Monday, December 21, 2009

BOL (Bug Out Location)

A "bug-out location" (BOL) can be anything from a carefully-prepared private retreat on land that you own to uninhabited wilderness land owned by the state or federal government.  For most urban and suburban people who do not own such property in the country, public lands or remote private lands with absentee owners are the only option.  This is not the dismal situation that it seems.  The United States is blessed with public lands, with a whopping 30 percent of the entire nation's land area, or nearly 650 million acres, owned by the federal government. 

Bug-out locations make up a large part of my book, which divides the Lower 48 States into eight major regions:  The Gulf Coast Southeast, The East Coast, the Appalachian Corridor, The North Woods, The Midwest and Heartland, The Rocky Mountain Corridor, The Southwest, and The West Coast.  In each of these regions I describe many specific examples of good bug-out locations, including swamps, river drainages, barrier islands, mountain ranges and deserts, depending on the region.  Most of these locations are on public land of some type, including national and state forests, national and state parks, national and state wildlife refuges, national wild and scenic river corridors, U.S. Army Corps. of Engineer's land, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. 

Some regions of the U.S., especially in the West and parts of the far north and in the Appalachians, have huge tracts of national forests and designated wilderness areas that you can choose from as bug-out locations, many of which are accessible only on foot or horseback.  Other more densely populated regions such as the Southeast and East Coast, are more limited in the availability of big wilderness, but still have large unihabited areas along the course of rivers and the shores of bays, marshes and barrier islands.  In many of these areas where public land holdings are smaller, there are still large areas of uninhabited land owned by corporations such as timber companies or by individuals who live elsewhere.  Some of the best bug-out locations, are in fact in just such places that few outside the immediate area even know about and that little has been written about to promote visiting for outdoor recreation.  Many such places are described in my book and will be the subject of posts in this blog. 

Finding a good bug-out location is a matter of exploring potential areas near your current location, beginning with tools such as maps and Google Earth and then on the ground by actually getting out there.  Advance planning and scouting will also be a big part of this blog. 


  1. I know a spot on a lake in State owned land but it's only about 1.5 miles from a paved mountain road. Should a Bug Out location be of any certain distance from a road? I would be traveling with early grade school kids.

  2. Steve, Chances are that if you know about it, so do others. If your intent is to bug out and avoid as much interaction with others as possible than 1.5 would still be too close. Smells from cooking on a campfire, the smoke, and the noises that grade schoolers tend to make when playing can carry a long ways. It may go without saying but if you can find an area 5+ miles off the beaten path to bug out to your chances of staying hidden from others will increase greatly!

  3. my bug out plan is to go to our cabin 100 miles away from where we live. we have enough supplies there to last a few weeks. we can bring more supplies with us when we leave. i think we could live there for at least a month before we would have to think about supplies.


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