Survival Retreat: Where Do You Go When You Need To Run?

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A lot of preppers are looking for a retreat location in a rural area.  Most people think that getting out as far away as possible is the best strategy. But I'll tell you from experience, moving way out to the hinterland is the biggest mistake you can make.
When we first panicked, we headed out as far as we could.  We were at least 6 miles from the nearest little store and 25 miles from a small town.  After years of living that far out, we realized as a family that we wanted to be closer to other people.  I have seen this same pattern over and over again among people who move – way out.  Then they end up moving back in a little closer.
We humans are, at heart, really social.  Who will sew you up after a misplaced blow while chopping wood?
Who will you trade with to get something out of those extra batteries and wire you have?
With whom will you celebrate the joy of growing all that squash?
Who will help you fight off that renegade mafia claiming to be the new Government?
Who are your kids going to marry?
Who knows the local plants to treat infections after the antibiotics are expired?
With whom will you make music or swap jokes?
In the numerous interviews and reading I have done with people who have lived through collapsed currency or civil war situations, the best strategy for survival comes from being in, or very close to, a small community.

So being near a small community is ideal.  Americans with our car-centric culture have lost touch with a pedestrian lifestyle.  How close is best?

In the Middle Ages, many European markets were spaced approximately 14 miles apart.  That way, you were only 7 miles at most from any town.
7 miles was a good distance as a person can walk into town, spend a few hours at church or the market, and then walk back home all within a day.
Being in the town itself, especially if you plan on being very active in leadership after collapse, is a good strategy.
I recently worked with a couple who moved back into town after years of being way out in the country.
After having a big acreage around them, they thought they would only be in town temporarily until they found another farm that was closer in.
But with an easy walk to work and biking to the grocery store, and no gas bills, they’ve decided to stay in town.
They are working to teach neighbors how to garden and generally helping the small community to prepare.
So finding a place that is somewhere between being right in town and mo more than seven miles out is a good guide.
Finding the perfect survival retreat is a complex process, but it can be done.
And I can show you how…

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Jan 27, 2014, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

12 Responses to :
Survival Retreat: Where Do You Go When You Need To Run?

  1. Ronald Machleit says:

    I have received your information for several months and awhile back I noticed several of your survival guides were $ 7.00, a discount from the $ 27.00 you had posted, Have I missed the boat by not ordering at the discount price? Any Information you could send would be greatly appreciated. Thank You Ron

  2. OldHick says:

    This is an interesting topic that seriously needs more discussion among preppers.
    Whether to “but out” or “bug in” is a very controversial topic, the answer to which is often situational.
    A problem with bugging out no matter how near or far, is that wherever you bug out to you will likely be viewed as a stranger to be regarded with suspicion if not open xenophobic hostility (given that that your bugout location will be under nearly as much social stress and deprivation as where you bugged out from, plus the burden of hosting many other stressed-out buggees.)
    Bugging-in might be better unless you are being forced out “for your own good” by police and/or military, or a catastrophe that makes the area uninhabitable. You are familiar with your surroundings, and most of your belongings and supplies are likely to be right where you live.
    I think that a VERY under-discussed topic is OPSEC – keeping a low profile, and avoiding attention.
    Truth is, all that prep work will make you a huge target, and no matter how well armed you think you are you will be no match for the zombie hordes (or government troops) out to take your supplies.
    This is the criticism I have of SHTF survival plans which rely on growing your own foods, or aquaponics, or methane generation for power. All of that stuff has a big footprint, and will ultimately attract the notice of the hordes of the unprepared, who will swarm to take it all from you before ripping each other to pieces to take it from those who took it from you.
    The “reality” series Doomsday Preppers is quite the joke. First of all they go out and find the nuttiest people willing to show themselves on camera, all for the purpose of painting all preppers as paranoid nut cases. Secondly, no real prepper worth his salt will tell even his neighbors about his preps, much less brag all over national television what he has stashed away in his cellar.
    Living in what appears to be a ramshackle little hut with nothing to your name but the filthy tatters on your back is probably a better approach than the heavily-armed and techno-heavy survival castles on a hill shown on TV. No one needs to know what you have stashed in your basement – or even that you have a basement to stash anything in.

  3. Julie says:

    Seriously?? Who are your kids going to marry? 25 miles out is still a suburb!

    1. Micheal says:

      Oh really? That depends on where you live. Where I live – a small town of 300 – it’s 27 miles to the nearest town with any kind of services. We have no grocery store here, a convenience store, a couple of bars and 2 eating establishments and a small bakery, all with limited hours of operation. There isn’t much of a need for us to head for the boonies…we’re already here! 😉

    2. xlbadger says:

      Agree with Michael… I’m on the far outskirts of a small town (1,200)with open lots across, alongside and behind my home… open farmland across the street and about 600 yards from a river… If SHTF, there will be a lot more open space… many will move into town to be with family and leave empty houses… farms will have unplanted fields and offer a new “homestead” opportunity (for use only, not occupy or own). Nearest towns ~ 4 and 6 miles and 2 small cities ~ 15 and 25 miles. It’s more like an “outpost” than being totally isolated and there’s a bar/tavern about 1/2 mile away (on that river)… a natural meeting spot to socialize and organize community needs… Home-Sweet-Home…

      1. Hipockets says:

        I live 60-75 miles from shopping and a normal life’ I’d still bug out to the mountains or somewhere safe if the SCD. I know what to take to survive,have campers to live in and all neccities stored in them. If push comes to shove (maily from our local Gestopo ,over 100,in a town of 1500’I’m next to the border’)I’d bug out in a heart beat’

  4. Ben says:

    I’m about 9 miles from town in a small community. We’ll be okay!

  5. Rookie prepper says:

    The link at then end of the article for the retreat 404s on my iPhone. FYI
    I agree w the article, it is important to stay somewhat close to others. Social is just as important as biology to our survival.

  6. mary preston says:

    I live 6 miles from town 4 from a store in the head of a hollow. Road is one way in one way out. My house burned 20 years ago I rebuilt. I built a cord wood house. Folks said it wouldn’t work that I would never finish it. But with the help of a lady I worked with we did it. I hired the foundation built and a post and beam built could not get any one to do the logs. Sooooo we did it just two old women(53-55). It is still doing fine walls are18 inches so that helps with warming and cooling. You can do it no matter what people tell you.

  7. Michael says:

    I feel it depends on the situation at hand. In a complete fall of laws and civilization I would want to be far away from large groups of people and the chaos that will follow. Eventually we will want to work together again and reform societies. At that point you will be safer with a group of people for the reasons you gave and to avoid people preying on the helpless and secluded.

  8. julie mack says:

    When I decided to leave the DC metro area, I had a list of things I needed. Because my kids have special needs and health concerns we needed to be near a hospital. I wanted to be far enough from the Potomac so as not to have to worry about another hurricane like Isabella. I needed a good school system for my kids. I found it in a lovely undisclosed town, where happily my parents also live so I can have reliable child care when I need a break. It is a long commute for my husband but he does have the option of working from home when the weather is bad. I am building raised bed to grow my own food, planning on planting some mini fruit trees and a rosemary hedge to keep out the deer. Also considering rabbits for meat. Eventually we hope to afford solar panels and the rain barrels. We are replacing the appliances and lights with much more energy efficient ones, one at a time. We would not bug out but as a very last resort or a wildfire, which is unlikely but possible. Since we are in town, we have access to a lot of things like good internet access, fire hydrants, trash pick up, reliable sewer and water. My parents live farther out and they have none of those things. I would love to move slightly further out to have larger livestock eventually, but the kids come first.

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