BUG OUT!!!!!

So, I took a couple of days to stop and plow through a book that might be of interest to some folks who are of a preparedness mindset. I read Scott B. Williams’ Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late.    Click the link to get a copy of your own.

The premise of this book is that if the SHTF (Stuff Hits The Fan), or if you think it’s about to, you might not want to stick around. The idea being that heading up and moving out in a hurry might be safer for you than trying to hunker down and weather the disaster and then the civil unrest that could follow.  According to Williams, if the system  collapses – with its just-in-time inventory management philosophy – hunkering down won’t do you any good unless you’ve already stockpiled a near-ungodly amount of supplies.

The other premise of the book is that if bugging out is your chosen path around the impending mayhem, you need to think it through NOW, learn the skills you lack NOW, and prepare for it NOW. If you wait until SHTF, it will be too late, and you’ll be just another refugee, or worse. Citing examples from recent memory Williams writes, “For those with the preparedness mindset, the real lesson of Katrina was the desperation it caused among those left with nothing in the days and weeks that ensued… It is easy to forget how thin is the veneer of civilization that separates us from our ancestors and how quickly many will revert to savagery if it is all stripped away… History is full of examples of people who stayed behind and died because they were not willing to pack their bags and leave… Most of us would be better off to learn to survive on the move and to adapt as needed to changing circumstances. This is the strategy commonly referred to as ‘bugging out’ ” (Williams, 4-5).

Bug Out is a book divided into three parts. “Part 1: Bug Out Basics” is a comprehensive, common sense overview of the basics of bugging out: philosophy, what to take when you go, how to choose your destination, how to get to where you’re going. “Part II: Bug Out Locations” is a region-by-region (and within that, state-by-state) breakdown of potential bug out destinations along with their various benefits as well as their pitfalls and hazards. The last section is appendices (checklists and resources) and the bibliography/recommended reading (seven pages).

It is not within my scope to tell you whether or not bugging out is best for you. Each of us has to decide how best to prepare for the hazards we believe we are most likely to face. Williams made me take another look at what I was doing and caused me to think hard about things that were not warm, fuzzy or comfortable. He made me recall war stories told to me by my friends who had worked the Katrina disaster and its aftermath. I can tell you that reading Bug Out scared me some and made me think about how much I have to learn.

If nothing else, Williams will make you want to run through your plans and re-check your “go bag.” If you feel that you could stand some food for thought, or if you periodically contemplate the unthinkable just to keep yourself on your toes,  Bug Out is definitely worth a read.  

And, no, you can’t borrow my copy. I’m hanging on to it… you know, just in case…

As always, thanks for reading.


More about: Scott B.  Williams  is “a sea kayaker, boatbuilder, writer and photographer with a passion for exploring and adventure” (scottbwilliams.com).  He’s the author of several books (five on the shelves, number six on the way) on subjects that cover the gamut from survival to kayaking in the Caribbean. He’s also penned numerous articles that have appeared in Sea Kayaker, Mississippi, and Multihulls magazines. There’s a link to his blog “BUG OUT” on our page… it’s under “Blogs we read.” Check it out.


Williams, Scott B. Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late. Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press. 2010.

Photos: scottbwilliams.com


One Response to “BUG OUT!!!!!”

  1. Conservative Pup Says:

    I’d like to read this, and will add it to my (pages and pages long) list.

    I have felt safer since moving back to the family farm 4 years ago, just being out here where there are ponds, ground for garden, cattle, and other wildlife for food, if it came to that. The thing that REALLY scares me the most is thinking about the possibility of having to bug out from the farm. Having to leave it, as in if something happened nearby and everybody had to evacuate. That sends chills through my body, and to tell the truth, I’m not very prepared for that. The thought is overwhelming. I should buck up, though, and deal with it. I know it’s unlikely, but not impossible, and therefore deserves some planning.

    Good post!

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