How To Pick The Perfect Bug Out Location When SHTF

Choosing the right bug out location is key to surviving a SHTF scenario.

Whether it’s a natural disaster, societal collapse, or some other kind of long term survival crisis, you need to have a secure, well-supplied place to head to.

Without shelter and safety, you will find surviving difficult. 

This guide will help you understand the key features of a perfect bug out location. It will take you through the major decisions and considerations you need to take into account.

What is a Bug Out Location? 

When things go south you head to your bug out location. It could be a bunker, a cabin, a house, or some piece of land. 

It is intended to be a self-sufficient place of safety for you and your family. A place you can escape to when the rest of the world has gone mad. 

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What to Look for in a Perfect Bug Out Location

The world is a big place and selecting somewhere safe and secure can be a difficult task.

To help you narrow down your perfect location, go through the following checklist. 


The first thing you want from your bug out location is distance. Urban locations don’t make good bug out locations. Proximity to people means competition for resources and increased threat. 

Urban locations are also unlikely to provide the necessary resources for survival. The collapse of society tends to shut businesses and supermarkets after all. 

That being said, you don’t want to be totally out of reach. 

If you are on foot, your bug out location should not be more than 60 miles from your nearest urban center (considered a bug out motorcycle?).

This means that you can get to the town or city if needed without spending too many days walking. 

If you have a car, your location should be no further than a tank of gas away. You may not be able to rely on gas stations for refueling.

If it is beyond a tank of gas make sure you carry fuel sufficient for the journey. 

So to summarise, you need to be far enough away from the urban center to be able to avoid the rush of fleeing citizens but close enough to access the city or town if needed.


As mentioned, other people can decrease your chances of survival. In a SHTF situation, you need to look out for you and yours. It is not the time to be charitable and welcoming. 

With this in mind, your bug out location needs to be hidden from passers-by. It needs to be hidden from the eyes and all the other senses. 

Make sure the location you choose is not visible from any roads, paths, or railways. Tree cover should mask your location from the sky as well as ground level.

You need to consider visibility at night as well as in the day. This means making sure any lights are not visible from roads, paths, or railways. Again, tree and shrubbery cover can be very good for this. 

Sound is also really important to think about. In rural conditions sound carries. You need to soundproof your accommodation and limit your activities outside to quieter pursuits. 

Smells also travel fairly far. Try to keep outdoor cooking to a minimum. If you must cook, do so at night when there are fewer people around. Limit your use of spices and herbs to reduce the aromas. 

Getting To Your Bug Out Location

Seclusion tends to make locations more difficult to reach. This can be a problem. 

When choosing your bug out location, you need to make sure you have multiple access routes. In crises, major roadways tend to be roadblocked or patrolled by law enforcement. 

You need to make sure that you can get there by other means if the roads are shut. This could be back roads or it could be footpaths. 

If you plan on using a vehicle, you should consider this when thinking about your routes. A  footpath is no good for a jeep, after all. 

As a rule of thumb, you want to try and have 3 different ways to access your location. One of which should be accessible by a vehicle.


Exposure is one of the deadliest threats you will face. You must have some form of shelter at your bug out location before SHTF.

If you purchase land with a standing structure, you are ahead of the game. Do make sure to check the condition of the buildings frequently. 

If the land does not have a structure you’re going to need to sort some. Your shelter could be as simple as a trailer or a tent or you could build a structure from scratch. You will need to think about how you’re going to get building supplies to your location. 

Food and Water

Without a supply of fresh water, you will only be able to survive as long as your bottled water lasts. You never know how long you’ll need to be at your bug out location so freshwater is essential. 

Look for a location that is within walking distance of a stream, river, spring, or clean lake. You want to make sure the water source is available all year round. If it freezes or dries up, you’re going to struggle in the cold or dry season. 

Water will also be necessary for washing, cleaning, cooking, and watering plants and livestock. Make sure the supply is large enough for this. 

Food can come from vegetable gardens, livestock, fish, or game. You need to have sufficient room for growing and raising your own food.

If not you need to make sure that there are ample hunting or fishing grounds. 

Security and Safety

You need to be able to defend your location. Natural defenses such as cliff faces are great but you also need to balance it with the threat of natural disasters. 

Waterways can also defend your property but again run the risk of flooding or bringing people onto your property.

When you’re scouting a location, make sure you note all the access points and think about how they could be watched or defended. 


You will need to purchase your location legally and adhere to building regulations.

This may not be an issue after the SHFT event but you won’t be able to prep properly if you keep getting shut down. 

Final Thoughts On Picking The Perfect Bug Out Location

There is a lot to think about and you should take the time to consider your location carefully. After all, it could literally be a case of life and death. 

Follow these guidelines and I’m sure you’ll find you’ll be able to find a safe location.