Bugout Vehicle
How to Select the Best BOV Vehicle for Bug Out


Choosing the right bugout vehicle has to be part of any serious survival preparations. You can't expect to be at your safe camp when the apocalypse comes and while your regular vehicle may be ideal for every day transportation, it may not do in the long term. You'll need to think ahead to a world where the outside air may not be safe to breathe or the terrain around your home won't support a regular chassis.

Key Features

When you're planning your survival strategy, it can be hard to know what sort of TEOTWAWKI event might occur. However, there are several key features that your bugout vehicle should have regardless of which survival scenario you're preparing for:

  • Low maintenance - this is probably the most important feature to look for. In any post apocalyptic scenario, spare car parts and mechanics will be few and far between and the time it'll take you to perform repairs will be time better spent sourcing food or protecting your territory. You will need to do basic maintenance on any vehicle like changing the wiper blades and refilling the oil, but you need a vehicle with a good reputation for durability.
  • Off road capabilities - the chances are that if you've chosen a location for a safe camp outside of the city, it's going to be hidden in the middle of nowhere. This protection comes at a cost as you won't be able to take a low slung car over rough terrain. Therefore your vehicle needs to have a higher chassis and the option of thicker tires that will withstand off roading. 
  • Spacious - finally, your bugout vehicle is going to be your main source of transportation in a survival scenario. You'll be using it to carry your initial supplies around, any family members and resources that you've found once the base camp has been set up. You'll therefore need something with a large trunk and preferably the option of carrying a ski rack for mounted storage. 

Bugout Vehicle Best Buys

These key features will rule out the large majority of commercially available cars, but it's possible to find regular vehicles that will fit the criteria without breaking the bank:

  • Jeep - many people see Jeeps as the ultimate bugout vehicle for the masses. They are incredibly strong, giving you towing power and are designed for the plains for Africa so are built for off road driving. You can buy under armor to protect the underneath of the chassis, and most models come with a built in snorkel allowing you to cross rivers without damaging the engine.

Gotta admit, some are a bit extreme!

  • Large SUV - large SUVs like the Silverado will do the job in an emergency. They are built to last and have large cargo capacity. The extended versions will carry up to 8 people making it ideal for families or large survival parties. The only downside is that they are very inefficient in terms of fuel, so you'll need to make sure you've stocked up ahead of time. 
  • Campa EVS - if you have a little extra cash, you should go for the Campa EVS. It's built like the Toyota Tacoma SUV but has a complete survival kit built in, including a full kitchen, pop out tent and water purification systems. A must have if you're planning on exploring the area once events have calmed down.

Other vehicles that could do the job –

The Dirtbike/ Motocross bike – light on fuel, can go anywhere offroad and more, will get you out of danger quickly and you can carry your bug out bag on your back. Drawbacks – usually noisy and could attract the wrong attention, only small spares can be carried, you’re out in the elements and no real room for passengers.

Toyota Hilux, BBC’s top gear could not kill one, even when they left it on top of a tower block and detonated it, it was also left in the sea, hit with a wrecking ball, set on fire... and so on…….the Hilux still started, still ran.

Early Landrovers – easy to repair, little in the way of electronics, has great off road capabilities but comfort can be compromised & most are petrol.

Mercedes W123 & W124 diesels (estates and similar) – although low slung, they can run on bio-diesel, or chip-oil. Many can be run to a million miles on the clock and are mostly indestructible. Over-engineered and strong as a tank, but becoming more expensive to buy.

Older Volvo 740 diesels (estates and similar) – for the same reasons above, and you have the load lugging space as well. Less expensive than the Mercedes W123 & W124.

Top Gear - Vegetable oil for your volvo diesel - BBC

Remember however newer vehicle models have specific complex filters which means that they may not run on veg-oil. So do check first before you buy certain models as bug out vehicles.

A car that runs on veg-oil, is always a diesel. A petrol car will not run on vegetable oil. A vehicle that runs on veg-oil could be a critical lifesaver. Gas stations will undoubtedly run dry quickly, and also they could be a place of violence when the remaining gas is fought over. Not a place you would want either you or your family to be.

Above all, your bugout vehicle needs to be accessible. There's no point in buying a massive SUV if you have nowhere to store it safely. Ideally, you should store the vehicle in a lock up somewhere nearby so that you're not putting wear and tear on it ahead of time. If you are using the car as your regular transportation method, make sure you perform monthly maintenance on it so it is in good condition when you need it most.

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