If SHTF and you need to GOOD, you will need a good bug out vehicle. To get to your destination you may experience obstacles like difficult terrain, bad weather, debris in the road etc. Let’s explore what makes a good bug out vehicle.
1. Off-road capabilities
Whether you need to cross a mountain trail or drive over a felled tree blocking the road, off road (four wheel drive) capability is a MUST.
2. Low Maintenance
Maintenance is extremely important when it comes to bug out vehicle, the last thing you need in an emergency is a failure of some kind, be it tires or alternators. Tires are the most commonly broken car part when off-roading so this is a high priority as well.
3. Cargo Space
When bugging out, or even for other purposes, having a good amount of cargo space is important. You will need room for both supplies and people. This eliminates many of the smaller off-road vehicles.
Many modern vehicles are ingrained with electronics, which if compromised, will render your bug out vehicle unusable. As tempting as it is to buy the newest, badest truck or SUV, having a vehicle that is invulnerable or only semi vulnerable to EMP or other electronic disruptions is important and often overlooked. Some of the most durable vehicles are the older ones, in particular diesel vehicles, which have basic engines without lots of electronics.
Additionally, diesel fuel engines can run off of alternative fuels like kerosene, heating oil, and certain jet fuels. In a pinch this could be a huge advantage.
Vehicles used to bug out must be durable; they will need to stand up to a variety of abuses during travel. Some of the most important parts of the vehicle are the axles, drive train and engine. Many off-road vehicle come with skid plates to protect the bottom of the car, otherwise it would be good to install one. Good bumpers are also great to have (greatly help to protect the engine).
6. Addons + Accessories
Four wheel enthusiasts love to put aftermarket parts and accessories onto their vehicles. With a few exceptions, your vehicle should remain as close to stock as possible. The exceptions are add-ons that will increase your vehicles durability and off-road capabilities. There are three reasons to keep your vehicle stock:
- Stock vehicles have been tested with their parts, and require much less maintenance over time
- Extra parts are expensive (good ones anyway)
- In an extreme emergency, extra parts will be easier to find if your vehicle has stock parts
The popular choice for hauling trailers is often the ball hitch. However, Pintle hitches perform much better in off-road conditions. The last thing you need when bugging out is to lose a trailer.
When in a bug out situation, you may need to leave your vehicle unattended or need to hide from criminal elements. Earthy colors like brown, green and black are best, with gray and dark blue being 2nd tier choices. Avoid bright colors entirely.
While lower mpg may be a good choice, the great majority of trucks and SUV’s are gas guzzling. Diesels offer a much higher fuel efficiency than regular gas vehicles in most cases. Additionally diesel vehicles historically last longer and are more durable.
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