By Jim Cobb – The Bug Out Bag Guide
Bugging out is undoubtedly one of the most popular topics in survival literature, as well as in online discussion forums. Assembling a bug out bag is something akin to a rite of passage among preppers and we love to critique each other’s kits. We talk endlessly about bug out locations (BOLs) and bug out vehicles (BOVs). Yet, for all of that discussion, one rather critical part of the plan is often lacking attention. We talk a lot about HOW to bug out but we often forget to give thought to the WHEN of bugging out.
Weighing Your Options
First of all, I firmly believe that bugging out should be considered your last option rather than your primary plan of action in most disaster scenarios. For most of us, home is where we have the bulk of our supplies and hitting the trail with even a fraction of what we have stockpiled would be an arduous effort to say the least. Sure, we can fit all sorts of supplies in our vehicle but what if motorized travel isn’t a viable option? Depending upon the nature of the crisis, streets could be impassable due to debris or even manned roadblocks.
That said, even though it isn’t the best option in many cases, bugging out is still an important part of your overall disaster planning.
Deciding When To Bug Out
Deciding when to bug out will largely be a judgment call, of course. There are many factors that may come into play and we certainly can’t plan ahead for all of them. However, there are a few key indicators, call them red flags if you’d like, that should get you thinking that it might be time to beat feet and head for a more secure location, at least for the immediate future.
Civil unrest in the immediate area
Particularly if you live in an urban or suburban area, this is a big clue that things are headed south and you might not want to stick around. As I’ve often said and written, frequently the biggest threat in a crisis is other people. If you are made aware of looting and riots happening in your immediate area, you may want to load up the family truckster and head out of town for a bit. Now, a word of caution, here. I cannot stress enough the importance of obtaining reliable information on what’s going on around you. It is one thing if your neighbor tells you they just got back from the grocery store where he saw massive crowds stripping the shelves bare. Another thing entirely if he tells you his sister said her best friend’s cousin was told by a random guy on the street three cities over that there were rumors of rioting happening.