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Choosing a Bug Out Location -- What to look for?

Survival Retreats and Bug Out Locations.

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Choosing a Bug Out Location -- What to look for?

Postby LoveOfLiberty » Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:29 pm

Hello,

Myself and about 7-8 others (+ their significant others and families, maybe 20 people) are looking to purchase a 30-40 acre plot of land as a bug out location. As you might imagine, I have a ton of questions on how to pick the right location:

Is 30-40 acres enough land?

Where might be a good location?

    - How far from the nearest major city? (Within reason of course!)
    - Near or away from State/National Parks?
    - Away from major roads? How far? ...etc.?

What types of "amenities" should we be looking for?

    - In water sources?
    - Soil?
    - Trees? For building & firewood?
    - What to look for in good hunting land? Pheasant, Turkey, Deer most likely?

What else am I forgetting?!! :shock:

Thanks so much anyone who may be able to help answer this a/o point me towards the right resources!
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Re: Choosing a Bug Out Location -- What to look for?

Postby Atreus » Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:11 am

You need to be able to get there. For example, I live in lower Michigan and would love a BOL in the UP. But I wouldn't want to depend on being able to get across that big ole bridge across the Mackinac Straight if TSHTF.
There won't be a declared "SHTF" day so be prepared.
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Re: Choosing a Bug Out Location -- What to look for?

Postby MrDanB » Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:13 am

Thanks for making this post Love of Liberty. I am in the same boat as you are. I recently did a search on google for this. Here is a few tips I picked out so far:
LAND-
What kind of soil? Good for growing veggies? Forested or pasture or mixture? Any right of ways to others or is there an easement YOU would have to worry about? Is the land sloped or flat? Good for animals to graze? Any fruit trees? Does the county/state clear the road leading up to your property or would YOU be on the hook for a bunch of snow removal? Are there any existing back taxes owed? Clear title/deed of trust?

WATER-
Annual rainfall amount? Good drainage of the rainwater?(perc?), any water source nearby? Lakes/rivers/streams? Are the water sources protected by water rights of someone upstream from you? Can you obtain water rights for use? (note-I was reading that in Montana nobody but the gov. can legally own the rights, but you can buy a permit for use. Other neighbors may or may not be able to wage a formal complaint on your submission for use. Just something to think about and look into), is there a well? how far down to the water table? how deep is neighbors well? how many gallons per minute can the well produce? Is it practical to put a hand pump on it in case of "grid down"? (my research shows that up to 100' down is o.k., more than that is doable, but you need to make modifications to get the water up to the spigot)

GENERAL-
Neighbors nearby? Who owns the land all around your prospective parcel? If a logging business owns a parcel nearby, what is the odds that they will clearcut in the future? How would this impact your parcel? Proximity to the nearest town? 5+ miles seems good to me DEPENDING on the size of the town (Mayberry would work for me :)), contact the local extension office of land management and see about any info/insight they can give you! Valuable resource for sure...

That's all of the basic info I outlined recently. Hope it helps. I am interested to see how others add to the list!
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Re: Choosing a Bug Out Location -- What to look for?

Postby LoveOfLiberty » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:44 pm

Thanks MrDanB,

These are just the types of things I'd have completely missed. Thank you. Definitely good information to consider while the grid is still in place. I'm hoping to hear more from folks for tips on what to look for and how to make the land work for you when in more of a survival mode.
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Re: Choosing a Bug Out Location -- What to look for?

Postby Alaska Rose » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:19 am

If possible, maybe consider camping in the prospective area and maybe meeting some of the local people in the area. The neighbors can make or break a lovely area to build a great BOL in.
Make sure you have water available in one form or another, it is the most important item on the list. Trees and the ability to have an orchard and garden are next, as far as I am concerned. Berries, also and assorted perennial vegetable beds, for asparagus, artichokes and even onions, there are the perennial onions that you just cut off at the roots and they continue growing for years. There are probably lots I am missing mentioning here, since it has been a long time since I lived where this is possible. A good wildlife population is good, also.
In my opinion, a sloping ground is preferable to flat land for drainage and not so apt to be bothered by flooding. Look into the history of the area for past flooding, earthquake faults or slides. If located in mountains and lots of snow is a possibility, check on avalanche areas, also.
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Re: Choosing a Bug Out Location -- What to look for?

Postby LoveOfLiberty » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:20 pm

I also stumbled upon this link that compiles lists of cities and their population. Another thought that just occurred to me was looking into population density in your potential BOL.

http://www.city-data.com/
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Re: Choosing a Bug Out Location -- What to look for?

Postby Dirk Williams » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:46 pm

I'd go where no one else would go. Id go high cut a ton of wood build a very sturdy 10x15 cabin or several in your case, with running water and a population of trout or fish and med/large game animals. I think out of sight is literally out of the mind of others.

Living in the land of lakes I have to say you have pretty much unlimited natural resources. I would not be within 50/70 miles of a metro hub, and try not to be within 30 miles of a major highway or freeway.

We tried to get to or spot last weekend, the mud was really bad and I turned around. It's on a dirt road with no homes on it, and down another dirt road at least 5 miles.

Natural springs wild game two early homesteads were there the building are down but the origional lumber is still there and in really good shape for re bulding.

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Were still waiting for a settlement then we buy our own BOL.

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Re: Choosing a Bug Out Location -- What to look for?

Postby Laythar » Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:27 pm

Try and place a major natural obstacle between you and any major population centers such as a large river. This will create bottlenecks at the key crossing points for any Zombie migration out of the population center. Locate you BOL well off of any highway or paved road at least 3 miles and 5 or more would be better. Be sure you are not located on any straight line between population centers. Try and locate your BOL beyond these crossing points and place a smaller population between you and those crossings, the sacking of that smaller population center will alert you that the Zombies are close and they've crossed the obstacle. Good Luck.
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Re: Choosing a Bug Out Location -- What to look for?

Postby GooseArrow » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:35 pm

Can I add that you look outside of the box, check public tax records for people who owe back taxes. In this economy, a lot of people may own recreational land that may not be able to afford the taxes anymore. If you do go through a realtor, keep in mind that you can always offer less than what the seller is asking especially if it is an obscure piece of property. Location on a paved road is ideal for farmland, but not necessarily what a prepper is looking for. If the SHTF, property value will have a whole different meaning. A piece of property that is on a paved road will be easy access for thieves.

Make sure your land has a good source of water. We have several springs that run year round, spring fed creeks and ponds.

We purchased land a few years ago. It needed a ton of work(and still does) but was a mile off the dirt road. Everyone thought we were crazy for buying it. But it was cheaper, and at the time we were not prepping for SHTF. Now I am so thankful we bought it in that location, because very few know it exists. There is one way in, right past our neighbors house. We have a great neighbor who keeps an eye on it for us when we aren't there.

Think about who will be living around you, it is so important. Good luck to you.
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Re: Choosing a Bug Out Location -- What to look for?

Postby ravermagik » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:32 pm

8 Families with 40 acres is 5 acres each. really that is plenty as a Bol. Remember its just temporary. unless you are bugging out and making it permanent I would not worry about much more land than that.

As far as other questions.

I would make it close but not too close to where you live..If a NATIONWIDE disaster happened more than likely you would not have enough gas to get there. I would make it about 50 miles from where you live. This way its about an hour from where you are.

I would want the place to be as self sustained as possible. So a house ran on solar off grid with a rain capture system with tanks good for at least a months worth of water held.

I would have it stocked with at least a month of freeze dried food rotated on a 2 year cycle.

I would also Do test runs with it. To see if you are missing anything.

First you need to start..worry about the small stuff as you go along.
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Re: Choosing a Bug Out Location -- What to look for?

Postby LoveOfLiberty » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:37 am

This has been incredibly helpful. Thank you everyone who's contributed.

A question I still have out there is semi-permanent lodging. Ideally you'd build homes, but for 8 families that isnt realistic. I've heard of folks buying mobile homes and placing on the property, but as another option does anyone have experience building their own log cabin? Is that realistic? Any guidance or do-it-yourself reference?

Thanks again!
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Re: Choosing a Bug Out Location -- What to look for?

Postby ravermagik » Sun Feb 27, 2011 12:35 pm

If you are looking for formal training on this. This might help.
http://www.loghomebuilders.org/
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Re: Choosing a Bug Out Location -- What to look for?

Postby thebastidge » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:12 am

Alternatively: http://www.cobcottage.com

I would examine the route in, and make sure there is an alternative route (at least one.) The geographical obstacles comment is a good one- one reason why I live on the Washington side of the Columbia river, away from Portland.

If you build shelters, try to place them where they don't take up real estate that would be more valuable as garden.

Conex boxes make great secure storage, and we live in them over here in Iraq and Afghanistan- far better than tents. Doesn't take much to make them snug and comfy. I plan to pour a concrete pad at my retreat, and build a shop out of conex boxes (3 sides- 2x40' and 1x20') in a U shape, with a steel roof over it and build the wall for the fourth side (southern exposure).

If each family purchases a conex box (around $4k delivered right now, but prices are rising) you have the minimum storage and living space you need.

40 acres is considered to be the maximum that a pre-industrial farm family (4-ish children) can handle under regular cultivation. Mechanical aids such as tractors blew this number out of people's heads, but that's why freed slaves were offered "40 acres and a mule". If part of it is under low-intensity cultivation (woodlots, for example, or possible permaculture forets farm/orchards) you could probably handle quite a bit more.

On the other hand, good luck finding parcels over 20 acres for a reasonable price that are farm-ready. It probably depends on your area, but out west, it's difficult to find them, and banks won't finance anything over 20 acres as a regular residential loan. You have to go commercial loan (difficult, higher down payments, higher interest, may need a proven track record of profitability either on your part or in the history of the property) or owner-carries-contract. I'm having this issue right now, trying to buy 58 acres.

You might find a set of parcels that are contiguous and have your group buy land next to each other, or set up an LLC (you'll bneed to find a way to make it work for you on a regular basis to actually make it a company, not just during emergencies) and purchase it together. This has the advantage that as people decide there's no longer any reason for them to prep (people drop in and drop out of this movement all the time) there's a structure and incentive for them to stay in or formally get out.
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Re: Choosing a Bug Out Location -- What to look for?

Postby xray » Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:40 am

With that many families, there are many opinions, finances, and circumstances. Some are wealthy, some poor. Some are retires some have large familes with kids. So a one fit answer won't work.

40 acres does not seem like a lot of land, however if you all really try to use it all, it could really produce a lot of produce and the like. Personally, I would not go into a financially binding agreement with that many people. But what I would do, is legally buy right next door. People loose thier jobs, or get divorced, and then what?

If you could get a good pond dug, or buy an existing one for a fish farm that would be a huge plus. If you could check out where the amish are located that may be a great resource. In Minnisota, snow is a big factor. Plowing snow is expensive, and gasoline dependant, so keep that in mind.

On a side note there is safty in numbers. If you have a good team, you will be ahead of the pack.

best of luck.
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Re: Choosing a Bug Out Location -- What to look for?

Postby Scoutmaster » Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:54 am

Hello All
Just found this thread: All very good Ideas and info, and to fit the bill here in michigan where I am there is still a few places with in the state that fits the bill. Not getting across the Bridge is a biggie, I am sure they will close it almost at once to any one that can not prove they live up there. I also tend to thing even in the upper parts of the lower Locals will be closing or at least setting up road blocks to check the persons heading north.
What scares me in that scenario is the logistics in dealing with 20 or more persons, I would think that three or four groups ( families) working independently
But still close enough to help each other and back each other up when needed. Maby getting 40 acers and deviding it into 10 acer parcels, with four groups living in there own shelters/cabins/homes.

I would guess 40 acres would fill the bill for that many persons. It would take quite a large garden, that is enough land to hunt wild game to supplement supplies, and also give you enough wood to heat, cook and heat water.

Good thoughts
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