Not all of us can afford the typical bug out location that we hear about all the time, but with the right amount of thought and planning picking a bug out location that doesn’t meet the “ideal” specifications could actually turn out to be better than buying a plot of land on top of a mountain.
In a perfect world it would be great to have no budget and no time frame to deal with, but that is just not reality for most of us. just because we don’t have a lot of money does not mean we need to plan on bugging out to a campground somewhere, it just means we need to put some more thought into where our money is going before we invest it.
If we do this right we could not only have an affordable Bug out location, we could also be building our future off the grid retreat or survival homestead.
Here are some of the things that we thought about in the months prior to actually pulling the trigger on purchasing our bug out property. I’m sure some people will completely disagree with this, but I guarantee you, this was well thought out, and we are playing the hand we were dealt.
Bugging out in a disaster would be our last resort, but bugging out for good is in our plans for the future. We might not have the money to build a doomsday castle, but with planning and research, I believe we have made the best possible decision based on our situation and concerns.
What is Your Vision?
The first step you need to take is defining what your vision for this bug out location or survival homestead is. Will this be a location just to get out of dodge? Or can you see yourself actually living here off the grid in the future?
For us the choice was to buy some property that we could slowly build up into an off the grid homestead where we could live after our children have families of their own and we are financially ready to “retire” there.
My dream or vision is not to be retired sitting on a beach in Mexico with my sun hat on and my pants pulled up to my chest.
My vision is to take the skills I have learned and put them to use somewhere where people will leave me alone and not tell me what I can and cannot do.
Defining what you plan on doing with the property will help you define how much of property you will need, what resources you need and how you will build on that property.
How Invested are You?
By how invested are you I mean are you willing to put in the work required to make this a sustainable survival retreat? Buying property is just the first step to having a functional bug out location, and this is where you have the most room in your budget. The more you are willing to invest physically, the less you will need to invest monetarily.
You will also need to consider what kind of work will be involved. Will the ground need to be leveled to build? Will trees need to be cut down? Will the soil need work to garden? Make a list of what you can and can’t do, or will and won’t do, and keep these in mind while planning your purchase.
Water Tops the List
Before we go into anything else we need to think about water. Without water you have nothing, and while having rivers and streams near your location is great you will still need to know how you are going to get that water to your location and what it is going to take.
Buying property with water running through it doesn’t necessarily mean you have the water rights to it, if someone downstream owns the water rights to the stream flowing through your property you are not allowed to divert that water for use on your property.
The best thing to do (in my opinion) is make finding property that allows you to get a well. Having a well on your property could save you time and energy collecting water as well as finding the space to store it. We looked at a few different property’s that were very low cost but not having access to a well was a deal breaker.
A bug out location is about more than just the property, it’s about getting to the property in different conditions either because of weather of riots, looting and chaos. Bugging out in the winter will be far different than bugging out in midsummer.
Another thing to take into account when picking a bug out location is ease of travel for family members. If more than one person will be driving, everyone needs to be understand and be comfortable driving that route, or routes.
Some people may not be comfortable driving through mountain passes or steep roads. If at all possible you want to make sure everyone who can drive can do it, and is willing to do it.
The last thing you want is for something to happen because you were thrust into a situation where another family member is driving and has never practiced because they were afraid to.
Take some time before you even make a purchase and find out if everyone is willing to drive in these conditions, because if they are not, you might be wasting money buying bug out property in this location.
One thing that we don’t want to do is travel the highway to where we are going, and it will be hard, if not impossible to keep track of all the “off roads” you will need to take.
This is why I have a set of topographic maps for each section I plan on traveling. Smaller Maps (smaller areas) have more detail and will show you all the different roads and routes you can take.
Planning these routes is something you can do at home and then practice taking these routes. This will give you a better understanding of the conditions and also a better estimate of how many miles you will need to travel.
The Price is Right
Not all of us can afford a doomsday castle, and that’s why all of this planning is so important. We need to make sure that the money we spend is well spent. How much you spend on your property is completely up to you, but if you don’t have extra money to be throwing around, planning ahead will help you make the correct choice ahead of time.
As I said above your bug out location or survival homestead will come together with a combination of blood, sweat, tears and money, how much you have of one will directly correlate with how much you need of the other.
What is Your Time Frame?
Your time frame depends on your budget and when you feel like you need to have your survival homestead finished. Stage one should be the bare minimum, food, water, shelter and security. Once you have a place to go that covers your minimum survival needs you can work on everything else over time.
My time frame is 5 to 10 years, but I’m not so sure we have that long. So before I do anything I want to figure out the steps I need to take that would give me these four necessities in a worst case scenario.
Geography and Conditions
Driving to and living at your property will be different depending the seasons and weather conditions. It is very important to keep in mind that if it takes you a half a tank of gas and three hours to get to your bug out location in perfect conditions, it is going to take longer depending on weather, detours or unforeseen circumstances.
What you can do on your property also depends on the geography. Gardening could be affected by the soil conditions and could take longer than expected, and the natural wildlife will see your crop as a food source. Ranching will be affected by the resources and water available.
Building a Community
We are all worried about OPSEC (operational security) but there is a fine line when it comes to being an outsider and giving out to much information. You don’t want to be an outsider in a rural area because people in rural areas are leery about people moving into their backyard. At the same time but don’t forget about OPSEC either, giving up too much information could make you a target.
The odds are you might need some help from the residents from time to time, or you will need to go into town for supplies. The more often you do this, and the less people know about you, the more curious they get about what you’re up to.
It’s not a good idea being that “strange outsider” and raising suspicion, but you don’t have to be the guy bragging about being a prepper and how much food you have stored…both of these make you a target.
Security is important not only when you take up residence at your location, buy also while you are building it and you are not there every day. So security should always be part of the plan.
How will you keep people from taking up residence or vandalizing your property while you are away? Putting up a fence and a no trespassing sign could peak the curiosity of someone and make them think “I wonder what is in there?”
Our idea for this is to build underground until we are ready to either move to the location or visit more often. Digging a hole and dropping a shipping container in it for supplies will not only give us the camouflage needed to protect the property from intruders, it will also serve as shelter if a SHTF scenario were to occur before we have the property ready.
One last thing to think about when it comes to security is that in the city, you know that the police will “eventually” show up if someone were to threaten your life. In an urban area you might be on your own…especially in a SHTF scenario.
The Survival Homestead
If you keep all of these tips in mind you will be able to pick a bug out location or survival homestead that will eventually become your homestead.
If you define your needs and concerns you can pick a location that will fit your needs in the event of any disaster, and do it on your budget. It might take a little longer than we would like, but for most of us, we have more time than money…let’s just hope we have the time.