In this article we will review bug out vehicles (BOV) and what preppers need to know about ‘em, and why you need one. Here’s the time tested scenario; the shit has officially hit the fan and you bug out of the city, all the major highways are backed up, and your only option is to go off-road. Right about then – I’d be hoping I wasn’t in a Mazda Miata.
With bug out vehicles you should take five pillars of protection and preparedness before you begin; reliability, sustainability, durability, versatility and payload capacity. In addition, you will have to take your own financial capabilities before going too far.
What I mean is – will your BOV be your daily driver, or will you have a bug out vehicle apart from your daily driver? Realistically speaking, not many people want to drive an old pickup truck to and from work, from suburbia to the city and back. Hell, gas alone would be a pain in the ass.
What does a bug out vehicle need?
Before we dive into the types of bug out vehicles available on the market today we should first review what all bug out vehicles should be equipped with;
- First and foremost your BOV should be 4 x 4 with upgraded shocks/springs making your escape through rural country a tad bit easier and will allow you to haul more
- Some beefy tires or mudders would work great off-road, and a spare tire in case of a blowout
- Your BOV should have; a front/rear hitch and a front/rear wench for towing and pulling yourself out of sticky situations e. the hole was deeper than you thought
- Your bug out vehicle should be in good working condition and tested often i.e. driving every weekend to make sure everything is still in order, or else you’ll be in for a surprise when SHTF
- Skid plates, brush guards, fog lights, gas tank protection, and a quality CB antenna with a spring based whip antenna
- An upgraded fan shroud to prevent the engine from stalling due to water spray, while providing more power which is important when hauling heavy loads
Types of bug out vehicles
We surely are living in a marvelous time where technology is making some really amazing advanced in the survival and preparedness field – albeit expensive technology, but amazing none-the-least. The type of bug out vehicle you choose solely relies on your preferences and individual situation. With this in mind you should be perfectly aware of your options;
1970’s bug out vehicle
The classic bug out vehicle, and the most preferred by preppers on a budget is an old, but realible 1970’s pickup or SUV bug out vehicle equipped with 4×4 drive. The reason the prepper community has flocked to these BOV models was more than thrift, preppers prefer 70’s bug out vehicles for their lack of electronic components. The assumption; old BOVs are ‘somewhat’ less susceptible to EMPs (electromagnetic pulses) caused by solar flares and nuclear blasts. The reality; there is no evidence whatsoever that older vehicles will not be affected.
The positive side of owning an older bug out vehicle is pretty clear – less electronics to be tampered with, no GPS tracking (i.e. Onstar), less things to go wrong, and easier to fix (with a basic understanding of automotive mechanics). Additionally, these BOVs are much more cost effective than the newer models. Mileage will be a bitch, so let’s hope what caused the apocalypse wasn’t a fuel shortage.
Silverado Black Ops BOV
You might cream your pants when you see this beautiful bug out vehicle developed by Chevy. It’s a premade BOV. The Chevy Silverado Black Ops 4×4 pickup features; 5.3 liter EcoTecV8 engine with 355 hp, lower body armor, raised suspension, solar power pack, generator, IFAK, and gas masks.
Excited yet? Well, simmer down – for all intents and purposes this BOV is not for sale on the open market but the truck itself surely is for a whopping $30,000+/- (model dependent). Honestly I just listed it because it’s seriously bad ass. One problem – if you have a mechanical failure you’re totally screwed.
Military Grade Bug Out Vehicles
On average, military BOVs’ starting cost is around $10,000 and up depending on which you choose and can be purchased through eBay. The best feature military vehicles have; fuel versatility. These things will use any flammable fluid – it’ll cause buildup, but at least it’ll run.
Military grade bug out vehicles like the HMMWV (high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle) have an independent suspension system with 4×4 drive, and raised driveshaft trains allowing for a lower center of gravity with runflat tires. The downside is – if you don’t keep them maintained you’d better be well informed on HMMWV mechanics, or bring a Marine.
Bug Out Motorcycles
We’ve all seen some post-apocalyptic movie where the lone survivor cruises the city on the baddest Ducati he (or she) could find. What’s the reasoning behind using a bug out motorcycle? Well, there’s a few. The first in my opinion would be fuel, because motorcycles have phenomenal mileage – 55 mpg at best. Not only are they great on fuel, but they’re nimble as all hell, making it easier for you to dodge large obstacles and fit through openings a regular BOV couldn’t negotiate. Additionally, motorcycles can be easily hidden when avoiding detection.
The disadvantages to using a motorcycle as a bug out vehicle are pretty obvious. One, you have zero protection whatsoever to whatever hell awaits you. Hot lead travels faster than your motorcycle. Another drawback of using a motorcycle is the lack or complete absence of cargo space. Who knows how long you’ll be on that bike before your next watering hole or meal.
Everyday Driver Bug Out Vehicles
To be honest, I think this is where many of us are at. Those who can’t afford a $10,000 retrofitted military grade bug out vehicle will have to rely on their daily driver. This could be your 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4 x 4, Toyota Tundra 4 x 4, and etc that your family uses for your day to day activities.
The first benefit is no additional costs to your family, while being able to make discrete modifications to your BOV. In this instance is not likely you will keep this thing fully stocked and ready to rock – because you will still need room for Jimmy’s soccer balls, and little Maggie’s pompoms. To remedy this you will need to keep your bug out gear stocked and at the ready.
Note: Make a game out of bugging out. No need to freak the kids out. Just make it a fun little exercise with the goal of having your bug out vehicle stocked and ready to depart in 5 minutes flat.
Prepare Your Bug Out Vehicle
You’ve decided what bug out vehicle will work for you, now it’s time to keep it stocked. I will list a few helpful items that should have a place in any prepper’s bug out vehicle. Please note, you don’t have to buy name brand, and if you are using sites like Amazon to avoid getting pinged – use their review system to make sure you aren’t being a shit sandwich. Otherwise keep your bug out vehicle stocked with these helpful items;
- Repair manual for your bug out vehicle
- Mechanics toolset that includes; metric/standard sockets and wrenches
- Ball peen hammer
- Locking pliers and channel lock pliers
- Linemans pliers
- Needlenose pliers
- Torque wrench/Standard wrench set
- Vehicle part replacements (brain, spark plugs, battery, alternator, fuel pump, thermostat, fuses, bulbs, wiper blades, filters, etc)
- Vehicle fluids (oil, coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, distilled water, etc)
- Electrical connectors and wiring with a voltmeter
- Electrical and duct tape
- Breaker bar
- RTV sealant
- Starter fluid
- Contact cement
- Tire repair kit
- Jumper cables
- Manual winch w/tow chain
- 5+ gallons fuel
- Work gloves
- Medical kit
- 1 month freeze dried/dehydrated food reserves for each member of family
- 1 month water for each member of family
- Adequate clothing
- Spare shoes
- Hard copy maps i.e. Rand McNally map
- Heavy duty rope (I’d say climbing grade but if you don’t plan on learning, don’t even try)
- Baby wipes (TP)
- Water purifier, purification tablets, or life straws
- Blankets/Sleeping Bags
- Tents (not the gaudy large ones)
It’s a lot of shit right? Well, like I say with all my articles its best to design and be prepared within your means. Otherwise you’re going to look like a retard trying to stick a ton of gear in a ford explorer. No bueno. Use your heads guys and plan this to fit your individual needs. In closing, you might want to beef up your BOV, for that you can read ‘Retrofitting Civilian Vehicles with Ballistics Armor for Combat and IED Survival’.
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