Most preppers create their bug out vehicle by adding supplies and gear to whatever vehicle they already own. Some preppers are able to purchase a used vehicle or perhaps make some modifications to their existing vehicle in their buddy’s garage.
But what if money were no object? What if you could purchase the bug out vehicle of your dreams? Below are some of the ones we’ve pulled together, not as a best of the best list but just to help you dream a little bit. These are your hardcore bug out vehicles, the ones you’d consider if money were no object. Most of these are going to draw attention so make sure you’re ready to defend against anyone trying to overtake you.
Military Surplus M35
But out with your family, duck dynasty style, with the military surplus, M35, is a two-and-a-half ton-truck also referred to as a “deuce and a half” seen in this video:
Originally intended as a truck for medical transport during combat, it can be bobbed and renovated into the perfect bug out vehicle. It’s a multi-fuel vehicle with a 55-gallon tank, six-wheel drive and manual transmission that can get up to 13 mpg which means you can run for up to 650 miles on one tank of fuel. A bobbed truck is also lighter and shorter which increases the manufacturer’s top speed of 55 mph to 75mph.
- 6-wheel Drive Expedition RV
With over 200 square foot of cargo space available plus a root top tent accessible by roof hatch, 50-gallon fuel tanks, and Caterpillar turbo charged multi-fuel engine, this expand van has room for whatever you need to get into it, including an ATV. It will hold up to 22 people if need be or any equipment you need to carry.
- Creek Stewart’s Modified 1985 CUCV (Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle)
Creek Stewart is a well-known survivalist. His personal BOV debuted in his first season of his show, Fat Guys in the Woods.
His BOV is a diesel engine and has a black-out switch that cuts all vehicle lights in an instant so you be in instant stealth mode. He’s added a cab and carries 30 gallons of extra fuel, all his tools and gear and six spare tires! He has modified it to include an extra battery and solar charger, off-road lights, a fire extinguisher, an off the roof shelter canopy, and a 12,000-pound winch.
- 1987 Mercedes Expedition Truck
Custom built 1987 Mercedes Expedition truck is as reliable as they come. There are 6 bolts to disconnect the living unit from the truck. It has a 550-liter diesel tank, spare tires, front and rear winches. It comes with its own hot water heater, refrigerator, propane stove, shower, composting toilet, and massive amounts of storage for all your gear.
Earthcruiser Overland RV Expedition Vehicle
Bug out in style with this Earthcruiser Expedition RV.
It uses yachting industry engineering to keep the vehicle compact and lightweight but still luxurious. With its own power system controlled with a command panel, you can make a quick getaway when needed, going from camping mode to on the go within sixty seconds without having to leave the vehicle. It has an onboard water purifier to clean whatever water source you can access.
- UNICAT Survival Home on Wheels
If you aren’t worried about looks and are focused more on function survival, then this UNICAT Survival home on wheels might be just the ticket.
Able to be fully self-contained in the wilderness for up to two months, it carries 110 gallons of water and its own desalination system that operates from the rooftop solar panel. The price tag starts at $700K so it’s definitely not a vehicle for the average prepper.
- The Intimidator
This truck is truly unstoppable with bullet proof armor and 5-point racing harness seating for up to five people.
It has a 220- gallon tank, which can take you 2200 miles without stopping and level 4 armor windows. It comes with a lockable roof hatch in case you do need to take a shot while on the move. It carries its own solar powered battery charger and has a 14-foot bed with plenty of room for all your bug out supplies. Cummins 8.3-liter diesel engine with the radiator protected behind a bullet proof grille. They may hear or see you coming but they won’t be able to do anything about it.
- Judge Dredd inspired Land Rover
How about this fortress on wheels inspired by the Judge Dredd movie starring Sly Stallone and designed by Land Rover to survive the meanest streets in the 23rd century where the world is in anarchy and chaos.
- Survivor Truck
Here’s an extreme truck, the personal vehicle of Jim Delozier, owner of the Survivor Truck company. His company can custom build just about any type of vehicle modification you want. He uses his truck as a rescue vehicle. It has a complete Exo cage and is outfitted with Rhino lining, has anywhere from 6-8 cameras at any given time watching all angles. It also has a generator, a winch, vehicle tent on the roof, and a battery powered system, rollaway toolbox, and a refrigerator. He plans to swap in a multi-fuel diesel engine.
- 2003 Cargo Van turned camper
For the more realistic prepper who has time and skill to do some modifications, you might want to try something similar to this 2003 Cargo Van turned camper.
Okay so for most of us, these hardcore bug out vehicles are out of reach. We have to be a little more realistic when it comes to our choice of bug out vehicle. So what is really important when you are trying to choose your bug out vehicle and how can you make sure that your vehicle is going to get you and your family out safely?
There are seven criteria you want to consider when choosing your practical bug out vehicle:
One of the most important issues is reliability of your vehicle. When you need to bug out, you must be able to count on your vehicle to start up quickly and to operate reliably. The primary purpose of your bug out vehicle is to get you to your bug out location and beyond if necessary. Learn how to make basic repairs yourself. Make sure that replacement parts are easy to get and won’t be overly expensive. Stock up on parts that are apt to wear out or break when the vehicle is pushed to its maximum speed or driven over rough terrain.
When choosing your vehicle, you want to get the most miles of range on one tank of gas as you can get. You won’t want to stop every 300 miles or so to refuel. And fuel won’t be readily available unless you’ve stocked up. Get a diesel or multi-fuel vehicle if you can get it. Horsepower is also important.
When you bug out, your vehicle should be setup to get you as far away as possible before having to refuel. If the tank is small, you should plan and practice how to refuel as quickly as possible. To be really prepared, modify the fuel tank so you can refuel from inside the vehicle from your fuel stock. The best vehicle should also have the horsepower to outrun most anyone who might be following you.
Off Road Capability
Definitely try to get AWD or 4-wheel drive in your vehicle if possible. Suspension shocks and brakes if you can get them. Minimally you want a vehicle that doesn’t sit low to the ground so that you can drive over smaller debris without causing damage to the underside of your vehicle. Make sure it will be able to handle at least most of the terrain in your area so you won’t be forced to stick to the paved roads.
Safety and Security
Whatever vehicle you get, the first thing to do is to replace all the windows with plexi-glass which is stronger and more shatter resistant than glass. You will also want to install a bumper guard to protect the lights and radiator. Depending on how the vehicle rides and the terrain in your area, you may want to swap out regular seat belts for five-point racing harnesses at least for any children that may be on the trip.
In a natural disaster or post-SHTF scenario you are going to come up against roads blocked by debris, fallen trees, or even abandoned cars. Having a bug out vehicle that you know can ram or push things out of the way so you can keep moving forward is a huge plus.
The final thing you want to look at when deciding on a bug out vehicle is carrying capacity. This means both number of passengers that you can take with you as well as how much cargo space or storage space you have. If your favorite vehicle hits the mark for reliability and traveling range but doesn’t have much cargo space, consider modifications that will allow you to bolt or buckle gear securely to the top and sides.
This category is not a necessity for a bug out vehicle but it would be a plus if you had a vehicle that included some off-grid capabilities. Obviously most vehicles now do include some power outlets to recharge your phone or laptop. But it would be great to have a vehicle that is equipped with or modified to include solar panels so you can re-charge the vehicle battery if needed or run a small refrigerator.
Also make sure you think about bathroom needs not just when parked but while on the move too. If you have to go and you’re being followed, there won’t be time to pull off in the woods for a pit stop. The other thing to think about is water. Modify your vehicle so it includes some type of high capacity water storage. Even 5 gallon jugs strapped to the inside walls of the vehicle is better than nothing. Having large amount of water stored in your vehicle means that you have more options as to where you can camp for the night.
There is some debate over what the effects of an EMP would actually be but it is certain that if there is damage, it will be to electronic components and systems for vehicles with running engines at the time of the EMP. Cars and trucks that are turned off during an EMP are not expected to experience any effects.
Electronic components were not integrated into cars until the late 1960’s. Electronic components were abundant in cars from 1986 and on. Modern vehicles (roughly 1990’s and newer) have required EMI/EMC (electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic compatibility) standards designed to reduce vulnerability.
Once you’ve chosen a vehicle based on the other criteria above, it’s important to know which parts of your vehicle have electronic components. Research the compliance of the electronic parts with EMI/EMC standards, including grounding, shielding, hardening, and immunity. Be prepared to replace these parts if needed.
This article showcased some hardcore prepping vehicles with some great survival features. Regardless of the bug out vehicle you choose, make sure you’ve thought about the seven categories and have planned for as many scenarios as you can think of. It will be great if your trip from home to BOL is uneventful but chances are you will run up against one or more unplanned obstacles, so just be ready.
Tell us how your bug out vehicle measures up in these 7 areas below in the comments.