Being prepared for when all heck breaks loose is important.
But preparation is not just having the right equipment.
Being in the right environment can make survival and defending yourself much easier or much harder.
At the very least, if you need to move, you should keep in mind where the best places to travel should be.
Understanding what you need and where to go is just as important as having the tools that you need to get there; here are just a few things to consider even if you don’t believe that “West is best” is the correct strategy:
Plentiful water–preferably spring fed or an artesian well.
Good exposure for gardening and photovoltaics.
Not on a flood plain and in aregion with minimal natural disaster risks. (See this map: Where to Live to Avoid a Natural Disaster.)
Southern exposure–particularly important at higher elevations
“Panoramic views.” This usually means a hilltop location with open fields of fire and defendable terrain. The concept of holding high ground goes back to pre-history. Yes, I know, that this is mutually exclusive with the concept of having a house that is not in line of sight of any major road. TANSTAAFL. Decide on one or the other. But don’t buy a place that has neither attribute.
A diverse and healthy local economy.
Minimal noxious weeds. (Russian Thistle, Teasel, Russian Knapweed, Yellow Star Thistle, etc.)
Not in the path of real estate developers. Look at where suburban developments have been established in the county. Suburban tracts tend to follow a “line of march” in certain directions—especially where there is level terrain. Note that in most regions row crop farmland and orchard land is at the greatest risk because it is easy to subdivide. Put on your thinking cap and do some extrapolation. If your intended area is in the path of the sprawl within 10 to 15 years then start looking in a different direction in less advantageous terrain, or a little further out of town.
If it has an existing house, a house with fireproof/ballistically-protected (e.g. masonry) construction.
Low housing costs.
An active, growing farmer’s market. I have found directories of Farmer’s Markets posted on the web for Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. The presence of farmer’s markets is a good indicator for towns with retreat potential. Furthermore, in a post-collapse America, itr will likely be the farmer’s markets that will be the genesis of a revived economy.
Not near any nuclear power plants.
My personal preference is to select a retreat in a mixed farming/ranching/timber region in low-humidity area of one of the American Redoubt states. I generally discourage folks from living in coastal regions for health reasons, risk of tidal waves or hurricanes, oil tanker mishaps, visits by foreign terrorists, and the outside chance of dramatically rising or falling sea levels in the event of a climate shift. I also discourage relocating to anywhere within 150 miles of the Mexican border. ( The crime rate is higher near the border)
Also consider the relative grid power independence and stability various regions.
The Pacific northwest is perhaps the best, because it is a producer of abundant hydroelectric power.
Look West of the Missouri River
As evidenced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, population density is perhaps the most crucial factor to consider when selecting a safe haven. The big cities on the Gulf Coast became hell holes, whereas the small towns got by fairly well. I know that this will cause acrimony with a lot of my readers who live east of the Missouri River, but the plain truth is the East has too much population! The northeast is also downwind of some major nuclear targets. Unless you are among the uber-rich and can afford to buy an elaborate fully hardened bunker with HEPA filtration deep in the Smoky or Appalachian Mountains with a five year food supply, then I firmly believe that you will be safer west of the Missouri River.
Here are the best states to go to:
7 South Dakota
8 North Dakota
15 New Mexico
This list is subjective to the writer’s concerns, but from this, you at least have an idea of what you should be planning in regards to where to go when everything breaks loose.
Once you have a general location narrowed down, then you can start to fine-tune your decisions, including what method you need to get there in the chaos of a survival situation.