How to Bug-In

If you have decided the best route for now is to bug-in, there are a few things you will need to do.

Secure the Perimeter

If you are bugging-in, you will definitely need some security.

  • Make sure you have the doors and windows locked at all times. Barricade doors and windows where needed.
  • Be prepared to turn away neighbors and defend what you have worked so hard to build.
  • At night, you’ll want to make sure you don’t display too many lights – lights mean people are inside, which means supplies. Use blackout curtains and candles to maintain a dark silhouette.

Maintain a Routine

It’s good to get on a routine during a SHTF bug-in situation, just as you are normally on a daily routine. Get up at a certain time every morning, eat at certain times, perform certain tasks at certain times — all of these things will help make life as normal as possible and keep morale high (especially if you have young children). If you assign tasks to everyone, it will also help to make things a little more normal for the kids. Get them involved with daily chores to keep their mind off of whatever emergency you may be facing.

Make a Plan

After the first few days, if you haven not already started to form a plan for a long-term SHTF disaster, it would be wise to do it now. Evaluate your situation — what type of situation are we dealing with? …how safe are we where we are? …how long will this scenario last? Once you have answered those basic three questions to the best of your ability, you will know what you need to do next to ensure your survival.

Prepare to Bug-Out

If things are starting to close in on you, and you have run out of other options, the only thing left that you can do is to get out of Dodge. Grab your bug-out gear and prepare to make tracks! Be sure you know the best route to take and have a bug-out plan ready to go. No matter how safe you think you are right now, the last thing you want to do is to be caught without an escape plan. In a SHTF situation, things can go from bad to worse in the blink of an eye. (On a side note, it’s good to have an exit plan ready and practiced anyway just in case!)

Major Issues with Bugging-In


As a good prepper, you probably already have mass amounts of water already stored, right? However, if it comes time to actually bug-in, you will definitely need to plan for how to collect more. It is safe to assume that if you are in this situation, city water will not last for long, if it is even safe to drink given your particular situation. If you have a well, you are likely better off. Rainwater will become your friend either way. It is best to learn to purify water, too, just in case you have to resort to less-than-reliable sources. Also, be sure to pick up a good gravity-fed water filtration system. This one will hold up to 5 gallons of water at a time.


Just as with water, you may already have a stockpile of emergency food, but it is not going to last forever. If it is safe to be outside for long periods of time, you can forage, hunt, trap, and grow a garden. If it is not safe, however, you will need to ration the food you have stored to ensure you don’t run out too fast. Remember, this is an emergency SHTF situation, not a buffet. Practice fasting and rationing your food now so you’re better prepared in a SHTF situation. Practice fasting and rationing food now so you’re prepared in a #SHTF situation. CLICK TO TWEET


In this state of emergency, it stands to reason that the trash truck won’t be running. So what will you do with all of your smelly trash? If it sits around stagnant for too long, you can be assured it will draw flies and rats. The trash alone isn’t sanitary to keep around your family, but when you add pests to the equation, it’s an outright health hazard! You’ll need a plan for your trash. If you are in a true SHTF situation, you may be ok to burn your trash, but remember “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” — and where there’s fire, there’s usually life. This could draw attention to your position and let people know you’re there. That’s fine if you want to be noticed, but if you’re concerned about OpFor, it’s probably not the best thing to do for your security.

Human Waste

If you thought your problems were bad because of the trash piling up, can you imagine what would happen if the plumbing stopped functioning properly? It’s a disgusting thing to think about, but if you don’t plan ahead, it could be cause for real panic in the face of emergency. Learning to dig a latrine will be a handy little trick. Keep in mind the best practices for disposing of human waste. You could also build a makeshift outhouse with a “go bucket” inside.



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