10 Tips For Bugging Out to the Country

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bugging out to the countryWhen many urban or suburban people think about Prepping or Survivalism, they think about bugging out to a more rural location.  This has to be one of the most frequently-expressed fantasies in the Prepping world, and reams have been written about where to go and how to get there.

But very little has been written from the perspective of the rural dwellers.  How does your average farmer or homesteader feel about urban folks bugging out to the country?

We live on a twenty-acre homestead farm in rural north Idaho.  Wow, I can see your eyes sparkling from here.  You’re thinking, “What a perfect bug out location!”  Then believe me when I say the most dreaded words a homesteader can hear on the subject of Prepping is, “Well, if the bleep hits the fan we’ll just come live with you.”

Oh, bleep.

The truth about farms and homesteads

“Farm” does NOT mean remote or isolated or even self-sufficient.  Farmers live pretty much like you do, but with more elbow room.  We go to the grocery store.  We have jobs.  We have neighbors.  And we have towns nearby.

Okay, granted those towns can be pretty small by urban standards, but they’re just as full of unprepared people as anywhere else.  That means if the manure hits the rotating device, we’re going to have our hands full dealing with them.

Bear in mind that most people in the country may not be much more prepared than you are – which is to say, perhaps not at all.  Unless rural folks already have a Preparedness mindset, they’re just as susceptible to societal interruptions as your average city person.

Our only advantage is we’re farther away from the Golden Horde, that mythical group of city folks who will take to the road in times of disorder, or so some survival experts believe.

Or, are we really that far away and safe from thousands of straggling refugees? In our case, we live within a very short drive (as in, four minutes) from a town of 1000, many of whom are on welfare and are just as dependent on government checks as anyone in the inner city.  This means they will certainly go “foraging” when they get hungry.

Many people don’t realize that the Greater Depression has already impacted rural areas.  Hard.  Jobs out here are as scarce as hen’s teeth (as the saying goes) and unemployment in our county hovers around 20%.  Most of us are poor to begin with, especially by urban standards.  That means we don’t have a lot of money to pour into elaborate “prepper” projects.

So does this mean you should give up your idealized little dream about bugging out to the country?  Yes and no.  It depends on how realistic you’re being about your bug out plans.

Ten Tips if you decide to bug out to the country

To smooth the way, here are ten tips that may make your welcome a little warmer.

1. Don’t Come Unannounced

If you want to escape from the city, make your own private plans in advance and do not broadcast them to every Tom, Dick, and Harry of your acquaintance.  Nothing will dismay a rural friend or relative – much less a perfect stranger – more than having a brace of new people on their doorstep asking for food, shelter, and protection.  There’s nothing wrong with talking to rural-dwelling friends or relatives about the idea of deploying to their place if things get bad.  But if you do……

2. Prepare the Way

One of the “panic” aspects we country folk feel is that we don’t have enough supplies to provide for a hungry horde.  And we don’t.  Let’s face it, sometimes we barely have enough supplies to feed ourselves (remember, 20% unemployment in our area).  Do the math to understand our concerns.  If, through hard work, thrift, and diligence we’ve managed to squirrel away a year’s worth of food for our family of four – and then you show up with your family of four – then we’ve automatically halved our supplies to six months.  Now can you understand our fears?

Pretend you’ve bought an isolated cabin in the mountains to use as a bug out.  Would you be pleased to show up, exhausted and scared, to a cabin with no food, water, bedding, lighting, heat, or other necessities?  Of course not.  Presumably you would outfit your cabin to be ready for a bad scenario.

Your plans to bug out to a host family should be no different.  Send supplies in advance.  Send lots of supplies in advance.  Can’t afford it?  Well guess what, neither can we.  That shouldn’t stop you from sending a case of canned goods, a few sacks of rice and beans, perhaps some boxes of ammo.  If the host family has an unused corner of their barn, perhaps they’ll allow you to dedicate that area for your supplies.  Don’t forget clothing, sleeping bags, toiletries, firearms, medical supplies, etc., and make sure you make everything weather, insect, and rodent-proof.

If your finances permit, consider funding an expensive project that may be beyond a host family’s reach, such as a windmill, pond, or other pricey item. Think of it as a sort of investment.

Sending supplies in advance proves your worth.  It demonstrates you don’t plan to be a leech.

3. Clarify your Baggage

Even if you’ve made plans ahead of time and stashed adequate supplies, don’t expect a host family to welcome all your baggage.  For example, we have two large and semi-aggressive dogs.  We have large and aggressive dogs on purpose – they help protect us.  If you show up with a yappy Pomeranian and four cats, don’t expect us to be happy about it.  Our dogs would spend every waking hour trying to eat your pets for lunch.  And no, it’s not our fault that our dogs are “aggressive.”  It’s your fault for bringing animals into a situation that we’re not prepared – or willing – to handle.

4. You’re Not the Boss

This is our home.  We live and work here.  We pay the mortgage.  No matter how much we may love and welcome you, you’re still coming as a supplicant, not a part-owner of our farm.  You are in no position to make demands or request that we change our way of doing things unless you can demonstrate you’re an expert.  And even then, it’s still our house, property, equipment, and possibly food and other supplies.

Hint: diplomacy will go a long way if you think you know a better way to do something.

5. Prepare to Work

If you bug out to a rural host family, remember they’re not running a bed-and-breakfast.  Don’t expect them to wait on you or cater to your every whim.  A farm – especially post-bleep – will be a place of constant and brutal work.  Nothing will annoy a host family more than some lazy jerk who does whatever he can to weasel out of the day’s chores.  Be ready, willing, and able to help.  It’s possible that lives may depend on the willingness of everyone to pitch in and work together to do what must be done.

6. Don’t Be Wasteful

When you arrive at your host family’s rural location, you must immediately change any wasteful habits you may have and become very parsimonious.   If you spill something, don’t lavishly use paper towels to wipe it up because you can’t buy any more.  Use a rag.  Treat everything as irreplaceable – because believe me, if you’ve bugged out in the first place, it’s probably because the bleep has hit the fan and common everyday things are irreplaceable.

7. Bring Skills

Host families in rural areas will be more likely to welcome those with useful skills. If your most useful skill is shopping or meditation or social activism, don’t expect a whole lot of sympathy.  Your master’s degree in 18th century French literature is not likely to do you a whole lot of good post-bleep.  But if you have practical skills – medicine or defense or mechanics or food preservation or animal husbandry or veterinarian skills or sewing or something similarly needed – you’re far more likely to find an open door.

And this should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Don’t lie about your skills or abilities. If you state with confidence that you’re an expert at hunting and butchering – but have never held a rifle or dispatched a steer – that will be discovered soon enough. Learn those skills first before you claim knowledge. Duh.

So learn stuff.  Don’t show up ignorant.

8. Clarify by Contract

If/when the bleep hits the fan, people (urban and rural) are likely to be a lot more hysterical than normal. Having your plans in writing ahead of time clarifies all the obligations, expectations, and limitations between the two parties. This contract can also include what the urban person can and cannot bring. Pets should be included in this list. If the rural refuge is not prepared to handle your yappy Pomeranian because he has three aggressive German Shepherds, you need to know that in advance.

This contract should include one very important part: how many people the host family is expected to take in.  If, in your compassion, you gather up every second-cousin-twice-removed and show up with a swell of fifty people, do you honestly think that’s going to work?

9. Shut Your Mouth

Okay, let’s say you’ve done everything right.  You’ve made a contractual plan in advance with a rural host family.  You’ve sent plenty of supplies ahead of you.  The welcome mat is ready to be rolled out.

Now whatever you do, shut upDon’t blab your plans to friends and coworkers, because doubtless they’ll want to know more, and before you know it, the host family’s OpSec is blown.  The host family is already going out on a limb by agreeing to take you in – don’t compromise their safety even more.  And if martial law ensues and your gossip spreads about the host family’s supplies, it may mean those supplies may be confiscated.  Congratulations, now you’re screwed – and so are the people who took you in.

10. Practice Forbearance

The dictionary defines forbearance as “patient endurance and self-control.”  Believe me, if the bleep hits the fan, we’re all going to have to practice astronomical amounts of forbearance.

It is not easy to move into someone else’s house.  It’s not easy for the hosts to have permanent guests either.  Imagine a standard-sized ranch house with five women in the kitchen.  Do you honestly think they’ll all get along swimmingly?  If that’s too sexist for you, imagine a building project with five guys or (worse) five engineers who all have their own ideas of how something should be done.  Who’s right?

Hint: Whoever owns the house gets the final say unless you can diplomatically demonstrate you’re an expert in something.  And even then, ownership trumps expertise.

Remember what it’s like at your home when friends and family arrive for the holidays?  After three days, you long for everyone to leave.  Well if it’s TEOTWAWKI, it won’t be a three-day vacation.  There will be stress, anxiety, and short tempers.  Everyone will need to walk gently, or the biggest danger for all may be much closer to home than you realize.

Living spaces are likely to be cramped and not private.  There is only so much room in the average country home.  It’s not like farmers live in mansions with multiple extra bedrooms.  Expect to be bunked down on the living room floor or even the barn, shoulder to shoulder.  (And no, the host family should NOT have to give up their bedrooms for you.)

Additionally, septic systems are easily overwhelmed by extra usage.  One of the first projects everyone is likely to be involved in is digging an outhouse.  Please don’t complain about its construction or usage.

If the circumstances with your host family become hostile and unbearable due to stress, high emotions, and general fears – then feel free to make other arrangements and leave.

I apologize if this list makes me sound hostile, but I’ll admit rural folks get tired of being treated like everyone’s personal deep larder if the bleep hits the fan, expected to uncomplainingly provide food and water and medical care and shelter and protection for anyone unprepared enough to show up on their doorstep.  Don’t get me wrong, we’re not without Christian charity and will do what we can to help; but like most of our neighbors, we are low income and our resources are NOT INEXHAUSTIBLE.   Our primary focus will be our family, neighbors, and beloved friends.

This article is not necessarily to discourage anyone from making plans to bug out to the country.  This is just an attempt to make you look realistically at the people whom you’ll be bugging – and I use that double-meaning intentionally.

Guest post by Patrice Lewis, columnist and blogger at Rural Revolution.

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 bugging out to the country

70 thoughts on “10 Tips For Bugging Out to the Country”

  1. I can see me sending a LOT of people to read this post!
    My Wife and I suffer from the dreaded issue of friends making the statement "That's OK, the the SHTF, we're coming to your place…we KNOW we'll be safe with you guys". Then they get offended when I ask them what they'll be contributing.
    Hopefully, this article will open a lot of eyes, or at least end a lot of assumptions.

  2. Great post. I'm curious, was this article in response to something that you personally experienced (people telling you that they'd come live with you if the shtf)?

    1. This happens all the time, when people are wanting to learn about prepping…. I tell them quick, you make more money than I do…. prepare yourself now, cause I’ll not have enough for you. Stop taking vacations, cruises, eating out, buying new cars, living ephemeral lives…. Start investing in yourself…

      1. Phil, you are 100 per cent on target, but none of them ever do the things you advise. We have the same situation, and we are dealing with professional people that make oodles of money. They are geniuses, have brains where I don’t have places, but they can’t think. In reality maybe they just don’t want to put forth the effort. Anyway, they will get nothing but dog bites and bubble gum at our place after shft. And we have been out of bubble gum for years. PS: Here are a few good cases in point: We went around the neighborhood yesterday (Sunday) just to see if anyone had ever heard of Greece. I’m not kidding, most people don’t even know it is a country, let alone that it is going into default. When asked approx. what level the stock market was at, no one knew. No one even has the minimal grasp of what is happening, let alone understand the consequences thereof. It is appalling to say the least. One guy (retired military) did not know the reelection cycle for Congress or the Presidency. I said all that, to ask this: How do you get to the extremely elementary level needed to simply begin an intelligent conversation with members of today’s society? I can’t find a starting point. God bless.

  3. Great article! The article is hostile, as you apologized for in the second-to-last paragraph, but hostile times call for hostile measures. I will be printing this article and utilizing its information. Thanks!

  4. ReadyGuy – yes, this article is in response to a lot of people mentioning they'll just come stay with us post-bleep. You may or may not know I'm a columnist with WorldNetDaily.com, and I've brought up the issue of Preparedness any number of times with the large readership that platform offers. With each column that comes out, there's always one or two perfect strangers who make that extraordinary conclusion – that we'd be delighted to take them in as refugees even though we don't know them. Apparently they're serious too. I always reply that they'll be standing in line behind all our friends and family members who get priority.

    Some people express concern that I'm blowing our own OpSec by writing about such things – but hey, SOMEONE has to do it. That's why I think SurvivalMom has the right idea – put Preparedness right out in the open and let other people think about it and prepare accordingly.

    – Patrice Lewis

    1. I like that you acknowledge that there are mas many (or more) parasites on gooberment freebies in rural areas as in the cities. The notion of the self-sufficient farmer is largely a myth. It has been a looong time since very many people have been self-sufficient. I am a suburbanite for now. I used to live in a rural area. Oxycontin is called “hillbilly heroin” for a reason.

    2. This post was very thought provoking. But the overall idea seems to be that if one is a rural property owner, we WILL take people in, subject to the rules you suggest in your post.

      Let’s not forget that “No” is also an acceptable response. Whether we’re urban or rural preppers, we do have the right to refuse completely. It may sound impolite or selfish now, while things are hunky-dory. But if TSHTF, I am quite fine being downright “rude” saying that we have no vacancy at our place!

  5. Thanks for writing and posting this article – what a great perspective. It seems that from a lot of what i've read over the last few months, being new to all of this, that many survivalists view rural america as an untapped treasure chest of food stuffs – all one has to do is make it there and it will be fresh vegetables, milk, eggs and meat as far as the eye can see! This article very bluntly puts those myths to rest, and don't apologize for the bluntness – it needs to be said.

    There is a community of homesteaders just outside the town we live in, and they're great – I get buckets of wheat from them, they have their property open to the community where you can walk around their place, buy hand made furniture and iron works type of stuff, fresh produce and baked goods, they have a restaurant – and they're very nice people. But if the bleep hits, I would expect them to close their doors to anyone not already a part of their community, and I wouldn't blame them for it, because thousands will flock to them – if they don't have a contingency, they will be over run by the horde so I'd be surprised if they didn't – but that's the thing – in a post shtf scenario, millions upon millions will turn to rely on others, and those who have prepared need to protect their efforts and sacrifices that have made their families safe (or safer).

  6. Heh. There was once a show that demonstrated this pretty well on "Twilight Zone". Although it was centered around the nuclear scares of the Cold War, it nevertheless had the same theme – those who were prepared for catastrophe and considered "prepper nuts" of the period, and those who were _not_ prepared, but knew their neighbor _was_. And were positive that the prepared neighbor would take them into their shelter…._and_ were prepared to use force if the prepared neighbor was not.

    If you can find it on the internet, it's a good reminder – of human nature and consequences.

        1. There were several different iterations of The Twilight Zone-from the original in the 1950s to a version in the 1980s. Every time CBS wanted a no brainer hit, they pulled out TZ. Of course, episodes would be remade too, fitting the "new" storyline into the day's concerns-Star Trek The Next Generation frequently recycled old stories from the original. I bet that if you looked a little deeper, you'd find a 1950s episode called "The Shelter" that was as you describe.

  7. If you come to me when a disaster happens, be sure to bring your own. That means your own food, water, sanitation, bed room, bullets, medical know-how and supplies, etc. I have prepared, but not for you.

    I don't talk about my prepps among those who aren't "in the know", but at times people suspect that's what you're doing. When I asked a clerk at Natural Foods if they carried dried eggs, he said: "Ah, for emergency food? Gee, if something happens, I'll come to your house." I told him: "Gee, why don't you just get your own. You probably won't like sleeping on my garage floor with the Rottweiler." And don't think you can just camp at the roadside and raid my garden. That garden feeds my children. I will defend it.

    1. that’s why my mother in-law buys online, less questions. but yes I get sick of people asking if they can just live off what we have I also tell them to get their own if they say stuff like that.

  8. An excellent post. We have a lot more land than you do, we have two houses and live in a forest. We are about 40 klm from town, and we are off the grid and self-sufficient.
    However, we also have a large family, and our 18th century living history group members will be moving here also if it all hits the fan. So yes you are right, we will not be accepting any others the day after! Friends, family and group members we can handle, but no more.
    Fortunately here in Australia there is a lot of national parks land that people can "bug out" to if needs be, and if we find we are out numbered by raiders & unable to protect what we have, then moving to a larger wilderness area is also an option for us. Being members of an 18th century living history group involved in historical trekking, we are all trained and equiped for such a scenario and situation.

  9. Although I don't have nearly as much prep done as most of the people here do (working on it) I'm in a similar situation. Most of the people we (my wife and I) know already presume that whatever STHF events happen I have some kind of preparation. I never talked openly about it with people. Security. I guess it's just the way I conduct my life in general, always planning a head and being ready (to some extent at least) to deal with what life throws at us (so far at least).

    But I've told my wife in no uncertain terms that whatever I am doing is for the benefit of OUR FAMILY ONLY. I simply do not have the resources (time, money, storage) to be a shelter for everyone we know – friends and extended family. I'm glad to share what I've learned on the subject and offer advise but they have to take the lead for their own families. They can't continue to buy Xbox's, go on vacations, dinners out etc etc. when I am not doing that in order to have resources for preparations. I will not open my doors if something does happen. Call me a selfish SOB but my family comes first.

  10. I'm honestly hoping that when I get through with school I can either buy back the old family farm or find a nice place back in Oklahoma somewhere. At the very least (wherever I end up) I either want a small farm or some land. Not just as a bug out place either. I'm spoiled I grew up near the city but in what at the time was a very small town. I've never had less than an acre of land for a yard and always had a garden that my grandpa and I took care of. It was a good balance between the connected city life that most people have and a more rural lifestyle. We sold the farm when I was 4, I drive by every time I'm in the area.

    unfortunately my grandma never did teach me how to can. I'll have to learn that one myself.

    1. There are hundreds of great how to video’s on canning, storing food long term, gardening, emergency medical how to’s, how to build this that or the other thing. Also there are tons of blogs on prepping, homesteading you name it and you can find it by doing a simple or detailed web search or look on youtube.

  11. For the 1% of Americans farming today to survive, we specialize. That means 4 or 5 crops to sell (wheat, corn, cotton, hay), but only enough chicken, eggs, veggies, and fruit for our family to eat & preserve. Not enough for another family. Why would we volunteer to starve because you failed to prepare for your family's survival? We have old vehicles so we can buy our solar power system. We use old farm tractors so we could apply that money towards a new windmill for water. We forgo nice clothes to stock in beans, grain grinder,
    & canned food.
    We and our children work brutally hard now, constantly: gardening, nuturing sick/cold livestock, all night during calving/ lambing, preserving and cooking everything we eat. Winter is brutally cold, summer is faintingly hot. If you want meat: you have to kill the animal & butcher it. After you assist it's birth, nurse it back to health, and watch it grow up. This is not a pastoral country sojourn.
    As my husband says to the folks that say they are coming to our place: "OKAY, be sure you bring your 6 months' food with you.-Anyone who tries to come without 6 Months of food & supplies is not our friend, and not welcome."

  12. I can't imagine being like the people you describe. If we are forced to bug out to the country (NOT a first choice, or even a fifth), we'll take food, medical supplies, and equipment to the degree we can shoehorn into our vehicles. IF a family we don't know takes us in, I would expect to live in a basement, barn, or other space they don't normally live in. And, even if we were eating all our own food that we brought (at first, at least), I would expect that we would be expected to work hard – all of us – every single day.

    I promise you we will not be among those who come looking for a handout. We're stocking up for our family of four, plus my parents and in-laws (three adults) and one single friend we know can't / won't prep for himself, but who would work here helping us. That's MORE than enough to handle! Anyone else, you are on your own.

    1. Liz – There are *zillions* of people who don't think much past the next 4 seconds (maybe just 3 seconds). Add to that these same people are heavy into the "you owe me" mentality or "you have, I don't, you can afford to share". We see it everyday with the rhetoric about taxing someone whose years of hard work and earned them a greater income than someone who spent their time at the bar or on Xbox. All because they make more so they should pay more because they have more to tax.

      So why do you expect when it comes to food, shelter, medicine etc attitudes would be any different? :-((

  13. MissouriConfederate

    Bugging out to our retreat 125 miles from our home and family and friends. We don't talk about plans or where its located, with the exception of 4 people. They know if your bugging out to our retreat you bring your supplies and its not a democracy. Everyone works and contributes to the survival of the group.
    If you are talking about it with others then you are asking for unexpected company when the fluff hits the fan and things are a mess in the cities.

  14. This is one of the best prepping articles I've read in a long time. Thanks so much for writing and sharing this. We live in a very rural area and have talked about the urban masses and what we would do.

  15. OTOH, to play the infamous Devil's Advocate:

    As someone coming from a more urban area seeking shelter in the rurals my concern would be to get taken advantage of. Reality check: People are people. And in a time of great social stress not everyone will behave nobel.

    I think a valid concern would to be get accepted by a rural family or community, have your supplies taken "for the greater good" and never see them again, then be treated like a second-class person and basically worked like a slave for meager subsistance because you're a "city person".

  16. "Taken for the greater good." Sounds like the practice frequently employed by the government.
    Back on point. The expectations outlined in the article are not unreasonable nor do they smack of a dictatorship. The burden of hardship falls squarely upon the "hosts" who are inundated with those unfamiliar with the country or rural life and the hard work associated with living in these areas.

    The premise of the article is simply this:there's no such thing as a free lunch and one can either adapt or die. I guess it depends on how badly one wants to survive.

  17. I explained to some one that we would not be a democracy. We would hear and consider opinions if respectfully submitted, but there would be no "voting." They pitched a fit and called me a tyrant. LOL. After spending thousands of dollars a month on our farm morgatage while family spends theirs on fine clothes, dining out and entertainment… What make people think everything that is our, will suddenly be theirs too?

    1. yours is mine is ours…..

      ask them when the last time was that they paid the mortgage on the farm? the last time they paid the taxes on the farm? the last time they plowed any of the fields? the last time they got up before dawn to feed or care for the livestock?

      when was the last time they contributed anything towards the farm or their eventual need for it??????

  18. Wow, I didn't realize how close you are. I also live in Northern Idaho and discovered your site about 6 months ago. I love the information and have learned a great deal. We live on 23 acres north of a small town with high unemployment as well. We have been preparing our "ark" for almost 2 years now. With 6 married children and 12 grandchildren spread out in Washington state, and the way things are going, we figure at least 1 of the families will end up here with us whether from a 'bug out" situation, or an unemployement situation. Therefore, with some of your suggestions and inforamtion we planned for ourselves plus 4 more. Now I'm just adding extra since it could be a lot more…. where there is room in the heart, there is room in the house. However, as you have shown there must be rules and all who can work, must work. It would not be easy. I have printed your article and will share it with the children and spouses. Thank you for your time and research, it is appreciated so much. God Bless You and Yours. Your neighbor in Northern Idaho.

  19. The truth is, farmers that still exist can't support the other 99% of the nation's population if that 99% tries to all go to the country at once, including people from the small towns. The farmers would likely blast away at the horde until they were overwhelmed, then the horde would kill each other over the farmers' supplies, then the horde would kill and eat each other. I don't think any of us knows how desperate people could really get if confronted with a true game ender, like an EMP. I hope we never have to find out. That's why I reserve the right to end it all in the case of something that's so obviously non-survivable like a nationwide EMP. It's either that or die in the chaos.

  20. How about the city folk who bug out and decide your land is a good place to camp on!

    Seems that this is a very likely scenario.
    You wake up to find people have set up home on some area of your land. Like you have plenty of land to share or all land is free like back in the land rush 150 years ago!!

    1. That's possible and one reason for families to think through how they'll handle various scenarios. Can a rural family realistically survive on their own? I think most city people will choose to stay put, unless they're dealing with nuclear fall-out or something similar. Why? Because they city is a known entity. Also, I think a lot of people will think twice before hitting the road and becoming a refugee, especially if they don't have a specific destination.

      1. Most people do not camp and dont even know how to cook over a campfire. They arent equipped and they certainly wont be comfortable. I agree that most people will stay in place – thank goodness….

  21. I agree with most posts, but the hardest part of survival will be to protect what you have saved and put aside. Its very easy to say "Ill work" or "Ill shoot anyone trying to take whats mine. Just how maney people can you kill or how many starving people are you willing to sick your mean dogs on before you totley break down. I have guns, shells reloading supplys,food and 100 acers of ground with water wood and a great place to live off grid. But I dont think I could carrie a gun and kill starving people every day for weeks and mounths till they eather all starve to death or over run our home and kill us. And dont kid your self if it comes to that it will be kill or be killed and it wont be a one time thing. It will be an everyday thing for a long time. You better think about this as much as having food, becose it wont matter how much you have saved, if you dont defind it you wont keep it no matter how hard you worked to put it away. Not a pretty pick but you better think about this point as well.

  22. There is a MYTH out there on a lot of survivalist blogs that people on welfare or receiving other governmental assistance are gonna turn into-for lack of a better word- 'wild dogs' and break into your homes and rob you and kill for food, etc. I have read it so many times and I feel the need to say something about it! NOT EVERYONE WHO RECEIVES GOVERNMENTAL ASSISTANCE IS LIKE THAT!!! I have friends who simply can't help the situation they are in. It doesn't make them thieves or criminals and especially doesn't make them less than me or anyone else for that matter. One friend of mines is a single mom who is not working only because she has young children and, well, its kinda hard for her to pull a daycare out of her 'bleep' to put her kids in while she works! The government will not help her with daycare assistance and she can't afford it on her own. It's not like DSS is just handing out checks left and right, at least not in NC! These people are no different than the rest of us that have jobs. I have other friends who are just as much involved in 'prepping' as some of you. You might actually be surprised at how much 'someone on welfare' could bring to the table if you actually take the time to get to know a person and not judge them on their economical situation. Don't count out the underdog!

  23. I'd like to find a family that I can pre-store goods at and perhaps even build a little SHTF 'home' on their property. I'm willing to come out on long weekends and learn how to be useful and contribute to the homestead but how do I find a family thats willing to take in a stranger under these conditions?
    I appreciate that I need to set this up *before* the SHTF

  24. Practical Parsimony

    For Adrienne,
    Anyone can call 211. You will be asked for your zip code. You will be given numbers to call for assistance for diapers, sitter while you work, gas to get to work, numerous assistances. This is for the elderly, children, disabled, anyone. Remember, this number works for all states.

  25. excellent blog post and some very good commentary!

    an 8yr friendship between me and another couple with one child blew up because of this very topic. we had discussed the scenario about SHTF. they were both working at good paying jobs. i had been on SSD and still am. when we discussed what we had stored, set aside and saved we found out that i actually had more than they did. after talking for about 3 months they still had not added to their supplies but i had. they were not really worried about it either. that’s when the remark was made that they weren’t ‘worried’ and had decided that their money was better spent elsewhere (brand new truck, 5th wheel and vacation) because i had enough that we could all share. i honestly could agree about the truck and camper. but the 3wk vacation and subsequent weekends and then the seasonal campsite rental in a resort town really kind of soured me. when i tried to discuss the the stockpiling and storage of food and supplies again with them, they point blank let me know that they weren’t worried about it. that they had what they considered enough. and again they said that i had plenty, more than what one person needed and that it would cover “us”. never giving a thought or else conveniently forgetting that the “us” would also end up including my adult daughter, adult son plus my grandson. when i mentioned them things started turning ugly. i was told that my added people weren’t part of the deal, even tho my son and daughter had both been stockpiling. i asked them why they thought i had stockpiled what i had and told them that my kids had also been doing it for themselves. this couple told me that they were not gonna share what they had with my kids. so i asked them why they thought that i should share everything that i had with them when they decided to stop their own gathering and contributions? yep, there went that “friendship”.

    my best advice; you can never be too careful who you share your plans with. be doubly sure that all parties are contributing to the best of their abilities, be it food, supplies, knowledge, etc. make and have ready contingency plans. be prepared to stick to your guns and stand your ground. and DON’T think for one minute that you or anyone else are going to do any freeloading!!!!

  26. Izzy in the Garden

    Great post. I also wanted to say THANK YOU for bringing the Skill of the Months back! They were sorely missed, and I am thrilled to see them return!

    1. The Survival Mom

      You’re welcome! It’s a good feeling to know that someone out there enjoyed the series. 🙂

  27. This article is one to be kept and shown to those who dare say “I’ll come to your place when things go belly up. All I say to people like that is. “Yeah, you wish. Keep in mind I have a dog that alerts me to the fact that I may need the shot gun.” That stops them in their tracks.

  28. Also the country may not be the safest place to go. Things happen in the country too. Just because movies show that the country is where people bug out to doesn’t mean it will work that way in real life. Think Ruby Ridge and Waco TX.

  29. #7 is the best tip. If you bring skills – really important skills and a good attitude, you will be welcome anywhere. Medical and dental are hi-pri. Electrical, building, master gardner, mil/leo type security.
    I really like #5 as well, that alone may keep most away.

  30. My husband and I are actually prepping for a permanent relocation to Northern Idaho in about 2 yrs if all goes well, with the intention of continuing our prepping efforts to be able to “bug-in” & be as self sufficient as humanly possible. Any advice about the area? 🙂

  31. Great article written from a perspective to hopefully get folks thinking differently about their bug out plans. Regarding #7 – Skills; sometimes the right tool can be a substitute for skills. If you can bring something of barter value to a family, group or community you stand a better chance of being welcomed. Water will be one of the biggest issues in a crisis and most rural people rely on wells for their water. Without power, they won’t have a way to access their well water (generators will fail or run out of fuel in an extended crisis). Tools like the Emergency Well Tube are important to consider for your contingency planning. You can provide water for the well owner as well as your own family. You can learn more at http://www.emergencywelltube.com.

  32. Stealth Spaniel

    I can agree with most of your article Patrice, however, #3 bothers me in that it needs some clarification. I agree that prearrangements need to be made for any pets coming with people. That means, the inbound are bringing dog/cat/ferret food with them. Leashes, crates, extra water, etc will go a long way to helping maintain an extra load in the home environment. I would never encourage or demand that any PET(s) be abandoned for my convenience. To say that your “aggressive and large dogs” are not under your control is ridiculous! If YOU as the OWNER have no control over your dogs-then no one is safe, including YOU!! I have been around dogs all of my life. After my father died, my mother had 2 Schutzhund trained German Shepherds in the house. We lived in Los Angeles, I was 15, and even the best neighborhoods have problems. We also had 5 cocker spaniels. There were zero dog fights, and no one was afraid to come visit. Now, the neighbor next door decided, one night, that a 15 yro might be fun to rape. My mother was a nurse and working nights.He climbed the fence and tried to break the patio door down. The Shepherds had no problem going through the glass, biting this man severely, and probably would’ve killed him except the LAPD got there. I simply gave the command to stop and they calmly sat and waited. The cops didn’t shoot them, the guy was arrested and taken to the hospital and then jail. That is the kind of control any owner needs to have over any “large and aggressive” dog(s). If you aren’t the pack leader, you will find yourself in trouble. And that trouble will happen long before SHTF. Get thyself to a good dog trainer. It will benefit everyone.

    1. It doesn’t matter whether or not you like the host’s dogs or the way they handle them. Dealing with your ferrets, kittehs, and purse-puppies is one more headache and three more mouths to feed.

      If you’re on a farm, the only animals there are producing or protecting.

      Pets are a luxury that will have to go when the doo-doo hits the oscillator. If you haven’t figured that out yet, then you’re not taking this as seriously as you ought.

      1. The Survival Mom

        You’re right that pets are a luxury. Also, they take time and attention and in a survival scenario, that could very well complicate matters, a lot!

        1. We moved to our 5 acre block of land four years ago and bought my parents city dog border collie with us. She learned about catching and eating rabbits very quickly. Our neighbour has two fox terriers and they will literally dig rabbits out of their burrows. Also, we know some people who moved to the country with their cat who was already quite good at catching birds – they decided to not feed him as an experiment and he is still fat and happy five years later! I think we look at our pets through too much of a human perspective and forget they used to be proficient hunters. They pick it up pretty quickly.

  33. I am afraid you who are going to some place when the shtf, you probably wont make it. we don’t have very long I don’t think. you say two years, anything can happen in that time. have you read that when an EMP takes place most all cars will not start. all electrical stuff, like cell phones will not work. that is real scarry. please read OFF THE GRID NEWS

  34. Nicole @Little Blog on the Homestead

    Great post, we’re the owners of great property in a rural area up north and we know that if SHTF that we have our team of people welcomed to join us up there, they’re our zombie apocalypse team so to speak. Friends that we’ve already vetted with skills, knowledge, and willingness to work hard that will be handy in a SHTF situation. Anyone else will be told to leave, at the barrel of a gun if need be. It makes me very happy to know that particular job falls on my husband rather than me.

    1. If your husband or other survival group member is on the other side of the property and some depraved person comes for you what will you do then ? you need to have the mindset that if it came to it you’d defend your own life if needed . Start taking gun training courses, self defense courses cause no one can help you if they’re out in the field working or 2 miles away fishing. Dont be passive because there might be that time were you need to tell a person to leave at the point of a gun, if not you might be dead/raped/kidnapped and no help to your group.

  35. While I understand how frustrating it is to upset your routine or plans to have new people living with you that you don’t know and have to adjust too, I also have another view.
    I served in the Marine Corps ten years.
    If all of America felt the way you do would we have ever gone to help the Jews during World War II? Would we have gone to help anyone anywhere? Probably not and if so you certainly would not be living in a democracy anymore and able to tout such inhospitability online, we would be dominated by Czar type and you wouldn’t enjoy any freedoms at all. So I don’t think this is a very American attitude.

    What if a disaster struck in Northern Idaho? You needed to evacuate. You had to go to another state or another country because it was hot habitable here. Would you want to be welcomed and cared for after your long, tiresome, arduous journey? Or would you want to be treated like you were a damn inconvenience and that your host has a dominance issue?

    I have to say I may live in the city but in the city we are use to hard times. You may think everyone has a car (no we don’t, we take the bus or the train). You may think everyone has xbox’s, goes out to dinner and lives in big houses. I have news for you. We live in the city because it’s closer to work, what you don’t spend on gas you spend on rent (where you cannot garden to survive). Joblessness here is very high and of course lots are on some disability income or welfare (lack of language skills, lack of education, lack of opportunity for education because of poverty growing up the list is endless). Whatever their particular situation it wouldn’t make them any less grateful for someone willing to help them or care for them. Maybe they don’t know how to farm, maybe they only know how to take care of your kids while you farm, or cook for you or clean for you. Maybe they only know how to protect your property or feed your goats but everyone will be willing to bring something to the table.
    Even if it’s to loot for you to make sure your family eats, defend you in a fight or backtalk some smart ass city dweller or another country person thinking they are going to take over your homestead.
    In a bad situation it’s the more the merrier is the best attitude to have.. after all you cannot stay awake all night protecting the place yourself and work the farm all day. How long do you think you will be there alone?
    I am very disappointed by this post. Do you think any refuge ever felt like they didn’t have to help?! Your fortunate that you have had to do it yet. You may be the ones leaving Idaho and if so wouldn’t you rather walk in to a city dwellers apartment that is willing to toss his much loves passed down furniture to help a family? Or go without eating a few days so he can share his food with you. What do you think happens here when someone looses a job? or apartment or a home? or gets sick or has cancer? Neighbor’s and friends step in… but in a worst case scenario we are going to show that America is strong and resilient and we are willing to help one another survive otherwise, what is the point?!

  36. Such truth well spoken. We have 200 rural acres with 2 stocked ponds, a live creek, and artesian waters. Most is mature mix-wooded with scattered mature fruit and nut trees – a post SH7F paradise, BUT we worked hard and spent hard-earned money to make it self-sustaining. Just because we have prepared for our children and grands does not mean that our generosity extends to the rest of the family who have sat idly by and blown their $250,000 annual incomes on trips, etc., rather than carving out a few dollars to invest in a year’s worth of food for their families. Sorry sisters, but I will not take food out of my own childrens’ mouths to feed yours!! We will be busy growing more food, milking goats, gathering eggs, cleaning fish, and, of course, fighting off the hoards of current freeloaders who come a’hunting for a handout.

  37. Bilge Pump McCoy

    I live in Alaska and several people have told me that they will be coming to Alaska if the SHTF where they live. I have to laugh at that statement. Most people in Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks are totally dependent on natural gas or electricity for heat. Although lots of us “city folk” have wood stoves and plenty of firewood to make it through a winter, most Alaskans do not. It will be a nightmare for a lot of people if the power goes out in the middle of winter for more than a day or two. And we get 97% of our food by barge. No power = no fuel = no barges = no food. It could get be ugly up here even with the military bases and help from the federal government. Stay home. Alaska is not where you want to go if the SHTF.

  38. The Middle East is turning into one giant refugee camp. Ask yourself, “How many Syrians have been able to “bug out” to their friends and neighbors ‘in the country.’ I think Americans have a very difficult time imagining what real disaster might look like when the SHTF. Thank you, for trying to get us thinking about a new, wildly unfamiliar reality. Ask yourself, “How many of those refugees do you see cuddling their pet hamsters?”

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