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Surviving urban hell: A prepper’s essential guide to finding your way in a grid-down city

Urban preppers must be prepared to face survival scenarios in the city, especially since these areas are often very congested. When SHTF, even preppers may have trouble bugging out due to heavy traffic in certain cities.

People flock to cities because most high-paying jobs are based in urban areas. But when disaster strikes, cities may also present unique obstacles.

When SHTF in your city, how do you decide when to bug in, bug out, or team up with other preppers?

When to bug in

During a disaster scenario, your first prepping decision involves two options: bugging in (staying at home) or bugging out (evacuating).

The following scenarios may require you to bug in when SHTF:

  • If there’s a pregnant woman in your family or you have very young children who may have trouble bugging out.
  • You or someone in your family has a disability that makes it difficult to bug out.
  • You’ve already prepped your home with enough firearms and ammunition to defend yourself against looters or rioters.

If you decide to bug in, you must first secure your location. Preppers who live in apartments must lock their doors and reinforce them with heavy furniture.

Unfortunately, cities usually have some of the most stringent gun laws. If your city forbids the ownership of firearms, consider non-lethal self-defense weapons such as tactical flashlights or pens, stun guns, pepper spray or gel, tactical whips, a steel baseball bat, or other improvised weapons like a homemade monkey fist.

Make sure you stock up on enough food, water, and supplies for at least one week up to 30 days. Should you decide to bug in, you’ll have one less thing to worry about if you have a fully stocked survival cache.

When to bug out

Certain scenarios may require you to bug out with your whole family, such as severe flooding or a terrorist attack.

However, it can be difficult to bug out of the city due to heavy foot or car traffic. Before SHTF, prepare an emergency plan that incorporates several safe routes to your bug-out location.

Try to find rarely used alleys or streets in your routes. This way, when SHTF you won’t have trouble getting from point A to B. Taking smaller streets reduces your contact with other people, which also minimizes your exposure to potentially hostile confrontations with desperate people who may try to steal your gear. 

You must also prepare bug-out bags (BOBs) for yourself and each family member (and pet if you have one). Include survival gear and enough food and water for at least 72 hours (three days) so you can safely reach your intended destination.

When it’s time to hit the road, wear seasonally appropriate clothing. The last thing you need is to suffer from hypothermia when you’re bugging out.

If you have the funds to do so, rent a boat when you’re bugging out from somewhere along the coast.

When to team up with other preppers

Whether in daily life or when SHTF, there is safety in numbers. With enough manpower, you can secure your property against the dangers that you may be exposed to during large-scale disaster scenarios.

In your spare time, search for prepping groups online or around your neighborhood and get to know your fellow preppers. If you deem them trustworthy enough, you can make arrangements with them to improve everyone’s chance of survival.

Additionally, teaming up with fellow preppers gives you access to unique skills that everyone has to offer the rest of the group.

Urban preppers must take additional measures to address unique challenges that they may face when SHTF. Set up your preps to ensure your safety whether you decide to bug in, bug out, or team up with others.

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