There is a lot of information and variety out there as to what preppers specifically need to stock up on, pack, and carry in terms of necessary survival supplies and equipment when ‘bugging out’.
But you won’t find much about the actual physical movement during your actual journey, and specific modes of transportation.
Why? Perhaps most of us take for ‘granted’ that any traveling is usually on four rubber wheels and depending upon how new and luxurious the ride is, that’s about as good as it gets for the big escape from New York.
But our cars are like the horses were to the Old West. You simply don’t do much in life because you can’t really go anywhere without them! This means that while most preppers might be very well organized and supplied, far too many overlook this basic, but very important, necessity in their plans.
Estimates claim that only about 4 to 5% (but steadily growing) of the U.S population is interested in hard prepping, for major disasters or major SHTF scenarios. Like most of everything else in the related schema of emergency survival mobility, the determinate parameters depend upon your indigenous location, your destination habitat, and what you encounter “in-between”. For most people, their expenditure budget is also a major factor in planning for the end result.
Fortunately, there is a small niche of actual vehicles designed and created just for the state of the art purposes of extreme travel survival that you can get ’right off the shelf’ ready to go. And a few out there that simply would naturally work so well that they could have been primarily designed as a survival bug out vehicles (SBOV), even though they are not!
Here are some currently exemplary vehicles and overview that anyone who will be bugging out on anything but their feet could study to help make their own critical choices.
The list does not indicate or determine the actual Number One Best all around vehicle for obvious logic that not one vehicle fits everybody’s needs. Instead we have a loose descending order going from most expensive to the least expensive, that generally represents what most serious minded bug out preppers would likely wind up using or replicating. Check out the following for ’educational purposes’ and check out any websites of these vehicles for foundational details to get you ’started’.
NOTE: All prices in this article are approximate for standard new vehicles. Second hand vehicles are available for some of these models.
1. Knight X5 from Conquest Vehicles
When you hit the next Powerball numbers this is a ‘must have’ SBOV. Its main asset is that it is just so damn cool that not only will it impress your neighbors but any stragglers blocking traffic along your escape route will quickly be getting out of your way just because of the ‘intimidation factor’ with this very bad puppy.
If they didn’t move aside fast enough this 13,000 pound beast can easily plow through most vehicles in your way. It has everything any urban escape vehicle could desire from run-flat tires, to armor being able to stop anything anybody is likely to shoot at you on your way out of Dodge.
There’s enough square feet of roof area to set up a nice top cargo carrier for all the supplies you’ll need for any extended trip. You’d be surprised how many rich people or government agencies have these. It even has those special tinted windows that will freak out the cop when he stops you to write the ticket for having ’dangerously dark’ windows and…they suddenly aren’t dark anymore with the touch of a button!
Luxury options are almost endless and even James Bond’s equipment expert would be envious of this amazing piece of mechanical efficiency.
Who was the dummy that said money can’t buy everything?
2. Unicat Expeditionary Vehicle
This vehicle represents a world class level of getting anywhere one way or the other known as ‘Expeditionary’ vehicles. Kind of a Frankenstein Monster version of a pick up truck with a topper on its bed. There are other companies out there making versions of this theme, and it represents a need to utilize your SBOV platform for the dual purpose of living in it without the need to tow a camper.
Advantages and options are too many to list but this thing will definitely take you to places you’ve never been or even imagined you could go in a style that resembles more of a ’vacation’ than a survival mode. If you didn’t have or want a permanent BOL dwelling, then something like this is the next best thing offering maximum survivability and the versatility of anytime relocation escape.
The only downside is the heart attack you’ll get at the sticker price. Make sure you have your nitroglycerin pills in your pocket.
3. Earth Roamer XV-LT
Here is a not-so-distant cousin of the UNICAT factory tricked out as a bug out off grid survival vehicle and it is gaining popularity because while not inexpensive, it can be justified by many who also do recreational camping and travel trailer style touring.
It’s less obtrusive and blends in better than some of the others dedicated SBOV’s at first glance, because it’s manufactured on a Ford 550 Super Duty Chassis, and resembles standard camper/motor home models. But this thing is a poster child for End Times survival scenarios.
It comes ‘stock’ with a lot of well thought out off-grid mods that would be custom orders or unavailable anywhere else. Check out their website for some good ideas. Sleeps 4/6 relatively comfortably and has the towing capacity to easily pull another 25 foot camper trailer even at high altitudes.
Just don’t let your relatives or friends use it for a weekend ‘vacation‘. They might not bring it back!
4. Military Surplus Vehicles Like the Humvee
They are designed to be roadworthy for long distances and are manufactured to have the ability to take a beating while they easily traverse terrain that would usually stop a standard car or truck. Virtually all have extra protection against bullets, especially the new ones, and civilians can buy them – without military armament of course.
The newer Oshkosh Tactical Protector Vehicle, obviously looks like what it sounds like, a bulked up bull dog of a truck that doesn’t allow much to stop it or get in its way. And depending upon options, which would impress even your most bored teenagers, they can also deliver a sticker shock similar to a Tazer shot in your bottom if you get carried away with options like NBC protection and Night Vision Devices for driving.
There used to be some very good price deals on used early military surplus American Hummers, aka the ultimate off road 4X4’s, but much of the supply has now dried up. Other countries make and sell surplus armored personnel vehicles as well.
Definitely the way to go if you are in an area where you would seriously worry about fender benders or minor obstacles ruining your escape plans in a regular car. If they made it through places like Iraq and Somalia (Blackhawk Down), they’ll get you out of Chicago or LA, when the time comes.
5. Sportsmobile Adventure Vehicles
A scaled up steroidal version of a standard commercial Van. The idea behind this vehicle is that it’s a hybrid offering the heavy duty function of say a 1500/2500 series standard full size 4X4 pick up truck with the enclosed cargo utility of a standard Van.
This is an optimal SBOV platform for die hard preppers, especially in serious climate situations as it can double as a self sustainable off grid mini cabin’ that you can literally move around almost anywhere in remote areas at a moment’s notice if necessary since it is an intentionally serious off road 4X4 vehicle, as well. To do that, of course, requires careful thinking and construction by the company that sells it. That’s why you won’t find many of these in ‘Big Wally’s Dirt Cheap Used Car Sales’ lot.
This is a hot set up and an ideal ready to ‘rock’ SBOV that can double as your work transportation when your Chevy Volt won’t make it through the two feet of snow on your streets like the East Coast will get pounded with this week. If you can keep your kids from sequestering it as a personal ‘teen cave’ because of its ‘super cool’ living space when the roof is popped up, mom could even use it as a school soccer team bus in between serious missions to the shopping malls. And it will turn the heads of even the most narcissistic Range Rover owners.
Okay, now that you are taking a deep breath and saying to yourself, wait a minute! These are SBOV’s for people who use hundred dollar bills as campfire tinder? They’re wonderful but I can’t afford anything like that! Isn’t there something out there for us ‘PO-FOLK’ PREPPERS?
Funny you should mention that. The article theme was the ‘top’ SBOVs so naturally the definition of ‘tops’ is always directly proportional to cost in many ways. But that does not necessarily make the one you might be driving out of an exploding metropolis any better or worse than these super rides here. Good SBOV platforms share only a handful of ’traits’ considered essential to successful retreat by road. The rest of the ‘options’ matrix just makes a whole bad situation much easier to handle.
Five Important Necessary Requirements for SBOVs
1. Must be reliable. The definition of reliable comes down to the relative likelihood of it breaking down just at the worst possible time…like when you are still in the city limits, but too far to safely walk back to your house, and surrounded by people with looks on their faces telling you they want to steal your stuff and will definitely get violent in the process.
2. Your SBOV should be fast and reasonably rugged. Full size SUVs and pick-up trucks immediately fill this requirement. But there are some compact SUV’s and smaller trucks, and even some cars that would work well enough with certain options.
3. Should be a 4×4 with at least basic off road capability so that if the road is heavily blocked, it could cut across a field without getting stuck or traverse a rough road without too much under carriage damage or nudge other broken down or obstructing vehicles out of your way.
4. Ideally it would also have a range capacity of twice the distance to your BOL, either by auxiliary gas tanks or room to safely carry spare gas cans.
5. Be able to carry you and your immediate escape party comfortably and still have enough storage for supplies to sustain you in the event of a temporary delay or lengthy detour to your destination.
Well, now you feel better, don’t you? I’ll bet a can of spam that everybody reading this is already driving something that has at least two out of the five requirements? And the next few ‘top’ SBOV’s might pretty much reflect what you already have or are planning to check out?
6. Campa EVS
This is the little Brother of the Unicat Expeditionary style concept built on the Toyota midsized truck frame. Now before all you Duck Dynasty Gear Heads out there raise your upper lips, look down your noses, and start tugging on your beards, keep in mind the number one ‘military’ vehicle you see on the news all the time carrying heavy firepower and people in all these 3rd world countries…is a Toyota Truck.
Toyota reliability and performance has been a best kept ‘secret’ for a long time. And they do make a dedicated factory model for ‘excessive environments’ called the Toyota Land Cruiser which always had a good reputation for ‘survival’ use in those far away places.
This CAMPA is like a Swiss Army Knife that carries you, instead of the other way around. It has everything you need and want… and even more good things you want! Make sure you peruse their website for some amazing ideas, including wet frame storage capability! This is a very talented company with a good perspective on the ‘nature of the beast‘.
It’s not cheap and can be somewhat pricy depending on how you order it. But the sticker price won’t pop your eyeballs out considering that if you were going to DIY and buy all the modifications yourself, it would probably cost almost the same. Considering the skilled labor and tools involved to build something like this, it certainly would be ‘affordable’ for someone who can’t do this type of work.
The company is also considering a larger full size truck model which opens the door to using some of the great domestic truck platforms now made by the big three in America.
7. Full Size SUV’s and Pick Up Trucks
The standard factory 1500/2500 size trucks and their SUV versions on the same frames are fairly ubiquitous in the life style of the U.S. in a variety of personal and commercial usage. And as you’ll notice, they are the basic chassis and platforms for many of the high end custom SBOVs. Most of them in stock factory order configuration easily meet and surpass the 5 Basic SBOV requirements.
We particularly like the ones with the options that are offered for construction or utility trade buyers like built in air compressors, extra storage and battery compartments, and stuff like that. Some can be ordered factory equipped with a more ‘real’ 4×4 package to include locking axles/hubs or very limited slip differentials, larger off road style tires, and heavy duty/load suspensions, and even switchable or direct connect auxiliary gas tanks with separate fill caps making them hard to beat for potential ’Bang for the Buck’ as a good all around SBOV.
If you do your diligence, now’s the time to get an even better deal on a used one around five or six years old. Most of these don’t have the extreme odometer numbers because people weren’t driving them as much when gas prices were approaching four bucks a gallon.
I realize that bugging out is not anything like a soccer game, but lets face it. You will be surprised at how many mini-vans you’ll see escaping from New York jam packed and loaded down with everything hanging out of them but backyard swimming pool!
They have a surprising amount of cargo capability and mission utility because you can do things easily like seat removal for better sleep-in conditions, and installation of larger top rack carriers than cars. You can order new ones with all wheel/4×4 systems having some pretty impressive traction abilities.
Get it jacked up a bit for better skid plate clearance for when you go in the woods or run over ‘bad’ things on the highway and larger tires and a good ‘Deer guard’ and…Hit the ROAD! These are not only a good second vehicle, but most families use them as their primary vehicle because they are so nice and comfortable and versatile. With so many of them available, the price would be more than right for a good choice.
So motorcycles, one way or another, will definitely be a significant part of vast Bug Out herds as they ramrod themselves out of danger. Obviously the small scooters, mopeds and motor powered bicycles that get a hundred miles to the gallon would be a great piece of survival equipment to have when you can no longer just pop the debit card into the convenient local gas pump and fill up.
The small motor bikes would be good to have at your final survival location with a planned supply of fuel for future basic transportation or carried in/on your regular Bug out vehicle as a ‘back up’ mode of transportation. But although better than walking, they might be too dangerous to ride if you are escaping a major metropolitan area SHTF scenario. They lack the speed and protection to get you out of some likely danger, among other limitations.
On the other hand, a little larger bike around 600cc is usually faster than most cars. So you have an important advantage to escape and evade much easier if someone is chasing or trying to stop you. With the right tires it can travel soft off road ground, and can often easily maneuver through even stopped traffic by cutting between the cars.
While a motorcycle fits more in the category that meets the requirements just to get to an already set up for survival living BOL, it can carry enough equipment for you to camp out at length if you didn’t have a dedicated location.
They’re not for everybody, because obviously you have to learn how to drive them. But for one or two people who already know how to drive a motorcyle and/or have one, it’s not a bad choice. The only bad thing is their virtual uselessness in inclement weather, which makes them ‘location’ restricted-like in the West Coast or down South for all practical purposes.
While ‘boats’ do not represent a land utility vehicle as the preceding vehicles on the list, it can and definitely be considered a viable SBOV when you consider how much of the population in large city metropolitan areas everywhere are located on or very near the oceans and great lakes, and how many boats there actually are out there?
The Blue Water sailboats are seriously well equipped living units with everything from solar power to saltwater de-salting equipment for drinking water! And sails don’t need gas to get you there? But all have back up motors for specific application.
Plenty of perimeter security off shore if you are in shark infested waters! No shortage of protein in the great storage container right under your boat? And if you plan well, you might wind up ‘lost’ on a beautiful tropical island absent of any and all zombies?!
Major considerations for the choice of your SBOV begin with how ‘much’ of one are you going to need in terms of size of your travel group, and whether or not it is going to double as your BOL live-in unit, or just be used to get to one you already have set up elsewhere as fast as you can?
A bad choice in bug out transportation could seriously hurt your chances and maybe even get you killed, a good well thought out SBOV along side your preparedness program will help save your life. Think this out carefully.
So at the end of the bumpy road here, many of us seem to also want to know what really is the absolute best all around survival bug out vehicle for the average prepper. The logical conclusion would be that it just ‘depends’ due to the multiplicity of situational variables with each individual circumstance.
All things considered, the ‘best’ SBOV for one person may not be the best for somebody else. So the above list represents a profile of similar vehicles that will be the most prevalent among serious preppers. The list is always subject to debate in transitional applications which is a good thing, because by discussion and comparison the choices become more focused and clear as to what would suit you better for your particular situation.
If the future grants us the mercy of having more ’front time’ before the ’end times’, then mechanical science will also improve the ability to ’make it’ with new and constantly improved resources. People in modern industrialized nations and especially the U.S. are fortunate that it comes down to the idea that their life long ‘love affair’ with cars ‘gave back’ to them in the form of so many choices you can trust with your life. Most are not bad, but some are certainly ‘better’ than others for different applications.
In the end it comes down to this: The SBOV that You will ultimately know is the best, is the one you, and yours, arrive safe and sound in at your BOL destination.