Wed. Oct 20th, 2021

Although we’ve all heard of bugging out, there are instances when hunkering down or “bugging in” makes more sense. Bugging in is staying at home while maintaining a low profile. You don’t go out, shop, or communicate with others, and you remain vigilant… Does this ring a bell?

Although the COVID-19 outbreak prompted many individuals to adopt this lifestyle, it has been practiced for thousands of years.

Disasters That might Cause You To Bug In

There are many good reasons to go out of society for a period, just as there are many good reasons to step out of society during a global pandemic. Here are some of the incidents and events that have led to the emergence of this lifestyle in the past.

Man-Made Disasters that are Catastrophic

Economic and Societal Collapse
Civil Unrest
Civil War
Total War
Emerging Cyber-Terrorism
Nuclear Incident

Catastrophic Natural Disasters

Hurricanes and Typhoons
Volcanic Eruptions
Tsunamis
Pandemics

While there are other natural disasters such as tornadoes and floods, other disasters, such as wildfires, may necessitate evacuation regardless of whether or not people want to stay at home. It’s awful, but you have no choice but to abandon ship if a wildfire is headed straight towards your home.

However, most disasters influence a region solely as a result of the event’s side effects, rather than the full power of the disaster. A tsunami may wreak havoc on coastal locations, but inland towns may lose power, or, in the case of the Fukushima reactor disaster, people may be exposed to radiation for hundreds of kilometers.

Why Bug In?

People break in for two main reasons. Either they don’t have anyplace else to go or their current area is safer than any other. To be clear, when people say they’re going to “bug out,” they don’t always mean they’re going to a secluded log home in the highlands or a hidden compound in the desert.

Some bug-outs are as simple as staying with a cousin or acquaintance who lives outside of the catastrophe zone. However, even other people’s goodwill might be difficult to accept. At the end of the day, there’s no place like home.

The current pandemic’s mixed advantage is that it has exposed us to at least some of the realities of bugging-in. It’s a situation in which we don’t have many of the options we’ve grown to expect in ordinary life. Things include going to the movies, a concert, major family and friend gatherings, and even church, weddings, funerals, school, and work.

Even basic services such as food stores, pharmacies, and gas stations may become extinct in a severe tragedy such as a civil war or a nuclear explosion. It’s also probable that hospitals and physicians will be overburdened. People all over the world are delaying normal medical care because of COVID-19, and are often treating non-life-threatening injuries at home rather than sitting in a hospital waiting room for hours.

There’s also the issue of civil unrest to consider. When society is thrown off balance, crime and violence rise. In addition to certain common-sense procedures to keep safe and secure, home defense becomes a higher concern. Quite often, this entails staying at home rather than going out.

What it boils down to is a greater requirement for self-reliance and thoughtful planning. If we find ourselves in a situation where the things we take for granted are no longer available, we’ll have to make do with what we have. Maybe that’s why so many individuals these days have a closet full of toilet paper.

How Long Can You Expect To Bug In

Natural calamities frequently cause changes in our lifestyles. Many of us have gone without electricity for a day or two. Because of hurricanes, flooding, or wildfires, some of us have had to flee for a week or two. After a certain amount of cleaning, most of us are fortunate enough to return to normal rather quickly.

However, some calamities might have long-term ramifications. While many are growing increasingly impatient, the ongoing outbreaks around the world urge us to face the truth of how the duration of any tragedy may push us to our limits.

When the period exceeds years and an altered lifestyle becomes a new lifestyle, such boundaries are put to the ultimate test. As a result, a plan that goes beyond checklists and stockpiling to establish a mindset focused on sustainability and self-reliance is required.

It’s why basic skills like gardening and food storage, as well as the knowledge required to locate and purify water, respond to medical situations, and efficiently improvise solutions, are so crucial. When you have to do everything yourself, it’s critical to know how to do it properly.

What You Need To Bug In

We’ll go through these requirements in depth, which will help you anticipate some of the issues you might not have considered as well as solutions to the problems that come with such a drastic change in lifestyle. Some are obvious, while others are a little surprising. The difficulties multiply if the disaster causes widespread power outages. If cell phone service is disrupted or medical aid is unavailable, the same applies. There’s also the issue of food and water to consider.

Some of these regions differ depending on where you are. Residents in the desert southwest are less concerned about heat in the winter, whereas people in the Great Lakes states are keenly aware of the rigours of the season. In rural locations, pure, natural water sources are easier to get by than in cities. As a result, the decisions you make must address local issues, and you must evaluate options that will help you become as self-reliant as feasible.

We’ll provide connections to more resources on each of these topics. Most of them offer shopping lists of things you should get. We’ll go over the essentials, but checklists must always be balanced with the threat’s viability and your personal thoughts about prepping.

Finding Heat

In a wilderness survival situation, you will almost certainly not be able to make it through the night in the winter without a fire. Many people have discovered that living in a house without heat in the winter can have the same effect. If you live in a region where the winters are cold and harsh, you should consider other options for heating your home. Bugging-in isn’t an option else.

  • Wood heat is a natural alternative, especially if you can use a wood-burning stove instead of an inefficient fireplace, but it requires a consistent and ready supply of fuel.
  • A huge wood-burning furnace that can heat many rooms can also provide whole-house heating, although wood availability remains a vital success factor.
  • Pellet stoves are becoming more popular as a heating option, but they can only heat small places, such as a couple of rooms, and in the winter, they can use up to 40 pounds of pellets in a 24-hour period. To get through an average winter, that could involve stockpiling up to 3 tonnes of pellets. If it’s your major source of heat, it’s not that difficult, but as a backup, it’s a lot of work.
  • There are passive solar options, like as floor tiles in sunrooms that store and release heat throughout the day. They can assist, but they may not be enough to keep you warm as a primary source of heat.
  • Because even the greatest solar array may struggle to power a traditional water heater, rooftop hot water heaters are a potential hot water alternative.
  • Tea candles and rubbing alcohol can be used to make improvised heating solutions to keep a room warm for a few nights. Although this is not a long-term solution, improvised solutions may suffice if you reside in a region where cold nights are uncommon.

Electricity

To put it frankly, we are electrically addicted. We rely on it to the point where our lives are turned upside down if we don’t have it. The good news is that long-term power disruptions are uncommon, but worldwide pandemics are also uncommon. It seems sense to consider both short- and long-term solutions for self-sufficient electricity generation.

  • In an emergency, something as basic as a car battery or two can give a modest quantity of electric power. Wet-cell batteries are the first step in storing and using home-generated electricity. You’ll need an AC inverter.
  • For many people seeking for a self-sufficient power system, solar electricity is the best option. It will necessitate some lifestyle modifications, such as the usage of low-wattage lighting and appliances, as well as new power-saving habits and possibly rationing. The size of a solar array is entirely up to the individual, but if you think you have enough power in a configuration, try living with it as your sole source of power for a week. 
  • Another option is wind power, which is frequently combined with solar electricity. The batteries needed to store any self-generated power are the same whether it’s solar or wind, but the frequency of prevailing winds in your area and local codes play a big role. Windmills of any size can be noisy, and local governments may prohibit or restrict their use, so check first.
  • For those who live near a brook or river with a current, there are hydro-power options. The output is modest, but it is consistent and independent of daylight and the ever-changing winds. High and low water levels can be an issue, but if you live near a creek or river, it’s worth considering as an alternative.
  • Gas-powered generators are another an option, but they require a consistent and reliable gas supply. Gas-powered generators could be a dangerous option if gas supplies become scarce. Stockpiling gas is a possibility, but make sure it’s kept in a secure position. If we had 100 gallons of gas in the garage, few of us would sleep comfortably.

A society without electricity will face significant challenges, although many calamities do not result in long-term power outages. Unfortunately, many sections of the world have regular and sporadic power outages, particularly in countries where there is civil unrest or war, so it’s worth considering.

Water

We won’t be able to last three days without water. Well, pumps are not functional when the power is out. Water pressure is created by gravity alone in city water towers, although they are regularly refilled by electrically powered pumps.

The availability of clean, fresh drinking water is becoming increasingly difficult around the world, and disaster-stricken locations are frequently the worst-case scenarios. Even in the United States, cities like Flint, Michigan, are still trying to deliver clean, pure drinking water to their residents.

  • Knowing how to filter and purify water, as well as having the instruments to do so, is essential for life in any situation.
  • Knowing where natural water sources such as ponds, lakes, rivers, and creeks are located, as well as having the containers to collect it, is an essential first step.
  • It’s crucial to know how to save water for the long haul if you want to keep a low profile.
  • Having the means to collect and store rainwater can keep you at home, or at least in your backyard.
  • In the winter, snow and ice are excellent water sources, and fresh snow provides one of the purest natural water sources available, whether in the city or out in the country.
  • Anyone who lives near a spring, brook, or river should consider a Ram pump. It uses the river’s current to pump water via a pipe to a drum or tank, where it gathers slowly.
  • You can conserve and stretch your water supply by reusing and upcycling grey water.
  • It’s critical to be able to test stored water, especially if it’s been sitting for a long period, in order to avoid water-borne infections.

Food

Stockpiling is a straightforward approach, but it requires some forethought. Beyond shelf life, balanced nutrition is the most important consideration. Many long-term food items contain carbs that have a limited nutritional range.

Foods having high nutritional values, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and fresh or frozen meats, may be in short supply or extremely seasonal if grown in a garden if there is no energy to power refrigerators or freezers.

  • While stockpiling food is a wonderful idea, things eventually run out.
  • The “grubstake” strategy is the best long-term option. Our forefathers did not have the convenience of ready-to-eat foods, so they brought staple foods that allowed them to manufacture what they needed. Whole grains that keep well and can be crushed into flour; flour in vacuum-sealed bags; salt, sugar, baking soda, rice…the list goes on and on.
  • The ability to preserve foods through canning, drying, dehydrating, smoking, and other food preservation processes, as well as the knowledge and tools to do so, is vital to preserving and sustaining a food supply.
  • If you have any property near your home, you should consider starting a vegetable garden right now.
  • If you reside in an apartment complex, you can provide some degree of food by using buckets, pots, and planters to at least augment your food supplies.
  • Seeds that have been stored are an excellent option. It’s a good idea to keep some seeds on hand, as well as some basic gardening tools. Gardens are easy to maintain, and any effort will give dividends.
  • Animal Husbandry is a term that refers to the practise of caring for animals. This is a little more challenging, but some people are perfectly happy to raise hens for eggs and meat. Rabbits aren’t for the faint of heart, and those who have raised them will tell you not to name them or let them get too large.
  • Animals can be raised without a farm. Some people have created rabbit cages in the smallest backyards and repurposed their garages as chicken coops. It’s even better if you have an acre or more. The majority of the food you’d give them can be foraged in the wild or produced in your garden, and in the worst-case situation, this may be your sole reliable source of animal protein.
  • Larger livestock, such as pigs and cattle, may be beyond most people’s capabilities. It’s not just about having enough land to find them; it’s also about having enough food to feed them. If you’re having trouble obtaining food for yourself, you might feel overwhelmed if you have to find big quantities of food to feed a large number of people.
  • Foraging – Foods that grow wild might be a great way to add variety to your diet. They’re even better because they’re fresh fruits and vegetables, but be advised. Many wild plants, particularly wild mushrooms, are hazardous or even poisonous. Take the time to learn about wild plants and foraging before treating every plant you come across as grocery store goods.
  • You can scavenge for food in the wild almost anyplace. If you know where to look and how to look, you can find just as many wild plants flourishing in a city as you can in the country.
  • Dandelions are a good example because every part of the plant is edible, and the nutrient profile is comparable to kale and spinach. It may simply be a supplement to other foods in this case, but when resources are low, you must be open to all possibilities.
  • There are several great publications on the subject of wild foraging, and much has been written about food foraging in both the city and the countryside. They’re well worth purchasing and storing.

Fishing and Hunting

Another illustration of how having an open mind expands your options.

Many things live in and around water, and societies all across the world have developed and survived on lakes, rivers, and ocean coasts. They’ve also used hunting as a regular source of protein, but how and where you hunt is mainly dependent on your region.

  • Fishing is simple, and any fish caught can be used as food. The sole stipulation is that the water in which the fish is taken be of good quality. Regardless of the species, if a fish is caught in clean water that is free of sewage, chemicals, or heavy metals, it is safe to eat.
  • It is entirely up to you how you fish. The most common method is to use a fishing rod, although other methods include nets, traps, and spearing. There are regulations that govern these methods, but they may be eased during a calamity… maybe.
  • It is entirely up to you how you fish. The most common method is to use a fishing rod, although other methods include nets, traps, and spearing. There are regulations that govern these methods, but they may be eased during a calamity… maybe.
  • And it’s not just about fish. Crayfish, freshwater clams, frogs, and turtles are all on the list. They’re worth thinking about when there’s no food on the table, and many countries have developed cuisines based on these simple ingredients. Crawfish Etouffee is a dish you’ve probably never heard of.
  • Hunting is a more difficult task. Especially if you haven’t hunted before. However, hunting isn’t always about guns. Slingshots, nets, snares, or a bow and arrow or crossbow can all be used to put meat on the table.
  • And it’s not always about big game hunting. Some families can survive the winter on deer venison, but your prey will likely be smaller, especially if you’re attempting to stay nearby and keep a low profile. The majority of people would rather think of wild ducks, pheasants, turkeys, and rabbits. Others have hunted squirrels, possums, and other birds without hesitation. It depends entirely on the gravity of the circumstance.

Refrigeration and Freezing

Don’t assume that because there’s a calamity, the power will be out. This is yet another instance in which the present pandemic proves a point. If the power is still on, one item to consider is the need of a dedicated, stand-alone freezer.

It’s the finest technique to preserve and store fish and game if you hunt or fish on a regular basis. The same can be said for veggies from your garden or store-bought goods.

  • If the power goes out, you’ll have to come up with new ways to freeze and refrigerate your food. A root cellar is one option, but an unheated and adjacent rear porch might maintain a steady temperature in the winter that is comparable to the 34 to 40 degree F. readings in a standard refrigerator. Freezing is a no-no, but an unheated garage in the winter is a viable solution, at least for a few months.
  • Alternative electric power sources such as solar and wind power, however, are frequently overpowered by the power requirements of a refrigerator or freezer. Large solar arrays may handle the demand, but when a refrigerator or freezer is attached, even these encounter large drawdowns.
  • Consider foods that can be stored or have a lengthy shelf life as the best option. Canned items are included in this category. We can survive without the relative luxury of refrigerators and freezers in the grand scheme of things. Our forefathers did it, and we can too.

The Children

Much of what has been written about disaster survival appears to be geared toward adult demands. In fact, it appears that many of the assumptions are based on the assumption that the only survivors will be physically fit men in their 30s.

Anyone with children faces a unique set of challenges, including figuring out how to explain to them why things are so different or why they can’t even go outside and play with their friends.

Consider foods that children enjoy and that also meet their nutritional requirements. That means any food stockpile should prioritize children, and candy with a long shelf life would be beneficial.

Make sure you have kid-sized medical equipment and supplies, as well as kid-sized pharmaceutical doses.

Consider some games or novels to keep them occupied and possibly reduce their stress.

Keep them involved in your daily activities so that they can spend time with you and feel included.

Preserving Foods The Traditional Way 

It all comes down to having the right tools and skills for preserving, canning, drying, dehydrating, smoking, and storing food. Store-bought foods are packaged and treated to last a long time, but any food we get through hunting, fishing, farming, or foraging will need to be preserved in some way if we don’t plan on eating it right away.

  • It’s important considering different sizes of canning jars and lids. At the start of the Coronavirus epidemic, there was a significant scarcity of canning supplies, and any future tragedy would undoubtedly follow suit.
  • A pressure cooker, or at the very least, a large pot for processing canned goods, as well as knowledge of how to approach canning and preserving food in jars, are essential pieces of equipment.
  • Jar tongs, a canning funnel, and various canning tools are examples of canning utensils.
  • Salt, vinegar, mustard seed, and flavourings like dill, coriander, and black peppercorns are essential components for canning and preserving foods, especially if fermentation is used.

Cooking

Cooking without electricity might be a challenge, but many of us do it on a regular basis. You already know how to use a kettle grill. However, for someone who just has a patio on a 14th floor flat as an outdoor cooking solution, there are several alternative cooking skills worth learning as well as some simple solutions.

  • The greatest choice is to cook outside. A charcoal grill is the safest and most convenient, but even if you don’t have charcoal, any wood can provide you with coals and fire to cook with.
  • However! Cooking outside is not a good idea if you want to keep a low profile. There are some safe indoor cooking options, particularly if you have a fireplace or a wood-burning stove.
    The traditional method is to cook over an open fire, but using a dedicated cooking grate or tripod to support pots and pans makes things much easier.
  • To make stirring and flipping food over an open fire, whether it’s outside or in a fireplace, you’ll need utensils with extra length and long handles.

Medical Equipment

It’s not just about having a first-aid kit, though that’s a good start. If medical services are disrupted, you may be forced to do things you aren’t used to. Consider what could happen to you or someone else that would necessitate your own healing or cure attempts.

And it’s not just bandages and antiseptics; tourniquets, splints, blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, and anything else you’d need to examine someone’s physical state are all included.

  • Expedition-level first aid packs are a convenient way to stock a wide range of medical supplies and equipment in case of an emergency.
  • It’s a good idea to keep a good supply of over-the-counter drugs on hand. Consider pain relievers, decongestants, allergy treatments like Benadryl, poisoning therapies like activated charcoal, anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen, and topical treatments for burns, insect bites, and skin irritations. Don’t forget about eye care treatments.
  • If you need prescription medications for a specific ailment, attempt to get at least a 90-day supply. There’s also the option of obtaining a greater quantity from a Canadian pharmacy online. Depending on the severity of the disaster, many pharmacies will also transport prescriptions for delivery.
  • Investigate the possibility of receiving medical care via the internet. The latest pandemic has brought this to light, and it may be the only method to seek professional medical advice in the event of a calamity.
  • Keep a good stock of first aid books on hand, and take a first aid class at a local community college if possible.

Communication

Communication is often difficult in a disaster. Following a crisis, cell phones may not operate, but your landline may still work. If both fail, consider using HAM radio, CB radio, or even walkie-talkies as an alternative mode of contact. It’s also possible that the Internet will continue to function, but it’s better to be prepared.

  • On eBay or Craigslist, old communication devices like CBs, walkie-talkies, and even certain HAM radio systems are easy to obtain and inexpensive if purchased as “used.” It could be worthwhile to purchase a few and keep them on hand “just in case.”
  • If your land line is no longer functional, you should consider restoring it with at least basic services. It may be more reliable than cell phones in the aftermath of a tragedy, because you can call and reach 911 even if the line is down.
  • The Internet was built to withstand total nuclear war. Although you may not have broadband connection, a classic land line may provide limited Internet access if you have a normal phone line plug in.

General Cleaning and Laundry

Laundry and dishes are the only things in life that are predictable. The materials are cheap, and you can buy them in bulk on Amazon. Keep a few extra cleaning and laundry products on hand.

  • Consider what you normally use to do laundry and stock up. Detergent and bleach fall within this category.
  • Consider the tools you’ll need, such as a washboard, wash tub, laundry bar of soap, clotheslines, and clothes pins, if you’re doing laundry by hand. If you don’t want to go outside, a humidifier in the house can help, especially if you’re heating your home with dry wood heat.
  • Even if the water isn’t functioning, you can do the dishes in the sink, but you’ll need dish soap.
  • Push-powered vacuums are available if you don’t have access to electricity. You probably already have most of the other cleaning materials, but keep some extra cleanser and vinegar on hand for clean-ups.

Personal Hygiene

All calamities have one thing in common: they’re messy. Stock up on the items you need to stay clean on a daily basis.

This includes everything from toilet paper to feminine hygiene products to toothpaste. Pre-packaged personal care kits meant for travel can be purchased and stored, however paper goods may need to be purchased individually. Not to mention the hair clippers.

  • Purchase toilet paper and paper towels in large quantities. Place them in a safe place. Even for everyday use, you’ll always have a backup supply.
  • Bulk purchases of feminine products are also available. It’s something that a lot of people overlook.
  • Razors, toothbrushes, combs, and brushes are all included in pre-packaged personal care packages. Some of these things are also available at dollar stores. If you’re breaking in, you’ve probably already had them. However, a long period of time takes its toll.
  • Shampoo and moisturisers, for example, can be purchased in quantity. While you’re at it, get some hand sanitizer in quantity.

Defense

Although this is a highly personal decision, anyone considering firearms should consider at least a rifle and a pistol. It’s entirely up to you.

  • Consider weapons as a form of home defense. What is the most likely scenario, and what would you need to protect yourself and your family?
  • If you reside in a location where wild wildlife is abundant, consider going hunting. You probably already have everything you need for hunting, but hunting firearms can differ from defensive weapons, so do your research.
    Get to know your guns. If this is your first time in this field, some basic training is recommended.
  • To varied degrees, you can bulletproof your property. Some people use it to protect themselves from wayward gunfire if they live in a region where hunting is common. Others do it because they live in a neighbourhood where there is infrequent but occasional gunshots. It’s a drastic step, but it’s one worth considering.
  • Stay put in your house. That is exactly what bugging-in entails. When you’re out and about, you’re exposed, and if you’re in a desperate and critical position after a disaster, you’ll want to restrict your exposure to avoid exposing yourself to additional threats.

Knowledge

Without essential knowledge of self-reliance, first aid, and general survival skills, you can have a stockpile like a warehouse and home defence like an arsenal. You are at a severe disadvantage.

Is This a Realistic Situation?

Yes. It’s happening right now, and it could happen again for several reasons. Having a little extra cash in the bank for an emergency or having a spare tire in your trunk are both examples of preparedness. Things happen, and being prepared is a good thing.

Your level of preparedness is determined by your personal level of concern and the likelihood of a disaster affecting you. If today has taught us anything, it is that nothing is definite, and that the peace of mind that comes with anticipating the worst will allow us to appreciate life at its best.

By Beth

I'm Beth Nunes, the proprietor of preparing in the city. My family is the most important thing in the world to me. I couldn't bear the thought of my three small children going hungry, so I became obsessed with finding simple and practical ways to be prepared for the future by building food storage and gathering other emergency preparedness items.

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