I get asked this question all the time so I figured it would be fun to do a blog post about it.
To me the best states to be a prepper have quite a few criteria they must meet.
* Mild Winters (my choice – see below)
* Low Population density
* Cheap Cost of Living
* No water shortages
* Sane Gun laws
* Long growing cycles for your vegetable garden
* Available jobs
Before we go through my top 9 picks I’ll list a few that many of you favor that are not for me:
Alaska – I have some friends in the prepping world who swear by Alaska but for me it just doesn’t hit enough of my targets to be considered a smart move. Very cold, short growing cycles, the average cost of goods there ..right now (before any collapse) is excessively expensive compared to the lower 48. For me a big pass.
Hawaii – for a small group of islands Hawaii is very densely populated, cost of goods is extremely expensive as it is right now and I think the risks of flooding, Tsunamis etc is just too great for me to take seriously. Also unlike most of the US the risks of active volcanoes erupting is extremely high too, especially on the big island. Too bad as the weather would be perfect for me.
Maine / Upper Peninsula Michigan – I like Maine for having low population density, affordable cost of living and sensible gun laws, however for me personally it is just way too cold. I did state above that some where with a mild winter is what I am personally looking for, I do understand and appreciate that many people are not big fans of a blazing hot summer so maybe its right for you. Same goes for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, still plenty of affordable properties to be had, however the winters can be pretty brutal. My understanding is both areas are not the greatest for job opportunities
either. Another plus point for both states is you do have access to waterways if you did need to bug out to sea. From memory too Maine has over 2000 islands off its coast line. Making Maine of of the best choices if you insist on staying on the East Coast.
Florida Everglades – I have a few friends who are set up in the everglades as their go to when the SHTF – like me they really don’t fancy toughing it out in cold weather, Florida does have decent weather (outside of Hurricane season) so long growth cycles for your veggies, land in some places is still very affordable (especially when you compare it to the North East), however it is pretty heavily populated in the most parts (Over 20 million people last time I checked) and if the science experts are to be believed then with global warming and rising ocean tides, a lot of the state could end up under
water. It also has the highest rate of Natural disasters in the Nation. Holding up in the everglades as well you would have to take into account the dangers of Alligators, snakes, poisonous spiders and even panthers (in some part of the state)
California – is a beautiful state but there are so many reasons why it doesn’t make sense for us preppers. Terrible gun laws, the most populated state in the country (30 million people) coastal state and on a major fault line. As a heavily taxed state many small companies have fled to more tax friendly states (such as Texas) although I am sure there are still many more job opportunities here versus some of the other states I have covered so far. If you had family ties here and were adverse to leaving the state I would think that some parts of the North East might be okay for setting up your compound or homestead.
The Carolinas – Long ago I learned that over two thirds of Americans live east of the Mississippi. The fact that most Eastern states are heavily populated (not to mention the majority of Nuclear Power plants in the eastern states) makes the majority of them a BIG NO. However I do think that out any of the eastern states that do fit the criteria of low population density, low cost of living, mild winters, good growing seasons and smart gun laws then parts of the Carolina’s (and even West Virginia) might work out for you.
The Majority of the Midwest – Outside of the threat of living in Tornado alley I used to think a lot of the midwest would be a safe bet to set up your Bug Out Location. Geologists for years have monitored California for the San Andreas fault line now believe that the New Madrid fault line running right through the mid west now appears to be an even bigger danger than the “big One” in California ever will be. The States that will be hit the hardest are Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Mississippi.
Colorado – although west of the Mississippi Colorado has a lot of snow fall which rules it out for me (but possibly not you) Their winters are actually fairly warm, but keep in mind that there are a couple of significant military bases in CO. which makes it a sure missile target if WW3 ever kicks off. So for me and my family we ruled it out.
So now that we have covered the states that I believe would be prudent to avoid let’s look at my top favorites and why I think they make the most sense.
Arizona – warm weather cost of living still affordable excellent gun laws..down side..possible water shortages / drought in the future. Still one of the best choices if you want to continue to live in America’s South West
Wyoming – is a good choice with cheap land , smart gun laws and low population density – the only down side for me is the short growing cycles due to the cold weather and some say the soil there isn’t the greatest (for farming). I also do want to mention the very real threat of a super volcano eruption at Yellowstone park which is probably tantamount to living next door to a nuclear reactor. As devastation to the area would be fatal. So that counts out the Northern part of the state for sure.
South Dakota – Definitely one of the best states for us preppers, low crime rates, low population density, affordable farm land , decent growing cycles. Highly recommended.
North Dakota – not as ideal as South Dakota due to being much colder and therefore having shorter growing seasons.
Nebraska – is a good state to prep in , sane gun laws, low rates of unemployment, decent population density and still some affordable land to be had. It does have some natural disasters, Tornadoes and flooding so choose your BOL wisely.
Iowa – is another great state to hunker down in, the soil quality for its farm land is some of the best in the country albeit a bit more pricey than some of the other states I have recommended in this blog post. Other than pricey land Iowa checks all the boxes with good gun laws, low population density and a low crime rate.
Montana – another good state for preppers, much like Wyoming has affordable land low crime rates and a low population density the only real downside being its fairly cold climate – which was something I was trying to avoid but like I mention above if that’s not an issue for you then yes go for it.
Idaho – definitely one of the best states for preppers, weather is pretty decent , especially in the southern part of the state, land is still pretty much affordable, decent population density, good gun laws and relativity low rates of violent crime.
Oregon – top pick for me ..as long as you are removed from any of its major cities. Moderate climate, affordable land, low crime rates (outside of the cities)
Let me know what states are your favorites in the comments section below, be curious to hear your feedback.