When we find ourselves in an actual SHTF situation, one of the first things that many of us will do is to either bug out to a secure and safe location or make our way back home.
Either way, it is possible that you could find yourself having to travel over a couple of days. This means that you will have to hunker down for the night.
The question is, where are the safest places to sleep when SHTF?
Things To Consider When Choosing A Sleeping Location
When you need to put your head down for a few hours of sleep, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration.
- Protection From The Elements – Protecting yourself from the weather is your first consideration regardless of what situation you are seeking shelter in. Your bugout bag should have a shelter kit that will make sheltering from the elements straightforward.
- Concealment – You are vulnerable to attack or theft as you sleep. When selecting a site to sleep, choose somewhere separate from those passing by and shielded from view.
- Overwatch – Wherever you decide to sleep, you should be able to spot anyone approaching before they get too close. Also, if you have the available resources, setting up a few early warning devices is a good idea.
- Escape Routes – If despite all your efforts, people are about to stumble across your stealth camp, you need to have at least one, but preferably two, escape routes that you can use to slip away unnoticed.
- Noise, Light, And Scent Discipline – Finding a concealed location is only part of the equation. The most important aspect is to stay quiet, avoid the use of light, and be mindful of any smells. The smell of cooking food is a dead giveaway that someone is nearby and will attract unwanted attention to your camp. As will any talking or use of artificial light.
- Wildlife – Watch for signs of wildlife that may have already claimed the area or use the space as a part of their travel routes. In urban areas, watch out for droppings that may indicate the presence of vermin with whom you will be sharing the space.
- Leave No Trace – Police your trash and do everything you can to leave no evidence that you slept in that location after you’ve left.
Suppose you travel to a bugout location and use the backroads and wilderness to conceal your movements. In that case, selecting clandestine campsites is as easy as setting up off the beaten track and in terrain or brush, that most travelers would avoid.
Regarding urban environments, there are many options for taking refuge for a night while on the move.
If you are in the middle of an urban SHTF scenario, it is best to avoid people at all costs.
One good way to do this is to move through industrial areas, which will be sparsely travelled as the businesses shut down in the face of whichever crisis is being presented.
Many industrial areas have yards full of material and equipment that provide cover from view and potentially cover from the elements. Many buildings have alcoves, walkways, roof access, and other areas that you could use to set up a hasty but concealed camp.
Generally speaking, overpasses and bridges will attract many people to use them as shelter.
That being said, you may be able to find one that is off the beaten path enough to where you could use it as a shelter location with relative safety and security.
Any city will have many abandoned buildings you could take refuge in while bugging out.
The problem with sheltering in abandoned buildings is that many other people will have the same idea and, you could find that the places you want to shelter in are already occupied.
It is important to note that just because a building is abandoned, it does not mean that it is not still private property. Even in an SHTF scenario, we all need to be respectful and practice leaving no trace regardless of where we camp.
Green Belts and Parks
Many cities have creeks or rivers running through them which have green belts surrounding them. These areas will also be popular areas to camp during SHTF, but if you have a keen eye and a creative mind, you can find spots that others will ignore.
Some parks are quite large and have significant forested areas that you could take refuge in. These will also be popular areas for post-SHTF camps but could offer areas that others would not choose to camp in.
If you can access a rooftop, it could provide an excellent spot to camp and give a decent amount of safety and security for you as well. Since you are elevated above those who walk by, your camp will be invisible. One downside I see is that rooftops will usually not provide a lot of options for escape.
Another downside is that in an urban environment, there will undoubtedly be taller buildings around you which provide a good vantage point to see your camp.
Parking structures often have a surprising number of places to hide. As a teenager, we would make a game of evading security guards at the local mall parking structure. Most parking garages have many mechanical and electrical rooms, storage areas, and other areas that can be surprisingly easy to gain access to.
When we find ourselves in an SHTF situation, covert camping will become an essential skill that will keep us safe and secure as we either try to get home or bug out to a safer location.
When there is a fundamental breakdown of society and law and order, sleeping is going to be a dangerous proposition but finding somewhere to sleep where we don’t have to worry about our safety is essential.