Bugging Out During SHTF: How to Prepare and Survive

Many people are interested in being prepared and surviving in the event of a SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan) situation, especially during times of uncertainty.

SHTF is a term used to describe a major disaster or crisis that causes disruption in society, leading to chaos, danger, and difficulty.

Some examples of SHTF scenarios are natural disasters, war, pandemic, economic collapse, cyber attack, nuclear war, etc.

There is no definitive answer to how to prepare and survive SHTF, as different scenarios may require different strategies and actions.

However, there are some general steps that you can take to increase your chances of survival and resilience in any SHTF situation. Here are some of them:

  1. Assessed the situation
  2. Make a plan
  3. Build a bug-out bag and supplies
  4. Secure bugout location


When to bug-out?

Deciding whether to bug out or bug in during an emergency is a personal choice that depends on the situation and your own preferences. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but there are some general guidelines to consider.

You should consider bugging out over bugging in when:

  • Your home or location is unsafe or compromised by the threat, such as fire, flood, earthquake, riot, or attack.
  • You have a safe and secure bug out location that you can reach within a reasonable time and distance.
  • You have a bug out bag or vehicle that contains all the essential supplies and equipment that you need to survive on the move.
  • You have a reliable communication and transportation system that can help you navigate and coordinate with your family or group.
  • You have a clear and realistic plan of action that covers your objectives, actions, resources, and contingencies.

On the other hand, you should consider bugging in over bugging out when:

  • Your home or location is safe and comfortable enough to withstand the threat, such as a pandemic, blackout, or economic collapse
  • You have a large stockpile of food, water, and other supplies that can last you for a long time.
  • You have a strong defense and security system that can protect you from intruders or looters.
  • You have a stable and supportive community that can help you with mutual aid and cooperation.
  • You have a low profile and minimal exposure to the outside world that can reduce your risk of being targeted or affected by the threat.

It is up to you to decide whether to bug out or bug in. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each choice thoughtfully and objectively. You should also be able to adjust to changing conditions.

In some cases, you may have to bug out initially and then bug in later, or the other way around. The most important thing is to be prepared for both possibilities and have a plan B for each.


How to prepare for bugging out scenario?

In the event of a major disaster or emergency, it may be necessary to evacuate your home or location quickly and safely.

This is known as a bugging out scenario, and it can be a difficult and dangerous decision.

To be adequately prepared, it is important to have a plan, a destination, and a bug out bag.

1. Assessed the situation

It is important to evaluate potential risks and threats by recognizing the most probable and influential SHTF scenarios that could occur in your area, based on your environment, resources, and personal circumstances.

Utilizing the web search results can help you gain insight into the potential SHTF scenarios and their consequences.

For example, if you live in an area prone to earthquakes, it is important to be ready for the potential destruction that a major earthquake could cause to your home, infrastructure, and utilities.

If you live in a densely populated city, you should prepare for the possibility of a pandemic that could spread rapidly and overwhelm the health system.


2. Make a plan

The next step is to make a plan for how you will respond to each SHTF scenario that you have identified. Your plan should include the following elements:

  • Objectives – What objectives do you have for each situation? For instance, would you prefer to remain stationary or evacuate? Do you want to make it through on your own or with a collective? Is your priority to help others or prioritize self-preservation?
  • Acti0ns – What measures will you implement to reach your goals? For instance, how will you ensure the safety of your home or evacuation site? How will you stay in contact with your family or team? How will you acquire food, water, and other necessities?
  • Resources – What resources, tools, and abilities are necessary to complete your objectives? Examples include what type of weaponry, living quarters, means of transportation, and medical supplies are required. Additionally, what skills should be developed or enhanced?
  • Contingency Plan – What potential difficulties or hindrances might you experience in each situation? How would you manage them or adjust to them? For instance, what if your residence or emergency retreat location is compromised? What if your communication system does not work? What if you become injured or ill?


3. Build a bug-out bag and supplies

The third step is to gather and organize the resources that were outlined in the plan. It is important to prioritize the most essential and multifunctional items that can be used in various situations.

Some of the key supplies for SHTF survival include:

  • Water – It is recommended that each person has a minimum of one gallon of water per day for both drinking and sanitation purposes. Additionally, it is wise to have water purification methods on hand, such as filters, tablets, or boiling equipment.
  • Food – It is recommended to have a supply of at least three days of non-perishable food per person, as well as food preservation methods such as canning, dehydrating, or smoking equipment.
  • Fire – It is recommended to have multiple methods of creating and sustaining a fire for cooking, heating, and signaling, as well as fire extinguishers and fire safety equipment.
  • Shelter – It is important to ensure that one has a secure and comfortable environment in any situation. Additionally, having access to items such as tarps, tents, and blankets can help in constructing suitable shelter.
  • Clothing – It is advisable to have clothing suitable for various climates and settings, as well as supplies for mending and repairs, such as needles, thread, and patches.
  • First aid – It is recommended to have a basic first aid kit on hand to treat minor injuries and illnesses, as well as prescription medications and personal hygiene items.
  • Security – It is recommended to have weapons and ammunition for both self-defense and hunting purposes, as well as security measures such as locks, alarms, and cameras.
  • Communication – It is recommended to have efficient means of communication with family or group members, as well as obtaining information from external sources. Additionally, having backup power sources such as batteries, solar panels, and generators is suggested.
  • Entertainment – It is important to have items and activities that can help maintain mental stimulation and emotional wellbeing. This could include books, games, cards, etc.


4. Secure bugout location

Establishing a bug out location is a necessary step to guarantee your security and endurance in a SHTF situation. A bug out location is a place to go to when your home or current place is no longer safe or suitable.

The bug out location should be equipped with provisions, concealed from view, and able to be defended from invaders.

When selecting a bug out location, it is important to think about the location, natural resources, defensive capabilities, and camouflage.

Here are some tips to consider when choosing your bugout location:


It is recommended to select a bug out location that is not too close to urban areas and major roads, yet still within a reasonable travel distance and time.

Additionally, it should have access to fresh water, food sources, and renewable energy sources.

If possible, the location should be on high ground or have a part of it elevated, to give a better view of the surroundings and potential risks.

Natural Resources

Utilizing the resources in your bug out location, such as wood, stone, metal, and clay, can be beneficial.

These materials can be used to construct shelters, fences, traps, weapons, tools, and more. Growing a garden and raising livestock can provide food and medicine.

Additionally, it is recommended to harvest rainwater and purify any water sources that are available.


It is suggested to equip your bug out location with multiple layers of security, such as locks, alarms, cameras, motion sensors, booby traps, barbed wire, etc.

Additionally, having weapons and ammunition for self-defense and hunting is recommended. Additionally, having a security plan that outlines objectives, actions, resources, and contingencies is also recommended.

Furthermore, it is advised to train yourself and your family or group on how to use your weapons and equipment safely and effectively.


It is advisable to conceal your bug out location from those who are not welcome by using camouflage techniques such as painting your structures with colors that blend into the environment, covering them with vegetation or debris, hiding them underground or inside caves or rocks, etc.

Additionally, it is important to avoid making noise or light that could draw attention.

Having an alternate location or an escape route is also recommended in case your bug out location is compromised.



In times of SHTF, bugging out may be a necessary step to ensure your survival.

By assessing the situation, creating a bug-out bag, planning your route, securing shelter and resources, and maintaining situational awareness, you can increase your chances of surviving and thriving during a crisis.

Remember, preparation is key, so start planning and gathering your bug-out essentials today.

This article was published on October 20, 2022. Last updated on August 18, 2023.


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