The REAL Version of Bugging Out

As I’m sure most of you have seen or heard about by now, my home town of San Diego, CA is ablaze with wildfires right now. And just like all the other times that we see examples of real disasters, this experience has reminded me of an important truth: REAL bugging out is not “heading for the hills.”

In fact, it’s a long way from that.

The REAL Version of Bugging Out

Guess how my loved ones in San Diego are “bugging out” right now?

They’re driving across town to stay with friends and family members for 2 days. They’re going to the nearby high school with their sleeping bags. They’re going to churches, hotels, and other evacuation centers scattered around town.

My sister and husband are currently evacuated… you know where they went with their baby? 21 miles away to the in-laws.

An old college roommate had to leave his house in Carlsbad. So he took his family and went… to Encinitas (a whopping 10.4 miles away)

Nobody is driving off into the sunset with their guns and ammo.

Why is it like this?

Because life still exists. In fact, in the case of most disasters, life will still exist. And (contrary to what MTV tried to have us believe a few years back) “the hills” aren’t real life.

You wouldn’t drive for hours to go stay up in a mountainous cave for a night, when there’s a hotel down the street letting folks stay for free.

Likewise, you wouldn’t hoof it to your bunker in the next state, when your sister’s place is 15 minutes away.

How I Recommend You “Bug Out”

Ok, so what should your bug out plan be then?

Fair question. Here’s what I recommend:

Make “reciprocity” arrangements with strategically located family members and friends.

These are friends and family members who agree to let you come stay with them if an emergency ever necessitates it. In exchange, you allow them the same privilege.

Ideally you would have a few different people that you could go crash with if you needed to. I would suggest having:

  • 1 friend across town (25-30 minutes away).
  • 1 a couple hours away
  • 1 out of state for the regional and large regional disasters.

Having these kinds of agreements set up doesn’t cost you anything, and it insures that you have a few options when things get crazy.

Many people have thought about arrangements like this, but they haven’t actually verbalized them with the other party. It’s risky to do this, because it’s essentially counting on eggs before they hatch. That friend may have 10 other family members thinking the same thing. Or communications may be knocked out when the moment of need arises.

Take the time to have the conversation now, before a disaster has struck.

What About Bugging Out to A Cabin or Retreat Property?

I actually think it’s a great idea to have a “bug out property” IF:

  1. You can afford it
  2. It’s within a couple hours from your primary residence.
  3. If it can double as a vacation property.

So those are some big “ifs.” Which is why, at the end of the day, for a lot of people, a bug out property won’t make sense. But these criteria are what make a bug out property a good fit for real preppers.

If it’s in an undesirable location, or a place that isn’t comfortably livable, than you’re not going to go up there and use it enough to justify having it.

If it’s too far or too expensive, it’s likewise not a good idea.

Final Thoughts

If I stepped on your toes a little, good. It’s not my goal to make you feel bad about yourself, but we keep it real around here. It’s important that you be real about the preparations that you’re making.

Keep the San Diego fires in mind when you’re developing your “bug out” plan. Remember, the best bug out plan is a reciprocity agreement with strategically placed friends.

Thoughts and prayers out to the folks dealing with wildfires. I’m sure it will be a long summer full of wildfires all over the west.


List of San Diego areas under evacuation

NBC’s Coverage of San Diego Fires


Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

Via: thedailyprep

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