I tweeted recently about the distance to your bug-out location and upon reading it my eldest son asked, “So how far is it to OUR bug-out location?” First silence, then the realization that I don’t have a specific bug-out location in mind.
From the beginning of the blog, I have said I want to speak to the non-hardcore Prepper. I want to speak to people like myself who want to prepare for emergencies with the understanding that I don’t have the time or funding to really delve into the hardcore Prepper/Survivalist lifestyle. Remember, I’m the “Reluctant” Prepper. This isn’t being done for fun. I’m Prepping for necessity, for duty.
So my plan was always to bug-in my home, leaving only if things get really bad. My preps are here. I could load the cars with most of my preparations and bug-out to my parents home in a smaller town if I have to, as a fall-back position. But if something was bad enough to get me to leave my home, we would likely have to leave theirs in time, also. If I had to walk, I could be ready to go in a few minutes with a few days worth of food and water.
I shouldn’t say that I never really thought about a bug-out location. I have and I have several spots picked out to reach for some cover. However, I don’t own the land and they are 50-70 miles away. They are relatively hidden, but this is CA and there are a lot of people. So not having land you own in a relatively secluded location can be tricky if things get hairy.
The ultimate treatise on choosing a Bug-out location is Rawles on Retreats and Relocation by James Wesley, Rawles. If you want to hear from the authority on the subject, but his book and study it. If you have the extra scratch, you can hire him as a consultant before you buy your bug-out location. The first thing he would tell me is “move out of California.” I’d love t and when I win the lottery, I will.
Until then, I plan to look for locations that are not too far away. I would need to be able to walk there within 3 days (so about 100 miles). That only puts me a couple of hundred miles from Los Angeles, so I will need it to be secluded so the “zombies” that will be leaving the big city in droves will pass right by.
So what are my must-haves besides being within a three-day walk? Well, water access is most important. A spring would be good, but a river would work. Rain and snow melt could be captured in a cistern. Either way, I don’t want to have to have water trucked in. So a water source close by is very important.
A gentle climate is also desirable. Ultimately, I would build some structure with passive heating and cooling, but prolonged heat waves or below-freezing temperatures wouldn’t be good.
A renewable food supply would be nice. A lot of people just assume you can go into the woods and find food. Have you ever tried it? Sure, you can hunt game, but that will run out if you try and eat three meals a day like that. Have you ever foraged for berries or roots? It’s not easy and you better have some experience and/or resources you can go to for help.
Another thing you have to think about is defensibility. Unless you really want to spend a lot of time and money, you really have to just do your best. A home right next to a paved road is probably not the best. Dirt roads are most desirable. The more trees and bushes the better.
Will you store goods there? Better make them secure. Buried would probably work best unless you are going to be visiting often. A hand-dug root cellar with a strong steel door and a big lock is expensive, but secure. Observant neighbors wouldn’t hurt.
This isn’t an exhaustive examination by any stretch. I hope to have a small plot of land sometime in the next year. I may even purchase land with some other people if possible. It will take a lot of time to get it ready, but important things are always worth doing. I suggest you do the same.