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Should You Bug Out Alone or In a Group?

Bugging out from your home is going to be one of the most dangerous things you will ever do. Once you’ve made it to safety, you’ll be out of immediate danger, but getting to your bug out location or even someplace relatively safe deep within the woods is pretty risky. And when I say risky, I mean you could die.

See, the minute chaos unleashes, you have exactly X minutes to bug out. You won’t really know how long you have to bug out. You need to get to safety as fast as humanly possible and you may even have to step on some toes to do it. The question I want to answer today is: who should you take with you? Should you bug out alone or take other people with you?

It’s tricky because there are pros and cons to each option. Let’s look at the two choices real quick before we make a final decision (spoiler alert: there is not right answer, it all depends).

The Pros of Bugging Out Alone:

  • You don’t need to worry about anyone else but yourself. You take your bag, maybe your bug out vehicle, and just go. You don’t need to waste precious time saving other people (unless you want to). Sure, it would be nice to help others, but your own life is more important. Plus, helping someone else might get you killed as well.
  • You make your own decisions. Other people (preppers or non-preppers), will have their own opinions of what you all need to do. Valuable time can be wasted fighting and arguing. When you’re all by yourself, you can make split second decisions and quickly put them into practice. The only way to keep others in line when in a group is to develop strong leadership skills beforehand (just like with any other survival skill).
  • You move faster alone, meaning you’ll get to your bug out location faster.
  • It’s a lot harder for you to be spotted. When it’s only you, it’s easier to hide from other people.
  • No one can betray you and rob you of your food, guns, and gear.

The Cons Of Bugging Out Alone

When you’re all alone into he woods, you have your own set of challenges:

  • If you’re knocked unconscious, there will be no one there to give you first aid and help you get back on your feet.
  • You won’t have anyone to share your fears and doubts with. You’ll be all alone in the dark, bored, and lonely.
  • If some of your gear malfunctions, you won’t have someone else’s bug out bag at your disposal.
  • You’ll have to do everything yourself: making shelter, finding food, cooking, etc.

If bugging out in a group, WHO should you take with you?

That’s a great question. The answer is that you should limit yourself to your family and the people living under the same roof as you, the ones you’re (hopefully) prepping with right now.

Why? Because they’re your family for one. Don’t tell me you’ll have the guts to get your B.O.B. and take off, leaving your spouse and kids trapped inside your house. You’re gonna stand there and help them and then take them to safety, right?

worm farming

On the other hand, you should be very picky about anyone else trying to bug out with you. I’m talking about friends, co-workers, neighbors, even if they’re preppers. As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t bug out with anyone you don’t have a strong bond with (unless they’re really good at something, we’ll talk about that in a second).

See, even a seasoned prepper may have his or her own agenda. If you’re taking that person with you to your bug out location, that’s one more mouth to feed off your supplies and one more head to keep under your roof.

If you went ahead and planned for something like this by stocking more food and water that you think you’ll need, I strongly suggest you reconsider. Who knows how long the disaster will last. It could be weeks, it could be months, or even years.

A better way of choosing who can come with you is by their level of skill. If they’re excellent hunters, fishermen, doctors, surgeons, or have some other useful survival skill, then you might consider them. But you should also consider the possibility that you’ll do fine without that person and minimize your risk, particularly if there’re already 4 or 5 people in the group.

If you’re a woman who’s bugging out all by herself, for example, you might appreciate having someone to keep you company. Some tasks may be simply to physically challenging. It really depends on your ability to put together a survival dream team (= your family members) and the need (or lack of) for an extended dream team post-collapse (= other like-minded people).

Rules for Bugging Out With Strangers

Let’s say you’re more or less forced to bug out with people you don’t know very well (or at all). Maybe your spouse happened to have a guest co-worker for dinner and now you’re all running for your life. Maybe there’s a huge number of people bugging out in the same direction as you. How do you handle these people?

First off, the less you say the better. Sure, they might see you with your bug out bag, maybe even label you as a prepper. In times like these, knowledge is power, so don’t let anything come out of your mouth unless it’s important.

Don’t reveal details about your bug out location, or that you have one, just talk about going somewhere safe.

Don’t say anything about your food stockpile that awaits you, just say you’ll figure out where to get food one way or another.

Don’t talk about your guns, your skills, whether you know a good place to make shelter, or how to make it.

Unless you really need these other people, figure out ways to separate you and your loved ones from the crowd and go your own separate way. Of course, if the best way to get to safety is the route everyone else is taking, you should stick with them for a while but at least try to keep a reasonable distance from them.

In times of total chaos, people cannot be trusted.

Bottom Line

The bottom line to all of this is that you should definitely take your family and your pets with you when bugging out, but make sure they’re ready and prepared too. They should at least have their own bug out bags and if they’re willing to learn some survival skills, then you’re a lucky man.

Be wary of bugging out with people you don’t know very well EVEN IF they’re good preppers. They might betray you or do unexpected, or even horrible things to your family. Keep in mind that a SHTF situation is anything but normal and people tend to do irrational things. Heck, people do crazy stuff even in peacetime!

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About Dan F. Sullivan

My dad was military. My grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But I don't like taking orders. I'm taking matters into my own hands so I'm not just preparing, I'm going to a friggin' war to provide you the best of the best survival and preparedness content out there.

One comment

  1. i liked the article i read and have not given thought to self-defense. Now i need to do some studing up on it.

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