Strategies for Buying Rural Land

Over the years, I’ve heard from many of my readers who yearn to live in the hinterboonies. But they often say that they feel “stuck”, living where they are.  One of the biggest impediments seems to be the cost of land, in their desired locale. Let’s face it: If you buy land in an area with a fairly mild climate, plentiful water, and fertile top soil, then odds are that it will have a fairly high “per acre” price. There is plenty of affordable desert scrub land on the market, for as little at $1,000 per acre. But good land now ranges from $5,000 to $25,000 per acre. (And even more, for particularly desirable “view” parcels, or for small lots, with utilities.)

This might seem daunting, but fear not. In my 20+ years of consulting, I’ve learned some key strategies for finding quality rural land at a reasonable price. But note that most of these take plenty of research, patience, and persistence. Here they are:

1.) Search for tax delinquencies. Back in the old days, this necessitated making a trip to the Assessor’s Office, at your county courthouse.  But many of those public records are now available online. The ideal property to look for is a property with an out-of-state owner but that has not been listed for sale for more than three years. Getting a call from a would-be-buyer just a few days after receiving a tax delinquency notice is perfect timing.

2.) Watch for foreclosures.  I noticed that in April, 2020, the folks at Lifewire published a fairly comprehensive list of foreclosure search/watch web sites: The Best Free Foreclosure Search Sites.  This well-researched set of links is broke down into categories, such as:  A.) Bank REOs, Government-Owned, and General Foreclosure, B.) REO, and Distressed Property Listings, and C.) Real Estate Agents, Brokers, and Property Services. 

3.) Make a friend of a banker. Perhaps the best small investment you’ll ever make is buying a lunch or two, for a local banker.  Do some phoning around and find out which bank in your area carries the most rural mortgages, and then ask who handles the foreclosures. This is the guy (or gal) that you want to take out to lunch and a chat. (If that individual is of the opposite sex, then make sure that your spouse joins you, for the luncheon appointment.) There is a huge advantage in getting to know each other, and letting that banker know that you are both earnest and qualified, and the type of property that you are looking for.

4. ) Watch for auctions. You will of course need to do your due diligence, but sometimes properties sell at auction far below the prevailing market price. Needless to say, never buy a piece of land sight unseen.

5.) Consider buying “tear-downs”. A lot of rural properties get overlooked by other buyers because they have standing houses on them that are substandard or totally dilapidated.  But you need to just step back, squint, and ask: “Now what would this look like, without that collapsed single-wide there?”  Often, such properties sell for less than nearby ‘bare land’ parcels, of similar size. Yet, consider that in many cases these properties already have an established power line, a phone line, an established spring or well, water lines, fencing (or at least surveyed property lines), some usable outbuildings, roads, cleared fields, fruit and nut trees, developed garden topsoil, and a septic system — and most or all of those can be re-used. (Hence saving you many thousands of dollars in property development costs.) Just be sure to factor in your eventual costs of demolishing and hauling away the material any unsalvageable dilapidated structures.

6.) Consider buying larger properties with standing timber. If you can “swing” a loan for a large property that has timber, then in most western states you can selectively log it almost immediately after you take possession. (But beware of purchase contract and loans stipulations! Many lenders require that timber sale proceeds go to the lender first.)

7.) Consider splitting a property with a friend or relative. If you find a property in an area where it is permissible to subdivide, then you might be able to immediately split it.

8.) Use your VA loan benefits.  If you are a U.S. military veteran, check the current Veteran’s Administration (VA) benefits.  You may be pleasantly surprised. Just keep in mind that the VA has some restrictions about lending on rural parcels, but they are usually not insurmountable hurdles.

9.) Look for off-grid properties. Generally, properties that are off grid sell for far less money. If you are willing to put in a photovoltaic (PV) power system, then the difference in what you will pay for the land is often more than enough to pay for the PV system.

10.) Watch for obituaries and divorce filing notices. Face it, folks: These are the times when properties most often change hands. Getting “early” intel might allow you to make an offer on a property before it formally hits the market.

11.) Borrow money from within your own family. Don’t be shy about asking an older relative to make a secured loan.  If their CDs and T-Bills are paying the 2 or 3 percent and you offer them a 4 percent annual  return, then they might say yes. But you’ll never know unless you get up the nerve to ask them.

12.) Turn every stone. Make your searches for both your land and finances very thorough.

13.) Clean house! Many folks mistakenly believe that they don’t have the money for a down payment on a large rural parcel when they really do. They simply have too much money tied up in boats, jet-skis, RVs, cars, trucks, big screen HDTVs, “spare” guns in their collection that they never shoot, jewelry, watches, artwork, collectibles, and so forth. If it is a small pile, then list items on eBay and and then later schedule a couple of yard sales. If it is a large pile, then contract through an auction company.

14.) Don’ be afraid to make “Low-Ball” offers. This can work particularly well for properties that have been on the market for more than a year.  Keep in mind that MLS numbers are filed sequentially, so the MLS-listed  properties with the lowest MLS numbers are the ones that have been on the market for ages.

15.) Bookmark MLS search sites, and check them often. Even if you are currently stuck in a typical 9-to-5 office job, you can pack a sack lunch and spend your lunch hours land hunting, online.

16.) Research using government online map tools.  If you zoom in on parcels with some of these tools (such as BLM Maps and Cadastrals–available in many states including Idaho and Montana), they can show the current deeded owner’s name and address, the zoning, any tax exemptions, recorded surveys, water rights filings, and even appraisal histories.  Some of these web sites allow you to search an entire state, but others require searching county by county. But… No trip to the court house is required!

17.) Talk with property management companies, and watch “for rent” ads. Find out if any of the land owners that are currently renting out properties who would consider selling them — or even better yet, setting up a “rent to own” lease option arrangement. (Where you’d lease the house and land, but part or all of the rent that you pay would be applied to the principal figure.)

18.) Look for the places with “big backyards”. Land that adjoins state forest land, BLM land, National Forest land, and timber company land will often provide you with access for hunting, fishing, hiking, quadding, snowmobiling, and possibly low-cost grazing or firewood cutting.  This is like have a very big back yard. (Ours is almost a million acres.)  The beauty of this is that it gives you nearly the same privacy of owning a large property yet you don’t have to pay taxes on that adjoining land.

19.) Talk with timber companies. In my part of the Redoubt, companies like Stimson Timberland and  Tungsten Holdings sell properties that have previously been logged. These parcels often sell for far less than the prevailing market prices. In most states, watershed protection laws now dictate that no timber be cut close to creeks and rivers, so even heavily logged parcels can still have very pretty creek bottoms.

20.) Bookmark I may be biased, but the site that I established more than 10 years ago, (and then soon handed off to my #1 Son) is an amazing resource. They have both agency listings and For Sale By Owner (FSBO or “fizz-bo”) listings. In recent months they’ve expanded into property brokerage services, a wider network of listing agents, and cooperative agreements with retreat developers, consultants, off grid power experts, bunker builders, architects, and more. So bookmark now, and check back there frequently.

21.) Make direct contact with sellers. Hunt around for properties that have been pulled from active listing, but that didn’t sell. A discouraged seller is often a motivated seller. Don’t be shy about chatting up some about selling. Even if they don’t want to sell their un-listed land, they might have a friend or neighbor who is interested in selling another un-listed parcel.

22.) Buy small, and add on. This advice goes for both houses and for land:  Not only can you buy a very modest house and later add to it, but you can often find a small acreage with adjoining acreage that that you can buy outright at a later date — possibly under a lease-purchase agreement.

23.) Ask to work from home. Moving to hinterboonies usually means taking a cut in pay. But I recommend that you be bold and ask your current employer if you can work from home, via telecommuting. The recent pandemic illustrated that many people can work from home and be just as productive as before.

24.) Network, network, network! You really need to network with friends, relatives, co-workers, fellow church congregants, real estate agents, and even your friendly local UPS driver.  The more people that you talk to, the more places you’ll find are for sale. And many of these are not listed with an agent, or even advertised!

25.) Both first, and last: pray. I’m very serious about this, even for folks who don’t already have a regular prayer life: Pray fervently, and pray often. Ask God for both his guidance and his providence in your land search.

Rudyard Kipling said it best: “God gives all men all earth to love, but since man’s heart is small, ordains for each one spot shall prove beloved over all.”

Soil and Siting

A SurvivalBlog reader who post under the pen name David ‘n Goliath recently made some important  important points about soils and elevation in our Comments section:

“People must ask this question: If I buy this piece of land can I grow food on it? Back when I grew up the three necessities were food, shelter and clothing and I believe that far too many people ignore the first one or think of it after they have sunk large amounts of money into a property. If a piece of land is “perfectly located”, but only has an inch of topsoil or is at such a high elevation that frosts occur at intervals that preclude the growing of anything outside then I would not buy that property. The only exception to that would be that if it had a suitable growing season and topsoil could be hauled into the property, but that would be rather expensive too so I would probably not opt for that either. There is a resource from the USDA called the Web Soil Survey. It can be used to determine what the soil physical properties are before a land purchase. It tells the thickness (or depth) of the physical layers of the soil. It is naturally not as accurate as being at a particular piece of land and sampling the soil with a probe yourself, but it is way better than just guessing or having no information at all.

Before anyone uses this online tool they should think: OPSEC as always. I use it, but generally do NOT put in any address information, just a town or county and then use the zoom functions to navigate to where I need to go. There is context sensitive help for this program, just hit the round “?” icon on where you need help. This program does not work on mobile devices due to the complexity of the program.

Just a real fast intro on how to use it would be:
On the left side of the screen click on “Address” right under the “Quick Navigation” option. Enter a general search area then click “view”. Next use the zoom and pan functions on the map at the right side to get where you need to be. Click one of the AOI icons on the top of this map. AOI means “area of interest”. Highlight on the map by clicking and dragging the pointer over the section of land you want to view. It should now be highlighted in light blue crosshatch and show the acres on the left side of the screen. Now click the yellow “Soil Map” tab at the top left side of the screen which will display the different soil types. Click the soil type name on the left side of the screen to see information about that particular soil type. Click the “X” icon on this popup to return the the other menu. Click the yellow “Soil Data Explorer” tab on the top of the screen and then the yellow “Soil Properties and Qualities” tab under the previous tabbed menu. Click “Soil Chemical Properties” on the left side of the screen. Click on “Cation-Exchange Capacity (CEC-7)” then scroll down to where it says “Top Depth” (under “advanced options”) and enter 0 (a zero, not an O as in Oscar) and then enter 17 in the “Bottom Depth” and hit the Enter key on the keyboard. (This is just the metric equivalent for 6 inches in a plow layer, which is faster than always switching to “Inches” instead of “Centimeter” each time it is used) You can use the last few steps to view the pH of the soil as well. (Not all areas are mapped with all information so you may find some “blanks” for some areas and functions.) If you want to save the report in a PDF file click the yellow “Shopping Cart (Free)” tab at the top right of the screen. Select the options you want on the left side of the screen and then hit “Check Out” in the upper right side and then click “OK”. There are other functions, but this is just a quick “breeze” through this program.

CEC or Cation Exchange Capacity is probably a new term for most people, but in plain English it relates to a soils nutrient holding capacity with higher numbers meaning more holding capacity. Sandy soils may be 5-10 and heavier soils like silts, clays, etc can be 20-50. I would probably not want a soil with a number lower than 5 and 15-20 would be my personal pick for a fairly easy to amend soil that has long term production potential. Think TEOTWAWKI.”

A Few Caveats

I’ll close with a few caveats:

  • Be realistic. Consider the full development and moving costs, when budgeting your purchase.
  • Calculate the drive times before you buy: How far will it be… To drive to work? To church? To school? To the nearest airport with scheduled flights? To the post office? To the nearest hardware store? To the nearest department store? To the nearest hospital?
  • What elevation (and snowfall) can you handle? Remember: Both elevation and cardinal point solar exposure can make a huge difference. Namely: Living in snow three months of the year versus six months of the year.
  • A piece of land that has an old mine tunnel might sound great, but also consider that land in mining districts might have groundwater contamination. Have the water tested, before you buy.
  • Likewise, a piece of land that has geothermal home and greenhouse heating might sound great, but the drinking water from your well might have an elevated temperature, and have a sulfur or alkaline taste. Again, have the water tested, before you buy.
  • Learn from the successes and failures of other folks who have already made the move. My current  favorite video blog (“vlog”) is Good Simple Living.  Subscribe there, and you will learn a lot.
  • Never plunge into buying a piece of land. Do plenty of research, and talk with the neighbors, before you buy!
  • If our readers can think of any other strategies that I’ve overlooked, please tell us in the comments below.

I wish you the best in finding your perfect place. I hope and pray that many of you do, right here in The American Redoubt! – JWR


  1. Really great ideas here. Would just caution to be really careful about the expense of tearing down and disposing of an older “site-built” home. Mobile homes aren’t usually a problem in this regard; mostly all of it just has to be landfilled. Older non-mobile homes can have issues due to the presence of asbestos in shingles, roofing, around pipes and boilers, flooring etc and depending on your locality can be really difficult to dispose of and very expensive. Ditto if the house has vermiculite insulation which is now presumed to have asbestos whether it does or not and must be handled and disposed of that way. Also lead paint issues can be a disposal problem.

  2. I’ll second the low-ball offer idea.
    We were searching in our area for over a year while living in a rental house. Nothing became available in our price range.
    I started searching 25% higher than our top-limit, and turned up a great parcel. Our initial offer was well below asking price (*due to it being on the market over 1 year*), and ended up getting the property at our maximum budget, which was 25% off asking price.
    Remember, the asking price is just a starting point. Begin the conversation, what’s the worst that can happen? They say “No” and you move on.

  3. This is where having an off grid camper or trailer will come in handy. We started near a small rural area as our “base.” It’s like going to Eureka, Rexford MT or Challis, ID (places we’ve frequented in years past).

    Now that we’ve obtain residency in a “smaller rural area”, then we use the insights in your article here. Real estate is one of those things that’s …… you’ve got to actually go and view it, to obtain it. You’ve got to be there to get the deals. The early bird gets the worm.

    It also helps having friends involved in real estate like SB realty or an equivalent. Christians and others have similar goals: safety, similar worldview, concerns about Biblical prophecies, fulfillments (endtimes events apparently in the news).

    We are working with a flipper who fixes and sells homes. He echoes a number of the same points in your essay. He’s told us approx half of your points (over the period of 3 months). He finds deals to the point of those wanting to “get cash” for their estates. And he’s talented at finding throw – away prices = true discounted land deals.

    When God sends you, your on a mission where He takes you. You will see opportunities for your “Promised Land” that others can not see. I’ve experienced this in other states and foreign nations. Your coming with a vision to: do good, to work with the community, to get off the grid, to take faith in Jesus seriously, to show your family a better way, to simplify, to “get back to the basics” = to shut off part of the (city) unecessary world…. that’s making us all sick. Your going out there to have faith in God, do some good, work with Christian community and learn how to threat assesment/risk management 2020. Our world is getting more perilous by the day. It’s obvious we’ve all gotta make changes and humble ourselves ~ we need to know what the most important things are vs the worthless, the unimportant.

    I’m excited for this new journey we are on. It’s exciting. It’s risky. It’s called faith. We all are going to be out of our comfort zones in the coming years ahead. Better get used to it. ~ Just bought a slew of JWR’s books ~ How To Survive TEOTWAWKI and Patriots + Liberators (and others).

    These novels have insights that make the MOST sense… when you read and practice them in the right areas. Well, i’m rambling now. Have fun with relocation. It’s never too late. We live in exciting times!! Shalom in Christ

  4. My husband has always been an avid fisherman. When he started looking for rural property, back in the olden days before the Internet (and before he met me), he searched a three state area for the most ‘submerged’ county. He found one with the most lakes and bought property there.

    When we met, he took me fishing on our first date. As our relationship got more serious, he took me on a properly chaperoned camping trip to his property. I fell in love with it. That was well over 47 years ago. If I hadn’t liked the property and the remote Northwoods he loved? I think he might have looked for a new girlfriend.

    Moral of the story: know what you want and make sure the person you want to spend your life with wants that too.

  5. Hey JWR, great tips, I wish I would have had this article when I was searching for a property.

    4.) Auctions. This is definitely a great option, especially in certain parts of the country, and in certain situations. I go to auctions in my area for tools and equipment and I’m amazed at what the properties go for sometimes. It all depends on the day so the more time and patience you have, the more likely you’ll come up with something you like at a good price.

    5.) Tear downs. If you have more time than money, tear downs are another great option. I bought a tear down and the price was naturally lower because of all the work involved in getting rid of the old house. There were some surprising benefits though: TONS of great re-useable lumber, much of it real 2 x 4’s and 2 x 6’s, not the 1½ x 3½ they sell today. And the best surprise of all: even though the house had been vacant for 25+ years, the well pump still worked and has been functioning for 8 years now. Wells cost in the neighborhood of $10K to drill in my area so as far as I am concerned, my actual land cost $10K less than it did. Another benefit was that the soil is very deep and fertile and I was able to plant a garden right away with zero amendments. And it’s only gotten better as I’ve added compost each year.

    Fencing: folks should understand that fence lines are not something they should be overly concerned about. On a postage-stamp lot the exact line is very important. When you get your 20 acres, forget that mentality or you’ll offend your new neighbors in a hurry. Fence lines are “more or less.” I look at mine and they aren’t even close to straight, and one veers off the the northeast so I actually “gained” at least half an acre.

    6.) Standing timber. Definitely! This is an honest-to-goodness true story. Three years ago I was visiting a friend talking about a barter deal we were doing. A realtor car pulled asking, “Where can I find the 10-acre Jones property?” “That’s it right over there, are they selling?” “Yep.” “How much are they asking?” “They want $X amount of money.” I was thinking, “Man, I should buy that but my buddy said, “I’ll take it.” Within a year, he and his boys had logged 2$X worth of oak timber off it. So not only did the land pay for itself twice over, but it didn’t looked logged because all the trees under 12″ were still standing.

    11.) Borrow money from within your own family. I did this twice in my younger days when buying a house. Some of the older folks in the family have lots of money they are sitting on like JWR mentioned. And for the old timers reading this blog, consider giving your younger family members their inheritance now in the form of helping pay off their mortgage.

    13.) JWR, what exactly is a “spare gun”?? 🙂

    14.) Don’t be afraid to make “Low-Ball” offers. I’m going to take this one step further: You’re crazy NOT to make a low-ball offer. If you are working through a realtor, they’ll make the offer and you won’t even have to be there when the seller says bad things about you and your mother. If you are working directly with the seller, practice at home so you can keep a straight face when you make the offer. When I found my property, I told a former-realtor friend how much I was going to offer and she said, “No, dummy! You have to low-ball it! Offer him X.” “No WAY he’s going to accept that.” But I took her advice, offered 57% of what he was asking, he countered, and I ended up getting it for 71% of his original asking price, which was cheap to begin with.

    23.) Ask to work from home. This is a huge benefit if you can pull it off. I told my boss I’d take a huge cut in pay if he’d let me outta the city to work from home somewhere else. He said okay. I moved to my dream location and the cut in pay wasn’t so huge when I discovered how low the living expenses were. I went from a very expensive one-bedroom apartment to renting a house on a lake for 1/3rd of the cost. No gasoline for commuting. The company paid for my phone and internet. Now I was right where I wanted to be and could look at all kinds of properties at my leisure instead of during rushed weekend trips. Having that kind of leisurely time lets you implement a lot of the strategies JWR has outlined here. The other big plus: you get to try out the area to make sure it’s really where you want to be before committing.

    24.) Network, network, network! I wish I would have thought of JWR’s UPS guy strategy. If there’s a guy who knows FSBO’s he’d know. You can’t drive every road in the county (mine has close to 1,000 miles) and we were considering surrounding counties as well, but the UPS and FedEx guy can and does. I gladly would have given the guy some money up front, then told him to keep supplying me with addresses (or text me a photo of the for sale sign with phone number) and if I close on a property, then I’d give him another sum of money. Here’s another important point: in my county, I would bet a quarter or a third of the for sale signs I see are FSBO’s.

    “Never plunge into buying a piece of land.” More great advice. Don’t get emotional about this even though it is going to be one of the most exciting things you’ll do in life. Take your time and do your homework. I looked at 30+ properties before I finally found the right one. The 30+ weren’t right for one or more of the reasons JWR mentioned here. Be patient and you’ll be happier in the end. Definitely talk to the neighbors, no matter how close or far away they are. I can’t go into details for OPSEC reasons, but if it hadn’t been for the kindness of a neighbor who could have taken advantage of a realtor’s stupidity but chose not to, I never would have bought my property. Thank goodness for decent individuals with integrity.

    And last but not least, my initial guide for searching was the State Freedom Index. I was living in a very oppressive big city and needed not only a small-town area, but one with lots of freedom as well. There are also differences within a state based on which county you choose. Notice on the left of the home page, there is a “Personalize” button. Use that to modify what’s important to you. When you click on “Submit,” it will re-rank the states by Freedom depending on your variables.

    Good luck in your search and there’s no time like the present. And once you get your property, get your new license plates before you even make your finale move and get a new phone number with the local area code ASAP.

  6. 1) Probably a good idea to check on easements , title search etc. And make sure a big agricultural firm is not planning to put a factory farm for hogs up next door (one reason to like mountain property). But in Appalachia, need to see who has mineral rights under your property and if they can strip-mine around your house to get to them.
    2) Les and Carol Scher’s book “Finding and Buying Your Place in the Country” has been around for decades and covers a lot of details people can overlook.

    1. LOCAL knowledge is very important if you are moving into a new area.

      1) This example is somewhat off-topic but people looking for land in the outer suburbs of Texas cities might be happy to know that the Texas Legislature passed laws in 2017 and 2019 doing away with the century old power of cities to forcibly annex surrounding areas

      2) The cities did this in order to then levy high taxes on the annexed areas in order to fund the rest of the city — or ,as they say, “share the benefits of economic growth”. Of course, after one area had been incorporated then the next outlying area came into the target sights of the city council.

      The reason some of those outer areas had become (relatively) wealthy to begin with was because they had been outside the predatory reach of the city tax collectors. Conversely, Undeveloped land which had been in a family for generations could be suddenly taxed (seized) at “its full value” — what the victims called “taxation without representation”. The grinning city tax collectors told the landowner he could vote in the city election if he wanted and reminded him that delinquent property could be sold at auction to their urban developer buddies.

      3) The farmers and ranchers and landowners are cheering:

      4) The scumbag city lawyers are screaming in outrage. As they say, a whipped dog howls the loudest.

      5) A large chunk of west Austin is ETJ — “extraterritorial Jurisdiction” . Suburbs the city was planning to seize in the upcoming future. But now ETJ can be incorporated only if its residents agree in a vote.

  7. The author mentioned soil for growing food. Depending on your location, water is as or even more important. Check with local irrigation districts to understand current and future availability and costs.

  8. With my first place I paid cash at an auction for a ‘burn-out’ that had to be stripped to the studs. This was in 1986. Somehow the roof only needed a patch. Fire damage is difficult to correct. And the smell difficult to remove. Building, or remodeling it can take lots of time and money, and there can be many surprises that delay.

    If I had no time and no money, and needed to expedite my escape from the ‘big city’, here are some options. We can always move trailers in to house family, or build large tool sheds, or have a local shed builder move it to your location.
    These sheds are not inexpensive, but can be expedient, and moved to a location within a week or two, so that you can immediately begin finishing the interior yourself. They only need to serve as a bunk house. Insulate and install a wood stove and you would be done. Store supplies inside until family arrives. They offer instant credit, or rent to own financing as well. There are many persons in this area are who are living in converted sheds that are essentially cabins without foundations. Shed builders offer many ‘sheds’ designed for this purpose. It is no secret. It is common practice in Lincoln County, Montana. Property owners do not need building permits, and there will be no inspections.

    Although these are not necessarily ‘ideal’ retreat properties, “perfection is the enemy of good enough”. If you are still in the ‘big city’, I believe when the country falls apart, you are in danger of loosing it all. Given that risk, any of these affordable options would be better than what you currently have. These are only samples from my area. I am not recommending any of these properties.



    If I only needed land.

  9. Good tips Jim. I hadn’t considered most of them so really helpful.

    I’ll offer my own tip – bugout now in a van so that you can scout your future homestead.

    Living in a van has allowed me to travel the American Readout states for a year now looking for where I want I to put down roots. All the AR states have public land everywhere, so it is easy to camp in an area for several weeks at a time to get to know the area and the people.

    If you live a debt-free life like I do, then living in a van also helps you save tremendous amounts of money. I can and will pay cash for my homestead.

    I hired a so-called “American Redoubt Scout” in 2017 and it was a bust, which prompted me to build my van so that I could do my own scouting. YMMV with these AR scouts – I would love to hear about your experiences with them.

    Be careful living in a van though – it is addicting.

    1. Hi K,

      I should’a done what you are doing, yet things happen for a reason. Within 30 minutes of plugging in my computer in my new place in Montana, I had discovered and was reading It was providence. Almost immediately I was learning about the Global derivatives debt time bomb. I instantly recognize and appreciated the danger. This occurred about 14 years ago, and I still have more to learn and do.

      When hyperinflation sets in, cash will be trash in a matter of a few weeks. I would not wish to be involved in a real estate transaction during that time or the period immediately proceeding. And if the Mark of Beast is in place, or if cash, or gold is made illegal use or own, then we might not be able to complete the transaction. And the process may take months, and still we must stock it. Even if all one does is to work 12 days every day it would take at least a year to get enough of what needs to be done, done.. It will take longer yet to put in a garden, and longer still to learn about and install other improvements, and correct mistakes. Time waits for no one!

      Learn about how and why the financial system is falling apart. 14 years ago, I did not spend time learning about conspiracy theories, but for years concentrated on learning about economic theory, and the failing financial system. Numbers do not lie. About 6 months prior to the 2008 crisis, after visiting the Federal Reserve’s website, I discovered the M1 or M2 historical charts that had nosed dived and e-mailed JWR. He agreed that it was a very bad indication. It was the first indication that the 2008 financial crisis was occurring, yet no one on the net knew about it, including authoritative sources. These things are predictable, but they defied the laws of sound economics by bailing out institutions, and blowing up the debt bubble to obscene and catastrophic levels. Strive to understand why the 2008 crisis did not lead to hyperinflation. It should have occurred, but was not allowed to happen at that time. However, the bubble is now even more massive and destructive, and the time bomb, or bubble is growing rapidly.

      The financial and monetary system is self-destructing as we speak. This novice believes that it began is it’s final approach in it’s crash landing about April of last year, 2019 with the D-bank implosion as the milestone. I was not surprised or wondering why the repo market needed intervention. The two incidents are linked. Confidence began to seriously wane during Spring 2019. It was not simply the actions of Jamie Diamond, or that of particular institutions. All markets are based upon confidence, or a lack thereof. The stock market should not be our indicator of the health of the financial system. Trump is lying to the people and himself, because he knows that most people will remain confident if the market continues to rise. In fact, the higher it rises is an indication for those in know, that the money is failing.

      Just because the stock market appears to have stabilized, and everything appears ‘normal’, if one does not understand the derivatives debt time bomb, and how the financial system is continuing to fall apart and at an increasingly faster rate, they there is no way for a person to properly gauge the lateness of the hour.

      I could go on and on, but I’ve done the homework, and have encouraged others do so. But warning: It will take years of study to get up to speed. Now I gotta go change the oil, and check gear boxes. I suppose if I was all that smart, I’d be rolling in dough, but I ain’t. I actually do not care much about money, but only having enough to get by. And the good Lord provides enough.

      1. Me and you are on the same page Tunnel Rabbit.

        I think you are correct that hyperinflation will occur sooner rather than later, and when it does it will be fast.

        I know I am at higher (highest?) risk of surviving the current economic collapse than those who have already made it to their homestead and have gained the know-how and experience to grow, raise and store their own food. Even if I closed on my homestead tomorrow I wouldn’t know what to do, and like you said it will take me years to figure it out once I start.

        My homestead and construction savings is half in physical gold and half in physical cash. My plan is that the cash will let me act quickly when buying my land, while the gold is my hedge in case the dollar collapses before then. I don’t know what else to do. If gold is made illegal then I am screwed because I’ll never take the Mark of the Beast.

        If the collapse takes me out before then, at least the Good Lord gave me one heck of an adventure – Wow! What a Ride!

        1. K… I too have been blessed by The Lord God Almighty with 66 years of a wonderful, adventurous life…I am preparing to the best of my abilities and placing ALL my trust in Him

        2. Hi K,
          I would simply learn by doing. Map it out. Money for land, and money for beans, bullets and band-aids. It could be done on the cheap. Check out the Ozarks for the least expensive land and taxes. Get the book Strategic Relocation to find the best place to be in the Ozarks, or any other place. Canadians will likely be selling their expensive vacation property here in droves, but there will be competition from Americans fleeing the big cities who will be buying. Prices in the Redoubt are going higher. I would not wait.

          1. Thank you Tunnel Rabbit. Good advice.

            I bought Skousen’s 3rd Edition “Strategic Relocation” in 2017 when I stumbled upon Rawles, and picked the redoubt states back then come rain or shine. I’m afraid I’ve made my bed. I can afford slightly higher prices for a bit longer, but you are right that the competition is increasing a little. I lost my first bid recently, but I am a newb at this, and I also don’t think I have a very good realtor. Live and learn. I’ll get better. My primary gauge is my Bay Area, California colleagues who still think I’m crazy for bugging out. Once they start sounding like me then I’ll know I’ve run out of time.

            For those doing what I’m doing, or thinking about it, there is still a lot of property out here for sale in the “middle class” price range. However, I think Tunnel Rabbit is right about not waiting too much longer.

    1. Patti, excellent point. Fire protection varies for many remote properties with limited access and may not have fire protection via a fire department. With a 100 yard walk I can see a fire station a mile off but my property is not covered by them. My area is covered by the federal BLM (Bureau of Land Management). This will put you in a class 9 or 10 (1-10 scale) in regards to fire insurance cost. In my county this can be verified by checking the property tax statement. If there’s no itemized cost for fire protection you are on your own or under the BLM area of protection – basically forest firefighters.

    2. County building codes usually specify requirements for driveways including roadbed, width, and turnaround. This is for ambulance access as well.

      In my case, even absent a building permit for a house, the County road department wanted to approve my choice of where the driveway would come off the road.

  10. I’ll add my twenty-two cents. I bought a home in the middle of winter with 4-6′ of snow on the ground. I low balled the offer and we met in the middle. It was a For Sale by Owner and I noticed they had tried to sell it the previous fall. I did have a local, highly recommended realtor, because I consider them *essential* in knowing the area, pricing, issues, etc. They approached the owner for a contract and it was accepted. Now, I didn’t try to move my belongings in the middle of winter. I got rid of everything I owned first and moved to the Redoubt with a suitcase in hand, important papers, pictures of my kids and grandkids, and my Bible and a laptop. It took weeks to get Internet service and as long to get a cell phone provider that serviced the area (Verizon for much of Idaho). Those were a quiet few weeks. Once escrow closed, I ordered a bed and a couch to be delivered, along with a few pots and pans and a coffee pot. Most of the rest was purchased from thrift stores in the area. It was sparse and quiet and I loved every minute of my new found freedom with less to care for. Please consider getting rid of all but your most precious irreplaceable items before moving. One thing people always say when they come to visit, “It’s so quiet here!!” Yep. Never slept better in my life. And I just found out that my property value has gone up $55K just this past year.

    Regarding what’s under the top soil on your property… I have a neighbor who was telling me that they had to blast solid rock off their perfectly perched lot and eventually downsized their house plans to fit. They said that their budget was getting out of control due to the amount of rock. But they’ve managed to landscape beautifully and use raised beds for vegetables. Idaho is rocky, with lots of elevation changes. 20 minutes up the road, they get several more feet of snow per year than we do. It’s always good to spend vacations visiting places you’ve dreamed about rather than desperately grabbing whatever is available.

    A note about pulling a trailer onto a piece of land in snow country. Your pipes will freeze and so will you. It’s not feasible unless you plan on building a shelter for the trailer and a way of keeping things safely warm during the winter. And unless you have good roads, you won’t be able to move the trailer during the winter through 6′ of snow. I think we hit minus 10 this winter, but the records show that this area has been -30 to -50 a few times in the past and people remember it. You can actually try googling “ranger station” and the city name your interested in and see if they kept records to research the historical highs and lows. I was just shopping for some cast iron cookware at the local thrift shop. The owner told me it was foolish for people to have all electric houses and she remembers when people in the town actually died, way back when, due to a power outage and no alternative source of heat. I was glad I got the wood stove with a cooktop and it’s been cold enough here recently that I’ve broken it in. Nothing like a real fire crackling away.

    Best wishes to all who seek a simpler, quieter, more peaceful life.

    1. @ SaraSue

      I bought my current place with several feet of snow on the ground! It was a leap of faith to do this as I had to hope that the land would work for gardens etc which they didn’t have. But given the housing market here and that I ended up buying it during a pandemic right before they stopped RE sales I think it was the right thing to do. It’s not recommended though of course but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

  11. Water:

    If the property has a well, look up the well log filed by the well driller on completion of the well. This will include well depth, material encountered while drilling, depth of water, and well production rate. In my state this is available on line. Find out if there are seasonal problems with the water table in the area – in some areas wells and springs produce less or go dry in late summer.

    The FHA requires 3 to 5 gallons per minute for older wells and a rate of 5 gallons per minute for new wells to pass inspection. If the well production rate is exactly equal to this minimum, that could be a red flag.

    Remember the realtor represents the seller and is obligated to disclose to you only information they are officially aware of. I know a property owner who bought a place that had been listed, then pulled off the market, then listed again – which is when she bought it. It turns out the listing had been pulled in late summer when the well went dry.

  12. It is possible to convert a cheap trailer for off-grid Winter living. But you’ll need to:

    1. Get a very small woodstove (they sell them for sailboats) and install it with the correct triple-wall flue pipe or out a window opening and bolted down.

    2. Gut the plumbing and change out the toilet to a composting type. A cassette toilet will work if you have a place to regularly dump it. Composting toilets keep warm on their own.

    3. Rework the water system to use a small under-sink water tank and pump that can be kept above freezing.

    4. Install rigid insulation under the floor. Tie down the trailer and install corrugated metal “barn roof” material as skirting. Glue rigid foam to the inside before installation.

    1. For just a single winter, could one insulate a trailer by stacking bails of hay around it and on top of it — then cover the bails with tarps? Be decent camouflage as well. Need insulation for the door, however. Maybe a computer camera to see outside since windows would be covered. The security cams can see in the dark.

      1. A caveat: If the trailer were positioned OUTDOORS, once those hay bales became soaked with rainwater, they would weigh around 180 pounds each, and collapse the roof.

      2. Tarp it with a military tarp, or other durable tarp, and add fiberglass batting if a ridge line is used, or form board on the roof. Form board is more expensive, but it will not be susceptible to moisture infiltration and lose it’s ability to insulate. It can also be stacked to increase the combined R value, and to change the outline of the trailer. In snow country, build up the center to create enough pitch, and the tarp should have a slick surface to shed snow. The larger the roof and tarp is in surface area, and given the amount of snow fall, if heavy, makes this an important feature.
        Using foam board, a tarp can then be placed over the trailer with out using a ridge line, and it becomes difficult to see in the woods. If the tarp is of the heavy duty kind, pine bows can be thrown on top, and along the sides to further break up the outline. A person could get creative here and make it very hard to see.

        One can also layer tarps. Install a less expensive tarp, 6 mil plastic sheeting, tyvek type building wrap, or other to protect the main covering from the trailer and to provide additional protection from rain water. However, vents for gas appliances will no longer work.

        The tarp can be situated on the trailer to provide an awing. If the trailer is out in the open, or not completely shaded by trees, dark colored tarps will soak up the sun light and heat up the interior. Use a silver colored tarp, a high quality one, known to withstand UV. In the winter, a dark colored tarp can soak up the sun and provide some warmth. Skirt the trailer if the tarp is not large enough to provide this benefit.

        Hope this helps, but gotta go and get fresh bedding for 30 chicks. Fortunately I have an unlimited supply of saw dust. As chicks get bigger, you get a bigger problem. They lay more than just eggs.

      3. Hi Don Williams,

        I like the bail of hay insulation idea, but instead, concern yourself about producing heat.
        A wood stove is the way to go. You’ll need 4 cords of pine, or better, larch (tamarack). Leave open the side of the trailer that the stove pipe exists. I’ve successfully have installed and operated two wood stoves in two different trailers over the years, and know what works. If you intend to use propane, then do not use a tarp, and buy lots of propane. Lots. And lots of fuel for the generator to charge the batteries that run the central heating fan. The central heater is not designed for extreme cold weather. A wood stove is. Use a fan or two to move the hot air from the ceiling to the floor. Insulate the roof, and skirt the trailer. One of my stoves cost me $99.00, and is light weight. There are small air tight stoves available.

    1. Hang out where the locals do and show them respect.

      The van I travel in usually draws attention to itself and locals usually are the first to walk up and start a conversation with me about it. “You don’t see that everyday” and the conversation starts from there.

      I typically stay in an area for at least two weeks minimum and do business at the small locally-owned stores. I like the restaurants the best, but the pandemic has closed those down for now. I buy all my groceries locally, and there is often a “notice board” in them where locals post things.

      I’ve made a lot of friends this way.

      Just make sure you change your California plates and registration to any state other than California. I learned that the hard way.

  13. There is so much to consider when looking for rural property. I’ve been looking in PA for a weekend get away/bug out location for about 5 years. I’m nearing retirement and want to be close enough to visit with my son and that he will drive to see me. If I move there I need to be close enough that my son can assist as I age. I’ve read about hundreds of properties online, I’ve connected with two or three realtors in different sections of the state, and I have an idea of what land is worth on average. Some people think their land is worth more than the going rate and it doesn’t sell and land more appropriately priced comes on the market and then sells. We camp in PA and look at properties. Issues can be specific to a state or apply everywhere.

    Sewer. Look at your soil. I’ve looked at lots that won’t pass a perc test and require an expensive sand mound, still others where the state wants an expensive mini sewer plant that requires regular maintenance and still other lots that don’t have sewer options. If I buy an old lot with an existing septic system what kind of system would be required today. Septic fields in the old days were installed in soils that really didn’t support safe and effective operation, so an old septic system does not necessarily indicate a new drain field could be installed.

    Water. I can plan for the extra cost of drilling a well, but what if the water comes back contaminated. PA is covered with old mines. Parts of the state are covered with fracking. Old housing might have a well, but how deep and what is its output.

    Access to lot. I’ve seen lots in PA that have no access, no easements or rights of way. Not sure why anyone would buy these as there is no way to obtain access, even if paying fair market value, if the surrounding land owners don’t want to cooperate.

    Fire. Living in woods fire is always a risk. If building on vacant land I can at least build to minimize the risk. I’ve been looking for land that has ponds or streams near by that could be used by rural fire departments.

    Healthcare. I’m older so I consume more healthcare. Where are the nearest doctors? How busy are their practices? Where is the nearest hospital? what kind of financial condition is the hospital in? Will it still be open in 10, 20 years? Where is the nearest emergency room? What are its hours? Does it have a trama center and what is its rating? I currently have 2 level 1 trama centers within 20 minutes by air and and 45 minutes by ambulance. Rural areas not so. Larger hospitals that provide more complete care need to serve more people to be profitable, the opposite of a good bug out location.

    Building codes. Codes improve the quality and safety of housing stock but they also make it harder to build. I’ve seen some houses that come nowhere close to safe, with exposed wires, staircases so steep and narrow they were designed to make people fall down, deteriorating foundations, etc. PA has some counties that still don’t have codes, but most have at least some restrictions. Restrictions will make it harder for me to build housing in a pole barn or to slowly build a bullet proof structure.

    Geology. PA has too many rocks. Even the areas that still have topsoil in the valleys can have water problems from the water percolating down the hills when it seeps down to the rocks. Great for creating springs, not so good for basements or septic fields. Know what is under the land and mineral rights. PA has old mines all over, and the fracking going strong now. The land without mineral rights is always cheaper, but the companies that come in to mine mineral rights can really tear up the surface and significantly degrade the value of any improvements made to the property.

    Electricity. I’ve found a couple interesting lots that didn’t have electricity close. Running grid electricity is expensive. Running generators is a hassle. Going off grid is more expensive that grid electricity (for now) and is most economical if the property is occupied full time.

    Heat and elevation. The planet is warming and will continue to get warmer faster. Trees can reduce temperatures. Elevation can reduce temperatures. Every 1000 foot rise in elevation on average reduces the temperature by 3.5 degrees F. If I could find a property at 2000 ft. elevation I could reduce my daily temperatures by 6-7 degrees for a given latitude. I can always put on a coat, or put another log on the fire, but summer heat restricts activities. The elevation affect on temperature could be even more pronounced in the Rockies and other mountains ranges out west.

    If you are thinking long term (say you are younger and looking at 40 years on your property or you plan to leave the property to your kids) investigate how climate change might affect your area. This can be difficult, the models are not as accurate for small areas, but its worth the effort. Although the average temperatures are going up, what is going to happen with rain? More of it? Less of it? What about the timing of the rain? How will this affect tree health and food production? Can rain water be stored for dry times? Could changes in ocean currents or jet streams affect your weather, air temperatures or rain? Is your area projected to get colder or have more variability of temperatures? On the east coast we are projected to receive more rain so fire risks in the forest are lower, but the rain is already falling in higher quantities per hour which is creating more flash flooding, water rescues, erosion along the roads and erosion in any ditch, creek, stream or other entity that carries off rain water. I’ve already brought in tons of large rocks to stop erosion in a ditch that has 1/4″ x 12″ of water in the spring, can run dry in the summer, but can fill to a raging 2 ft. x 1.5 ft. stream of water when it rains heavy, and this is draining what has to be less than 7 acres of grass and forest plus 500 ft. of street. Your politics may lead you to dismiss climate change facts and the risks, but you do so at your personal and financial peril.

    Gun laws. I’ve seen some beautiful land visiting relatives in upstate NY, but their gun laws are even too restrictive for me. This probably isn’t an issue in the west, but its something to consider for those east of the Mississippi.

    Taxes. Taxes should be considered too, but not in the way everyone thinks. Every state collects taxes, and the differences in taxes between all but the highest taxed and the lowest taxed really isn’t very large. What does vary is who pays the taxes and what is taxed. Many states have lower income tax rates, but they have higher property, sales, or other taxes. I paid property taxes on my cars in a couple midwest states. Some states have lower taxes on pensions and SS, but they have higher death taxes on estates. Some states tax visitors (think FL), or they tax industries (fossil fuels, mining, lumber). Other states have lower sales taxes but higher income taxes. Some states charge more for licence plates. MD has no property tax on vehicles. If you are planning to move, either while working or for retirement, check on all the different taxes, where your current and future sources of income will come from, and where it makes the most sense to live.

    When you are looking at those taxes, remember they pay for services. I live in a high cost state, but those taxes covered good schools and top notch university educations. I avoided over 100,000 of private school expense per child. We have a responsive sheriff, a fire truck is at my door in minutes, ambulance service is good too, and there are a whole host of services most people never hear about that improve their lives or health. Depending on where you are in life maybe you don’t need or want the services. Needs and trade offs must be balanced.

    1. @Don

      PS Note that Erie PA has been a Soviet/Russia nuclear target for decades because it is a major manufacturing center for railroad locomotives.

      The US Government’s plan for Continuity of Operations/ reconstruction of the US economy after a major nuclear attack greatly depends upon moving huge amounts of food (grains/beans) from Midwest silos to the major cities since the cities are where the skilled personnel/ capital plant are located. Highly perishable if not fed within 2-4 weeks.

      That massive movement of food supplies in turn depends upon getting part of the railroads up and running.

      1. Thanks for the thoughts on Pennsylvania. My son lives 4 miles away. He’s the opposite of a prepper, probably had too comfortable of a childhood. We both have rewarding fairly secure jobs that provide a comfortable living. His fiance has ties to the area. I have to start planning from Maryland.

        JWR is right, there are just too many people and too many nuclear power plants east of the Mississippi to really hide if the SHTF, so choosing a place really becomes a balancing of compromises. I’m planning for the SHTF and a status quo retirement. PA still has rural land and favorable retirement taxes. PA has cities with people that also support great hospitals and healthcare. WV has nice rural land, but I would have to drive through Baltimore to get there and DC would be coming west too. I’m still thinking I should check it out more. So much to research but great places for weekend camping trips. I also have some unorthodox views on mass migration in a SHTF scenario. What if the people don’t leave the cities or suburbs?

        1. IMO, after SHTF scenario, people in cities and suburbs are not going to just sit on the couch waiting on unfulfilled promises from the gov. for food. I marvel at the ongoing insanity, evil and violence happening today in the riots everywhere,
          and I often comment, “And these people aren’t even hungry!” (meaning their actions today pale in evil to what they will do when they are hungry)

          Once when I was a very small child, I was home alone with zero food in the house. Had there been a tomato, which I hated, I would have put sugar on it and ate it anyway. But when I say zero food, I really mean zero food. So, when I became hungry, I left the house, went through the pasture and down the gravel road to our good neighbors house, where I knew I could ask my friends’ mother for something to eat.

          Lesson of story: Even a small child will leave the warmth and comfort of home in search of food.

          Not to mention, the rioters already feel entitled to everything you have.

          1. You cite prevailing wisdom which I agree applies in some situations. If the SHTF is local or regional then I definitely agree and we’ve seen it with hurricanes, refugees fleeing other countries. People leave because they believe life is better in other places, there is food elsewhere, its not as hot, there is more law and order, there are no gangs trying to kill them once they leave.

            What if a CME or asteroid hits the planet creating a situation where there is no place to go that isn’t affected. Or what if a nuclear war forces people to shelter in place to avoid initial radiation. Or an EMP wipes out the north american continent electrical grid and appliances. I suspect most of the processed food is stored in warehouses just outside cities. Some people will go looking for those warehouses but will people travel farther. If people initially stay home out of fear, to avoid petty criminals robbing people on the streets, to avoid organized gangs who are taking over territories, waiting for government action, because martial law is implemented, whatever the reason and they eventually run out of food, how far will people get into the country? I’ve read articles on bugging out by foot on this site and it isn’t easy for even the best in shape. Cars may or may not be viable due to laws, national guard, gangs, EMP or even blocked roads. If people go too long without food they will become weak and walking into rural areas will become that much harder. Then my Halloween analogy comes into play. I’ve lived on streets where house doors were at most 100′ apart. We always had lots of trick or treaters because the reward, candy, didn’t require a large investment of walking. Even if one house wasn’t giving out candy the next one, 75′ down the street, likely was. I now live on a street where doors can be 300-500′ apart. No kid has rung my doorbell in 10 years. Too much work vs the reward, especially when there are other neighborhoods with houses closer together.

            I’ve seen mountain valleys in PA where there aren’t that many houses, where the houses are far apart, where houses are 1/4 mile from the road up mountains. By the time someone from a densely populated region reached these areas they would be tired and hungry. They would have passed many houses in more densely populated rural areas and been unsuccessful looking for food or assistance. Would they want to walk down a road where the houses aren’t that close together with the expectation that most houses they pass wouldn’t provide what they seek? Would they even have the energy? Some of these roads don’t even look like they have many houses at all, just forest.

            Now if the refugees have motorized transportation or are traveling in a large group maybe they would travel the road. But then residents of the road could block vehicle passage which would demonstrate some community organization, and maybe not such easy pickings for the group.

            So many permutations to consider and we don’t have a past similar experience in this country to pull lessons learned from. How would people behave if desperate.

    2. @ don:”The planet is warming and will continue to get warmer faster.” Not so fast; there are many studies and scientists who say we are actually approaching a cooling period, part of the natural cycle of the sun. Also, the 11 year sun cycle of ‘maximum'(warmer) and ‘minimum'(cooler) can vary somewhat, and NASA says we’re just emerging from one of the weakest maximums in 200 years. That means the minimum we are entering (cooler) will be considerably cooler. Carbon dioxide does not make the global climate warmer, and indeed, Greenland’s ice and snow is gaining at a record pace.
      “Latest readings from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) reveal Greenland’s record gains of snow & ice seen over the past 10-or-so days show no sign of abating. Never before, in the month of June, has the ice sheet logged gains like this–at least not in the DMI historical data set, which goes back to 1981.” see, June 14, 2020.

      1. The idea that burning fossil fuels could warm the atmosphere was first proposed in the late 1800’s based on physics, thermodynamics and heat transfer equations. I’ve studied enough of those equations to know its happening. At this point for every study or data set that isn’t consistent with prevailing beliefs there are 50 or 100 data sets and studies that are. 5, 10 years in the future scientist typically discover the previous in consistent data just meant something else going on (for example the atmosphere didn’t have enough CO2 in it compared to the amount of fossil fuel burned in the past. Scientist eventually found much of the CO2 in the ocean). There are plenty of propaganda sites funded by fossil fuel companies who try to spread doubt and promote false ideas in an effort to protect their profits.

        Irrespective of what you choose to believe you still need to plan as if Climate change is real because of the gigantic body of evidence supporting it and events already happening and measurable. The planet doesn’t care what you believe it follows the laws of nature, physics, science…. so that is what you must plan for. Will you be prepared is the question? climate change has the potential to wreak havoc on the planet. If you think immigrants are bad now just wait until Latin america is so hot humans can’t live there. Where will they go? I don’t want to live in a southern state. Or lets say it interferes with the rain and water cycles on the planet causing local to wide spread famines. Famines lead to political unrest, civil wars, regime changes, and more refugees. Let’s say you are protected in your bug out location in a northern state, but a drought causes a crop failure on your homestead, or a longer term drought leads to wild fires and multi-year crop failures, or heavy rains knock down 1/2 of your garden threatening your food supply, or the snow melted all at once in a heat wave causing flooding followed by not enough water for irrigation. Now it is threatening you directly. Did you build your house close to the river or on high ground? Is your house built to withstand wildfires? Do you have ponds to feed your garden water? Did you pick an area with more protection from storm extremes? Did you pick an area where the summer high temperatures still support human life without AC or electricity? All these matter to your survival.

        Last thought, I went to college with some of those Post Doc PHD types doing Climate change research. Their ultimate career goal or accomplishment was to win a Nobel prize, and not for the money, but for the prestige. It’s the equivalent of a capitalist becoming a billionaire or a politician becoming president. You don’t win a Nobel prize if your research just further supports climate change. Its already been proven. You win a Nobel prize by upsetting the apple cart, proving a different cause, finding the alien civilization that is warming our planet from Jupiter with a phaser, or discovering that dark matter hitting the planet is being converted into heat, or discovering the sun just started emitting a new type of radiation that heats nitrogen in the atmosphere, or discovering our planet is entangled with an alternate universe and heat is escaping from the universe to warm ours. They are looking but they haven’t found their Nobel prize discovery. It’s unlikely they will.

  14. @Don

    If you are looking in the Allegheny National Forest area in northern PA, note that there are several major cities/14 million people just to the north in Canada. Joel Skousen didn’t point this out in his book on North American retreat locations.

    If SHTF northern PA could be caught in a pincer movement between Canadian refugees and New York City/ Philly refugees. Plus there is Pittsburgh and Cleveland to the west.

    In his 1980 book Tappan on Survival, Mel Tappan noted that Pennsylvania has a lot of rural property that looks like a survival retreat at first glance but which could be overwhelmed with urban refugees in a crisis. IMO, the hordes would be channeled into the valleys.

    On the other hand, there are some military bunkers on mountain tops that have gone largely unseen/undiscovered for 60 years.

      1. 1) I cited the bunkers more as an example of how the hordes are less likely to stumble across a mountain top concealed facility than something in a valley — although there is also a strong argument that one should be part of the community of the local county seat where the sheriff can deputize a militia, the town can be fortified with walls as occurred throughout history, and ones family can sleep safe because there is enough of a manpower surplus to have armed guards at night. And where one can participate in town councils at night.

        2) Some examples of the bunkers:

        a) Raven Rock — the alternate Pentagon off Rt 140/PA 16 west of Emmitsburg MD — was concealed for a long time but has become fairly well known in recent years,-77.4128195,1719m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

        b) The AT&T Project Office bunker about 5 miles north of Indian Springs MD — linked Raven Rock and Mount Weather bunkers with the Army forts in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia (Areas of projected low fallout , with the Army needed to maintain order) Comm link was troposcatter radio.,-77.9424873,11574m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en,-77.9726536,256m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

        In the Cold War , AT&T also had a chain of bunkers running from New York to Georgia –spaced about 80 miles apart — to support a major communications backbone (microwave coax cables) that was routed 40 miles out from major cities to ensured it survived a nuclear attack.

        The bunkers were two stories, about the size of a COSTCO shopping center and had concrete walls 4 ft thick. Probably on the list of boltholes the President’s nuclear football has for the President to duck into if he is traveling and an attack occurs.

        Some have been closed/sold as fiber optic cables removed the need to regenerate the signals every 80 miles or so.

        1. I like the idea of going underground, just not sure how much digging you can do in the forests of PA. I haven’t seen anything underground for sale. No sign of caves either. MO has thousands of caves that could be converted into good shelters. The mountains of PA tend to have long ridges that are work to cross. Sometimes the valleys don’t have much flat land in between other times farms. Some of the valleys dead end. I can envision hiding in some of those small valley part of the way up the hill. To the average refugee those thin valleys could look like wilderness with nothing to plunder. I’ve also seen some flat tops on some of the mountains that might have enough land that sight lines from down the mountain wouldn’t show buildings on the top. The give away that something was up there would be the road. One would need a decoy house/structure at the bottom so people thought the road was just access to the forest.

          1. Three years ago, a survival consultant with military SERE (survival, escape, resistance, evasion) training posted a very good 3-part article on retreating and hiding in a bunker. You can search on his name in the search box at the top of Survivalblog.

            In part 3 of the series, he and I had a discussion I found useful. While I thought his ideas were useful, I saw a longer term problem with an isolated bunker — rejoining any community that survived.

            Like Mel Tappan in 1980, I think long term survival requires being an accepted and value member of a fortified town — and I think strangers would have a hard time being accepted by such a town that had endured attacks by hordes of refugees. Due to the danger of the stranger being a spy for an invading group, for example.

            Discussion is here if you are interested:


Comments are closed.