Mutual Assistance Groups: Choosing a Location for Your MAG

Mutual Assistance Groups: Choosing a Location for Your MAG

Survival-Group-Retreat-GroupEditor’s Note: This is part of a series from Charley Hogwood of P.R.E.P. on mutual assistance groups (MAG). See all posts in the MAG series here.

Much has been written about where to set up camp for the survival group. We are going to break into two basic types of group for the location discussion: The Survival Group and the Retreat Group.

Before we discuss physical characteristics of land we must consider the legal and financial arrangements that are most common.

Mutual Assistance Group Locations: The Survival Group

The Survival Group will be best described as a group that has a base location, and has developed a community arrangement allowing for all families involved to work and run the “farm” as a collective.

In a pre-event scenario, members may buy in and/or receive a piece of land or section of a property to establish their camp or build a living structure. We will call the people moving onto someone else’s land or those who buy into adjoining land, homesteaders. In a time when all laws are still in effect there are rental provisions and rights available to the renters. One must consider these rights and be aware of the legal eviction process should a relationship sour.

Mutual Assistance Group Locations: The Retreat Group

A Retreat Group is a number of people who arrange to meet at another location in case of activation. This location may be a home, cabin, or other location where the group feels all of their survival needs would be met. This type of group usually has a property owner among them. The same legal and liability concerns apply. Rental of space, injury on your property, damage of property, eviction, etc. are all real world problems, especially while there are still laws in place.

Important Location Characteristics To Consider

For the purpose of our discussion we will focus on the characteristics of good locations that will support multiple members. If you have the means and the luxury of selecting a piece of land on your own timetable, the following thoughts should help as a primer. If you are forced to select a place to camp or homestead on the fly, the following criteria should help to remind you of the most important things to look for depending on your length of stay.


  • Without a strong security plan, you really don’t own anything you have.
  • You should take stock of the location’s accessibility, your ability to defend the location, and local issues with transient traffic.

Food Production

  • In a survival situation, you won’t be able to run to the grocery store when you’re out of milk.
  • Can you grow food/raise animals on this piece of property? What is the current wildlife situation?

Water Resources

  • Water is the most important resource you will need in quantity. Without water, you won’t survive for more than a few days.
  • Do you have the space for water storage at this location? Are there natural water sources?

Shelter Resources

  • Exposure to the elements can be hazardous depending on the climate. Whether short or long term, it will be important to make a shelter that will provide for warmth as well as protection from heat.
  • Is there any existing shelter on site? Do you have the construction materials (such as timber) to build one?

Health and Safety

  • It’s paramount to keep everyone healthy and safe in a survival situation.
  • What dangers are present in the area? Do you have an area for medical supplies/treatment?

Energy Resources

  • Not limited to just electricity, you’ll need energy to get anything done.
  • What’s the firewood situation? Will solar power work here?


  • Being able to communicate is more than just talking; it includes commerce, news, messaging and transport of goods and material.
  • Is there a network in place to share news and intel? Is there a system of commerce in your area for barter of supplies?

Again, you will not find the perfect location for every scenario. These questions are to get you to think before you commit to settling in permanently.


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