The Ideal Emergency Retreat

Actually, these are some of the ideal features you would want in a retreat for bugging out, but also for a home if you plan on staying put during an emergency. In either emergency scenario, these are the most important features to look for in a piece of property.


Not a shock, but location is one of the most important aspect of any survival retreat or bug-out location. Stay out of highly populated areas and big cities, and look for something remote that is still reasonably easy for you to get to. Ideally, a year-round road is available rather than some 3-season trail (but also not visible from the road if you can). Keep your retreat close enough to your full-time home so that it’s not an 5 day hiking excursion to get there. For driving, it should be within a few hours. No more than what your vehicle can cover in a single tank of gas.

Water Access

Your retreat needs access to water if at all possible. That might mean a pond or stream, or even just an existing well. Multiple options are best. Just remember that well pumps will need power, so plan for that at your retreat too. Have a hand pump in your emergency preps. If you are going to rely on surface water, plan on a way to sterilize it by boiling or treating with a little bleach.

And speaking of water, also look for a location where flooding isn’t a possibility. Coastal locations may be a dangerous option in these days of rising water levels and climate change.

Heating Options

Assuming you live in an area where you need heat for at least some part of the year, that should be taken into consideration for your retreat location. A properly installed woodstove is a classic choice and one that will work for most places, even small cabins. Of course, having access to firewood is something to remember too. Other types of heaters that take fuel (like oil or propane) are options, but are less reliable as they usually need power and they will only be good for as long as your fuel supply lasts. Don’t forget a carbon monoxide detector, for some added safety.

Extra Storage Space

A tiny cabin has its perks, as being easy to heat and less visible than a larger building, remember that you will be relying on your stash of survival gear and stored food. That is going to require some space. Keep that in mind when choosing a retreat building, or at least get a place that would allow for some secure sheds or a garage for safe storage.

Local Food Sources

The usual requirement for a survival retreat is access to good hunting or fishing, but we vegans don’t have to worry about that. On the other hand, choosing a place that allows for natural foraging to bolster your food supplies is a really smart idea. Wild greens like dandelion and purslane can give a huge vitamin boost to your stored food, so scope out the surroundings of a potential location and see what is growing.


Don’t let your dreams of a tricked-out underground doomsday bunker get in the way of getting something that is actually within your budget. Stretching yourself too thin financially isn’t as smart move, and you run the risk of losing the place to the bank before you get to use it. If that means you have to settle for something “less than ideal”, that is OK too.