13 Reasons a Rural Retreat May Not Be the Safe Refuge You Might Think

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rural survival retreatsWay back in 2007, when I first became aware of the need to prepare for an increasingly uncertain future, I was convinced that our family needed to move from the city to a hidey-hole or a cabin in the woods, commonly referred to as “rural survival retreats.” Preferably in Idaho.

Our retreat would be located at least 25 miles from the nearest interstate and 10 miles from the nearest town, which would have no more than 1000 residents. We would be safe from zombie biker gangs and hoards of desperate people leaving the big cities en masse.

Since then, I’ve given a lot of thought to survival retreats and have come to realize they aren’t the be all, end all when it comes to preparedness and survival. That’s not to say they will become hell-holes when everything hits the fan, but I’m concerned that too many trusting folks believe that once they get to their retreat, they’ll be safe and sound.

Here’s why a rural survival retreat may not be the safe refuge that everyone thinks.

1. Rural areas are hot spots that attract the self-reliant and libertarian leaning citizens

In case you haven’t noticed, self-reliance isn’t exactly a lifestyle encouraged by a federal government and many state governments intent on increasing the level of dependency of citizens. Incredibly, top politicians boast of the number of
Americans on food stamps and are actively working to increase those numbers!

SMom quote 6 via The Survival Mom
Small enough to fit in a bugout bag, PACKED FULL of great information to help your family evacuate calmly, and safely! Buy it HERE.

Citizens wishing to decrease their level of government dependence are viewed with suspicion. Without a doubt, those living in rural areas will come under increasing scrutiny as their activities are viewed as oppositional to those of the federal government. You will be in their bulls eye in the form of punitive regulations and laws, at the very least.

2. In a word, drones

Recently it was reported that the federal government had some 30,000 spy drones it was willing to bequeath to law enforcement agencies across the country. Has your local police or sheriff’s department requested one of these? Is there any reason to believe it won’t be used to spy on the activities of innocent civilians, especially those who may show signs of uppity self-reliance activities?

In 2012 it was rumored that drones had been used by the EPA to keep track of the activities of independent farmers and ranchers. The rumors were denied, but I can’t think of a single reason why they won’t be used to check out “suspicious activities” of those living off the radar.

3. Google knows where your rural survival retreat is

Do you really think your survival retreat hasn’t been mapped by Google? Activate a drone, and a survival retreat is less of a
retreat, with survival questionable. And, Google has a very cozy relationship with the federal government.

4. Government entities with limitless money and power but no
accountability

Here is just a sampling of stories that illustrate all too well how powerless a rural family is against the force of government.

“EPA power grab to regulate ditches, gullies on private property” and subsequently, “Feds sued over massive water-rule power grab

Keep in mind, though, that in the summer of 2015, the EPA brilliantly managed to release over 1 million gallons of highly toxic waste into the beautiful Animas River in Colorado. These are the same people who believe they have the right to regulate rivulets of water on private property.

EPA’s wood-burning stove ban has chilling consequences for many rural people

U.S. top court backs landowners, limits power of EPA” The Supreme Court did not say that the EPA’s methods ere unconstitutional, just that citizens have the right to sue after the fact.

It’s actually illegal in Colorado to collect the rain that falls on your home“[aweber-form]

“New labor rules threaten role of farm kids,” This idea was dropped but serves to illustrate the lengths that some in
government are willing to go in order to squelch those desiring and promoting self-reliance.

Supreme Court denies family farmers the right to self-defense from Monsanto lawsuits

How many rural families have the time and resources to fight unjust charges and policies such as these? Not many, and I haven’t even started on the I.R.S.!

5. The drought could spell big trouble for rural survival retreats

I’ve noticed that every crisis seems to cause some in government to react with reactionary speeches and usually unnecessary, burdensome policies.

The current drought has me worried because I can easily see it used as an excuse for government interference with the use of well water. How hard would it be for an agency to declare that one person or another was, “using more than their ‘fair share’ of water,” and regulating well water usage for everyone?

Read more: Already living in a drought? Learn these techniques to garden in a drought.

Of course there are also natural dangers that low levels of water bring to rural areas in the form of forest fires, animal starvation, and difficulty in growing crops.

6. Leave it to the United Nations to harass rural Americans

Has your local news media been covering Agenda 21? No? Thought not. Americans don’t even realize that the policies of this oppressive document are already being voluntarily implemented in many towns, cities, and states. The goals of Agenda 21 are shocking and when you read through them, it’s obvious they are becoming a threat to rural America in the form of various regulations put in place by people who mean well but don’t understand how easily they are signing away basic freedoms.

7. Why should your rural neighbors trust you?

How long does it take to establish trust?

How well would you have to know someone in order to leave your children with them for a week?

Would you tell your family members about your preps, what you have, and where they are stored?

Well-meaning folks who buy a rural retreat and attempt to become established there are sometimes shocked to discover that their neighbors may be polite but they are hardly welcoming. Some of these neighbors have lived in these small towns and outlying areas for decades, so I don’t blame them at all for looking at newcomers with a roll of their eyes.

You’ve moved out to the boonies, the neighbors don’t seem interested in  joining your “survival team”, so now what? How many years must you live there in order to become one of them and, in fairness, would you really want to? Just because they’re country folk doesn’t make them trustworthy or noble any more than coming from a city or the suburbs makes you shifty or irresponsible.

8.  Natural disasters know no borders

Mudslides, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, and massive forest fires endanger everything from big city buildings to placid rural retreats. You may have found the perfect location for your bugging out but it’s not impervious to acts of God.

9. Squatters are a fact of life

One of the most memorable scenes in Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, is when one of the main characters, a self-made millionaire, finally reaches his survival hide-out only to discover that it’s already occupied by squatters. He doesn’t have the weapons, man-power, or tactics to remove them, so he continues on, hoping to survive without any of his supplies, gear, or shelter.

Book review: Here’s my video review of Lucifer’s Hammer.

Rural retreats are, well, rural. They’re out in the country, the boondocks, and unless you live there pretty much fulltime, they are vulnerable to squatters moving in, using your stuff, and staying there. How, exactly, will you prevent that and when you arrive at your now squatter-filled home, will you put up a fight or walk away? What if law enforcement isn’t available or they just don’t care?

10. Harsh weather conditions are a rural reality

When you look at a map of the United States, there’s a reason why vast areas remain virtually unpopulated. Those areas encompass enormous deserts with few, if any, water sources and tracts of forests that cover steep mountainsides and difficult-to-access valleys.

These areas aren’t just rugged terrain but they also experience some of the harshest weather conditions, such as extreme drought or multiple winter blizzards. Throughout history, people have built their civilizations in areas that enjoyed milder climates and reliable water sources. Sure, the lure of a peaceful retreat may be calling, but make sure you visit that location in different seasons so you know what to expect.

11. Criminal elements

I’ve always said, “People who live far from other people, do so for a reason.” Sometimes it’s because they truly want to be one with nature and enjoy the solitude, but for many it’s because they want to avoid the law and law-abiding citizens.

When we were house shopping in Texas, we checked out a number of homes miles from town and on acreage. One local friend said, “Be sure to find out where the meth houses are,” and he wasn’t kidding.

No, not everyone who loves country living is a criminal, but you can’t deny that the hinterlands have a certain allure for people who have something to hide.

12. Road conditions can be nonexistent

Thousands of words have been written about bug out vehicles, with long debates about which make and model is best. The fact is, though, that the vehicle is less important than the road conditions to your retreat. There are some routes that are completely impassable during long periods of time in the winter. If the S hits the fan during December or January, you may be completely out of luck due to something as mundane as road conditions and will have to go to Plan B — hunkering down at home.

I have multiple copies of the DeLorme atlas, which is very detailed, but in certain weather conditions, having multiple routes planned still won’t get me to where I need to be, no matter how urgent the cause.

Read more: Here are my tips for putting the DeLorme atlas to use for planning evacuations, this article not withstanding!

13. Isolation can work against you

I love getting away from it all and leaving the sounds of traffic and people far behind, but in a survival scenario, being alone and isolated can work against you and, in fact, could be deadly.

Health and physical safety are very fragile. Accidents happen, a common cold or flu can take the turn for the much worse overnight, and you’ll find that your First Aid class and copy of a survival medical handbook just aren’t going to do the trick. If an urgent trip to the hospital becomes a matter of life or death, can you make it there in time?

Sometimes the problem won’t be a health issue but, instead, a bad-guy issue. Living away from everyone else has its risks but for the criminal, it also has its opportunities.

Fernando Aguirre, author of Surviving the Economic Collapse, lived through Argentina’s multiple collapses and has this to say about surviving in a rural area:

I don’t think an isolated homestead or farm is the best place to be in, and it certainly isn’t when crime becomes a real problem all across the country. In people’s minds, in their novels and fantasies things may always work out just the way they want. It also helps that none of the things speculated in these fictional scenarios have ever occurred, at least not yet. A person can be so easily fooled into thinking that his retreat or homestead in any given US state is safe from looters and criminals because this or that “expert” claims so, the real reason why it´s been working well for any given period of time is that you’ve never actually had it put to test by your environment. Argentina puts you to test and that’s where suppositions, theories and wishful thinking crash against the cold hard reality.

…a friend of mine suffered an attack to his farm in just a couple days ago. He’s smart, successful, experienced, and a true survivalist in my opinion. You might remember the home invasion attempt my dentist suffered a while back. This friend of mine wasn’t that lucky. During the afternoon five men approached the housekeeper’s home and took the family hostage. Dogs barked but they (the men) moved fast. They used ski masks and gloves, armed of course, communicated with radio and were very professional. Right after reducing the housekeepers they quickly moved to the main building and took control of the main house. My friend wasn’t there with his wife and kids, it was occupied by other family members that were visiting. Being the smart person he is, that’s not his main residence and prefers to live in a gated community.

Read Fernando’s entire article at this link.

Listen to my interview with him on the topic of “Prepper Myths”

In these different scenarios, how quickly will help, in the form of law enforcement, medical professionals, or fire fighters get to your location? If you don’t have reliable internet or a phone landline, how will people know that you need help?

 

I haven’t written these points to discourage anyone from establishing a retreat somewhere away from big cities, but I think it’s important to not over-estimate the level of security such a retreat might bring and to have a checklist of sorts for considering how quickly things can go sideways.

No, I don’t think cities are safer! They come with their own challenges and dangers, but at least preppers who are also city-dwellers are aware of their vulnerabilities. Too often, survival pros sell the concept of a “survival retreat” as a cloak of immunity from coming troubles, and that is what concerns me.

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86 thoughts on “13 Reasons a Rural Retreat May Not Be the Safe Refuge You Might Think”

  1. Agenda 21 otherwise known as The Blue Zone Project, and now with the New UN Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
    This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. We recognise that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan. We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet. We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets which we are announcing today demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda. They seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what these did not achieve. They seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental.
    The Goals and targets will stimulate action over the next fifteen years in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet:

      1. That first comment is ALMOST funny….”We dont want to control the world- we just want to control the world.” Potato, patato<– big guess on the spelling there lol

        1. Definitely a pie in the sky pipe dream, aka communism. Really, that’s what it is. Eradicating poverty by… “equal” distribution. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Pure Marxism. I’m bothered by the repeated use of “we”. Who is “we”? Who are these people who believe they have the right and the power to take from me and give what I’ve earned to someone else without my permission? “We are resolved…” “We are determined…” And that doesn’t scare everybody?? What happens to those who resist? Never mind. History already tells us what happens to those who stand up to tyranny.

          1. Yes the “we” thing weirded me out 2! I cant stand seeing history ignored, its setting us up for failure as a country. Our next generation is even more screwed than our own, they have no chance as the tiny bit of history they do learn is so doctored up you would think the author was actually a moon lighting screen writer (favorite genre-DRAMA). I don’t see how our country (well, our citizens) can have a chance at the kind of freedom our forefathers envisioned when even today people cant open their eyes & see truth. I cant imagine how dark those rose colored glasses will be in 20 years though I hope something gives before then. I’m starting to notice more & more people quietly waking up & realizing their main stream media is pretty controlled & their politicians are bought & sold not elected……that not everything is as it seems. Here’s to hoping that they don’t stay quiet much longer. Maybe as the amount of non-sheeples grow larger their voices will grow louder. Fingers crossed;)

    1. Chris Eastaughffe

      So, you’re saying that an unelected World body, the United nations (UN), established to avoid world wars, has now become the World Government, trumpeting PC concepts, that DON’T address our lemming population growth, DON’T address World population exponential growth as the driver of climate change, the consumption of that population as the driver of pollution of the oceans, the destruction of food sources, DOESN’T address the inequality of income between the 1% of the 1%, and the ‘rest’, DOESN’T address the debt and corruption of banks, multinationals, and politicians, BUT does espouse some whimsical objectives as justification for the erosion of individual rights, of freedom, surrendering control to an unelected, manipulating, body that FAILS its original charter, like the UN?? Whose every REAL step forward is veto’ed by the BIG powers who don’t have to comply, and have the right of VETO as per your charter…. Yep, sure, keep peddling that rubbish. Agenda 21, Blue Zone, etc etc…. They take “I’m from the Government, I’m here to help” to a whole new level of incompetence, but I suppose they are creating employment!!

    2. And everything will go as planned in the Utopia where nobody intends to and never will concentrate power over the masses in a greedy and harmful way. If you believe that philosophy will establish heaven on earth, I believe you will be surprised when the opposite happens. Some things don’t change just because they should.

  2. I find that many who have bought bug-out property have purchased property very far from their homes. In most collapse scenarios, driving a great distance (more than an hour from your home) is going to be extremely hard. And if you have no car, nearly impossible. Personally, the properties I look at are not only potential bug-out locations, but relaxing weekend getaways, too. No more than an hour-ish away by car and use no Interstates to get there.

    Great list.

    TRP

  3. know from trusted source that drones are being made shape and size of insects, even some that are supposed to do pollination, like bees. of course, say goodbye to honey, wax, propolis.
    these things can sit on the wall of your porch and see and hear everything you chat about while you are relaxing on the porch swing.
    probably the gift of drones to police is because these tiniest of spies are the new technology.

  4. We live rural an6d n6ot until lately have I realized how that has changed my out look on things Living in the woods timber is there for fire wood and for building with logs. Looking at other properties I am struck at how bare they are of trees for any purpose fruit trees or timber. N^o one seems to have a garden for food. They live rural but they think city. People coming in to the area from large population6 areas first thing they do is cut down the trees next they want new laws to prevent others from living free of regulations You are right about checking out your potential neighbors. drug labs and hippie ranches are all over as are traing areas for paramilitary forces We assume it is 1882 regarding police protection and have had oe attempted take over by criminals. They didnt by the way Get used to guns for protection Just assume it is Tombstone territory 1882 and you will have no sudden shocks

  5. Also known as 13 reasons to rationalize not foing what logic tells you to do to prepare.

    1. The fact that some freedom minded folk live out in rural areas may give the powers at be a reason to be concerned about these areas…and theoretically this could become a problem before a SHTF (HOWEVER IF YOU DON’T OVERTLY FLAUNT THE LAW CHANCES ARE THE LAW WILL LEAVE YOU ALONE!), however this is exactly why they will not come there except in force and for some compelling strategic reason after the SHTF. It might seem like our army is strong, and our police forces robust, but confronted with lawlessness in the city and the desertion of many soldiers with families resources particularly boots on the ground will be in high demand; and the thing is that rural describes 90% of the landmass of the US so unless your rural retreat is next to a military instalation, mine, factory, or power plant chances are VERY LOW that they will risk coming to visit you out in the sticks!

    2. Drones require operators, a grid, and data analysts. Resources after a SHTF will be scare, and again, 30k seems like a big number but compared with the acreage of rural America it’s a drop in the bucket. So IF the government gets its sights on you then those drones may be trained on you, and you may be toast–but that is equally true in the city.

    3. Yes Google knows as does the [email protected], Mossad, and MI5….your point. I gave up pretending that I was going to hide from anyone looking for me by name…IF they want to catch you, and IF they still have access to all those computer files then the only possible survival plan is to leave anything familiar…. However, so long as I stay off that threat matrix then this not a conern and much less risky than random enforcement in the cities…

    4. Again the shear size of rural areas means this real threat is still unlikely in the rural areas of this country, and what’s the alternative? Urban areas that where long ago made dependant on the government?

    5. Urban areas tend to get there water from rural areas…so even if there is a drought being on a square mile with 50 other people is much more safe than being on that same square mile in the city with 700 other people…

    6. Why would they start and focus on rural areas first after a SHTF when so few live here with so little globally significant wealth?

    7. Equally true in the city, except in the country if you do win over your neighbors they likely have something to bring to the table to help you. I know I got lucky but we have great neighbors with whom we have formed a symbiotic relationship.

    8. Yes disasters happen everywhere…the point is there are more resources and less people to share them in the country…

    9. Squatters are easily prevented by local caretakers of your property, but if you have a few men and the arms necessarily chances are they won’t be expecting you to take back what’s yours…

    10. Harsh weather can be a two edged sword…snow like we have, for instance, grantees few visitors during the winter and a good supply of drinking water. Again weather knows no boundaries so what makes you think a harsh winter will be better in the city?

    11. Yes…because there are no criminals in the city. In fact most people when cold hungry and scared will resort to some type of criminal behavior to survive in a crisis. The difference is in the country I have 50 potential criminals per square mile, many of whom are far more self-reliant and/or prepared than the average American, in an area teaming with resources, while urban and sub urban folk have as many as 1000, most of whom are unprepared, in and area often devoid of natural resources.

    12. One of your few valid objections and yet since the premise is that you do have a urban or suburban dwelling as well as a rural BOL it’s a fact that if you can’t get to your BOL you are likely not homeless whereas if you don’t have a BOL and your home burns down you are! I have multiple routes and plans including by air to get to my BOL including by plane, boat, on foot, etc., but if I can’t I can always bug in for a while. And as mentioned before this fact can keep you safe.

    13. Fernando is dangerous to listen to because he has never lived through a TEOTWAWKI event and doesn’t entertain the possibility that a full scale collapse of the global economy could look a lot different from the partial collapse of a small third world economy. He also doesn’t understand that the US is not Argentina!

    Certainly being in a rural area isolates you from services like police, fire, and EMS, but I can’t see myself bugging out unless these services were seriously compromised. That being said my bug out group includes a doctor and three nurses as well as two soldiers and a dozen other shooters to keep the peace!

    1. I’m glad my article made you think. Too many people blindly follow advice given by experts whose viewpoints are narrow and confined only to their own experiences and training. Your own plan sounds very much like the cookie cutter approach advocated by the typical survival expert. Just saying. 🙂

      Fernando Aguirre doesn’t have all the answers and yet he has actually lived in a country that experienced multiple collapses, so I’d bet he has a better idea of what that looks like, boots on the ground, than do you. Whatever experts you esteem most highly have ALSO never lived through a total collapse of society, yet you choose to believe and follow their advice in spite of that lack. A former military person might cite experience in Somalia or some other hell hole and yet those locations are ALSO not America. If a collapse does happen here, there is not a soul on earth who knows exactly what it will be like or, indeed, exactly how to prepare.

      By the way, my article doesn’t suggest at all that cities are safer. My goal is to challenge the thought processes of people who think that getting away from everything and everybody makes them invulnerable and it just doesn’t. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      1. FerFal did indeed survive the Argentinian collapse, but so did millions of others. They just didn’t blog about it.

        That said, isolation IS a double-egded sword. I think Lisa is trying to get people to stop deluding themselves. “Preppers” won’t be just left alone to tend to their utopian homesteads. “Isolated” doesn’t equal “unknown”.

        1. “Deluding” is a strong word, Hildegard, and yet when someone has an unyielding point of view, that’s what can happen. I knew my article would raise some eyebrows, and maybe some ire, but I just want people to question their assumptions. Ferfal is now living in Spain and likes the quieter life. Of course with all the refugees moving into Europe, who knows what changes that will bring for him?

          1. just came across this. If prepper types are so deluded, gullible etc that they will be hunky dory in country why then do they invest so heavily in Armor, weapons other than for hunting, ammo, and various other means of self defense? I’ve never met a single sole who thought living off grid in SHTF scenario would be easy, simple, uneventful etc. Most just realize the % of an encounter with hostile drops dramatically in the woods. I live in town of 30,000 and its like 2 miles wide and long. When things are going well people are pillaging, raping, vandalizing etc. What more would happen when chaos hits, the police go home to protect their own families etc. It would be terrifying. I have little children that daily would see or hear chaos. If I lived where my uncle lives off grid in the trees I believe the chance of 6 month survival SKYROCKETS!! In town im one of most prepared but the people coming against me are going to be far more desperate and possibly clinging to life. Their living may hinge on them taking me out. I have 4 women, 5 children and im only man in family. 2 sister with 3 young kids, my wife, mother and 2 boys under 8. There is no way we’d stand a chance in town with house 20 ft from road.

    2. Buy a small marine radar system like Furuno and mount it on a tower above the tree line and use that to keep tabs on low flying aircraft such as drones. It might be able to give you a 25 mile heads up. A fly over might see a house but if nobody is outside they may deem it abandoned and not come back for a while.
      I used these systems on only a 25 foot mast (submarine) when I was in the Navy and we picked up aircraft all the time. Putting the transceiver above the tree line is critical.

      1. Mark, one incident that caused me to include drones on this list is that a good friend of mine, living in rural Coeur d’Alene, was buzzed by a drone while out on her homestead one day. She has a fairly high profile as a writer for a very well-known conservative website, and the owner of that site has also had his home visited by drones, so I don’t think that drone was there by pure coincidence. This was about 4 years ago, well before drones became something that anyone could buy, so it was certainly a visit by the government. I’ll mention your suggestion to her and her husband.

        1. I imagine these occurrences will increase across the board for everyone as the police state continues to ramp up. I have seen good condition used systems for $500 to $800 on Ebay and other sites. A long power/signal cord is also a must. They can be custom made but can get pricey.

          1. Mark, that’s why I’m concerned about rural areas being in the crosshairs of the federal government, in particular. Urban areas and a lot of suburban areas are easier to control, but it will take regulations and making examples of a handful of people to gain compliance/traction in rural areas. I read the other day that the federal government has been producing 1000 pages of regulations PER DAY, and I haven’t forgotten the number of new IRS agents that have been hired and trained during the past few years. While it’s true that enforcers can’t be EVERYWHERE, all it takes is a few well publicized examples, and it’s human nature to comply from that point. Not a whole lot of people, in spite of their bluster, are willing to pay the high price that may be required — loss of jobs, confiscated property and funds, jail time. Maybe I’m a little paranoid, but I spent enough time in communist countries to have seen this up close.

  6. Hi Lisa,
    Useful list. Reading the list, I couldn’t help but ask “How would this be any different in an urban setting?” Bad neighbors, oppressive government, crime, lack of medical care, etc. Same problems, just a lot more of them, and closer by.

    You mentioned in your reply to Padre, that you weren’t suggesting that cities would be better. Understood. The list does help curb Utopia Promised Land thinking about a rural retreat. It will still have the same (human) problems. Hopefully fewer and father between.

    Take care!

    1. It’s not any different from an urban or suburban setting, but preppers who live in those areas already know those dangers and haven’t been lulled into a false sense of security. I remember a statement in the book Strategic Location in which the author, Joel Skousen, said that many, many people that he helped relocate in the time leading up to Y2K called him some time later wanting to move back! They’d run out of money, the whole experience wasn’t quite what they expected, etc. There is a lot of “utopia promised land” as you call it, and I can understand it. Survival takes a degree of mental and emotional agility, however, and sticking to commonly held beliefs about what you must have/must do in order to survive may end up not being the healthiest thing to do.

      One thing is for sure. All the rural preppers and survivalists out there — the bad guys who DO make it to your areas had to get past the urban/suburban preppers first. So keep that in mind.

  7. You raise valid points, but I have to agree with Padre on the issues that he presents in response. I would submit that the greatest challenge anyone will face is getting to a safe place of refuge after a SHTF event, or following a decision to bug out. The greater the distance, the more likely you are to encounter difficulties (food, fuel, the necessity of detours, etc.). Distance (and therefore, time) is your enemy under these conditions.

    Unless you have already succeeded in relocating to a remote or otherwise rural place of refuge, you need to select a location that can be reached in a relatively short period of time, such as one to three days (depending on your mode of travel). It is essential that you establish reliable alternate routes that will enable you to reach your destination as quickly as possible. This means that you must have a sure knowledge that the alternate route(s) before you have to use them.

    1. Thanks for commenting, and you are very right about distances. I think that most preppers both overestimate and underestimate critical issues, especially if they get most of their information from popular survival/prepper novels — which many of them do! 🙂

  8. Having talked with family members and friends who lived through the depression and world war II in Europe. The country environment was a much safer. One of my friends was sent to live with her grandmother on a farm in Germany during WWII and she never did hear an explosion or see a soldier at anytime during her stay there.

    But living in the country as I do now, I am inclined to feel safer here then in the city. It is true that we have to deal with drug labs and other criminal eliment, but we look at it differently then you might. We know who is GOING TO GO FIRST if the shtf. Ha! Ha!

      1. “They may not be your best choice”. Of course only you know the specific details of your situation, and so there is a certain degree of truth here, particularly for those for whom rural means desert. However in the forested areas of this country a simple comparison of needs to resources demonstrates why for many of this is patently false.

        Air–other than the fact that trees produce clean O2, urban areas are much more likely to experience deadly deficiencies in air quality. From the likelihood of Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological attack, to the hazardous fallout of buildings burning and collapsing, to potentially lethal death cloud from chemical plants and sto rage facilities.. >>One REAL CONCERN for rural areas relating to air quality and not mentioned in the article is the possibility of forest fires.

        Shelter–although there is plenty of shelter in the city at least in the first weeks after a collapse the chances of cathestrophic fires depriving you of shelter is much greater in urban and rural areas where buildings are much closer together and systems depend on an electrical grid. In addition there are objectively fewer resources to build a shelter in the city.

        Security–along with shelter goes security, which objectively speaking is more of an issue in the city because of the greater likelihood of encountering people due simply to population density. Couple with this that most urban dwellers are likely to be needy because their paradigm of life revolves around technology, particularly the grid, and cities are a recipe for violence.

        Water-this is the big one. Most urban/suburban areas lack sufficient water sources that would be available without the grid. In contrast most ruralites have a water source and are familiar with the need to protect that source from contamination.

        Food–I honestly don’t think you get to the food concern in most big cities, long before you starve to death I believe you will be forced to migrate due to lack of air, shelter, security, and/or water. Of course unless there is a quick mass die off the vast stores of food in cities are dwarfed by the population.

        PS: mom, as for those who making it to the rural areas making it through the urban/suburban preppers…while you have my thanks for providing canon fodder to decimate the golden horde…doesn’t your suggestion admit that cities and their suburbs are not very safe places?

        In my group we have a survivor of the civil war in Bosnia, two people who have lived in communist dictatorships, and myself–I have lived in DC during 9-11, Israel which is in a constant state of emergency, and in Eastern Europe during hyperinflation. In our collective experiences rural areas, though certainly not utopias, give you the best chance of survival.

          1. I read the article. Implicitly the title suggest that if it is true that “…A Rural Retreat May Not Be The Safe Refuge You Might Think” that some other option might be better. In the SHTF nothing is SAFE, but unless you have access to a underground bomb shelter stocked for twenty years of subterranean survival the country is as good as it gets. It all comes down to population density along with traffic. I believe people can be resources, but only people who are fed and able to think outside the technological lifestyle box, you find more of these in the country and fewer starving entitlement zombies.

            I am not of the opinion that my BOL is safe, I hope to get there and be ready for anything, but I am of the opinion that it is safer than all alternatives and the article title suggests otherwise.

    1. tinfoilhat davy

      Mona-
      I read a short novel by a woman who lived in Austria during the Weimar collapse. She traded her grand piano for a sack of potatoes that got them through the winter. Her uncle’s farm was raided by starving masses who slaughtered his animals on the spot. Most lived through this tough time (and the following war) but many did not. It is probably internet legend but I remember a story about a man who saw a civil war coming and decided to buy a farm in a nice quiet location far removed from the cities and strife. Gettysburg Pa. There are no sure fixes no matter where you live or bug out to but my bet is if you are reading this blog your odds are much better than most.

  9. I think a lot of these drawbacks would be solved by just moving to the country, instead of having a bug-out location there. This way, you know your neighbors, you don’t have to worry so much about squatters, you don’t have to drive long distances to get there, and you’re familiar with your area.

    I will also note, as someone who has lived in an area that got “multiple winter blizzards” each year, it’s not as bad as it sounds if a) you have sufficient heating (propane heating and wood stoves are very, very common there) and b) you are familiar with dealing with blizzards. Again, it’s important to be familiar with an area when things like that happen.

    A few years ago, the local natural gas company cut off Taos County from gas. This was in late January, and it gets down to -20 degrees F in that time of year. (Yes, that’s negative 20.) Thankfully, most people had heating sources not reliant on natural gas. In addition, every town and village set up a space for people to go if they didn’t have heat, and a few places (including a local restaurant) gave out a free bowl of hearty soup every day to whoever asked for it. In the Village of Questa, nobody came the first few days. Why? Two reasons: 1. the vast majority of people had propane and/or wood heating and 2. people who were reliant on natural gas knew friends and family who were willing to give them a place to stay. Few people came to any of the spaces set up for those who needed them — but those who did were taken care of for heat. The cutoff lasted for weeks, but nobody died. (For the record, at the time the gas company said it was by accident, but afterwards they freely admitted that they’d done it on purpose. They said Taos County was the least-populated county they served, and they had to cut somebody off for those weeks (shortage or something). Maybe they didn’t look at regional temps in the county, or maybe they didn’t care.) There was some fear that the local electrical grid would be overwhelmed by the natural gas users who were using electrical heaters as an emergency measure (people got recommendations on what times of day to avoid using electricity so the grid wouldn’t get overwhelmed), but we were prepared for that, too.

    You can see the importance of community here. You can also see the importance of familiarity with your region. Most of the affected places were businesses; most homes didn’t use natural gas. Many homes had wood heating, especially as a secondary source of heat. We were also used to power outages, so when the grid was in danger of giving out, we knew it wouldn’t be as disastrous as it would’ve been if it was everyone’s first time without electricity. If we’d been a bunch of outsiders in bug-out locations, we wouldn’t have come together nearly as easily (I imagine there would be a lot of mistrust among strangers), and those of us not used to cold country living would likely not have made it.

    1. I’m going to throw this out into the conversation here because it’s something that, again, most people in their panic to move rural may not consider. From Dave R. on Facebook:

      “People forget that the solution for their age group will change over time. A very rural location that works for a couple right at retirement will NOT work for a couple with school-age kids or when they are elderly enough to need routine complex outpatient or emergency room care. Try making a living in an area without cell phone coverage and only hideously expensive satellite internet. For most folks, the plan will change from an urban or near-urban area during the employed years (good schools and jobs) to a place that is something like the edge of a suburb of a suburb, then back to something urban near the end. Remember, you have to have a life in the days before an emergency, and nobody wants to drive three hours to the airport to go see the grandkids or wait 45 minutes for cops/ambulance/fire trucks. Yes, plan for the rainy day, but also don’t ignore the other 99% of reality. No one family can provide 24 hour security against mobs, grow their own food and have all the necessary tools – civilization and friends in numbers count. Logistics matters.”

      Now, our family has always homeschooled, so we didn’t necessarily have to live in/near a city or suburbs. However, my husband’s construction business was 100% dependent on customers in those areas.

      Rural bug out locations vs. staying put vs. other options — the choices aren’t as clear cut as most think. Moving to the country sounds great until you consider what Dave had to say.

      1. Those are good points. I agree that moving to the country isn’t for everyone. It definitely comes with its own challenges. Jobs are, of course, very important to consider before moving anywhere, unless you’re retired. Also, there’s definitely a sliding scale of rural. There was a time when the commute to school was 45 minutes each way, but there was also a time when it was only 15 (my family moved around the county over the years). This mainly depended on if I was going to school in the same town we lived in.

        Emergencies are definitely another factor, too; you didn’t call an ambulance unless you were sufficiently close to the only hospital in the county. Instead, you just drove to the hospital, because otherwise it would take twice as long to get the patient there. There was also this one time when our friend rode in an emergency helicopter that had come from a hospital from another county, because that was the closest hospital that could deal with her specific problems when she was in labor. Every town and village had at least one fire station, though (thank goodness!), and they all had a police force, not to mention neighbors who protect each other (a necessity on the backroads).

        All that said, we weren’t as rural as many bug-out locations. We were still far away from likely hoards of people if shtf, though — people here are much more self-sufficient than most Americans, and most of the county is hard to get to from the outside, but can be traversed by locals who know their way around. In other words, it’s not just a few of us who are preppers; the county is survival-minded, and you have to be if you live out in that kind of location.

        I guess I’m trying to say that if you find the right place (and I know that’s an if, believe me!), it can be a lot safer if you move there than if you don’t.

        That being said, there are city people and country people, and it can be hard to go from one to the other. I was raised in the city until we moved out there, and it was hard at first — but it’s amazing what one can get used to after some time adjusting. It’s not for everyone, though.

        As you said, the choices aren’t as clear cut as most think.

      2. What??? What cities have you been living in that have good school systems? I’m not saying that to be rude, I am genuinely curious.

        I have lived many places- urban and rural- and as a general rule, rural tends to have better schools.

        Unfortunately, for the very elderly, a true SHTF scenario would probably not bode well anywhere. This is why we like multi-generational living.

        The biggest downside to rural living (which is, IMO, the only way to do the rural thing. BOL are a terrible idea.) Is that jobs are tough to find and pay is usually low. If you can get around that and don’t mind forming a community, I can’t imagine any category where urban living would win out aside from your previously mentioned health care emergency. (And again, depending on the situation, could be a problem everywhere)

        1. Did another commenter claim that city schools are better? I’ve homeschooled my kids from the beginning and am anti-public school so I would never make that claim. And again, Jordan, the article never claims cities are better.

    2. Electric heat is probably thr LEAST efficient method of space heating. My biggest gripe about heat pumps is that their backup for colder temperatures is usually electric.

      I had an aquaintence who bought a new house and was exited about the prospect of the heat pump providing cheap heat. That is until his wife learned how to turn on the resistance heat.

      1. Yeah, it probably is. It’s also an especially bad idea if you’re in an area that gets power outages in the winter — if the power goes out, so does your heat source! Sorry to hear about your acquaintance’s heat bills; it’s frustrating when you think you have a good deal but end up having to shell out more money than you thought you did.

  10. To point #6 the megacity and depopulation of rural areas was extremely eye opening. The deagel.com country forecast, although arguable, had an interesting footnote which is discussion worthy regardless of if you agree. Not a historian by any stretch so need to research the validity of the below statement.

    … “Historically a change in the economic paradigm has resulted in a death toll that is rarely highlighted by mainstream historians. When the transition from rural areas to large cities happened in Europe many people unable to accept the new paradigm killed themselves. They killed themselves by a psychological factor. This is not mainstream but it is true. A new crisis joins old, well known patterns with new ones.”

    To point #7 sometimes it isn’t about trust but instead revealing others for who they are…however unintentional.
    The thing that became apparent with country living is there is a hierarchy that existed way before we got here. People in the upper part of the hierarchy suffer from hubris because they’ve been in that situation for so long. When other people are introduced to the equation that demonstrate maybe the ‘big fish’ are not quite ‘all that’ it threatens them and they’ll ‘defend themselves.’ In our case one of the big fishes spoiled kids just couldn’t handle that our child could outdo their child in most things so they let it be known our child was on their list of threats.

    To point #13 I think it also creates an environment where people don’t think completely because they aren’t challenged by fresh thinking from new people. There are people out here that think they’re ready for SHTF but when asked a few questions about defending large areas, etc. they just give blank stares or talk theory. In one case a guy was showing me his ‘fall back location’ and within 10 minutes I had identified all of his ‘sniper dens.’ He was kind of taken by surprise at how quickly I identified issues and walked him through a few scenarios where his current arrangement wouldn’t work well. I’d say Rockmanr statement is very accurate and is similar to a conversation I had with a family out here, “They live rural but they think city.”

    To other points: Although some are true I actually appreciated them. For example harsh weather, extended power outages in bad weather, road conditions, etc. Our preparations have increased in quality and prepared us better physically and mentally because of those situations. We were put in opportunities where we had to adapt and get through a situation without outside assistance versus placing an order with an online retailer to ‘buy’ a prep that would ‘solve our issues.’ We actually applied many of our preps in the real world under real stress.

    1. Yes, that Deagel report is concerning. It definitely stopped me in my tracks and made me consider what events could cause a collapse of our population to that degree. One article I keep meaning to write, Tom, is about mental health and a SHTF future. In fact, I’d encourage people who are interested to start working toward degrees in psychology and counseling. When Greece’s economy began to topple, there were many reports of suicides, abandoned children, and other signs of a population struggling to make sense of a whole new world — and not a good one! Can you imagine the number of orphans and widows, dads trying to survive and raise kids alone, if suicide became epidemic?

      Very, very interesting insights regarding the rural hierarchy. I have seen that and have read comments on various survival forums alluding to that mindset.

      Your point about #13 is one reason I wrote this article. I like James Rawles a lot. Have talked with him on the phone more than once — he’s a nice guy. He has a certain vision for the future and how best to prepare for it but like anyone else, that view is based on his own personal experiences. I spent a lot of time traveling in communist bloc countries and the old Soviet Union. I worked on a kibbutz near the Lebanon border back when that border was particularly dangerous. Those events color my own view of what a SHTF future might hold, and it isn’t exactly the same as Rawles’. There are millions of variables and the best one can do is pray, prepare, and then remain alert and ready to accept and adapt to any new set of circumstances.

      I hope that made sense. 🙂 I’m not sure who I’d rather deal with the least — know-it-all survivalists or oblivious city folks. LOL

      1. Sad part of the whole situation is I’m not really that great at anything but instead okay at a few things. Have a lot to learn and honestly if I had to do an extended SHTF situation I think I’d prefer some Eagle Scouts from troops where they camped a lot without facilities, ex-military with lots of rucking experience, avid gardeners and a couple of natural healing/herbal types.

        On the dangel page I think part of that would be do to people migrating from America due to our depressed economy. Not having the world’s reserve currency is going to be difficult transition. How can a country be considered prosperous and the biggest debtor?

        At the end of the day I didn’t mention would I do it again…that’s a tough one. Everyone seems to want to be where they’re not but we just want to have a few close friends and have people who keep their word. If people can’t get along well when things are good it will just be exacerbated when things go bad, people are hungry, sick, tired and have watched a few loved ones die of unnatural causes.

    1. Why the defensiveness? I just don’t get it. What is wrong with taking a critical look at something that you and others have put your faith in when it comes to your family’s survival? That narrow mindedness isn’t healthy nor is it helpful.

  11. Elizabeth Smith

    I agree with most of this list. I have lived in a rural area most of my life and one sentence in your article is the reason most rural folks are resistant to outsiders. “You’ve moved out to the boonies, the neighbors don’t seem interested in joining your “survival team”, so now what?” YOU ARE JOINING US; WE ARE NOT JOINING YOU. I hate it when people from cities move here to “get away from it all” only to begin trying to change the environment and society so they can have all the niceties of city life but live in the country. If you need to be that close to Costco, stay in the city!

  12. Sorry but this article is so far off base it is not funny… People in rural areas actually stand up for and help each others… we are still neighbors to each other.. someone is in trouble, we come running… Just as happened to me recently.. Had to call an ambulance for my wife, neighbors from a mile or more away started showing up to help no asking necessary.

    The idea that ‘drones’ and such would be a threat or that Google will give away your location is the most ridiculous thing I have read yet… Do you have ANY idea how much space is out there? You are talking about a needle in a pile of needles if someone is going to use google to try and find your spot… and don’t forget google cannot see under tree canopy nor underground for those smart enough to make a bug out location there. Add to that, if the SHTF, don’t you think any drone that comes around is going to be either shot down or easily spoofed? Just because one might ‘see’ you does not mean they have the means to get to you.. Drones are great for wide open areas… not so much in forested and high terrain areas as well as farmland… Former military so I know..

    I am not even close to libertarian so I have no idea where you got that from. Independent, you bet. Constitutionalist is a better term.

    You also seem to think medical issues, roads, squatters etc are a threat or problem for us out here… Have you ever ridden a horse? Planted food by hand? Created a tool in a forge or your own workshop? Bet not. WE HAVE and we do every day.

    We take care of ourselves. We PLAN and do what is needed for such situations. You talk about major disasters and so forth… guess what, we can pretty much handle anything you come up with because we already do! Drought? Not worried at all.. there is plenty of water here as well as wildlife and plant life. Your worried about weather? Why? We endure tornadoes in the summer, and blizzards in the winter and can be stuck in for a week.. not an issue at all. If roads are out, hope on the horse, 4-wheeler or snowmobile… or your own two feet. WE LIVE here. We KNOW the land and the weather and anyone coming here from wherever does not which means WE have the advantage of home court.

    And we hunt and we own guns… and you can damn well bet we know HOW to use them and WILL use them… You also forget that 75% of our military is actually made up of RURAL men and women that are doing their patriotic duty. We already know how to shoot and survive in the wild from the day we could first walk.

    The SHTF, rural people WILL be the ones that pull this country back up, not the city people… NOR the people from the city that flock out here. They have NO concept of what it truly takes to live out here.. and you can bet if they have any intention of trying to “squat” on our land or take what we have, they WILL see the bullet end of the gun.

    1. It’s not off base, Todd. You’re looking at your own specific set of circumstances, that’s all. You’re not worried about drought? Congratulations! That puts you in a small percentage of rural people across the country. I know you’re speaking just for yourself and a small number of people you know, but this blog is read by people from coast to coast and around the world. It’s not a state-specific or region-specific blog, so I keep my focus more broad. Just because one issue doesn’t concern you, doesn’t mean it should be stricken from the entire internet. Capiche?

  13. Thanks for a good article I’ve been looking for somebody this honest and frank.Helped develop and build many sites and roads to locations like you mention.Most of these people are alright as long as the power stays on and the freezer is well stocked and some love to come out on the weekends,but wouldnt want to live here.One thing you can count on if you have a few neighbors,you can forget about living off the land,the natives are suspicious and frankly some of them have never developed the social skills to live with a bunch of diverse and new Folks,pressed for time right now-but sometimes it is well to” shine were you are” people live in groups for reasons.

    1. Your comment caused me to think about the rural folks who aren’t so well prepared. I’m guessing that they, too, know the land and all the routes in and out as well as which homesteads might be well prepared with food and supplies. They might be a more immediate danger than “zombies” coming in from nearby cities.

  14. Pingback: SURVIVALISTS BLOG | 13 Reasons a Rural Retreat May Not Be the … – The Survival Mom

    1. Oddly, my article said nothing at all about cities being safe or preferable. Sorry your feelings were hurt. I honestly thought rural folk were made of sterner stuff and were willing to examine their preps and plans for any weaknesses or anything that may have been overlooked. Guess not.

      1. Why do you keep assuming that people’s feelings are hurt just because they are critical? Seems to me you are the one who’s getting a little bent out of shape. The commenter simply wrote that he or she thought it would still be better than a city. Big deal.

  15. Hate to say it Survival Mom, retreats have been an obsolete premise for four or five decades now. If you arent hardening your current location and preparing to hunker you are doing yourself a disservice.

    There are too many people now between you and your retreat.

    1. That’s interesting since survival and prepper experts, including James Rawles and many others, have been preaching survival retreats for the past few years. I don’t have any arguments against having a retreat but you do bring up a very valid concern and that is the ability to get to a retreat.

  16. I have been a follower of “The Survival Mom” site long enough that I have printed out several hundred pages of information which I deemed, if not vital, then at least important and valuable.
    I find today’s article to be a slap in the face of everyone who has taken any previous information to heart and attempted to put it to proper use.
    As such I have removed this webpage from my favorites and intend to gather my print-outs, shred them and use them as kindling.
    I hope that “Mom” will be pleased to learn that her 13 points of proof of everyone else’s stoopidity led, at least, to me staying warm.
    Goodnight “Mom”…You just proved you are a hack.

  17. Integration TAKES TIME. My husband and I are military veterans. We have lived in lots of different places. Consider ourselves adaptable, however we know that community integration is the “weakest link” in the chain of survival.

    We live now in a semi-rural becoming rapidly suburban area. It has taken 10 years to just start to be “part of the community landscape.” We had no “family” and no friends whose families were already here to provide entry to the local society.

    Everyone has been polite, there was for years some affinity and acquaintances. But the “acceptance” and the ability to be counted upon as well as be able to count on others… after 10 years, we are only now seeing “cracks and openings.”

    Now, the area where my husband is from in West Virginia, there is already in place multi-generational layers of connections and relationships. And even though many sons and a few daughters have “left” (for various reasons from military service, schooling or jobs) the area is still “HOME” and so long as you pay your visits every few years to renew the bonds, we could leave here today (mid-October) and be 70% integrated by the end of the year.

    Other friends from military service with rural roots talk about the same conditions exist for them as well.

  18. There are other reasons that trying to bug out may not be as good as it once was,look at the pandamonium preceding a hurricane or major weather event,what do a lot of people think will happen when an event comes out of the blue?The first thing that will happen will be a denial of access to strategic locales and some of these places that people will try to get to will be blockaded,the best you can really hope for is to already be there,do not count on being able to travel there,many things have changed in this area and believe me I dont think it is for the benefit of the natives on the other hand some events are so catastrophic,it is better to be the first to go then.live a miserable 6 months hand to mouth,fighting the scavengers,so I believe people should not put all thier eggs in one basket,try to at least have some involvement and preparation were you are now,it would be so dangerous and disheartening to struggle to get to your bug out retreat and find it already occupied with people that were waiting on your arrival,with no recourse from a legal stand point for help,even those with guns must sleep sometime,its better to have a community on your side.But as always be pragmatic about it,if SHTF,then things will be different for a long time afterwards and no one will come out unscathed.

  19. “Preferably in Idaho” and then mention in #10 ”harsh weather conditions”? Would you expect reasonably mild weather in Idaho? Because Idaho isn’t somewhere I’d want to live if desire for comfortable weather was a priority. It probably would be a priority in an emergency situation (easy terrain, less harsh weather) I’m living in rural Missouri and I wouldn’t move to either a city or Idaho. Curious why you’d find Idaho to be a good spot for ‘bugging out’ unless you just figured nobody else would want to go there. If too much stuff went down people in Idaho might be wanting to relocate somewhere else to stay warmer. Why the preference for Idaho as a bug out location? Do you already live in Idaho and just like that state?

  20. I can certainly vouch for #7 being the truth. We moved to a very small rural community almost a decade ago, and quickly learned that while the locals may smile and wave in passing they are not at all interested in welcoming outsiders in. And that’s what we are, and will always be. Outsiders. I’ve spoken to people who lived here for nearly 20 years who finally got fed up with it and moved elsewhere. If TSHTF communities like this will close ranks tighter than a dolphin’s blowhole.

    Also #8, at least for rural Texas, is spot on. The smallest towns out here (population under 600) often have one part time LEO or none at all, and the meth heads are thick. Old people die and leave their dilapidated home to their crackhead nephew who quickly turns it into a lab, or else the crackheads just move into some abandoned singlewide and set up shop.

    1. Everything on this list will be true or not depending entirely upon where you live. The commenters who claim that this list is ridiculous — well, some things may not be true in their particular circumstances or location, but “rural” is HUGE! Rural northern Idaho will be very different from rural New Hampshire. When it comes to survival, it’s never “one size fits all” — and that’s why I find myself disagreeing so often with survival “experts” who claim to have the one, true solution for everyone’s survival dilemma.

  21. The atticle seems to be written from a perspective of pampered yuppies who are going to “resettle” somewhere rural. It is very shallow and unrealistic.

    Trouble WILL start in the cities and the moment you are stuck there with no resources and millions competing for the same things you have BIG problems.

    We are not prepping for some mild inconvenience. Anybody with haf a mind knows this is “the big one”.

    This is not about resettling. It is about hard core survival. What your neighbours think and do is what you were supposed to anticipate in the first place.

    You should be linking up with locals in your BU place in other words plan that they are part of your plan.

    There will ne no amenities, infrastructures or friendly helpful authorities in the first place. That is the whole reason you are prepping.

    Overall this is a very weak article with very little prepper mindedness

      1. I find it very interesting that you always respond that everyone else is defensive.

        Thought you were made of sterner stuff. Guess not.

        You sound like a grade schooler with these comebacks. I cannot get enough.

        1. I believe I only told one person they were defensive. I have to admit, I get tired of the lengthy, bordering on angry rebuttals to this article. I get it. Many people who live in rural areas believe they are pretty much immune to everything I’ve listed here — problem is, all these things are reality and are happening today. People in cities know very well what they need to be concerned about. I’ve been very surprised at the number of rural folks who think they are doing just fine and have nothing to worry about. Not reality, sorry.

  22. The problem with most American versions of survival is the idea that you will barricade yourself against The Others, and shoot to kill. People survived the Great Depression because they took care of each other. Without that mentality, everyone will fail at surviving any collapse or disaster. The US needs to start promoting caring for your fellow citizens instead of the ‘looking out for number one’ thing. A country that objects to universal healthcare for the people, is already doomed with that attitude. Never mind a collapse.
    Perhaps Americans could work toward demanding their government stop warmongering. That would go a long way toward stabilizing the country and the economy. Ratcheting up ever increasing debt to police the world is the real problem in our country. Most of these wars we pay for are in the interests of corporate profit. Maybe we could stop our bullying ways as a country and try to be better citizens of the world. The same defensive, offensive, who cares about anyone else while we look out for number one among our citizens, is the same attitude we have out there in the world. We are our own enemies.

    1. I wish there was a magic wand that could be waved and our culture would return to the values of the 1930s and 1940s, but it’s too late, in my opinion. Values were different back then and society was structured in a way that reinforced connections between people. Now, it’s the opposite. Disagree with someone’s religious or political views and you may very well be ostracized forever — and that’s just a difference of opinion/belief! Do we really expect civility and generosity when a real crisis happens? Unfortunately, I don’t think so.

  23. Well Mom, I for one think you are very astute. You have given me just what I want…information…different points of view… and analysis of those. Now it is up to me to do just what you said, be open, flexible, and agile in making relevant decisions for the circumstances presented and my personal situation. Thanks so much. I think I may have a little bit of natural affinity for this since I am an ESFP, Troubleshooter, on the Myers-Briggs Temperament Sorter. We tend to take what is available, rules/customs or no rules/customs, and make it work.
    Again thank you. And especially for making it free up to this point. That’s what’s always gets me: People say they are doing this for others, seeming all altruistic, but then line their pockets with their books/seminars, which usually misses the people who need it most. They could at least set up charities or more appropriately educational services to /help/ people get off food stamps and learn to manager their money. As Ben Stein said recently, and received PC flake, people are poor because they don’t know how to manage their money! But of course, we also know that most of these people only want the handouts. Too many are lazy and have the communist mentality. Truly sad and disgusting.

    1. Thanks, Sheila. One of my points for writing this article was to get people to THINK and not become complacent just because they think they’re invulnerable because of their location. The somewhat hostile comments here just prove that point.

  24. I live an hour from a small town, and police presence is essentially non-existent. They don’t want to come out here and they’re more likely to be upset at the person who called them than at the lawbreaker.

    If SHTF, they’d be even less likely to come out here. Actually, why would they bother? They’d be far too busy dealing with problems in town. Punitive regulations and laws? I’m in Canada, which tends to have far stricter laws than the US in many things, and we’re essentially ignored and forgotten where we live. It’s funny when I call the county office to see if things are allowed and the answer is almost always that the bylaws and restrictions in town don’t apply to us.

    With that said, I would agree with you that a BOL where you plan to go *after* things go bad is a stupid idea. I joke (half-serious) that you’re not accepted around here until you can point to the house where your grandfather was born. The best place to bug-out is a place where you already have rural family, or can marry into it, and the best time to do it is ten years ago. (Like planting a tree – the second best time is now.)

    I’d rather winter over in my solar-powered, wood-heated, fully stocked cabin in the woods than in a very vulnerable house in town. People always ask how we got through winter and are always shocked when I say “Warm, dry, no power outages, no loss of heat, and we ate great food all winter.”

    By the same token, the best time of year on our rural, barely maintained road, is winter. Spring and fall are bad, but you learn to adjust your off-property time around the seasons.

    1. Marie, the Bundy Ranch standoff taught me that any time a government entity sets their sites on an individual, there is no hiding from them. Their authority, here, at least, has become dangerously overpowering. Many/most of these agencies have zero accountability or oversight. And then I remember this: http://offgridsurvival.com/patriotsextremists/ That’s why I included that particular paragraph in this article.

  25. We happen to live outside the small town by 7 miles and in case of most disasters, we will be cut off from everything because of our proximity to rivers and the Pacific. I read this and agree with your assessments, but we’re “out here” anyway. All I can do is prepare for the likely events of earthquakes and tsunamis. There ARENT any roads out of here other than the coastal highway, which will be gone. We love it here and are trading the location beauty for the safety of a metropolis, I guess. I am glad to learn from you and your readers. Thank you.

  26. The main thing I get out of this is what I have ALWAYS thought…city people ARE a different breed! Stay where you are PLEASE!!! You have NO CLUE!!!

  27. Perhaps the best way is not to wait for the shtf to happen in the safe knowledge to a cosy survival in an Idaho cave.
    Perhaps it would be better to work against the shtf.
    Perhaps electing a government that does not grab all the resources and wealth leaving the rest in poverty and despair ready to revolt – perhaps something more sustainable, less dividing.

    Extreme wealth can’t be accumulated by hard work alone. For extreme wealth you always need masses of workers working for you whom you don’t pay properly. Or you just gamble.
    So if you don’t want the 1% get extremely wealthy, don’t work for them. Let them clean their toilet by themselves.
    Focus on your family instead.

  28. Those who are weirded out by “we” should try to think about “us” and “our” forfathers.

    1% vs 99%

    We are those of the 99% that are not afraid anymore that the 1% will pack up and leave.
    Let them. We’d even assist to shoot them to the moon.

  29. The survival mom is hot! Hi survival mom :). Since 2000 crap has been hitting the fan. Don’t get me wrong I think it will… someday. But the point is nowhere is completely safe. And honestly your chances of surviving depends on many factors, luck included. As for me, I’ll move to western Colorado soon. Lots of independent, self reliant, god fearing people seem to live there. And lots of gun owners. No it’s not perfect, winters can be cold, and Denver is close by but the Rockies provide a nice shield from the starving masses. Currently in Austin, not a good place to be if things get bad huh?

  30. There is a significant amount of hostility and paranoia on display here. Neither of these traits are going to be an advantage when things go sideways.

  31. Pingback: Weekend Knowledge Dump- October 9, 2015 | Active Response Training

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