Many preppers focus on bugging out, though, true emergency preparedness requires you to be prepared for all situations – including bugging in. In fact, bugging out should be you last option in the majority of situations. Think about this, you have all your survival supplies at your home, right? Why leave with only a few of them? Bugging in can be exciting too!
There aren’t really that many potential situations where bugging out is going to be your best bet. By nature, most disasters, whether natural or manmade will result in conditions which make travel unfavourable, or even impossible. Moving around on foot, or by vehicle can turn you into a potential target. If you are the only person walking the roads, with a big backpack, and load of gear, people are going to take notice, and you may possibly get robbed, or even killed.
This is why bugging in (aka sheltering in place) is going to be the best bet for most situations, which means you need to have the necessary gear to bug in.
NOTE: I am not saying bugging out is a bad idea, but it should be your last resort, bugging in should be the number one plan.
So lets take a look at the list of basic needs, and how you can prepare incase you find yourself in a bug in situation.
Bugging In Basics
The more water you have stored, the better. Many experts suggest that having one gallon (4.5L) per person, per day for a SHTF situation is sufficient, though, if you can store more, go for it. You should have at least 3 days of water stored. But how do you know how long your are going to be without water? And one gallon per person, per day isn’t really that much, when it has to be used for cooking, drinking and washing up.
I suggest having at least 2 gallons of water per person, per day, and start with building a supply that will last 7 days. That means you will need 14 gallons per person, for 7 days, which is 63 litres. One case of water is around 3 gallons, so buy a few of these and you are good to go. You could also use old plastic or glass bottles, and store you water in those, and save some money. Just make sure to give them a good wash out before filling them with water from the tap, you don’t want any funny tastes.
In an extreme case, you may also consider draining water from your radiators and toilet bowl and cistern to use that for drinking and cooking, but remember, you first need to filter and purity this water to make if safe for drinking. You can learn how to filter and purify water here.
You should also note any water sources nearby, such as rivers, streams and lakes, even the ocean. With this thought in mind, you should invest in a quality water filtration device, which means you can collect rain water, or any natural water, filter and purify it, and then enjoy.
When storing your water, put it somewhere out of direct sunlight, and in a place that remains cool year round. Under the bed, in a cupboard, or in an unused room are great locations.
Another good tip is to make use of your bathtub if you have one. Following an announcement of an emergency, you can fill your bath tub with water, and that can be used for drinking, cooking and other things. You might want to consider getting a bath tub WaterBOB to help keep the water clean, and from picking up a taste off your bath tub.
You don’t need to fill your home with MRE’s. Instead, just stock up on the foods that you already consume on a daily basis or stuff that your family enjoys. Examples include canned soup, beans, pasta, rice. You can find a list of emergency survival foods items here which are cheap, and taste nice.
If an emergency occurs, and the grid is down, consume the perishables first. You should eat whatever is in your fridge, then move on to the freezer before touching your longer term food storage. Cook up any meat before it goes bad, and don’t let anything go to waste.
If the grid is down, your oven may not work, nor will the microwave, though if you have a gas range, you are in luck. Either way, you should plan ahead, and always have a way to boil water and cook food. Patio grills work well for cooking food, while a camping stove is great for both boiling water and cooking on. Campfires are also a great way to cook on, and you can easily make one in your back yard, though the smoke and smell might attract unwanted attention.
Picking up a small camping stove is your best bet, along with some extra gas canisters.
Many homes today don’t have more than half a box of band-aids, and a bottle of pain killers. For a bug in situation, you are going to want to have a little more than that in your stockpile. The most common kinds of injuries are going to be small cuts and scrapes, so having the proper equipment to clean these up is vital. You don’t want to risk getting an infected cut in a survival situation.
You should stock up on bandages, gauze pads, antiseptic cream, alcohol wipes and disinfectant. Pain killers will also be needed for bugging in.
An upset stomach is a common reaction to stress and diet changes so stock up on meds that can treat this.
If you have any family members who rely on medication daily, make sure you have enough on hand to last a grid down situation when bugging in.
The majority of homes have an adequate supply of soap, shampoo, toothpaste and the like to last a few weeks. If you don’t have enough to tide you over for a few weeks, consider buying some extra. Hand sanitiser is a great alternative to soap, and it requires no water, though, your hands need to be free of dirt, it will only kill germs, not remove dirt.
When the grid is down, your water supply may not be working, and therefore you toilet will have no water to flush. You can either use a bucket of water to flush your toilet, or you can build your own toilet if the sewerage system is backed up. A 5 gallon bucket is ideal for this, and you can either pick them up on Amazon, or ask around local delis and see if they have any they are throwing out.
You might also want to consider stocking up on toilet paper. While there are alternatives to toilet paper, such as cutting up old shirts, good old TP is hard to beat.
Another point you may want to consider – if there is a prolonged grid down, and you run out of clean clothes, you may want to have a plan for washing you clothes. The 5 gallon bucket is a great method for washing clothes in, just fill it with some washing powder and warm water you have heated on your stove, and agitate the clothes until clean, then give them a rinse out and hang to dry.
When the electric goes out, so do the lights, inside and out. You will want to have a quality headlamp, and hand torch on hand to make navigating and doing tasks in the dark that little bit easier. Hand crank flashlights are also a good option, though these do not emit as much light as a quality flashlight.
Check out: How to Charge Your Electrical Devices when the Grid is Down
You should also take note of where your gas, water and electric shut off points are incase of a leak. Invest in a shut off wrench to make life a lot easier.
Having other general tools on hand such as screwdrivers, screws, nails and a hammer are also a good idea, as is a good spade for digging a hole to build a fire in. You could opt for a high quality multi tool such as a Leatherman, which has many useful features, including screwdrivers, pliers, saws…. I would be lost without mine!
Check out: Leatherman Wave vs Surge
Disasters often bring debris such as fallen trees, snow and such. A good chainsaw of axe will make short work of any fallen trees blocking your path. It will also be good for chopping up firewood for cooking. Remember to store some fuel for your chainsaw!
While in todays modern world, we have many different forms of communication at our fingertips, such as smartphones, tablets, computers and the like, we need to plan for the possibility that the mobile network and internet may be down for a period of time.
This means that your phones and computers will be useless. A simple hand crank radio will give you ears to the outside world, and allow you to listen to news and updates regarding the situation at hand.
You should also invest in a set of walkie talkies for communication between family members, as this will be vital in your survival. A cheap set with a range of 3-4km would be suffice.
At first, this sounds silly, however, after two hours in a power outage, do you think you are going to be bored? How will your kids cope without their computer games, and phones?
Board games and playing cards are a great way to keep the family entertained whilst bugging in. You can pick them up online, or even in a charity shop for pretty much nothing.
Books are also another great way to pass time, and you can also learn from them. You could pick up some survival books, or just regular books for reading.
Sheltering in place, or bugging in is likely going to be your best bet, unless you home is at immediate danger. Having the things above on hand will make life easier, and more comfortable when you have to bug in for SHTF.