Bugging Out - Perceptions vs Reality

Everyone knows that bad things happen

Whether it be a natural disaster, war, economic crisis, or anything in between; we as humans are forced to make decisions that will affect our lives for better or worse.

If you’ve ever spoken with people on this topic and asked them if they have a plan as to what they’re going to do, you’re likely to get a lot of different responses.

I’ve broken down the most common responses into a few categories:

“I don’t know” - This individual has no idea about the world outside of their little box. Their world consists of what they’re doing today, and who they’re doing it with.

“I’m going to come to your house” - This person is derived from the “I don’t know” individual. They typically don’t want to bother with the troubles of the world and as a result, plan on depending on others to get through their problems. They are leeches that only show their true colors once they know where you stand on the subject.

“I’m probably going to die” - These people are the rarest of the common responses but they are out there. They are somewhat near the category of the “I don’t know” individual, but still have a dark sense of reality.

I always find myself trying to boost these peoples will to live with the chance they may be of value towards the benefit of civilization. So far I have been unsuccessful.

“I’m getting a plan together” - These people are typically procrastinators. They know things are bad. They know times can and will be tough if something happens to them but yet they just can’t seem to get it into gear and get going.

“My family and I will be fine” - These are usually people who get what’s going on and have a plan. They more than likely are set up for a month or so and will be the most likely to form groups with people at their level.

Note: these people can sometimes be the “I don't know” individual. They're just too narcissistic to understand and will likely convert to an “I’m coming to your house” individual.

“The silent response” - Preps, Preps, and more Preps. These people are ready for almost anything. They don't want to reveal their situation and practice good operational security. They may be willing to discuss things on the advice level but thats about where it ends.

What do many people expect?

We all have a tendency to overthink things. It’s not a bad trait to have, because being over prepared for something is way better than being under prepared.

Whether it’s caused by the media, books, movies and all the others, when people think about “prepping” they go straight to cataclysm.

We think of nuclear war or economic collapse leaving all of society to fend for themselves and fight for survival in a world plunging into collapse.

That’s not to say the possibility of these events happening isn't there, it’s just far less likely to happen.

Personally, I think the hype of these types of events as reasons to prep is what turns many people off and make them think of peppers as “nut jobs.”

What should people expect?

While it’s entertaining to think about wandering barren streets, searching for food and evading raiders who have gained a taste for blood, more than likely you’re only going to have your car breakdown.

Maybe a hurricane hits where you live and you loose power. Or a blizzard rolls through leaving you stranded in your home.

These are the types of events that you should be planning for. These are the investments that will pay off.

The realities of bugging out


While the entertainment side of bugging out portrays walking cross-country and surviving through sheer luck with a little skill tossed in.

The reality of the situation is that depending on your situation, if you have a car you will more than likely be driving away.

When hurricane Irma was coming towards Florida, millions evacuated in anticipation of a potentially horrendous storm.

Having a vehicle is a great thing to have if you want to cover vast distances in a short time. The reality though is that gridlock is going to be your new enemy. Well… that and fuel.

If you want to bug out in a vehicle, have fuel. Extra if you can. A full tank and an extra 5 gallon fuel can, can get you between 400 - 500 miles (depending on your mpg’s)

In addition to the fuel, don’t get stuck in gridlock. Get a few maps. A road atlas is good but it’s missing lots of side streets and backroads that can move you quickly around the traffic.

Get smaller, local maps of the areas you plan on traveling through. Yes, that’s right I said PLAN. You should have evacuation plans in your vehicles.

Sometimes Murphy just ruins all of your plans and nothing seems to work. That’s okay, it happens. Ensure you have a bug out kit for your car in the event you do get stranded.

On foot

Now, for one reason or another you may be forced to flee on foot. This may be from your home, or maybe you were in your car as previously stated, and got stranded for one reason or another.

bug out

The perceptions and realities of this happening are vastly different.

More than likely this will consist of you walking to the gas station after your car ran out of gas.

If it's for any other reason (riot, flood, etc.) you're in a world of hurt.

Hopefully you've got a bug out bag in that vehicle of yours.

If you do, well this will pose a new set of realities. One of course being that if you aren't used to carrying your bag around, you'll find out real quick how out of shape you are.

You are not going to just throw a backpack on with 40 pounds of gear and walk across the country. I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm just saying be in shape so completing that task isn't as arduous.

Another thing I've noticed is that many of the “I’m going to come to your house” and “My family and I will be fine” individuals tend to have this idea that the woods are full of bounty.

Just point your rifle in any direction and fire off a round and animals will fall from the sky. Tomato and pepper plant are abundant and within an hour or so you could have some squirrel or deer fajitas fired up in no time.

This is not going to happen. Nature is brutal and unforgiving. There is a reason why humans created cities and houses. Sleeping in a room with four walls and a roof is a lot more convenient than sleeping in the dirt... with wild animals roaming around looking for food.

Does this mean that if you go into the woods you won't survive. No, at least not in the short term. The long term however is not in your favor. This is why having a stocked bug out location is important.

If your plan is to "walk to the woods" you are in for some rude awakenings. I would recommend doing yourself a favor and doing a mock bug out according to that plan.

Actually, I recommend that regardless of your plan. To attempt to execute it. Even if it's as easy as taking a trip somewhere. Try and execute your plan. If it doesn't work during normal conditions, it probably won't work during extreme ones.

Try to be a realist

It can be hard at times to remove yourself from the extreme what if's and focus on the more real one's. Think about the common threats in your area and try to divert your thinking from the ones less likely to happen.

If you're curious about when the right time to bug out is, I recommend checking out this article on a bug out calculator that we provide on this site. It could be a game changer in your life.

Stay safe and keep your head on a swivel. Never stop preparing.

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