How many times have you heard someone say, “When the SHTF I am just going to bugout to the woods,” and think that such a “plan” is a simple and feasible idea? I have shaken my head in disbelief copious amounts of time when hearing a “kinda” prepper, utter such a phrase.
Although the woods (or forest as city people prefer to call it) offer a bounty of natural resources, you must possess the survival skills necessary to utilize and harvest them. Actually, getting to the woods from either the suburbs or a city will be a miraculous feat in itself!
Before you continue to plan on grabbing your brand-spanking-new bugout bag and heading to the woods, weigh the potentially deadly pros and cons very, very carefully!
Should you really bug out to the woods? Let me give it to you straight:
No, you shouldn’t consider bugging out to the woods, the wilderness, or any forest unless you have no choice. There are too many cons to this – not to mention much better places to bug out to.
Table of Contents
Cons to Bugging Out to the Forest
Surviving Is Tough, but Not Impossible
The short answer is yes. But, it is the long version of the response which truly matters. Becoming a mountain man or a mountain woman does not happen overnight or after several sessions of playing weekend warrior when your life doesn’t really depend upon finding your own food and water.
Bugging out to the woods after a doomsday disaster just might be the biggest prepper myth ever told. Just because you have been camping before and can find the nearest state or national forest without using GPS, does not mean you are prepared to ride out the apocalypse living in the woods.
Most of the folks who could really walk into the woods and survive already live at their prepper retreat. Should they be forced to evacuate their home and flee to the woods, it will be them, you will get the game and wild edibles the forest offers.
Bugging out to the forest means you can survive with little more than what you carry on your back – along with your wits, survival skills, and even a little bit of luck. If you have a horse with a pack-saddle, the opportunity to carry more supplies and a small tent, to your bugout location exists, but what will the horse eat over the long winter months?
Surviving in the woods, for the vast majority of folks, would be extremely risky and feasible only for a short amount of time, like a week or two. If forced to flee the suburbs or city, or even a rural town due to disease, fire, or the intrusion of a violent gang, the woods would provide safety, food, and water – but only temporarily.
If you cannot survive in the woods without the supplies in your bugout bag, you will not survive your time in the forest!
So You Really Want to Make a Go of It in the Woods
If, for whatever reason, you really decide that the woods is the best or only viable bug out location for you and yours, it is possible to escape and survive there.
However, you’re going to need to diligently, and carefully assess several factors before you are ready to make the attempt.
Believe me; I do not say it lightly when I assert that most people will fail to survive for any length of time in the woods before breaking camp and heading home. A significant fraction of them will die in the attempt.
You want to make sure you aren’t one of them, no matter what situation the rest of the world is facing. Work through the following considerations in order to determine if bugging out to the woods is even viable for you.
Answering the negative to any of them does not necessarily mean you won’t be able to make a go of it, but understand you’ll have serious logistical challenges to overcome when things are already looking grim
Be Honest with Yourself
How much experience do you have in the woods? How much experience do you have in the particular stretch of woods that you plan on bugging out to?
If you are only in the woods occasionally for recreational purposes, you probably do not have enough basic experience and expertise to reliably survive there for any length of time.
Woodlands are deceptive environments, full of many dangers. It is easy to get turned around in the woods, to get hurt and isolated.
As mentioned elsewhere in this article, though the popular conception of most woods, at least in warm weather, is of an idyllic, bountiful pantry full of everything you need to survive, the reality is very different.
Without the necessary secondary skills to make use of what provisions and materials there are, the woods will be just another harsh and unforgiving wilderness environment that will kill you and yours or send you scurrying if you are lucky.
Now is not the time for bravado. Your ego might write a check that your loved ones will cash with their lives. Don’t lie to yourself. If you don’t know what’s what when it comes to living in the woods, that’s okay, you can learn, but you can’t depend on it as a bug out location until you do.
Who is Going With You?
One of the most fundamental questions concerning any bug out. Who is going with you? Is it just you? Is a partner going with you? Do you have kids or other relatives that you’ll be responsible for?
Maybe you are part of a mutual assistance group that plans on linking up and surviving together.
Whatever the case, you must consider the number of people and their capabilities in the calculus. Generally, it is a good thing to have at least one other person to watch your back while you are in the woods.
They can come and look for you should you get lost or injured, they can make various daily chores easier and also help out with ever-present security concerns.
However, more bodies mean a greater logistical burden – space inside the shelter, food, water, waste disposal, all of it. A location that is suitable in the woods for one or two people might not be adequate for a large family or even a larger group. Plan accordingly!
Any Special Health or Mobility Challenges?
When considering yourself and anyone else who is going to be accompanying you into the woods, you must be ruthlessly honest concerning any health or mobility challenges that anyone is facing.
On the topic of mobility, if someone is confined to crutches, a walker, wheelchair, or some other mobility enhancing apparatus, it is highly unlikely they will be able to access your BOL in the woods unless it is very near the edge.
Consider also the steepness of the terrain and other factors. If for whatever reason, you and your group are resolved in any case you’ll need enough manpower to reliably move these people by using a litter or carrying them directly. Assuming that they will always be able to move about on their own could invite disaster.
It is also vital that you consider any ongoing health issues which mandate higher-level care or specialized medicine for treatment.
Any legitimate SHTF scenario is going to put sufferers of such to a severe test no matter what, but bugging out into the woods well away from the infrastructure of society might doom them.
If diabetics are unable to obtain more insulin or those dependent upon dialysis cannot reach a functional treatment facility they will almost certainly die.
Whether they are willing and able to face such a fate so long as they can remain among their family members is something that must be discussed in earnestness ahead of time.
Is Your Location Far Enough Away?
Heading out of the woods for a camping trip is one thing, but heading out to the woods to survive the collapse of society is another.
or the former, any place that strikes your fancy and is convenient will do the job, but for the latter, you really need to get out there. Way out there…
Getting far enough away from locations that are well known, typical and easy to reach is absolutely imperative if you want to legitimately bug out to the woods.
As you will learn, any location that is easy to reach will probably start swarming with people looking to do the same thing you are doing, whether they are prepared or not.
This, as you might expect, is definitely not a good thing and will likely lead to conflict and other problems. However, the further into the woods you go the greater the logistical challenge attendant with just reaching it. You’ll also be hanging out closer to the edge should something go wrong.
There is a balance to be struck here, but whatever the case you must ensure that you aren’t still so close to civilization or well-traveled routes that you should expect company within the first couple of days.
How Will You Get There?
Chances are good that if you have selected a truly deep woods BOL then you will be getting there on foot. Vehicle passable trails or virtually unknown logging roads are not out of the question, but such pathways are likely to be rough and difficult to traverse for most vehicles.
If you are forced to travel to your BOL on foot, the journey to it could prove to be quite arduous. In some ways, the harder it is the better as it makes it less and less likely that other people will even attempt to get out as far as you have.
On the other hand, a transit of exceeding difficulty can leave you and others in your group much worse for the wear or even lead to injuries before you ever make it to the location.
Assessing your mode of travel against all of your other personal and situational considerations must be done holistically if you want to ensure success.
Do You Have a Backup Site?
No matter how well selected your woodland BOL is, no matter how secluded, how well equipped and how ideal, you must have a backup site in mind. Things happen. Situations change and even the best-laid plan can go awry.
You might arrive at your BOL to discover that other people have already set up there, that incidental damage to the surrounding area or erosion has made it unsuitable for a campsite or, unhappily, a bear or other dangerous wildlife has taken up residence.
Whatever the case, you need an alternate option that you can depend on.
Accordingly, considering that you might have to make another journey of some miles to get there and are already likely to be worn out having a temporary campsite between your primary and any secondaries picked and plotted is highly worthwhile.
Consider Seasonal Route Closures
I’m not talking about seasonal route closures of public trails at state and national parks. I am talking about the legitimate closure of a route due to it being made impassable by seasonal weather conditions.
This sort of ties in with your prime consideration at the beginning of this list. How well do you know the woods you are heading into?
Have you been out in them in all weather conditions and in all seasons, good and bad? If you have, you will likely know which trails and other routes are rendered impassable by precipitation or bad weather.
But if you don’t, you could very literally be gambling your life and the lives of your loved ones on the concept of a trail remaining navigable at all times and in all seasons. It is not enough to speculate.
Theory will not suffice here. You must know, and to do that you’re going to need to walk those trails year in and year out at varying times.
How Will You Provide for…
As mentioned above, many preppers have a false impression of how easy it will be to provide the survival necessities when in the woods. If you got the skills to pay the bills, it might be easy enough or at least easier than other environments.
However, assuming that you will have an easy time of it might prove to be a fatal mistake. Consider how you will provide for all of the following below.
Shelter is often taken for granted when in the woods when statistically more people fall victim to exposure in woodland environments than almost anywhere else.
With wood all around you might think you’ll always have what you need to get a fire going on-demand, but this entails challenges of its own, namely sourcing good, dry kindling, and firewood.
Furthermore, though wood is an excellent building material, particularly for temporary and semi-permanent shelters, it requires a significant amount of work and know-how to execute, particularly for larger shelters that can house multiple people.
You must have reliable access to above groundwater in any woodland retreat, no matter how rainy the climate typically is.
Preferably you should be drawing water from a river or stream or a very large lake. Ponds are likely hideously stagnant, and though they can be made safe to drink, it will take more from your filters and more fuel for boiling.
In colder environments, melting snow and ice is a viable method for sourcing freshwater but, once again, this will require a considerable amount of fuel to melt it.
Most woodland environments will furnish plenty of edible items, but obtaining these items in quantity enough to sustain yourself, much less thrive, will often prove to be extremely difficult. It is geometrically more difficult with greater numbers of people in your group.
You can forage for edible plants, berries, fungus, and the like but without expert knowledge of the local ecosystem your chances of poisoning yourself go up radically.
We’ll talk a little more about that later, but the notion that you’ll be able to hunt for wild game, large or small, to sustain your group is plausible but likely not sustainable.
Hunting pressure in your area and elsewhere will see what game exists start to vacate for happier and more peaceful pastures.
Assuming you have reasonable shelter and water nearby, it is likely a lack of food that will end your effort to survive in the woods.
You’re going to be roughing it when surviving in the middle of the woods, but that doesn’t mean you can completely cast off all requirements of personal hygiene.
Keeping your body clean is going to be imperative for keeping germs at bay, the kind of germs it might make you, or your entire group, gravely sick.
Under the circumstances, that might be enough to finish you off or cripple you so that you cannot take care of vital tasks.
Furthermore, human beings generate a considerable amount of body waste every single day, both liquid and solid. You must have a plan for dealing with this waste while you’re in the woods beyond “I’m just going to do my business behind that bush over there.”
Mass accumulations of solid waste will result in an outbreak of pestilence once animals find their way to it, and they will.
Similarly, liquid waste, though easier to deal with upfront, should not be allowed to accumulate on the ground lest it attracts animals or tip-off nearby humans that other people are around.
Security will be an ever-present concern while you are in the woods, and not just concerning people. Dangerous wildlife great and small will definitely start to get designs on your camp, be it as a source of food or just for warmth.
As mentioned, you’ll never be free from the worry about people, either, no matter how deep into the dark woods you go. Watches must be established near the camp and along any likely routes of approach.
There should never be a time when all parties at camp are asleep, and this is a particular challenge if you are surviving on your own or with only one other.
What You Should Expect if You Bug Out to the Woods
It seems like everyone has their own expectation of what things will be like in the woods should they bug out there.
In actuality, it is very difficult to set reliable expectations of what you will and will not be able to depend on, with a few exceptions.
Those exceptions are detailed below. No matter where you are going and what your own capability is, you should definitely expect to deal with the following in the woods.
Expect to Relocate
Whether alone or with a group, expect to be forced to relocate when bugging out in the woods.
Whether it is from a lack of resources, being compromised by other people in the area, or some other unforeseen circumstances that make your chosen location untenable, you must be prepared to pack up and head for a backup location no matter how tired and arduous the journey might be.
Expect a Shortage of Food
I know it has been emphasized several times already, but it really is that important. Chances are high that the woods will not be the bountiful pantry that you are expecting it to be. Even if you are an expert hunter. Even if you are an expert trapper. Even if you have an encyclopedic knowledge of all edible plants and fungi.
People simply require a lot of calories to survive, much less thrive, and it is a pretty easy thing to completely clean out available sources of calories in a given area of the woods. Even if you manage to bring down a big game, chances are much of the meat will spoil before you can eat it or preserve it.
Expect to Get Lost
Traveling through the deep woods is a funny thing. It has a way of creeping up on you and turning you about. The further you get from civilization, the easier it is to get turned around.
The trees press in ever closer, the canopy blocks out the horizon and the sky above, and taking even a few steps off of a cut trail can prove to be highly disorienting.
You must be prepared for either yourself or members of your group to get lost even when comparatively near your campsite.
Plans and procedures for dealing with such occasions, timetables, basic action, and so forth, must be established ahead of time to prevent disaster.
The Woods are Dark!
For those who have never experienced truly deep woods in the middle of the night, it is difficult to impress upon them just how dark the woods get.
Even on a clear night with a full moon, life beneath the canopy is extraordinarily dark. On a cloudy, moonless night it is like you’re swimming through a bottle of ink.
One of these single, worst things that can happen to you while you are in the woods is getting lost and disoriented in the dark with no light source.
The risk of accident and injury goes up exponentially and this can be further multiplied when other people blunder around trying to find you.
It is vital that every, single person at the camp has a reliable light source close at hand at all times. This will invariably be a flashlight, a headlamp, or both. Rechargeable models that can make use of solar charging or hydroelectric charging systems are ideal for this purpose.
More primitive lighting systems such as torches may be easily fashioned while out in the woods, but keep in mind the limitations and vulnerabilities attendant with their use.
“I Think We’re Alone Now”
You and your loving family will not be the only ones rushing into the woods after a societal collapse. Thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of other Americans already have the same bugout to the woods idea.
Tens of thousands more will suddenly get the idea when they are running from their homes in search of safety, food, water, and shelter also.
A tent will protect you from the elements, but it will be useless against bullets and silently creeping bad guys and gals with a knife. Almost all state and national parks have cabins, lodges, and other structures, such as bathhouses, utility buildings, and dining halls.
Any of those buildings would give you far more shelter than a tent – but only if you get there first and have the numbers and ammo necessary to hold them. The walls and windows in the park facilities won’t stop most rounds of ammunition either.
Danger could be lurking around every corner in the woods, just like it will be in the cities and suburbs. You will not just have to be on the lookout for wolves and bears, but for other desperate people who have an equal need for food, water, and shelter – and might not mind killing you and your family to get it.
“But, There’s Plenty of Food in the Woods”
Sure, deer and a plethora majestic wild animals roam freely about the woods… now. When untold thousands converge upon the woods seeking refuge from the societal collapse, the animal and fish population will evaporate quickly.
The wild edibles, which exist but in much smaller quantities during the winter months, will be picked and consumed in a rapid fashion as well.
Target practice at the range is not the same thing as hitting a moving target when your life depends on it. Watching YouTubes of experienced bushcrafters setting traps is NOT the same thing as being able to do it yourself.
Even if you have practiced trapping skills, there is absolutely no guarantee you will place the trap in the right spot or that any wildlife is left in the area to be snared by your contraption.
If you need flashcards with color images to identify edible plants, weeds, herbs, nuts, berries, and mushrooms that exist in the woods – you will likely starve to death or perish due to poisoning.
Being prepared to bug out to the woods short-term if forced to leave your home or while traveling to a known place of safety is not necessarily a foolhardy idea – but it will still not be an easy or relatively danger-free endeavor.
Do not fool yourself into thinking getting to the woods, even after leaving the crowded freeway and skyscrapers far behind will be easy. Both preppers and not preppers alike in rural areas will be waiting for you – and they will be heavily armed.
Rural folks grew up hunting and sports shooting. They know, whether they actively prep for a doomsday disaster or not, that if something bad does happen, hordes of fleeing suburban and city people will be rushing their way.
To reach ANY state or national park, you will have to cross a rural county line. Expect to be met with armed resistance and a firm order to turn around.
Country folk will not tolerate the natural resources or safety of their bucolic small towns and villages to be threatened by strangers who chose to live in unsustainable and dangerous areas.
Just walking into the first wooded area you come to because you are exhausted or in danger will most likely place you in even greater peril.
The woods you see, if not public land, are part of a rural citizen’s property. He or she will eventually find you and force you to get the heck off their land – one way or another.
The farmers and ranchers who own the woods you figure would be great to bug out to, have been kicking trespassers off their land sometimes longer than you have been alive. They will not suddenly welcome strangers to use and take what is theirs after a TEOTWAWKI disaster happens.
How Far Away Is the Nearest Public Land?
After browsing a multitude of survival boards focused on the topic of bugging out in the woods, I discovered two very troubling issues. First, preppers have started an extensively high volume of threats devoted solely to the best state or national park to bugout to in any given region or state.
The very thorough threads detailed all the many attributes of each park – even noting where the best natural shelter is located, exactly where to forage, the best spot to find deer and a multitude of other site-specific tips.
Some of the posts have been read and commented upon THOUSANDS of times – presumably by folks in the same area who plan on bugging out to the woods. The competition for camping spots will be more fierce at the state and national parks on the list after the SHTF than it would be on a typical holiday weekend!
Secondly, the distance the bugging out to the woods folks would have to travel, likely on foot, to reach their “safe space” after the SHTF is at a minimum of two hours!
Many of the posters said the park they were bugging out to was up to six hours away! The travel times noted were of course, based on typical GPS travel times and did not take into account stand-still traffic, blocked roadways, or going it on foot.
The distance issue is a double-edged sword for preppers who know they will have to bugout after a disaster. Survival experts recommend being at least 100 miles or two hours away from a metropolitan area. They are right – and why most preppers do not live in either the cities or suburbs.
Preppers rushing to leave the city know they need to be as far away as possible, but reaching their destination, especially on foot, will be filled with incredibly dangerous obstacles.
Kudos for the city dwellers refusing to stick their heads in the sand and ignore the need to prep for a mega disaster. But, the good intentions of these misguided folks will not protect them from complete failure – and sadly, even a predictable death not long after they flee their homes.
Expect a Damn Hard Time
Lastly, and I don’t say it lightly, you should expect to have a damn hard time if you are bugging out into the deep woods.
Although it might indeed be a far-sight easier to survive in the woods compared to other hostile environments, this is going to be fractional at best.
You will be in a legitimate survival situation and must plan, prepare and act accordingly. Thinking you will have it easy just because you have some idyllic spot picked out deep in the forest that is rarely if ever trod by human feet might well be the last mistake you will ever make.
Other Considerations When Bugging Out to the Woods
If you live in a city and absolutely have no other location to flee to when the SHTF, or if you need a bugging in backup plan, and bugging out to the woods is your ONLY option, a detailed and in-depth plan must be developed, practiced, and perfected.
Getting to the woods on foot should only be a last resort. Not only will you be able to carry a minuscule amount of supplies, but the going will be both incredibly slow and dangerous. Some of the best options for SHTF transportation include:
- Horse – Riding a horse speeds up the travel time and increase supply hauling capabilities, but poses possible problems as well. If surviving in the woods is only a short-term solution because you are traveling on to safety or plan on returning to your home after whatever threat forced you to flee in the first place is eliminated, a horse will be a fine option.
- Vehicle – Traveling in a car will get you inside a national or state park, or any wooded area far more quickly only if the SHTF scenario did not involve a solar flare or EMP AND if roadways are not too clogged to traverse or ripe with violent carjackers. An EMP-proof vehicle should be the first and most important item on a bugout to the woods survival plan and preparedness budget.
- ATV – A four-wheeler or similar all-terrain vehicle will be able to maneuver clogged roads far more easily than any vehicle after the SHTF. A trailer attached to a hitch on the back of the ATV will allow you to carry more supplies or loved ones. Cargo racks on the back and front of the 4-wheeler also allow space for storing essential supplies, like gas and a spare tire. A standard cargo trailer which can be towed behind an ATV or a similarly-sized vehicle is about 48” by 30”. When stacked to the top, you will have about 25-square-feet of storage space, Cover the trailer with a tarp to both protect the gear inside and to use to make a shelter after reaching the woods.
- Tractor – Either a farm tractor or garden riding lawnmower will move you along faster than your own two feet. A trailer hooked onto the tractor offers extra space for supplies and carrying or collecting loved ones. Tractors will not get you very far into the woods, but they will be able to maneuver around abandoned vehicles cluttering the highway and stuck in a panicked traffic jam.
- Motor Home – A house on wheels will not move through jammed roadways, but it would give your far more shelter and supply-carrying capabilities than any other bugout mode of transportation option. The motor home also will not get your deep into the woods, but will get you into a less densely populated area – unless, again, the SHTF disaster was an EMP or solar flare.
- Bike – A bicycle, street bike, or dirt bike, will not provide as much safety or supply space as either a vehicle or a motor home, but will speed up the commute to the woods. A motorcycle bugout vehicle should be stored in a Faraday cage-style shed or garage to enhance the chances it will get you where you are going in case an EMP or solar flare sparked the apocalyptic event.
Surviving in the woods will require an abundance of physical strength and endurance. People used to only walking on level concrete sidewalks for the bulk of their life will be at a distinct disadvantage. Jogging around a city park trail or the occasional camping trip simply will not suffice.
Put on your bugout bag and walk the same distance it would take for you to leave your home or place of work, and get to the woods.
The time and physical ability it takes to do this, even in broad daylight, on decent level ground, like a bike path, and in nice weather, will likely be a sobering reality check.
Go to the woods where you plan on bugging out, with the bugout bag on your back once again, and hike at least three miles. This will give a clear idea of the physical strain hiking deep into the woods will take on your body.
Do this SHTF conditioning drill on an empty stomach and with just a single bottle of water to replicate the scenario you will likely find yourself in when fleeing your home a lot more accurately.
Go camping, real primitive camping – do not take a tent. If you cannot make a natural shelter out of found materials before nightfall, you must repeat this bugging out in the woods drill until you can do so even when extremely hungry, tired, and thirsty.
Just because you are planning on sleeping in your bugout vehicle or motor home does not mean you will actually be afforded such a luxury after the SHTF.
Choose two survival skills to learn or perfect during your daily outings or weekends spent practicing your bugout to the woods plan.
Some skills to practice while in the woods include:
- how to start a fire without matches, particularly during inclement weather,
- how to build a proper fire and keep it going – without spreading,
- how to tie knots needed to make a shelter from found items,
- how to build a shelter from found items, orienteering, and identifying animal tracks.
Practicing your bowhunting and shooting skills at a state or national park will not likely be possible. Find a designated public hunting spot or lease hunting rights on private land to hone your hunting skills.
Taking tactical training from a shooting range or professional who specializes in such training is equally essential.
You must prepare yourself both physically and mentally for the very real possibility that a human being will one day be looking down the barrel of your gun.
Defending yourself and what belongs to you will be the only thing that matters when threatened after a societal collapse.
Perfecting your fishing and swimming skills to prepare for bugging out in the woods should be added to the weekend (weeklong, if possible) prepper training sessions. Getting away from danger by taking to a waterway might one day be your only option – especially during a wildfire.
Outdoor cooking is a lot of fun when camping, but getting meat to cook at a safe temperature will take a little practice.
Burning a single bite of the food you worked so hard to shoot or catch would be a tragedy. Undercooked meat could cause you to become extremely ill, and you can’t call 911 after the SHTF.
Alternatives to the Woods
Instead of following thousands of people out of the city and straight into the woods, find a patch of land to call your own – or kind of your own, at least. Not everyone can afford to go buy even a few acres of land, at least not on their own.
If the like-minded strangers sharing bugout tips about their favorite state and national parks online banded together, they could buy at least several acres to run to after the SHTF.
Networking with complete strangers doesn’t come without risk and should begin with background checks and meetings in public places.
Preppers who bugout to the woods will be coming with hundreds to thousands of strangers anyway, getting to know others in a similar position with shared goals would not only mitigate the risks associated with bugging out to the woods but provide the numbers necessary to work the land/hunt/fish and protect the camp.
Entering into an annual lease at a campground, preferably a private one, would offer a home base to bugout to after the SHTF.
You will still be among strangers and not completely secluded, but a motor home stocked with supplies could be parked in the space and awaiting your arrival.
Getting other friends and loved ones to lease a camping spot at the same campground would also be beneficial to your (and their) overall survival.
When land is purchased by a group or a campground space is leased by you alone, you have the ability to go there frequently and learn the terrain, animal habits, where to forage, and even plant some perennial seeds in food forest style to help increase the available post-disaster food supply.
You could spend the weekend at the leased or purchased space to practice your preps and enhance your level of personal physical fitness.
Leasing a quarter acre of land from a rural resident is also another bugging out to the woods alternative. The extra money in the pocket for the resident and a safe place for you to run to after disaster strikes is a win-win.
Many rural folks lease hunting spaces or primitive camping spaces on underutilized portions of their land. When you explain to the property owner that you are a prepper and want to park a camper or motor home on the spot, he or she won’t likely stare at you like you have two heads.
Many rural citizens are preppers or live a homesteading lifestyle and will understand your need to escape the suburbs or city when the SHTF.
If you’re lucky, you might just stumble across a seasoned prepper who will help you enhance your survival skills – and even offer you the chance to chop wood for them as part of your off-grid training!
In addition, there are even more places to bug out to, as per this list.
Bugging out to the woods should be a last-ditch effort to survive and NOT your bugout plan. When the SHTF you want to go where people aren’t, not where they have converged after hours or days of panic.
If bugging out to the woods is your only option at the moment, go into it with open hours and spend as much time as you can spare truly preparing to live in the woods – while you work on a better bugout location plan.
Tara Dodrill is a homesteading and survival journalist and author. She lives on a small ranch with her family in Appalachia. She has been both a host and frequent guest on preparedness radio shows. In addition to the publication of her first book, ‘Power Grid Down: How to Prepare, Survive, and Thrive after the Lights go Out’, Dodrill also travels to offer prepping tips and hands-on training and survival camps and expos.
8 thoughts on “Bugging Out To the Woods – Should You Do It?”
You may be ready to bug out to the woods but what about all the clueless city people who will show up? Within days most of the woods will be ashes from unattended camp fires.
Problems with bugging out:
There will not be animals to hunt. I’ve “camped” on four continents and 19 out of 20 times I saw no game. On occasion a snake. This includes the US and a small portion of Canada.
Remember, the government restocks the fish. You might as well use the fishing line as early warning traps with cans attached.
Y our food will run out in three days – if you can plan, cache two big bins of canned food, light stove, 10 cases of water, sand bags and heavy tarp. (Use water bottles with water purification tables for long range storage.)
Once everyone is out of food, fire and water it will be a mad rush back to the city.
Having once rehearsed a bug out, when a teenager in Germany, the station wagon filled with rucksacks and bicycles was ominous. Food and water was in short supply. Once we entered Switzerland we marched through the Alps…Water became the issue. And, yes the snotty Swiss stared at the family with the big German Shepard. Luckily the Russians never attacked. True Story – all.
Cache everything close and plan on shooting it out. There will be good guy checkpoints and bad – and both will only give you bad news.
Anyway, food for thought.
I guarantee you that clueless, ignorant, unprepared city and urban dwellers will not be welcomed in my neck of the woods.
If a quick, sudden, total collapse occurs, like emp, you are probably safe. Few urban folks will make it far on foot. If it a slower collapse with the govt still powerful, how will you deal with orders for every small town to take their “fair share” of refugees? Look at towns across europe being ordered to make room for middle east migrants. Look up Katrina evacuation. The busses show up and dump people at school gyms.
I agree there would be a lot of people heading there but if the people who find each other would realize that if they ban together they could knock out their enemies aka the government steal intelligence and form a counter plan of attack for their area you could very possibly set up a strong hold and fight back possibly convince them it’s not worth the trouble but I know people are not that smart so I would propose we try to co exist peaceful as in if I get the kill first let it go if we wonder into each other’s territory accidentally let it go it’s not worth scaring away the food sources but I know people can’t be that logical so may the best man win
You can’t plan to get anywhere by vehicle. It will make you an instant target if everyone else is walking. Some bozo will shoot your tires, crippling your vehicle, and may shoot you to get what’s in the vehicle.
Thank you for posting this article. A majority of Americans do not have the training to survive in the wild. Several years ago; my family chose to bug in when a hurricane was approaching Texas. We lived in a suburb town near Houston. A lot of people tried to evacuate at the last minute. The highways got severely congested. Many people did not have their vehicles properly fueled up.So they ran out of gas while stuck in traffic. That made the traffic jams worse. Some of the stuck people got robbed by people on motorcycles.
If you decide to evacuate; don’t do it at the last minute. Plan on leaving before people start to panic. Make sure your vehicle is properly fueled up. If possible; safely carry extra gas with you. Have a destination already mapped out in advanced. Be sure to have paper maps in your primary vehicle. Notify people you trust that you’re evacuating. Make sure that you know alternate routes to your destination. Make sure your vehicle is ready before you decide to evacuate. If you take a firearm with you;do not BLATANTLY display it.
A well written and sobering article.