The United States is at a constant threat of upheaval and attack from geopolitical rivals and internal uprisings. If recent events in 2020 show us anything about society, our social structure is nothing more than a thin veneer that could crumble at any point.
Nuclear or EMP attack on the country, or internal systemic rioting and civil war are all real Black Swan possibilities for the US in the next couple of years. If you’re prepping for radical change in the nation, you know the importance of having a bug-out strategy.
If you live in the city or the surrounding suburbs, you have a very different bug-out strategy to someone that’s already living close to a rural area. Being trapped in the city or suburbs is the worst possible location to be when SHTF.
When it all goes down, the first 24 to 48-hours after thew defining events such as an EMP attack or riot, are the most critical for getting out of didge and making your way to your bug-out location. Your bug-out needs to be away from people and contact, with plenty of supplies ready for your arrival – but that’s another post we’ll leave for another day.
To get to your bug-out location, you’re going to need a bug-out vehicle. What is a bug-out vehicle? Do you imagine something out of a Batman movie or an old Chuck Norris Delta-Force movie? In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about selecting, equipping, and preparing a bug-out vehicle.
What’s the Best Choice for a Bug-Out Vehicle?
- 1 What’s the Best Choice for a Bug-Out Vehicle?
- 2 Why Do I Need to Maintain My Bug-Out Vehicle?
- 3 Tips for Driving to Your Bug-Out Location
- 4 Wrapping Up – Storing your Firearm in the Bug-Out Vehicle
Your choice of bug-out vehicle depends on whether you’re traveling alone or with your family. The vehicle will also need to handle the local terrain and the terrain around your bug-out location.
Here is a quick breakdown of our choices for the best type of bug-out vehicle, and the benefits of each.
The Bug-out truck is our top choice for the best bug-out vehicle for a couple or small family. The load bay has plenty of room for supplies and gear, and the rugged performance of the truck makes it an excellent choice for all-terrain action.
Jeep Wranglers, Ford’s, and GMC trucks are all top choices – we suggest you avoid the Tesla CyberTruck, there won’t be any charging points where you’re going.
The SUV is a good choice for larger families. Four-wheel drive and independent suspension are vital if you’re traveling on rugged terrain to your bug-out location. SUVs also allow you to pack plenty of gear, offering decent safety and protection during your escape from the city.
Bug-Out Van or RV
Campers and RV’s are excellent choices for long-distance travel to your bug-out location. RVs can serve as mobile bug-out locations, allowing you to keep moving. A van or RV will have an electrical system and sleeping arrangements, as well as amenities like a kitchen, cupboards, a stove, and maybe even a toilet.
If you live on the outskirts of town, packing your family on ATVs and talking off into the countryside is an option. You can pack up your gear and carry it easily on an ATV.
If you’re single and live in the city, a bug-out bike like a Supermoto or tourer is a great choice for getting out of the havoc fast. Bikes can move around traffic jams, and they’re agile enough to get around most obstacles. However, you have a limit on the amount of gear you can carry.
If you live on the coastline, a bug-out boat can help you get away from the city’s madness. Boats may rely on the weather for a successful launch, so bear that in mind when selecting this option.
Why Do I Need to Maintain My Bug-Out Vehicle?
Selecting your bug-out vehicle is only part of the solution. The reality is that we never know when SHTF. IT could happen one day. The recent social unrest around the country appeared in a matter of days, across all metropolitan areas,
Can you imagine finding yourself caught up in the middle of this torrent of violence because you forgot to service your bug-out RV, and now it won’t start? That would be a terrifying experience, and you know you’re not going to have time to pop down to the local BestBuy for a new battery.
Regular maintenance to your bug-out vehicle keeps it in shape and ready to go on a moment’s notice.
Here are a few maintenance tips to keep your bug-out vehicle running.
- Always make sure the tank is full
- Maintain oil, filter, and fluid changes at least once a year
- Check the tire pressure once a month
Fill up your bug-out vehicle in the early morning. During this time, the ground temperature is cooler. Therefore, the gas has yet to expand with the heat of the morning and afternoon. You’ll get more gas for your money if you pump in the morning.
What Road Essentials Do I Need in My Bug-Out Vehicle?
Your bug-out vehicle is always at risk, with possible threats lying around every corner. Sometimes, even with the best preparation, things can take an unexpected turn for the worse, leaving you in a dangerous situation.
When packing your bug-out vehicle with gear, the most critical item to remember is your emergency road hazard and medical kit. An emergency road hazard and medical kit should contain the following items at a minimum.
- Medical kit including tourniquet
- Black plastic bags for carrying supplies
- Fire extinguisher
- Emergency flares and pylons
- Tire puncture sealant
- Portable air compressor
- Basic tool kit
- Camouflage tarp
- Folding camping shovel
- Spare tire – keep it filled to the right pressure!
- Traction ladder for getting out of pits
- Spare fuses, fan belts, hoses, and wiper fluid
- Extra motor oil and a full jerry can
- Seatbelt cutter and window breaker
- Towing straps
- Roof racks and tie-downs
- Winch saw
You don’t have to be a certified mechanic to complete the necessary essential maintenance on your bug-out vehicle. However, the more skills you build with maintaining your vehicle, the better off you’ll be in an emergency SHTF situation.
That covers your needs for tools and essentials for your bug-out vehicle. However, you’re also going to need to pack supplies for the journey to your bug-out location. We’re not talking about what to keep in your bug-out bag. That’s a separate post we’ll deal with at another time. Essential supplies to keep in your bug-out vehicle include the following.
- Food supplies – stick to ready-made MREs, protein bars, and granola bars. You want food with a long shelf life and remember to rotate it out every few years as per the expiration date.
- A case of bottled water – If you have enough space, take more.
- Fire-starter kit and a bag of firewood – if you have a truck or SUV with space.
- Weatherproof clothing like ponchos.
- Camping gear, tarps, and tents
- Ham radio or walkie talkies
- Spare chargers for mobile phones and a small solar rig for cars, bikes, or ATVs
- RVs, bug-out vans, SUVs, and trucks can all benefit from custom solar fitments. Look for detailers near you that offer bug-out conversions on vehicles
- Night vision goggles and infrared read spotlights
What you can carry to your bug-out destination depends on the size and capacity of your vehicle. If you’re in a compact car or motorcycle, prioritize your gear for what’s important.
For instance, you can carry a tarp and nylon cord instead of a tent to save on space and weight for other gear.
What Critical Accessories Does My Bug-Out Vehicle Need?
By now, you have a good idea of what to take with you in your bug-out vehicle. Now, let’s unpack some of the accessories you can use to optimize your rig’s functionality and safety.
- Run-Flat Tires – Top-end tire brands like Michelin and Bridgestone manufacture run-flat tires than can drive for hundreds of miles on a flat, and you’ll barely notice it’s out. They cost more than regular tires, but they aren’t available on most SUVs and trucks, just passenger vehicles.
- Roof Racks and Side Pontoons for Additional Cargo – Cars, trucks, and SUVs can benefit from a set of roof racks for extra storage. You also get camping tent systems for rooftops of SUVs and trucks, making for a secure camping facility. Roof racks are a better idea than a trailer, and side pontoons for motorcycles allow you to carry more gear on your bike.
- Lighting Kits – Powerful LED light bars for trucks and cars can help to light the environment in bad weather and dark locations in the country. They attract more attention but are useful at helping you avoid hazards on the road at night.
- Extended Range Gas Tanks – Trucks, SUVs, and bikes can all get custom extended range tanks to improve the mileage on your vehicle. In an SHTF situation, the last thing you need is to have to stop for gas. However, in the early stages, before things get out of hand, remember to top your tanks off frequently. Always keep them full when you’re in the driveway, and never let your tank get under half to ¾-full.
- Bumper Bar and Grille Guard – This attachment helps SUVs and trucks push cars and other objects out of the way while protecting the engine from damage. Look for models with winches included in the frame of the guard top help you pull yourself out of a ditch.
- Security Tint Film – This accessory prevents “smash-and-grab” opportunists and hijackers from assessing your vehicle’s occupants and what you’re doing. Bad actors are less likely to attack if they can’t determine the risk involved. Look for a dark tint around 30%. Avoid going too dark as you might find it hard to drive at night in the dark.
Tips for Driving to Your Bug-Out Location
Always have the vehicle primed and ready to go, check on its condition at least once a month, and start the vehicle to check the battery status.
Predetermine the mileage of your vehicle, and train yourself to count the consumption. Remember, you’ll be using more gas with a full load and your family onboard.
When traveling on dirt roads, stay in the middle of the road and go slow. Keep your eye on the weather.
Stay away from major roadways, highways, and state freeways – cars will be creating jams. Travel on backroads wherever possible.
Get some training on defensive driving techniques and strategies to avoid hijacking. Training your driving skills a few times a year at a specialized track will help you evade attackers in an emergency.
Always stay with the vehicle – People will break in and steal your stuff or try to hotwire it. If you must park, go offroad and park out of sight. Use the camouflage tarp in your emergency gear to cover the vehicle.
Always keep your bug-out bag in the vehicle. Know what essentials you need to take with you if you must abandon your vehicle.
Know your route to your destination – keep manual maps in the car if internet services are down.
Wrapping Up – Storing your Firearm in the Bug-Out Vehicle
If you carry a firearm, don’t make the mistake of removing it from your holster. Placing the gun in the glove, keeping it on your lap, or the dash are terrible ideas. If you’re in an accident, the gun could go missing with the impact or accidentally discharge.
Carry your firearm in a comfortable holster, either in the tactical open-carry position on your leg or high on the side of the hip. These two positions will be the most convenient and comfortable for carrying in the car. A tactical vest with a front cross-draw holster is another comfortable option.
Always carry one-up with a round in the chamber, even when driving. We advise you to keep the safety off unless you have a striker-fired pistol like a Glock that has no safety.