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When the SHTF the journey you make to your bug out location is going to be the most frightening, difficult and dangerous journey you’ll ever make. You’re giving up your home to head to greener pastures, putting yourself and your family in potential harm’s way in order to avoid a bigger disaster at your home. Because we never truly know what’s going to happen, it’s always a judgement call you need to make.

  • Is it now too dangerous to remain in our home?
  • Is it the right time to evacuate to our bug out location?

Personally, I’m a big fan of bugging in. Not only is it your home, and staying gives you access to your largest possible stockpile of supplies and survival gear, it keeps your family in an environment they are familiar with, despite the chaos happening outside. But eventually, you may need to bug out, and if you do, these mistakes need to be avoided at all costs.

Don’t raise attention

The last thing you want to do is get noticed. Many different blogs will tell you about the “grey man” theory, but it’s quite simple. You want to be unremarkable. No different to anyone else, so you’re not noticed among the masses, you simply fit in.

So, when you’re bugging out it’s important to not look like a prepper. That means no camo, or obvious survival gear. That means driving a bug out vehicle that looks more like a soccer moms SUV than an all-terrain monster truck designed to survive an apocalypse. I’ve even installed reflective tint on our back windows so you can’t see how full our car is packed even with your hands cupped to the window.

Don’t assume everyone knows

Just because you’ve been studying the ins-and-outs of your bug out plan for the last several years, planning it to a meticulous level of detail, it doesn’t mean your family is on the same page. It takes study and practice to implement a family bug out plan effectively.

Take the time now to train them, give them experience on the trails and hiking in the woods, so that when the day comes, they know exactly what to do, even if you’re not there. You never know how a crisis is going to unfold, and the more independent your family is, the greater their chances of survival.

Don’t think your bug out is safe

In a crisis you never know what can happen, and it’s a mistake to automatically assume your remote bug out location has gone undiscovered. Take your time and approach carefully, and make sure you’re the only people there before you close in. You could be walking right into a trap.

It’s also important you’ve got a back up plan for your bug out plan, just in case you come across hostile inhabitants who have claimed your shelter and supplies for their own. This is also why I use survival caches in my preparations. No matter what happens there are three or four caches within a couple of miles that I can easily recover to get some basic gear.

Don’t let yourself go

As the years continue to add up, it’s remarkable how easy it has become to let yourself go. Over-indulge just a little and the pounds quickly stack on, and I’m finding I’ve got less “bursts” of energy, though my stamina has increased greatly working on our homestead.

You need to be fit with an active lifestyle if you want to have any success bugging out. Not only will it involve a bunch of hiking, you’ll also have chores like collecting water, foraging, and bringing home all of your hunts and kills. You will need to be fit, so don’t let yourself go in the first place. Make it a habit to do some bodyweight exercises and jog regularly, at a minimum.

Don’t bring everything

Speaking of supplies, it can be tempting to over-pack, a mistake too many rookies make when they start jamming anything and everything into their bug out bags. My rule, is that if it doesn’t have at least two different uses, it cannot come. And you should only bring enough gear to get you to your bug out location. That’s it.

You’re not trying to carry half your stockpile on your back, that’s a recipe for disaster that’ll blow out your knees and ensure you never actually make it to your bug out location. Every ounce in your kit counts, and the lighter it is, the faster you’ll be able to book it when you really need to get out of dodge.

Don’t bug out for the sake of it

Finally, I just want to make this last point very clear. Bugging out is a major risk, especially in the aftermath of a crisis, and it could potentially even be the wrong choice. Before deciding to walk out on your home, and the shelter and security it offers, make sure you fully understand not only the situation you’re in, but what you may be walking into.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and trying to make a difficult trek, especially with younger children or elderly family members can be an arduous journey. It’s important to think of everything before you decide to throw caution to the wind and make the mission to your bug out location, especially if you want to keep everyone safe.

Bugging out is a smart strategy, but one that you should only pull the trigger on when you’ve no other choice. If you’re facing a difficult decision and need to leave your home because of a localized crisis, make sure you’re not making any of these mistakes before you start to bug out. It’ll ensure yours is a success.

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