Best Bug Out Location

Best Location for Bugging Out: Niland, CA.

By Chris Mandianiland

Bugging out – we’ve all heard the term. We know the concept; cutting out when society yields to some form of disaster, post-haste. As a squared-away Prepper, you’ve got the bug out bag stocked, personal weapon lubed, locked, and ready to rock, water en masse, and an off-road vehicle idling on all eight cylinders.

But what next?

Unfortunately many Preppers find themselves packed in like sardines – hostages to crime-ridden cityscapes. For those individuals, it would be fitting to study up on the logistics of bugging out. Where to go; how to get there; and the potential viability of the aforementioned safe zone.

wrecked trailerLocated along the infamous San Andreas Fault, abutting the Imperial Valley, a bizzaro wilderness capable of sustaining long-term habitation lies just 150 miles south of Los Angeles. Dubbed “Slab City,” this unusual hinterland is prime bug out territory. The largest inland body of water west of the Mississippi feeds the adjacent town of Niland. The Salton Sea – essentially a gigantic collection of semi-toxic H20, happens to support a rather abundant colony of fresh water Tilapia. Sadly, water from the lake will most likely trigger a hellacious bout of the runs. Proper distillation is highly recommended. And make no mistake; hydration in and around Slab City is essential. With temperatures reaching 107 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s safe to say the acquisition of water dominates any Survivalist seeking refuge in Niland.


Scattered across the Colorado Desert, Slab City hosts a motley crew of vagabond drifters and snowbirds seeking a simpler way of life. This desert outpost derives its name from leftover concrete slabs circa a WWII-era Marine base. Those who choose to carve out a piece of sandy soil, do so rent/tax free. In essence, they’re squatters.

Historically, Law Enforcement casts a blind eye towards these arid flats – which lends itself perfectly to the would-be Prepper seeking life off the grid.Bombay Beach

Despite the aforementioned drifter-types, there’s plenty of space to establish your own little survivalist compound. Weekly trips to the Salton Sea provide a sustainable source of water (heavily filtered, of course). The post-apocalyptic stretch of shoreline referred to as Bombay Beach can provide a unique distraction from desert malaise. A one-time hot spot back in 1950, Bombay Beach now resembles a Salvador Dali painting awash in derelict Model-T’s, half-submerged buses, and a beachfront lined with a million desiccated baitfish. Granting all this, the resourceful Prepper can salvage a number of valuable necessities amid these eclectic ruins. Handy with a shotgun? Bully for you. The adjacent countryside supports a thriving jackrabbit population. Food on the plate…

Logistically, the route to Niland is quite simple. The most complicated aspect of bugging out exists with those unfortunate Preppers stationed within Los Angeles proper. If you can manage to head southeast, jump on Interstate 10. Some three-hours later, you’ll find yourself enveloped by the Imperial Valley. Spartan, desolate, and relatively uninhabited, this stretch of earth is ideal for any Prepper vested in Southern California.

This article was written by Chris Mandia.  Chris Mandia is a Southern California writer who writes on military issues. Serving two tours in Iraq as a Marine Corps infantryman, you can find out more about him at www.chrismandia.com.Chris Mandia

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