It is possible, but this is an opinion only, that the term “Bug-out-bag” has seen its best days behind it. However, realizing the need to be prepared is actually gaining steam among the American populace and around the world.
In reality you would probably not bug out as it is defined by most survival articles and survival blogs. You may have to evacuate, or in some cases, have to be rescued, so in essence, you could become a refugee rather quickly.
Unfortunately, you probably would not have near the control over your own actions, as you would like. What you can control however, is what you carry or have with you, so is it a bug-out-bag, or an emergency kit that is designed for practically any crisis.
The crisis itself may prevent you from leaving, and thus, you would have to hunker down and wait for rescue personnel to show up in boats or helicopters during flooding for example. You may have to wait for the authorities to show up with emergency shelters, and other essentials during an earthquake, and possibly wait for community leaders to release schools and other public buildings for use as emergency shelters. The point is you may very well have to wait for others to provide you with a safe haven if you cannot shelter in place.
You also have to consider the possibility that government emergency management teams and other organizations like the Red Cross may never show up or show days later. You have to prepare with this in mind as well.
Is bugging-out to the woods an option? Looking for a safe haven in the wilds is probably your worst option in most cases.
Disasters are nothing new, and people evacuating their homes or cities ahead of, or during a crisis is certainly nothing new in the United States or around the world. It is happening somewhere right now.
Redefine What You Plan to Do or May Have to Do
Redefine the mission requirements as it were, so you can put an emergency kit together. The most likely scenario you would find yourself in is relocating to a shelter not of your own making. You would have a roof over your head, but that may be all you would have other than what you carry with you, for the first 72-hours.
You would need supplies for your daily existence, supplies such as emergency rations, personal hygiene items, drinking water, and clothing along with bedding, medications, and other things deemed necessary by you. You may end up sleeping on a hard surface if cots are not available right away.
There would be times when you would have days to prepare, such as with wildfires and even with flooding. If you do have advanced warning then you can pick and choose in some cases, where you want to relocate, and you could leave in your well packed vehicle days ahead of the crisis. Hotels in a neighboring town or city, or a friends or relatives house would be ideal places to seek refuge during a localized crisis. However, there will be disasters that strike with no warning.
A train traveling through your community carrying toxic chemicals could derail, for example, forcing an immediate evacuation, and if you are not ready at a moment’s notice, you and your family will suffer for it. However, this does not mean you would grab a bug-out-bag and head for the woods.
You would be likely directed as to which way to go, so it would not be of your own choosing. The local authorities may even provide transportation out of the disaster area. There is any number of disaster scenarios where you would not be able to travel in the direction in which you had planned.
For those that still consider bugging-out to the wilds a viable option then plan for it, but remember when the rubber meets the road if you will, things change and you must be able to adapt.
Setting out with a pack on your back is not an option for most people. This is just the reality of the situation and unfortunately some people will plan to do so not knowing if they can or not. They may have read a few articles and watched a few Doomsday Prepper shows and are convinced they too can make it happen.
If you were to bug-out your timing would have to be perfect, so perfect in fact, you would need to know a crisis was coming before anyone else. You would also need a place to go, the means to get there, and then a way to survive for an extended period once you arrived, because a 72-hour bag typically does not lend itself to long term survival in the wilds.
This article is not intended to discourage anyone from doing anything he or she has decided is right for his or her situation. It is intended however, to make you think before you commit to one course of action that may turn out to be more disastrous then the crisis you are bugging-out from. Like a fish hook, some plans, once you have committed to them, cannot be easily reversed.