Bugging Out

Bugging Out

I had started a series on Bug-out bags awhile ago, but life got in the way.  But the best of intentions don’t matter much when life gets in the way.  When I picked up the next post in the series to start working on it, and I had a realization.  So many people confuse Bugging Out with TEOTWAWKI.

When we think through bugging out, we tend to think of leaving civilization and not coming back.  This has great implications for our thought process in bugging out, for how we prepare for bugging out, for when we decide to bug out, and for what we plan to take when we bug out.  The problem is that bugging out will almost NEVER be leaving without the thought of coming back.  What is really going on is most of you (and the rest of the prepper world) has confused Bugging out with TEOTWAWKI.  So let’s look at them one on one and side by side.  We’ll take a look at the similarities, the differences, and the implications of each.

Bugging out is leaving your home (usually in your car) for a short period of time with the intent of returning in the not-so-distant-future.

There are so many reasons why people bug out.  The biggest reason that comes to mind when I think about bugging out is for a hurricane.  You know it’s coming, but with a hurricane, you know can somewhat prepare beforehand.  Another situation where you may need to bug out, but with the hopes of returning to an intact house, is a wildfire.  Fortunately, you should have some warning with this also that it’s headed your direction.  That time can be hugely important.

The problem is that there are times when things will hit you that you don’t expect.  If you are unfortunate enough to have to shelter in place during a tornado only to emerge to find that there is significant damage to your house, you’ll probably need to bug out.  Who expects for that to happen?  Then – who could ever expect their hometown to explode into riots?  Bugging out is a real possibility then.  Chemical spills are an occasion to bug out.  Do you even know if there’s a chemical plant near you or a train track which transports chemicals?

BUT – with each and every one of these situations – whether you can see them coming or whether they hit you upside the head they all have one thing in common.  You believe that you will return to your home.  That’s the whole premise of bugging out!

Bugging out vs TEOTWAWKI

So how does that view of what bugging out is effect you when you bug out?  If the whole point of bugging out is to return at the end of a short-term (even six weeks for a tornado displacement is short-term) disruption, then how does that affect when we bug out.

It means that we know whatever happens we won’t be inconveniencing people for a long period of time.  It should free our minds up so that we don’t worry and put off bugging out (like in the case of a hurricane or riots) until it’s too late.  We know we won’t be there long-term.  Things will settle down and probably do so in the short-term.  So if we wonder if we SHOULD bug out, then guess what – you probably should!  Don’t put it off too long.  It’s freeing!

I’ve written about how it’s HARD to decide when to bug out.  But knowing that the plan is to come home shortly, should make it so much easier.  Do make sure that your spouse is on the same page as you though.  Uhuh – ask me how I know.

Oh, because of our outlook on what bugging out actually is, this should help and free you up when you are packing to bug out!! The plan is to return home, so that should inform everything we plan to take AND everything we leave.  You don’t have to bring cookware because you’ll probably be staying with a friend or in a hotel, but providing your friend (or just your family) with three days worth of easily cooked food will definitely make life easier on yourself or your friends.

But when we consider other necessities like clothes, because you’ll still be living in a regular society, having at least two clean changes of regular clothes is a must.  For bugging out, having light-weight, long-sleeve in summer because it will “provide protection from the sun” is SO NOT necessary!  Along the same lines, having cordage so you can hang dry your clothes probably isn’t necessary.  Does this make sense?

I’ve seen website after website that says you need to include a lightweight durable tent in your Bug-Out-Bag.  Really?  NOT if you’re bugging out.  Remember that bugging out means that we PLAN to return home.  We’re not talking TEOTWAWKI!  If we were, then yes, a shelter of some kind is a necessity, but in our case, our shelter will probably be a friend’s house – or worst case scenario a hotel.  This also means we don’t need to provide a heat source or a way to cook over a fire, or a way to clean all our pots and pans – because we aren’t bringing them because it’s bugging out not TEOTWAWKI.  Are you starting to get the refrain?  There is a HUGE difference between TEOTWAWKI and bugging out!

Now all that being said, we PLAN on coming back to our homes, but sometimes, we find out that life doesn’t go as we’ve planned.  So we try to plan for the unexpected.  Make sure that you have a financial binder ready to go.  I’ve got a whole post on what should go into your binder.  This should always go with you when you bug out just-in-case.  If you’re running from a wildfire and you come back to a charred (or partially charred heap), then you’ll need your insurance information.  You’ll need an inventory of your house room by room so that insurance can replace the items.

Everyone should have copies of documents like marriage certificates, death certificates, college transcripts, all insurance documentation, proof that you own your house, and the list can go on.  I cover what to put in your binder here.

Next time, we’ll look at all this from the perspective of TEOTWAWKI, how we plan differently, pack differently, leave at different times, and have a different mindset.

Have you confused bugging out with TEOTWAWKI?  How are you going to look at bugging out differently after reading this article?  How are you going to prepare differently?  Leave a comment below in the comments section so that we can all be better prepared.

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I’m only bugging out if it is a life or death situation. I’m far enough from the crowds, cities and such that by the time it gets here the big trouble should be over. I won’t wait until a tank rolls up the driveway but seriously if it gets here there won’t be anyplace to run to. my idea is I will stash supplies and let the problem solve itself. forget trying to live off wild game, you may get a few animals but if everyone is out doing the same as you conflicts will start over rabbits or deer. stay hid/stay quiet, once the horde has passed you can go back to your stash and ride it out. if it is only a local event you might try and cull the horde with sniper tactics or an ambush but be super careful .

But if you’re going to get hit by a category 5 hurricane or a wildfire or a riot, or a chemical spill you’ll have to bug out. Having lived through three of those, I know. It’s crazy and you don’t expect it, but it can happen.

those are life or death events, so bugging out is going to happen. on the other hand the Koreans fared pretty well during the L.A. riots because they got on top of their houses and buisnesses with ak47’s and ar15’s and told the rioters that death awaited them. rioters want easy targets, as do looters.

I feel the same way about putting together a “car emergecy” kit. I’ve seen some sites that also talk about food for three days, a tent, and hunting/fishing equipment. Like, if I get stranded on teh side of the road at the most I’m waiting a few hours for a ride or a tow or walking a few miles to the next town. I won’t need to live outdoors for months just ‘cuz of an overheated engine! (granted I don’t live the mountains or desert). But the point is, yes, I agree with Karen. Let’s be rationale about what constitutes “bugging out” vs. preparing for the end of the world.

Exactly! I talk about preparing our vehicles, but it’s snacks, water, first aid supplies, basic car repair supplies, map, etc. We don’t need 3 days worth of food or a tent in our cars at all times!

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I happen to disagree on bugging out, lets say you are picking your son/daughter from college and a new madrid style earthquake hits your area, you are stuck on the side of the road with zero phone access as all the towers are down. this is where that 3 day kit will be needed. anything can happen at any time. an emp attack would be just as devastating. hope for the best but plan for the worst.

I totally get where you’re coming from, Tim. When I take a trip longer than 1 hour from home, I make sure extras are packed. The longer the trip, the more contingency plans I make, but I wouldn’t define that as bugging out. Just my 2 cents. 🙂

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Bugging Out

Research & References of Bugging Out|A&C Accounting And Tax Services
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