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Best Bug out Vehicles You Can Actually Afford

What is the best bug out vehicle for preppers?
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4.11/5 (107)
4.11/5107

Is there any one of us who doesn’t drool a little whenever you see an exotic sports car tooling down the road? I don’t mean a Mustang GT either; I am talking about Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLauren – something in that range. I love these cars and if someone gave me one I would gladly take it. Of course, after I took it out for a good spin I would sell it as quickly as I could. Why? Because I can think of so many other things I need to spend money on besides the most expensive sports car I can find.

One problem I have with a lot of the Best bug out vehicle lists is that they are full of really exotic (expensive) vehicles that the average prepper simply couldn’t afford. If we could, then I guess we would all have that Knight XV Fully Armored SUV that goes for around $800,000 if my source is right. I started thinking about this subject a little more as I was shopping for my own personal Bug Out Vehicle. After much saving, searching and research I finally found what I think is a great option for me, but I wanted to talk about bug out vehicles and create a different kind of list. This list will be the best bug out vehicles you can actually afford. So if you are in the market for a vehicle that may help you get out of or survive the next disaster, zombie apocalypse or the common summer or winter storm, read on.

What is a Bug Out Vehicle?

A bug out vehicle by definition is what you would hop in if you needed to get out of dodge. If you were going to pack your family and all your survival supplies in a vehicle and race out-of-town to avoid danger that was coming for you, the bug out vehicle would be the best option for you do accomplish this task. All bug out scenarios aren’t created equally though and each person has their own needs and preferences. Fortunately for us, there are almost as many bug out vehicle options as there are situations. The list below should account for most of what I can foresee the average person needing in a vehicle.

What should the bug out vehicle allow you to do?

Could you bug out in that 2 seat sports car? Absolutely. You someone bug out on a survival bicycle? Of course and before it’s all over that might be what you are forced to finally resort to, but in my mind a bug out vehicle has to be able to accomplish a few tasks to even make the running. Ideally we have a vehicle that you can use daily that can also hold its own if forced to be put into action to get you out of a hairy situation.

Bug Out Vehicles can start out as more traditional cars and trucks.

It must hold 4 people – But I am a single girl you say, why would I need something to hold 4 people? I believe it is short-sighted to plan on a bug out vehicle that only carries one or two people. That might be what you are forced to live with if something happened right now, but it shouldn’t be the goal. If this is a real bug out scenario you want to be with some friends or family because there is strength and support in numbers. The best bug out vehicles won’t leave the possibility of taking a few more people with you out of the equation.

It must be able to carry your supplies – Back to the 2 seat vehicle and even a lot of mid-sized cars these days. Most have so little cargo room that you would be lucky to get your bug out bag and a pillow in the trunk but you could forget about all of your prepping supplies, ammo and food and water you have stored. I am not saying that your bug out vehicle should be able to carry everything in your house or else it is worthless, but you do want the ability to pack a good portion of your supplies or gear.

It must be able to navigate rough terrain/rough weather – The first thing that comes to mind when I am considering a vehicle that I could actually use to bug out is 4 wheel drive. I have read other forums where some will complain about the fuel you would need and how a larger vehicle could actually be worse. Some have even recommended a hybrid as a better solution to save gas and I simply disagree. In almost every horrible scenario I can imagine, even something as mundane as a hurricane evacuation, the ability to go off-road is an important advantage. Try taking that Prius across the median of a clogged highway that is soaked with rain. Can you imagine that Chevy Volt in a snow storm with downed trees? Motorcycles don’t pass the test for me on this point although if outfitted correctly, they can go through a lot of rugged terrain. The downside is cargo capacity and exposure to the elements.

It must be fairly nimble and able to negotiate obstacles quickly – Back to motorcycles again. They are perhaps the most nimble but they have their drawbacks. Also, a trailer on the back of your vehicle would give you the ability to carry a lot of gear but seriously reduce your mobility. Try backing up a trailer and turning around to avoid an ambush quickly. Most people have problems backing up a trailer when they aren’t panicked, getting shot at or worse. You could wait for Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist coming in their 2016 line, but is it worth it?

What are the best bug out vehicles?

So taking all of those criteria into consideration and this assumes the market is the US, what are the best bug out vehicles that meet that criteria and won’t break the bank? Most all of these are vehicles that unlike the Knight XV are driven by millions every day and can get you to safety, all things being equal. You can also buy late-model versions of each of these for less than $20,000. Not free obviously, but not $800,000 either.

Jeep – There are several models of Jeep that boast both 4 wheel drive and have a decent amount of cargo capacity to get you where you need to go. For serious off-road enthusiasts there is a huge market of parts and accessories to make this vehicle highly customizable.

Jeep's are tried and tested off road vehicles that could make excellent bug out vehicles.

Jeep’s are tried and tested off road vehicles that could make excellent bug out vehicles.

Humvee – The average prepper knows all about these vehicles and new ones are out of the realm of possibility, but you can get surplus military Humvee right now for less than $10,000 on the GOV Planet website. If you have always dreamed of outfitting your own mini-fiefdom after the world ends, now is your chance. Of course if you just want a great vehicle that can get you and your family to your secluded retreat, this makes a compelling option at this price.

A surplus Hummer could be an incredible savings and give you a battle tested winner.

A surplus Hummer could be an incredible savings and give you a battle tested winner.

4 Wheel drive Truck with crew cab – There are too many four-wheel drive trucks to list here, but a crew cab make this a natural fit for a Bug out vehicle. You can improve the suspension, add a cargo top and have a great vehicle that you can drive every day or when the grid goes down.

Trucks are one of the most common bug out vehicles for their capacity and off-road ability.

Trucks are one of the most common bug out vehicles for their capacity and off-road ability.

4 Wheel or all wheel drive SUV – Just like with trucks, SUV’s are everywhere but they aren’t all created equally. Some have 4 wheel drive, but all 4 wheel capability isn’t created equally. For SUV’s I would stick with Toyota 4Runner, Nissan or the Jeeps mentioned above. Obviously, the old Ford Expeditions and Chevy Tahoe can work in this capacity too and there will always be easy access to parts for each.

The family SUV can also get you out of a jam with the right upgrades.

The family SUV can also get you out of a jam with the right upgrades.

Best Bug out vehicle upgrades

These vehicles listed above will make great, affordable bug out vehicle options for most people but if you want to extend their capabilities, you can add some fairly simple aftermarket additions to make them even better.

  • Roof top cargo racks – This will extend the amount of gear you can carry by a considerable bit. Two well-known manufacturers are Gobi and Baha.
  • Improved front and rear bumpers – This is not an upgrade for everyone because they aren’t cheap but if you want some more protection (a lot more) for your bug out vehicle, there are several manufacturers. ARB, Shrockworks and CBI make insanely tough bumpers that you can add to your own vehicle.
  • Winch kits – Sometimes you get stuck and if the end of the world as we know it happens and you are riding into the wilderness in your bug out vehicle, you won’t be able to call AAA. Having a sturdy winch could pull you out of a jam.
  • Enhanced lighting – Regular headlights are only meant to show the road immediately ahead of you at a normal distance that won’t blind traffic coming towards you. If you are out in the wilderness or a power outage or storm has rendered your world as black as night, additional lights can help you see or be seen. The current LED technology has really increased the amount of available light you can have for your BOV. Some of these lights are capable of putting out over 24,000 lumens! For comparison, your regular Cree mini flashlight has about 200 lumens. Rigid Industries is probably the best known (and most expensive) but there are cheaper options out there if you look around. For instance, Amazon has a 24 inch LED light bar for under $60. That will save you about $800.
  • Communication optionsCB Radio and Ham Radio make excellent upgrades to your bug out vehicle. Either will allow you to communicate with the rest of your group or rescue sources nearby.
  • Additional fuel storage tanks – Increase the range of your bug out vehicle by adding a larger or secondary fuel tank. Of course, there are cheaper options where you can just purchase additional fuel cans and mount them on your roof rack or bumper.

Hopefully, this gives you some ideas if you are looking for a bug out vehicle that you can afford. What are you driving?

If you liked this article, please rate it.

  • EgbertThrockmorton1

    Good article, although for a neophyte “off roader” WHAT specific additions to a 4X4 would be best? I prefer staying as “grey” as possible. I am seriously considering getting rid of my current ride, and going with the tree-hugging-Progressive-approved-Birkenstock-station wagon, called the Subaru Outback for my rolling suburban gun wagon. We are also waiting for the delivery of out Toyota 4Runner to get here.
    For the 4runner, which add-on mods should we seriously consider first, that are still fairly innocuous and low profile?
    Thanks.

    • Thank you very much!

      I am just getting into this somewhat myself and the additions I have planned aren’t the cheapest things you can do so I am going to do this in phases which will take some time.

      For me I think adding cargo capacity is the easiest so a roof rack will be first. Then since I have something to mount it to, I was planning on the LED light bar. I already have a HT Ham radio, but will likely upgrade to a dedicated model for my vehicle. Then I think I will get a back bumper from ShrockWorks to hold the spare and two fuel cans. After that I want to get some bigger tires which will then fit on the bumper. After that comes the front bumper also from ShrockWorks along with the winch.

      For the ones that are innocuous, I think only the cargo rack, some larger tires, possibly a light bar and a radio could fit that bill. The bumpers are intense. I am waiting for a 4runner myself, which should be here tomorrow. I have been giving the subject a lot of thought and that was my motivation for this post.

    • BobW

      I don’t know if any ‘ready to roll’ BOV will be gray. If I was trying to keep it low-er key, I’d consider rigging it up like the off-roaders do. Snorkel, moderate suspension lift, 33″ tires, full-size spare, off-road type jack, the bumpers like Pat mentioned that have cans and a winch on them, etc.

      That .30 cal mount on top is a dead give away. I’d also stay away from camo paint schemes.

      • EgbertThrockmorton1

        WHAT? No, pintle mounts? How utterly preposterous. 🙂

    • Team Player

      The bug out vehicle is intended to transport you safely from your home to your bug out location. The vehicle needs to be able to carry your passengers and your gear. If that fits in a Subaru, that may be the best choice for you. If you leave your home before whatever disaster you are preparing for, your bug out vehicle can just drive down the empty highway. If you wait until during the disaster or after the disaster you may not be able to get through the traffic or gridlock on the highways. You would need to use county and rural roads. Keep in mind this may require more gasoline.

      • Jay_Sherman

        In a true bug-out situation, the gas will disappear very quickly (Ask anyone in the NYC metro area when Hurricane Sandy came by….)- Few people will be going anywhere that requires more than one tank of gas- and if one carries extra gas, it will likely be stolen from them (likely by the cops and such).

        I’ve always maintained, that the only real prepping, is to LIVE where you will be safe…or one day, those who don’t, will wake up, and it will be too late- and all their water filters and survival knives will be of little use. (What I don’t understand, is why they’d want to live in these dysfunctional cities anyway…)

  • Bolofia

    Pat,
    A couple of thoughts…
    I have a quad cab 4WD truck. The first thing I did was remove the back seats to increase my storage capacity inside the cab So basically, the entire area behind the driver and passenger seats has become a permanent, rolling bug out bag. That wouldn’t be an option for a family, but if you are bugging out solo or with only one other partner, it expands your storage options tremendously.

    A second thought for you and ET1: In a true bug out situation I wouldn’t be overly worried about how high or low profile you vehicle is. It doesn’t matter how mean or awesome it looks; the real question is can it go off road? Shorter wheel base and higher ground clearance will always beat out a tail-dragger. And – short, high clearance utility trailers will always make it deeper into rough country than long, wide ones will.

    • EgbertThrockmorton1

      Thanks, Bolofia! I am going to get an excellent rear bumper that I can put three 5 gallon fuel cans on-when needed. I’ll have at least three 5 gallon Water cans in the back. We won’t be taking out any seats, but will add a luggage rack on top, as strong as I get up on the roof mounts. Probably won’t get a light bar, as I drove a “company car with multi-colored light bar” for too long to want/need one. We’ll use hand held spot lights as needed.
      Anyone have any ideas for an additional or larger fuel tank on a 4Runner? (sources would be great!)
      Thanks.

    • Great points and ideas Bolo!

      Yes, I think that low profile at least in terms of the mods I plan to do won’t be a factor so much. Once the grid goes down I think it will become clearly obvious who has the vehicles that people need and by that time, if I have to bug out I plan to be gone. If I am still at the homestead I will have to add vehicles to the security patrols.

  • BobW

    I can’t recommend the um..3rd generation (2004-2010?) 4Runner enough. Most sure-footed vehicle I’ve driven. The 1st and 2nd gen 4Runners are ridiculously overpriced due to the off-roader fanboys scooping them up.

    If I didn’t already have a Ranger and a Dodge 2500 cummins, I’d look for any of the older quad-door 250/2500 diesels with 4×4. You can buy off the shelf rack systems for them that the contractors use, giving you massive amounts of space without overhanging the existing body/frame.

    if its not a daily driver, consider looking up how the SOF guys and scouts rig up HMMVWs. They hang the rucks on the sides of the rear quarters to maximize the limited room inside. When I was a scout, we put the mounts on ourselves. They were cheap hardware store loops, then we used old load bearing vest straps (same as the molle mounting straps) to cinch the ruck down. Under field training conditions, we never lost a ruck…well except that one that got speared by a tree branch…

    • BobW

      also, if your BOV has a hitch, but you aren’t pulling a trailer, consider hitting up CL to find a hitch mounted bike rack. Pedal power will be gold once all the fuel runs out.

    • What about a 5th Gen Bob? 2009- present

  • Gabe

    Hello Pat

    Let me tell you first I really like your posts and follow your website almost from the beginning.

    I would add few thought to your post, please bear in mind that I am living in central Europe so my approach might be a bit different

    – My BOV must blend in the crowd as much as possible this is the first and most important criteria for me. A large SUV or pickup truck with lifted suspension, big wheels, led lights, roof ruck and matte military paintwork would draw to much attention. Let me remark, that in the recent Ukrainian conflict what I would consider a real WROL situation all off these 4WD vehicles were confiscated on both sides in and around the war torn area.

    – However off road capability is also a must. On an ordinary sunny Friday afternoon in spring and summer time almost all the outgoing roads in the capital (population 2+ million) get clogged. Especially it could be very sever on the highway and the roads between the city and the lakes, 30-40 mile long jams are not unusual. No need for hurricane, tornado, riots or any military action only hot weather. So a vehicle that could hit a dirt road, could cross a trench or drive trough plowing is essential.

    – Seating capacity for at least 6-7 people, and considerable large cargo capacity without the need of roof rack. It narrows the options to only mini vans with AWD.
    Well, differently these vans loose some off road capability to real Jeep, will not prevail any of them on the Rubicon trail, but provide space and look only an ordinary van for the firs sight.

    – Range, fuel consumption. I would chose a diesel engine, as it consumes much less than a gas engine especially under heavy loads. Diesel can be stored for an eternity without any additive or stabilizer, older fuel pump models could run on cooking oil, used cooking oil, motor oil, transformer cooling oil. However, during the Kosovo conflict, and blockade diesel was the first that diapered in Yugoslavia as the government hold it back for the military, agricultural works and public transport.

    – EMP. In case of such an event, almost all is lost, so one might not consider or prepare for that, but a good old diesel engine with mechanical fuel pump survives a strike. If you all ready have a diesel BOV, it could worth to retrofit, really not to expensive.

    Unfortunately this concept was not proved, I do not have first hand experiences, I plan to buy a BOV later in this year.

    • Thank you for your comments and perspective Gabe! I can imagine that the needs of central Europe would be different and you have listed some great suggestions.

  • Gabe

    Few sample for capable vans…

  • canadrea

    An old 60’s pick up would be your best bet. No computers on board. Easy to fix.

    • I think they make great BOV’s Canadrea and I was going that route initially but I wanted my daily driver to be my BOV as well. I like the advantages the older trucks have, but I don’t want to drive one every day if I don’t have to.

  • isnamthere

    Oh, so we’re talking “bugout for the wealthy.”

    • Do you mean to say that these vehicles can only be purchased by wealthy people? You must not have ever been in the Southern US. They are pretty much mandatory for a large part of that population and this is not the country club crowd by any stretch. I don’t think ~ 10-15 thousand for a vehicle is wealthy range, but I know some people can’t afford that. I certainly couldn’t at one time.

  • Muhammad Abbass

    Toyota 4-Runner and Hilux (same thing) are wretched 4 wheel drives unless you at least have the 3 liter V6. I’ve found them way to weak to turn the wheels on a full load with family onboard trying to negotiate a very steep and long sandy hill well known around here. The hill concerned is a ripper and does sort out the real 4-WD from the toys but my 2.6l petrol failed miserably once we needed to get the tyre pressure below 10 psi/

    • Gino Schafer

      I have owned 3 different 4runners. Prior to 1996 the largest engine was the 3.0 Liter. That’s pronounced “3 point slow.” It was way under powered. After 1996 the 3.4 L was available and this is an excellent engine. I currently drive a 2005 4Runner that has a 4.0 L V6. I have owned Jeeps in the past also. I will never buy another. The 4runner is a superior vehicle.

  • NRP

    Interesting article and comments, I agree with “isnamthere” here, BOV for the rich and famous. If ya want to spend $50-$75-$125K on a target, that’s cool. But as “EgbertThrockmorton1” started off with, you had better stay gray and not become the latest victim of “ohhhhh look, that guy has money and lots of stuff stacked up” A BOV is an easy easy easy target for 3-4 people wanting to take your stuff.
    Personally I like my old 1961 Scout, fully restored mechanically and looks like death warmed over, AND it will start every time I hit the button. Even after an EMP, no need for those fancy computers on a BOV. The idea is to get where you need to go, not park it on a showroom floor or in your $250K storage shed and get all puffed up bragging on how neat/cool/tough/on-and-on your BOV is.
    I will guarantee you if someone sees this hunk of junk coming down the road they will just laugh and leave you alone
    NRP

    • That’s a beauty NRP!

      But I still don’t know where all of this “wealthy” talk is coming from. The vehicles I listed above can all be purchased used for $10-$15 thousand. Where do you get the $50-$75-$125K prices from because that is not the intent of this article.

      • NRP

        Pat, not trying to disagree at all, but looking at your “example” photos, those are rather expensive vehicles. Than add on all the nice racks, lights, tires, wenches, tanks. I would bet even that 10-15K army surplus hummer is going to set ya back another penny or two by the time your done. I guess my main point should have been, “hide in plain sight” those vehicles you show are very nice, but again great targets 3 days after a crash, and as you mentioned an EMP and more than likely 90% would not start without some very expensive modifications.
        I guess I would rather have an extra 10-15K in “stuff” at my BOL or home than a more expensive BOV. And yes I have a everyday use 05 Chevy 2500 Duramax. But I know for a fact it will not start after an EMP, So I plan on hiking home, hunkering down, and Bug-Out only if I have to in my old hunk of rust bucket that I got for $500 and put another $1K in going through it mechanically.
        It does get a lot of looks when I drive it to a County wide Car and Truck Show in the local town… HAHAHAHA
        Again Pat, I do enjoy your articles and the comments, your doing a GREAT job, please keep it up. Also I like the fact you don’t go off your nut (like some blogs do) when someone has a different view point.
        NRP

        • EgbertThrockmorton1

          Just TRY, to find a Scout in my neck of the woods. Haven’t found or seen or heard of one yet. Still searching.

          • NRP

            Thick as flies here in the Four Corners. A buddy just bought 3, one to fix up and 2 for parts.
            Got my Jewel off a guy that bought it new in 61, took it to his farm in Southern CO, stuck a snow plow on it and it never left the farm. I got it a month ago, it had 19500 original miles on it…. I did ask him if there was a anything on the farm he did not run into with it. He could not think of a single thing.. HAHAHA

            • EgbertThrockmorton1

              Looks like I need to make a road trip!!

    • Kula Farmer

      How do you guys post those pictures, want to learn how to do that that,,,

    • Jay_Sherman

      THAT is the way to do it! No black boxes; no ‘puters; simple mechanicals that you can fix with a screwdriver….

      • NRP

        Duct Tape and a roll of Bailing Wire…. HAHAHA well maybe a hammer tossed in just for S%!ts and giggles… LOL

  • Anonymoose

    Get a toyota landcruiser 80 preferably turbodiesel. Repair, replace parts as required.
    1. Upgrade alternator, fit 2 batteries, fit regulator. Carry replacement, oem.
    2. Lift car to 2-4inches, upgrade all suspension and bushings to heavy duty
    3. Fit long range fuel tank as required to bug out position, carry hand pump.
    4. Protect underside of car where appropriate, diffs, shafts, tanks
    5. Tire choice should be AT. MT is noisy and dangerous on tarmack at speed unless going bush from the getgo. 75 – 80 series, stick with 16″ steel rims, avoid alloy. Check all clearances, check loads.
    6. Install breather tubes on diffs as high as practical.
    7. If anticipating floods higher than bonnet, snorkel maybe practical. But it’s a giveaway. In this case, a land anchor maybe practical
    8. Carry an electric air pump for tire in car at all times. Familiarize with functions, pressures for different terrain. Tires can still operate at very low pressures.
    9. Depending on how you like to extract will be where you mount the winch. Pulled from the back or dragged from the front. You may have to fit aftermarket bumpers-giveaway. You not always find a tree or a rock.
    10. Remove any incar sparetire to rear bumper gate to provide easy, quick access. Increases space for stuff in the back.
    11. Fit watertank in car. 100 litres is good. A pair of sand bars. Axe, shovel.
    12. Carry extra oils, fluids for car. Belts too. A set of plugs. Tow rope, ropes. Bulbs.
    13. If feasible, install roll cage inside vehicle for occupants area only.
    14. Learn how to use the car, the equipment. Don’t paint the car. Spray the new shocks black. Have a hidden compartment for sensitive items. Make spare keys. De-logo it.
    15. Know where you’re going, your elevations, weather, season, terrain type. Have multiple exit points. Get good maps and compass. Get some smoke bombs, devices. That way you can fake a failure, malfunction.

    Be ready to walk, practice walking with bugout pack, try jogging or running with it.

    Don’t over spend. Stay safe and may god be with you.

    • Awesome ideas! Thank you for sharing these with everyone.

  • Jay_Sherman

    This is hilarious! These modern vehicles are so filled with computers; electronics; and non-serviceable parts, that they will become utterly useless when normal life crumbles. An acquaintance’s Duramax wouldn’t go over 25MPH- The guy took it to the dealer; charged him over $3K….still couldn’t find the problem, much less fix it. Planning on calling the tow truck and bringing it in to the dealer and waiting in a motel, when you’re out in the wastelands? LOL.

    You want a “bug-out vehicle”? Get something from the 60’s; 70’s or 80’s that you can repair yourself out in the filed with readily available parts (And which is unlikely to malfunction if you are diligent about preventative maintenance, because there is so much less to wrong).

    Better yet, live your life in a self-sufficient manner and place NOW, because travel in a SHTF scenario will be dangerous (If armed gov’t goons don’t get you, the criminals will) and expensive, if possible at all (Fuel will become scarce, and outrageously expensive; no electricity to work the pumps?; etc.).

    Really- articles like this are a joke. It’s as if they are written by 5 year-olds with simplistic expectations of the future. You want to be prepared? The only way to increase your odds, is to live NOW where you want to be when the SHTF; ’cause I can almost guarantee that you will not be able to get there when it does- no matter what you drive.

    And really, if you are “aware” and still living in a place where you have to be a part of and support the very system and people who will cause the problems, YOU are a part of that very problem- and you can’t run and hide from yourself.

    Seriously- these “prepper” sites are like the Land Of Make-Believe.

  • Thomas Paine in the butt

    It seems that in suburbia jeeps, trucks and SUVs with bolt on “off road” bits are pretty ubiquitous. As long you don’t have a duece and a half sitting in your driveway you’re pretty much in the gray, but then just throw a Zombie Response Team sticker on it and its all good.

    Another thing to consider is in a bug out situation your vehicle’s going to be loaded down with as much gear as you can fit or have time to grab which will severely limit its off road capabilities. The expectations I have for my BOV is crossing medians, logging trails, fields and the like rather than 4wheeling. Also, its not just the pile of stuff but how its distributed that’ll effect traction, steering and center of gravity. Another thing to consider is, especially with gas powered vehicles, the load will reduce fuel economy.

    My BOV doubles as a regular driver and to haul around the stuff for my side business. I know how that beast will handle loaded to the rails and the 6.2L diesel will get around 20mpg regardless of how much stuff I pile in or on it.

  • Jay_Sherman

    An OLD diesel- with mechanical injector pump and manual transmission would be ideal (Old 12V Cummins; Ford 6.9….)- It can still run if the battery goes dead; and you can pop the clutch to start it…plus, you can run it various fuels, like kerosene; waste motor oil; vegetable oil; whatever you can find- ’cause I guarantee you, in a real “bug-out” situation, the gas and diesel is going to disappear FAST!)

    Just look at what happens in a short-lived emergency- like Hurrican Sandy in NY. Even gas stations that still had gas, couldn’t pump it; people were walking around with Jerry cans selling a few gallons of gas for $12 a gallon (and finding takers); cars were stranded and abandoned all over the place- left where they died (And I’m not talking about ones that got caught in flooding).

  • Jay_Sherman

    Exactly! It’s not like it was 30 years ago. The cat is out of the bag. Everyone knows about auctions today. The general public goes to them, and pays ridiculous prices for pieces of junk- not even knowing what they’re getting (Then you see them on Craigslist, trying to get their money back out of them).

    Auction: A place where people compete to see who will pay the MOST money for items [often] in unknown condition; and where emotion and competition cause people to forget about economics. It’s not just the general public, either- you see the same things happen even at dealer auction.

    And the gov’t auctions are the worst! Their vehicles are usually totally trashed/worn-out – Having been driven by people who don’t own them/don’t care; used hard; then scavenged for parts before finally being disposed of.

    And people, PLEASE do NOT support the illicit police auctions, where they auction seized vehicles! It’s like buying stolen goods! You’re supporting a criminal activity. I don’t care how cheap it may be, I’m not going to drive something that some gov’t goon stole from somebody.

  • Kula Farmer

    BOV/BIV

  • Isn’t what you are describing bugging out too, just ahead of the disaster? Also, why do you assume that there will be some EMP event that renders any vehicle useless?

    • SteveF

      No, that’s life planning not a last minute attempt to hold on to the city comfort zone. As far as the vehicle, no i”m not implying nuclear EMP, that’s just fear porn, the blast frequecies are too long of wavelenths to effect small circuits. What I was implying is that there are designed ways of stopping vehicles with computers with short wave pulse beacons or tapping into the computer and just shutting it off which police, military or hackers could use. Why spend a ton of money when a $2000-$4000 vehicle will do just fine and is easy repairable. No ton of sensors and miles of wires that can have problems then needing computer diagnostics. Pre 1970 hardly any pollution hoses and crap.

      • OK, fair enough. Technology could disable a vehicle. So could a road block. There are ways of stopping even those old vehicles you mention plus everyone might not be as concerned about the “pulse beacons” as you are.

        Many might not want to spend the money, have the time, tools or skills it takes to get those older vehicles back in working condition. That also costs money, right? What about people who don’t have the skills to pull a transmission, set the gap on spark plugs or change a head gasket?

        • Jay_Sherman

          If someone doesn’t have the basic skills to keep an old simple vehicle running, they will be even more helpless with the modern ones; or for that matter, totally be unable to survive self-sufficiently- which is why it is a joke to think that people who live cities/suburbs are suddenly going to be able to be self-sufficient in chaotic situations, ANYWHERE.

          Heck, all “they” have to do is shut down the cell-phones/internet/GPS, and 97% of the people will be totally helpless. Pretty much only farmers/homesteaders.rural-dwellers will have any chance, because we know how keep things running; build; and improvise and do things the old-fashioned way.

          It takes more to survive in a societal collapse than a few boxes of survival crap.

          • SteveF

            Yea that bug out idea seems far fetched to me

        • SteveF

          In perilous times it’s best to be that talented, if not you better have a trade valuable enough or supplies to trade and be near those people, otherwise start learning and buy an old beater, youtube and google will teach anybody how to do things before it’s shut down, better yet store videos and info on how to do everything. When on your own your screwed if you can’t fix things and improvise. i practice repairing stuff instead of wasting my time on dumb sports and tv. Those tools you need are much simpler and cheaper for old cars without electronics and pollution controls.

  • Robo

    EMP protection.

  • NRP

    Same page here Pat.
    Guess I should check out the conversations over on FB??

  • jaquebauer

    EMP = most 1975 and newer vehicles will be useless. EMP hardening current day vehicles is expensive, tricky, and not foolproof. A 1970’s era Suburban is my choice. In a bug out situation one should should not wear cammies, open carry, or stand out as being paramilitary or militia, or appear to be carrying arms and money. Blend in, dont wear exposed body armor and chest rigs, dress like a tourist. LEO’s will likely confiscate arms and stop anyone that looks like a prepper. So will gangs.

    • Jay_Sherman

      Well-said!

  • Stuart

    I have a little nissan navara 2.5 turbo diesel, not the most powerful vehicle but its reliable & i love it. If possible i need some ideas to set it up as a bugout vehicle. If anyone has any suggestions i would appreciate it. Thanks. Stuart.

  • Jaan Q

    One of the things that irks me about most bug out vehicle lists, is that they’re full of modified vehicles. Now, a few extra lights won’t hurt, but in a survival situation where you have to make emergency repairs…let’s be practical here; probably the best vehicle to get, is the most popular and of course, common, vehicle in America. Right now, that’s the Ford F Series. I’d get one, and keep it mechanically bone stock. What I DO have for vehicles I’d bug out in, is a 1997 Chevy 3/4 ton with a 454 and a slide in camper, a 2004 Chevy Avalanche, and a 2014 Toyota 4Runner. To be honest, I don’t know what I would pick at the moment…but the most practical of those, is the 4Runner. Less than 12,000 miles, bone stock, and she’s a trail edition and I’ve already done some serious off roading with her. That truck could last a long time without any repairs or even changing the oil. I drove across country with 3 people and all our clothes and camping gear, and it all fit inside or in the roof top carrier.

    • Thanks for your comments Jaan Q,

      Most modifications speak directly to extending the functionality of any vehicle. Sure you could roll out the door with a stock 4×4 and as long as your route takes you only to places your vehicle can traverse you are good to go. Raising the vehicle allows you to clear more obstacles. Adding lights like you say gives you greater visibility, sometimes in areas where normal lights aren’t mounted like the side and back.

      I was trying to lean to the simple modification side of things with average vehicles as opposed to some of the more extreme examples out there. A 4runner I agree is an excellent platform, but some minor modifications can make it so much more robust and capable.

      Pat

  • Alvin Lin

    Horrible recommendations and obviously has not endured lengthy hostile environments. Most of these suggestions will probably get you into more trouble than anything else. People with zero survival skills shouldn’t write articles like this.

    • Jay_Sherman

      I think the majority of the prepper community are pretty much living in a fantasy mentality. They’re living in the cities waiting for “TSHTF”- but the reality is, there will likely not be one big defining event to escape from- but rather, just a gradual slide into a dysfunctional society and/or police state, which has pretty much been the scenario over the last 30 years- and just like the non-preppers, they become so used to the gradual decline that they don’t even realize how much they are just as much a part of it as everyone around them. And if there should be one big catastrophic event, the preppers will be just as unprepared for it as their neighbors, because they will likely not be able to go anywhere after-the-fact; and even if they can, one can not just establish a self-sufficient lifestyle in a new place overnight.
      I don’t consider myself a prepper, but I escaped the dysfunctional city 14 years ago (Who wants to live among that?) and established my rural homestead, so I will be pretty much insulated from anything which does not affect my immediate area. It takes years even under n0on-emergency conditions…good luck to those who think they will do it overnight by driving to a rural retreat in the midst of a crisis…..

      • Jay,

        I really have missed you around here. Nice to hear from you again.

        Pat

    • Care to share some of your own advice from your own experience with us Alvin?

      • Alvin Lin

        Depends what your mission involves. I highly advise that civilians not bug out! They do not have the proper tools to make it. That’s what other guys are for. Civilians need to focus on being stationary at their or a family/friend’s residence that will sustain life for two weeks. Focus on the basic like self defense, food and water, and medical supplies. If you seriously want to learn, then enlist with the airborne infantry or quiet professionals.

  • paul

    If you know guys who race dune buggies and the like, just ask them to set you up with and old beetle, maybe a baja bug. These guys have old underpowered parts, and you might get a 61 baja bug with no syncros in first and a 36 hp engine – stock exhaust, because it was there, they really don’t want the underpowered stuff. That bug will go all day at 50 mph. Take out the back seat, maybe put the 2/3 fold up seat out of a suburban(it would be a bench seat that folded forward). put some plywood where the rearseat was, and a futon matress or air matress, you could sleep 2 (snuggly). It would be easy to put jerry cans and some square tube for a roll bar and rack holder, get a friend to weld it up. You would have 400-500 miles of fuel, build the rack for bicycles, extra tires, or whatever. Even if it had been rolled, as long as the doors closed(with or without the top cut off), this can get you back so far that the owls fear the chickens..
    Old beetles are light, solid ones float, they go through mud, over snow, have many parts and air blowers for heat, all types of aftermarket stuff really cheap.

    • GhostColts141

      thanks but…i thinks i’ll just stick with my harley

  • Jeremy King