The Best Bug Out Vehicle (2023 Guide)
When catastrophe strikes and a swift escape becomes of the essence, a dependable vehicle can mean the difference between survival and chaos.
Picture a car purpose-built for emergency situations, kitted out with enhanced off-road capabilities, heaps of storage, and self-sustainability. This is what preppers refer to as a “bug-out vehicle,” or BOV–a lifeline that goes beyond mere transportation. In the face of natural disasters, CBRN threats, and other critical scenarios, a bug-out vehicle offers shelter and security, making it an indispensable asset to any survivalist.
But how do you prep the perfect BOV?
In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the art of selecting the ideal bug-out vehicle, exploring a wide range of options, from agile motorcycles to versatile bug-out campers. Discover how the right choice can make all the difference–whether navigating treacherous terrains, carrying essential supplies, or ensuring your imminent survival.
Table of Contents
Understanding Bug Out Vehicles
Best Bug Out Vehicle: Finding the Perfect Fit
Adding CBRN Gear to your Bug Out Vehicle
Frequently asked questions
Understanding Bug Out Vehicles
The key to finding the optimal bug-out vehicle lies in its ability to swiftly and efficiently transport you away from danger. Naturally, the size and type of vehicle will depend on your family's specific requirements, the location of your bug-out safe haven, and the terrain you anticipate traversing.
To make an informed decision when purchasing or constructing your bug-out vehicle, it is essential to grasp the fundamental characteristics that define these vehicles. Armed with this deeper understanding of BOVs, you will be empowered to select the most suitable option for you and your family’s needs.
Key characteristics of a reliable bug out vehicle:
Versatility: A solid bug-out vehicle needs to be a jack of all trades, effortlessly handling different types of terrain and acclimating to a variety of situations. From navigating rough off-road conditions to maintaining top performance on paved roads, its ability to adapt is crucial to the execution of a successful bug-out plan.
Durability: Another absolutely essential characteristic of a bug-out vehicle is its durability: allowing it to withstand the rigors of off-road travel, harsh weather conditions, and potential physical impacts. By being built to endure these challenges, the risk of breakdowns and damage during emergencies is minimized.
Off-road capabilities: Also vital for a bug-out vehicle is its ability to conquer off-road terrain. Equipped with high ground clearance, robust suspension systems, and all-terrain tires, it should be able to overcome uneven surfaces, steep inclines, mud, snow, and other challenging conditions. These capabilities ensure that it remains reliable and effective–no matter what life throws at it.
Reliability: Crucially, a bug-out vehicle must be reliable, starting up consistently and performing without mechanical or electrical issues. During emergencies, time is of course limited, leaving no room for unexpected breakdowns or the need for extensive repairs. It is paramount, therefore, that your BOV can be trusted in these critical moments.
Carrying capacity: Let’s face it–we Americans like our stuff. That’s why a bug-out vehicle must have a sizeable carrying capacity: to transport essential supplies, equipment, and passengers, too. Whether it provides sufficient storage space within the vehicle or utilizes auxiliary solutions like roof racks or trailers, its carrying capacity should allow you to keep and maintain a stockpile of vital provisions–significantly increasing your chances of long-term survival.
Self-sustainability features: While not essential, self-sustainability features can seriously amp up a bug-out vehicle's prized reliability. These features may include built-in water filtration systems, auxiliary power sources like solar panels or generators, and additional fuel storage.
Best Bug Out Vehicle: Finding the Perfect Fit
Bug Out Motorcycles
When it comes to speedy and efficient mobility in times of crisis, bug-out motorcycles stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Compact and lightweight, these BOVs offer a wide range of benefits that set them apart from traditional bug-out options, such as cars or trucks. With their unparalleled agility and maneuverability, motorcycles can expertly navigate congested traffic, narrow paths, and even tricky off-road terrains.
It’s worth noting, however, that while motorcycles excel in individual mobility, their limited capacity for passengers and supplies makes them less suitable as family BOVS.
Therefore, bug-out motorcycles are recommended for bachelor or bachelorette survivalists.
Advantages of Bug Out Motorcycles
Maneuverability: Alongside bikes, bug-out motorcycles reign supreme in maneuverability, allowing riders to swiftly navigate through congested areas, bypass obstacles, and reach their destination faster. This advantage is especially valuable during emergency evacuations when time is of the essence, or one needs to take a shortcut.
Fuel Efficiency: Another major benefit of bug-out choppers? Their exceptional fuel efficiency, especially compared to larger vehicles. This makes them an economical choice for long-distance evacuations or when access to fuel is limited.
Popular Bug Out Motorcycle Models
Yamaha WR250R: Known for its ruggedness and durability, the Yamaha WR250R is a capable off-road bug-out motorcycle. It features excellent suspension, a comfortable riding position, and plenty power to spare.
BMW F850GS: For those seeking adventure and long-range capabilities, the BMW F850GS stands out. With its powerful engine, advanced electronics, and comfortable ergonomics, it offers both on-road comfort and off-road capabilities.
Outfitting Your Bug Out Motorcycle
Storage Solutions: Take the carrying capacity of your trusty two-wheeled companion to the next level by investing in sturdy, waterproof saddlebags, tank bags, or tail bags. These storage solutions enable you to securely transport essential supplies, such as food, water, first aid kits, and tools.
Protection and Safety: Put safety first by donning gear like helmets, gloves, and protective clothing. For increased visibility, install auxiliary lighting. Crash bars and skid plates are also worthy of consideration, as these lock down and fortify vital components of your motorcycle.
Communication and Navigation: Stay connected and informed by installing a reliable communication system, such as a two-way radio or a helmet-mounted intercom. This ensures seamless communication with fellow riders and/or emergency services, boosting overall coordination and safety.
Bug Out Jeeps
Bug-out Jeeps, renowned for their serious four-wheel-drive chops, stand as another formidable option for survival in times of crisis. After all, these legendary vehicles are specifically engineered to thrive in the most challenging of conditions, including demanding terrains.
With this design philosophy, Jeeps have become the superheroes of off-roading, packing exceptional storage capacity for all your survival gear. That means that when you-know-what hits the fan, these bad boys keep you prepared and resilient.
Advantages of Bug Out Jeeps
Off-Road Capabilities: One of the primary advantages of bug-out Jeeps lies in their ability to handle rough terrains and adverse weather conditions. Equipped with features like solid axles, advanced suspension systems, and generous ground clearance, Jeeps conquer obstacles, traverse uneven surfaces, and navigate off-road trails with remarkable ease. This off-road mojo enables bug-out Jeeps to access remote areas or alternative routes, avoiding congested or blocked roads during evacuations.
Cargo Capacity: Another notable advantage of bug-out Jeeps is their considerable cargo capacity, allowing you to carry essential supplies, equipment, and even passengers. With spacious interiors and customizable cargo areas, these BOVs provide flexibility in organizing and securing your gear–allowing you to stockpile food, water, medical kits, tools, and other survival necessities during emergency situations.
Popular Bug Out Jeeps
The Jeep Wrangler is a highly regarded bug-out Jeep, and for good reason. Among its many benefits are its famous off-road capabilities, rugged construction, and aftermarket support. Plus, it can be modded for even more toughness and versatility.
Customizations commonly applied to Wranglers include enhanced suspension, larger tires, winches, roof racks, and auxiliary lighting.
The Jeep Gladiator, a versatile pickup truck with Jeep's off-road DNA, offers enhanced cargo-carrying capabilities. With an open bed, this BOV is ideal for the loading and transportation of larger or bulkier items.
And just like the Wrangler, the Gladiator can be tweaked to your survivalist heart’s desire. Modifications for the Gladiator may include bed racks, tonneau covers, and other storage solutions.
Outfitting Your Bug Out Jeep
Essential Gear: When upgrading your bug-out Jeep’s capabilities, start by prioritizing the installation of essential gear. This includes recovery equipment like tow straps, winches, and shackles to handle potential off-road obstacles. Communication tools such as CB radios or HAM radios are another worthy investment, as these ensure reliable contact with others in emergencies. Additionally, navigation aids like GPS units or compasses can help you find your way through unfamiliar territory.
Vehicle Protection: Supercharge the protection of your bug-out jeep with modifications such as skid plates, rock sliders, and grille guards. That way, vital components are covered during off-road excursions.
Vehicle Protection: Safeguarding your bug-out Jeep is crucial for its longevity and continued functionality. Ramp up its protection with modifications like skid plates, rock sliders, and grille guards. Skid plates shield vital components from potential damage during off-road excursions, while rock sliders provide extra oomph to the sides of your vehicle. Likewise, grille guards cover the front end of your BOV, providing an added layer of protection against debris and–God forbid–head-on collisions.
Survival Equipment: Of course, no prepper’s BOV is complete without allocated space for survival equipment, such as first aid kits, fire starters, water filtration systems, and camping gear. In the iconic words of rapper Suga Free, “If you stay ready, you ain’t got to get ready.”
Bug Out Trucks
If you live in North America, then you’re smack-dab in the largest market for trucks on the planet.
Perfectly complementing our hearty outdoor lifestyle, trucks are beloved in the United States and Canada for their utility, versatility, and practicality.
It’s little wonder, then, that many survivalists entrust their BOV needs to the likes of Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota. With their venerated ability to handle challenging situations, trucks are a bug-out option well-worth your consideration.
Advantages of Bug Out Trucks
Towing Capacity: Bug-out trucks often have impressive towing capacities, allowing them to haul trailers or additional equipment such as boats, ATVs, or storage containers. This feature is valuable both for transporting extra supplies or vehicles during an evacuation and for gathering resources in remote locations.
Storage Space: One of the key advantages of bug-out trucks is the abundant storage space they offer. Usually, they have larger cargo beds, compartments, or rooftop racks for storing essential survival gear, food, water, medical supplies, tools, and other equipment necessary for emergency situations.
Popular Bug Out Truck Models
Ford F-150 Raptor: Like high-performance pickup trucks? Take a look at the Ford F-150 Raptor, a true survivalist powerhouse that seamlessly blends off-road dexterity with loads of cargo space. With its powerful engine, high ground clearance, and specialized off-road suspension, the F-150 Raptor is well-equipped to tackle even the toughest terrains.
Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro: Also presented for your prepping consideration is the Tacoma TRD Pro, renowned for its reliability and off-road performance. Loaded with features like a reinforced frame, off-road suspension, and advanced traction control systems, this fully loaded pickup truck strikes the perfect balance between towing capacity and storage space.
Outfitting your Bug Out Truck
Communication Devices: Consider equipping your bug-out truck with reliable communication devices to keep you connected with the outside world during emergencies. In this regard, two-way radios, HAM radios, and satellite phones can be valuable lifelines, allowing you to stay informed and receive important updates from friends, family, and authorities.
Recovery and Off-Road Gear: Expect the unexpected by carrying essential recovery and off-road gear. When navigating treacherous terrains, items such as a winch, recovery straps, a sturdy shovel, and a tire repair kit can prove invaluable. Next, upgrade your truck's off-road capabilities by considering accessories like skid plates for added protection, upgraded tires for improved traction, and a lifted suspension for greater confidence on rugged landscapes.
Survival Supplies: Before disaster strikes, prioritize stocking up on crucial survival supplies that will sustain you during your bug-out journey. This means that you must have generous provisions of food, water, first aid kits, emergency blankets, fire starters, flashlights, and a comprehensive toolset.
Portable Power Solutions: Don't let a power outage throw a wrench in your preparedness efforts. To ensure a reliable source of energy, look into power solutions such as a generator, solar panels, or a power bank. These options will allow you to charge your devices, power essential electronics, or illuminate your surroundings with emergency lighting.
Bug Out Campers
So far, we’ve reviewed a number of worthy options for BOVs, including bug-out motorcycles, Jeeps, and trucks–ordered from smallest to largest.
Coming in at an average of 10,000 pounds are bug-out campers: decidedly the most decadent BOV alternative.
These colossally self-contained recreational vehicles, or RVs, combine the convenience of a mobile shelter with the ability to sustainably support individuals or families during extended periods away from traditional infrastructure.
Could the BOC be the right investment for your loved ones? Read on to find out.
Advantages of Bug Out Campers
Mobility: Bug-out campers provide the distinct advantage of mobility, allowing you to quickly relocate and adapt to changing circumstances or evacuation routes. With these mobile havens on wheels, you’ll have at your disposal a self-contained living space that can be easily transported, eliminating the need for setting up tents or additional structures.
Self-Sustainability: Designed with self-sustainability in mind, bug-out campers are equipped to keep you self-sufficient during emergencies. Typically, they feature water tanks, waste management systems, and built-in power sources such as generators or solar panels. These essential provisions enable you to access vital resources even in remote areas or during disruptions in regular services, locking down your comfort and wellbeing whilst living off-the-grid.
Popular Bug Out Camper Models
Airstream Basecamp: For those who can afford the hefty price-tag, the Airstream Basecamp–encased in “aircraft grade” aluminum alloy–makes for a sleek and aerodynamic option. Known for its durability and off-road capabilities, this BOV is a force to be reckoned with as well as a looker. Inside, you'll find sleeping quarters, a kitchenette, a bathroom, and ample storage space.
EarthRoamer LTi: Another high-end option, the EarthRoamer LTi features a carbon fiber body, the same material found in military aircrafts. Plus, it’s powered by advanced solar and energy management systems, meaning your self-sustainability needs will be covered. With a living room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette, and options for an exterior kitchen, electric awning, and outdoor LED lighting, this is a vehicle fit to see you through the apocalypse with style.
Sportsmobile: Catering to a wide audience of outdoors enthusiasts, Sportsmobile offers personalized, functional camper van conversions based on various van models, such as Ford, Mercedes-Benz, or Ram. With a multitude of customizable features, you can outfit the interior to your liking, including options for sleeping quarters, a kitchenette, a toilet, and storage space.
Outfitting Your Bug Out Camper
Emergency Communication Devices: As with previous BOVs, it’s important to stay in the loop. With this in mind, consider equipping your bug-out camper with reliable communication devices, allowing you to stay connected even in remote areas. Satellite phones, two-way radios, or a cellular signal booster can serve as valuable tools to maintain channels of communication and keep you informed in critical moments.
Water Filtration System: During an emergency, access to a safe and reliable water supply is imperative. That’s why it’s best to install a water filtration system in your bug-out camper now. With a combination of filters, purifiers, and storage containers, you'll have the means to store water from a variety of sources.
Enhanced Security Measures: Prioritize the security of your bug-out-camper by reinforcing doors and windows and implementing measures to protect your belongings. To deter potential threats and keep your valuable supplies safe and sound, explore options such as lockable storage compartments, window bars, or security cameras.
Off-road Modifications: Depending on your camper model and intended use, consider making off-road modifications to turbocharge its capability in navigating challenging terrains. Upgraded tires, suspension enhancements, and skid plates are just a few examples of upgrades that can significantly improve your camper's off-road competence, allowing you to venture into rugged landscapes without hesitation.
Energy Efficiency and Power Generation: Optimize energy efficiency within your bug-out camper by incorporating LED lighting, energy-efficient appliances, and proper insulation to minimize energy consumption. Additionally, consider integrating solar panels, upgrading your battery bank, or having a generator available to ensure a reliable power source when needed.
Emergency Supplies: As always, we would advise you to stay prepared for emergencies. That means stocking up on non-perishable food items, securing an adequate water supply, and assembling a comprehensive first aid kit. You should also have emergency blankets, fire extinguishers, and essential tools at your disposal at all times.
Bug Out Bikes
Now that we’ve covered the largest and most extravagant BOVs, let’s turn our attention to the humble bicycle, a form of transportation dating back several centuries.
Now, don’t count this option out just because it’s old-school–there’s a reason classics never go out of style. Agile and stealthy, a bug-out bike can traverse long distances without consuming fuel, making it a practical and affordable option.
Advantages of Bug Out Bikes
Agility: As previously mentioned, bug-out bikes are seriously agile–allowing you to maneuver through areas inaccessible to larger vehicles. And though they may not be as luxurious as a camper, these pedal-powered chariots are quick and efficient, allowing them to bypass traffic, travel on footpaths, and navigate through narrow spaces.
Stealth: Unlike their motor-powered counterparts, bug-out bikes operate silently, allowing for a stealthy approach when necessary. This is especially useful during situations where noise discipline is crucial, such as avoiding detection or moving unnoticed through urban or rural areas.
Limited Fuel Consumption: Because bug-out bikes rely on human power or electric assistance, they consume little to no fuel. This, of course, makes them a sustainable transportation option during emergencies when fuel availability may be limited.
Popular Bug Out Bike Models
Mountain Bikes: Designed for off-road terrain, mountain bikes are versatile and robust. Typically, they feature rugged frames, wide tires with aggressive tread patterns, and suspension systems that provide excellent shock absorption. This makes mountain bikes ideal for navigating uneven surfaces, trails, and rugged terrains during bug-out scenarios.
Electric Bikes (E-Bikes): Let’s be real–bikes can be exhausting. Fuel, on the other hand, is expensive. Offering a potential solution to these concerns is the e-bike, which combines pedal power with an electric motor. In this way, e-bikes make the best of both worlds: extended range and reduced physical exhaustion. This happy balance makes them suitable for covering longer distances or carrying heavier loads during emergencies. Note that e-bikes come in various forms, including mountain e-bikes and folding e-bikes.
Folding Bikes: Offering the convenience of compactness and portability, folded bikes can be easily collapsed and stored in a small space, such as the trunk of a car or a bug-out vehicle. Consider this option for urban bug-out scenarios, situations where space is limited, or when you need to fit all your bug-out gear into a very small space.
Outfitting Your Bug Out Bike
Bike Bags and Panniers: Level up your storage capacity by attaching bike bags, panniers, or baskets to your bike. These additions allow you to carry essential Bug-out supplies–including food, water, tools, and emergency equipment–conveniently and securely.
Repair and Maintenance Kit: To address unforeseen issues on the go, carry a compact repair and maintenance kit. Include spare tubes, tire repair tools, a multi-tool, a mini-pump, and lubricants in your kit. This enables you to perform basic repairs or maintenance tasks, ensuring the functionality of your bug-out bike throughout your journey.
Navigation and Communication: Getting lost is every bike rider’s nightmare. It is wise, therefore, to equip your bug-out bike with a handlebar-mounted compass, GPS device, or smartphone with navigation apps. These tools assist with route planning, helping you stay on track during your bug-out journey. And as per usual: carry a fully charged mobile phone or two-way radio to guarantee effective communication.
Water and Hydration: It bears repeating: Hydration is key during an emergency. Make sure you stay refreshed and energized on the go by using a hydration pack or attaching water bottle cages to your bug-out bike.
Bike Lock: Keep your bug-out bike out of harm’s way by investing in a sturdy and reliable bike lock. Since bike theft is all too common, this important accessory provides peace of mind when leaving your bike unattended.
Adding CBRN Gear to your Bug Out Vehicle
When it comes time to bug out of an area–whether by truck, Jeep, or bike–contamination poses one of the most common risks. To safely navigate through contaminated zones, suiting up with quality CBRN gear is essential.
Before calamity ensues, make sure each member of your family has their own CBRN gear.
Here are our recommendations.
Don't leave your safety to chance when facing contamination in emergency situations. For the ultimate defense, equip your bug-out vehicle with the CM-6M gas mask, trusted by seven nations worldwide to protect their police forces and government agencies from CBRN threats.
Crafted with mil-spec construction, this reusable gas mask boasts an impressive shelf life of twenty years. Its base, made of high-quality bromobutyl rubber, provides maximum protection for your face and respiratory system, effectively safeguarding you from airborne hazards.
With the MIRA Safety CM-6M gas mask as an integral part of your bug-out vehicle's inventory, you can approach any CBRN threat without worry–leaving you time to attend to your loved ones when it matters most.
When it comes to protecting your lungs from the harmful effects of radioactive fallout and chemical threats, don't settle for anything less than the NBC-77 SOF filter. Designed to provide exceptional protection against all known CBRN agents, this filter–used in combination with a full-face mask, mouthpiece assembly, or PAPR (Powered Air Purifying Respirator)–keeps your respiratory system safe and healthy. And like the CM-6M, it is trusted by military personnel and special forces worldwide.
With a remarkable twenty-year shelf life, the NBC-77 SOF filter matches the longevity of our CM-6M gas mask, guaranteeing long-lasting readiness when you need it most. Crafted from hard plastic, this battle-tested filter is built to withstand the very toughest conditions, making it the perfect choice for your BOV's durable CBRN protection.
With your mask and filter sorted, it’s time to turn your attention to your body. Enter the M4 Tactical Poncho, trusted by the Serbian Armed Forces for its unmatched versatility and superior protection.
Engineered with cutting-edge polyamide, the M4 Tactical Poncho’s lightweight, easily packable construction makes it an essential addition to your bug-out vehicle. It is also waterproof and breathable, ensuring that you stay dry and comfortable whilst braving the elements.
Not only does this military-grade poncho shield you from rain, it also acts as a reliable CBRN barrier, protecting your skin for over two hours.
When it comes to space efficiency, CBRN protection, and weather resistance, you can trust in our M4 Tactical Poncho. Due to its compact size, you can plan to protect every member of the family from any storm or CBRN threat that comes their way–without sacrificing the valuable storage space in your BOV.
With that said, there are a few precautions that can be relied upon: like the preparation of a bug-out vehicle. In this regard, the significance of selecting the right vehicle cannot be overstated.
This is because BOVs are more than just a set of wheels that take you from A to B. When traditional infrastructure is disrupted, a bug-out vehicle enables a speedy evacuation, access to remote areas, and the ability to maintain self-sufficiency.
Whether you opt to drive a bug-out motorcycle, Jeep, truck, camper, or bike, each option provides distinct advantages. Here, the specific needs of your family can serve as a guide, helping you to arrive at an option that will keep you and your loved ones safe when you’re in the thick of it.
So choose wisely, prepare thoroughly, and may your bug-out vehicle lead you to greener pastures.