Survival Skills: Create Order at Your Bug Out Location

A real, live “bug out” situation would be a stressful and chaotic event indeed, but there’s no reason for your BOL (bug out location) to be reigned by chaos.

The best way to be prepared is to hold periodic “bug-out-camp-outs” and develop a camp site layout that works for you and your group. The camp kitchen, tent sites, dishwashing area, latrine, and other critical camp features should be planned with safety, security, convenience, and sanitation in mind.

The Latrine
Don’t put the camp toilet next to the cooking area! Dig a latrine trench a good distance away from camp—and downwind. Leave the dirt that you dug up in a pile, and use an empty can as a scooper to cover up after each use. Keep some of your toilet paper handy in a waterproof zip-top bag. Maintain a little dignity and respect camp privacy by using a tarp to screen off the latrine area. If you cannot spare the tarp, then select a latrine area shielded by brush, big rocks, or other natural cover.

The Kitchen
Set up your campfire cookpot using bricks, cinderblocks, rocks, or whatever else you have handy to create a safe and stable fireplace. Scrounge up a grill or an oven rack to make an even better cooking setup. The fireplace must be stable. If the pot falls over, a couple gallons of boiling water can scald anyone gathered around the fire.

The best way to be prepared for a bug out situation is to develop a camp site layout that works for your group.
The best way to be prepared for a bug out situation is to develop a camp site layout that works for your group.

The Washing Area
Dirty dishes can spread everything from dysentery to spinal meningitis; don’t take shortcuts with camp cleanliness. Use a three-tub system. The first tub holds plain water to get the majority of food off the dishes; the second tub has a little dish soap to get the rest of the food off; and the third tub has a little bleach to rinse off the soap and disinfect the dishes. The final step is to air-dry the dishes in the sun.

Have a designated area for your field hospital. You should select an area where a waterproof first-aid kit will reside and where wounds will be tended. This should not be near the kitchen area.

Trash Pit
Dig a hole for trash, but only if animals are not a local problem. If you have bears, feral dog packs, or other wild animals, then you’ll have to shift strategies and burn all your garbage. Create a burn pit at least 100 yards (90 m) downwind of camp in an area that is not prone to wildfires.

Food Storage
In areas with no bears and few scavengers, you can use coolers or bins to serve as a food and cooking equipment storage locker. However, in bear country or areas with bold scavengers such as rats and raccoons, you’ll have to “bear bag” your food by hanging it up in a tree at least 15 feet (4.5 m) up and 100 yards (90 m) downwind from camp.

You don’t need to build an actual shed to make use of the tools you brought, but just make sure that your group keeps the multi-tools and duct tape in one spot so you can find them when you need them.

These tips, and many more survival skills, are available in MacWelch’s books:

Prepare For Anything

Hunting and Gathering Survival Manual 

And if that’s not enough, you can:
Follow Tim on Twitter @timmacwelch
Take one of his survival classes at
and check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles at Outdoor Life Magazine’s survival site, The Survivalist ( link )

And check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles in Outdoor Life Magazine.


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One Response to “Survival Skills: Create Order at Your Bug Out Location”

  1. Tim Smith

    You should possibly consider trauma kits carried by all ,,, blood clot parks sting like hell but will save your life,, another is tampons,, had a use with one and duct tape to stop the bleed,, another cool tool is wax string,,you think it’s stupid till you need it