Bug Out Vehicles – Why Most People Get it Wrong

Rich M.
By Rich M. July 23, 2019 07:11

Bug Out Vehicles – Why Most People Get it Wrong

It seems like one of the favorite “fun” subjects for people to talk about in the prepping community is bug out vehicles. I guess that’s understandable, as the community is dominated by men… and men like their cars and trucks. Considering the type of men we are, it only makes sense that the vehicles we like would tend to be the kind that we can climb up the side of a mountain and disappear into the wilderness with.

I have to say, I’ve seen some rather extreme bug out vehicles through the years. Many of those were based upon military vehicles of one sort or another. While I can appreciate the work that the various creators have done and I might even enjoy having such a vehicle, I can’t say that any of them are necessarily practical bug out vehicles. Nor can I really say it is practical owning one of them.


The number one problem with many of these bug out vehicles is cost. Most of us can’t afford to have a third vehicle, just to have a tacti-cool bug out vehicle. For the average prepper, their bug out vehicle has to be something that they drive to work every day. That pretty much eliminates the practicality of using an Army deuce-and-a-half truck.

C’mon now, if cost wasn’t an issue, I’d be driving a Ripsaw EV2 every day! But I don’t have a half million dollars or more for my bug out vehicle. For that matter, I don’t even have an extra ten grand that I can invest in such a thing. My bug out vehicle has to be something I can use.

Besides the cost of purchasing and building up the vehicle, we have to consider the cost of maintaining it. I read a comment just yesterday from someone who has one of those Army trucks, and it costs him about $400 a year, just to maintain it, even if it never leaves his driveway. That’s not repairs, that’s just the normal preventative maintenance that has to be done. I’d hate to see what insurance for such a vehicle costs.

Related: The Ultimate Bug Out Home For Just $250


Bug Out Vehicles – Why Most People Get it WrongHiding that big truck can be a bit difficult too. How are you going to explain having a deuce-and-a-half or a HEMTT (essentially a military specific cargo vehicle, often used as an armored tank support vehicle) parked in your driveway to your neighbors? What sort of story are you going to be able to come up with and how will you make it convincing?

Basic OPSEC rules dictate that you stick with something that is going to blend in with the environment. That pretty much rules out anything based upon a military chassis, as well as anything you might find in the Mad Max series of movies. In some parts of the country, it might even rule out four-wheel-drive pickup trucks and SUVs.

Granted, that four-wheel-drive might be useful, but not if it broadcasts to the world that you are a prepper. Instead of that, you’d be better off with something that allows you to move about with at least some level of secrecy. For many, this might mean something more along the lines of a mini-van.

Worse than the four-wheel-drive is what some people do to their vehicles, making them look like they truly do belong in Mad Max or maybe in some zombie movie. While that may seem really cool, it’s just a bit too obvious. If anyone is stopping vehicles to look for usable equipment and supplies, they’re going to be sure to stop someone in a vehicle like that. Do you want to be fighting your way through every road block you see?


Finally you have to consider utility in selecting your bug out vehicle. It has to have enough room for your family, your bug out bag and any other gears and supplies you are going to carry. All of that should be inside the vehicle, so that it is hidden. If it is in the bed of a truck, it’s too easy to steal.

I’ve seen people select some pretty small bug out vehicles. That’s okay, if they’re single. But if they’re planning on a family, they’d better go for something bigger. Keep in mind that you might have some last-minute additions to your party, like visiting family members or the girlfriend/boyfriend of one of your kids.

I know it sounded like I was trashing four-wheel-drive vehicles a moment ago, but if you can get away with being discreet and still own one, I’d highly recommend it. A four-wheel-drive vehicle will help you get around fallen trees and other obstacles which may be around. But good ground clearance will do that too, without the extra expense of four-wheel-drive or the reduced gas mileage.

Related: Affordable Vehicles That Can Survive an EMP


Bug Out Vehicles – Why Most People Get it WrongThis is a tricky one. By and large, you need a large vehicle for a bug out vehicle. It has to have enough room for your family and everything you’re going to take with you. At the same time, you want something that’s as fuel-efficient as possible, so that it can go as far as possible.

Another way to accomplish this is to have a larger fuel capacity. A pickup truck with dual tanks may get rotten fuel mileage, while still being able to go 500 miles between fill-ups. While that would be an expensive vehicle to drive, it would be an excellent vehicle to have in a bug out, where you probably aren’t going to be able to refuel your vehicle anyway.

EMP Protection

One of the most dangerous threats we face today is that of an EMP. Most preppers believe that an EMP will destroy all vehicles, along with all electronics. If that’s the case, then we should all strive to buy bug out vehicles which were built before the 1970s, when cars weren’t controlled by an internal computer.

Yet, we see a lot of new or almost new bug out vehicles out there. Either those people don’t believe in the risk of an EMP, or they don’t believe it will damage their vehicle. Personally, I’m in the second group, as the vehicle testing done by the EMP Commission didn’t do anything more to any of the vehicles, than cause the engine to stall.

Nevertheless, I’ve taken action to protect myself in the event of an EMP damaging my 1990 bug out vehicle. Specifically, I have a complete set of all the electronic parts, including the computer, hidden away in a Faraday Cage, just in case. While it would take me some time to replace all those electronics, before I could bug out, I would still be able to bug out. That’s the point.

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Rich M.
By Rich M. July 23, 2019 07:11
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  1. Raven tactical July 23, 09:10

    Keeping it simple would be easy enough. A Chevy GMT 400 or 800 would be affordable and would be something most can work on themselves. Example would be suburbans or Tahoe.or pick.ups.

    Bugging out .. to what though. The family cabin. Granted if your driving around and your stuck in traffic or worse road blocks. You might of lost your ride.

    I would recommend looking into what they call overlanding setups vs the mud truck garbage.

    Reply to this comment
    • EGGY July 24, 01:01

      Been giving this subject a lot of thought, as I live in an urban city. I too thought about getting myself and my family out of dodge.
      My wife and I own a nice little off grid spot that’s exactly 1300 miles away. So we have given this a lot of thought.
      One thing that may work some is a smaller type of 4×4
      Like maybe Rav 4×4, I’ve added extra fuel tanks to extend my range to about halfway to my buyout location, in that haftway location I have a local storage place where I store fuel, water and food, if we need to stop. No need to worry about the fuel since I switch it out every other month, on my way there.
      Since most roads leading out of urban might be blocked we choose a electric assist bike that will get us out of the city to were we keep our 4X4. From there we have paper maps, since most likely GPS may not work. We choose secondary and even back roads or trails to get to our big out location. Also plan on double or even triple your time for getting there.
      Dosen’t work for every one but works for us.
      We’ve made the trip in 3 days camping out every night.

      Reply to this comment
      • Bill July 24, 05:37

        I tend to agree with you EGGY.

        For “ME” I went with older military jeeps that I picked up here and there and then had them gone through and rebuilt from the wheels up. I feel pretty confident that they’re EMP proof, but that’s really all they are, a collectable and emergency vehicle if ever needed. Kind of a waste of money….like many other things I’ve done…like wind generators.

        Now though, I was introduced to the Mahindra Roxor 4×4 and it has become my FAVORITE daily driver. I love it so much that I’ve bought two and one I’m turning into more of a bugout type vehicle with a lot of added upgrades, but still a daily driver if I want it to be.

        I’ve done a few upgrades on my current daily driver, just to make it even more fun to drive, and it too is a bugout vehicle but mainly a very fun daily driver, and at around 25 MPG that makes it even more fun to drive.

        It’s truly a VERY affordable, tough, and fun vehicle to drive.

        I’m also adding an EMP Shield on them to protect them both.


        Reply to this comment
        • Woodsmanjd60o July 24, 12:15

          Dodge 12 valve the down side is you go to keep two 1970s Mopar black boxes for charging and automatic shift , they run off a pcm up till 1998 to charge run gauges 1970s voltage regulators do away with this

          Reply to this comment
      • Raven tactical July 24, 10:34

        Got pictures of this extended fuel tank rav 4?

        Reply to this comment
      • Woodsmanjd430 July 24, 12:14

        Dodge 12 valve the down side is you go to keep two 1970s Mopar black boxes for charging and automatic shift , they run off a pcm up till 1998 to charge run gauges 1970s voltage regulators do away with this

        Reply to this comment
    • Dean July 24, 10:15

      I have a 4×4 suburban, i take the boys out on forstry roads quite often and there is a allot of room Even with 3 boys in the back. Its the only thing that has room for camping gear and road trips. Never bugged out, dont know anyone who has, never been through an emp either but actually using it as an off road vehicle it works like a $3,000 vehicle should. Pick a good line, stay out of the ruts the ding dongs dig and i can get to the same destination as a lifted overland vehicle.

      Reply to this comment
    • Santa May 18, 14:52

      I think the best bug out vehicle would be a Conestoga wagon fully armed and properly horsed! The thing is that it goes everywhere! Properly built, it will float. This thing will allow you to stay away from the motor heads of the world and go farther without needing a gas station! All you need is a good patch od grass! The pioneers did pretty darn well with this beautiful prarie vehicle.

      Reply to this comment
  2. liz July 23, 14:26

    Great article Consider getting a vehicle that on one will want to steal. Or, it is very notable. An older model before 2003 is preferred due to the black box under the hood, you can be tracked. you will not be able to go off the grid if you buy a newer model..

    Reply to this comment
  3. Chuck July 23, 15:20

    Our township has rules about what you can leave parked in the driveways. Might have to find a place to actually store it. The problem then becomes ease of access if the SHTF and you need to get to it

    Reply to this comment
  4. toltecman July 23, 15:23

    I would do a little research on the testing the EMP commission did on vehicles. According to Dr. Peter Vincent Pry the vehicles used were ‘borrowed’ from other government agencies on the condition they would be returned undamaged. Therefore the testing started at low pulse voltages and gradually increased until some type of anomaly was observed with the vehicle which may have just been lights flickering or gauges wavering then testing on that vehicle stopped. Very few of the vehicles were tested under a maximum pulse voltage. Dr. Pry does not minimize the threat of EMP to vehicles based upon this testing.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck July 23, 17:39

      That was my understanding of the testing done too, from a different source. Some of the vehicles were even privately owned, so naturally, as soon as one of the vehicles showed signs of interference, guess which vehicles got pulled out of the test.

      I don’t know if there have been any real tests done secretly by the government to determine what vehicles can withstand how much, but if there have been, the results are more closely guarded than the “football”.

      Therefore, I am convinced that the official policy is: If we don’t know about it, it won’t happen. Which makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing that a CME of epic proportions WILL happen, it is just a question of when and how epic it will be and how far back in time we will be thrust.

      Reply to this comment
    • silvercoal July 23, 17:51

      I snagged on that as well, thanks.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Ginger July 23, 15:57

    We have a 11 year old Nisson medium sized truck with a backseat for 3. We have a trailer hitch and a orange trailer 5x 8.5 to carry out tent and other supplies. So we can have room for supplies and 5 in the truck.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck July 23, 17:42

      I have a 16 y.o. Honda van and I still expect to have to walk in the event of a X7 or greater CME — or ride my bicycle, but with advancing age and my wife’s health problems, even the tandem is out. The bike will be for around town but definitely not for bugging out.

      Reply to this comment
      • Prelusive October 23, 14:41

        If you’re going to bug out; a bike’s a good idea for “bugging out” even if the tires are flat and the gears are stripped. You can pile a hefty BO bag onto that bike and push it along easier than you can carry that 40 or 50 lbs. (Remember all the crap Charlie transported down the trail on bikes…)

        Reply to this comment
        • left coast chuck April 10, 16:39

          I have read that the load on those bikes was 200 kg which translates to 440 pounds. Now they were not your bike club racer by any means. They had wheels and tires that probably came off small motorcycles and they had an arrangement with a pole on the front wheel the mechanics of which I don’t clearly understand but it was supposed to (and most likely did) help the bike operator handle the load he or she was carrying. I am confident that for most of the 1200 miles those bike moved gear that the operator did not ride but walked alongside the bike. They most likely rode down hill which can be significant but I know from biking myself that with that kind of load they walked up everything the the mildest grade. But all that said, they moved a lot of gear much to the consternation and annoyance of the U.S. command.

          Reply to this comment
  6. graybeard421 July 23, 17:35

    Luckily for me, I live in an area where four-wheeled vehicles are plentiful. Pickups, SUV’s, etc. are the norm. And, the area doesn’t have any stipulations on what you can park on your driveway.

    Reply to this comment
  7. left coast chuck July 23, 17:50

    What the author has done to prepare is fine except how many of us are able to completely replace the electronics in a modern car?

    At my age I do not have the time to start at a certified mechanic school to learn how to do an electronics install in my car. Nor do I want to start a new career. That may be an advisable course of action for someone who already has the electronics know-how to accomplish, but how many of us are qualified to work on the electronics on modern cars?

    In my teens, many decades ago I worked on my cars and did just about everything on them but today, not having kept abreast of everything that has been installed under the hood I consider myself skilled if I can identify the dipstick in under 2 minutes on a strange car. Even changing the oil — my daughter’s VW isn’t diesel yet takes diesel motor oil because it is a high rev engine. Try picking up 5W-40 diesel at Costco or Sam’s Club.

    No, I am afraid that for most of us our bug-out vehicle is going to be somewhat lower tech than a 30 year old motor vehicle.

    Reply to this comment
    • Elaine July 23, 20:57

      My Pa died in 2006. But when we got cars in the 70s (and WAY after), Pa always told us that if we wanted HIM to work on the car (as in did the job and CHEAPLY), that we would be getting cars that were NOT any newer than SHOOT! I can never remember! It was either 72 or 73. There was some kind of crap they started putting on the cars then, possibly for fuel something, and then they started making the vehicles to discourage people from being able to fix their vehicles themselves! I still remember Pa outside working on the cars, and depending on which vehicle it was, ”GD Chrysler Engineers!” or ”GD Ford Engineers!” He was ALWAYS cussing whoever designed whatever he was working on! It was too funny! (He was an engineer by the way! But he designed aircraft, not cars!)

      Reply to this comment
    • EL OSO July 27, 00:02

      Ford f250 diesel 4 x 4. 1985 thru 1992. Mech injector pump. Only pulse problem is the voltage regulator $35.00 and the lift pump $35.00 pr less. Wrap items in foil Keep in truck. 2 fuel tanks make for long range, It’s a 3/4 ton so it carries a load and is a pulling so and so. I have 2.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Jose July 23, 20:18

    I see posts like this all the time and I agree with left coast chuck’s comments.

    The other question that comes to mind: so you’re able to replace all the electronics in your vehicle, does the computer come pre-programmed for you specific vehicle?

    Reply to this comment
    • Raven tactical July 23, 20:20

      The emp for the most part will not try the car….

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck July 24, 02:06

        Raven: I believe you are confusing an HEMP, High altitude electromagnetic pulse with a CME, Coronal Mass Ejection.

        I’m not a physicist nor an electrical engineer. I have only read a myriad of opinions by lots of folks a few who were qualified to render an opinion (In my opinion) and a great many who were not.

        There is a lot of question about whether an X category coronal mass ejection will affect the electronics of modern day automobiles. Like so many things in life, there are too many variables for anyone to make a blanket statement. Is the engine running at the time of the emission? Is the vehicle in question stored inside some sort of shed? Inside a metal building? How advanced are the electronics.

        My personal feeling is that if you own one of the totally electric cars or hybrid cars and it is running while bathed in the CME fields, there is a good chance it will be shorted out. Other than than, I don’t believe anyone can make anything more than an educated guess.

        An EMP is designed from the get-go to destroy electronics. That’s its design purpose. But again, there are too many variables to be able to make a blanket statement. If you are parked in a multi-story underground concrete garage away from the elevators and other heavy duty electrical equipment, I believe unless you have a Volt or some other heavily electronic vehicle, your vehicle could well survive. You may not be able to get it out of the garage because a lot of other cars closer to the ground surface are dead in the water, but it very likely will run. If you are on the outside top deck of that multi-story parking garage — lotsa luck.

        That said, I would really like to see some independent body run tests on motor vehicles and not quit when they started stalling out. Then publish the results. Parenthetically, I would also like to win the Powerball Super Lotto. I believe there is about an equal chance of either one happening.

        For starters, automotive manufacturers who are building an all electronic car (Tesla perhaps) Volt — I haven’t kept track of who all is building all electronic cars, but they would have a significant interest in seeing the data not published if it showed that their vehicles would be dead metal in one or both of the events being discussed. If Teslas died fairly quickly what does one suppose would happen to Tesla sales? There also is the green movement who would have a vested interest in seeing that report killed because sales of electric cars would head straight to zero.

        Off the top of my head I don’t know what other industries would have a significant interest in seeing such a report deep-sixed, but I am sure with a little thought most of us can come up with a reasonable list.

        So while I would like to see such a report issued with scientifically designed testing parameters, like the Powerball winnings, I think ain’t gonna happen.

        Reply to this comment
  9. Jake d July 23, 20:38

    And so you’ve decided to buy a pre1970 vehicle with which to create your bug out. Anyone watch a Barret-Jackson auction lately? All of those old cars, trucks and SUVs are now very collectable regardless of condition. Nothing is cheap anymore.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck July 24, 02:11

      You are right, sir. A rusted out, non-running escapee from a junk yard goes for a few thousand and then you spend another fifty thousand getting it running and replacing all the rusted-out body parts with custom made parts. A friend of mine inherited two pre-70 cars, neither of which run. He is going to restore them (he says) into running condition. I don’t think he knows how much money he is going to drop into those two junkers. I think he would be better off selling them at auction but what do I know?

      Reply to this comment
      • Raven tactical July 24, 09:28

        If you stick to Chevy trucks it’s cheaper. The v8s are extremely common and simple. The smallblock 350 you can go anywhere and get parts. Turbo 400 trans is bullet proof and they technically use it in the modern 4l80e trucks.

        Body work isnt bad neither is the the suspension with more aftermarket support than anyone else.

        Are you building a show truck or a daily war wagon. Cause you don’t need to spend that much. Especially when everyone claims that they can fix the older cars. 5 to 10 grand you should be set.

        Reply to this comment
        • OldIron July 24, 11:38

          Yes as much as I dis like GM that is what keep them afloat all these years.My chose is not to build or have a dedecated truck but have my (stuff) that I will carry broken down in to easy to move bages or boxes. By thinking this way it means you can use anything with wheels just need to transfer gear and supplys and your off to the place of your chosing.

          Reply to this comment
        • Chipper September 11, 17:18

          Like Raven said. There are a tone of Chevy parts out there. Same with the old Ford 302 and 351W with the C4 and C6. They are plentiful in Colorado. Running rust-buckets go for around $1,000. I have had luck taking the newer 302 (5.0 L), stripping the electronics and putting a carburetor on it and putting it in a 1972 F-150 to replace a bum engine that threw a rod.

          I do have an advantage, having grown up in a garage/junkyard. I have a lot old hand tools that work great. with another set in my bug-out location, so can abandon these if I need the space or weight. My old 67 F-250 can go almost anywhere and I have a 1974 small camper trailer that is short enough to go wherever the truck goes and a hitch to pull the utility trailer.

          Reply to this comment
  10. Cry Havoc July 23, 22:14

    My house is 11 miles from work. I always have a get home bag in my pick up truck, along with body armor, a carbine in 9mm, and a 9mm pistol. If my 2012 Chevy cranks up and runs after an EMP…Great, I’ll drive home. Of not, I will walk. I told my wife, “If no one is shooting at me, I will see you in about 2 hours. If it’s a free fire zone, I’ll be there in a couple of days”

    Reply to this comment
    • Raven tactical July 24, 02:03

      11 miles in 2 hours with full pack and weapon. Damn your running hard

      Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck July 24, 02:47

      If you maintain a pace of 120 30-inch steps a minute, it will take you 3 hours and 20 minutes to cover 11 miles if you don’t stop to relieve yourself or take a break. If you have to stop your march for any reason, it will take longer.

      The military march cadence is just that 120 30-inch steps a minute which allows a body of troops to cover 3.3 miles in an hour. That is two steps every second. It is a brisk pace. Unless you are in your twenties and in excellent shape, accustomed to walking long distances carrying a heavy load that pace is going to be a struggle.

      Very few “prepper” writers have a realistic grasp of how much work a sustained 3.3 mph pace really is. They think they marched long distances back in the service. They will tell you that they marched 50 miles a day with a full field pack, ammo and a weapon. That’s like the fish I caught 20 years ago.

      Many years ago when I was still with Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children there was a big write-up in Leatherneck Magazine about a Marine battalion that covered 100 miles in 3 days. They were marching with full field packs. It was so unusual that it got a feature article in that issue. What went unmentioned is that they had porta-potties set up at the break areas. Meals were provided by field kitchens. All of that support enables them to add miles to their day assuming they are in otherwise physical condition to do that.

      In 2001 I went on a hike in Japan. We covered 300 km in 7 days. It was grueling. All I was carrying was a camelback, some Clif bars, change of socks and some light weight rain gear. We were able to do that mileage because we were supported. We got a half hour for lunch which was catered. We stayed in Japanese style inns at night. If you got a blister that needed medical attention more than what you could provide for yourself, there was an EMT staffed ambulance accompanying the march. Did I mention it was grueling?

      When I signed up for it, I envisioned a leisurely stroll through the countryside surrounding Mt. Fuji because it was billed as the “Fuji Big Walk”. If daily distances were mentioned it was in the tiny Japanese characters at the bottom of the application. I was the only foreigner there and it was right after 9/11, so I was somewhat the center of attention which meant I had to keep grinding on even though I really wanted to catch the next bus. The march started promptly at 0800. One ten-minuted break in the morning. 30 minutes for lunch. One ten-minute break int he afternoon and we quit at dark which was usually around 1800. The Japanese are fanatics about time schedules, so when I say it was a ten-minute break at 9 minutes and 45 seconds the leaders were getting people lined up. At ten minutes it was “Forward March.”

      We were only covering about 25 miles a day. I didn’t know that “marching” is a very popular sport in Japan and there are marching clubs all over the country and they get together for events such as the Fuji Big Walk. I got invited to go on the march around Okinawa the following month but told them I had been there and done that with the Marines and so politely declined. Whew!

      The marchers all had their mileage cards and at the end of each day crowded around the march leaders to get their cards officially stamped with their mileage.

      One day, unknown to me we marched right by where we were going to stay for the evening, continuing on about 5 miles and then back to the inn so that the marchers could get their daily mileage in. I was slightly annoyed. Hahahaha. If you had touched me with a wet finger I would have sizzled. I told the leader the next time they did that to let me know and I would hang out at the inn drinking beer while waiting for the diehards to march back. I wasn’t keeping score.

      So why the long narrative? Well, based on real life forced marches you can get an idea of how much ground you can cover in a day. Marines on a forced march covered roughly 35 miles a day in a supported march. The Fuji Big Walk covered 25 miles a day in a supported march. For the Fuji March, most of the marchers were middle aged but for the most part they had been doing it for a while, so were in excellent shape for that kind of endeavor. The Marines, with the exception of senior NCOs and officers were in their late teens and early 20s and were also in good shape. They carried heavier packs and covered more miles but they were trying to set a record and so put in extra effort. If they had to break out their mess gear, open C-rations and dig cat holes, they wouldn’t have covered the distance they did.

      There is a well known “preppier expert” who advises that your bug out location should be no more than 150 miles which you can reach in three days carrying your bug-out bag. That is so much malarky that I am amazed he has any credibility at all.

      End of seminar on getting home.

      Reply to this comment
    • Jabba July 24, 14:30

      Just recently I covered 8.5mi. in roughly 6hrs. With 150lbs in tow… literally in tow I made a trailer that I can walk with or attach to my bike.

      Reply to this comment
    • Karl July 24, 14:39

      I just recently covered 8.5 miles in 6 hours with 150 Lbs. in tow, literally. I made a trailer that I can walk or attach to my bike.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck July 24, 22:37

        So who is posting, Jabba or Karl? That works out to 1.4 mph. You can almost always pull more than you can carry. A single horse can pull a wagon with supplies and two people. It most certainly can’t carry that on its back. You managed to pull150 pounds. You might be hard pressed to walk with 150 pounds on your back.

        Every week I used to pull 9 gallons of water in my bike trailer. That’s about 75 pounds of water and container, not counting the weight of the trailer which was probably about 10-15 pounds. Sure would have struggled with that on my back. Assuming I could stand erect with that much weight on my back and actually walk forward, it wouldn’t be too long before my shoulders would be screaming even with very nicely padded straps.

        Reply to this comment
  11. Jonsey July 23, 23:27

    I have a 1979 jeep cj-5 that I paid 200.00 dollars for a lot of work and some money and a lot of blood sweat and tears. It has on board air, welder dual batteries. Iam not planning on bugging out. The area you are from is the area you know best. This vehicle and the 1981 honda custom 400 motorcycle will be used to procure goods. I have spare parts for both in faraday cages. Always fueled up and ready to go.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Black Swan July 24, 00:42

    Nobody so far has commented about Rich M’s point about “range”, but that’s important and has to do not only with a vehicle’s MPG and tank size, but also with how much gas you have in it when the SHTF. This leads me to an economic decision every time I get down under half a tank: Should I keep going until the low-fuel light pops on, to maximize the discount I get from my per-gallon credit card points, or fill it back up now in case I need to go somewhere in a big hurry tonight or tomorrow?

    How I break the logjam when I go below a half: Fill it right now if I’m going on a long-ish drive, even if I calculate I can make it home with 100 miles of range to spare. Fill it right now if it’s a mid-week day and the gas prices are lower than they’ll be on the weekend. If neither of the above apply, wait till next Tuesday or Wednesday, but no longer.

    And one more hint about vehicles for smarter people than this bird: Under no circumstances do what I did, and get a “low rider”. I love the look and feel of low-riding cars, but next time I buy a car, it will be one that I don’t have to slow down to about 3 mph when I reach my gravel driveway. This isn’t a problem if I bug in, of course, nor is it a problem if I bug out to somewhere that can be reached on normal roads, which is most likely where I would go. But what if those ‘normal roads’ are partly torn up or have minor debris such as small tree branches on them, which other vehicles can run over and keep going, but I have to get out and move?

    I feel as though I may have posted before about low-riders, and if I did, sorry to repeat. But whatever…Don’t. Buy. One!

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  13. bugholes July 24, 02:53

    While I have 3 trucks and two Dodge Ramchargers, my favorite is my 86 Ramcharger. 35 gal tank, 15 mpg hwy with my mods. rear seat removed, I can sleep back there. Bedside tool boxes affixed to the rear insides hold all my tools and gear. rack on top for the spares. built in hidey places for weapons and ammo. This is also my favorite daily driver because my mods make it the best handling and riding vehicle I own. I fill up every time the gauge gets to 3/4 tank. My cabin in the mountains is 55 miles away, 1:15 hour trip, 1/4 tank gets me there and back. Carbed with no computer, easy to work on. also have hitch carrier for my Yamaha XT250, just in case. self made and very light, but strong.

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  14. Water pro July 24, 03:38

    To help everyone out. 1984 was the first year for OBD1 computers for cars, 1986 for trucks. Domestic production that is. Before that is fare game. 1982 Chevy pickup is the best but poor fuel mileage.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Oldprep July 24, 04:02

    A lot of interesting ideas here, and some that I would like to comment on.

    Theoretically, a CME (from the sun) will not take out cars electrical systems. The longer wave lengths of the incoming energy will couple into very long conductors, like power lines and do a lot of damage to our electrical system. But, the conductor lengths in cars are probably too short.

    An incoming CME threat is often reported on the news hours or days before it hits us. Some websites give continuous CME threat information along with the probability of damage. If you hear of a big one coming with a high probability of damage, switch off the main breaker in your power panel before it arrives. Then leave it off until you hear confirmation that it passed which may take hours or days. For a CME event there is a high probability that you can power your house with your generator during this time without any problems. The damaging high voltage will be coming down the city power lines, which is why you need to be disconnected from them.

    An EMP from a high altitude nuclear burst probably will take out cars electrical systems, depending on a number of factors. As one writer said “nobody seems to know for sure.” It will also probably arrive as a complete surprise. If you somehow knew it was coming, switching off your main breaker would be a big help along with unplugging everything in your house. But some things electrical still may not survive.

    Per a previous comment, I too prefer minivans. They carry a lot of cargo or people – whatever mix you need. Unlike a pickup truck, the contents are inside and out of sight, and protected from the weather. They also fit in to the most meek and mild neighborhood. Their down side is that the owner can’t display his masculinity. They also can be short on ground clearance, even though I take mine off paved roads. A serious prepper could probably add a variable lift kit, (controlled from inside) so that nobody would know you had it until needed. Another alternative to fitting in, is to live in an area where most people have trucks and off road vehicles.

    Regarding bugging out, I think the best solution is to live in your bug out residence. Of course, everyone’s logistics are not so fortunate. But if one has to go any distance, I think the main key to success is getting underway as soon as possible, before the general population even has a clue as to what just happened. Therefore, a very important part of your EMP protection should be a way or plan to determine ASAP what just caused the lights to go out.

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  16. MKS July 24, 12:17

    All vehicles have capacitors and inductors. if you are close enough, the old vehicles will be damaged, also. Thinking an old car or truck will survive, is a foolish thing to risk your life with.

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    • Chipper September 14, 22:16

      That is why I have spare condenser, plugs, wires, cap, points and rotor inside a grounded Faraday cage, Plus another three sets inside an old (1950s version) metal toolbox welded to the truck body (a sorta Faraday cage). I can get my old 1967 truck going no matter what. I am lucky to live in a neighborhood with a lot of trucks – most of my neighbors are contractors of one kind or another. They are happy when I take their construction junk and amazed with what I make of it

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  17. Allen July 24, 12:45

    I would like feed back on this. I have the ability to get a 70 ft sail boat. sleeps 20 but intend to put supplies in place of 8 of those sleeping quarters. Plus storage already there. I have a water purifier that can change salt water to drinking water. and plenty of fishing equipment. The boat can use sails but also has a motor. Does anyone think this is a good idea for a bug out place I’d be miles from other people in hours. with enough supplies to last 12 people about a year if we don’t fish. But fishing would allow us to stay out for several years. What do you think. Or would I be better off on land.

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    • Raven tactical July 24, 14:44

      what makes you think you can fish for years…..

      It’s a slower death then maybe living in a city

      Reply to this comment
      • Allen July 24, 18:45

        Fishing was just a supplement to make present supplies last longer. I know at one time or another I’d have to come to land. But If it can last a little over a year or more. Most of the problems of over population for food supplies should be gone. It would be a risk but for the first few months Wouldn’t it be far safer.

        Reply to this comment
    • Karl July 24, 14:54

      People are the main problem in any survival situation.
      I say go for it!! Stay off the radio and live life out there till you have to resupply…

      Reply to this comment
    • graybeard421 July 24, 15:23

      What will you do when a huge storm comes up?

      Reply to this comment
      • Allen July 24, 18:40

        Try to avoid it but. With the world in chaos those on land without modern technology will die by the thousands. Katrina, Harvey, Irma and Maria. People where given advance knowledge days in advance. Plus rescue unites. After SHTF nothing like that would be available. Thousands would be dead. So a storm I could do my best to try to avoid it. But if needed ride it out as best as I can. A boat that big has better chance of making it than a small fishing boat.

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    • left coast chuck July 25, 02:44

      The first thought that comes to my mind is how experienced a sailor you are. If you have years of experience in a craft that large and have sailed the open ocean, then it sounds like a good idea and should be explored further.

      If your experience is limited to smaller craft and protected waters, I think it is a terrible idea unless the crew that you intend to take on board has the experience you lack.

      The sea is an unforgiving environment. You talk about avoiding storms and somehow that leads me to believe that you do not have much open water sailing experience. While on many occasion you can avoid a storm by sailing out of its way, you are not going to be receiving weather reports in an end of the world scenario. There are some storms you just can’t sail away from. You also didn’t say what area of the ocean you were intending to sail. Northern ocean waters are notorious for violent storms. Also gets darned cold in the North Atlantic in the winter time.

      The Caribbean has squalls, gales and hurricanes in abundance and many of them are far too large to flee in a sailing vessel. After the Battle of Okinawa, the U.S. fleet got caught in a typhoon, the WestPac version of a hurricane. I think they lost 16 ships. Those were major Navy ocean going ships with weather forecasts by trained weather forecasters and by that stage of the war crews were experience in seamanship.

      My brother and I have experienced the two happiest days in a boat owner’s life. We sailed in semi-protected waters, the passage between the California coast and the Channel Island about 25 miles off shore. There were days when we started out in clear weather with no storm warnings and by the time we came back in the afternoon the sea was rough and choppy and we were happy to be heading in. The channel is not noted for severe storms.

      So, I would suggest that if you are not an experienced blue water sailor in a ship that size, that you talk to some folks who actually are significantly experienced blue water sailors and get their input about the practicality of plan with regard to your lack of such experience.

      Otherwise, it does sound like a reasonable plan with that major caveat.

      I would suggest that you make sure you take significant heavy armament on board with you. Pirates will be rampant in an end of the world situation and the coast guard will not be coming to your rescue. At a minimum I would want at least one Barrett .50 on board with someone who knows how to handle it at long ranges and two would be better together with lots of .308/.30-06 rifles. I wouldn’t mess around with .5.56/.223. You want something that will punch hulls and not at bad breath distance. I would frequent gun shows and see if you can scare up some black tip .308 mil-surp bullets.

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      • Raven tactical July 25, 09:37

        Someone is living in fantasy land not following the ways of preparing. A boat will only. Hold dwindling resources. Fishing is not a guarantee.

        12 grand on a 50 caliber rifle and no training…. that should be fun.

        Just get land build a home and become a militant gardener

        Reply to this comment
        • left coast chuck July 26, 02:59

          Raven: If he has got the scratch to pop for a 70 foot, ocean-going sailing vessel and fully stock it for several years, 12 grand for more for a Barrett will be pocket change.

          The biggest concern I have with his plan is his expertise as a blue water sailor. After that, find a range that has a 500 or 600 yard firing line and learn how to run the Barrett. That doesn’t take the kind of experience sailing a 70 foot sailboat takes — especially in an EOTW situation where SOS to the Coast Guard is only going to bring pirates.

          Reply to this comment
          • Raven tactical July 26, 17:32

            Ok I’ll play with this dream . Ever try shooting from a boat….. accurately . It’s a pipe dream at best you will either be raided run out of food and you have no destination other hoping for a die off

            Reply to this comment
  18. Illini Warrior July 24, 13:00

    just simple advice for the newbies – get your basics well covered and push into some of the higher preps before you even begin to think anything outside your daily drivers …
    a Mad Max vehicle won’t be of any help if you don’t have food and water to drink …

    Reply to this comment
  19. Norml Chuck July 24, 15:20

    Take a look at EMP Shield.com . They have a product for house,vehicle,generator,and HAM radio gear. The reviews are good,but we can’t be sure what will or won’t happen as result of a CME or an EMP. The prices seem reasonable to me.It will take a little budget adjusting,but the outlay for the house,two vehicles,and two generators is around 2,000 dollars. About the same as the price on an old rust bucket truck. The Minister of Finance ( wife) is onboard,so the hard part is done.

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  20. Allen July 24, 18:41

    Try to avoid it but. With the world in chaos those on land without modern technology will die by the thousands. Katrina, Harvey, Irma and Maria. People where given advance knowledge days in advance. Plus rescue unites. After SHTF nothing like that would be available. Thousands would be dead. So a storm I could do my best to try to avoid it. But if needed ride it out as best as I can. A boat that big has better chance of making it than a small fishing boat.

    Reply to this comment
  21. tweell July 24, 21:07

    Interesting. I’ve been investigating the other direction entirely – motorcycle. The disadvantages are short range and very poor cargo capacity. The short range can be fixed with a rack carrying a 5 gallon can on each side. At that point, cargo capacity is basically nil, barring what you have on your back, but your range has gone from 150 miles or so to 850, which is quite respectable.

    The advantage is extreme maneuverability. Accident blocking the road? Zip on by. Having trouble getting onto the packed highway with that SUV + trailer? No problem with motorcycle.

    A friend who has evacuated for hurricanes said that there was a world of difference between the first time in his loaded pickup truck and the second time with his wife on their motorcycles. He had to plan better for his BOL and had set up a cache on the way, but with that done, it was a lot easier and less stressful to ride instead of drive.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck July 24, 22:48

      If you are investigating motorcycles as a bug out vehicle, you should definitely look at the Rokon. Both wheels are drive wheels, so it is an all-wheel drive vehicle. It can come with an accompanying trailer. You can store gasoline in the wheels. Naturally, it has a low speed compared to the Rocket Ninja 1000 cc speedster, but in an EOTW situation, slow is going to be better. You will need to keep a sharp eye out for obstacles and you can do that much better at 15 mph than you can at 85 mph.

      Not shilling for Rokon, but were I to invest in a bug-out vehicle, the Rokon would certainly be something I would look at seriously.

      Reply to this comment
  22. Grumpy July 25, 17:27

    I have an army 1969 5/4 multifuel truck I purchased from the disposal office for 150.00. Not suppose to be legal on the street but replaced the windshield with safety glass and had no problem in Texas. Burns gas, diesel, or alcohol .

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  23. Allen July 26, 17:55

    My idea was to stock food and supplement some with fish when I could catch it not depending on it. Yes there are pirates out there. But here on land I was looking at the thousands that where hungry against you and your small band. You may kill many but there could be 3 of them for every bullet that you have. Sooner or later they could win. Out in the ocean not intending to be to far out of sight. I was planning on that as staying away from the masses until most of them had starved or killed each other off. I didn’t intend to stay at sea forever. I can get the boat and I have two friends that have experience in large sailing boats. On of them as caption.(Retired) Again my goal was to avoid the masses that most prepers will for sure come across.

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  24. Normal Chuck July 28, 02:56

    Good Grief!! Cackling like a flock of old hens.I have this or that.This will work or that won’t work! I will guess that no one has looked at EMPShield.com
    There might be something better out there if you look.

    Reply to this comment
    • Bill July 28, 05:50

      I used to subscribe to EMP as some thing like a death star, and the only thing that will survive…according to internet experts….is a vehicle made before 1980 or so, BUT I started to do my own research with people who are in the business and do real world testing and I’ve changed my mind completely.

      Now for “ME”, I do not believe I need an old vehicle, or a non electric bike, or anything like that, if I want to get around after an EMP or CME. I believe with a little planning, I can have all my current vehicles and toys running just fine.

      Again, for “ME”, I’ve wasted a crap load of money on old vehicles, and rebuilding them so I can be sure I have some thing to drive after the big one hits us, and we’re all in the dark. Now I’ve learned that I can have my nice new daily drivers and invest a fraction of the money into them with an EMP Shield and call it good. Other small electronic items like iphones, laptops and things like that, I believe will largely go unharmed if unplugged after charging or you have an EMP Shield on your home.

      That does not mean cell phones will still work if the towers and network is fried, but all your important info on those items are not lost.

      From what I remember, everything in a home and plugged in to an outlet, and within a max radius of I think close to 200 feet, an EMP Shield will protect, and since most homes are not 400 feet in diameter, I believe we’re in pretty good shape.

      But never the less, when it comes to a vehicle, feel free to go buy some thing that was 70 years new in 1979 and drive it around so you’re ready for some thing that is about as likely to happen as winning the lottery.

      What I’m saying is, I doubt we’ll ever see an EMP, and for “ME”, driving around an old piece of junk or spending a couple thousand dollars on one and then spend who knows how much just to make it semi reliable to drive after an event, that has almost no chance of happening…is very foolish when you can drive some thing new and reliable and spend a couple HUNDRED dollars on it to survive an event that has almost no chance of ever happening but if it does, you’re covered. It’s cheap insurance.

      I also do not believe EMP will ruin backup electronic parts that you have stored away for a just in case type of thing, but at the end of the day spend your money anyway you want….I did and I wasted A LOT of it, but in all fairness, when I bought and rebuilt my vehicles, there was no such thing as an EMP Shield or the internet for that matter, but now there is, so be smart in your decision making.

      EMP testing to include cell phone, solar panels, inverters, and laptop.

      I’m not sure how or if this relates to an EMP, but it is kinda cool and and shows a vehicle getting hit with 800,000 volts.

      Reply to this comment
      • Possum January 5, 14:06

        Nice. I just bought an old ’79 Chevy 3/4 ton 4×4 because I can work on it myself and it was cheap and cheap to get parts for. I’m going for reliability and affordability. I don’t know much about EMPs and all that. I just got sick of cars with computers and electronic everything and very difficult to work on without specialty equipment costing hundreds or thousands. Now I just have crank windows and V8 power. Of course, a bullet, an accident, or any number of things could change all that real quick. Just trying to have something I can afford and maintain that is the best I can do.

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    • Raven tactical July 28, 15:57

      Your going drive with a blanket on your car

      Reply to this comment
  25. Lifeline July 28, 15:36

    I don’t have a lot to spend, but live where the ground is sandy, swampy, and hilly. A BOV must me 4wd to be of any use. After a lot of thought I chose a 2000 Land Rover, it is roomy, has the power to pull is fairly common and comes with a support group and a repair book that covers everything from bumper to bumper. With a little EMP protection, I think Brown Betty will work out fine. I have under 5K in it total.

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  26. Norml Chuck July 29, 14:20

    Raven! Does your computer allow you to send anything other than silly comments? EMP Shield.com does not sell blankets!!

    Reply to this comment
  27. Rod July 30, 02:54

    I would like to expand a bit on the mentioned “EMP Commission” vehicle tests. These tests were done on a shoestring budget, which meant they could not afford to buy cars to burn out with higher level EMP bursts. Instead they borrowed cars from the motor pool at the base where the tests were conducted. The tests started with small EMP bursts and the levels kept getting higher until the cars would not start. At that point the tests ended. The vehicles had to be repaired, at the testers expense, before they were returned to the motor pool and they did not want to create more expense to test higher level bursts.

    The biggest fallacy in EMP level prediction from either natural or bad actor sources, is that no one will know either where, or at what level, the EMP bursts will be until after they happen. My rule of thumb is to expect that anything with a coil of wire in it (starter, solenoid, coil, fan motors, alternator/generator, etc.) will be fried. Computers or anything with an unshielded semiconductor should also be fried. Planning for the worst in an EMP scenario is the only prudent course. Think about early ’80’s and earlier diesel engines. No ignition parts to fry, and mechanical injection should not be affected. A stored (shielded) starter, solenoid, and alternator should get you going again. A stored (shielded) fan motor would not be a bad idea, but could be installed later in a place of relative safety.

    There is also a school of thought that the radio in the vehicle might be saved due to its metal casing, but with external power, speaker, and antenna cables I have real doubts about that.

    Reply to this comment
    • Raven tactical July 30, 10:53

      Cars are a faraday cage by themselves. Most modern cars have shielded wiring as well.

      Granted not all would be fine but this isnt your biggest problem. The grid will go down which is the biggest issue

      Reply to this comment
      • Rod July 30, 14:03

        Only if the glass is shielded as well and the antenna is in the glass. I do have to wonder about these Sirius/XM antennas though. They would make great radiators into the body of the vehicle.

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  28. Norml Chuck August 2, 23:37

    Of course the grid down would be catastrophic,but if you think most vehicles will still be running,I hope you have good walking shoes,blister meds,and a bicycle.

    Reply to this comment
  29. Oldprep August 3, 04:44

    If the national grid goes down, for whatever reason, all internal combustion vehicles will be dead.after a short period of time for lack of gas.

    Reply to this comment
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  31. Eigil May 19, 02:13

    An old 12 valve or another old diesel will hands down be the best bet as it runs on filtered, used engine oil, (mixed with10-20% gas if in cold climate). Inline injection pumps usually have external solenoids for run/stop, which are easy to change out for cable operation, the VE style rotory pump have a smaller electric bleed valve, which can be taken apart and fixed shut, this way the no electricity at all is needed for the engine to run and a cable operated positive air-shutoff can be used to stop the engine.Alternators can be run without a regulator, the field terminal (armature), can be energised with switched 12-14 volt but needs constant monitoring to prevent over charging. A reostate can also be used, it to needs monitoring but not as much, as it will allow for load balancing.
    This in combination with a Lathi L39, on a fixed tripod, in the box are to do the job!

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  32. Eigil May 19, 02:15

    For all gassers: Wood-gas WILL get your old gas engine running and its real simple.. study the concept while you can, lots of youtubes.

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  33. PD July 26, 20:21

    1982 Mercedes 300D-no electronics other than glow plug relay. It will run on used oil and veggy oil if you have the set up. Bullitt proof vehicle, parts still available. One downfall is it is not 4wd and the ground clearance is normal vehicle height. I think any of the older diesels would make a good bug out vehicle due to the simplicity of the electrical systems.

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  34. chad August 14, 17:08

    Have thought of this as well. Plan has been to get a motorhome and have a toad vehicle behind (all wheels towed on the ground). The best options are either a Jeep Wrangler 4wd or an older Honda CRV (pre 2015). The advantage of the CRV is great gas mileage, though not geared for 4wd. Course, if EMP like event and likely nothing will work.

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  35. Charles September 7, 22:06

    Has anyone checkout out emp shield?

    here is there vehicle model https://www.empshield.com/product/vehicle

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