City vs. Rural Bug In: How Do You Handle Your Reserves?

If you happen to be a city dweller and love it, then you may not understand why others would not get caught in such a setting if their life depended on it.

By the same token, people living in rural areas may see no point to bugging out to the city, let alone moving to another rural area.

No matter how these perceptions involve you decision to bug in, you have to realize that each group of survivors will meet some unique challenges based on the population density of the area in question. While both parties will need to meet the same basic needs for food and water and even health, skills required may be a bit more different than expected.

Food Gathering and Storage

City/Inner City

If you live in a small apartment in the city, there will be very little, if any room available to store and grow food. This, in turn, means that you will most likely not be able to go on consuming the foods you are accustomed to and must look to some other options. This includes learning how to grow and prepare micro plants and raising insects.

Both options provide nutritious foods, can be raised in very small spaces, and are prolific enough to sustain you for quite some time. While these options may not seem palatable, they are better than starving to death or risking having stored goods stolen just because others know you are stockpiling.


On the surface, it is bound to look like rural areas will have far fewer problems with gathering and storing food. Among other things, you may have a larger home and even a cellar or other location to stockpile foods. In addition, you may be part of a tight knit community where hunting and sharing food are the norm rather than the exception.

You may also have more access to clean waters filled with fish that you can catch and consume in time of need.  Today, it is commonly thought that many survivors will take to rural areas and live off the animals and plants that form the wooded urban areas.

Unfortunately, all of these plans can be easily dashed by the following (and likely problems):

  • Waterways may already be contaminated with industrial toxins that will make it impossible to consume fish and animal that rely on the water. Unless you demand cleaning up these areas now and a stop to the pollution, these resources will not be safe for you to use in a crisis situation.
  • Public lands supposedly set aside for camping, hiking, and general public use have long ago been (via both democrat and republican support) secretly sold or leased to miners, oil drillers, and renewable fuel developers. If you do some research, you will be amazed at the millions of acres routinely sold or leased right out from under you via the BLMs “multiple land use” doctrine.  Do not assume that once the government collapses, you can simply go to these “wilderness” reserves and hope to live there in peace and safety. It is far more likely that you will be met by industry paid and government paid thugs that will kill you just as quickly as they would kill indigenous people in South America that stand in the way of industrial development in those areas.
  • Nuclear missile sites, nuclear power plants, and illegal nuclear dumping sites may already be contaminating the air, water, and land that you rely on for daily survival. Not only can this become more dangerous in a crisis situation, it may be killing you and your loved ones right now.
  • As people migrate out of the cities and into the rural areas, they will also bring crime and disease. No matter how many arms and defensive strategies you have, some of these criminals are going to stay around and may well establish sufficient power to make it very hard for you to gather or grow food without their interference. Even if you have a stockpile and land to hunt and grow on, never assume that you will be reduced to the same kinds of problems faced by city dwellers who choose to bug in.

In rural areas, it is more important than ever to get past the idea that “money and jobs” is more important than sustaining life. Don’t let the media and its fake behavior shaping “value of social status” agenda overwhelm you or prevent you from making demands to oust, recall, or ban anything that damages land, water, or air that you know would be, or can be made/restored  to be of value for survival needs. Money means nothing when there is no safe water to drink, no safe food to eat, and no safe air to breathe.

How You Can Prepare for Both

To begin, the best thing you can do is be aware of the problems in your geographic area. For city dwellers, there isn’t likely to be much you can do before a crisis hits. Some options may include demanding that landlords allow for rooftop gardens or look for other ways to demand the development of food growing areas within the city.

There are many ways to grow food indoors and underground that can be used in these areas. Not only will this make it easier to build community cohesion, it may just help reduce violence and other problems plaguing the local area at the current time. As previously mentioned, rural area dwellers must also demand that food growing areas be kept safe, or cleaned up so that they are safe to take food from.

No matter where you are bugging in, learn how to grow and safely use micro plants (essentially seeds that are allowed to sprout and develop up to one set of leaves) and small, rapidly multiplying insects.

Remember that ants, crickets, and a few other common insects are actually far more nutritious than conventional meats. If you raise these insects yourself, you will not need to worry about all the hormones, toxins, and carcinogens that are currently found in the meat that you have been socially conditioned to accept as more appealing than insects.

For city dwellers, it may seem like a waste of time to keep some fishing gear and hunting tools onhand. Nevertheless, if you have to move to a rural area later on, at least you will have some tools to work with. Take the time now to practice with these tools so that you can use them effectively and efficiently in time of need.


City/Inner City

Considering the way city governing bodies tend to force people to pay a water tax, it should come as no surprise that many have outlawed the use of wells, and may even have taken steps to make sure that existing wells can no longer be used. In a crisis situation, the government’s inability to deliver water will spell death and disaster for millions in just a matter of days.

This is just one reason why you will need to be able to produce water from moisture held in the air or store that provided through rainfall. There are a number of dehumidifier systems that can accomplish this task. Make sure that you also know how to use low tech methods for doing the same job. From there, you will also need to be able to purify water.

Make sure that you know how to make a basic sock filter that utilizes activated carbon, bone char, and sand. Surprisingly enough, you can reuse these items once they become filled with contamination, so your stockpiles may not need to be as big as you think.

It is also fairly easy to make carbon. While it takes a higher temperature to make bone char, if indigenous people throughout the world can achieve this goal, you can too. It may also be of some help to make sure that you can distill water to remove any contaminants left behind by the sock filter.


Many people feel that if they already have access to private wells and other sources of water, it will be possible to pretty much go on as usual. On the other hand, it is also important to realize that water pumps will eventually fail. If you already have an old or worn pump, that time will come sooner rather than later.

Now would be a good time to look for hand operated pumps that can be used to pull water from shallow wells as well as ram pumps that can easily deliver water uphill. If you are looking for a good project to work, building your own ram pump may be useful and cost effective. Individuals that have access to a pond or river may also want to utilize an Archimedes Screw for both power generation and water pumping.

As people move from the city to rural areas, they are going to bring with them a tremendous thirst for water right along with crime and disease. Therefore, when it comes to preparing your bug in location, it is very important to make sure you know how to secure water and prevent unwanted intruders from accessing it.

On the surface, this may not necessarily be a concern if the water is plentiful and you have the idea that it is Ok to share such a plentiful resource. On the other hand, there are people in the world that are already very greedy, or they will become greedy because they have insecurity issues after a major crisis. In these situations, large groups may just decide to take over the water resource and prevent the rightful owners of it from using it.

In some cases these situations can be headed off using community structuring and shaping that are aimed at reducing insecurity and recognizing, then curtailing greedy actions as they surface.  Unfortunately, there may also be times when you will need to use weapons, traps, and other devices to defend your water supply and access to it.

Just make sure that you know which situation warrants a specific action so that you do not inadvertently harm people that may have a lot to offer you in terms of long term survival and the opportunity for the next generations to find suitable mates.

How You Can Prepare for Both

Both rural and city bug in survivors can store away rain barrels that can be used to catch water on a regular basis. Since social collapse is apt to come with increasing levels of pollution and water contamination, you will also both need to know how to purify water using relatively simple filter mechanisms.

Rural bug in survivors may also want to consider having a dehumidifier system on hand just in case they cannot access wells, or have to go underground where it may be impossible to access ponds, rivers, or other readily available sources of water.


Medical Needs

City/Inner City

When space is limited for growing herbs or storing medicines, you will need to choose carefully between many different options. Start off by making sure you have a good idea about your current medical needs and projected future ones.

Next, study human anatomy and physiology, and then take some courses in herbal remedies. Finally, choose at least 10 – 15 herbs that you can grow in a small area and store away heirloom seeds that can be grown at any time.

Make sure that you also know how to pollinate these plants without bees so that you can replace plants as they are used or die off as a natural part of their own life cycle. It is also very important to know how to propagate these plants from roots and cuttings.


As a member of a local community or someone that lives relatively isolated from others, you may already be aware that people in more populated areas have far more access to conventional medical care. As such, you may already know a good bit about emergency medicine simply because no one else is on hand to meet your needs in a timely manner.

You may also know of a number of herbal remedies to manage a range of ailments, and thus have no need for more modern drugs. In this case, all you need to do is expand your knowledge and herbal list to include plants from other parts of the world that may be more effective at treating a wider range of diseases.

It may be of some help to consult with a conventional textbook on human anatomy and physiology, and then take courses on herbal remedies. These studies should provide at least some information on Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicines that feature plants you can grow in your own home.

Since a number of diseases can be mitigated or even cured by meditation, reiki (which is being increasingly recognized by conventional medicine as an effective and safe pain management system) and binaural music, do not hesitate to explore these modalities and learn how to use them for yourself and others.

How You Can Prepare for Both

Make sure that you know readily growable herbal equivalents to any medicine that you are taking. Work with a doctor that is willing to monitor and help you as you experiment with different herbal solutions in order to find one that works for you. Next, seek to grow the herbs that are of most value to you.

During this process, you will never go wrong by learning as much as possible about how the internal body organs are placed and how they work. You may also want to study textbooks on clinical medicine so that you know as much as possible about how to manage a range of situations.

Oddly enough, these books may also be of value because they can help restore vital technologies and learnings to future doctors long after vital medical technologies and drug formulations are lost during the crisis.

It is fair to say that human beings have the same basic needs no matter where they live. On the other side of the equation, any number of social values and customs can become deeply ingrained because people in the local area know that is what works for them.

Try working with some of the suggestions in this article to see if they will meet your needs, or expand on them as you gain experience and skills that will make it easier to survive a disaster in any location.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Written by

Carmela Tyrrell is committed to off gridding for survival and every day life. She is currently working on combining vertical container gardening with hydroponics. Tyrrell is also exploring ways to integrate magnetic and solar power generation methods. On any given day, her husband and six cats give thanks that she has not yet blown up the house. You can send Carmela a message at editor [at]

Latest comments
  • Great article. Some things to add…If this next situation is anything like the Great Depression, we will not be able to count on fish and game. It won’t take long for wildlife to disappear from over hunting and fishing. As far as a hand pump for a well is concerned, it is an absolute necessity. I researched hand pumps prior to obtaining my own. I ended up getting the Simple Pump. It seemed to the best engineered and highest quality pump. My static water level was at 40′. When I ordered the pump, I got 80′ of pipe (40′ below static water level. It comes with a new well casing head and installs right along side my existing well pipe. I get 3 GPM from the pump, more then enough for us and the animals. With the Simple Pump, I can hook up a double female hose between the pump and the house and pressurize my bladder tank for showers etc. And, no, I have nothing to do with the Simple Pump company.