Preppers can spend thousands to tens of thousands of dollars on bugout vehicles. Unfortunately, most of us do not have that kind of disposable cash – even for an item of such supreme importance.
We live on our survival homesteading retreat and have no intention of bugging out unless completely forced to do so to save our lives, yet we still have multiple bugout vehicles. Well, we have multiple vehicles that serve a dual purpose: daily essential use on our survival homesteading retreat that, and bugout vehicles.
Just like when you are packing your bugout bag or making a decision about EDC items, any item that has dual or multiple potential uses is a major plus. The number of potential drivers, your budget, and local terrain will dictate what type of bugout vehicles or vehicles that will best serve your needs.
There are a plethora of articles circulating around the internet about the best bugout vehicles – most of which are absolutely awesome – but require you to have very deep pockets. If OPSEC is a priority (which is should always be) nothing screams “A Prepper Lives Here” louder or quicker than a military style truck painted in full camo, sitting in your driveway.
If you live in a rural area like I do (and all preppers should) it would be far easier to hide such a truck, but you will still have to shell out a hefty amount to purchase, rehab, and retrofit such a hardened bugout vehicle – and will likely be able to purchase just one. Remember the tried and true prepping mantra, “one is none and two is one.”
Now, I’m not chastising anyone with the ultimate bugout vehicle, especially if it has been hardened to hopefully withstand an EMP. I am merely doing what most best bugout vehicles reports don’t do: giving you low-cost, multi-purpose options.
You should think outside the box when contemplating what actually constitutes a bugout vehicle. That is exactly what this best bugout vehicles guide seeks to accomplish. There might just be few great bugout vehicles in the making sitting on your property right now!
Off road capable vehicles are the best option when contemplating a bugout transportation purchase. Not only will your vehicle need to be able to drive off of well-maintained pavement, so will the trailer it is pulling.
The type of terrain your bugout vehicle will have to traverse, especially if you are not fleeing your prepper retreat until well into the doomsday disaster, has to be taken into consideration when purchasing or retrofitting any vehicle. Carrying extra tires, parts, and tools to make repairs quickly while on the journey will likely vastly increase your chances of survival.
How To Choose The Best Bugout Vehicle
Ask yourself these questions before making a decision about buying bugout vehicles, or turning a vehicles(s) you already have into a quick escape transportation option.
How many drivers will I have?
This may seem like a simple question, but it might not be. It is safe to assume typical traffic laws really won’t be enforced during a SHTF situation.
This may mean your 15-year-old can be put behind the wheel of one vehicle while you drive another, doubling how much you can take with you when bugging out – if he or she are mature enough and mentally/emotionally stable enough to handle such a task.
Our Polaris Ranger is an automatic, making it easy enough to drive that a 10-year-old has been behind the wheel – as well as my 82-year-old mother.
The Polaris Ranger is equipped with a hitch and now a sturdy wench. It can seat two adults and two small children in the cab (and a baby on the lap) as well as two adults and a child in the rear (or gear). It has hauled the number of folks in the cab noted above as well as one adult and about 250 pounds of gear in the rear while pulling a trailer loaded with old barn wood up a steep gravel hill without any difficulties at all.
Mileage and Fuel Storage
Purchasing a large military style truck, old school bus, or a tractor-trailer would allow you to take a lot of preps with you when bugging out and provide a place to sleep (and have space for exterior vertical gardening) as well, but each of these modes of transportation have mileage issues and will require extensive refueling if your bugout location is not located fairly close.
A large bugout vehicle will provide enough space to store extra cans of fuel, especially if make use of its sturdy roof and/or also haul a trailer. But, if the primary seasoned adult driver becomes incapacitated, killed, on a scout, or is forced to take over defensive tactics if trouble arises, will another family member be able to assume the driving responsibilities of such a massive vehicle?
Ideally, purchase a bugout vehicle that is graded to get a minimum of 23 to 27 miles per gallon -MPG. A higher MPG would be great, but if you go that route the vehicle will be so much smaller, so you will be sacrificing substantial storage space. Remember, MPG is almost always calculated on highway miles, not when going up hills, making frequent stops, or when the vehicle is loaded from the floorboards to the ceiling with people and gear.
Should Finding a 4-Wheel Drive Diesel Bugout Vehicle Be a Priority?
There are at least two distinct advantages to purchasing a bugout vehicle that functions on a diesel engine:
- Fuel Flexibility – you can make your own biodiesel fuel after gas stations run dry or are no longer functional (or safe to drive to) and when your fuel stockpile is empty.
- Longevity – Diesel fuel remains usable long after gasoline becomes to sludgy to run through an engine – even if you use fuel stabilizer. On average, diesel fuel can last up to 10 times as long as gasoline.
A bugout vehicle that is not 4WD might be useless during a SHTF event. Traveling the roads will not only likely be unsafe at least in specific areas, but there’s absolutely no guarantee the roads will not be either jammed or intentionally blocked.
Even if you are not planning on driving very far (plans can change in an instant during a bugout situation) you may need to get off the road and travel through the woods or on dirt, gravel, or muddy secondary roads. Driving a non-4WD vehicle while attempting to do so will most assuredly leave you both stranded and vulnerable.
Top 10 SUVs With Best Gas Mileage
- Jeep Cherokee
- Land Rover
- Subaru Forester
- GMC Terrain
- Nissan Rogue
- Jeep Compass
- Honda CR-V
- Chevy Equinox
- Hyundai Tucson
Top 10 Pickup Trucks With Best Gas Mileage
- Dodge Ram 1500
- Chevy Colorado
- Ford F-150
- GMC Canyon
- Toyota Tacoma
- Honda Ridgeline
- Chevy Silverado
- Ford Raptor
- GMC Sierra
- Nissan Titan
Using your daily driver or a space 4WD vehicle also as a bugout vehicle means you can keep it loaded with beyond your typical EDC and bugout bag wherever you go.
This will allow you to bugout far more quickly – or get home, to your spouse’s work, or your child’s school with more than minimal supplies and bugout without having to return home for your gear – which might not be possible in either the short-term or long-term after a SHTF incident.
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If a truck will be a bugout vehicle, invest in a “truck tent” that can be set up in the bed of the truck or extent to the ground for sleeping quarters – they go up and down quickly.
Keeping a locked truck bed box in the back of an SUV or pickup – or two such boxes, will allow you to haul more preps and still have room for routine storage, like groceries or a child’s sports equipment.
We keep a locked truck bed box in our daily drivers, and two backup older Chevy Blazers with enough food, water, clothing, emergency medical supplies, ammo (and tools) so that we could survive for up to a week without returning home. A space tire is mounted beneath the vehicle in addition to a donut tire in a wheel well built into the truck.
How Much Stuff Am I Taking With Me?
How much space is needed to transport preps, people, and animals (both livestock and domestic pets) will vary greatly by family or tribe (my favorite term for mutual assistance group).
Before even thinking about buying, building, or retrofitting a vehicle of any type to become a bugout vehicle you must not only take a complete inventory of what you believe is essential to take with you, but factor in how the extra weight will impact fuel usage, speed, and tire wear.
Thoroughly review the specs of any vehicle you plan on using to bug out, and do a test run if at all possible to make sure it will work in reality like it does in theory.
Do SUVs and Trucks Make Good Bugout Vehicles?
The short answer is yes, but both have their pros and cons. If you want to harden any vehicle to make it more EMP-proof and bullet resistant, there will be a substantial cost involved – especially when converting a conventional vehicle like a pickup truck or SUV into a bugout vehicle, as opposed to doing the same with a military surplus truck or heavy-duty all-terrain vehicle.
Smaller vehicles, like a 4-wheel drive Chevy Blazer will haul fewer preps and people, but will have better gas mileage than a larger SUV or truck – and can still haul a trailer.
Benefits of Vehicles with Modular Interiors
A modular interior vehicle basically refers to a camper or motorhome – an RV. When using a recreational vehicle as a bugout vehicle you have two options: leave it as is, or remove the interior so it can hold more survival gear and people.
Even though my family’s plan is to bug in and not out, we have multiple potential bugout vehicles – including a camper and a motorhome on our property. Our plan is to use these RVs for living quarters for tribe members and outposts, but as all preppers know, even well-laid plans must be adaptable to sudden change.
Both a camper and a motorhome are multi-use bugout vehicles. They are great hiding in plain sight preps that won’t alert neighbors to your survival planning, can be used both for vacation and weekend self-reliance training purposes, as housing for members of your tribe, and as a bugout vehicle.
Reliability is key when purchasing any bugout vehicle. If your campers or motorhomes are primarily stationary (as ours are), try to move them or run them occasionally, just like you test your generators to make sure both they and all of their components are in working order and the tires are not allowed to bow, rot, or swell from sitting in the same place for months or years on end.
Do ATVs Have Value as Bugout Vehicles?
The answer to that question is a resounding yes. A 4WD ATV can get you in and out of about anywhere, especially when equipped with a wench.
Depending on the type, ATVs can haul as much gear or people as a small car when a trailer is attached. Trailers must not only be durable, but equipped with quality all-terrain tires to be able to follow the 4-wheeler into rugged terrain without getting stuck or tipping.
Although an ATV might not (and likely should not) be your primary bugout vehicle, it can be used to scout in front of your main bugout vehicle or convoy, go on runs after you have reached your bugout location, or be used as a quick escape vehicle.
If the SUV, truck, camper, etc. gets stuck or is blocked due to stalled traffic on a roadway as conditions become too dangerous to wait for the congestion to clear up, you’ll be glad you had an ATV.
A side-by-side ATV, like our Polaris Ranger, a Gator, Rhino, or other similar models readily available on the market can carry more people, supplies, and pull a heavier trailer than most 4-wheelers.
While both types of ATVs are readily capable of climbing steep and rugged hills and traversing rugged off-road conditions as you will see in the videos below, the width of side-by-side ATVs can make them a bit more difficult to navigate between trees in heavily wooded areas – as can a wide or long trailer.
Both 4-wheelers and side-by-sides are capable of hitting speeds of 40 miles-per-hour. Leading your bugout caravan with a 4-wheeler or side-by-side will also help pave a safe path for your primary bugout vehicle.
Another advantage to using an ATV as part of your bugout plan is their small stature. They can be parked on cardboard or wood inside of a standard garden shed or metal pole barn garage – turning it effectively into a Faraday cage that can protect them from an EMP.
Over the weekend, my husband and I took the Ranger through an overgrown and marshy part of our woods to clear out a path by our “private beach”, and a secluded berry picking area.
The beach is a soft section of sand about as long and wide as two pickup trucks that has a river birch tree growing on it right next to a creek. The grandkiddos love going there to play, explore, and learn self-reliance skills.
The Ranger quickly knocked down small trees, tall weeds, briar bushes, and even some entwined grapevine that had grown over the trail we used frequently several months ago during the spring.
Should I Invest in Trailers for Bugging Out?
Every vehicle in your bugout vehicle “fleet” should also have a trailer to pull. There are trailers of a suitable weight and length to fit any ATV, UTV, camper, SUV, or truck.
Building sides onto a trailer will allow you to haul more supplies and/or people in it, as well as increasing the likelihood that it could double as sleeping quarters during a bugout situation.
This trailer is ideal for pulling behind an ATV or side-by-side. Ball dimensions are not necessarily universal, you may need to purchase several to attach to hitches, so any vehicle is capable of pulling any trailer you make or purchase.
This trailer can be pulled behind an ATV, side-by-side, SUV, or pickup truck.
Put your livestock to work for you, and train them to cart so they too can pull a trailer over rugged off-road terrain.
During a long-term disaster, horses will make not only dependable bugout “vehicles”, but can be used on the survival homestead both now and after disaster strikes for agriculture work, logging, and to have transportation during the rebuilding phase after TEOTWAWKI event creates a new normal in society.
Horses do not require traditional fuel to “run”, but you will have to stock up on bags of grain, and have enough land to bale hay for winter consumption – in addition to pasture during the warm months of the year.
If you do not have adequate land to keep horses today, it might be possible to board them nearby to use during a bugout situation, and allow them to live and eat via your fenced lawn and your neighbors (as a barter) during a SHTF event after retrieving them from their boarded stall.
Any bugout mode of transportation that is not present at your home is not advisable. If the boarding location is located between your work and your residence, the horses could be a life-saver if roads become impassable before you can reach your home and family.
Yes, even livestock trailers can be highly beneficial during a bugout situation. Not only can they haul preps and people, they can also be easily and cheaply be retrofitted to be used as primitive living quarters.
Having a livestock trailer in your bugout vehicle fleet will help make at least part of your survival homestead portable. If you incorporate a livestock trailer into your bugout plan, you can haul rabbits, chickens, ducks, and goats – along with some feed, straw, and hay, with you to your next location – it’s the survival version of meals on wheels.
Consider investing in a section of portable step-in electrical fencing and a solar charger so you can create a small containment area for small to medium livestock. If you buy some bird netting as well, the containment area can be used to let the chickens and ducks forage for bugs, too.
Other Great Non-Traditional Bugout ‘Vehicle’ Options
We have several other multi-use bugout vehicles in the works on our homesteading retreat. If you live in an area with waterways, or especially if a creek runs along your property, investing in a boat, canoe, kayak, or amphibious vehicle for use as a bugout “vehicle” might be especially useful.
However you choose to define exactly what a bugout vehicle is, and determine the best types to suit your needs and location, three constants remain. All bugout transportation options must be affordable, dependable, and easily “fixable.”
When buying a vehicle of any type to use during a bugout, it is highly recommended to invest in something that not only can you fix yourself, but parts are readily available in your area to buy both new and used – and to “source’ from abandoned vehicles throughout a long-term disaster.
Tara Dodrill is a homesteading and survival journalist and author. She lives on a small ranch with her family in Appalachia. She has been both a host and frequent guest on preparedness radio shows. In addition to the publication of her first book, ‘Power Grid Down: How to Prepare, Survive, and Thrive after the Lights go Out’, Dodrill also travels to offer prepping tips and hands-on training and survival camps and expos.
32 thoughts on “Best Bug Out Vehicles Re-Imagined”
I think you missed the best Bug out vehicle : The Deuce & 1/2. If it won’t go with a high air intake fitting, I’m not sure you need to get there. There’s enough around at reasonable prices, and with chains you can’t beat ’em in the snow. And you can have 10 wheels driving, which pretty well ensures passage in most conditions. In my mind the perfect bug out vehicle would be a Chinook helicopter: CH-47F with 2 5,000hp engines, top speed on excess of 175mph, extended fuel range of 400 miles, and 21,000 lbs freight. Now it must have the M134D Dillion minigun on each side and the rear and front, of course. Which you cannot get because Uncle Sam doesn’t want people flying around with a possible rate of fire of 24,000 rounds per minute. Just give me the $38.5 million chopper and training money : I don’t know how to fly!!
This is a great farm and off road vehicle; but, for post SHTF it has some issues, first being an obvious target for people who think they need it more than you do, and the combination of lack of fueling stations and it’s low mileage of about 12-15 MPG. A full 50 gallon fuel tank even @ 10 MPG gives it good range; but, filling that tank post SHTF would be an issue, unless you stash a lot of diesel, kerosene, or fuel oil. There is biodiesel that can be made from waste vegetable oil; but, trying to get waste oil even now is nearly impossible.
Once again the fuel issue is the big issue, since this bird holds twice the fuel load of the Deuce (approx 1000 gallons); but, consumes it at nearly 400 gallons per hour. A helicopter was always my perfect remote site vehicle; but, when I was out of college and started looking seriously at costs, it was simply out of my range without that winning lottery ticket. A smaller bird like the Hughes 500 might be ideal; but, they still run north of $1M. When I took my fixed wing lessons and ran out of cash, I looked at rotary wing; but, they were even more costly, running about $150.00 wet per hour, back in the 1990’s.
I guess we can all dream. LOL
Actually, if you can afford the bird, you can probably get that “Dillon” gun. I have seen mini-guns at the Ohio Gun Collectors Association annual meeting and private show back in the late 1990’s and they were for sale. You would of course first have to get the tax stamp, a mere $200 and 12 months waiting, and back then you could transfer one of them to your vehicle for a mere $35-40000.00; but, I suspect that price is a lot higher now since the 1986 pool restrictions limit the number available and supply and demand always increase prices on a limited supply.
Quite honestly, if someone gave me one, I could not afford to shoot it.
You’re one of those guys who JUST HAVE to bring a dreamer back to reality, aren’t you? I don’t really mind to tell the truth. It just seems to my feeble brain if you’re going to go, it might a well be 1st Class. I defer to your most respected service for our nation and experience., of which mine was cut short in a near fatal collision after enlisting in the Corps and not even getting to MCRD. Ruined my dreams but good. No spleen, they said. We don’t take people with missing parts. For some reason, I did get an honorable discharge, even though I only had 3 days credit in the Delayed Pool. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it did keep me from being drafted 4 years later in Chicago, when any fool could see that after 1800 years of fighting the Chinese and other invaders, they had to be totally exterminated. And the idiots in the White House had no idea that the idea of taking ground is to hold it and keep gaining it, not turning around and bugging out. It would have made me sick to have to give up for what I had fought for and then just leave it. No can do. So, thank you for your service and putting your life on the line. You’re a fine man and I hope you have a long and happy life and oodles of grandchildren to enjoy it with.
When you state:
I’ve been doing this prepping thing seriously for most of 40 years, and while we all can dream, that cold splash of water in the face is unfortunately necessary for a successful outcome.
While your post was placed where it appeared to address me, I suspect when you stated:
Means it was probably intended for Zulu 3-6. You seem to be new to this forum and I’ll ask you to do what most of us now do, and place an attribution on your posts for the intended recipient, as I did above with your Nom De Plume: DHConner
In any case, while keeping a firm hand on reality, never stop planning and dreaming.
Yeah–it got out of place and I don’t understand why or how. I accept your suggestions and will use them in the future, IF the Almighty Computer System will let me. I have found in the past that sometimes, no matter what you want and try to do, the Malevolence of the Machine will not allow it. DHConner is my real name- I don’t use false names or identities.. If I’m man enough to say it then I’m either man enough to be honest about who I am, or keep my face shut and say nothing.
Neither do most of us, since often the ordering of things seems a mystery and we do the best we can. If the configuration would allow a Reply link under each comment, thins would work with ease; but, for now you just have to chase back up the page and try to find the insertion point with crossed fingers.
” Malevolence of the Machine?”
I’ve been working with, programming, and designing computers and systems for more than 50 years, and they are just simple slaves to our instructions with no malevolence even possible; however, when a human sets up those commands and instructions, lack of care and testing can often frustrate those who have to use the things. This is especially true with Microsoft Windows products, that have never quite worked like they should with all of the years they have been around.
I attempt to not disrespect others; but, like many here, do use a nom de plume primarily for OPSEC. Telling the world on an open forum that you have firearms & ammunition, food & water, plus a shelter with various power sources, can be just inviting persons of ill repute to see what they can take, even before the SHTF; but, especially afterword.
If they can get beyond the 700 yard post they may have a chance, but I doubt it. While it may seem to be begging for trouble, the terrain makes it impossible minus %0.000001 of getting where they think they are going. With numerous false hides booby trapped “on demand” and fields of fired crossing each other. we are about as safe as possible unless Uncle Sam comes in with the really Bad Boys. Then, nobody is safe. Osama Bin Laden is proof of that. But your average street rabble has infinity minus 1 chances of doing that. We have the full gamut of anti trespass equipment in place, and test it regularly, and rotate it out of stock for last ditch reserves. If a Warthog comes visiting, then the whole place will be toast, on the surface. But deep down, with different paths to evasion, we’ll be ok. I think. I do appreciate your comments and take for the well intended advice they are meant to be. Nothing is ever perfect, and every plan is gone sideways when the action starts and none of us can think of every thing, which is what people like you so valuable and much appreciated. C’est la vie.
wow Ohio you’ve been working with, programming, and designing computers and systems since 1969 LOL impressive
Yeah, TOP has been working with computers since they used slabs of stone as monitors and had to chisel words onto them. 🙂
I started working with electronics in the late 1950’s under the tutelage of my father and started programming during my junior year in high school (1967-1968 in FORTRAN II) as part of an advanced mathematics class. In college I passed proficiencies for FORTRAN IV and worked with several other machines in machine language. Over my career I’ve programmed in a dozen or more languages on an equal number of architectures, finding a niche in embedded programming, where understanding both the hardware and the software was an advantage that kept me employed and well paid.
Not as much as really lucky and ambitious. I always loved science and math, and attending a high school back in the 1960’s that had any kind of computer access was rare and a lucky thing that got me started on a fun and well paid career
They say that if you find a job you love you’ll never work a day in your life, and I had that job, for more than 40 years working for 5 companies including one I cofounded, as well as consulting for a few others.
Zulu 3-6 & Steve,
I’m not quite that old. I started with an Abacus, not a slab & chisel. In college my personal kit included a graphing calculator, consisting of a Post Versalog II Slide Rule (plastic coated bamboo), a straight edge, Bezier curve template, #2 pencil and graph paper.
Kids today don’t know how good they have it, LOL.
Yeah, I know you don’t go quite that far back, but it was a hanging curve ball I couldn’t resist. 🙂
And you are quite correct. Kids these day’s really don’t know how good they have it.
Hey, we’re only human, and I’ve been known to hit a few of those myself when just dangled there as bait. LOL
I said this kind of tongue in cheek, since while graphing equations by hand one point at a time was a PITA; I really learned how the equations worked and how each variable affected the result. Today you can enter the variable values, push a button, and the graph ”magically” appears in front of you.
This technology can be great for productivity; but, who checks the results for accuracy? Programs creating programs and simulations with fewer smart core knowledgeable people involved, along with budget and time crunches no doubt leads to things like the Boeing 737 Max problems.
So if next up is autonomous Lyft & Uber, followed by autonomous flying cars, who does the beta testing?
As an engineer I’m intrigued; but, still a bit wary of the level of testing in a real world environment. Think heavy city traffic with flashing lights, buildings, other vehicles, in a fog or sleet condition. In theory, Ultrasonic’s, LIDAR and inter-vehicle communications should work; but, we all still occasionally see that blue screen of Death.
Locally here at Honda R&D they are testing such things, so I guess it is inevitable and if inexpensive enough, would be a blessing for me.
I wouldn’t be able to even come close to doing the math necessary to graph equations, even on a graphing calculator. Math and I just do not see eye-to-eye. As a paramedic, I had to keep the medication dose equations on a laminated card in my pocket and taped inside all of the drug boxes. With experience, I could manage most of them out of memory, but not all. To this day, I do not have the multiplication tables fully memorized. Pretty pathetic, actually.
This is an interesting conversation, almost In real time. LOL
With the proper training, I suspect you could learn it. The problem is that some people get a mental block with just the jargon. Say the simple word ”Algebra” and eyes glaze over; but, ask someone how to divide 1 ½ dozen eggs among 6 people and they easily get the answer: ”3’, not realizing that they just did Algebra in their heads.
I still have to look up equations for some things, at least to refresh my memory, since at our age, there’s a lot of stuff up there to sort out and keep straight, and in your paramedic case, a mistake could be tragic, so no problem looking up things there.
WOW. I had them memorized by age 7 or 8; but, this fits the newest math curriculum: ”Common Core” where students are taught concepts instead of memorization. Personally I think both are necessary, since while learning the concepts, you don’t have to stop and think about a simple multiplication or division problem and interrupt the thought process.
It can however, provide an interesting and potentially healthy challenge for you. There seems to be some evidence that making the brain work can help guard against dementia or Alzheimer’s, so learning these tables, even at our age could be a quiet thing to do instead of counting sheep. LOL.
My brain workout for now is relearning to copy the Morse code. I can still pound out 20 or 30 words per minute on a straight key; but, send it back at me, and I quickly get stumped, so this is my current challenge, among others.
My DD was wicked smart and originally wanted to study astrophysics; but, one she started looking at colleges and curriculum, she ended up with neuroscience, since she realized, and told me, that math wasn’t intuitive enough for persuing physics.
We all use our best attributes and make our way in the world as best we can, hopefully leaving something of value behind and I suspect you and I fit that billet.
Here’s a funny thing. While in the Marines, I was sent to a school to qualify as an Embarkation Assistant. The job was to keep track of my unit’s equipment, embarkation boxes and containers, dunnage, and calculate weights, cubic measurements, etc, for putting all our crap aboard an amphibious landing ship or cargo aircraft. Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck because I knew there was a lot of math involved.
However, on the first day they told us that starting with that class, we could use electronic calculators. Reprieve! I owned an early Texas Instruments calculator and went to town. Believe it or not, I set an academic record for that class at 98%. Without the calculator, I’m not certain I would have even passed.
We also had to learn how to code for the old fashioned computer punch cards. We filled those out, printing by hand, sent them to (I think) Division G-4, and they had the cards punched and sent back to us for review and to place in our files. We also got a big old fan printout of all our stuff.
I always swore I would never become a soccer mom and drive a minivan. Yet I do now(as a grandma), and will never look back. Yes, it has it’s drawbacks (doesn’t have the tire clearance of a truck, it’s not 4wd) but it’s inconspicuous and can carry a lot of gear while carrying a family. It can also tow a small trailer or camper.
We had a minivan we purchased new in 2000 and just recently got rid of it. While it was not meant for off road, it did carry a lot of gear on some rather long trips. We might still have it were it not for two encounters with whitetail deer over the years. Our current newest vehicle is an all wheel drive SUV that with no kids or grandkids to haul would do OK, should we be forced to bug out; but, our plans do not include that option, since rather than going to the proverbial mountain, it will come to us, as in we will shelter in place with others coming here, and they know who they are.
In a pinch, you & the DH could be among them, since you would bring skills.
I was born in my own home> my bedroom windows usually had 1/4 to 1/2 inch of ice on them. Just a gas heater in the downstairs living room and the kitchen gas stove. Just cold running water. Bath in a wash tub. Outhouse, Minimal electric lightening in a small NE Iowa town. In the garden as soon as I could walk. Mowing with a cast iron bodied push mower at 5. lots of time on my Grandpa and grandma’s farm helping with the chickens, cows, pigs, and sheep. Cleaning up the coop, hog house, cattle shelter, and sheep pen. All that went to pile near the 1 acre garden. Mom and Grandma usually canned 700 to 900 quarts a year. My sister and I both worked with them. Helped put hay in the mow. Pulled weed in the beans and corn. Shoveled snow. We know how work. I shot competition for several years but gave it up when I went OTR. Welded, lots of construction labor-buildings, highway, foundations, walls, floors and decks, erected scaffolding. Worked with just about every trade you can think of, and know something about all of them, or can find the info I need to get the job done. If I am the DH you referred to, thank you. If not, then thank you anyway and dig in deep for the long haul, which if it really goes sideways all that old time country doctorin’ and knowledge will be priceless. God Bless you, Keep you, and make His face to smile upon you. Let me know when you get to be 100-I surely hope you do.
Since Grammyprepper is probably working today and won’t be checking email until later, I thought I would clear up something.
While I didn’t grow up in quite the same austere environment you did, I also spent time on farms of relatives, used push mowers, and understand hard work, which obviously didn’t kill either of us.
When you state:
I was the one who mentioned DH when I replied to her:
This was a mention to her husband, both of whom are friends.
We often use shorthand on the forums with DW (Dear Wife), DH, (Dear Husband) FIL (Father in law), MIL, etc.
It can be confusing; but, I noted you added her attribution to your reply, and everything we do like that helps end the confusion. I’ll hit 100 more than a decade before Grammyprepper; but really don’t hold out much hope for that number still more than 30 years away.
You and I and all of us will do OK I think, simply because we look to the future and acknowledge that things could go sideways, and have a plan.
Hi ! in the Caucuses Mountains there exists among all the world’s population one of the most numerous groups people 100 years and older. These are not restricted to just one nation but rather throughout the mountain ranges 80 and 90 years is common. It is thought to be because of the hard work, demanding physical conditions, the lack of the crap food we Americans so readily gobble down, and genetic factors: the strong survive and the weak perish. They don’t practice female infanticide which is depravedly common in China, so those genes get passed down. It’s a subject I want to get more learnin’ on. It’s fascinating that so many people so old should live that long in such geographically tough locations. I’ve got to get myself off my fat backside and go for a walk. I had both knees replaced 3 years ago and now I can finally do a deep knee bend. $100,000 which insurance covered almost all of and way too long to fully recover-about six months ago, finally. Ate like the happiest hog in the world: both front feet in the trough, and I look it too. Like a hog’s head barrel on legs. Disgusting to look in the mirror. Take care, and despite what Satchel Paige said about not lookin’ back, that something might be gaining on you, I say swivel that noggin’ regularly- in those mountains you never know what might be pacing you or a sneakin’ up on you. Or even here in Des Moines, Iowa. 6 months ago the cops killed a 2 year old mountain lion or panther or painter or what ever you call that great big kitty, just 6 blocks from an elementary school. They’ve killed at least 4 in Omaha, Ne. in the last 2 years. Once in a while a black bear will wander into the NE corner of the state. but they usually go back home to Wisconsin or Minnesota.
Here in Florida, we have all kinds of wildlife that can take a chunk out of you if it suits them and you’re not watching. Chief among them are alligators. Anywhere there is water in Florida, you can almost bet there is at least one gator to be found, even in the cities. We also have black bears, but here in the big city (Orlando) its rare to see a black bear, but not uncommon in the more rural areas. Lots of coyotes too, even in the city. Of course, sharks if you swim in the ocean. Wander into the Everglades and you might run into a Burmese python (legal to kill on sight as they are very much an invasive species). The damned things even attack and eat gators, although they don’t always survive that meal.
Here in the Orlando area, we’ve been having a bit of a rabies breakout. Otters and raccoons mostly. Several people in my neighborhood (including one in my apartment complex) were bitten by a rabid otter a couple of months ago. The otter has been since killed by the police and tested positive. The bitten people had to get the rabies series, which is not as draconian as it used to be.
I lived on Clearwater Beach Island when I was 18 and right behind the sub pens in Ft. Lauderdale at 20. I was a welder for E& I Construction in Lauderdale, which was on a canal at the SW edge of the city. These crazy men had a pet alligator which appeared promptly at noon every day for lunch – dead chicken. Needless to say, I kept a decent distance from the damned thing. They said it wouldn’t hurt you, but I told them that after 300 million years they didn’t give damn what they ate, and that I was not going to “join” then for lunch. On CB Island I was a cabana boy, with all the female assets that come as perks with the job. Oh, those were the glory days ! When I think of all the darlings I didn’t get around to, it breaks my heart. But, at 72, bygones are bygones, and wonderfully remembered. I NEVER went in the bush. I don’t like Coral Snakes. My sister was a nurse at Ft. Meyers Hospital, and a month before a guy came in complaining that this (direct quote) “Pretty little red and black and yellow banded snake bit me on the finger”. It cost $300,000 to keep him alive, and 30 days later he went home, having been in super-high intensive care and gradually upgraded as he improved. Lost the finger though. And there are the Pygmy rattlesnakes. And the Eastern Diamondback, the largest and longest of all Rattlers. And Copperheads. Worked with a welder at PDM in Des Moines (we built the St. Louis Arch) who put his hand on one in the dark at Ft. Hood on night exercise. Two weeks in sick bay and a nasty white scar between his thumb and first finger right hand. And Water Moccasins. Nasty tempers. Puma’s. Black Bears. Giant alligator turtles. “No See’ums” that drift with the wind out of the glades. Left my ankles bloody many times in Lauderdale; scratching in my sleep. Now Lauderdale did have it’s beautiful side; thousands of winsome young lasses, of which I partook the most and best I could. But even a physically rock hard bodied 20 year old could only muster so much. But: I really tried, I truly did. And as to all the other nasties you have there, well, only the beaches and the Miami Serpentarium hold much interest for me, along with the truly historical places. But boonies? No, sir. No way. Those damned pythons are just about everywhere and I wonder how many kids have gone missing to gators and snakes. Your response is appreciated- after 50 years since I was last in FLA,. a lot has changed, and I thank you for informing me. Stay safe, and enjoy your retirement.
Whether a bug out or the vehicle is important depends on several things. Whatever, the vehicle expense, it most likely pales in comparison to the cost of purchasing and maintaining a bug out location, and in our case we really have neither. We have lived at our bug in location now for 35 years and are still slowly upgrading our capabilities, planning on staying here whatever happens.
We pretty much have the same attitude and plans and I suspect yours may also change over time. You are about 20 years younger than me and no matter how active you may be in the next 20 years, age, even under the best of circumstances, takes its toll and makes you reconsider your circumstances and plans.
True, and in our case that is a single driver on the premises, at least for operating vehicles on the roads and highways today. We will of course have people coming here that can drive and will bring skills and resources with them, during and after a bad event.
I agree that this is the most likely case, and even now on the farm we see youngsters driving trucks and farm equipment on the private roads of their farms, so there may be a lot of rural kids quite ready for this.
Purchasing a large military style truck, old school bus, or a tractor-trailer would allow you to take a lot of preps with you when bugging out and provide a place to sleep (and have space for exterior vertical gardening) as well, but each of these modes of transportation have mileage issues and will require extensive refueling if your bugout location is not located fairly close.
The summer before last we borrowed a camper from a friend for a week that was used primarily as sleeping quarters for my two sisters who were visiting. While we have lots of space (12 rooms with 4 bedrooms), we have cats and the youngest sister is highly allergic, so this worked as sleeping quarters; but, could have served as full time quarters is needed.
As for not alerting neighbors, this thing stuck out like a sore thumb; but only because it was new to the property, and most of my neighbors know we have preps, since all of them do the same, known around here as prudent rural living.
First of all, parking one on wood or cardboard isn’t required, since they have insulating tires; but, relying on a metal shed to protect from EMP is probably not a good idea, since most metal sheds are not electrically sealed. They however ”might” offer a modicum of protection. We currently have no ATV; but, one is on the long term list.
We have the little horse, harness & a cart; but, she’s old enough that long term that may not be the best idea for us; however, the local Amish use horsepower for nearly all of their transportation and farming requirements.
TOP and Tara,
Driving a military M-35 2-1/2 ton truck was my main job in Vietnam. Mine was fresh out of re-work and I could get it up to 55mph (empty). The Army MPs didn’t like that as I could out-run their jeeps. But that’s another story.
The M-35 was a good truck when well driven and well maintained. However, some drivers thought they were the shizz and tried to split shift. A badly done split shift was guaranteed to wreck the transfer case and the truck was hard down and would have to be towed in. Split shifting was prohibited and not taught in truck driver’s school, so if you blew a split shift, it was guaranteed the cost of the transfer case was coming out of your pocket (they cost $600 in 1972), likely along with a stripe. I was a good boy and didn’t split shift.
A well used M-35 will probably have transfer case, transmission, and clutch issues. Anything in the drive train actually. Those items could not be repaired at the unit level, they were simply replaced with a new or rebuilt part, and the broken one sent to re-work to fix, if it was repairable. I don’t know how available tires are either. Plus they are dangerous to repair. They have a split-ring and the whole wheel/tire assembly has to be put into a steel cage to inflate. If the seal gave way, that split-ring would be sent flying and really mess up someone’s day if it hit them. I saw one go at the shop (in a cage) and it sounded like a mortar shell had gone off. People were diving for cover everywhere in the building. So that is another maintenance issue to worry about with an old M-35.
So the moral of this story is, unless the M-35 you want to buy has been 100% rebuilt by someone who knows what he was doing, it ain’t worth the maintenance grief you’ll have.
I think your summary here tells it all. I know of no one in this community that hasn’t seen one of these for sale, climbed around on it and kicked the tires; but, once you really think it through, it’s a beast of a vehicle and finding a place to park it unless you are rural, simple fueling and maintenance, even in good times could be a full time job. It’s pretty much the same for old tractors and other alternative vehicles and transportation, like horses, carts, buggies, and wagons. Any of these are a serious commitment in either time or money or both, and for most people, I suspect that any personal EOTW situation would not be enhanced by these. If however, I hit the big lottery, I’ll have one of these and other things, along with a staff to keep them maintained and running. LOL.
“Better” is an interesting word, and training a steer to pull a cart, wagon, or plow is quite a task, especially when horses in my area are plentiful, with Ohio being the quarter horse capital of the country, and with numerous large draft horses available all over my county and several surrounding it.
Historically that would be correct; but, here in the 21st century where even the Amish are anachronistic, using Oxen or other cattle breeds as a beast of burden is downright near impossible, especially when draft horses are readily available, and more easily trained.
This is the case for bovines whether you plan to train them as draft animals or not. Having raised horses (now down to 1) I think they are actually easier to raise; however, they are a more delicate animal from the perspective of what they can be fed, since things like moldy hay can be detrimental. While we find eating horses detestable, they have been used as human food going back a millennia and could be used like cattle post SHTF.
While I’m not sure of current prices, we could do the same here in a pinch and I also have the tools and skills to slaughter and butcher if need be; but, for the time being I can still afford to have others with better skills and tools, do this on my behalf.
Personally I like being able to afford my mechanical and other time and labor saving gadgets; but, having skills and options should the SHTF are in essence, the heart and soul of prepping; but, for now, I’ll continue to live my normal 21st century comfortable lifestyle, that gets better as I age. I could live more like the Amish; but, don’t have to eschew technology completely to do so, as many of the local Amish also do. Around here they understand that modern technology like cell phones can be a convenient tool, as long as they remain a convenience and don’t become a necessity. I try to plan my lifestyle the same way, enjoying life; but, with a plan to keep going should civilization collapse around me.
Keep in mind all new vehicles have the ability to disable the fuel pump post air bag deployment. Vehicle takes a hit that deploys an air bag there’s a really good chance the fuel pump will be disabled.
That diesel 3500 pickup gets hit in the side and deploys a side impact air bag real good chance that’s the end of the line for you non technical folks.
Just an FYI
Further more I don’t know of any manufactured still using an inertia switch. The disable command is usually over a private communication network from the SRS computer to the engine and or body computer to disable the fuel pump. So no “resetting the switch”
biodiesel is one option, personally i keep a copy of the old fema guide for wood gassifiers on hand. while i have strong doubts about the idea of bugging out (another term for it is refugee, with slightly better luggage) i do recognize fuel is a potential problem in a lot of situations. wood gassifers were perfected in the 40s to run trctors and trucks due to war time shortages in fuel (keep your tractor running with wood chips, and your farm truck). fema recognized the potential catastrophy in the 70s when there was an oil shortage (till more oil was found in the middle east), they realized the catastrophy that would happen if farmers couldn’t run tractors or move crops to market, so they issued out free guides to build wood gassifiers (free online today as a pdf, print copies no longer distributed). around here colleges build them for projects (better than the keg boat racing when the rivers thaw). the deepwter horizon spill happenedbeause the easy to reach oil is used up and we need to drill in harder to reach places, and the whole tar sands methods came about to extract second rate low qality fuel. it will only get worse, thats why there is more demand for developing alternative energy. oil will never be used up but it will get to where its cost prohibitive. biodisel is a good back up fuel, anumber of farms around here run their equipment on it, but i felt it beneficial to remind people that wood gassifiers can and have been used to retrofit gasoline powered engines in hard times.
I also have a copy, kept as a pdf, and played with the technology perhaps 25-30 years ago, when I was also experimenting with making my own charcoal, which is a byproduct of creating wood gas. In a pinch I could do it again; but, while it’s a simple process, actually making enough in real-time to run an engine will really keep you hopping.
“Slightly better luggage”? LOL. I’ve never heard this part before; but, concur on your bugging out being just a refugee, especially since we have worked long and hard to have a safe and maintainable place to bug in.
True and they could well be viable again if you are a bit handy and have the right inexpensive parts on hand.
The Deep Water Horizon leak happened 9 years ago next week, and while it was a problem, it was certainly not the catalyst for the development of alternative extraction methods, once we discovered the size and potential of the Mid-Continent Oil Field. Actually the Permian Basin in West Texas has lots of easily available high quality oil that has helped the US become the largest producer of petroleum products in the world. Our biggest problem is transportation and on the president’s recent trip to Texas, he was addressing the addition of long delayed pipelines to that end.
As for the leak being a catalyst for alternative energy, I would disagree. Wind, Solar, and Nuclear have always been part of a large scale plan; but, many of the “Green New Deal” socialists who seem to be ignorant of science or economics are pushing hard, since it would give them control and ease their dread of income inequality, that will happen when we are all force to live in common poverty.
It is cost prohibitive right now, with the per barrel (42 gallons) price of WTI sitting @ $63.67 as I write this. Many companies need a slightly higher price than that just to break even.
I agree on using wood gas as a backup fuel; but, biodiesel still has the sourcing problem, meaning you have to find the waste vegetable oil somewhere, and it has become increasingly harder to find.
I’ve played with it in the past and watched the following progression over the past 40+ years.
1. Fast food restaurants had gallons of used frying oil they were paying to have hauled away.
2. A local hippy with his VW bus shows up and asks for the oil to run his bus, and the restaurant owners sees a free way to get rid of his waste oil and grants permission.
3. Biodiesel and the process to make it catches on, and now others, including the local farmers approach that same restaurant owner wanting the oil.
4. The restaurant owner now has more people wanting his waste oil than he has oil, and perceives that it has become a valuable commodity, so he starts charging for it, perhaps only $0.20 per gallon.
Over time that oil that started as an expense, has now changed into an additional income, and all of that ”free” waste oil has become scarce.
the farms around here using biodiesel make it from chicken shit, they have commercial size eggaries so they have lots of it to work with, basically fermenting it and filtering it and using it to run trucks and tractors. i don’t know the entire prossess myself but it can be made from any similar waste product.
most of my asssessments come based on personal need. as with my gasifier plan i only have a little over an acre to plow for my garden, then i have lots of other areas i need to improve. while i have worked 200×75 gardens with wheel hoes (i wrote an article for backwoods home magazine or self reliance on refurbishing one) it would be much less work to just drive my ford 641 around with the plow then the drag harrow. or to cut hay with a sythe and load it on a wagon and use the trctor to move it to the barn, limiting the tractors use but still getting the most criticl work done. i am a homestead type farmer, not a commercial opperator. as per the horse or ox discussed above i am looking from my own resources. a horse costs a lot more, and is a lot more demanding on resources to keep.