Bugging Out

Bugging Out is the concept of up and leaving everything you own in the event of an emergency where you cannot for whatever reason return for a minimum of 3 days, you may go to a family members or friends house, or book yourself into a hotel, but for the sake of this article lets imagine for a moment that the S has HTF and you are forced to bug out to a more secluded natural setting.

This type of bugging out is often glamourised by Hollywood and made to look much easier than it will be, for this reason its almost romanced by newer preppers, who look at it as the perfect escape but fail to consider any of the factors that could kill you - that may seem a bit presumptuous and a tad morbid but that is the realism of bugging out if you aren't prepared. Ask any experienced prepper and bugging out is the last thing they want to do! Sure we all love the idea of living in the woods and fending for ourselves but we also know the realism of what that entails.

When thinking about bugging out, I think of the old expression "All the gear, and no idea!!". You can have the best knife, bag, water filter and crossbow in the world, but in the end knowledge and experience is the best prep you can have. Can you purify water without a filter, start a fire without a ferro rod or lighter, build a shelter from scratch, identify edible and inedible plants and berries, have you actually built traps or fired a bow with accuracy after sitting still for over an hour while you stalk a deer? Can you cook and stay warm without drawing attention to yourself, have you and your family/group camped regularly in every season? These are just a few things you should be thinking about if bugging is anywhere in your plans.

Some areas to consider and questions to ask yourself for bugging out are - 

How will you get to your Bug Out Location

Are you going to drive?

  • Can your car cover multiple terrains?

  • Do you always have enough petrol to get to your B.O.L?

  • What will you do if the roads are gridlocked?

  • Is your car maintained - Will it actually get there in one piece?

Are you going to walk?

  • Have you tried walking the distance required with your bug out bag?

  • Is your fitness level at a point where you feel comfortable reaching your B.O.L, and picking up the slack for family members who may be unfit, injured, ill, or too young to carry their own kit?

  • What if you are injured or ill when you need to bug out?

  • Do your family and group know where the B.O.L is in case you are separated or have to meet them there?


At home you will have brick walls and doors with locks, but out in the sticks how will you defend whats yours, weapons aside, what type of shelter can you build that will keep you and your family safe against a larger group that want what you have?... A tent?.. A tarp?... a lean to made out of sticks and leaves?

Have you considered early warning systems, such as perimeter alarms they could be cans with stones in them tied to trip wires perhaps even think about natural deterants such as nettles, thorny bushes and bogs. You might not be able to stop them once they find you but you can make it a pain in the backside finding you in the first place. And with enough warning you could be gone before they get there.


Water is one of the most important things to account for when planning a bug out strategy.

  • How much water will you be taking with you?

  • How will you contain and transport your water?

  • Is there a water source at your B.O.L?

  • If not, how will you source water?

  • How will you filter and purify the water and make it consumable?


Food is another must have commodity in any survival situation and bugging out will make eating even more important as you will be burning through calories at a very speed. Walking, shelter building, camp maintenance, wood processing all takes a lot of energy and these are calories that need to be replaced.

  • How much food will you be taking with you?

  • What type of food will you be taking?

  • How will you transport the amount you will be taking?

  • How long do you expect it to last?

  • What will you do when it runs out?

  • Does your B.O.L have a cache of food waiting, or do you have caches on route?

Personal Hygiene and First Aid

Hygiene - Staying clean when you don't have access to a shower or bath isn't easy, and taking a dip in a stream in the middle of February isn't a nice experience either.

  • Do you have a means to keep clean?

  • Do you have hygiene products such as soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes?

  • Are your group/family prepared for the change in fortunes and the lack of hot water on tap?

  • What will you do when it runs out?

First Aid - During any large scale emergency, our health service gets stretched to point where they can barely cope, if things have got bad enough that you are bugging out then it safe to assume that when it comes to healthcare, you're on your own.

  • Do you know first aid?

  • Are you comfortable cleaning and dressing wounds?

  • Do you or any of your group have any health concerns which require attention or medication, whether it be physical or mental health concerns?

  • How do you plan to prepare for injuries, taking into account worst case scenarios such as arterial bleeds, burns, infections, asthma, anaphalactic shock.

  • How extensive is your first aid kit and do you know how to use everything in it, as first aid isn't something you can learn on the fly.

Bugging Out in the UK