Best Bug out Vehicles You Can Actually Afford

I wanted to talk about bug out vehicles and create a different kind of list. This list will be the best bug out vehicles you can actually afford.
I wanted to talk about bug out vehicles and create a different kind of list. This list will be the best bug out vehicles you can actually afford.
What is the best bug out vehicle for preppers?

Last Updated on November 19, 2020

Is there any one of us who doesn’t drool a little whenever you see an exotic sports car tooling down the road? I don’t mean a Mustang GT either; I am talking about Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLauren – something in that range. I love these cars and if someone gave me one I would gladly take it. Of course, after I took it out for a good spin I would sell it as quickly as I could. Why? Because I can think of so many other things I need to spend money on besides the most expensive sports car I can find.

One problem I have with a lot of the Best bug out vehicles lists is that they are full of really exotic (expensive) vehicles that the average prepper simply couldn’t afford. If we could, then I guess we would all have that Knight XV Fully Armored SUV that goes for around $800,000 if my source is right.

I started thinking about this subject a little more as I was shopping for my own personal Bug Out Vehicle. After much saving, searching, and research I finally found what I think is a great option for me, but I wanted to talk about bug out vehicles and create a different kind of list. This list will be the best bug out vehicles you can actually afford. So if you are in the market for a vehicle that may help you get out of or survive the next disaster, zombie apocalypse, or the common summer or winter storm, read on.

What is a Bug Out Vehicle?

A bug out vehicle by definition is what you would hop in if you needed to get out of dodge. If you were going to pack your family and all your survival supplies in a vehicle and race out-of-town to avoid danger that was coming for you, the bug out vehicle would be the best option for you do accomplish this task. All bug out scenarios aren’t created equally though and each person has their own needs and preferences. Fortunately for us, there are almost as many bug out vehicle options as there are situations. The list below should account for most of what I can foresee the average person needing in a vehicle.

What should the bug out vehicle allow you to do?

Could you bug out in that 2 seat sports car? Absolutely. You someone bug out on a survival bicycle? Of course and before it’s all over that might be what you are forced to finally resort to, but 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.

I wanted to talk about bug out vehicles and create a different kind of list. This list will be the best bug out vehicles you can actually afford.
Bug Out Vehicles can start out as more traditional cars and trucks.

It must hold 4 people – But I am a single girl you say, why would I need something to hold 4 people? I believe it is short-sighted to plan on a bug out vehicle that only carries one or two people. That might be what you are forced to live with if something happened right now, but it shouldn’t be the goal. If this is a real bug out scenario you want to be with some friends or family because there is strength and support in numbers. The best bug out vehicles won’t leave the possibility of taking a few more people with you out of the equation.

It must be able to carry your supplies – Back to the 2 seat vehicle and even a lot of mid-sized cars these days. Most have so little cargo room that you would be lucky to get your bug out bag and a pillow in the trunk but you could forget about all of your prepping supplies, ammo and food and water you have stored. I am not saying that your bug out vehicle should be able to carry everything in your house or else it is worthless, but you do want the ability to pack a good portion of your supplies or gear.

It must be able to navigate rough terrain/rough weather – The first thing that comes to mind when I am considering a vehicle that I could actually use to bug out is 4 wheel drive. I have read other forums where some will complain about the fuel you would need and how a larger vehicle could actually be worse. Some have even recommended a hybrid as a better solution to save gas and I simply disagree. In almost every horrible scenario I can imagine, even something as mundane as a hurricane evacuation, the ability to go off-road is an important advantage. Try taking that Prius across the median of a clogged highway that is soaked with rain. Can you imagine that Chevy Volt in a snow storm with downed trees? Motorcycles don’t pass the test for me on this point although if outfitted correctly, they can go through a lot of rugged terrain. The downside is cargo capacity and exposure to the elements.

It must be fairly nimble and able to negotiate obstacles quickly – Back to motorcycles again. They are perhaps the most nimble but they have their drawbacks. Also, a trailer on the back of your vehicle would give you the ability to carry a lot of gear but seriously reduce your mobility. Try backing up a trailer and turning around to avoid an ambush quickly. Most people have problems backing up a trailer when they aren’t panicked, getting shot at or worse. You could wait for Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist coming in their 2016 line, but is it worth it?

What are the best bug out vehicles?

So taking all of those criteria into consideration and this assumes the market is the US, what are the best bug out vehicles that meet that criteria and won’t break the bank? Most all of these are vehicles that unlike the Knight XV are driven by millions every day and can get you to safety, all things being equal. You can also buy late-model versions of each of these for less than $20,000. Not free obviously, but not $800,000 either.

Jeep – There are several models of Jeep that boast both 4 wheel drive and have a decent amount of cargo capacity to get you where you need to go. For serious off-road enthusiasts there is a huge market of parts and accessories to make this vehicle highly customizable.

Jeeps are everywhere and are certainly one of the best bug out vehicles.
Jeep’s are tried and tested off road vehicles that could make excellent bug out vehicles. Two main drawbacks are capacity and maintenance.

Humvee – The average prepper knows all about these vehicles and new ones are out of the realm of possibility, but you can get surplus military Humvee right now for less than $10,000 on the GOV Planet website. If you have always dreamed of outfitting your own mini-fiefdom after the world ends, now is your chance. Of course if you just want a great vehicle that can get you and your family to your secluded retreat, this makes a compelling option at this price.

A surplus Hummer could be an incredible savings and give you a battle tested winner.
A surplus Hummer could be an incredible savings and give you a battle tested winner.

4 Wheel drive Truck with crew cab – There are too many four-wheel drive trucks to list here, but a crew cab make this a natural fit for a Bug out vehicle. You can improve the suspension, add a cargo top and have a great vehicle that you can drive every day or when the grid goes down.

Trucks are one of the most common bug out vehicles for their capacity and off-road ability.
Trucks are one of the most common bug out vehicles for their capacity and off-road ability.

4 Wheel or all wheel drive SUV – Just like with trucks, SUV’s are everywhere but they aren’t all created equally. Some have 4 wheel drive, but all 4 wheel capability isn’t created equally. For SUV’s I would stick with Toyota 4Runner, Nissan or the Jeeps mentioned above. Obviously, the old Ford Expeditions and Chevy Tahoe can work in this capacity too and there will always be easy access to parts for each.

The family SUV can also get you out of a jam with the right upgrades.
The family SUV can also get you out of a jam with the right upgrades.

Best Bug out vehicle upgrades

These vehicles listed above will make great, affordable bug out vehicle options for most people but if you want to extend their capabilities, you can add some fairly simple aftermarket additions to make them even better.

  • Roof top cargo racks – This will extend the amount of gear you can carry by a considerable bit. Two well-known manufacturers are Gobi and Baha.
  • Improved front and rear bumpers – This is not an upgrade for everyone because they aren’t cheap but if you want some more protection (a lot more) for your bug out vehicle, there are several manufacturers. ARB, Shrockworks and CBI make insanely tough bumpers that you can add to your own vehicle.
  • Winch kits – Sometimes you get stuck and if the end of the world as we know it happens and you are riding into the wilderness in your bug out vehicle, you won’t be able to call AAA. Having a sturdy winch could pull you out of a jam.
  • Enhanced lighting – Regular headlights are only meant to show the road immediately ahead of you at a normal distance that won’t blind traffic coming towards you. If you are out in the wilderness or a power outage or storm has rendered your world as black as night, additional lights can help you see or be seen. The current LED technology has really increased the amount of available light you can have for your BOV. Some of these lights are capable of putting out over 24,000 lumens! For comparison, your regular Cree mini flashlight has about 200 lumens. Rigid Industries is probably the best known (and most expensive) but there are cheaper options out there if you look around. For instance, Amazon has a 24 inch LED light bar for under $60. That will save you about $800.
  • Communication optionsCB Radio and Ham Radio make excellent upgrades to your bug out vehicle. Either will allow you to communicate with the rest of your group or rescue sources nearby.
  • Additional fuel storage tanks – Increase the range of your bug out vehicle by adding a larger or secondary fuel tank. Of course, there are cheaper options where you can just purchase additional fuel cans and mount them on your roof rack or bumper.

Hopefully, this gives you some ideas if you are looking for a bug out vehicle that you can afford. What are you driving?

  1. Good article, although for a neophyte “off roader” WHAT specific additions to a 4X4 would be best? I prefer staying as “grey” as possible. I am seriously considering getting rid of my current ride, and going with the tree-hugging-Progressive-approved-Birkenstock-station wagon, called the Subaru Outback for my rolling suburban gun wagon. We are also waiting for the delivery of out Toyota 4Runner to get here.
    For the 4runner, which add-on mods should we seriously consider first, that are still fairly innocuous and low profile?

    1. Thank you very much!

      I am just getting into this somewhat myself and the additions I have planned aren’t the cheapest things you can do so I am going to do this in phases which will take some time.

      For me I think adding cargo capacity is the easiest so a roof rack will be first. Then since I have something to mount it to, I was planning on the LED light bar. I already have a HT Ham radio, but will likely upgrade to a dedicated model for my vehicle. Then I think I will get a back bumper from ShrockWorks to hold the spare and two fuel cans. After that I want to get some bigger tires which will then fit on the bumper. After that comes the front bumper also from ShrockWorks along with the winch.

      For the ones that are innocuous, I think only the cargo rack, some larger tires, possibly a light bar and a radio could fit that bill. The bumpers are intense. I am waiting for a 4runner myself, which should be here tomorrow. I have been giving the subject a lot of thought and that was my motivation for this post.

    2. I don’t know if any ‘ready to roll’ BOV will be gray. If I was trying to keep it low-er key, I’d consider rigging it up like the off-roaders do. Snorkel, moderate suspension lift, 33″ tires, full-size spare, off-road type jack, the bumpers like Pat mentioned that have cans and a winch on them, etc.

      That .30 cal mount on top is a dead give away. I’d also stay away from camo paint schemes.

    3. The bug out vehicle is intended to transport you safely from your home to your bug out location. The vehicle needs to be able to carry your passengers and your gear. If that fits in a Subaru, that may be the best choice for you. If you leave your home before whatever disaster you are preparing for, your bug out vehicle can just drive down the empty highway. If you wait until during the disaster or after the disaster you may not be able to get through the traffic or gridlock on the highways. You would need to use county and rural roads. Keep in mind this may require more gasoline.

      1. In a true bug-out situation, the gas will disappear very quickly (Ask anyone in the NYC metro area when Hurricane Sandy came by….)- Few people will be going anywhere that requires more than one tank of gas- and if one carries extra gas, it will likely be stolen from them (likely by the cops and such).

        I’ve always maintained, that the only real prepping, is to LIVE where you will be safe…or one day, those who don’t, will wake up, and it will be too late- and all their water filters and survival knives will be of little use. (What I don’t understand, is why they’d want to live in these dysfunctional cities anyway…)

        1. You are one of very few people who actually gets it. I live in a somewhat rural area and am flabbergasted at the folks who spend hours each weekend driving up here and then driving home, all in heavy traffic, for a few hours of rural pleasure, then spend their week commuting to and from work in heavy traffic, and think that is what life should be. People are nuts. Fortunately for those of us who are out in safer locations, which would fast be wiped out if everyone in the cities chose to live somewhere habitable.

          1. Haha, love your user name! (Are you related to So-And-So? 😀 )

            It’s so true though- I just don’t get it; why so many people today just live for the weekends or “the future”. I’m not a prepper, but just because of the lifestyle I want to lead, I’m in one of the places that are probably the least likely to be affected by any man-made or natural “SHTF” event, or the human fallout from such- But the thing is, even if I died today, at least I can say that I have LIVED!

            In the end, it’s not the formal events or the money or the toys that determine whether we’ve been satisfied, but rather our everyday lives and the way we spend our time. Time is our most precious commodity. Why waste it being just another cog in the corporate/gov’t machine, and being controlled by politicians and bankers?

            The sad thing is, even here in the boonies, where it is dirt cheap to live, all of my neighbors are imitating the urban ways- taking on massive amounts of debt and living way beyond their means. Guy nextdoor gets 2 hours sleep a night….. I may not impress anyone, but I own my acreage and mobile home free and clear, and can live on peanuts…sleep all I want, and enjoy my life. That’s what it’s all about. I want nothing more.

            1. While I agree with most of what you say, it doesn’t sound like you fully appreciate the absolute dependency almost everyone has for essential life supplies. Another Carrington Event, for example, and there will be a mass die-off of humans due to our dependency on technology for the production, processing, and distribution of our foods.
              I lived for a few years in Israel. I stockpiled food and water in case of a terror event. I was stunned when we had a massive rainstorm and floods covered the town and destroyed all the foodstocks. For a week we lived off our emergency supplies which turned out to be far more versatile than I’d considered. And learned from the experience about the flexibility of emergency preparations. They don’t cover every situation, but basic supplies sure can help in an awful lot of them. From that experience, I became a prepper of sorts. And now, with all the crap that comes in our agricorporate foodstocks, I’m returning to the hens and garden that we used to enjoy when our kids were at home. I may not live forever (though I’ve always wanted to be an exception to the rules), but I am trying hard to endure as long as possible and retain my health in the process.
              Your neighbors sound like they missed the important lessons that you so clearly assimilated. But I hope you buttress your insights with a stock of essentials to weather whatever comes. And something always comes.

  2. Pat,
    A couple of thoughts…
    I have a quad cab 4WD truck. The first thing I did was remove the back seats to increase my storage capacity inside the cab So basically, the entire area behind the driver and passenger seats has become a permanent, rolling bug out bag. That wouldn’t be an option for a family, but if you are bugging out solo or with only one other partner, it expands your storage options tremendously.

    A second thought for you and ET1: In a true bug out situation I wouldn’t be overly worried about how high or low profile you vehicle is. It doesn’t matter how mean or awesome it looks; the real question is can it go off road? Shorter wheel base and higher ground clearance will always beat out a tail-dragger. And – short, high clearance utility trailers will always make it deeper into rough country than long, wide ones will.

    1. Thanks, Bolofia! I am going to get an excellent rear bumper that I can put three 5 gallon fuel cans on-when needed. I’ll have at least three 5 gallon Water cans in the back. We won’t be taking out any seats, but will add a luggage rack on top, as strong as I get up on the roof mounts. Probably won’t get a light bar, as I drove a “company car with multi-colored light bar” for too long to want/need one. We’ll use hand held spot lights as needed.
      Anyone have any ideas for an additional or larger fuel tank on a 4Runner? (sources would be great!)

    2. Great points and ideas Bolo!

      Yes, I think that low profile at least in terms of the mods I plan to do won’t be a factor so much. Once the grid goes down I think it will become clearly obvious who has the vehicles that people need and by that time, if I have to bug out I plan to be gone. If I am still at the homestead I will have to add vehicles to the security patrols.

    3. I also took out the back seat of mine but I replaced it with a homemade wooden box that has a padded top and back with storage under and behind. I TRUE bug out vehicle, like every we have/use has a duel purpose. I can carry 5 people if necessary because the storage box.

  3. I can’t recommend the um..3rd generation (2004-2010?) 4Runner enough. Most sure-footed vehicle I’ve driven. The 1st and 2nd gen 4Runners are ridiculously overpriced due to the off-roader fanboys scooping them up.

    If I didn’t already have a Ranger and a Dodge 2500 cummins, I’d look for any of the older quad-door 250/2500 diesels with 4×4. You can buy off the shelf rack systems for them that the contractors use, giving you massive amounts of space without overhanging the existing body/frame.

    if its not a daily driver, consider looking up how the SOF guys and scouts rig up HMMVWs. They hang the rucks on the sides of the rear quarters to maximize the limited room inside. When I was a scout, we put the mounts on ourselves. They were cheap hardware store loops, then we used old load bearing vest straps (same as the molle mounting straps) to cinch the ruck down. Under field training conditions, we never lost a ruck…well except that one that got speared by a tree branch…

    1. also, if your BOV has a hitch, but you aren’t pulling a trailer, consider hitting up CL to find a hitch mounted bike rack. Pedal power will be gold once all the fuel runs out.

    2. I had an ingenious driver who had a friend in the AB Battalion at Camp Casey. He got used paracord and wove nets inside our vehicles that held lighter objects leaving more room for ammo and in vehicle maneuverability.

  4. Hello Pat

    Let me tell you first I really like your posts and follow your website almost from the beginning.

    I would add few thought to your post, please bear in mind that I am living in central Europe so my approach might be a bit different

    – My BOV must blend in the crowd as much as possible this is the first and most important criteria for me. A large SUV or pickup truck with lifted suspension, big wheels, led lights, roof ruck and matte military paintwork would draw to much attention. Let me remark, that in the recent Ukrainian conflict what I would consider a real WROL situation all off these 4WD vehicles were confiscated on both sides in and around the war torn area.

    – However off road capability is also a must. On an ordinary sunny Friday afternoon in spring and summer time almost all the outgoing roads in the capital (population 2+ million) get clogged. Especially it could be very sever on the highway and the roads between the city and the lakes, 30-40 mile long jams are not unusual. No need for hurricane, tornado, riots or any military action only hot weather. So a vehicle that could hit a dirt road, could cross a trench or drive trough plowing is essential.

    – Seating capacity for at least 6-7 people, and considerable large cargo capacity without the need of roof rack. It narrows the options to only mini vans with AWD.
    Well, differently these vans loose some off road capability to real Jeep, will not prevail any of them on the Rubicon trail, but provide space and look only an ordinary van for the firs sight.

    – Range, fuel consumption. I would chose a diesel engine, as it consumes much less than a gas engine especially under heavy loads. Diesel can be stored for an eternity without any additive or stabilizer, older fuel pump models could run on cooking oil, used cooking oil, motor oil, transformer cooling oil. However, during the Kosovo conflict, and blockade diesel was the first that diapered in Yugoslavia as the government hold it back for the military, agricultural works and public transport.

    – EMP. In case of such an event, almost all is lost, so one might not consider or prepare for that, but a good old diesel engine with mechanical fuel pump survives a strike. If you all ready have a diesel BOV, it could worth to retrofit, really not to expensive.

    Unfortunately this concept was not proved, I do not have first hand experiences, I plan to buy a BOV later in this year.

    1. Thank you for your comments and perspective Gabe! I can imagine that the needs of central Europe would be different and you have listed some great suggestions.

    1. I think they make great BOV’s Canadrea and I was going that route initially but I wanted my daily driver to be my BOV as well. I like the advantages the older trucks have, but I don’t want to drive one every day if I don’t have to.

    1. Do you mean to say that these vehicles can only be purchased by wealthy people? You must not have ever been in the Southern US. They are pretty much mandatory for a large part of that population and this is not the country club crowd by any stretch. I don’t think ~ 10-15 thousand for a vehicle is wealthy range, but I know some people can’t afford that. I certainly couldn’t at one time.

    2. you can buy most of these for less than half that if you look around and as a bug-out vehicle they don’t have top be fancy they just need to work.

  5. Toyota 4-Runner and Hilux (same thing) are wretched 4 wheel drives unless you at least have the 3 liter V6. I’ve found them way to weak to turn the wheels on a full load with family onboard trying to negotiate a very steep and long sandy hill well known around here. The hill concerned is a ripper and does sort out the real 4-WD from the toys but my 2.6l petrol failed miserably once we needed to get the tyre pressure below 10 psi/

    1. I have owned 3 different 4runners. Prior to 1996 the largest engine was the 3.0 Liter. That’s pronounced “3 point slow.” It was way under powered. After 1996 the 3.4 L was available and this is an excellent engine. I currently drive a 2005 4Runner that has a 4.0 L V6. I have owned Jeeps in the past also. I will never buy another. The 4runner is a superior vehicle.

  6. Interesting article and comments, I agree with “isnamthere” here, BOV for the rich and famous. If ya want to spend $50-$75-$125K on a target, that’s cool. But as “EgbertThrockmorton1” started off with, you had better stay gray and not become the latest victim of “ohhhhh look, that guy has money and lots of stuff stacked up” A BOV is an easy easy easy target for 3-4 people wanting to take your stuff.
    Personally I like my old 1961 Scout, fully restored mechanically and looks like death warmed over, AND it will start every time I hit the button. Even after an EMP, no need for those fancy computers on a BOV. The idea is to get where you need to go, not park it on a showroom floor or in your $250K storage shed and get all puffed up bragging on how neat/cool/tough/on-and-on your BOV is.
    I will guarantee you if someone sees this hunk of junk coming down the road they will just laugh and leave you alone

    1. That’s a beauty NRP!

      But I still don’t know where all of this “wealthy” talk is coming from. The vehicles I listed above can all be purchased used for $10-$15 thousand. Where do you get the $50-$75-$125K prices from because that is not the intent of this article.

      1. Pat, not trying to disagree at all, but looking at your “example” photos, those are rather expensive vehicles. Than add on all the nice racks, lights, tires, wenches, tanks. I would bet even that 10-15K army surplus hummer is going to set ya back another penny or two by the time your done. I guess my main point should have been, “hide in plain sight” those vehicles you show are very nice, but again great targets 3 days after a crash, and as you mentioned an EMP and more than likely 90% would not start without some very expensive modifications.
        I guess I would rather have an extra 10-15K in “stuff” at my BOL or home than a more expensive BOV. And yes I have a everyday use 05 Chevy 2500 Duramax. But I know for a fact it will not start after an EMP, So I plan on hiking home, hunkering down, and Bug-Out only if I have to in my old hunk of rust bucket that I got for $500 and put another $1K in going through it mechanically.
        It does get a lot of looks when I drive it to a County wide Car and Truck Show in the local town… HAHAHAHA
        Again Pat, I do enjoy your articles and the comments, your doing a GREAT job, please keep it up. Also I like the fact you don’t go off your nut (like some blogs do) when someone has a different view point.

        1. Just TRY, to find a Scout in my neck of the woods. Haven’t found or seen or heard of one yet. Still searching.

          1. Thick as flies here in the Four Corners. A buddy just bought 3, one to fix up and 2 for parts.
            Got my Jewel off a guy that bought it new in 61, took it to his farm in Southern CO, stuck a snow plow on it and it never left the farm. I got it a month ago, it had 19500 original miles on it…. I did ask him if there was a anything on the farm he did not run into with it. He could not think of a single thing.. HAHAHA

            1. Funny, mine was a Texan originally, then moved early in its life to southern CO! The parts one I bought may have been owned by the same farmer though – no straight sheet metal or intact glass whatsoever.

        2. Thanks NRP and you sound like you know I don’t mind disagreements at all. Makes the conversation more interesting and often instructional.

          I do have an ulterior motive when I choose photos though. Sex sells as you are probably aware so I tend to show more glamorous, sinister, beatiful photographs sometimes because that draws some readers in and catches the attention of someone flipping through Flipboard, Facebook or Pinterest. I could show very common, generic and conservative images that would likely be more common, but what’s the fun in that? I understand where you are coming from I think.

          Yes, you can easily sink a lot of money into one of these rides above although I still maintain that any one of them would be way south of your estimates and don’t come anywhere near the ultra expensive ideas that some “Best survival bug out vehicles” present. Any hobby you take to its more extreme side will likely cost more money but you can get any one of these base model vehicles and still have an affordable bug out option.

    2. THAT is the way to do it! No black boxes; no ‘puters; simple mechanicals that you can fix with a screwdriver….

    3. Now I don’t feel so dumb for picking up a ’65! Of course, it’s been a barrel full ‘o monkeys getting everything working again. Then, there was the ’61 p/u I needed for spare parts! Broncos, Landcruisers, etc. are overpriced and SCREAM “Steal Me!” but I can leave my Scout unlocked, windows down and no one gives it a second glance – partially due, I’m sure, to the greyman-special primer and rust colored body.

  7. Get a toyota landcruiser 80 preferably turbodiesel. Repair, replace parts as required.
    1. Upgrade alternator, fit 2 batteries, fit regulator. Carry replacement, oem.
    2. Lift car to 2-4inches, upgrade all suspension and bushings to heavy duty
    3. Fit long range fuel tank as required to bug out position, carry hand pump.
    4. Protect underside of car where appropriate, diffs, shafts, tanks
    5. Tire choice should be AT. MT is noisy and dangerous on tarmack at speed unless going bush from the getgo. 75 – 80 series, stick with 16″ steel rims, avoid alloy. Check all clearances, check loads.
    6. Install breather tubes on diffs as high as practical.
    7. If anticipating floods higher than bonnet, snorkel maybe practical. But it’s a giveaway. In this case, a land anchor maybe practical
    8. Carry an electric air pump for tire in car at all times. Familiarize with functions, pressures for different terrain. Tires can still operate at very low pressures.
    9. Depending on how you like to extract will be where you mount the winch. Pulled from the back or dragged from the front. You may have to fit aftermarket bumpers-giveaway. You not always find a tree or a rock.
    10. Remove any incar sparetire to rear bumper gate to provide easy, quick access. Increases space for stuff in the back.
    11. Fit watertank in car. 100 litres is good. A pair of sand bars. Axe, shovel.
    12. Carry extra oils, fluids for car. Belts too. A set of plugs. Tow rope, ropes. Bulbs.
    13. If feasible, install roll cage inside vehicle for occupants area only.
    14. Learn how to use the car, the equipment. Don’t paint the car. Spray the new shocks black. Have a hidden compartment for sensitive items. Make spare keys. De-logo it.
    15. Know where you’re going, your elevations, weather, season, terrain type. Have multiple exit points. Get good maps and compass. Get some smoke bombs, devices. That way you can fake a failure, malfunction.

    Be ready to walk, practice walking with bugout pack, try jogging or running with it.

    Don’t over spend. Stay safe and may god be with you.

    1. Don’t overspend? LOL! You’re talking about 16-20K – to start – for an old td Landcruiser in the states these days and then the mods start adding up fast.

  8. What a joke, bug out to where, by the time an emergency comes any vehicle will be fair game by military, police and marauders. One has to be out before anything happens and well hidden and hardened preferably with others like minded groups. 2nd what a joke on the vehicles picked, they have computers. Idea old diesels which can run on alternate home made fuels, also vw type dune buggies, point ignition and are still used today by enthusiasts. Best get off your brainwashed fricking ass and stop watching stupid games and TV and get involved in sending the bought off politicians to jail. Take over city precincts and pick who runs for office. Check out which tells you how simply, get into the real game and out of made up sports, men become men again

  9. This is hilarious! These modern vehicles are so filled with computers; electronics; and non-serviceable parts, that they will become utterly useless when normal life crumbles. An acquaintance’s Duramax wouldn’t go over 25MPH- The guy took it to the dealer; charged him over $3K….still couldn’t find the problem, much less fix it. Planning on calling the tow truck and bringing it in to the dealer and waiting in a motel, when you’re out in the wastelands? LOL.

    You want a “bug-out vehicle”? Get something from the 60’s; 70’s or 80’s that you can repair yourself out in the filed with readily available parts (And which is unlikely to malfunction if you are diligent about preventative maintenance, because there is so much less to wrong).

    Better yet, live your life in a self-sufficient manner and place NOW, because travel in a SHTF scenario will be dangerous (If armed gov’t goons don’t get you, the criminals will) and expensive, if possible at all (Fuel will become scarce, and outrageously expensive; no electricity to work the pumps?; etc.).

    Really- articles like this are a joke. It’s as if they are written by 5 year-olds with simplistic expectations of the future. You want to be prepared? The only way to increase your odds, is to live NOW where you want to be when the SHTF; ’cause I can almost guarantee that you will not be able to get there when it does- no matter what you drive.

    And really, if you are “aware” and still living in a place where you have to be a part of and support the very system and people who will cause the problems, YOU are a part of that very problem- and you can’t run and hide from yourself.

    Seriously- these “prepper” sites are like the Land Of Make-Believe.

  10. It seems that in suburbia jeeps, trucks and SUVs with bolt on “off road” bits are pretty ubiquitous. As long you don’t have a duece and a half sitting in your driveway you’re pretty much in the gray, but then just throw a Zombie Response Team sticker on it and its all good.

    Another thing to consider is in a bug out situation your vehicle’s going to be loaded down with as much gear as you can fit or have time to grab which will severely limit its off road capabilities. The expectations I have for my BOV is crossing medians, logging trails, fields and the like rather than 4wheeling. Also, its not just the pile of stuff but how its distributed that’ll effect traction, steering and center of gravity. Another thing to consider is, especially with gas powered vehicles, the load will reduce fuel economy.

    My BOV doubles as a regular driver and to haul around the stuff for my side business. I know how that beast will handle loaded to the rails and the 6.2L diesel will get around 20mpg regardless of how much stuff I pile in or on it.

  11. An OLD diesel- with mechanical injector pump and manual transmission would be ideal (Old 12V Cummins; Ford 6.9….)- It can still run if the battery goes dead; and you can pop the clutch to start it…plus, you can run it various fuels, like kerosene; waste motor oil; vegetable oil; whatever you can find- ’cause I guarantee you, in a real “bug-out” situation, the gas and diesel is going to disappear FAST!)

    Just look at what happens in a short-lived emergency- like Hurrican Sandy in NY. Even gas stations that still had gas, couldn’t pump it; people were walking around with Jerry cans selling a few gallons of gas for $12 a gallon (and finding takers); cars were stranded and abandoned all over the place- left where they died (And I’m not talking about ones that got caught in flooding).

  12. Exactly! It’s not like it was 30 years ago. The cat is out of the bag. Everyone knows about auctions today. The general public goes to them, and pays ridiculous prices for pieces of junk- not even knowing what they’re getting (Then you see them on Craigslist, trying to get their money back out of them).

    Auction: A place where people compete to see who will pay the MOST money for items [often] in unknown condition; and where emotion and competition cause people to forget about economics. It’s not just the general public, either- you see the same things happen even at dealer auction.

    And the gov’t auctions are the worst! Their vehicles are usually totally trashed/worn-out – Having been driven by people who don’t own them/don’t care; used hard; then scavenged for parts before finally being disposed of.

    And people, PLEASE do NOT support the illicit police auctions, where they auction seized vehicles! It’s like buying stolen goods! You’re supporting a criminal activity. I don’t care how cheap it may be, I’m not going to drive something that some gov’t goon stole from somebody.

  13. Isn’t what you are describing bugging out too, just ahead of the disaster? Also, why do you assume that there will be some EMP event that renders any vehicle useless?

    1. No, that’s life planning not a last minute attempt to hold on to the city comfort zone. As far as the vehicle, no i”m not implying nuclear EMP, that’s just fear porn, the blast frequecies are too long of wavelenths to effect small circuits. What I was implying is that there are designed ways of stopping vehicles with computers with short wave pulse beacons or tapping into the computer and just shutting it off which police, military or hackers could use. Why spend a ton of money when a $2000-$4000 vehicle will do just fine and is easy repairable. No ton of sensors and miles of wires that can have problems then needing computer diagnostics. Pre 1970 hardly any pollution hoses and crap.

      1. OK, fair enough. Technology could disable a vehicle. So could a road block. There are ways of stopping even those old vehicles you mention plus everyone might not be as concerned about the “pulse beacons” as you are.

        Many might not want to spend the money, have the time, tools or skills it takes to get those older vehicles back in working condition. That also costs money, right? What about people who don’t have the skills to pull a transmission, set the gap on spark plugs or change a head gasket?

        1. If someone doesn’t have the basic skills to keep an old simple vehicle running, they will be even more helpless with the modern ones; or for that matter, totally be unable to survive self-sufficiently- which is why it is a joke to think that people who live cities/suburbs are suddenly going to be able to be self-sufficient in chaotic situations, ANYWHERE.

          Heck, all “they” have to do is shut down the cell-phones/internet/GPS, and 97% of the people will be totally helpless. Pretty much only farmers/homesteaders.rural-dwellers will have any chance, because we know how keep things running; build; and improvise and do things the old-fashioned way.

          It takes more to survive in a societal collapse than a few boxes of survival crap.

        2. In perilous times it’s best to be that talented, if not you better have a trade valuable enough or supplies to trade and be near those people, otherwise start learning and buy an old beater, youtube and google will teach anybody how to do things before it’s shut down, better yet store videos and info on how to do everything. When on your own your screwed if you can’t fix things and improvise. i practice repairing stuff instead of wasting my time on dumb sports and tv. Those tools you need are much simpler and cheaper for old cars without electronics and pollution controls.

  14. EMP = most 1975 and newer vehicles will be useless. EMP hardening current day vehicles is expensive, tricky, and not foolproof. A 1970’s era Suburban is my choice. In a bug out situation one should should not wear cammies, open carry, or stand out as being paramilitary or militia, or appear to be carrying arms and money. Blend in, dont wear exposed body armor and chest rigs, dress like a tourist. LEO’s will likely confiscate arms and stop anyone that looks like a prepper. So will gangs.

  15. I have a little nissan navara 2.5 turbo diesel, not the most powerful vehicle but its reliable & i love it. If possible i need some ideas to set it up as a bugout vehicle. If anyone has any suggestions i would appreciate it. Thanks. Stuart.

  16. One of the things that irks me about most bug out vehicle lists, is that they’re full of modified vehicles. Now, a few extra lights won’t hurt, but in a survival situation where you have to make emergency repairs…let’s be practical here; probably the best vehicle to get, is the most popular and of course, common, vehicle in America. Right now, that’s the Ford F Series. I’d get one, and keep it mechanically bone stock. What I DO have for vehicles I’d bug out in, is a 1997 Chevy 3/4 ton with a 454 and a slide in camper, a 2004 Chevy Avalanche, and a 2014 Toyota 4Runner. To be honest, I don’t know what I would pick at the moment…but the most practical of those, is the 4Runner. Less than 12,000 miles, bone stock, and she’s a trail edition and I’ve already done some serious off roading with her. That truck could last a long time without any repairs or even changing the oil. I drove across country with 3 people and all our clothes and camping gear, and it all fit inside or in the roof top carrier.

    1. Thanks for your comments Jaan Q,

      Most modifications speak directly to extending the functionality of any vehicle. Sure you could roll out the door with a stock 4×4 and as long as your route takes you only to places your vehicle can traverse you are good to go. Raising the vehicle allows you to clear more obstacles. Adding lights like you say gives you greater visibility, sometimes in areas where normal lights aren’t mounted like the side and back.

      I was trying to lean to the simple modification side of things with average vehicles as opposed to some of the more extreme examples out there. A 4runner I agree is an excellent platform, but some minor modifications can make it so much more robust and capable.


  17. Horrible recommendations and obviously has not endured lengthy hostile environments. Most of these suggestions will probably get you into more trouble than anything else. People with zero survival skills shouldn’t write articles like this.

    1. I think the majority of the prepper community are pretty much living in a fantasy mentality. They’re living in the cities waiting for “TSHTF”- but the reality is, there will likely not be one big defining event to escape from- but rather, just a gradual slide into a dysfunctional society and/or police state, which has pretty much been the scenario over the last 30 years- and just like the non-preppers, they become so used to the gradual decline that they don’t even realize how much they are just as much a part of it as everyone around them. And if there should be one big catastrophic event, the preppers will be just as unprepared for it as their neighbors, because they will likely not be able to go anywhere after-the-fact; and even if they can, one can not just establish a self-sufficient lifestyle in a new place overnight.
      I don’t consider myself a prepper, but I escaped the dysfunctional city 14 years ago (Who wants to live among that?) and established my rural homestead, so I will be pretty much insulated from anything which does not affect my immediate area. It takes years even under n0on-emergency conditions…good luck to those who think they will do it overnight by driving to a rural retreat in the midst of a crisis…..

      1. Depends what your mission involves. I highly advise that civilians not bug out! They do not have the proper tools to make it. That’s what other guys are for. Civilians need to focus on being stationary at their or a family/friend’s residence that will sustain life for two weeks. Focus on the basic like self defense, food and water, and medical supplies. If you seriously want to learn, then enlist with the airborne infantry or quiet professionals.

  18. If you know guys who race dune buggies and the like, just ask them to set you up with and old beetle, maybe a baja bug. These guys have old underpowered parts, and you might get a 61 baja bug with no syncros in first and a 36 hp engine – stock exhaust, because it was there, they really don’t want the underpowered stuff. That bug will go all day at 50 mph. Take out the back seat, maybe put the 2/3 fold up seat out of a suburban(it would be a bench seat that folded forward). put some plywood where the rearseat was, and a futon matress or air matress, you could sleep 2 (snuggly). It would be easy to put jerry cans and some square tube for a roll bar and rack holder, get a friend to weld it up. You would have 400-500 miles of fuel, build the rack for bicycles, extra tires, or whatever. Even if it had been rolled, as long as the doors closed(with or without the top cut off), this can get you back so far that the owls fear the chickens..
    Old beetles are light, solid ones float, they go through mud, over snow, have many parts and air blowers for heat, all types of aftermarket stuff really cheap.

  19. Really…..not 1 mention of the Land Rover Discovery 1 or 2? I have purchased 3 in the last year for less than $4200 total and no major repairs or replacement of parts. One of them just turned 350k miles. Your more likely to find one of these in a salvage than any of the vehicles listed, party bonus-most of them were dealer serviced for the first 75k+ miles, haven’t seen one that didn’t have heated leather seats, can seat 7, indestructible power train , comes in diesel and gasoline, two sunroofs, all are 5 door……….only drawback for me is they are British and I still have a beef with them about the two wars we involved in with their crown. Check em out if you have an opportunity.

    1. Dude, aren’t those things notorious for self-destructing transmissions? (Plus, if you have one, you’d better have the equipment, knowledge and parts to fix anything that could possibly go wrong yourself, ’cause a lot of mechanics won’t touch ’em; and parts are not the easiest to come by, even now).

      Correct me if I’m wrong- I’ve never had a Limey vehicle -but having spent most of my life messing with vehicles, I’m of the opinion that only the old LR’s- i.e. the kind one used to see on Marlin Perkins’s “Wild Kingdom” when they’re chasing down Zebras and Sotoros in the jungle, are any good.

  20. I’m tired of patriots living in fear. Rather than bugging out maybe we should stand our ground and actually fight.

    1. Normally, I’d agree with your sentiment- and as long as I’m living here, I’ll defend my property or die trying- but I think it wise to realize that we are GREATLY outnumbered. We’re fighting multiple enemies: A)A power-elite which controls literally half of the world; B)Several layers of our own government and their mercenary goons, who are armed with unlimited weaponry, technology and [our]wealth, against which entire nations have not been able to repel; and C)The many various factions of civilians, who even in good times, live by the law of the jungle.

      When one considers all of the factors, there is basically no chance of a positive outcome. The options are pretty simple: Fight and die, or move to a saner place in the world (the third-world) where the power structure and wealth that enabled our overlords to bring us to this point, does not exist; and where we can live a while longer and enjoy some freedom.

      But I do think that the idea that most of these preppers seem to have, of waiting till the last moment, and then just fleeing like a cockroach and trying to survive in the midst of such a mess, is just utterly ridiculous.

      If something goes down tomorrow, I’ll stand my ground and defend my homestead as best I can (and likely die, ’cause they will take no prisoners here!)- but if I can escape this sinking ship before that, that is a much better option.

      Remember, we have no support here, now that the overlords have made this a “diverse” society. “Diverse”=divide and conquer. They’ve done this through the indoctrination of government schools and the media, and by diluting our culture with foreigners from all over the world who do not share our values, nor love of freedom (or even know what freedom is)., and half of “our own” people are now living off of the government teat, whether it be through a government job or an entitlement- and their loyalty is to their master.

      Except for a few scattered individuals here and there, we’re all essentially on our own.

    2. For a successful fight, you’d have to have a large unified segment of the population. Such unity does not exist. “They” have been very careful to practice “divide and conquer”.

      You can fight. Let me know how it turns out. I’ll watch the flames from afar, because even if you win, where to from there? The winners will just establish a different tyranny. Tis the nature of the beast.

  21. There are many better options than what is listed.

    1)any vehicle chosen should be very common. As in you can walk into any auto zone and get whatever you need to fix it. Or scrap yard for that matter. Having the latest and greatest jeep is great until a factory part breaks and it’s now road art.

    2) shouldn’t be particularly eye catching. It’s great that you have a forerunner lifted with 50 antennas and lights and water jugs etc…. Everyone will notice you. Easy target.

    3) Should be able to carry some cargo. This pretty much deletes jeeps from the list right away. Same with most SUV’S and all cars.

    Personally I’d go with an old beat up 15 pak van or work van. 4×4, with decent all terrain tires and a 350 motor. Hide a hitch up front, so you can move the winch front or rear or keep it inside. Plenty of room for people, supplies, and if set up right you can even live out of it for a while. Not to mention, if you leave it primer and rust you can pretty much park it anywhere without it drawing too much attention. There are already tons of parts for them, the 350 is a common motor you can get parts for anywhere, and it’s easy to outfit/modify the interior the way you want it, not to mention since they haven’t changed much in the past 40 years there are tons of aftermarket parts for them.

    1. Very well-said, Bangarang! Only thing is, full-size vans with 4×4 are a rarity.

      Don’t forget the 2nd generation Suburbans – ’73-mid 80’s. (Can’t believe I’m touting a GM product….but back then they were good…) If you can find one that hasn’t rusted away (only possible in the West!) those things were bulletproof- simple as dirt, and you could carry spare ignition/electrical parts in a coffee can. If it’s in good shape mechanically now, it’ll keep going forever!

      I love my Excursion, but I’d trade it for a clean 2nd-gen Suburban in a heartbeat!

      (Unfortunately, the newer style “Burbans are nothing like the 70’s/80’s ones)

      1. Yeah, a full-size 4×4 van would be awesome. You used to see some (pretty much only Fords) in the 70’s/80’s -don’t think I’ve seen ANY on the newer 90’s/00’s body styles. Pathfinder used to do conversions…or you could do ’em yourself. Sucks too that they haven’t made a manual transmission van in about 30 years now, either. If you’re “bugging out’ or just trying to go somewhere in the post-apocalyptic landscape and your A/T burns up…that’s it, you’re done.

  22. i would say the accessories are great and can be added to almost any vehicle, but I would say a true Doomsday prepare vehicle would have no electronics. The Mercedes G wagon from the 80’s or early 90’s would be a perfect example of this, no electronics, easy to work on, very off road capable and can be purchased from $14,000 to mid $20,000 the Diesel fuel vehicles can be redone to run off other fuels if needed.

    Here is a military style one

    Here is one that has been redone to be a daily driver and still all prepare features×4-CABRIO-Denver-CO-80033/6060564

  23. Just one slight correction: If you can’t back up a trailer reasonably competently, you can still use a one-wheeled trailer. It hitches to two spots on the car and backs up without any thought at all. Not great off-road, but otherwise increases capacity considerably, though you’d have to be careful about protecting cargo against looters in a pinch.

  24. I enjoyed this article and it covers several issues toward prepping for the worst. However, I would envite other concerned readers to consider that OLD cars will make great bug-out vehicles. Biggest reason, “the old 4 barrel Carb.” Any nuclear blast or EMP will disable ALL cars with EFI injectors, and that is just about every car made after 1989. with one exception ( Jeep Grand Wagoneers ) All have down-draft Carb for fuel. As long as I keep a single car battery in a Faraday Cage in my garage, the EMP blast will damage all micro circuits. I get out my battery, load it in, and fire it up. the same for older Willy’s Jeeps, Toyota FJ 40 and 55 models, Ford Broncos from 60s and 70s, and many other OLD trucks
    my favorite is the Ford F100 series, these can be found easy for less than 5K.
    All the best to everyone !

  25. Any modern vehicle will be problematic as a “Bug out” choice, due to the onboard electronics, which are susceptible to EMP destruction. You would be far better off with an old ride with traditional mechanically operated components, like fuel pumps, carburetors and ignition systems with points or magnetos.

  26. New “Jeeps” or Fiats with 4wd aren’t an option, prior to 2006 with the straight 6 for sure but no way today’s models to depend on.

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