If you have made plans to bug out should disaster strike or a society-changing event happen, then you are one step ahead of many preppers. Ideally, you have your bug out location chosen, stocked, and ready to go at a moment’s notice. At this point, there's only one question remaining. How are you gonna get there?
In other words, do you have a bug out vehicle that is ready to take you to your bug out location? Is it properly maintained and prepared to keep you safe and help you move as quickly as possible?
Bugging out isn’t as simple as jumping in your bug out vehicle and hitting the road—well, it can be, if your ride is adequately prepared. But there is a lot that goes into the preparation of your bug out vehicle, starting with the type of transportation you have.
Not everyone has the luxury of purchasing a car or truck to use specifically as a bug out vehicle. Many, if not most, will need to use whatever is already parked in their driveway. The majority of this post focuses on how to prepare any car to be a bug out vehicle. However, first, let’s just take a look at the various modes of transportation you can use as your bug out vehicle.
SUV: An SUV, or sport utility vehicle, is generally a four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive automobile. This type of automobile is a good choice as a bug out vehicle because it gets decent gas mileage and can traverse rough ground. It can also carry a lot of gear and can easily double as your regular family transportation.
Jeep is a go-to when it comes to a rugged set of wheels.
The Jeep Wrangler deserves special mention here. It is about as rugged a bug out vehicle as you can imagine and can be driven across nearly any terrain. You can enhance it using after-market parts so it can operate in extreme conditions. Just remember that it has a smaller capacity for carrying gear, although it can haul a trailer.
Truck: Similar to the SUV, a pickup truck that has four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive makes a great bug out vehicle. It has a lot of room for gear, but be sure you have a large cab if you have a family to take with you. Again, you can also use a truck as your everyday mode of transportation.
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Camper: A camper makes a good choice as a bug out vehicle. It is more restricted in terms of the ruggedness of the terrain it can handle. However, it is ideal for carrying a lot of people and gear and it has amenities that make it a good home-away-from-home. In fact, you could live in it if you had to.
ATV: This is another automobile that can go just about anywhere, although it does have its limitations. In particular, you can only fit one or two people on it. It also cannot carry a lot of gear, so you might need to haul a trailer behind it. But if you’re on your own, then this might be a good option. It also serves as a good backup.
Motorcycle: If you are on your own, or perhaps traveling with one other person, then a motorcycle is a great choice for a bug out vehicle. Again, it can’t carry much gear, but if you are already set up at your bug out location, you can get away with minimal gear. Plus, a motorcycle is very maneuverable. It can get through those inevitable traffic jams that will occur when everyone tries to flee the city.
Boat: If you are near the ocean or a river, then a boat might make getting away easy. If you have a large boat on the ocean or a large river or lake, it could serve as both a bug out location and a bug out vehicle. Or you can take a smaller motorboat to a location well outside of town and make your way from there. Just be sure you have a plan to get to and from the boat.
Bicycle: If you cannot get out of the city via a motorized automobile, a bicycle is highly effective. You can take it many places you can’t drive a car and you can attach a trailer to the back to haul supplies. If everyone in your party has a bike, then you can all bug out together and hopefully stay under the radar.
Your feet: When all else fails, you can walk out of town. True, you can’t carry as much gear and you will be going much more slowly than if you were driving. However, you can really get off the beaten path and stay hidden far more easily. Plus, other than needing to rest every now and then, your feet won’t break down or need gas.
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You might have an automobile you bought solely for the purpose bugging out. But chances are you have your basic family car, truck, or van sitting in the driveway. Fortunately, you can still turn that automobile into a bug out vehicle. The first step in doing that is to ensure you keep up with the regular maintenance of your vehicle so that it is always running in peak condition. Regular maintenance includes:
Regular vehicle maintenance is critical.
Be sure not to leave water in your car when it gets too hot outside. The plastic in the bottles might leak and contaminate the water.
You should always have an emergency road kit in your vehicle no matter what. However, you need to plan this kit well when you are prepping to bug out. Your emergency road kit must include the following:
Now, you don’t need to become a certified mechanic. But the more skills and knowledge you build up in the area of car repair and upkeep, the better off you will be.
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Tires deserve special mention because they are more likely to make or break your bug out attempt than anything else on your vehicle. First, you need to ensure your tires are in good shape. They should have good treads, suit the weather/season, and show no bald spots. Aside from this, remember the following about tires:
Now that we have the car kit essentials covered, it’s time to consider all the other essentials you should have. First and foremost, you should always have your get home bag in your car. This will help you in any situation.
Always have a fully stocked bug out bag with you.
When you bug out, you should have your bug out bag with you. This bag will have everything you need to survive for at least three days, such as:
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You will find a complete list of what is needed in a bug out bag here. Aside from that, you will need the following supplies:
Just remember that you have a limited amount of space in your vehicle. You need to prioritize; get the highest-quality, most compact gear you can; and pack things well.
OK, we have covered the basics of what you need to have a solid bug out vehicle, but you can do so much more. There are all sorts of ways you can enhance your automobile to make it even more powerful and able to get you where you need to go. Once you have the basics covered, consider adding some or all of the following as finances permit:
Here are a few final tips:
Natural disasters, accidents, and longer events are all reasons to keep your vehicle stocked and ready to go. Being prepared now means that you can evacuate a dangerous area faster.
Generally speaking, bugging out is something you should only do when conditions are deteriorating fast enough that where you are at will soon not be safe for you or your family. This is a decision that you have to make based on your own instincts and comfort level. In some emergencies, it is better to stay where you are and shelter in place.
There is a lot of debate about vehicles and their level of EMP resistance. A lot of experts recommend vehicles from no later than the 1980s. You can EMP proof a modern vehicle using an EMP Shield device.
In the end, the only thing between you and your bug out location, or at least the safety of getting out of the city, might be the quality of your bug out vehicle. You want to be sure you have taken the time to make your automobile as safe and prepared as possible. You also want to learn the skills you will need on the road.
Anything you think we missed? Let us know in the comments below.
Roman is a notable figure in the sphere of emergency preparedness and has been featured in various news broadcasts, publications, and documentaries to weigh in on the subject. He has made multiple appearances on HBO, BBC, CBS, and other media outlets to provide insight on the critical importance of readiness under all circumstances. When he is not hard at work being the CEO of Ready To Go Survival and MIRA Safety, he enjoys riding his motorcycle, shooting, handball, and scaring his neighbors by taking out the trash in full MOPP gear.