Hunker Down or Bug Out – Which Will It Be?

To bug-in or to bug-out… that is the question.

We don’t need Shakespeare to give us the answer. We only need to understand the difference between each and how to make the right call. ”

Any number of crises or weather events could cause you to kick your preparedness plan into gear.We’ve already had strong tornadoes this spring. Hurricane and wildfire seasons are imminent. 

But deciding whether to bug out or hunker down… that’s a highly personal and situational decision. It’s dependent on a variety of factors. Including our resources, health, and the nature of the emergency. 

Be ready for either option

Today I want to talk about how best to make that decision when the time comes. And how important it is to be ready to make that call on short notice. 

You’ll also hear from our resident preparedness guru, Seth Weller, on this topic. He’ll provide expert advice on how to approach this decision.

Why are we addressing this issue? First of all, because it’s very important. Hunkering down or bugging out are really your only two options when it comes to an emergency. 

But also because it’s a question posed recently by a member of our 4Patriots Customer Council. The Council represents all of our smart and loyal readers – like you.

Prepare your home in advance

Bugging in – also known as hunkering down or sheltering in place – is the preferable option when everything else is equal. Why leave home if you don’t have to?

The potential downside with this choice is you can’t control structural damage from a severe storm that might force you to leave. And bugging out during a storm would be much more difficult than temporarily departing before it hits.

But hunkering down is usually the better course of action if you believe your shelter will survive. Even if it means being without electricity for a while.

The potential downside with this choice that you can control is not having enough food, water, and backup power to handle the crisis. Those are things you need to take care of in advance. If you do, you should be able to ride out a vast majority of emergencies. 

Establish your escape plan 

Bugging out – also known as escaping or evacuating – is usually less desirable, but sometimes necessary. You might even be forced to leave by local authorities. 

Now, this does not necessarily mean retreating to a wilderness. Not all of us are cut out for building shelters, cooking food without electricity, and drinking water from streams. 

If you can establish a well-stocked emergency destination located far enough away from whatever disaster might strike, this would be a great choice. 

Or you can arrange to stay with friends or family until the crisis passes. Having a list of hotels out of your immediate area will enable you to contact them immediately, before they’re inundated with calls.

Don’t leave home without it

But as with hunkering down, it is essential that you have bug-out bags filled with needed supplies. Should you have to leave home in a hurry.

Being prepared means being able to beat the inevitable traffic that will make roads impassable very quickly.

Bugging out brings with it certain dangers you may not have to face while hunkering down. Including dealing with people you don’t know who might be interested in your supplies. Be ready to protect yourself and your family. 

Regardless of your choice, keep in mind that the government is unlikely to help you. They’ll be busy trying to restore electrical power and fixing damaged infrastructure. This is where self-sufficiency becomes so important.

Seth weighs in 

As promised, here are some remarks from Seth about this subject. As you’ll see, he highly recommends bugging in over bugging out, if at all possible.

“The idea of bugging out is one of the most popular topics within the preparedness world,” Seth said. “But it is often overly romanticized as a fun adventure. Or presented as the only option in the event of a long-term emergency.

“To bug out is to potentially leave everything behind and start a nomadic life with only the things you could carry. Can you imagine what that would look like? The only option for a resupply would mean scavenging through a land that’s already been scavenged.

“The idea of living out of a tent while on the move only seems attractive to those who have never spent a long time doing it. Even the most seasoned camper or backpacker wants to return to civilization periodically for a resupply and a shower.” 

Prepare for a long-term ‘bug-in’

Seth added, “The only logical reason to leave the safety and comfort of one’s home is if it was no longer safe. This is what we call survival. Your primary focus should be hunkering down in a familiar environment with four walls and a roof to hold them.

“How long can you hunker down? This is where having a preparedness mindset now, versus a survival mindset later, makes all the difference. First look at what you would most likely be hunkering down from. Such as a hurricane, wildfire, or civil unrest.

“Assessing a possible emergency now will give you the chance to properly prepare for it. Which means you’ll be able to hunker down for its duration. Also consider that the aftermath and recovery stages could limit your ability to replenish food and water.

“Finally, think about this subject from a long-term event standpoint. Such as what an EMP would involve. The consequences and repercussions from such an event could be felt for years. Ask yourself, ‘Can I prepare to bug in for that long?’”     

Back-up power will help either way 

I hope that after reading this communication you have a better idea of whether a specific emergency situation will result in you hunkering down or bugging out.

Of course, there will still be a number of factors involved in your decision. Including your health, resources, and the season of the year. As well as the nature of the crisis. 

Regardless of which you choose, you’ll be dependent upon the emergency supplies you’ve gathered. Hopefully one of them will be a portable, solar-powered generator. It can keep your devices charged. And that means staying informed and connected.

If Shakespeare were alive today, he might say, “To be prepared or not to be prepared, that is the question.” And it’s one only you can answer.

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