What is Bugging Out?

As the name implies, Bugging Out is the opposite of Bugging In. Specifically, when Bugging Out, you leave your home with as many survival supplies as you can carry. The term “Bugging out” originated from the Korean War. Units and personnel were directed to “bug-out” whenever it seemed that they would be overwhelmed by enemies. It means “moving from a dangerous position to a predesignated position”


Bugging out as it relates to prepping is a similar concept. When it appears that wherever you live is unsafe, then you move to a newer, safer area. This does not have to include an area in the wilderness, even though that is what is commonly thought of when bugging out. Bugging out can be a good option to save your life when bugging in seems to be unsafe.


Ways of Travel:

  • Driving – this option is good if you have plenty of fuel. You can reach you location the quickest with this method, however, some places may not be accessible by car and you will need to find a place to park.
  • Walking – this option will take the longest to reach your location and if you’re walking over long distances this can needlessly expose you to danger. However, if you’re close to your bug out location, walking will be a more practical option.
  • Bicycle – this option is good if you do not have a good supply of fuel. This will allow you to get to your location quicker than walking and only have a light supply of gear. However, traveling with a bike can become difficult if you’re traveling up hills.

The don’ts of Traveling during SHTF/emergency situation:

  • Do not use main roads – traffic will be backed up and you will not be able to bug out quick enough during an SHTF or emergency situation.
  •  Do not stop for anyone – unless you know them very well & then maybe you can trust them, however if you don’t know them, just keep on driving and don’t look back (it could be a trap), so keep your guard up. 

Interstates, Major Highways and Busy Streets

We think it’s pretty obvious to anyone who preps that both Interstates and Major Highways can be a very bad place to get caught during a bad situation. Not only will everyone else be trying to get to a location important to them but a lot of them will not care what it takes to get there. We all understand that if it happens while you happen to be driving down one of these thoroughfares there’s nothing you can do but be prepared the best you can be for it and go on the best you can.

The same goes for most busy streets or boulevards within any major/large city. If you have to get to a certain location you expect these avenues of travel to be busy. As with above, people will do whatever they have to do to get where they want to be and avoiding these areas can be lifesaving. 

There are a few simple things you can do to greatly increase the chances you have of getting to your desired location without major conflict or harassment. 

  1. Learn your local area now when everything is calm. By this I mean drive different routes so you can learn what neighborhoods to avoid and which ones are the safest to travel through.
  2. Get a good local map. County/City street map is the best. This way during your travels around you can mark the areas you want to travel through. This also lets you mark places for necessities such as water. (a quick note on this later)
  3. And maybe the most important thing is to practice it. If you’re able actually park your car and walk your routes to see which one actually works the best and which one should be option 2, 3 and so on.

Just performing these 3 steps, along with your normal Get Home Bag (GHB) can make all the difference in a bad situation. Keeping the map with you and practicing your routes builds confidence and gives you the knowledge to perform the simple basic tasks required for you to get to your location safely. It also gives you the knowledge of being able to walk/hike with your GHB or lets you know if you need to lighten up a bit.
I tried this with my GHB and learned very quickly that I was carrying too many supplies to  work efficiently. Since that first trip I’ve lightened my bag up dramatically. 

As far as places to avoid I will not go into each and every one but just generalize it by saying the obvious places. Places that will be busy and draw crowds such as restaurants, stores and so on.
Some safe places are probably libraries and post offices just to name a couple. Think of it, if SHTF  why would most people want to have anything to do with either of these locations? And for each of your areas you can probably think of other places. Keep a sillcock key with you to utilize at these locations. That way even if there are a few people around they’re probably inside and you wouldn’t have to enter. 
But remember these places need to be on or very near your desired route to your location. So when you’re finding those back roads keep this need in mind.
I hope this has given you something to think about and help you prepare for the event that will most likely change your life.

-Bama Prepper
SHTF Preppers Admin