3 Keys For Locating, Developing Bug-Out Destination

By Cherie

Those fortunate enough to have a bunker near their homes will be in good position to survive the storm. Everyone else should have a bug-out location already scouted and mapped out, but all places of refuge are not created equal. Keep the following three pieces of advice in mind when determining your SHTF location.


When choosing a location to bug out, there are two very important factors that cannot be ignored. The first is distance from cities. You want the spot to be a reasonable distance away from towns with a populations over 5,000. Desperate, hungry people left with nothing will come searching for food and water at some point. The longer they have to walk, the less likely they’ll survive the journey.

Second, you want the spot to be close enough for you to make it there at a moment’s notice and on a single tank of gas. A good rule of thumb is to purchase land at least 15 miles from the nearest major town. Make a few test trips there beforehand to ensure your vehicle can make it safely.

Terrain is also very important. Flat desert and plains give unsavory individuals a clear view of your sanctuary from as far away as their binoculars or telescopes can see. Mountainous and heavily-treed areas should be given top priority. Both provide a means to conceal your shelter, while also allowing you to look down upon everything for surveillance. The less ways in and out of the location, the better.


Humans can potentially survive up to 30 days without food. But after three days of no water, you’ll be knocking on death’s door. There’s no telling how long you might be at your bug-out location, so water must be readily available at all times or easily accessible in some way.

The ideal scenario is to buy an acre or two of land somewhere near a lake or river. Of course land with readily-available water will be expensive regardless of location. Another option is to harvest rain water. All you need is a few 55-gallon rain barrels and place them in an open area during downpours. Those who want to get creative can rent a scissorlift and attach a system of down spouts on tree tops.

A well is the second-most ideal scenario. But depending on how deep you have to drill, the cost can average between $5,000 and $7,000. A network of DIY solar stills provide an effective means of purifying urine and other dirty liquids to make them drinkable. All you need is a shovel, spade and plastic sheets to ensure you make these survival stills.

Food Sources

Assuming your bug out vehicle is a van or RV, you’ve taken care of the water and shelter aspects of post-Apocalypse survival. No matter how many cans of food and bags of dry rice you buy, it will ultimately run out and need to be replenished.

Property close to water will get a lot of deer and other foot traffic through the area. Snares and other traps can be set around the area to snag rabbits, raccoons and other small game. You can consider raising rabbits for meat, as they eat almost anything green and can produce upward of 14 babies per litter. Fishing hooks, line and bait should be well stocked in your vehicle long before evacuation is necessary.

Nobody knows exactly when or how the breakdown of civil society will happen. The sooner you start preparing for the inevitable, the better off you and the family will be.

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8 thoughts on “3 Keys For Locating, Developing Bug-Out Destination”

  1. Unfortunately a LOT of people have invested their life’s finances in paying off their homes, vehicles etc…to become debt free and therefore do not have monies to buy land…that bring up “gorilla camping”. Find yourself a nifty spot near water with plenty of timber and hop in your RV and go. After that first shot is fired looking for deer, you’ll play dickens finding deer around for miles. They’ve become acclimated to “deer season” and the same will go for turkey etc. So if you’re planning to “live off the land” you may find yourself among the hoards. For us? Bugging Out is the LAST thing we’ll do. We’ve equipped our Bug In to meet our needs and won’t give it up without one H… of a fight 🙂 We feel we’ll be safer hunting and trapping (gorilla style) a good distance away from our bug in…and plan to do it walking.

  2. For a bug-out place your best bet is to have a well that can be operated with/by a hand pump. Build a cistern under the porch.
    As for a stream, foot traffic can also be the two legged type and unless you are the owner of its head someone upstream can dam it. Also if you don’t have an electric/solar bug out vehicle you can’t haul water very far (water: 1gal = 8lbs).

  3. I’m retired, old, fat, bald and cranky as hell. My wife and I live about 8 miles from a university town which is full of southern liberals. That’s the bad. The good is that we live off of a main highway, off of a secondary state road, off of a county road off of a county road and up a gravel drive nestled away in the trees. We have a large garden plot, a well, streams and chickens with the ability to add rabbits and goats. We’ll bug in. I don’t mind helping my neighbors and maybe a student or two. Other than that, well I was wondering what I could feed the hogs if I had them.

  4. By the way…anyone with the thoughts of being able to live off of the land by hunting and trapping, should try to talk with folks who lived thru the Great Depression of the ’30’s. My dad did. He told me that after a while, you could walk 10 miles and not find so much as a possum. And that was walking from a small town in the midlands of SC. Just think what it will be like today. Although there is a lot to be said about how so many people have become city dwellers who would probably sit and weight for FEMA to save them. I doubt they will be a major competitive force in the woods hunting food if they have to walk to get there.

  5. This, I believe, is at the heart of every preppers concern. Just like WE2 said. Almost all of us are in that boat. Fortunately, for some people they are vested from the other direction or had money. Nothing against them at all. Okay..let’s get real.

    1.)Squatting consists of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied area of land and/or a building – usually residential – that the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have lawful permission to use. Look up local laws and be careful if it’s “Govt” owned or private.

    In many countries, squatting is in itself a crime; in others, it is only seen as a civil conflict between the owner and the occupants. Property law and the state have traditionally favored the property owner. However, in many cases where squatters had de facto ownership, laws have been changed to legitimize their status. Keep in mind we are talking about SHTF here.

    2.) Do not know if this is still the case, but get either one. Google Earth Pro Now Available Free

    3.) Compare land for sale in your desired location and then look at it from Google Earth.

    4.) Check out the area on a weekend.

    5.) Up in the air decision for you,..to decide. Go and meet the people living close to property. Be kind, remember, your in their part of the town and it’s for your benefit. Not theirs. Tell them your interested in buying land close them. Make small talk and get to know them a little. In this manner…if you suddenly show up on the property in SHTF scenario..they sorta know you and are familiar with you. Risky whether you introduce yourself or not. Either way…you will eventually run into each other. They may need/want something to help survive also. Survival doesn’t just mean “you” survive. I also means using your brains and skills to survive. A little extra forethought could strength your group. You might not want to make contact for concern you will endanger yourself. If you meet them now at least you have a good idea what to expect. Totally up to you. Either way…the lands for sale anyway..and your in a much better position to meet less problems.

  6. I think the best idea is NOT to “bug out” but live at your bug out location. That’s what I do. I am 45 miles from any major town. I live 5 miles from a town of 1500 I have a well and good neighbors. I can’t afford to buy a “bug out” location so I sank what money I have into my home and land 3AC. I make it here or I don’t make it.

  7. Interesting perspective. I don’t have that option. I live in suburbia. It’s great for modern civilization. SHTF…not good at all. If I at least had 3 acres it would still have a better chance. Also, might I point out one weapon I NEVER see anyone talking about. Maybe it’s been covered and I missed it. Or buried under some topic.The one weapon that the unprepared can and will use against those that are prepared. Fire. Like the current govt uses every time it cannot take out some one bunker-ed in. Like the rogue California officer they burned in the cabin he was in or Waco. I’m not saying I’m for or against either of these people. Just pointing out they used fire. You know, even good ole’ Bob down the road has some way to make fire. One easily, well placed, simple made fire device. Then what? Do you have one of the many different types and sizes of extinguishers to put it out? Homemade or not. Did you place a pick or axe in a strategic place so you can access the fire point without exposing yourself to the threat. Think about it ;o)

  8. Oren, You are either very honest and or have a great sense of humor!!! Having worked with pigs years ago -they can be fed household scraps, hay, corn ,grain and some people but a load of day old bread from bakery outlets and fed that to them.They root and can easily get under and out of most fencing so build a good pen-yard for them first.Visit other set ups where people have pigs and maybe read a book about them and call your local county coop.extension service.They are very
    intelligent animals and also very clean if they have the room .They do love mud because they do not sweat and their shin needs the water from mud to keep hydrated. Sounds like you have a good homesteading set up. Arlene


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