Three Types of Bug-Out Locations

Posted: December 12, 2014 in Bugging Out, SHTF Preparedness, Survival and Skills
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3 Types of Bug-Out Locations

No matter what you think, when the time comes to bug-out, you won’t just be able to throw a couple of things into a backpack and hit the road. The act of bugging out requires a lot of logistical and operational planning. No matter where you are going and how you are planning to get there, there are several factors that a permanent location must have to be suitable for long-term use. Each of these factors are needed for sustaining life and in any location that is lacking these factors should be either forgotten about or only used as a temporary site.

There are really 3 types of bug-out sites. They range for the short stay site to the permanent bug-out location that you plan to use for the long term. The first bug-out site is an area I call a R.O.N. (Remain Over Night), bivouac or a hide site.

RON/Bivouac/Hide Site: The RON and bivouac sites are mainly used at night as a camp while moving to another location during none threatening times. They are generally away from routes of travel and provides little to no shelter. These sites should use the natural vegetation for cover and concealment.

Bivouac site is a simple overnight camping site.

Bivouac site is a simple overnight camping site.

One of the major issues with these sites is the lack of security. Someone in your traveling party will have to pull security for the area for as long as you’re there.  You can be a little lax in these types of sites and build a cooking fire, however you don’t want a bonfire that can be seen for miles. If you’re going to build a cooking fire, try to build a Dakota fire pit.

Hide Site is a site that you and your party can rest in while maintaining security during the day.

Hide Site is a site that you and your party can rest in while maintaining security during the day.

The hide site generally provides concealment and little else.  Hide sites are normally used when moving through hostile territory and used during day light hours when you don’t want to be seen. That means no visible light should be used with in the sight, no flash lights, chem-lights, or fires of any kind.  Hide sites should be used for more than one day, unless the tactical situation dictates that you can’t move. When using hide sites security must be maintained at all times. If the site has been compromised, it’s time to move out.


Temporary Site: The next type of bug-out location is the temporary site that is planned for well in advance and that will provide you an area to rest for a period of time. This rest stop should have some sort of shelter and a pre-planned cache of supplies that will allow you to resupply if needed.

A temporary site should be able to support your party for more than one night.

A temporary site should be able to support your party for more than one night.

Much like the RON or bivouac, this site should be off of the main routes of travel and should be used for as long as needed. After a couple of days of rest, it is time to move on to your permanent bug-out location.


Long Term Bug-Out Site: There are several things your permanent bug-out location should have. Before you decide to lay out any money for some land in the middle of no-where, make sure you explore every inch of the property and the surrounding area. You will also want to conduct a map recon of the property and the surrounding area. Try to use the most up-to-date map possible. You may also want to check a night satellite map of the area.

US Satellite Map - 2012

US Satellite Map – 2012

The satellite imagery will show you population density and also give you an idea of major traveled routes.

Northern Europe Satellite Map

Northern Europe Satellite Map

Some of the other characteristics you need for a long term Bug-out site are listed below.

  • Water Source – No matter where you end-up, you have to have a water source. Lakes and ponds can provide you with needed water, but the water will have to be purified before you consume it. River and stream water will also have to be purified. Whatever method you use for water purification it will have to be sustainable over the long term.
  • Food Source – Surviving off the land is hard, if not impossible. There are a couple of ways you can do this. Developing a cache at your Bug-out site. You will need to make sure that you plan for more food that you should need. There will be spoilage even through most things that you gather for cache will be labeled for long term storage. Another thing you can do in advance is to plant food plots for wild animals. This will attract both food for animals and predators which both will provide you the protein you will require. Another idea is to develop and foster a relationship with some of the locals in the area. Once you do this, you may want to work with them to develop a sustainment plan for a larger group.
  • Concealment – You will want to try to keep your location away from the prying eyes of others. Don’t go tell everyone and their brother that you have a location to head to when the SHTF. The further back from a road that you can place your shelter the better. Use camouflage to hide the entries and exits to the property. The main goal is to try to make the place look like there is no one around. If this can’t be achieved, the proper security measures will have to be emplaced and other protective actions will be required.
  • Shelter – The shelter design is up to you. Try to locate your shelter where you can have overhead cover from trees. Remember to use the natural lay of the land to provide some cover to your shelter. You may want to explore some underground shelter options. Underground shelters can not only provide protection from threats, but they can also help you maintain the temperature of your shelter.   However, if you go the underground shelter route, make sure you address ventilation for your shelter. Let’s face facts, it would really suck to make it to your shelter only to have carbon monoxide kill you in your sleep!
  • Isolation – We have already discussed this point. There are good and bad sides to isolation. This is an issue that you will have to decide.

The following factors that you will also have to take into account for your long term bug-out shelter. These issues must be prepared for and addressed.

A great example of a well prepared bug-out site up and running.

A great example of a well prepared bug-out site up and running.

Perhaps the most important point in the entire article is this, only bug-out when it is absolutely necessary. There are several risk that you will be undertaking by traveling during SHTF situation. You may be better off bugging in than bugging out.


  1. […] Read more at…Three Types of Bug-Out Locations […]


  2. Michael Mixon says:

    Regarding water sources, here is a great tool to ensure access to clean water during a crisis.


  3. Kenny says:

    i so often see the post that says to not bug out until all is lost. Is this the government trying to keep us herded together or just cowardly authors. I say Bug Out before the event becomes critical enough to cause Narshall Law or total anarchy.


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