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Let’s face reality. If you have to bug out, you’re not having a good day. This isn’t some glorious ride to freedom where you mount your battle buggy and drive out of the suburbs bathed in looks of shock and awe from your fussy button-down neighbors. Bugging out means that some horrible calamity has hit, and you are evacuating, if not fleeing for your life.
So now that the fantasy has been dispelled, let’s have a real discussion about the things that would help you in an actual bug-out vehicle.
1. Cargo space
Your supplies are your lifeline. Jugs of water and boxes of food are bulky and heavy, but they’re also worth every ounce and cubic inch. This makes cargo capacity a major factor for a BOV. Closely related to storage volume is storage security. An open truck bed is just begging to be looted. Your cargo area should be able to be locked. Truck beds should have a cap with a rear window lock that works. With all other vehicles, you could just lock your normal doors.
All-wheel drive or a 4×4 option could make the difference between getting out and getting stuck. Your ride will definitely benefit from four-wheel drive during disasters that involve mud, snow, and ice. And if your bug out location is off the blacktop, then you definitely need off-road capabilities.
3. Ground clearance
You don’t need a monster truck, but you certainly don’t need a low-clearance sports car, either. Depending on your vehicle, traversing a boulder-strewn landscape may not be a possibility, but you should at least be about to mount a curb to drive around road obstructions.
4. Passenger room
Extended cab trucks, Jeeps, SUVs, and hell, even an all-wheel drive station wagon, can satisfy the passenger requirement. Have a long, hard conversation with friends and family about who’d be coming with you in a crisis, and how many of them could fit in your prospective vehicle.
If your proposed bug-out chariot is always in the shop for major issues, then chances are it would break down when you needed it most. Driving erratically with a heavy load can be taxing on a vehicle in perfect condition. Now imagine that same drive in your clunker or lemon. It’s pretty hard to get out of Dodge if your ride isn’t reliable.
One more point to consider is a low profile: If you’re driving around in a vehicle that looks like it’s been stolen from the set of a Mad Max movie, with tools and cargo strapped all over it, don’t you think other people would be interested in the provisions you clearly have? And what are desperate people going to do to your vehicle if it’s stuck in traffic, or if the road has been blocked or destroyed? Play your cards a little closer to the chest than that, especially when lives are on the line. Consider driving something that looks like a work vehicle or a soccer mom shuttle. You could still have all the cool post-apocalypse supplies you want, but this way you’re not advertising it to the panicked masses.
What kind of vehicle would you be driving after a disaster? Does it meet or exceed these traits? Please tell us what you think by leaving a comment.