Mobility or defense: Should you bug out or bug in when SHTF?
05/03/2020 // Zoey Sky // Views

Preppers know that when SHTF, safety is a priority. Before you bug in at home or head to your emergency hideout in your bug-out vehicle, you must first decide which will be the safer option: Mobility or defense. (h/t to

On a normal day, you'd be planning vacations months in advance to get the best bargains on plane tickets and hotel rooms. It makes sense to do the same for your bug-out plan.

Weigh the pros and cons of bugging in versus bugging out, and set up your preps for both scenarios. If you're living in an area prone to storms, it might be best to make bugging in preparations.

On the other hand, if you're worried about impending civil unrest in your area, it might be best to be on the move.

Setting up an armored bunker for bugging in

Nothing beats a heavily armored bunker for long-term bugging in. If your hideout is deep enough underground, with limited access in or out, you would be safe when SHTF.

Building a bunker involves a lot of planning before you start digging your backyard. Some things to consider include:

  • Drafting and finalizing blueprints and floor plans.
  • Planning how to get around and set up pipes, electrical wires, gas lines and other kinds of underground utilities.
  • Getting the necessary permits and contracts. (If you live in a dense neighborhood, you may not get a backyard bunker building permit at all.)
  • Acquiring enough land for your bunker. You'll need at least half an acre.

It's reassuring to wait out a disaster in a bunker with steel and concrete walls. Consider this option if the outside world is getting chaotic.


If your hideout is well-made and properly camouflaged, your bunker may remain untouched during times of conflict.

Bugging out and staying mobile

You should also have a plan B for when the situation escalates to a point where staying in your bunker is no longer safe. In this scenario, it's crucial to get moving. Get as far away as you can from the chaos.

When bugging out in a jeep or truck, you may need to sleep in a tent or portable shelter at night, so pack accordingly. Another option is to bug out in an RV so you won't have to worry about finding shelter.

An RV is a great choice for a bug-out vehicle because it offers a lot of storage room and you can treat it as a home away from home while you’re on the road. RVs are also a civilian vehicle, meaning you can blend in with the crowd while bugging out. (Related: 5 Must-haves for your bug-out vehicle.)

A jeep or other military-style vehicle might draw unwanted attention; with an RV, it will be easier to slip past others who might be targeting you or your supplies when SHTF.

Maintaining overall health when disaster strikes

Once your armor, mobility and weapons preps are done, you need to prioritize your well-being before SHTF.

Stock up on survival essentials such as:

  • Clean water for drinking, cooking and cleaning.
  • A well-stocked medicine cabinet with first aid supplies.
  • Enough food for yourself and your loved ones. Maintain a balance between supplies with a long shelf life like canned foods and fresh produce.
  • When bugging in, cultivate a survival garden to ensure access to fresh produce after SHTF. Have a good supply of seeds so you can continue to grow your own food in a long-term survival scenario.

Finally, get enough quality sleep. If you opt to have someone assigned on lookout duty, make sure the people in your group take turns so the others can rest when they need to.

Before you decide to bug in or bug out, consider your options and set up your preps accordingly to ensure that you have whatever you may need if SHTF.

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