Prepping for Apartment and Condo Dwellers Part 3

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

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Greetings. One of the biggest discussions in the prepping community is whether to bug out or bug in during a crisis.

The current consensus is that one is better off bugging in, rather than bugging out.

This idea is based on a couple of things, specifically:

  • The difficulty of living in the wild
  • The lack of knowledge most people, including preppers, on wilderness survival
  • Bugging in allows you the convenience of having all your possessions available to help you survive
  • The people who write this are thinking from the viewpoint of suburbia

Of course, regardless of what plans anyone has, they should also have a bug out plan, as there are situations which can make your home untenable and require bugging out. Basically, even if one’s plan is to bug in, when it becomes more dangerous to stay home, than to leave, it’s advisable to leave.

Okay, but what about for people living in apartments, especially apartments in the middle of the city; does that same wisdom apply? I’d have to say yes… and no.

Sometimes you have to bug out due to natural disasters, such as the evacuation they did of New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina. But besides that, there are two problems that could cause a need to bug out, which are highly applicable to apartment dwellers.

The first of these is lack of resources. As we discussed in the first part of this series, storage is a major issue for apartment dwellers. While storing food is an issue, it’s nothing compared to finding enough room for storing enough water to meet your needs. If there is one resource that’s going to be a problem for apartment dwellers, it’s going to be water.

Unlike those who live in the suburbs, getting water from your local stream or pond probably isn’t going to work out for those who live in center city. There are few rivers running through the middle of a city and a big possibility that gangs or other groups are going to claim them as their own, leaving everyone else without water. Nor does apartment dwelling make it possible to install a well or create a rainwater catchment system.

When resources run out, it’s time to leave; and that’s going to happen quickly in the city. Between a higher population density and less available resources, the only resources you’ll be able to count on are those you have stockpiled.

The second problem which could necessitate a bug out is the danger of predators, specifically two-legged predators. Criminal violence, especially gang related violence, is generally higher in high-population areas, such as apartment dwellers encounter. In a crisis situation, those who already have a criminal mindset are going to be quick to turn to crime to meet their needs, making life in the concrete jungle much more dangerous than life in the natural jungle.

I’ve always felt that criminal activity, especially violence was a key indicator for when it would be time to bug out. When hungry gangs of people start attacking homes, in order to steal the food that the residents have, it will definitely be a good time to be elsewhere. Don’t expect it to get better, just get out.

As I see it, things will deteriorate rapidly in the city and will deteriorate more rapidly the higher the population density. It may be mere days before an apartment becomes untenable, depending on the area and how much criminal activity, especially criminal gang activity, it has normally. The one thing you don’t want to do is to stay put past the time it is safe.

Even though I’m advocating bugging out in these two situations, that doesn’t mean that I’m advocating bugging out to the wilderness. It’s hard to find a way to practice wilderness survival skills in the city, so few apartment dwellers are properly equipped to head for the high country.

On the other hand, people who live in the concrete jungle usually have their own set of survival skills, ones that are well suited to living in a dense urban environment. So, it makes a whole lot more sense to bug out to a safe urban environment, than it makes to bug out to the wild. Specifically, it makes a lot of sense to bug out to suburbia, rather than bugging out to the wild.

This requires just as much planning as any other bug out. You need a bug out bag, a planned route and everything else you would need for any other bug out. You also need a destination. So, the key to this sort of bug out is finding a place in suburbia, such as an abandoned building, which is close to resources and not already occupied.

So the thing to do is to scout out such a location and if possible create some supply caches nearby. That way, when the time comes, you will have supplies to use. In fact, you’ll probably be better off if the majority of your supplies are near this suburban bug out location, rather than in your apartment.

You might even want to have a two-stage bug out plan, with your suburban survival shelter as the first stage and a rural or wilderness survival retreat as your second stage. That way, if it becomes too dangerous to stay in your suburban retreat, you have a fall-back plan you can use to keep your family safe from harm.

Well, that should give you something to think about. Take a look at your situation and try to evaluate how long it will take for your area to become dangerous to live in. Then, make your plans accordingly. In the mean time, keep you powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

PS: Get prepped in one trip with this.


  1. BillH

    May 26, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Sounds a more reasonable and more detailed than other things I have read on urban survival. The hitch is finding an abandoned place in suburbia. Certainly no guarantee it will still be abandoned when TSHIF. And defending it against thieves is complicated by your being an illegal squatter yourself. The other is, where to put your cache. Whether on public or private property, it is in danger of being dug up, with no chance at all of recovering it.

    I would propose a different approach instead. Harder in some respects, but easier in others. You really need a trusted friend or family member in suburbia. You need to work out an agreement with them which is positive for both parties. Perhaps you agree in advance that your stash at their place becomes shared stash. Even if they have no room to put you up, a tent in their backyard is better than a tent in the wilderness. They get half of your stash. You get an actual place to go. You both get to be part of a larger group, which is perhaps the most useful factor of all. You lose half of the value of your preps. But that is better than risking loosing your life, and/or all of your preps, by staying in the city or going to a place that is very likely to be already occupied.

  2. rodney burke

    May 27, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    In this suburb location, how much water is it advisable to keep in a secret location? And how do we choose the primary bug out location? Are there some criteria to use? I live in a university town NEAR but not in a large city. Any suggestions?

  3. doug

    May 30, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye!

  4. Joe Graham

    June 1, 2016 at 2:39 am

    Water can be filtered, collected, and purified in the city, even if it be from raw sewage; but not food!
    Everyone should have some experience growing things even if you start with pots indoors!
    Eventually, you will not find food in the city during a real crisis unless someone either grows it, hunts for it, or eats their friends & family! Growing food requires time, water, sunshine, and good soil which is very difficult in a city.

    Plants are more abundant in rural and wild places than in the city.
    Its a good idea to take a good look around at the plants in your planned bug-out location!
    Know if the area is sprayed with chemicals. Know which plants, and which parts of the plants you can eat, and which to avoid. Some plants have both eatable and poisonous parts. Some you can only eat with moderation. For example, the Leaves of Oxeye-Daisy flowers are eatable and taste much like parsley, but care should be taken eating them in some crisis situations as they tighten softer body tissues and squeeze the water out of them! On a limited water supply, this can leave you dehydrated! Others plants can have other effects like laxatives for example.

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