Home Survival StrategiesHomefront Preparing Your Home for “Bugging In”

Preparing Your Home for “Bugging In”

by Ryan Dotson

clay colored house with front rock yard and bird perch tower

If you have been a survivalist for any amount of time, you know that a great deal of focus is spent discussing bugging out. However, for most potential survival scenarios staying home would make more sense.

There are several things you should do around your home to ensure you are prepared if you do ride out a SHTF situation.

In this article we will cover ways that you can fortify and prepare a home for bugging in.

Initial Assessment

When you decide to prepare a home for bugging in, you should first take a walk around the property with a pen and note pad to decide what your priorities are. Here are some things to consider:

  • Perimeter security – Can assailants easily enter your property? Do you have fences? Do you have surveillance? How well is the property lit?
  • Property camouflage – Does your property look like it has resources people would want to take?
  • Water supply – Do you have an external water supply on your property such as a pond, lake, creek, or river? Do you have a rainwater collection system? Do you have a well? Do you have a way to purify water?
  • Protein supply – Do you have animals on the property that you could hunt or trap? Is fishing a possibility? Do you raise any animals that could supply protein?
  • Fruit and Vegetable supply – Do you have a garden or fruit trees? Do you have a greenhouse? Do you have wild edibles available on the property?
  • Outdoor fire – Do you have a propane grill, charcoal grill, or smoker? Do you have a fire pit? How much firewood, charcoal, or propane do you have stored?
  • Building supplies – Do you have lumber on site for projects? Do you have hardware available? Do you have power tools?
  • Building security – How secure is the house itself? How strong are the locks and doors? Are there bars on the windows? Do you have an alarm system?
  • Indoor water storage – How are you storing water indoors? Do you have both bottled water and large storage tanks?
  • Food supplies – How much dry and preserved food do you have in your storage, and how long will it last for your family? How much nutritional variety do you have in your food storage?
  • Electricity – Do you have a way to provide electricity if the grid gets shut down? Do you have a generator? Do you have a solar system? Do you have a windmill? Do you have large batteries that are charged?
  • Other supplies – How are you on hygiene products, first aid products, batteries, ammo, blankets, candles, lighters, etc.?
  • Planning – Do you have a plan in place to lock down your property when you decide to bug in? Does your whole family know the plan? Have you practiced?

Once you have taken the time to walk your property and write all of these things down, it is time to prioritize. Sit down with your family and figure out how much time and money you can contribute weekly or monthly to these projects.

Then put a cost and time estimate to each and every category on the list. Finally, rank them first to last in order of short term importance. What I mean is, decide which project you would want completed if you had to bug in next month.

Taking Action

As you decide to get started in preparing your home for bugging in, it is best to spread your efforts a bit. Most of these projects will take several weeks if not months to complete based on the money and time required. I suggest starting on your top three projects and putting a little effort into each project weekly.

This will ensure you diversify your efforts without spreading yourself too thin. Remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint. Just do what you can without pushing yourself or your family too far. Taking any action at all puts you in a better position than 95% of the rest of the population.


When worrying about SHTF scenarios and bugging in, security is one of your top priorities. If things get really bad and the situation does not improve, those that are not prepared will come looking for resources. To ensure that all of your preparation is worth it, you must secure your property. You want your home to be a hard target.

Your security should have several layers to make it that much more difficult for intruders to get in.

Your first layer of security should be the perimeter of the property. This could be a fence or a wall. Even having a dog on the property could be considered perimeter defense.

Solar motion light next to red door with window

You can set up cameras or motion lights to monitor assailants or scare them away. You should consider a plan for somebody in your family to stand guard or walk the perimeter once you bug in. If you have a high point from which you can monitor the whole plot, this would be the best place for a guard. I suggest the guard be armed, but that is your decision.

Your next layer of security is camouflage. You have two primary options. You can make your property look deserted, or you can make it look very normal. My family has chosen to go with the deserted look to some degree. There are areas on our property that we intentionally do not mow so the property does not look maintained.

Home hidden in brush with mountain behind it

Yes, there is a home hidden in the brush

Our supplies are all hidden and our garden is not visible from the road. We have let brush trees grow up around 90% of the perimeter of our property so most people cannot see the house, pond, or garden. There is nothing that would indicate that we are prepared survivalists with resources unless you view a satellite image of the property.

You can also keep your property finely manicured and kept. Just be certain that your resources are not visible to others. This strategy is more likely to attract looters looking for supplies like cash, food, or liquor.

After that, you are looking at ways of actually defending your house. You should look for the easiest points for a person to enter your home and focus on these points. Doors can be reinforced and locks can be added.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that garages are secure. Vital survival supplies should not be in your garage.

White window with black bars in front of it

image via givemetalk.com

You can bar your windows, or you can have plywood and nails ready to board the windows. An alarm system is a good idea to scare intruders and alert you at the same time.

This is also the point at which you want to consider weapons. I keep firearms nearby where I sleep so I can defend my family if a person breaches our home. Our home is arranged so that there is an obvious choke point I can defend before an intruder could ever get to my family. We also have additional weapons so my wife and son can fight if needed.


It is vital to bugging in that you have a good supply of resources if you are going to survive long term. It is also important that your resources are varied and regenerating if possible.

Pantry shelves with 5 gallon food buckets, canned food, and condiments

A fully stocked prepper pantry
via FreedomPreppers.com

Having a pantry full of beans and rice is good, but having a garden or fruit trees is even better. You can dry or can these foods to give you more variety in your storage.

Having a bunch of jerky is good, but raising rabbits or having a pond full of fish is better.

Shelves full of bottled water are good, but a well or a rainwater collection system is better.

This goes for non-consumable supplies as well. If you have the gear to reload your ammo casings, this will ensure you do not run out of ammo. Rechargeable batteries are a good idea. Solar panels or wind turbines are an ideal installment to ensure you always have electricity. If you have trees for firewood, that will give you an ongoing source of heat and a way to cook.

When it comes to more specified supplies such as medical supplies or hygiene supplies, you just have to be sure you have enough. Think about everything you need to keep you and your family comfortable for several months.

Even things such as entertainment or comfort can be huge. Things like books, lighting, or music can help you get through even the toughest scenarios. Do not underestimate how important it is that you feel normal while bugging in.

Other Considerations

When preparing to bug in, you really must consider in which scenarios you would stay home and in which scenarios you would bug out. For most people, there is a point at which it is safer to leave. However, you must decide what that point is. If you are going to survive through a pandemic, nuclear fallout, or chemical attack in which the air could be tainted then you would need to seal your home. Hazmat suits would be a good idea, and an air filtration system would be needed.

Woman holding remote lifts staircase to show hidden room

High-Tech Hidden Entry – via realworldsurvivor.com

In addition, there are only so many attackers that any home can hold off. If there are enough soldiers or looters that are committed to breaking in, they will likely succeed. The only defense for some of these situations would be a safe room or bunker. These are secured locations that really cannot be penetrated. They often have filtered air so you are safe in almost any situation. However, they are expensive to build and the space is limited. These options are for people that absolutely refuse to leave their homes.

For my family, we have a point at which we would bug out. There are dense and uncharted forests close by in which we could disappear if needed. Anybody following us would have a very hard time tracking my family. In addition, we could follow these forests far from civilization so that clean air and water would likely not be an issue. If we felt our safety in our home was in danger, our packs would be ready and we would be on our way.

In Conclusion

Never forget that the biggest piece of planning for bugging in is communication. Your family should know your plans for preparation and what to do in various different situations. They should be ready to act when you make the decision to lock down your property. They should be on board and prepared to help you prepare your home for these what-if scenarios. You will need their help if you wish to survive.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make through this process is to try to do too much, too quickly. If you spend too much time or too much money on this preparation, you will become frustrated very quickly. More importantly, you will likely lose the support of your family.

There is no finish line for preparedness. It is always an ongoing process. Even if you complete all of the projects on your list, you will just think of new projects to make your home even more prepared. If you are continually thinking about survival and putting effort into your preparation, you will make progress.

If SHTF a few months from now or several years from now, you just want to be able to say that you did what you could to prepare. When it happens, every person affected will be able to say that they could have done more. However, not everybody will be able to say that they could have done less.

Most people affected will have never even thought about preparation. Do what you can and you will never regret the time and money you spent to protect your family.

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