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Prepping For SHTF

Buying Land For a Bug Out Location

In the forum there is a thread about what makes a good bug out location.

For the sake of discussion let’s say you want to buy a piece of land for a small farm that could double as a bug out location.

This would be a weekend getaway for you and your family.  A place off the beaten path where you and your family can go to relax.  And also a place where you and your family can stockpile survival gear for a long term SHTF situation.

If you were going to buy such a place what qualities would you look for?  In this article I hope to talk about some of the stuff someone interested in buying a bug out location may look for.  Keep in mind these are suggestions and food for thought, and not necessarily requirements.


Off the beaten path, but close enough to town to makes trips convenient.  A survivalist dream setup would be hours of off-roading to reach the Bug Out Location.  The reality of the situation is that if a 4×4 truck has difficulty reaching the Bug Out Location, what about pulling a trailer loaded with building materials, heavy equipment to put in a septic system, tractors,,, and other heavy loads?

At least 75 – 100 miles from the nearest possible nuclear target.

Not down-steam from a dam.

Not in a floodplain.

Reasonable growing season for raising crops.  Another survivalist dream Bug Out Location would be to live in the arctic circle with a cabin, and thousands of acres to hunt, fish and trap on.  But living in the arctic circle does provide very much of a growing season for fruits and veggies.

At least 100 miles from the coast.  You would not want your Bug Out Location wiped out by a hurricane now would you?  During Hurricane Ike the storm surge reached around 20 miles inland.

Bug Out Location Topography

Somewhat flat land for growing crops and having livestock.

Near water source such as lake, creek, river, pond,,,,.

Puppies playing in a creek

Access to timber for firewood and building projects.

Fertile soil for planting fruit trees, crops and grass for livestock to graze on.

Look for land that borders national forest land, creeks, streams, lakes,,, other natural boundaries.  Boundaries prevent others from building next to you, and adds a security buffer.

How Much Land is Enough

A lot of survivalist ask how much land they should buy for a Bug Out Location.  The main answer is how much land can you afford to buy, and how much can you afford to pay taxes on?  For most people the limiting factor is money.

Bug out cabin

Bug out cabin in Southeast Texas

Do you plan on living on the land full time?  Or is this going to be a weekend getaway location?

If you live on the land do you plan on having large livestock, such as cattle and horses?  What about smaller livestock such as sheep, goats and chickens?

For people who plan on using the land for a weekend getaway just a few acres should do.

For people who plan on living on the land, as much as they can afford to buy.

With planning, composting and square foot gardening it is possible for a family to grow a lot of food on just 1/4 acre, or even less.  It is not how much land you have, but “how” that land is used.

State / County Seized Property

One place to start looking for Bug Out Location land is at the county tax office.  How do you think timber companies got a lot of their land?  It was not by paying fair market value to the owners.

Time for a little history lesson.

In the late 1800s as explorers headed west along the gulf coast, stories started making their way back to the east coast about timber.  Massive timber like nobody had ever seen before.  The timber that drew companies west was the long leaf pine.

The long leaf pine can grow to 100 – 150 feet tall and 4 feet wide.  It is estimated that 90 million acres was once occupied by long leaf pines.  That was until timber companies started clear cutting. Greed drove deforestation that built this nation.

In the wake of the clear cutting and deforestation communities sprung up.  Communities with stores, churches, schools and homes.

When the timber was gone the people moved on.

The land was forgotten, taxes were not paid, the county seized the land, the timber companies bought the land at cut throat prices.

While the timber companies have bought most of the land, there are still parcels out there.  It might take awhile, and a lot of looking, but there is still land out there to be had.

Developing a Working Farm

Depending on the amount of free time you have, number of able-bodied workers, budget, accessibility,,,, expect to spend around a year going from bare land to something that is somewhat workable.

If there is timber on the land, sometimes loggers will cut the timber and then pay you a percentage of the money from the wood. The problem is not too many loggers want to mess with small plots of land. if you have 2, 3 or 4 acres it might be difficult to find a logger that will make enough money to even bother.

After the timber has been cut then there are the stumps to deal with. Do not think you are just going to burn the stumps out either. If you want to burn the sumps out you are talking about building a ragging fire on top of each stump.

The easy way to get rid of stump is to have them ground down. Stump grinding is the route I took on my land. The stump grinder was averaging around 1 – 2 minutes for larger stumps, with small ones taking just a few seconds.

This goes back to access. If a 4×4 truck can barely make it to the Bug Out Location, how is heavy equipment supposed to get there?

For those of you who wish to go manual labor on everything, good luck with that. Settlers of the early American frontier were made from a different stock than men and women today.

After part of the land has been cleared, then comes the water well, buildings, fences, orchard, chicken yard, barn,,,, everything a family would need to survive a long term SHTF situation.

Did I miss anything?

If so post your comments below.


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