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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Advanced Prepping 101 - The Dedicated Bug-Out Vehicle

It’s a simple fact that most people don’t have a dedicated vehicle for bugging out and will use their everyday means of transportation for this purpose. While any vehicle will work for most daily transportation needs, many vehicles may lack the necessary qualities for use as an efficient bug-out vehicle. There are some important considerations that should be taken into account that will help you decide if you may want to have a dedicated BOV.

The first consideration is cost. An additional vehicle will involve the need for extra insurance, maintenance or fuel costs. These items cost money and there aren’t a lot of ways to avoid these. Buying used will save some money but may require additional maintenance costs or upkeep to make them viable options.

The second consideration is capacity. If your entire family or group won’t fit easily inside your chosen means of transportation, you’re going to be in trouble before you even get started. Numerous test runs and actual use of my chosen BOV has also revealed an area that is often overlooked. You not only need space for each person but you will need room for their gear (BOB) and additional things like food and water. My chosen BOV, a large van (1 ton) which has a seating capacity of 15 persons, can comfortably hold 8 persons and their gear and sufficient food and water for several days if necessary.

The third consideration is the type of vehicle. There are quite a few possibilities in this area that may work to your advantage. A pop-up style camper or small travel trailer, a pick-up with a camper unit, a small RV or motorhome are definite possibilities and will depend upon your capacity needs and the amount available in your budget. Depending upon where you will be bugging out to, you may require additional things such as 4 wheel drive capacity.


The fourth consideration is the range of your vehicle. Your vehicle will need to get you quickly and safely to your bug out location. A vehicle loaded with people that is pulling a trailer loaded with gear will require more fuel than in normal circumstances. More fuel may not be available due to power outages, etc. and may limit the distance you can travel before requiring additional fuel. If you wind up with an empty fuel tank, you will have a serious problem. It is vital that the range of your chosen BOV will get you there without the need for additional fuel. Carrying extra fuel is an option but it takes up space and increases the weight you are carrying. This is space that could be used for other needed items. Consideration should be given to vehicles with larger fuel tanks or additional tanks to help avoid this problem.

The fifth consideration is living space. Your BOV may become your home away from home and you will need it to provide shelter from the elements and some measure of security for you and your family. Motels and hotels will fill up quickly during an evacuation. The evacuation of a large number of people will put a strain on all the available resources. Even with a good emergency fund and plenty of cash you may need to be prepared to spend time living in your BOV, even if it is only for one night. A vehicle that provides a sheltered place to sleep and live for your family will quickly become a valuable item.

The sixth consideration is the ability to not attract attention or to go undetected. This can be your best form of protection. A vehicle that blends into the surroundings may be one of the safest options. An expensive motorhome or large RV may attract the attention of those seeking to change their status at your expense. A Jeep 4X4 with a great camo paint job will attract a lot more attention on the highway than you may desire. Cheaper vehicles are also less of a target when things and people start to get out of control due to a crisis or emergency.

The final consideration is optional equipment and ease of maintenance and repair. Will your choice of vehicle allow you to tow a trailer with extra gear, mount a winch, or have the fuel capacity that gives it an extended range? Even simple things like a luggage rack on the roof could come in handy. You will also need something that will allow you to do simple maintenance and repairs should they become necessary. The ability to make simple repairs to your vehicle without specialized tools or additional help will be a big benefit during an emergency.

While there are other things that you may consider important when choosing a BOV, these are some of the basic considerations that should be taken into account that will help you decide on a proper BOV. Having a dedicated bug-out vehicle will also give you the option of having many needed items loaded in advance and ready to go. This will save you additional time in an emergency.

Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker