The feasibility of any bug out plan depends a lot on your starting point. Obviously, some regions of the country have more to offer than others in terms of places to go. But every part of the Lower 48 has its share of potential bug out locations. The map below shows eight major regions as I’ve divided them for the purposes of my book: Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late.
There is some crossover between the regions shown here, but the illustrator has done a pretty good job of placing the demarcation lines approximately the way I have divided the bug out locations described in the book. Note the page numbers that will correspond to the beginning of each regional chapter. The first four chapters are on general information and planning, including gear and methods of transportation.
My reasoning for these divisions is that these specific regions offer distinct variations in terrain, climate and plant and animal communities. Again, there is some crossover in some areas, but anyone familiar with all these areas of the U.S. will see how survival skills and gear can be different from one region to the next. Natural hazards including everything from weather to dangerous wildlife vary according to these regions, as do resources such as the availability or lack or water, edible plants and game animals. It is this variation that made working on this book such an interesting project for me over the past several months, not to mention the real time I’ve spent out there backpacking, canoeing and kayaking in all of these regions at various times during the past 25 years. Writing each chapter made me reminiscence about past trips and long to load up a canoe or backpack and go again.
My home base is in the Gulf Coast region, and I stay here because of family ties as well as my love of the water – both the rivers and the Gulf itself. I’m lucky to have a large number of bug out options close by because I live in one of the least populated states east of the Mississippi River. Those of us living in small towns or rural areas are the least likely to need to bug out to begin with, but each region on the above map has its share of densely populated cities where the residents would do well to have a working knowledge of where to go if the SHTF and they have to get out. Keep in mind that the vast majority of the populations of those cities are not going to have this knowledge and most will not even try to leave, but will instead wait for outside help that may or may not come. Out here in the small towns and rural areas of America, most of us would pull together in such a situation and help each other out, as has been proven time and time again when the big Gulf hurricanes have hit the nearby coast. In the aftermath of Katrina, the media covered the chaos and violence going down in New Orleans, while people along the even harder hit Mississippi Coast quietly rolled up their sleeves and went to work digging out of the rubble and rebuilding.
So it’s obvious that where you live has a lot to do with how you should formulate your survival plans and can be a big factor in your chances of success or at least the degree of difficulty you would face. But one thing we are blessed with here in the U.S. is plenty of undeveloped and uninhabited lands. It may not seem so when you’re driving past mile after mile of strip malls and suburban sprawl, but compared to so many other countries in the world there is a lot of unused land here – both public and private. Have you explored all the potential bug out locations near you? What if you travel a lot for your job or for pleasure? Do you know where the big uninhabited areas are in other regions you frequent? If not, you should think about it. I hope that this kind of information detailed in my new book will be of use not only for bug out planning, but to encourage readers to get out and explore the great wild places available their own region and other parts of the country.