Bugging In vs Bugging Out Pros and Cons of Each

Posted by on Oct 14th 2019

One of the most divisive topics in the prepper and survival community is whether to Bug In or Bug Out when disaster strikes. Many people tend to fall into one camp or the other, not considering the different factors that determine whether you stay or go. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Bugging In vs. Bugging Out?

What is Bugging In?

Bugging In means staying put when a disaster happens. However, to do this, consider the following:

●Is your home adequately fortified against the elements, intruders and other potential dangers?

●Is your home off grid?

●Do you have enough supplies stockpiled to enable you to survive for an extended period?

Pros of Bugging In


Staying in familiar surroundings enables you to feel more comfortable during stressful situations. It also allows you to build protective structures and a home security system and plan defensive strategies more efficiently.

Suitable for Less Mobile Family Members

Bugging Out means living off the land and staying on the move to find new resources. This can be a tough life for some family members such as elderly grandparents, disabled people, or young children who have limited mobility. Bugging In enables you to create a safe space for the whole family regardless of age or ability.

Gives You Control Over Your Environment

Bugging In gives you control over your environment, allowing you to anticipate potential dangers and plan accordingly. This also means that you can preemptively begin stockpiling supplies and improving your home’s self-sufficiency.

Cons of Bugging In

Not Ideal for Urban Areas

Densely populated areas are not ideal during a Bug In situation. Panic and hysteria can sweep through the population, and a well-prepped home may become the target of unprepared neighbors, stretching your resources to the limit. You may also become the target of looters or vandals. Ensure you have a high-quality home security system in place to keep your property and family safe.

Hygiene May Become an Issue

Sanitation and waste disposal can be problematic in a post-collapse environment, potentially exposing you and your family to harmful microorganisms. If you plan on Bugging In, you need a foolproof sanitation plan. This may mean building a gravity septic system or installing an incinerator for garbage.

Escape May Be More Difficult

If you need to leave your premises, escape may be more difficult once you have Bugged In. Hostile members of society may view well-prepped people as a target, or you may become cut off from emergency assistance due to extreme environmental changes. Always ensure you have a backup plan that makes leaving your home safe.

What is Bugging Out?

Bugging Out should be considered a last resort if your home or family is threatened with imminent danger. It means that when disaster strikes, you take your bug out bag and get out of town fast. Usually, you will have a predetermined place to ride out the storm that has been stocked with essentials to supplement the gear in your Bug Out bag. But there are a few things to think about before you decide to Bug Out.

●Is your vehicle reliable, and do you have a backup mode of transport?

●Do you have a Bug Out location prepared and stockpiled with sufficient supplies?

●Is your Bug Out location sufficiently hidden to avoid looters or the dangers of a populated area?

●Is your family healthy enough to travel?

Pros of Bugging Out

Can Find the Best Survival Location

The wilderness offers places to hide in case you are being tracked. You can also respond to changing events and environments faster.

Harder Target for Looters

Since you are carrying your possessions and supplies with you, you are less of a target for looters and hostiles. However, try to stay on the move as much as possible and stay away from densely populated areas until you reach your Bug Out location to avoid unnecessary confrontations.

Unlikely to be Trapped

Staying on the move means you are less likely to be trapped in an undesirable social or environmental situation. Ensure your vehicle is well-maintained, so you have the option to move on from your Bug Out location.

Cons of Bugging Out

Requires High Level Survival Skills

Living off the land is challenging, so you need to have advanced survival skills to make Bugging Out in the wilderness work safely. You need to be able to build a shelter, keep warm, hunt, fish and respond to wilderness emergencies.

Increased Dangers

Bugging Out puts you at the mercy of the environment, and unfortunately, accidents can happen to even the most prepared survivalist. This also means there is a lack of access to emergency medical assistance if someone in your party becomes sick or injured.

Lack of Defensive Structures

Staying on the move makes it difficult to build defensive structures for security which can make you a target for predators or hostiles. Carry a weapon with you while traveling. If traveling in a group, watch in shifts when camping for the night. And once you arrive at your Bug Out location, build defensive structures as quickly as possible.

Resources May Be Limited

Bugging Out means you can only carry a limited amount of supplies with you on the road. Unless you have a method to source additional resources, food, water and fuel will run out quickly. Have a ration plan to ensure your resources last as long as possible and map out the route to your Bug Out location so you can scope out areas where you have a better chance of finding supplies.

Which is Better?

In the end, the best option is the one that gives you and your family the best chance of survival which depends largely on your level of preparedness and the type of survival situation you are facing. Whether you choose to Bug In or Bug Out, always have a well-stocked Go Bag ready and accessible at all times.

Zero Day Gear has the survival essentials you need to be prepared for any eventuality. To find out more about the gear we have available, call Zero Day Gear on (855)-937-6329 to speak with our experienced staff about how we can help you stay prepared. 

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