When picking a bug out vehicle, and we mean a realistic one and not some monster hot wheels pipe dream, there are a few important things to consider.
Today when selecting a car it’s all about the trunk space for the groceries; will I have enough leg room; and can it come in a different color?
But, none of that really matters when you need a safe haven to effectively transport you through (or out of) survival situations.
Diesel or gasoline? What types of off road capabilities are needed?
It’s choices like these that could very well save your life. Leg room doesn’t exactly matter anymore.
Not only do you have to consider all the options, but also the budget. The ideal bug out vehicle very easily can exceed what you are willing to spend if you don’t know what you need.
Although there are many different options to choose from when selecting the best personal bug out vehicle (BOV), the most important elements to keep in mind are all here.
Although you may not exactly know where you will be traveling at the time of a crisis or what exactly those traveling conditions may look like, you can still determine the overarching environments you may be thrown into.
Do you live in desert conditions with not a lot of woodlands? Are you in a typically wet, muddy environment? Or do you have snow on the ground more days out of the year than not?
By classifying your generic location, you can begin to formulate an idea of what exactly you may be driving through.
Snowy conditions will require gear for traversing through deep snow and icy conditions. In a desert like situation – the ice chains aren’t required – but can your vehicle stay cool and not overheat after extended use?
Diesel Or Gasoline?
Making the choice between a diesel engine and a regular engine can be difficult, as it affects the price of the vehicle as well as its functionality. However, in the case of a BOV, diesel is generally the best the best option.
Overall, diesel engines are more efficient and typically get better gas mileage then that of its equivalent. Additionally, diesel engines are usually more robust and can process a great number of fuel types. Some engines can use different types of oil, kerosene and even jet fuel.
The fuel flexibility in a diesel engine allows for more options when in a pinch. Another bonus is diesel fuel has a greater shelf life than that of gasoline. Under the right conditions, and with fuel stabilizers, it can be stored up to a year.
However, diesel engines may be harder to repair compared to regular engines. The makeup of a diesel engine is different compared to its counterpart and may require more expertise.
Another consideration, if you’re inclined to prep for it, is to get an older vehicle that is not computer controlled, or to properly protect your vehicle from Electromagnetic Pulses (EMP’s). EMP’s are caused naturally from solar flares, are a by-product of nuclear bombs, and came be created from special EMP “bombs” that generate these pulses.
An EMP can render any electronics within range fried beyond repair by essentially overloading the boards themselves with electrical energy. While a faraday cage (or a microwave) can protect small electronics from an EMP, a vehicle takes some special prepping to be EMP proof. If EMP’s are a concern to you, then you’ll want to take these additional steps.
Another way to EMP proof your vehicle is to buy something pre-electronics. No computerized systems means no boards to worry about.
Another important aspect to consider when picking your perfect bug out vehicle – do you want room for the in-laws? A conflicting question to begin with, but you need to decide the storage room of your vehicle.
Not only is it important to be able to store your gear and backup equipment, but you have to be able to comfortably fit in your vehicle. Depending on how many people you may have along and your supplies, this may drastically change what type of vehicle you end up getting.
If you are carrying multiple people, then that is going to affect gas mileage, carried supplies and sitting arrangements.
Along with this, comes the question of whether or not you will be sleeping in your BOV. If the intent is to use it similar to a RV, then you need to be considering much bigger vehicles with appropriate sleeping quarters.
However, if you are solely relying on transportation then that may change your options of what you might be purchasing. Although depending on the circumstances you are under, there is the possibility of using the vehicle for transportation and sleeping outside when you need to.
Off Road Capabilities
To begin with, four wheel drive and all-terrain driving capabilities are vital. If you think you’ll be able to get through a catastrophe on just the paved roads then think again. Also, those paved roads that were once traversable can quickly become hazardous.
Another factor to consider along with this is having a proper brush guard. If there is the possibility you may be traveling off road at any point with your vehicle, then it has to be able to handle it.
The first time you hit the bush, you don’t want to be taking avoidable damage to the radiator or other parts of your vehicle.
The versatility a winch brings to your vehicle is crucial. With a winch, you can bring down obstructions easily, buildings, small trees, boulders and many other things. Additionally, it is much harder to get your vehicle stuck with a winch on board.
Stuck in the mud? No problem, just pull yourself out with the winch. Too much snow? A winch can get you through that. Hill too steep? A winch can get you up it.
Full Spare Tire
Sorry but donut tires aren’t going to cut it when you are fighting for your life. Prepare for the worst; a flat tire will happen. Being able to replace a flat tire quickly and efficiently is important, but also having the proper replacement is just as vital.
Having one or two full spare tires on board will give you peace of mind. Also, make sure you have the right gear for replacing a tire when one does decide to blow out.
Emergency Escape Equipment
Just as much as your bug out vehicle can be a life saver, it can also be a death trap.
If you get into an accident or go into a body of water, you need to be able to successfully escape your vehicle. Having seatbelt cutters and window breakers within reach of your seat can save your life.
Additionally, these tools can be used to rescue other people entrapped in vehicles. During a flooding situation, having the ability to pull others from cars will be more useful then you may like to think.
With these necessities in mind, the process of picking out the right bug out vehicle for your situation will be easier. Considering the environment you may be driving in will avoid any unnecessary surprises when you hit the trail with your vehicle.
Additionally, carefully considering the options of diesel and gasoline as well as storage space will greater personalize your vehicle to your needs. Also, these options have the ability to save you money when making the final purchase.
Finally, by including the vehicle accessories that you need to have in a survival situation, it will grant you greater versatility. With all those combined, you will be able to find the ultimate BOV to get you safely through the next catastrophe comfortably.