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
There are more than a few selections of actual surplus or new military vehicles that are a top pick by many serious preppers by the nature of their military mission.
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.
There are so many motorcycles in the world that in places like Vietnam, China, or India, they are considered to be the standard family car!
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.
CW Stepp | February 2, 2015
The list for BOV’S are not in most peoples’ price range. Are there more vehicles that can be available at a good price (maybe used). Sure would help someone on a fixed income.
jeff | February 2, 2015
look at the Nissan pathfinders. 87-95 great dependable( see my post below ) they will go about anywhere
William White | February 2, 2015
Have to agree with Carlos. Plus my RAV-4 gives a much longer range and better gas mileage and any of the others (w/65,000 + mile I’m averaging 26+ miles on regular gas. It can take a beating and keep on ticking.
Mahatma Muhjesbude | February 3, 2015
As explained in the article this is a list of the ‘Top’ specifically oriented/dedicated Survival Bug out vehicles, and it’s a subjective reference for informational purposes. As was stated, almost any car will ‘work’ if it met most of the five criteria points. And when it all comes down to it, almost anything that gets you out, as the last paragraph says, had to have worked well enough, right?
But most any reliable vehicle that can carry what you need mostly already packed without interfering with your regular use of it is good. Otherwise ‘affordable’ is also a ‘relative subjectivity’. And it depends on your budget and what you can afford.
In otherwords there are not many ‘off the shelf’ dedicated survival/BOVs for a
few hundred bucks. unless it runs on human pedal power.
And like somebody mentioned here and was mentioned in the article also, used vehicles similar to the likes of Nissan pathfinders, older Jeeps, etc. can be a pretty good least expensive option.
SPBenavides | July 24, 2019
How about a Nissan Xterra ?
woody | February 2, 2015
Give me a International Scout. Hands down one of the best 4 x4s to ever hit the road. Not many around now and a good one has gotten expensive. I guess I will have to bug-in at home with my Kia Soul.
jeff | February 2, 2015
1987 to 1994 Nissan pathfinders aka doomsday vehicles. I believe these to be the answer. I have a 1994 4×4 v-6 5 speed. I paid 1200.00 for it 10 years ago with a broke timing belt. repaired it and it has never left me hanging once. just turned 290k on the odometer. best vehicle I have ever owned. my 8 year old told me he loves this vehicle. my response… good you will be driving it one day
Rupert Boone | February 2, 2015
You forgot the Mercedes AMG G3 6×6 –
Terry | February 2, 2015
If I had that kind of money I would just buy my way out of trouble LOL just have to do it with my Hemi 4×4
Mahatma Muhjesbude | February 3, 2015
Or how about this one. I know somebody in a Chicago Suburb that is going in the opposite direction to the Herd of Human Cattle on a relatively short and clear ride to a small local airstrip where he has his small light plane gassed up and ready to quickly load up and fly 200 miles up to his farm where he’ll land right on the frontage road and taxi into his barn! And he’s just an average auto mechanic working for a dealership.
DHARMA | January 13, 2017
How would that work in the event of an EMP?
Martin Doyle | October 7, 2019
small planes are simple distributor, carburetor and magneto engines… The radios may be fried, but the engine will definitely run… Follow the roads…
Steve | February 2, 2015
I hope all of these vehicles have the older ignition system in them, Remember electronic ignition will burn out during an EMF situation
Rory | February 2, 2015
WHERE can I buy a new Chevy Suburban for 48,000??????
Survivopedia | February 2, 2015
Rory, thank you for asking.
This is the approximate price for the standard version, we’ve mentioned that in a note within the article.
See the producer’s website, please.
Dan | February 2, 2015
How many of these would keep running after an EMP attack? Granted all would withstand a solar EMP event, but if they have any computer driven systems (ignition, fuel injectors, etc.) they will not run after an EMP attack by, say, a terrorist organization.
Survivopedia | February 2, 2015
Dan, good point! This is a question which will be answered very soon here, on Survivopedia.
Thank you for asking.
jeff | February 2, 2015
that is true. I guess at that point I would have to hop in my 1972 Datsun 510. not 4×4 but 250 hp in this 2100 lb car might help me get away as long as the roads are not closed
robert | October 9, 2016
Where did you get a 250 hp Datsun? I don’t think Datsun ever produced a 1972 vehicle with 250 horse power.
tom | February 2, 2015
EMP = overstated risk for cars/trucks
= UNDERSTATED risk for electric grid
REAL military EMP tests = very few dead cars
Lots of transformer / transmission line failures
Your number one problem is still
OTHER cars plugging up you road – Leave early – leave now!
A 1 billion dollar DOD study concluded the number one problem
facing people was …..PEOPLE
Mahatma Muhjesbude | February 3, 2015
Well, Dan, The complexity of even one HEMP (High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse) bomb attack by a terrorist group is pretty remotely beyond their primitive capabilities. And if a rogue nation such as NK or Russia entertains the delusion of such an attack, or facilitates terrorist orgs in any way shape or form with this sort of thing, it will be the last idea they ever try before there’s nothing left of their countries.
And it would take more than one so called Hemp to do significant damage of a TEOTWAWKI level across the entire counry. Similarly with standard nuclear attacks. Before that they’d be more interested in a much easier DIY dirty bomb ‘hack’ which wouldn’t do much damage anywhere but would have a lasting psychological effect which is still a good ‘bang for the buck’ mission result for them. As Tom alludes to, , the intentional panic hype is promoted by those who just want to sell Faraday cages. But There are ways to ‘minimize’ likelihood of your vehicles computer chip damage that maybe we’ll have to talk about further.
Bill in Idaho | July 25, 2019
Dan, My 1963 Jeepster C101 and my 1968 Intl. Scout will both be running.
Carlos | February 2, 2015
Great but the first 4 are ridiculously out of the $ range of most people. My RAV4 will have to do, LOL.
Mahatma Muhjesbude | February 4, 2015
I’m sure it will do its best, LOL! And that, of course was the point of the article.
Dale | February 2, 2015
The vehicle you showed are grate if you have the money for one . So I have a 1998 dodge two wheel drive full size pick up I keep in verry good shape it will have to use that because I’m on a fixed income . I think you could find something poor people can afford
Jeff Garrison | February 2, 2015
Great 4 wheeled vehicles but with fuel as a weak link.
chuck | February 2, 2015
My choice for a bug out vehicle is an old LAND ROVER. They are so basic it’s not even funny and they will go damn near anywhere! ( just not very fast) lol. I think every military in the world has used them at one time. You can spend as little or as much as you want.
jeff | February 3, 2015
I agree. I have owned a 62 and a 71. parts dirt cheap. I wish I would have kept one of them
Ken Watkins | February 9, 2015
My choice would be the articulated amphibious all-terrain LandMaster
Fox | February 3, 2015
Back in the late 70’s when my friends were investing in gold and silver I instead invested in high-end camping gear. My BOV was a Grumman 17 canoe. It is rated at 500 lbs of cargo with two passengers. I planned my escape from the city using existing waterways from central Indiana to as far south as the Gulf of Mexico.
My main concern was snipers on shore so I planned my travel for night operations and would use an IR reflective camo cover for holing up in daylight hours.
Back then they sold for $300 but now I think they are $1000.
Anyway, just another thought.
TampaBri | February 3, 2015
In Florida, our needs are different than in that “North”. I have a 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. Spacious, 4X2, roof racks, small-6 engine, A/C, low mileage, well-maintained, great clearance. It’s a keeper. I have DEEP LOVE of OLD VW Microbuses & ‘Things”. Easy to fix, and can pull small cheap Harbor Freight trailer, covered w/ camo tarp,
Pingback:My Top 10 Bug Out Vehicles | TheSurvivalPlaceBlog | February 3, 2015
Kent Frantzve | February 4, 2015
Sorry, but all of your top 10 BOVs suffer from the same fatal flaw. None are EMP resistant. The present day instabilities surrounding Iran, N. Korea, China and Russia pretty much guarantee that probably more sooner than later the U.S. will suffer a high altitude nuclear attack that would send us all back to the early 1800s in a nano-second. All of the fancy electronics in these vehicles would be fried, rendering them little more than shelter from the rain. You aint gettin outa Dodge if the reason for bugging out is a high altitude nuclear attack. BOVs utilizing 1950s and early 1960s mechanical/analog technology would be a smarter way to go. Sort of like comparing a B-25 to a Boeing-747 if you wanted to successfully fly out of town. Bottom-line is: if you are not already at your BOL when the SHTF, you probably won’t get there.
Mahatma Muhjesbude | February 4, 2015
Sorry Kent, but HEMPs are not the ‘most’ likely reason for Bugging Out. There are enough other much more likely scenarios to warrant the rationale. In fact, A HEMP bomb (not to be confused with your friend’s Pot Bong,lol!) is rather low on the TEOTWAWKI likelihood list for obvious reasons. Go check it out. So you can’t measure your SBOV on that alone. Not even on the so called massive CME’s (solar flares) from the Sun they are predicting next year.
Plus how do you know for ‘sure’ that your little car’s computer micro chip will be fried so you won’t be able to start it? There’s so much uncertainty and so many relative variables that the mythology went hysterical and grossly departed from the reality which is…
First, NOT all vehicles will will quit running in even the most severe solar flares or HEMPS. If your vehicle was parked in a below street level underground parking garage then you’d have a high likelihood of having your vehicle start right up, especially if it was all metal and the computer had better RF shielding like some do.
So your bottom line that if you’re not already in your BOL, when a serious EMP event hits you, you won’t get there is simply totally incorrect. Far more will be ‘bugging’ than you would imagine. Especially since EMP’s don’t affect bicycles or feet. But there will be many vehicles that just won’t be affected for one reason or another that nobody seems to be able to accurately articulate one way or another.
Also some of the military vehicles in the article are NBC protection rated. That ‘SHOULD’ imply that it could be able to withstand a nuclear electromagnetic pulse?
So before we get too hot and hyper on ‘what-ifs’ and ‘what-nots’, we should try to find out the reality check on the subject.
But don’t be stupid and totally dismiss having a halfway decently prepared SBOV just because just because only one of the numerous SHTF potentialities MIGHT ‘cancel your travel ticket’.
How would you explain THAT kind of stupidity to your wife or kids when you’re stuck in place fighting off psycho-zombs for the remainder of the short time you have left when you could have been relatively safely out of harms way if you thought it out carefully with a good escape plan.
Tampa Bri | February 4, 2015
We have no scientific proof as to The POWER of an EMF and it’s point of origin would effect our “Electronic World”. Although I DO take it seriously, I would like to see SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE (Fully tested by reliable sources) as WHAT a “Generic” EMF would have. This is only reasonable.
tom | February 4, 2015
Some real FACTS (If anyone actually cares)
Based on these test results, we expect few automobile effects at EMP field levels below 25 kV/m
In particular, in the United States Starfish Prime event in 1962, the maximum electric field pulse experienced in Hawaii was in the range of 5,000 to 5,600 volts per meter. The worst EMP effects of the Soviet tests over Kazakhstan were about 7,500 volts per meter in the area where problems were actually documented. The EMP may have been as high as 10,000 volts per meter in un-monitored areas of Kazakhstan, but not any higher.
Mahatma Muhjesbude | February 6, 2015
Well, I care, Tom, about reality info? Thanks for the pertinent expansion in determining actual power levels. I’m now just wondering what it takes in terms of overload amps to fry the micro circuitry in an average late model vehicle? And what the average vehicle can withstand?
Since an EMP is an expanded but very short lived outside sourced magnetic ‘field’, which is why it’s called a ‘pulse’, or burst of electrical energy in various calculations of watts, volts, and amperage. when it collapses, it causes an induced current in any relative electrical conducting material it contacts, the power of which, is dependent upon the initial potential of the field, and the damage of which, is relative to the resistance/conducting capacity of the conducting electrical receiver.
If that induced EMP current goes through a conductor/wires/integrated circuit board and is more than the conductors were designed to handle, then the overload could damage the conductors.
Whether you know it or not, many of us drive our cars under comparatively large EMPs in the form of AC pulses every day very high voltage power lines. And so our car radios used to blank out or static load when that happened until modern radios solved the problem? And we’ve already experienced several so-called damaging solar flares which have fried some sensitive electronic equipment, but NOT our cars? Even the more modern computer equipped ones?
While I’m a gear head level mechanic I simply don’t know much about newer car computers except maybe how to read the systems code device and then r&r the old one with a new one.
But Because manufacturers of such electronics can’t have stuff like this happening all the time i would think there would be some ‘extra’ measures taken to at least mitigate EMP events from doing any damage especially to things like vehicle computers out of liability factors, if nothing else? I’m pretty sure they are constructed either with heavier duty electronics than say cellphones’ and or proprietary shielding protection?
I know that in some advanced aircraft navigational circuitry the power boards definitely had curcuit plate overload protection–which might be the same thing as a capacitator absorption of overloading current and then a discharge to ground? And they couple this with extra RF and radiation shielding in form of a Nickle-lead metal covering. I’m pretty sure the delicate/sensitive satellite circuitry doesn’t sweat too many EMPs?
But this type of ‘shielding’ would not be the same as line surge protectors. These are just for direct power source into your electronics device. A large outside ambient pulse like from a nearby lightning strike bypasses the surge equipment and also fries a lot of other delicate stuff in your electronics.
But cars, are different from ‘grounded’ electronics. They are not ‘grounded’ to the road. That might have something to do with added protection from and EMP?
Bottom line is i think we worry too much about our cars being that susceptible to electromagnetic damage. The old ‘points and condensor ‘ igntion systems of the older cars won’t be affected.
So if you’re one of those preppers who likes all contingencies covered, especially your BOV, then look into it more. If you can ‘Faraday’ your cellphones, you certainly should be able to do the same to your car’s computer and ignition system if it really bothers you?
Jim Gumbert | July 24, 2019
In regards to your cars computer chip being damaged by an EMP from a nuclear detonation, Iit is more likely to be damaged by driving under or near overhead High Tension power lines during a high wind storm or a lightning strike! Both of which are at least a million to one shot of ever happening.
W.V. Bonds | February 4, 2015
Good article. Having attempted in 1965 to return home from my job site in Kearny, NJ, when 10:00 AM rolled around and the snow was to the wheel rim on my 1966 Falcon 4 door with studded 4 size oversized tires on the back, I decided to attempt to return home to Lincoln Park, NJ. I made it in about 2/12 hours instead of the usual 30 minutes.
There had been warnings issued and you were not supposed to be on the roads without chains, snow tires, etc. You can guess how many drivers observed that warning. They were scattered across both lanes both ways at the first incline, and out in the pastures side by side for about 200’ in both directions. With front to rear depth of 8 to 15 cars.
The Falcon had the 6 cylinder with automatic and enough power to spin the tires through the snow, then the ice and finally into the blacktop if the drift was too high. Got home and pulled a neighbor out of the ditch, doing considerable harm to the blacktop.
If you are really going to bug out (and at 80, I no longer intend to), better a couple of motorcycles or some hellacious track clearing front end equipment.
jimbow | February 4, 2015
in a true bug out all of the above forms of transportation would stand out to much, instead a old pickup (4 wheel drive maybe) or van might be better. The very first ones would be taken away by a govt looking for what they need. so good luck on going this route
Ron | February 6, 2015
MY BOV IS AN ARGO AMPHIBIOUS ALL TERRAINE VEHICLE TRUE 8 WHEEL DRIVE I HAVE NO INTENTION OF USING PAVEMENT TO GET OUT BUT RATHER CREEKS,SWAMPS,RIVERS AND POWER LINES IT DOES NOT HAVE ELECTRONIC IGNITION BUT R ATHER AN OLD FASHIONED CHOKE THEY ARE BUILT BY A COMPANY CALLED OMG IN ONTARIO AND THEY HAVE A WEBSITE, VERY TOUGH AND RELIABLE
jimbow | February 6, 2015
if it looks or works to good the govt will be looking in places they think they can find stuff to help in the shtf comes, you set up might go though am emp event, but the govt will know were and what to look for. so good luck. you may stand out to the drones that will be hunting for things.
Billy | February 7, 2015
I’ll just hang onto my Jeep, when it comes to getting “off grid” I wouldn’t want anything else.
stephen | February 10, 2015
If we are attack with any type of hemp, our cars may all still work, but if it fries our electrical grid. We might not be able to fuel them up. So we all have to make sure we have enough fuel on hand to get us to our destination. Another thought I have, what parts will be fried and can they be easily and quickly replace. If so , I would like to what those parts are. I’ll buy them and extra tools I need in my 4×4.
Mahatma Muhjesbude | February 10, 2015
Good point, Stephen. Gas stations usually don’t have back up power so if the major grids go down good luck on ‘filling up’ then, even if your vehicles computer is still okay. So you’d have to be able to at least have a full tank ahead of time and try to take as many spare cans as possible.
I believe Alec Deacon here on Survivopedia has a book on EMP protection which includes how to protect your vehicle. If not somebody will shortly be working on a ‘solution’.
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wesixcooks | November 5, 2015
We got a 2007 Hummer H3 for $13K. It has 4×4, full size spare, towing, decent hp, reliable, and definitely rugged. Probably need to look at expanding the fuel tank. That’s more in line with most people’s finances. It’s hard to finance older vehicles at regular banks and credit unions, but you could try buy-here-pay-here lots if you must finance.
Kip | November 29, 2015
Most of these vehicles are impractical overpriced and in real survival situations attractive to bandits. Give me a horse and well planned bugout pack and I’ll survive where the rest of you are stranded because you either got stuck or ran out of fuel. Prior to the industrial revolution there were men who lived their entire lives wandering the country on horseback and living off of the land, I’ll take tried and true over ridiculous pipe dreams any day.
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Anthony | December 7, 2015
All of these suggestions have one very big weakness, Computer controlled and Electronic BS. Give me a late ’70s or early ’80s Chev pickup anyday over this crap.
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Chuck Findlay | March 3, 2016
Might I inject a bit of reality into the debate?
Debunking Bug Out Vehicle Fantasy
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Steve smith | July 1, 2016
A diesel engine is better suited for an EMP. We have a local place around here that will install a diesel engine in your Jeep. Just remember to protect your electronics and have spares protected in some type of faraday cage.
Tscharlieh | July 21, 2016
nice article, but I think you, like many other preppers, overlook the fact that any four-wheeled vehicle is useless in a evacuation scenario. Especially when you try to escape from big cities like New York.
How long do you think it will take until all streets out of the city are jammed with traffic?
I mean just take the normal rush-hour and triple the number of cars. I am sure you’ll get the idea.
Thus, despite the lack of protection and other drawback, I figure that motorcycles and the like are by far more useful for evacuation.
Of course, if you live in the countryside you may still use your truck or SUV, but for escaping a more crowded area you’ll definitely need a motorbike.
(Sorry for language mistakes, but English is not my mothertongue.)
Charlotte | December 17, 2016
I just came to the website after googling useful RV tips (not Googles most accurate result).
Thought I’d make a dumbass suggestion. How about bugging out west across the Bering Strait, one of those abandoned Russian nuclear submarines would provide a small family all the electricity and water they could ever need, loads of space to grow stuff, keep chickens… Not to mention safe from land based bandits, can hide from pirates, mobile (how hard can that be to drive, you’ll have plenty of time to perfect your skills-download a simulator on the way, there’ll be network connections in some places), might be primitive but I bet at least one cabin is air conditioned/heated with a TV (doubt you’ll still have any VHS tapes though).
Teia Golden | January 28, 2017
While most families traveled in wagons across the country, at this day in age peppers should upgrade to a 80’s G-wagon. They run on diesel fuel and with a few mods could run off alternate fuels. They can seat up to 7 people, they had great off road maneuverability and capabilities. There are no electronics on the engines. Plus they only cost $14,900
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John | July 18, 2017
The most likely transportation challenge in any emergency scenario is a break in gasoline supplies. I’d like a vehicle that can do more than get me out of town, once, before it runs out of fuel and becomes useless. For this reason, I think the best bet is a plug-in hybrid SUV, which can run on either gas or in all-electric mode–much better chance that you’ll have an available fuel supply, if you can use two. In the aftermath of the Fukushima tsunami, roads were unpassable for fuel deliveries, grounding gas cars–so a large part of the rescue work was done by dinky electric cars, which could still refuel. I’ll put a link to a story about it below.
Nowadays you can get sturdier plug-in SUVs that can go 20-50 miles on electricity alone, and better handle debris and light offroad. Couple one of those to solar panels (and, ideally, battery storage, like the Tesla Powerwall) at your bug out location, and you have your own fuel supply, and transportation, indefinitely.
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mj | April 1, 2019
Hi, Are you willing to assist me in ensuring my vehicles might survive an emp attack? am a woman, and my hubby thinks I’m paranoid, which is fine he can think that, but if shtf at least i’ll have planned behind him.
Alex | April 2, 2019
Thank you for asking. You might find this article useful:
Alex, from Survivopedia.
Robin Price | July 24, 2019
I bought a 1971 Deuce and a half for $5,000. Multi fuel engine so I can run it on pretty much anything. Not the best vehicle for highway driving but off road capability is outstanding! These and the 5 tons are available through government surplus sites. I even got the trailer for it for under $500!
Rob | July 25, 2019
For where we live in Northern Nevada, my buddies Pinzgauer is a good bet. It can run on virtually any combustible liquid, including kerosene, is air cooled, highly capable 4wd, with a capacity of over 1 ton. These can be had for well under $2oK , and were designed to Swiss military specifications. They can be foud for sale online – I’ve even seen them advertised in Hemmings
Bob L. | July 25, 2019
Impressive top of the list, but they may end up impractical and useless depending on what could transpire if TSHTF. The same goes for any electric/electronic items.
For instance, a horse or mule and wagon won’t be affected by an EMP, nor will manual tools and “appliances” .
LikelyYou.com | September 4, 2019
I have 22 extended family all or some will bug out with me. No choice except the extended van. Two 250 watt solar panels on the roof and all other camping equipment. Kerosene two burner stove with stove top oven. 25 gallons of water for bathing in a saddle tank off a road tractor and a zillion bottles of water in milk jugs with a drop of clorox in each. Of course, plenty of food, firearms and ammo. Police type push bar on front. Replaced engine with new 460 HP engine from Summit. Four US manufacture five gallon cans, steel, with fuel. Siphon hose for fuel from disabled vehicles. Aluminum boat in tow and inside a Yamaha 175 dual purpose trail bike along with many other store able necessaries. No d drive vans available. Winch on the front and snatch blocks. Four extra deep cycle batteries. Adding a sun roof for the .50 cal. Extra oil for the dirt bike and the van. Two mountain bikes. Diesel air horn from JC Whitney and a loudspeaker, GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WAY! CB and shortwave radio. Inverter for solar panels and batteries. Two spare tires and jack. Spray foam to fill up bullet holes. Gas masks ,. These trucks are available online for around $5000. A a brand new engine can be had for about $2000. if needed. More HP more $$. I dont plan to bug out. Live in an isolated area already but you never know.