By April 22, 2012 Read More →

“Bugged Out!” A Homesteading Beginning

HomesteadDuring Hurricane Katrina, thousands lost their homes – hundreds have been unable to return.  In Fukushima Japan, hundreds of thousands lost their homes to the tsunami – thousands have been unable to return to their homes.  During recent tornadoes in Joplin, MO, hundreds of homes were completely destroyed and most of them have yet to rebuild.

What would YOU do if your home was suddenly, immediately and completely destroyed?  You have no possibility of returning to your home for at least a year, resources are still available to you though you have limited funds because you’re now out of work and you haven’t gotten insurance money yet.  How do you live?  How do you take care of your family?  Do you go to a government facility?  I sure hope not!

What if raw land were available to you but there really was nothing there.  You basically have what you evacuated with and some limited resources.  Hopefully all your preps were pre-loaded into your Bug Out Vehicle and your Bug Out Trailer – you now only have what you evacuated with.  You’ve evacuated to your raw-land retreat and now life starts going again.

Would you be able to survive in a situation like this?  Would you be able to thrive?  Do you actually know the answer to these questions, or do you just think you do?

I have officially “Taken the Challenge”.

Homestead ViewIt’s been a dream for as long as I can remember – to live in the mountains, remotely, with no services or utilities and to truly test and prove myself, my theories and to train my kids. To prove to myself, for myself that I could actually do it – to bug out and survive. Having the opportunity to teach, demonstrate and help others just makes it all that much better!

So, here’s where we’re at. I’m literally “Bugged Out”. I’m living in the mountains somewhere in the Rocky Mountains in my R.V. on my 35 acre retreat that consists of no services or utilities, for the time being, on raw land. There is a very large barn on the property that will eventually become permanent quarters but for now is un-inhabitable.  We also have 3 grain silos on the property that are completely functional.  The issue with all of the buildings here is that they’ve been infested for years with pigeons – they are literally covered in pigeon poop!

At this time, I am sitting in my R.V. typing on my desktop computer with dual monitors.  Power is coming from my generator, internet is coming from my phone.  I am miles from electricity and internet connections.  There is no water, no sewer and no natural gas…. Yet!

Over the next couple months, I’ll be sharing my experiences with you and hopefully passing on some very valuable knowledge that is hard won!  Most of that will come through a new Youtube based “TV Show” that I’m going to be launching this week simply called “BuggedOut”.  I’ll also be blogging, photographing and podcasting my experiences.  I’m very excited to be doing this but it’s also very difficult!  As in all things in life – this is no easy task because it has the potential for great rewards.

In the last two weeks, I’ve been moving all of my preps and personal stuff for me and my kids to this location.  Yes, I’m cheating a bit – I allowed myself two weeks to “Evacuate” because that’s what it actually took – and that is the first lesson I can pass on from this experience.


Power StationThe greatest lesson I’ve learned so far is that it is absolutely essential to Pre-Position your Preps!  For years, I lived thinking that my Bug Out Plan was solid.  I even did drills to check it.  I thought I was packed and ready to go – boy was I wrong!  The plan was that it would simply take me driving the R.V. (which is quite loaded with Preps) here along with my van pulling a loaded trailer here.  That would work great if I was bugging out for a week or two!

Instead, it actually took 9 trips with loaded trailers and vehicles and almost $2,000 in GAS!

To actually get everything to my location that I felt I would need, could use or would come in handy was a massively overwhelming experience.  I am now advising every member of my retreat group to get everything up here that they can.  ALL Long Term Food Storage needs to be here, all long term shelter items – even the junk piles of metal, pipe, and every other potentially useful thing – need to be moved here ASAP.

If you don’t need your preps at home, get them to your retreat!  Basically, if you don’t need it unless there is some kind of catastrophe it should be at your retreat because that is where you will eventually want to end up and will need it in an actual catastrophic event.


There is no better way to teach your kids to be ready for anything than by actually showing them what it takes!  My kids are here with me and they are working harder than they have in their life!  They are also having an incredible amount of fun!  We’ve been working on getting gardens put in, spending lots of time together as a family and been figuring out what projects we can work on.

Be sure to include all your kids when you drill or practice for your retreat.  They learn so fast, it’s amazing.  The city slips off them quite nicely and easily as they find out there are critters to stalk, creeks to play in and that every little thing they want – they have to work for to get.



About the Author:

Known online as Phil801, he is one of the co-owners of The APN and has been a professional software engineer for over 20 years. He was raised in a Preparedness Oriented family and lives a self-sustaining lifestyle as a third generation, LDS, Prepper. He grew up farming, canning and learning to live off the land in the forests, mountains, rivers, oceans and cities of Missouri, Tennessee, Hawaii and Utah. In early 2008, he co-founded as a blog to talk about and teach Prepping. Over the next couple years, they produced hundreds of articles about Preparedness. Prior to UtahPreppers, he had been actively blogging elsewhere about building his self-sustaining farm and raising his 8 children in a preparedness lifestyle. In 2011, Phil officially became a partner and Co-Owner of the APN and lead the technical restructing of the company.

17 Comments on "“Bugged Out!” A Homesteading Beginning"

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  1. hughwesley says:

    This will be interesting. This undertaking is quite an adventure, I would love to do the same with my wife and two sons. I am looking forward to your follow up posts. May God truly bless you and your family as you do the hard work so we all can learn from your mistakes and successes. I pray this is a tremendous success for you in every way.

  2. Simple Woman says:

    Your right, it’s hard…but so very, very rewarding!. I look foward to following you on your jouney!

  3. Rook says:

    This is going to be awesome to watch/read/listen to on the way to work. Keep up the great work man. Still have My Pink Pistol on my DVR to view it over again. 


  4. Jeena says:

    How long are you going to be ‘bugged’ out for?

  5. Maelstrom says:

    It reminds me of TV shows like “The Colony” where a group of people hypothetically survive a plague or natural disaster, and they are pushed to a new location and have to work together to survive.  From there, they had to scavenge food, water, supplies and rebuild a small society, while defending against marauders and eventually even bugging out from there to an even better location.

    This should be fun to watch, kind of wished it had been the original intent of “whatever you can take in 1 trip as you flee your home” scenario, as you could have all your supplies at home and/or at your retreat, but if both are destroyed, can you truly survive having to rebuild with whatever you have with you in your vehicle / RV?

    • Phil Burns says:

      Maelstrom, the difference is, I literally moved here.  Step one was to basically pre-position all my supplies here and then ‘bug-out’.  Perhaps on a later adventure I’ll go a little more rough :)

  6. Sherri says:

    Do you have a link to the YouTube vids….there are so many about bugging out, I want to find yours.

    • Phil Burns says:

      I haven’t finished the first one yet!  It’s a work in progress; the blog posts are kind of a ‘behind the scenes’ look.  The first video should be out soon though.

  7. nancy says:

    Wondered about the safety of having most of your preps at your retreat for any length of time. From the looks of your photos, this is open country that anyone could just walk up to. Seems like the time when youf fmaily will need to escape – so will everyone else. They would be sitting there like an open invitaiton fo thieves. The reason I ask – is this is something we are toying with as well. How to preserve our ‘stash’ until we need it. Are you temporarily relying on modern communication channels? If not, it would seem to negate some of the realities of living in isolation that will be real once our economy crashes. Have you considered how to keep yourselve safe out in the wild – roving bands that are larger than one family can stave off with weapons. All these are concerns we are facing and wondered how you have figured out the logistics of all this.

    • Phil Burns says:

      Yes, we’re in kind of open country.  What you can’t see is that we’re at the end of a box canyon.  There are very few farms around us and very few people ever make it to where we’re at.  You have to drive 10 miles on windy dirt roads to get here.  All this being said, yes, it is a concern.  We are taking measures against that concern though.  We will soon be building hidden, underground storage areas using shipping containers.  Our food and primary supplies will be stored in those.  We also have ham, cellular and other communication methods set up and have several close friends in the area.  
      Roving bands are not much of a concern – there are very slim pickings out here, not much at all to interest them.  We are taking preventative steps to protect from them though, mostly through camouflage and by building a back escape route if it’s needed.  

  8. Sally says:

    I look forward to reading your blog and learning some valuable lessons from you. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Tym says:

    This is awesome that you get to do this exercise. Just last night I was fabricating an axle for a new chicken tractor, and had one half-sharp hacksaw blade. Hacksaw blades! Not on my list! Ouch! Some things could really suck for lack of a simple tool. So many things, so little time…

  10. Good stuff, thanks Phil! 

  11. Russ Wagner says:

    Thanks for sharing Phil. We will be praying for wisdom and strength for you and your family. I would love to chat with you more. We are developing a preppers community here in NE IN, but planning for a Bug-Out in CO. Please email me with your email address, so we can connect more.

  12. Harry says:

    I’m looking for the next issues.  Sounds like you’re on the right page with all of this.

  13. Estar Holmes says:

    Hi Phil and family. Do yourselves a favor. Keep it really simple!