Survival Basics

What do You Need for a Bug Out Vehicle?

I see a lot of articles on the internet, listing someone’s idea of the “ideal bug out vehicle.” Most of those contain a combination of good four-wheel-drive vehicles and military wheeled infantry carriers. Then there are the homemade monsters that start look like they belong in Mad Max. While they are all vehicles that I’d love to own, I’m not sure that they are the ideal bug out vehicle that some people think.

Does a bug out vehicle has to be military badass to be effective?

To start with, there’s an idea floating around that a bug out vehicle has to be military badass to be effective. That makes me ask the question, what are they preparing for? If someone is preparing for a zombie apocalypse, then I get the idea of having a super zombie killing vehicle. But if all you’re going to use the bug out vehicle for is to drive a couple of hundred miles to your survival retreat, than what are the zombie catchers and bars over the windows for? 

Bug Out Vehicle

Beefed and jacked up four-wheel-drive vehicles

Likewise, I see a lot of people with really beefed and jacked up four-wheel-drive vehicles out there, as if their survival retreat was way back in the woods somewhere. I get that if their survival retreat is hard to get to; but not if it is in a rural town down the road. 

The problem

The problem with many of these options is that they’re too obvious. Anything that looks like it’s intended for survival is going to attract attention… the wrong kind of attention from people who might just want to see what you have, that they can get from you. So building some of those obvious bug out vehicles is just opening yourself up for attack. 

It really doesn’t take much to make a vehicle look like you’re a prepper. Just mounting a Jerry can of gas on the roof rack or spare tire carrier can make people think that you’re more prepared than they are. That will lead to them wondering what else you might have that they need. With the wrong people, that could lead to attack. 

Main purpose of bug out vehicle

Since the main purpose of any bug out vehicle is to get us from home to our survival retreat, we’ve all got to ask ourselves what it will take to do that. Going beyond that point may just be setting ourselves up for trouble, no matter how much fun it is to build that “Ultimate Survival Vehicle.” 

Things to consider before choosing a bug out vehicle

Here are a few things that you’ve got to consider:

  • How many passengers – You’ve obviously got to have a vehicle that will hold your whole family, or at least everyone who is included in the bug out. You don’t want to be crowded either, as that could make the trip more uncomfortable. 
  • How much luggage space – Even if all you’ve got is one bug out bag per person, you’re going to have a lot of luggage. But the truth is, you’ll probably have more than that; so you need a good sized cargo area in whatever you buy.
  • How far it goes – If your survival retreat is 400 miles from home and your vehicle’s gas tank will only get you 350 miles, you’ve got a problem. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to change vehicles; but you’ve at least got to figure out how to carry more fuel along, while keeping the car stealthy. 
  • Stealth – Whatever you get, you don’t want it to be something that stands out as a survival vehicle. That may change from one part of the country to another. If you live in Texas, then a 4×4 truck is normal. But that’s not the same for New York City. Find something that meets the other criteria and will blend in, then buy that. 
  • Reliability – While the other criteria I’ve mentioned are important; that bug out vehicle isn’t going to do you the least bit of good, if you can’t rely on it working. Do whatever you have to do to make sure you can count on it running, then keep it in top condition. 

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