The Best Bug Out Vehicle: From Feet to 4 Wheel Drive

A lot of thoughts goes into successfully bugging out, but the most important part is getting to where you’re going. While we all probably have an idea about what our perfect bug out vehicle would look like, it may not be realistic.

As I explain below, the best bug out vehicle is the one we own now, or one we are working on turning into a “dream bug out vehicle”. You don’t need to get from point A to point B in style, you just need to get there.

After you’re confident in your bug out vehicle, then you can think about bug out planning and communication, and bug out location, supplies and resources that need to be considered.

Suggested Reading: The Most important Prepping Supplies

Suggested Reading: Bug Out Bag Checklist

SPP308 Bug Out Vehicles: The Realistic Options

This week Lisa and I talked about bug out vehicles and why the best bug out vehicle doesn’t mean owning a $600,000 Unicat Expeditionary Vehicle.

The best bug out vehicle doesn’t necessarily need to be bullet proof and able to plow through road blocks. In my opinion, if you need that, you waited too long to get out of dodge.

A good bug out vehicle needs to be a few things…
  • Reliable enough to get you where you are going without breaking down.
  • Affordable enough that you don’t break the budget.
  • And capable of getting you, everyone with you and your supplies where you want to go.

The reality is that even though we would like one of these “Super Bug Out Vehicles”, we don’t have the same budget the United States Military has. The most realistic BOV (bug out vehicle) might be the one you already have.

This article from ThePrepperJournal goes through some realistic bug out vehicles that you can actually afford. It also covers some things you need to consider like where are you going? What are you taking? And who is going with you?

“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.”

EMP Proof Vehicles

There is quite a bit of debate about what makes an EMP proof vehicle. Honestly it seems to me that we truly won’t know until that situation is thrust upon us. Some people say that you need something that was made before 1980 that doesn’t require electronic ignition. There have been a few studies that show some cars might not be affected by an EMP.

Even though it’s impossible to get a definitive answer on this, the reality is that an EMP that is strong enough could disable electronics and all the bells and whistles that come in the newer automobiles. A little later in this article I will go through my plan for a budget friendly bug out vehicle, but is going to require some hands on work.

One other thing to consider is that an EMP proof bug out vehicle won’t matter much if it runs out of gas. An EMP strong enough to disable an automobile will take out most of the infrastructure we depend on today. This is why storing fuel and maybe even purchasing a siphon to get fuel from abandoned vehicles is also important.

The Beater vs The Bugatti

As preppers we tend to look at the world differently than the average person. When thinking about buying a vehicle most people think about how pretty it is, we on the other hand don’t want it to be pretty because that makes us a target. Our main concern is (or should be) reliability.

While newer vehicles with less miles on them will be more reliable in the short term, if you put some time and effort into an older vehicle it can become just as reliable. Maybe it’s just me, but when I see an older vehicle I don’t see a pile of junk, I see a project car that I can turn into a good bug out vehicle.

Along with the increased chances of surviving an EMP, older vehicles are more budget friendly. For under a thousand dollars you can get an old Jeep, Dodge or Ford that no one else wants, put a thousand dollars into it, and have a reliable vehicle.

A couple more bonuses of older vehicles are that they are easier to work on, and you can modify them without destroying the resale value…because there is none.

If you want to weld a snow plow to the front bumper or cut a hole in the roof to mount a turret, you can do it with an older “project” car without worry.

We all love the bells and whistles that come with newer automobiles. You push a button and the widow rolls down, you push a button and the doors unlock, but with all these conveniences come more possible complications.

Older vehicles are easier to diagnose and work on because they are simple. The more bells and whistles you have, the more modules, fuses and electrical components you have that cause problems that require computers to figure out.

If you open the hood of a vehicle made in the last 25 years, you can barely fit your hand in there. If you open the hood of an older vehicle, it almost seems like half the engine is missing because there is so much room to work.

Whether it’s the car you have now, or the project car you plan on getting, fuel mileage and capacity also need to be taken into account when picking a bug out vehicle. You need to make sure you have enough fuel to get you where you are going, and you need to be able to bring everyone and everything you want to your bug out location.

Other Bug Out Vehicle Ideas

Also in the podcast this week we talked about other options to think about when bugging out. Bug out vehicles are much more than the 4 tires beneath you, it can include trailers, ATV’s and even your feet.

Trailers: Pulling a trailer would give you a little more room for supplies, but it might also make you a target. We have our horse trailer that could be used to store supplies, but depending on the situation the horses might be coming, or might not.

Campers: We also have a popup camper that would be easy shelter, but again, that might make us a target. Another alternative is to have a bug out vehicle that is a camper. It’s a lot harder to steal an entire vehicle than hook a camper to a bumper hitch.

Boats: Depending on where you live, and where your bug out location is a bug out boat might be part 2 of your bug out plan. Having a bug out location that required a boat to get to would give you a little more separation from you and them.

ATV’s & Bikes: In last week’s podcast we talked about bugging out into the wilderness and how you might want to go further than the campgrounds. An ATV, motorcycle or even a mountain bike could allow you to park your vehicle and venture further away into seclusion.

Shoes: Regardless where you are going you need to take care of your feet. Having blisters or sore feet can incapacitate even the strongest person. Investing in a good pair of hiking boots is not talked about all that much, but it can be the difference between a perfect plan working, or a perfect plan failing.

Final Thoughts…

In this podcast series we talked about why you would even want to bug out, to how to do it. For the most part none of us want to, but it’s something that needs to be considered.

As much as I would love it, having one of the “Super Bug Out Vehicles” we see online is probably never going to happen, but having a plan and a beat up Ford is better than nothing.


Survival and being prepared should not only be a passion, it should be a lifestyle. The definition of a prepper is "An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of, or prior to, any change in normal circumstances, without substantial resources from outside sources" Like the Government, police etc. I don't believe that the end of the world will be the "end of the world" I believe it will be the end of the world as we know it now. You can also find me on Google Plus and Twitter

    1 Response to "Bug Out Vehicles: The Realistic Options"

    • MKS

      Here is some of the official data. And, yes, it has happened. All bombers are testing for dropping EMP and Nuclear bombs. Those tests are not real EMP test. Real EMP tests are very server.
      Most impacted
      Lower Power high speed digital computer.
      Systems employing transistor or semiconductor rectifiers
      Transistorized Power Supplies
      Alarm and Intercom Systems
      Transistorized Receivers and Transmitters
      Low voltage capacitors

      Impacted if moderately close to source
      All vacuum tube equipment
      Low current switches, relays meters
      Panel Indicators and Status Boards

      Impacted if very close:
      Heavy Duty Relays
      Rotary Converters
      Lamps Circuit Breakers
      Air Insulated Power Cable Runs

      Old car are not going to survive.

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