When it comes to getting your resources together and being able to provide for the needs of your family and loved ones is determined by many factors. This basic question easily sprouts all manner of responses and you will rarely find an agreement on which is the better option. The only good thing about this question is there are only two options available to you.

As you prepare and build upon what you have identified as essential for you and your family, it at times necessitates the more permanent structures, or larger tools and/or longer-term projects needed to make those available to you. You need to assess your own situation, and determine when it is time to move away from the dangers that look like they are coming your way.


To Bug out or not bug out, like most questions that we must ask ourselves as we prepare for emergencies and self-reliance capabilities are individual questions and there is no universal right or wrong. We know from history that if someone waits too long to move out of harm’s way, they risk becoming captured and placed into concentration camps, or even roadkill. The factors that drive each person to reach their own personal decision are too numerous really to discuss in detail, but I will attempt to add my own two-cents to the argument and in so doing, completely invalidate everything I just said above. The reason is that I believe there is only one real answer to this question in almost any situation and my way is the right way. Most of the time.

Getting out of Dodge or staying put is what you want to determine, at intervals of a crisis period. Thus the question is asked in preparedness circles usually in the context of political, biological or terrorism types of chaos: “Will you Bug out or Hunker down?”

To answer this for yourself, you have to ask several questions to determine which is the better option for you in your circumstance. The questions are pretty basic and revolve around:

  • The Threat – What is the threat we are planning to leave for?
  • Your Health – Are you physically able to leave and possibly walk the distance
  • Your Situation – What pushes your button internally that says “We have to leave”?
  • Your Dependents – small children or old relatives. Pets?
  • Your Location – This can apply to both where you are and where you plan to go
  • Your Destination – Where is the place you are going to?

The Threat – This may seem easy to answer, and when you have bombs being dropped and tanks of the enemy rolling in, it is. But we are not seeing traditional warfare at this point. Most of the threats are understated and seemingly undisclosed. They may even be coming from the neighbor or neighborhood close by. Is it something that we can keep building and not be affected by? Is it only temporary or more permanent in nature? Is it something that you move for a time and come back to your little homestead and backyard farm? Essentially, how imminent is the threat?

If we are talking about a flood or natural disaster and you have plenty of notice you may decide to leave. If we are talking about a viral outbreak or Mutant Zombie Bikers from Mars you may decide to stay. Has your city descended into chaos with riots and fires and mobs of people looting?

Your Situation – This can greatly affect the decision to high-tail it or not. And you have to decide when you will actually make the choice to go. If you are planning for an economic collapse, what events will trigger you leaving home and heading somewhere else? How bad would things need to get before you made that call? What if you are away from home? In that case, you will be more concerned with getting home. What will your family do until you arrive? Is it the middle of winter and there is 2 feet of snow on the ground? Have you the right tools at the ready? Do you have a means of defending yourself and your family?

Your Health – As you age, you have to ask yourself the hard question – Are you physically able to get up and strap a backpack to your back, walk out the door and never come back? Health concerns are also there if you stay, however, can you make it without being too terrible of a burden with the younger members of your crew?  In some cases you simply won’t have a choice, you will need to hunker down and plan accordingly.

Your Dependents – Do you have smaller children in your group who may not be able to travel long distances? Are your children still in diapers or do they have special needs? It can be rugged and rough out in the elements on anyone and more so for those that don’t understand the reason for leaving. Are you pregnant, or are any of your loved ones health-compromised? 

Your location – Location has much to do with the decision to move or not to move in a rush. Are you located in a major city or a rural area with miles around you and not too many neighbors around? Do you live in a place that would allow you to live if the grid came crashing down tomorrow? I am not discussing whether or not it would be difficult, but could you plant a garden, or do you live in a high-rise apartment in San Fran? Would you possibly need to walk with millions of other people out of the city? If this is the case, you may want to consider, going first or waiting til you are the very last, but where would you go?

Your destination – Where are you heading, do you even know? Do you have a place in mind to go with a survival kit filled with supplies to last you? If the threat is a natural disaster like a hurricane and you have time, you can probably go stay with relatives for a spell. Where you want to go will determine how you go if your decision is to get out of Dodge.  Will you pack up the family, load down the car, and hit the highway? Is everyone else going to be doing that too?

For me, I think this would be the first factor I built all of my other choices off of. I do not live on a retreat in the Rockies with 50 acres of land and an underground bunker complete with livestock and solar power. Like most of us, we will be coming from a suburb or a city apartment. Put some thought into it now. Where would you go to keep you and yours relatively safe, where others might no readily go AND you can provide for your needs (shelter, food, water and more) Nonetheless, I would not go driving off into the sunset to try and live off the land unless I was desperate… don’t be desperate… be ready.

It’s All You Know

No matter what you decide it will be on the knowledge you currently have. And if you haven’t given it a second thought then you won’t know too much if the time comes that you gotta be on the move. Do your research, make your plans, have your decisions already made, and known to the others of your circle so they too can either assist you with yours or start thinking of their own. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience out there, and you certainly won’t be “re-discovering fire” with all of this. Regardless of the experience, one has to have to ask themselves questions when making a decision like this, as it could affect everything you have and/or love. No expert can tell you what will work best for you and your family in your situation.

Optimally, you won’t have to make the decision to get out of the way of harm. Either the threats are temporary or won’t reach your door, or you have already taken the steps necessary to have already secured your safety with distance, landmass, and preparation. But the saying goes, when you are prepared, ye need not fear. Knowledge, Know-How, and what’s Known

No matter the situation, you need to have the brainpower to deal with what life throws your way. And if you are lazy or procrastinate, will you be able to provide for yourself without putting your neck on the line to do it?. As it stands now, take the steps and consider is for hunkering down. You should have all the supplies you need for at least a few weeks where you live. Just don’t be naïve to believe that you would be insulated from the chaos.

Could that change tomorrow? Sure it could. I am constantly evaluating my situation and when things change, my plans change. Who knows, I might update this site before it’s all said and done with one last message.