Do You Really Need a Bug Out Vehicle?

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

I recently visited a friend who I haven’t seen in a while. Pulling up to his home, I quickly noticed his pickup truck sitting in the driveway. It was a ¾ ton four-wheel-drive, which had been decked out to the hilt. The cap over the bed sported two spare tires, as well as racks for fuel cans. His massive bumper and brush guard would easily take on any tree up to six or eight inches in diameter and come out on top.

One could easily think that he was a world explorer; one who readily headed off into areas where paved highways were unheard of luxuries. But to me, that truck said something entirely different. It showed me that the owner was a prepper, once who took the idea of bugging out very seriously.

When I confronted him and asked how long he had been a prepper, he was shocked. He and I had never talked about prepping, even though he knew that I wrote about survival. But the truck had been a dead giveaway to me. Worse, it was a dead giveaway to his neighbors. Talk about blowing your OPSEC (operational security); he had done it big time.

He might even have blown his OPSEC if he had lived near me, where we have a lot of 4×4 pickups and SUVs. While I’ve seen a lot of pickups and Jeeps set up for running around in the rough country, dual spares and mounts for fuel cans are a bit rare. But where he lived, in a big city, there weren’t all that many 4×4 pickups around.

I personally don’t have anything against having a pickup truck like that; but I have a lot of problem with it being an advertisement that the owner is a prepper. Since there are more people living in the city, then there are living in the country, having a vehicle that can push down trees and drive over the cars parked in the traffic jam on the highway, like Bigfoot, may not be the best plan for most of us. We need something a bit more discreet.

So What do We Really Need?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have a bug out vehicle. I think we all need some sort of bug out vehicle or other, as an integral part of our bug out plan. But I doubt that many of us can afford a separate vehicle just for that. Nor do I think most people have the space to store such a vehicle. So the bigger question is, how do we make the vehicle we have into an effective bug out vehicle?

  • A vehicle that is mechanically sound, which we can be sure will work
  • Big enough to seat the whole family (if you have grandkids, you might want to include them)
  • Enough enclosed cargo space for bug out bags and other supplies (a pickup bed is easy to steal from, especially when you’re sitting in traffic
  • Good gas mileage and a large tank (it might be hard to refill)
  • Can handle standing water, snow and ice well (some are better than others at this)

If you can meet those basic needs, and have it four-wheel-drive; that’s great. But unless you have routes scouted out where you can avoid traffic by going off-road or you have a survival retreat which is going to require you going off-road, then it isn’t really a necessity. After all, you shouldn’t really have to drive over zombies, no matter how many zombie apocalypse movies you watch.

Actually, the best thing that a four-wheel-drive vehicle gives you is good ground clearance. You can boost the ground clearance of a lot of vehicles, by putting in a lift kit, without having to have four-wheel-drive. Just something to think about.

But there are more important things to do with your vehicle, to ensure that it is ready to be used as a bug out vehicle.

  • Always keep the gas tank at least half full and enough full gas cans at home to top it off
  • Keep the maintenance up to date, especially changing fluids, hoses and belts
  • Put good tires on it, preferably all-terrain or all-weather tires
  • Keep a set of maps in the glove compartment
  • Put together a good trauma kit and keep it in the trunk
  • Carry an EDC bag, heavy on survival equipment (that will double as a get home bag)
  • Always carry a couple of gallons of water in the cargo area
  • A good tool kit could be very handy, as well as other emergency equipment, like a tow strap and jumper cables
  • Some bungee cords and rope will allow you to tie things on the outside, if necessary
  • It might be worth installing a luggage rack, if you don’t have enough cargo space

With your vehicle ready, it will be much easier to grab everyone and everything and head out, if you are forced to evacuate. While you may end up forced to abandon your vehicle, if the roads are impassible, chances are you would have to do that in a pickup truck as well. So having that great bug out vehicle may just be an expense that you don’t really need.

More than that, be sure to keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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