The Ins and Outs of Your Bug Out Vehicle!
When thinking about a bug out vehicle, the first types of vehicles that come to mind are big 4×4 vehicles or military vehicles. While these vehicles may be some of the best bug out vehicles, there are many other types to think about. It would also be a good idea to have a few of them as they can be used for different circumstances.
Four-wheeled fuel powered vehicles
There are so many vehicles out there that can fit your bug out vehicle needs. There are some simple characteristics that the vehicle should fit, but ultimately, the vehicle should be tailored to your own needs.
- Off road Capabilities
- How well can your bug out vehicle get you to a place that is safe and away from other people? If you already have a bug out second home, will your vehicle be able to get there regardless of conditions?
- Make sure the vehicle has enough ground clearance to make it over large obstacles.
- Bigger tires will help to increase ground clearance and keep the body of the vehicle above snow, which would decrease the likelihood of your vehicle becoming a large plow.
- Four wheel drive is a must-have as there may be times you need to go through water, mud or around obstacles.
- Locking or limited slip differentials will increase the places you can go without getting stuck. (If you don’t know what this is here is a quick overview. On standard differentials only the wheel with the least traction will spin. When one of the wheels is off the ground or not getting transaction that wheel spins, but really gets you nowhere. With all locking differential, all wheels spin regardless of what wheel has traction. A limited slip differential spins the wheel with the most traction. Both of these can drastically increase where your vehicle can go without getting stuck)
- Some vehicles also have suspensions that will rise due to road conditions. This can be a nice bonus to any vehicle, but they are usually found in very high-end vehicles that rarely make effective bug out vehicles. Plus the parts may be difficult to find and are quite complicated to work on.
- Lift Kits are another good option for your vehicle to increase its ground clearance.
- Types of Engines
The best type of engine for your vehicle totally depends on your needs, but here are some things to think about when choosing a bug out vehicle:
- The smaller the vehicle and engine, the better the gas mileage will be. This will be handy when fuel is in low supply, but a small vehicle probably won’t fit your storage or sleeping needs.
- A diesel engine will not only get better mileage, but it may have more power than a gas engine. A diesel can also easily use other types of fuel including vegetable oil, kerosene, biodiesel, home heating oil or jet fuel.
- A gasoline engine converted to propane may be beneficial to have in your bug out vehicle as propane can be easily stored compared to gasoline. Propane may also be in lower demand if a disaster were to occur.
- A gasoline engine can also be converted to use wood gas from a wood gasifier. This can be especially beneficial if your bug out location is near a forest. Once you run out of standard fuel, you can start using the natural resource around you to get other vehicle duties done. Some of these duties might be wood gathering, towing, or bringing an animal you have hunted back to your camp.
- There is always the good old gasoline engine. This is what I have currently. This is probably not the best engine for a bug out vehicle, but it is the most widely used engine, making it easy to work on.
Things to have in your bugout vehicle.
- Bug Out Bag
- Water & Purifier
- Cooking Equipment
- Sleeping Items
- Everything else you will need to live until the disaster or societal problem calms down
Other things to think about regarding your bug out vehicle.
- Storage Space
- Having storage space to carry all your items as well as comfortably seating all individuals is very important.
- There are a number of vehicles that may fit this: a pickup truck, an SUV with a top rack, a trailer to carry all the needed items, a travel trailer or a motor home (but there are very few that are 4wd).
- With a pickup, a camper shell will keep your gear and belongings from getting wet. SUVs with three rows of seats normally have the ability to fold down or remove the last row of seats.
- Some things you will probably want to take with you are:
- Having a vehicle that is going to withstand a beating is very valuable.
- Simply reading JD Power and Associates and other rating systems may not be the best way to gauge reliability. The main reason for this is that many of these vehicles are not tested in harsh off road conditions.
- Being able to get parts easily or have spare parts on hand can be great.
- There are some things to always keep in the vehicle such as: oil, transmission fluid, a spare belt, coolant, fuses and possibly the most important relays.
- Don’t forget about older vehicles. They have less complicated (or no) computer systems and less things to go awry during a disaster situation. Many will also be immune to Electromagnetic pulses.
- Sleeping space and protection from the elements
- In another post, I have explained how to build a pickup sleeping platform which is very light, allows for your items to be towed, has storage, is cheap, and is quite comfortable.
- You could have just a tent, but not only will this take time to setup and takedown, you will also be more susceptible to the elements.
- A cab over camper along with a pickup is probably one of the best bug out vehicles. A cab over camper can allow you to tow another trailer for storage, but also have a bathroom, kitchen and a comfortable place to sleep while on the go.
- A travel trailer or fifth wheel can also be a great option as they are extremely comfortable, but can be hard to maneuver in some off road situations.
As you can see, there are many different options for a bug out vehicle. There is really no right or wrong as long as the bug out vehicle suits your needs. Having the bug out vehicle packed and ready to go can also be a good habit as it ensures that you are one of the first vehicles on the road when everybody is trying to beat the end and survive in tough times.