Selecting a Bug Out Location

Surviving after disaster, pandemic or similar SHTF event requires more than training or stock piling supplies- you also need a safe location into which you can retreat. Do you know where you will go?

A survival location is not simply your home or that of a friend where your party can meet and sit out the danger. Long term survival will require a specially designed, fortified and supplied retreat. Many preppers buy a location for this specific purpose, while others convert a family homestead or vacation home. Regardless of what type of property you will designate as your safe retreat there are some characteristics you need to look for, if the property does not already possess their features you may be able to add them.

Combination of accessibility and remoteness

An ideal survival location will be remote enough to keep it off another survivor’s radar. For this reason, I would recommend avoiding areas popular with hunters, campers or vacationers. To further deter unwelcome guests, it should be somewhat difficult to access, making it appear getting there will be worth less than the effort needed to do so. However, it is important to make sure it is not too difficult for you to access when needed. This may require having difficult to follow trails or obstacles only you know how to navigate.

Must not be near a potential target area or hot spot

Obviously, the purpose of having a bug out location is to allow you to holdup, possibly for an extended period, away from the main danger areas. This means you need to identify and avoid areas that may be targeted during attacks or hot spots during other types of emergencies. This typically means staying away from major metropolitan areas, military or government installations, transportation hubs and supply centers. Some of these will be obvious but remember that the government has similar bug out locations and you should research the area to make sure you are not located next door.

You need to select an area you are familiar with

Long term survival will probably require scavenging for supplies as well as hunting and gathering food. If you are not familiar with the area it will be difficult to know where supplies may be found, what animals are available (& when) for harvest or what plants may be edible. You also will not know what to expect in terms of weather, making it difficult to prepare for temperature changes and rain/snow fall amounts.


An abandoned military installation on top of a remote desert mountain may meet many of the requirements of the perfect bug out shelter, but how will you survive without leaving frequently? What will you do for water? Can you grow crops or hunt animals? What you need is a location that allows the greatest level of self-sustainability with easy access to necessities or that allows you to grow, make or find what you need.


If an emergency lasts long enough someone is bound to find you. This means that you will need to make sure your area is defensible. Start by concealing or camouflaging it as much as possible, either naturally or by adding these materials after the fact. Next, construct or modify it in a manner that it is as difficult to access as possible. Thick walls, strong doors and landscaping that is difficult to cross undetected are examples of the features you will need. Finally, make it defendable should someone penetrate the exterior defenses. Avoiding wide open floor plans, hiding weapons throughout the area and even secret entrances/escape routes will help you do this.

This list should get you started with the selection or construction of you bug out survival location. For additional tips and information check out this YouTube video.

Updated: April 20, 2018 — 6:43 pm
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