Bugging Out Practice and Relocation Tips – with printables

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Bugging Out Practice? Having a bug out plan is one thing but having to put it into action is another. Everything looks different when emotions are heightened and the possibility that your life could be at stake enters the picture. It can be stressful and when you add in the fear that young children experience during the chaos, your bug out plan could end up in disaster.

Bugging Out Practice and Relocation Tips - with printables article cover image with emergency sign background

That’s why you need to practice various bug out scenarios so that your escape plan runs smoothly. You want everyone to know what to do, when to do it and how to react. You want everyone to know ahead of time that everything is going to be okay.

By having clear cut instructions that your family knows like the back of their hand, what can happen during chaos is that repetition can take over the fear. Everyone can act on autopilot because they’ve had what to do drilled into them.

Practice Your Bug Out Scenarios for a Seamless Escape

It’s not enough to have everyone act out the escape plan a couple of times. You need to hold ongoing Bugging Out Practice drills and various scenarios that impact that escape every single month. This way, your younger children won’t be afraid when something happens. They’ll know that everything is going to be okay.

You need to have a meeting point in place and each family member should know where it is and the route to take to get there. But everyone needs to also know a plan B in case the road leading to the meeting point is blocked or has been compromised.

This was a Group Bug Out Exercise where they had 45 minutes to prep for a 72 hour event.

You’ll want to practice getting to this meeting point when you’re at home as well as when the family is separated. Obviously, you’ll keep younger kids with you but older teenagers need to know how they’re going to get to the meeting point.

You need to know ahead of time what to do if everyone is at their job. This includes knowing who gets which family member if necessary. You want to know how to act when it’s needed. Trying to decide how to react in the heat of the moment always compounds the problem.

You need to practice for the different scenarios. This includes ones like natural disasters. Prepare flood evacuation, fire evacuation and if you live in a tornado-prone area, plan how you’re going to escape the area. You need to have an escape plan in place in the event of an EMT, an enemy airstrike, or biological warfare.

Go over your Bugging Out Practice plan during the morning hours, in the afternoon, and in the evening because things look different at night. Practice as if you didn’t have any power at all. Practice escaping both on foot and in a vehicle.

Make sure that every member of the family has an alternative way to communicate if cell phones go down. Have a spot chosen ahead of time where you can leave communication such as notes if you have to.

Bringing Everyone Along On Personal WILDERNESS SURVIVAL TRAINING! Practicing Real Life Techniques Of Security, Shelter, Fire, Cooking, Water Disenfection And More!

Run through your complete drill from beginning to end. It might be an inconvenience now, but in the long run, it could save your life and those you care most about.

Understanding the Terms Bug Out Bag, Inch Bag, and Go Bag

During a bug out situation, you might need to use different bags. The reason for this is because a situation could be different. Some are temporary and some are long term. Some are so awful and chaotic, you’ll never be able to come back to your house.

Bug Out Bag

That’s why you should have Bugging Out Practice that involves the need to have different bags prepared for different events. A bug out bag is also commonly referred to by its initials of BOB. This is a bag that can safely sustain your survival for at least 72 hours.

It’s not really intended for more than that. This is the bag that you grab when you’re exiting to get out of the chaos to somewhere safe. It contains the basic essentials. In this bag, you’ll have water, food, clothes for three days, shelter or a way to make it in nature, a way to start a fire, a flashlight, tools, a way to communicate, personal hygiene items, and whatever else you’ll need to make it for three days.

Bugging Out Practice and Relocation Tips - with printables scene of the wilderness

Inch Bag

A bug out bag’s purpose is to get you out of where you are to safety. The INCH bag stands for I’m Never Coming Home and it’s intended to help you survive a SHTF event for a longer amount of time than a bug out bag is.

Where a bug out bag should last 3 days, an INCH bag can last as long as a week or more – until you find more supplies. It’s intended to carry the essentials you need as well as other important items you must have when coming back to your house just isn’t going to happen.

Your INCH bag should be packed with food, water, a way to purify water, clothes, a fire starter method, cash, guns, and ammo. It should also have a radio and a first aid kit. You’ll need to have a compass in this bag as well as fishing items, a wilderness or survival knife, a good flashlight, and an ax.

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Paracord goes into this bag along with a multitool, a solar charger for recharging things like the radio, and rechargeable batteries. You’ll need seeds, hygiene items, medications, gloves, rain items, and maps.

Go Bag

You’ll also want your important documents with you like your ID, passports, and anything that pertains to reestablishing your life. Pack a folding shovel, duct tape, and a machete. A go bag is also known as an evacuation kit.

Bugging Out Practice and Relocation Tips - with printables document copies checklist
Page one of my bug out checklist forms – you can download the FREE Printable 3-page set below

This is a bag that has some of the items that you will have packed in your bug out bag. This is a bag that you would use if you had to leave your home quickly in the event of an emergency.

Bugging Out Practice and Relocation Tips - with printables Insurance information template
Page two of my bug out checklist forms – you can download the FREE Printable 3-page set below

This bag is not meant to be long term or indefinite like an INCH bag. In a go bag, you would pack all of your important information like your health information, and your financial documents.

Page three of my bug out checklist forms – you can download the FREE Printable 3-page set below

You would have some hygiene items, clothes, and any prescription meds. The idea behind this bag is that you can get to another location and be okay for a few days until you can come home. It’s not suitable for a SHTF situation because it doesn’t contain the necessary survival items.

Get the printable version of my 3 checklists here:

When Bugging Out, Awareness Is Key

The day or night that you’ve planned for has finally happened. Now the time has come for you to bug out. You’ve bought all your gear and the supplies you’ll need to exist wherever you’re headed.

What’s left now is something that you can’t buy. It’s awareness. You have to stay aware when you’re bugging out. It’s the key to your survival. You can’t afford to let your guard down – not even for a second – because if you do, you could end up getting hurt or even losing your life.

One of the threats that you’ll have to face when you’re bugging out is the potential danger from predators. This can be challenging when Bugging Out Practice is going on, but you can get a handle on what you might need BY practicing it. You could run into animals that would love to make a meal out of you.


Animals like bears, coyotes, and bobcats have been known to attack people in opportunistic moments as well as for no reason at all. Some people believe that animals only attack when they’re hungry or to protect their young, but that’s not true.

Animals of all sizes will attack if they’re startled or scared. They’ll attack if they’ve been hurt or they’re ill. They’ll also attack because animals are territorial. You have to be on the lookout for them as well as the two-legged kind of predators – humans.

Human threats

In a world that’s governed by law and consequences, people still hurt others. They steal, they attack, they kill. Now imagine what those kinds of people will do when society has collapsed.

They’re only going to get worse. That’s why awareness is the key to you making it out alive against both kinds of predators. You need to make sure that not only do you have a secure area once you arrive at your bug out destination, but that you’re secure as you’re traveling.

You do that by scouting the area. Do perimeter checks of your arrival location and do perimeter checks as you’re traveling. Make sure no one is following you on foot or in a vehicle. Bugging Out Practice should include finding a defensible location.

Pay attention to people who are acting weird or those who are acting secretive. Be aware of what’s going on with the weather. By knowing whether or not bad weather is coming, you’ll be able to get to shelter before you get caught in it and have to deal with things like hypothermia.

Weather threats

You also want to be aware of the weather so that if you’re traveling near a creek or river, you don’t get caught up in any floodwaters. Be aware of what’s going on with your supplies, too.

Pay attention to the amount of water you have or the purification means that you have on hand. Keep alert with your food supply. If you’re traveling with friends or family, stay alert to their physical and emotional well-being.

Someone who’s ill or is suffering from shock can give your position away or draw attention to you and make you a target. Some preppers like to have 5-hour energy on hand in their bug out bags so that if they happen to be in a moment where being alert is extremely important, they won’t be prone to drowsiness.

Bugging Out Practice: Don’t Draw Attention to Yourself and Your Supplies

When you’re bugging out, you’re not going to be by yourself or your family. There are going to be scores of people out and about as you’re trying to make it to your bug out location.

As time passes, though, these masses start to thin out and your path won’t be as jam-packed as it was before. However, there will still be people around. This is when you want to make yourself as invisible as possible. Bugging Out Practice should include how to make this a reality for you.

It’s not the time to show off what you can do or what you have. When you stick out in a crowd of people who are shocked, worried, and growing increasingly panicked, it will only put a target on you.

By fitting into the crowd or by being invisible if you’re not in a crowd, you’re less likely to be singled out as a target. People are going to be looking for someone who has what they need.

Sometimes in a SHTF situation where you have to bug out, people are going to be looking for stuff they can steal to use or to barter with so they can get whatever they need for themselves.

If others know you have survival gear, you could be a target for anyone who wants what you have so that they can sell it to get their needs met. In a bug out situation, harmful people always grow bolder. It is a sad fact of reality. We saw how people fought over chicken and ground beef during the COVID-19 food shortages. Meat. They fought over meat. And toilet paper…

You can hide in plain sight by not looking like you’re prepared. Don’t dress in a way that makes you stand out. This means that you don’t want to be walking down the street with your weapons strapped to your hip.

Keep your knives and guns out of view. Wear clothes that blend in and that makes it difficult for you to be picked out of the crowd. Nothing colorful and nothing expensive should be on your body in full view of others. Bugging Out Practice can include how to layer your clothes to hide what you have.

Be casual about the way you move through crowds or around people. Cover up any distinctive feature that you have. “Guy with the mohawk and the dangling feather earring in his ear” is a lot easier to remember and locate than “guy in jeans and a dark shirt.” One stands out, the other fits in.

The same kind of discretion is key to protecting your supplies, too. The have nots will take from the haves, but it’s far less tempting if they don’t know you have it. Don’t carry a bug out bag that’s brightly colored or has any kind of memorable logo splashed across the back of it.

Bugging Out Practice Golden Rule: Don’t talk about your supplies for any reason – because people will remember that later when they want something, or they’ll be tempted to just go ahead and take it. You don’t want to open up your gear in front of anyone.

He discusses why he is changing over to a more grayman approach with his apparel and various pieces of kit.

Only do that when you’re alone. You have to remember that none of society’s laws will be heeded by anyone who’s desperate enough. They’ll take what’s yours -even if they have to use force to do it.

Bugging Out Practice: Be a “Gray Man”

You might have heard the advice that you should make a good first impression. That’s great advice – except when it comes to a bug out event. During the time when you’re bugging out, making an impression could cost you your life.

If you look at a crowd of people, you’ll notice that some of them stand out from others. It could be because of their actions or how they’re dressed, their facial features, body marks or jewelry, what their voice sounds like, the color of their hair or their mannerisms.

They stand out because they’re noticeably different from the others around them. It’s not a good idea to be noticed during a SHTF event. You want to be a gray man. That means you don’t stand out in the mind of anyone else.

Don’t stand out

You aren’t enough to make an impression. You can still move through a crowd and even speak to others, but no one will recall you once you’re gone. It’s as if you disappear from the thoughts of others.

To be a gray man, you don’t dress in a way that attracts any attention. The clothes that a gray man wears are bland without a color that even registers with someone else. The clothes a gray man wears don’t carry the scent of any laundry detergent – no soap smells or clothes softener scents.

A gray man has nothing about his clothing or his looks that can be recalled to mind. His hair doesn’t carry a shampoo scent. His clothes fade into the crowd. He’s not noticeable for his actions, either.

Be subtle

You won’t see him obviously checking the people around him or the area. A gray man isn’t recognized because nothing he wears, does or says is worth noticing. That’s how other people miss observing a gray man. 

 A gray man doesn’t wear cologne. He doesn’t have jewelry. He doesn’t wear any logos, or designs. Nothing can identify him. Nothing is memorable. A gray man keeps his expression bland.

He doesn’t look like he’s focusing on any one person, thing or place. None of his actions will be anything that anyone will pay attention to. It doesn’t mean that you’re not on alert. You just don’t stick out. Bugging Out Practice should include this… what “Gray man” outfit can you put with your gear?

Stay focussed

To be a gray man, you have to pay attention, stay calm and journey slowly toward your end goal. You don’t push other people out of your way. You move at a regular pace – not hurried – like you have nowhere to go and nothing to do.

A gray man makes sure that his face doesn’t stand out. If there’s something definable about his hair, he wears a plain ball cap. If he has arresting eyes, he wears sunglasses.

He makes sure that any distinguishing marks like scars or tattoos are hidden from view. He keeps his voice calm. His mannerisms are bland. He doesn’t interject emotion into his words when he speaks.

The person who is a gray man is one people don’t notice because to them, he’s not doing anything and he doesn’t look like anything worth noticing. He triggers no reaction within them, which, is what allows him to be safe during a bug out event.

Study Human Psychology to Help You Navigate Treacherous Situations

All bets are off when you’re in a bug out situation. You have to be street smart about people – especially if you’ve always been the type of person who easily trusts others. When the world has turned chaotic, you can forget trust.

No one is going to be on their best behavior – especially unsavory individuals. In fact, these people are going to be the first to loot, the first to steal from others, and the first to make a bad situation worse.

It’s in your best interest to know human psychology so that you’ll be able to deal with these kinds of people. You need to know body language. The type of body language a person is using can tell you upfront who you’re dealing with.

You might want to watch a few Youtube videos or get a psych book from the library to brush up on your Bugging Out Practice on this topic.

Watch body language

People who are out to steal from you or hurt you always have a way of projecting that intent. Look at how they’re dressed. Believe it or not, what someone is wearing can give you a clue into their nature and intents.

Look for Desperate people

Someone who isn’t dressed for survival can be a desperate person. If you come across someone who’s wearing clothes that aren’t warm enough for the situation or they’re wearing clothes that stand out, that means they didn’t prepare ahead of time.

If they didn’t prepare their clothes, they probably didn’t prepare their supplies, either. Pay attention to their posture. People whose body is tensed or aggressive can be a clue that they have adrenaline running on high.

They could be about to make a move. See if those whose mannerisms are jittery. That could be a sign of nervousness – but it could also be a sign of some type of addiction – and people who are addicted to substances can be unpredictable.

Pay attention to the way people pose their arms. Arm position can signal that someone is belligerent or angry. Look out for people who approach who keep their hands hidden. They could be holding a weapon.

You’ll also want to take the expression on someone’s face into consideration. An expression can give you a lot of insight into human psychology. There can be a noticeable expression like anger or there can be absolutely no emotion.

Both can be equally dangerous. One could present as someone who flies off the handle and the other as someone who may have sociopathic tendencies. Trust your gut instinct when it comes to treacherous situations.

Trust your gut

Your intuition can usually read a person quickly. If your gut tells you that you’re in danger, then you probably are – and you should be prepared to defend yourself.

Studying human psychology can help you understand what others are prepared to do in desperate situations – and how you can negotiate with them if and when the time comes. This is one thing you can NOT really handle with Bugging Out Practice without doing homework first.

Don’t Multi-Task When You’re Bugging Out

The SHTF and it’s time for you to get out and get to safety. In a bug out situation, most preppers concentrate on just getting out and away from anything dangerous. Survival is foremost on their mind.

They’re alert to everything that’s going on around them and are paying attention and avoiding people who look like they could be a problem. It’s good to have that awareness as you’re bugging out.

Stay Vigilant

But what some people do is when they reach a spot to rest or their bug out location, they have a tendency to lower their guard. It’s understandable. Being in a high-stress situation where chaos is everywhere, you just feel like you’re tired, hungry and you want to get set up for the night.

Bugging Out Practice and Relocation Tips - with printables identity tracker

Given a few days, what happens is their awareness dulls. The fight or flight adrenaline starts draining and they start to overlook something important – that the situation is precarious.

Safety can be a big illusion during a dangerous situation. The biggest mistake that you can make is getting too comfortable and starting to multi-task. It really is a natural reaction.

Stay focused

People tend to want to get comfortable when they’re on the go. They also drop right back into all their habits like doing more than one thing at once. It’s human nature to try to take care of things all at the same time.

But that multi-tasking mindset can spell trouble for you quickly. When you’re bugging out, you need to have a sharp focus. Keep your mind on what you’re doing and don’t make it easy to get caught unprepared.

One thing at a time

You might have to take off again in a split second. You can’t do that if you’ve got your supplies scattered all around your resting spot or your bug out destination.

When you’re bugging out, do one thing at a time – one chore or one thing that you have to do that aids your survival.

Be Ready to Go

Don’t attempt to cook food at the same time that you’re trying to wash your dishes or your clothes or yourself. Keep your sole focus on what you’re doing and only take the supplies out of your bag that you need for that single task.

Keep your supplies stashed in your bug out bag, because if you do end up having to grab it and flee, you can pick up a pot and leave quickly with that easier than you can try to pick up clothes, food, or dishes all at once. NEVER completely unpack.

If you end up having to run and you’ve unpacked a lot of your supplies, you could end up being forced to leave necessary supplies behind just to run from a dangerous situation. That mistake could end up costing you more than you realize.

Bugging Out Practice: The Importance of Speed

When you have a SHTF situation on your hands and you have to bug out, time isn’t on your side. Some people think they’ll have either days or hours to bug out – when the truth can be closer to five minutes or less.

Survival Bugout, starring Jonathan Hollerman with Grid Down Consulting… an EMP scenario

In the chaos, you’re going to have hundreds (maybe even thousands) of people from your area trying to escape quickly just like you. Sometimes an unpredictable weather event causes abrupt and unexpected bug out situations.

Natural disasters

In the event of a fire or a flood, you have to be able to go right then. There’s no time for decision making. If there’s a local or federal collapse of authority, there’s no time for you to waste. You have to get going. THAT is why Bugging Out Practice is important.


Whenever there’s a SHTF situation, everything gets worse from the moment it begins. The first step in the process is that humanity undergoes a change. People who feel like their way of life is going to be disrupted can panic and they’ll take it out on those who are prepared.


Stealing, assaults, and violent crimes like murder are commonplace when society begins to fall apart severely. You can’t wait around for that step to develop. When there’s a bug out situation starting, some people debate whether or not they’re staying or leaving.

Then within 24 hours, these people who stayed behind realize they’ve made a mistake. They start to feel desperate once they realize the seriousness of the situation and the anger and the complete breakdown of normal society picks up speed.

After a bug out situation is upon you, if it’s 24 hours later and you’re still not ready to go, then you’re right there stuck in the thick of things that are only going to keep on spiraling downward.

If you are in a situation where you CAN NOT leave, be prepared to “bug in”

You might think the nice guy from down the street wouldn’t turn on you – but if he’s in a panic or he’s desperate to take care of the needs of his family, you can bet that he’s not going to be that nice guy anymore.

You can also bet that disaster breeds disaster. As they compound, everything unravels – your safety on the roadways, your ability to use communication devices, and your ability to find fuel for your vehicles will all become increasingly hard.

You can’t afford for this to be going on while you’re trying to pack enough survival gear to make it out. If you’re not prepared, you could find yourself giving in to the panic and making rash decisions. You could end up forgetting something important like medication or enough water. USE OUR CHECKLISTS!

Bugging Out Practice – Plan ahead and have all the bug out bags that you need to take care of your family ready to go so that when it’s time to leave, all you have to concentrate on is grabbing the bag and heading out the door.

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