The overwhelming distance between the two.
The bugout plays a huge role in prepper lore. For many people the bugout seems to be the answer to all our problems. If things get crazy and we gotta go, then we look to our bugout location. We gather our family, grab our bag and go. We might go on foot, or we might use some other kind of transport, but we up sticks and move somewhere we know is safe.
There is an incredible emphasis put on the types of things that should go in a bugout bag. There are also slews of articles that detail what type of bugout locations you should consider – even what you should have waiting for you at your bugout location.
Personally, I think many preppers fall short when it comes to bugout preparations. I think that the entire process deserves a lot of time and planning. I am talking written plans, multiple locations, dry runs, mapping of resources in these surrounding locations, and many other things that are essential to make a bugout work.
If you have one location, and you are drawing one line from point A to point B, your chances of failure are high. It doesn’t matter what tools or guns you have strapped to that bag of yours.
Perhaps the largest swathe of uncharted territory regarding the bugout is WHEN. When is the right time to bug out? You could say, “In a financial collapse,” but what does that mean. No one is going to get in front of a camera and proclaim, ‘It’s time to bugout.’ Knowing when to bug out is just as important as everything else.
To decide when the time is right to bug out you can lean on a concept known as REDOUT. I prefer this because it creates some hard and fast rules about when the time is right. Without that you are just playing guessing games.
Before you can take full advantage of the REDOUT concept you have to be able to gather intelligence in many ways that will help you make decisions. Survival intelligence is a massive part of preparing for disaster. Unfortunately it’s also something many preppers overlook.
The following tools will help you gather intelligence after a disaster.
- Emergency Radio
- Police Scanner
- Talking with community members
- Drone with HD Camera
All these tools will help you verify the items on your REDOUT checklist:
- Environment is unsafe
- Overwhelming force
- Threat has increased
REDOUT Bugout Signs
Part of your bugout and urban survival process should be to map out resources in your area and on the route to your bugout location. You need to know what you could have access to in times of need. These resources should include natural ones, like rivers and streams, as well as retail locations and other resource hubs.
There will come a time when resources are running short or running out altogether. Remember, the more accessible and popular a resource location is, more likely it will be picked clean and possibly occupied.
If your resources at home and in the surrounding area are running out, then it’s legitimately time to consider bugging out.
Related: 7 EMP Proof Items for Your Bugout Bag
2. Environment is unsafe
What has the disaster done to your home and the surrounding areas? When we talk about an unsafe environment it could mean things like gas leaks, radiation and flooding. An unsafe environment can also mean that other people or the elements have made it unsafe as well.
If you are putting your life and your family’s life at risk by staying where you are, the time has come to bug out.
Do you have a place to go? For many, the idea of a bugout starts and stops with the bag. Some people don’t have a location or locations chosen. If you are lucky enough to have planned a location it comes down to which is the better position – where you are, or where you’ve planned to go.
Are you better off at your home, or would you be better off at the new destination? Your bugout location might be stocked with goodies and hidden from the world. Or, your bugout location might be a quiet spot in the woods.
The condition of your destination or BOL will dictate how the bugout goes, so your intelligence gathering should include understanding the area around it and any likely threats.
4. Overwhelming Force
You could very well face a time when a hostile force takes power in your area. Following a serious collapse this could even be the government. If you are faced with overwhelming force you will have but two options; kneel or evade.
The ability to recognize overwhelming force from a distance is what will dictate your success. This is where your survival intelligence will come into play. You do not want to recognize overwhelming force when it arrives at your front door.
If you hear word that a powerful gang has taken control of your town or city and they are ruling by force, then it’s a clear sign that you need to get out of there!
As preppers we hate to admit that we might be unprepared for something. It’s kind of in the name. The truth of the matter is, we cannot be prepared for everything. If an asteroid lands on your house, you cannot prepare for that. If you live 20 miles south of Yellowstone and it blows, you cannot prepare for that. If North Korea gets crazy and lucky with a missile that lands on your town, you cannot prepare for that.
There could come a time or a situation that you are unprepared for. Remove the ego and be prepared to recognize the fact that you are unprepared for this particular situation. This will give you a clear head to consider what comes next. In most cases it means its time to bug out.
6. Threat has increased
During or following a disaster, you could find that you are getting along just fine with your preps. The safety of your home may be all you need. For millions of Americans this is the case after storms and other disasters.
Sometimes, however, the threat from the disaster can increase. After a serious disaster, things can get worse in a hurry. Look at Puerto Rico. While some may have been capable of surviving the situation after the hurricane, once the hordes of desperate people showed up it was a different story.
If the threat from the environment, the people or something else increases you must take that into account – and if you cannot deal with that increased threat, its time to bug out.
The BUGOUT Plan
Once one of these triggers has been engaged you will have to lean on a solid bugout plan. Do not wait until you need to leave to sew up the holes in your plan. You need to follow the full process from start to finish.
- You need to write your process.
- You need to wargame your process.
- You need to be your biggest critic
If you aren’t considering things like rally points and survival caches, your bugout process is likely not complete.