Let’s talk about bugging out.

Podcast episode 092921

Published on September 29th, 2021

In this episode I’d like to talk about the theory behind “bugging out”. We’ll look at what it is, and what do we need to ensure we have when doing so. Most importantly we’ll debate when is the most appropriate time to make the decision as to when to “bug out”, or when to “shelter in place”. Just as importantly is the concept of “bugging in”, which lays the groundwork for one of the major decisions you’ll have make following a natural disaster. Quite frequently we hear people go on and on about “bugging out” before considering what is entailed in completing that. Possible road closures, or weather events continuing which then creates obstacles to the whole idea behind bugging out. Based on this line of thinking, one of the first major hurdles we need to cover is the decision to bug out, or stay home.

Time to hit the old mail bag.

Tyler from Kentucky asks “You’ve talked about staying put following a natural disaster, what if you can’t”?

Monique from Michigan asks “We live on a rural farm, is there any reason that we might need to bug out”?

Kelly from Wyoming asks “What about bugging out on foot”?

Colton from Utah chimes in with “The trail to our remote cabin is one lane, and sometimes hardly that. How can I build in some redundancy”?

John from Virginia asks “We don’t have any remote property or safe house. What can we do if our home is damaged beyond inhabiting it”?

Great questions to all those who sent them in. If I didn’t get to your question, sorry about that, but don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll touch on this topic again as its really relevant to a requirement for survival.

Greetings to all my friends (both new and old), to my wonderful family, my fellow Alaskans, and my fellow Americans, wherever you are. Welcome to the Alaska Outlaw podcast, I am the Alaska Outlaw, thank you so much for joining me today. In this episode I’d like to discuss the plan to bug out, as well as the decision matrix we need as to when we bug out.

But, before we get after it today, I’d like to make sure that, for those of you who seek peace of mind and harmony with the world we find ourselves in today, or just need help in making sense of life, be sure to check out the Alaska AkUlfhednar podcast at http://form-sidr.akoutlaw.com. After 30 years of spiritual searching and discovery, I have arrived home. Home to the ideology of of my ancestors. Home of a proud Germanic-Dane heritage. Some really good stuff for you there. Also, another second just to give a shout-out for our sponsors and affiliates:

Antennas Direct, Bad Ass Extension Cords, BrandsMart USA, Chewy, Chrome Burner, Ethos Preparedness, MediTac Kits, Power Systems, SunPower, Australian Native T-Shirts, Natures86 LLC, Sharesale, Survival Frog, and of course Google.

Shout out to all of them for supporting the mission here at Alaska Outlaw, we greatly appreciate taking a risk by supporting an “Outlaw” show. Please visit their links on our webpage and show them some love, they, like each of us, needs to pay their peeps.

So, tonight’s show we have a real treat for you, I’ve invited Ma Outlaw to the show to help carry on this conversation about bugging out. So, welcome to the show ma.


In almost every conversation about being prepared, or zombie apocalypse, you have to arrive at the idea of “bugging out”. In almost every episode of “Doomsday Preppers”, they packed up their stuff, and headed out to parts unknown to “hunker down” for a particular amount of time. Before we really get after our discussion about bugging out, let’s first talk about what bugging out really is. We quiet often talk about, sometimes we may not even know what it means. So, what does it mean? YourDictionary defines the origin of the term “bugging out” as:

Likely originated in World War II, perhaps based on 1930s cartoons featuring bugs fleeing impending foot or boot. Ultimately based on the rapid, disorderly flight of bugs when discovered, particularly their scattering if several are discovered at once, such as under a rock or can.

Ultimately, the idea, as it pertains to survival is departing one area (ie partially destroyed home) for another location (safe house). However, its not as easy as just leaving for the weekend. This is more about ensuring that you have the necessary items ready to go, in case its necessary. The idea behind bugging out essentially comes down to three locations:

  • Designated safe-House or remote property.
  • Undesignated safe-house or temporary shelter.
  • Just getting out, unknown destinations.
  • Bugging in, which is staying in place.

Each of the above exit strategies require a plan. Routes to the safe house or remote location (with break out routes). Possible determination of temporary shelter, or safe(er) house. Tons of planning and preparedness needed for just striking out on foot, or an unknown destinations. Finally, figuring out how to make the possibly damaged or threatened home inhabitable. We’ve covered the emergency plan to bug in at a higher level, but, we’ll cover it a little bit more in detail here in a few.

As part of our emergency plan, our exit strategy is a very prominent piece. Ensuring that if we survey our residence and determine that we can’t or shouldn’t remain there, our emergency plan should promptly conclude that it is a good time to bug out. So, breaking down a scenario to bug out event into smaller pieces to ensure we understand.

Step One is the prep. This is all the hard work of identifying the needs, getting together the supplies, storing the supplies in appropriate locations, ensuring that nothing is forgotten, securing a vehicle capable of making the trip, and planning the routes, with primary and secondary alternatives in case mother nature changes her mind. This is where we will spend most of our time and energy, as the consideration for as many contingencies as possible is necessary for this stage to be completed.

Step Two is the decision matrix. This one is a little more complicated than of the others, in that you will need to consider possible alternatives. Determining a potential obstacle in our exit strategies leads us to make sure we look deeply at possible alternatives that can branch off from each of our exit routes. The next portion of this section is identifying the concrete signal that demands that we employ our exit strategy. What is going to be the “green light” to get going on getting out.

Step Three consolidation are ready to move. With all the preparations in convenient locations, all personnel accounted for, we gather our plans, and preps and hit the road.

Step Four preparing the vessel. Time to “load up”. We should have practiced loading the supplies into the vehicle, so ensuring that there is fuel, and supplies to carry your group to the next destination. Ensuring that the vehicle is maintained, and prepared, is critical to a bug out operation.

Step Five engaging the movement. So, the last step per se, is the actual engagement of movement. Vehicle is packed, everyone is on-board, time to roll out. However, this is where the plan comes into play. Ensuring that our escape route has alternative routes that intersect with the primary route in case there are unmovable objects blocking the path.

This has been the overall steps in “bugging out”, however, steps one and two need to be established before the event occurs. We need to know the things we are going to need both: immediately, and longer-term, and ensure that it can be stowed in the vessel expeditiously and safely.

Bugging out, simply put, is a method of evacuation. When considering whether to bug out or not, a couple of decision factors need to be seriously. The first being, where would you go? This is a pretty substantial factor to consider, because it may dictate many of the preparations you use. Obviously some people have a basic set of supplies in their safe house, or if you going to a remote family members home, chances are they should have supplies to keep everyone safe.

Bugging out, with the routes included, would also include any necessary stops, hotels, and additional gas money just in case obstacles come up during the execution of the plan. More than just having the old “plastic” handy, we should have actual cash. Having a plan for mileage in every direction from your home allows you to have some options during an emergency situation.

Let’s talk about the locations and preparedness necessary to make the bug-out successful. So there are a couple of critical points around the home to “stage” your prepared items.

  • The first would be near any exterior exits. Whether you are staging tubs or just individual “go” items, the idea here is to have them at the ready when it’s time to go.
  • The next area would be near the vehicle to be used for the exit plan. Possibly in a garage, or carport, the key there is ensuring that the right things are staged and ready.
  • Finally, staging thing wherever you are. So, having a go bag nearby that can be grabbed quickly on the way to the vehicle.

As I mentioned earlier in the section about the steps involved in bugging out, ensuring that the vehicle has enough energy to get to a safe place. Whether that is the safe location, or just a gas station far enough away to not be affected by whatever disaster you are escaping. Practicing the packing things into the vehicle from their staged areas is always a great practice to keep everyone sharp on what can be expected.

Prepare for the worst, plan for the best possible outcome, that way you will be ahead of any last minute possible obstacles.

Bugging in from the reality perspective. Whenever the conversation of bugging out comes up, immediately many inquire about bugging in. To be honest, unless it something catastrophic, bugging in may be a better option, as everyone and their brother will be on the roads trying to get somewhere. This will ultimately affect how you will be able to get to where you need to be, and therefore may leave you exposed to the panicked neighbors, or the risks associated with that type of event. Bugging in essentially means that you are deploying some of your preps to live in your own home. Whether it be without utilities, or available food markets, the idea that you are prepared to live “off the grid” while living in town.

As always my friends, I am honored and humbled that you have chosen to spend this time listening to me. I deeply appreciate each and every one of you. Being prepared provides each of us with the confidence for successful survival. We mentioned before, and will certainly say again, that survival is a 90% mental task, but that 10% of physical resources is critically important.. By having a confidence and discipline, we can and will survive. Remember to be strong, be safe, and keep your head on a swivel… Peace

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