situation where society collapses, then here’s my response: Where your stuff is… – Use a big truck and trailer like you said. You didn’t nullify that possibility. If you can’t drive, use bicycles or horses and wagons. If on foot, use garden carts. Kitchen floor more comfortable.. – If you do bug out with a truck, you should be able to bring thin mattresses, sleeping bags, and tents. That’s better than the kitchen floor. Built in Community… – Communities will band together…to share of your food, then you starve alongside with them. More… Read more »

Pat Henry

Casey, Thanks for your comments, but it looks like we are going to have to agree to disagree. You make a lot of assumptions in your comments too. Which of us will be right? Who knows? There is no universal rule but I would disagree with many of your assertions too. Are you talking from the standpoint of a major city only? 1. Starving neighbors? – So the woods will be completely empty and nobody will be there, only in the cities? 2. Starving neighbors – Same as above. Starving people will be in the woods too. Probably more so… Read more »


If society will collapse –> bug out
If society will not collapse –> bug in

This is my general rule of thumb, in addition to the obvious need to bug out for certain regional events/disasters.

Rick Sander

I respect your reasoning on this issue and agree with a lot of your points – but feel like getting out of populated cities is best long term – here is my general plan based on what I am worried about. My assumption is that the most likely events will have a day of warning / confusion. I have a bunch of emergency stuff in my car, including lethal and nonlethal means of defense. If I can, Ill get home, do a quick reorganizing, put some additional stuff in the car, weapons, food, supplies, gas. If I think I can… Read more »

Pat Henry

Thank you very much for the comments Rick! I agree that cities can be traps especially the larger ones. They also prove to be very difficult to control by the authorities. Even if you weren’t penned in by the military you could fall victim to mob violence, looting and crime. I come from the perspective of the suburbs and I need to keep clarifying what I mean or framing my arguments differently perhaps. I know that my situation isn’t anywhere near the same as someone living in New York for instance. That being said, I do think there are still… Read more »


I just read this article for the first time and agree with most of your points. The safety and security of one’s home is something you cannot get anywhere else. Having preps such as food, water, ammo, and others will extend your survival by weeks or months. That being said, as many others pointed out, each situation is unique. There are hundreds of scenarios that can happen. Survival, in each of them, begins with the decisions to bug in or break camp. Being in a semi rural area, many miles from a metropolitan area, my first choice is to fortify… Read more »

Pat Henry

Thanks for your comments and for reading!


How convenient he never did get around to answering the honest question about what was his battalion, when did he go in, class number, nothin’. How many combat jumps? He was falling over himself to let everyone know he is a Ranger and received the S.Star. Know why? Because names of Vietnam era Silver Star winners are publicly available. Awkward to pick a name and it turns out that person died in 2003, I guess. My experience is that it takes a lot more than casual internet chatting to get vets to tell you they were decorated, IF you ever… Read more »


I know this is a late comment..but, I think its relevant. I live outside of NYC. On that Island that they call ‘long’. Therefore, most of the people who live here will be going west towards NYC/Manhattan to get off of said Island. There arent any other ways off besides going west or by boat. So….I am not anyone or have done anything like probably most of you guys…however…I know one thing. I aint going where the rest of the people are going. I’m going the other way or staying put till I can at least figure out how to… Read more »

candy bartow

my husband was looking for URL – IRS 1099-MISC some time ago and learned about a document management site that hosts a searchable database . If others need URL – IRS 1099-MISC also , here’s a https://goo.gl/k6Et8U

Michael L Gillett

I was in Huntsville Texas when they tried to evacuate Houston because of a hurricane. They knew it was coming yet ALL the roads were blocked heading out of the area, they even shut down two way traffic on I-45 and made both sides evac routes. None of it worked, cars broke down causing traffic to stop, people ran out of gas after spending 12 hours on the road and only going 50 or 60 miles. Most people had to ride out the storm inside there cars stuck on the road. So how do you think it will be during… Read more »

Carl Thomas

Hi Pat: Ran across your article. Although several years old, I think it’s sound advice. You had a naysayer “porkybeans”, a former Army Ranger who disagreed, but you brought out solid reasons why the average person should think twice before ‘bugging out’. The most dangerous thing to encounter are the irresponsible to deadly actions of others. I hate crowds and consider most folks suspect. I’m 72, in fair shape along with an aging wife, I don’t want to be milling about on the crowded highway (bumper to bumper) or taking off cross country to our imminent demise in the not… Read more »

Pam Locke

You need food, water, shelter and a way to defend yourself. Unless you are homeless you have at least 3 of those things already. Why other than a fire would you want to bug out and have to get all 4? I buy a little extra every week so I can build my supplies.


I feel that most of these arguments are invalid in my case. My residence is less than 50 yards from the intracoastal waterway, so I have easy access to the coast and a “borrowed” boat. I am a former infantryman with tactical and survival skills. I feel that bugging out would be the best in this scenario. What are your thoughts?


I agree completely with this post. Staying home is the best choice almost all the time. Timing your bugout is like timing the market. Something few are able to do well.


I agree with Pat that bugging out definitely depends on your situation. Pat claims neighbors will come together when a crisis arises, but the area I live in is an unincorporated rural suburb where half the families are Hispanic immigrants who speak little to no English. I’M WORRIED ABOUT GANGS!! This area is very quiet and not known for gangs, but I’m worried that when SHTF all the Hispanic teenagers (especially if there are any from El Salvador and Honduras) will come together to form a gang of thieves. These lots of land are relatively large, with a lot of… Read more »

SGT Reese

We had plans for bugging in and out while living in the city and now that we live on a large plot of land next to the back 40 of a military installation, we had to change it up a bit but still have plans for both. A 2 mi hike will put us on the back 40 which will lead us directly into the mountains if we have to. Have a 1:50000 topo for the entire area. Always best to have more than one disaster plan. Our neighbors are between 200 and 500 meters away in any direction and… Read more »

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