It probably didn’t take very much time in your journey into the world of prepping and survivalism to learn the term “bug out.” It’s a major topic of discussion throughout the community, and it’s a core part of the fundamental prepper philosophy: getting yourself ready to abandon ship at a moment’s notice and flee into the wilderness with everything you need to survive.
If you know what you’re doing, the idea seems pretty solid. When the world is crumbling around you, it’s reassuring to know you could disappear without a trace.
But do you have the judgement it takes to know when it’s actually appropriate to bug out? You might only be worried about waiting too long to bug out, but have you ever thought it could be just as risky to bug out too early?
Here are a handful of very good reasons to think long and hard before you make the decision to bug out during a collapse situation. After you’ve seen the list, it might change your perspective forever.
For most of the year, the elements are ruthless.
Barring the possibility that you live in a tropical paradise where the weather stays in the low 70s with partial cloud cover and low humidity, the elements are going to be life-threatening at least six months out of the year. In the winter you’ve got frigid temperatures and hypothermia; in the summer you’ve got heat exhaustion and dehydration. You might think the weather isn’t scary, but after you spend some time with limited supplies in the heat of summer or dead of winter you’ll learn the truth real quick.
So unless you’re dealing with temperate seasonal weather and carrying ample experience and supplies, the elements could easily take your life in a bug out scenario.
Solitude has its benefits, but no man is an island.
Isolation is definitely a big part of the survivalist lifestyle. The simple act of buying a plot of land and living a rural lifestyle has a way of shrinking your social circles. Add to that the unique priorities and goals of most preppers and you’ll realize that it’s easy to get lonely.
So if you’re already living without many human connections, bugging out forfeits the few that you do have.
The problem here is that nobody can exist forever outside the auspices of a community, even if that community is a small one. People rely on one another to survive, and sooner or later you’ll be unable to care for yourself and your family without at least a little help from others.
If you can’t agree that people need direct help from one another to stay alive, at least admit that you can always benefit from the economic and security benefits of living among a community.
Risks are amplified after bugging out.
When you make the decision to leave your home – your stronghold in a dangerous and uncertain world – there’s more to worry about than just having the right supplies and knowledge. Even the best preparation can’t totally cancel out the liabilities that come along with bugging out and exposing yourself to the wilderness. And those liabilities aren’t necessarily unique or special. They’re the same dangers you have to deal with at home, but they’re magnified by how inhospitable the wilderness is.
Imagine a minor fracture. At home, you’d take some medicine, put on a splint, and wait it out. In the wilderness, a minor fracture transforms from a small but painful inconvenience into a major threat to your life. You can’t move as easily; you don’t have any way to treat your injury; and you’re far more vulnerable to animal and human threats.
Take any common danger you might think of normally and multiply it ten fold. That’s what bugging out does to your situation.
Where’s your bug out threshold?
What would you consider before making the jump to bug out? There are countless scenarios to consider, and all of them could affect your decision.