What Is The Ideal Bug Out Vehicle?

Many preppers have bug out bags. Many have survival gardens. Many already have a cabin that they can bug out to, but it’s possible that you may not have thought about what you may want to use to get there. This is why you may want to think about what is the best bug out vehicle.

Some people may want to go on the cheap (and small size) and get a survival moped (I’m not kidding. It’s real.) which is a moped decked out with dirt-bike tires, a small motor, and, of course, pedals in case you want to ride quietly. That could have it’s uses if you’re wanting to evade detection and you have no more than one other person to take with you. Even then, having an extra person would make that a difficult ride over any distance.

It seems to me, however, that the best bug out vehicle will be a four-wheel type vehicle with some specific features:

  • It must hold multiple people. How many people it holds will depend on how many people that you need to take with you. You have to consider your spouse, children, parents, grandchildren, etc. Some have recommended that a four-seater will be adequate. For most people this may be true, but my family is larger than that, so that wouldn’t work for me. For most people this requirement will mean that a Smart Car or that Honda S2000 that you’ve been eyeing won’t cut it.
  • You have to be able to load up supplies. Pat Henry sums up this point well:

    Back to the 2 seat vehicle and even a lot of mid-sized cars these days. Most have so little cargo room that you would be lucky to get your bug out bag and a pillow in the trunk but you could forget about all of your prepping supplies, ammo and food and water you have stored. I am not saying that your bug out vehicle should be able to carry everything in your house or else it is worthless, but you do want the ability to pack a good portion of your supplies or gear.

  • It needs to be able to handle difficult terrain and/or weather. Simply put, you should consider a four-wheel drive or all wheel drive vehicle. Why? Because, if the SHTF, there won’t be anyone fixing the roads, and you may be heading out to the middle of nowhere anyway, just for isolation and survival. A standard front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive sedan isn’t ideal.

One more thought to consider in choosing your bug out vehicle: you may want to consider a diesel engine over a gasoline engine. Some mention fuel efficiency as a reason, but a┬áprimary reason, in my mind, is that you can use a variety of fuels such as used cooking oil and biodiesel for fuel with little modification. This gives you more options when access to a working gas station or fuel refinery isn’t practical.

What other factors do you consider important in choosing a bug out vehicle? Tell us below.


  • EdWatts
  • Craig Cardelucci

    Makes more sense to live somewhere you can “bug-in”.

    • Bob in Florida

      That was our plan when we were considering our retirement plans and the ability of the old folks to ‘hump supplies to a remote destination’ and/or ‘Rough it’ nowadays.

      Our two vehicles are both 4-wheel drive – one small, one large – but, our primary plan revolves around ‘bunker-in-place’, defend what we have, as best we can, for as long as we can; with a back-up containerized emergency supply that can be loaded in the larger vehicle and rolling ASAP.

  • Gordon558

    A pre-electronic diesel 4X4 crew cab, long bed pickup with enclosed utility bed, front wench, manual shift, with fuel tanks total 100 gallons. No DEF you know.

    Shelves in the utility bed to hold and organize things.

    A duece and a half would be ok…..with a ring mount.

    • Bob in Florida

      Is that ‘Front WENCH’ going to share driving duties – if needed; or,
      does she have other duties assigned?

      • Gordon558

        I prefer a front wench rather than a back wench but I guess either one will do as long as I have a winch on the truck.

        • Bob in Florida

          Yeah – that winch is more likely to get you out of a ‘tight spot’ – instead of into a ‘tight spot’!

  • Ray

    Even the modern diesels have electronics so you want an older diesel or an older gasoline with a carburetor and points type ignition with extra coils and ondensers in an emo proof container. When the shit hits the fan there will be plenty of fuel, but few operational vehicles. Get an old blazer, dodge power wagon/ram charger or 6×6 ideally.

    • Andy Z

      The chances of anything not hooked to the electrical grid when an emp hits of being fried are slim to non read up on it it needs long wire to kill things

  • longshorts3

    Any vehicle with no computer components in it is a good bug out truck/car. The venerable Chevy Suburban 4WD is the vehicle to measure against. Tough drivetrain and suspension, built like a tank. The older Ford Bronco (pre 1985 I believe) is a good one for Ford lovers. Most anything that has a distributor ignition (no “HEI” systems, they have internal coil packs) naturally aspirated engine would do. Even the old four door Chevy Nova was a tough old design even though it was a unibody construction. Parts for the older vehicles abound everywhere, even if you have to buy them new. (Be sure to buy several new sets of points, and condensers for the distributor) Pack a tube type shortwave radio (no solid state components in it), it may be heavy, but unless you pack a modern radio in a Faraday cage, this is the way to go. Buy several spare sets of tubes for it if you go tube type, one burned out tube makes the radio useless, (it will run off the generator you will carry). Go to an old Ham operator, ask him/her what would be the best for your situation. Transport and communications is the key to “bugging out”.

  • al

    Please explain how good a bug out vehicle is going to be when the gas/diesel suppliers are shut down because of the lack of electric to pump fuel.