Once you’ve escaped the SHTF scenario and you reach your bug out camp, there’s a lot of work to do. You can just plop down in the dirt, but it won’t be very comfortable. By taking these things into account, you can turn your Bug Out Location into a Bug Out Homestead.
Bug Out Camp Sleeping Area
The most important things to keep in mind for your sleeping area are that it needs to keep you warm and dry. If you’ve got a survival bag based on my recommendations then you’ve got a tarp or at least a poncho and some paracord. This fabric will be the roof of your shelter. A roof is important because even if the weather is nice when you arrive, it won’t stay that way forever. Sooner or later it’ll rain and it’ll be absolutely crucial that you have overhead cover.
There are many types of shelters that can be constructed from simple tarps and rope. The simplest way to do this is to tie a line from tree to tree and then tie down your tarp over it to make a triangle shape.
You’ll also want to consider fire when planning your sleeping shelter. If it’s a cold area, you’ll want to face the opening of your shelter towards the fire. You can use an emergency blanket to direct heat into the shelter or to keep it in the shelter. You may also want to consider getting yourself off the ground. This will help you stay warm and help with bugs on the ground. The easiest way to do this is to cut and stack wood, with leaves or pine needles on top.
Finally, you’ll want to consider an escape plan. If something like a bear or an intruder steps into your bug out camp, are you cornered? Or do you have a route you can use to bolt and re-orient?
The next thing you’ll want to lock down after your shelter is your water supply. You’re going to want to boil all your water. This can be done at your main campfire so you don’t need to go out to your cooking area. That said, even with boiling, you want to try to get the cleanest water you can.
As a rule, you want to get your water from as close to the source as possible. Still water has the most risks. Rivers and creeks have flowing water, which is better. Better still is the smaller streams that feed these rivers and creeks. The absolute ideal is a natural spring, but those can be hard to find.
Bug Out Camp Latrine
After shelter, the next thing you’re going to want to construct when you get to your new woodland home is a latrine. Unfortunately, you’ll have some trouble getting plumbing out to the middle of nowhere.
The next best thing is planning where to keep your waste. You want to dig a fairly deep and slim hole. The depth is up to you, as deep as possible while still being safe to construct is your best bet. This likely won’t be the last latrine you’ll be digging, and that’s okay. You’ll want to keep it at least 50 yards away from water sources and your camp. Also try to keep it downhill and downwind. This will all ensure that it stays separated from you and your resources.
If you’re worried about modesty and not about camouflage you can put up tarps. But, your best bet is just keeping it tucked away. Use a large flat stone or piece of wood to cover the hole when not in use. You can even keep a coffee can or other waterproof container of toilet paper and leaves nearby. It’s also a good idea to keep hand sanitizer out here to minimize bacteria transfer back to camp.
Bug Out Camp Kitchen
It’s a good idea to keep your food area 50 yds away from the rest of bug out camp. Keeping upwind as well will minimize the risk of bears or other wildlife wandering in.
If you had the opportunity to prep your area or if you were able to bring gear with you, you may have some equipment. In addition to this, you’ll want to build yourself a relatively flat table space to prepare food on.
This camp kitchen can be the place that you store any extra food supplies you have. Remember, in the woods you’re never alone! Stash your food either by hanging it from a tree or by burying it. Any wildlife in the area will also be interested in anything you’ve got.
Finally, you’ll want to include a dish washing station at your kitchen. Hot soapy water is ideal for cleaning dishes. You’ll also want a sunny place to dry your dishes, as the UV rays will help kill germs.
If you’re going to be dumping any waste water from cleaning, be sure to do this downstream. Gray water from your cleaning can pollute your drinking water. The last thing you want is to be accidentally drinking soap, it’ll clean you out real good.
After you finish constructing your kitchen, you’ll want to begin work on the armory. I’m kidding, but defense of your new home base is an important thing to consider. Know the terrain around your camp. Wild animals or people with bad intentions could break up your group. Have plans in place for where to fall back or where to rendezvous if something invades your camp.
Make use of natural barriers like bluffs, streams, briars, or ravines. These can isolate your camp and make it harder to surround or attack.
If you have the manpower, having a nightwatch can be a good idea. It will give you precious moments to prepare if your camp is about to be under attack.
Traps will likely be more dangerous for you to attempt if you’re unfamiliar with them. If you know them well, they can be considered.
Your communication station should go up right next to the armory. Again I’m kidding. If you’ve managed to stash a ham radio at your bug out location then power to you. People like you will be the reason that society will continue after the major disaster.
The vast majority of people would do well to have an emergency radio set up in their camp. Not only does it provide entertainment, it provides a lifeline to the outside world. Hopefully, your bug out location is far enough out that you don’t run into other people, at least not often.
Having an emergency radio will let you stay plugged into whatever there is still out there. If things get back to normal, you’ll know when it’s safe to return to your home.