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What If You Have To Make Your Car Your Bug Out Location?

What If You Have To Make Your Car Your Bug Out Location?

When planning for a bug out situation, having a specific location to bug out to is the ideal. That would be someplace geographically separate from your current home (assuming that the disaster situation occurred near your home), has supplies stockpiled such as water and emergency food, and has ways to obtain more food. Maybe you would even have electricity and running water, a cozy home away from home.

But let’s be realistic for a moment. You may be new to prepping when the disaster hits. Or maybe you simply have not had the funds to buy a piece of land and to build a cabin. Or you might not have had enough time to do that kind of extensive planning due to personal issues such as caring for an ill loved one. Or it could simply be that both your home and your bug out location are being effected by the disaster situation. What do you do?

Well, you could live in your car, at least temporarily. But there are some things to think about if you do have to live in your car for a period of time.

The first thing to consider is avoiding notice. Why? Simply because you don’t know who you can trust. Unfortunately, a certain proportion of people lose all sense of morals when they feel like their survival is on the line. If they believe that you have supplies such as food or firearms in your car, then they may attack you for those supplies. Or simply steal them. Either way, you are then out of luck for those items. suggests that you find a way to tint or black out your windows so that people can’t see the supplies that you have on hand. Less knowledge can mean less envy and less problems in this case.

You’ll also want to plan where to park your car while you sleep as you won’t be able to protect yourself while sleeping. Somewhere completely out of the way and hidden or a place with lots of traffic to discourage people from breaking into your vehicle are probably the best options.

And, of course, you’ll want to make sure that you have food and water on hand as collecting water may be difficult (especially if you are traveling) and hunting and growing a garden are simply not options if living in your car. You won’t have time to gut and cook anything that you hunt (in addition to the attention that the fire and smell of food can draw to you), and you won’t have time to garden.

On top of all this, you’ll need to find bathrooms for hygiene purposes (obviously we don’t recommend using your car as your bathroom facilities, too).

Granted, living in your car is probably not your first choice (and we would recommend having a bug out location to go to when the SHTF), but, if you have to do it, you can survive for a time living in your car. And, planning for living in your car has steps that you need to take in your overall prepping process, so you don’t need to do a lot of extra planning to do it. So, in the interest of preparedness, plan this as a possible scenario in your survival planning.



View Comments (4)
  • Just one problem: I would think tinted or blacked out windows on your car would scream “valuables/supplies!”.

  • You obviously are not familiar with the desert SW…Temps commonly exceed 115* -Everyone (with sense) has blacked out windows, even most all LEOs…

  • I live on the East coast. We don’t have deserts on this side of the US. So no, I didn’t know that. Over here on this side of the pond I think blacked out windows would be an invite. I’ll have to remember the blacked out windows if I ever go to the desert.

  • I’ve spent time in my car recently when we lost power after a storm and were running a window unit air conditioner off a generator and had to shut it down from time to time. My brother and I took our two small dogs with us (too hot for little poodles) and we’d get a cold drink and sit in the car swallowing down refills and alternate sitting with open windows and running the car so we could have cold air and give not only ourselves, but the dogs a break. Even their panting would make us uncomfortable. We’d walk them and stay parked under trees.
    If I had to do something like that again, I’d sure love to have a van or small motor home kept clean, stocked and ready. With pets it’s harder and in humid, hot weather it’s almost unbearable. If I didn’t have to worry about the dogs, I would have spent time at the mall or library. It’s helpful and nice to use bathrooms in stores and to keep insulated cups and maybe a cooler or two in the car to allow you to buy drinks (Refills are cheaper) or to buy drinks and snacks at the grocery stores and keep a chest of ice. Of course we had food at home and ate fast food, but a cook kit and supplies would be good. I often have a few utensils and napkins in case someone forgets, looses, breaks or just needs a fork, knife or spoon. And I try to keep a metal knife to cut sandwiches into smaller pieces and whatever plastic cannot handle.
    If I had to “live” out of a car, I’d buy or create a tent to use for washing up and to use a portable toilet or a simple “lugaloo” or homemade bucket type toilet with a seat or foam on top and a supply of trash bags and even sawdust or kitty litter.
    It would be difficult to perform usual bathroom duties or to dress sitting in a car. I would obviously keep things in the trunk or cargo area, some things such as clothes or pillows and linen in containers and maybe place a car top carrier above for extra storage. If one has the funds, they could rent a small storage unit and just pack the most immediate and appropriate items in their vehicle.
    Oddly it’s a fascinating subject and many people have made it work, even holding a job or running some kind of business.

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