While I don’t feel that the term “bug out vehicle” reflects precisely what I’m going for in this article, I’ll use it anyway because I think most of my readers will quickly understand what I mean.
The Bug out Vehicle is supposed to be the vehicle used to escape the city when disaster strikes. While some events may force you to do so, what I want is a vehicle that could be used for such scenario, but also covers both several other scenarios that are more likely, and at the same time works for the mode typical mundane use. Maybe “Survival Emergency Vehicle” would be a broader definition, one that includes the possible bug out scenarios but takes into account other considerations.
Without wasting time lets go right into what we’re looking for.
Financial Crisis considerations: This already being a fact and not a “what if”, there are certain points to keep in mind so that our vehicle responds to the economic crisis part of the equation as well.
*The vehicle should be affordable. I suppose few of us have money to throw away. Without compromising on quality, buying used tends to save you lots of money that can be put to better use. As a rule of thumb if you buy a vehicle that is three or four years old and has less than 40.000 miles you’re still looking at a relatively new car that has many years ahead of it, and you’re buying it for a fraction of what it costs. 10.000 miles a year tends to be standard, be suspicious of cars that have much more or much less than that and check that the general wear of the car insides matches the miles its supposed to have.
*The vehicle should be known for its ruggedness and reliability.
*Repairs should be easy to make, hopefully you’ll be able to do at least some of your own, so easy to understand car mechanics and engines would be best. The model should be popular enough so that mechanics are familiar with them and spare parts are both easy to find and affordable.
*Regarding efficiency, this will be a vehicle that you’ll be using mostly for driving on good roads. Maybe it doubles as your daily driver or commute car, so good millage is very important so as to be affordable to keep it fed. Even in some evacuation scenario or emergency that requires driving long distances, fuel efficiency means you get to cover more miles with less of your scarce fuel resources, or using whatever you manage to scrounge around.
*If possible, manual would be preferred. It uses less fuel, its mechanically more simple and you tend to have more control of the vehicle. In some situations such as when wounded or when there’s a driver with no experience with manual transmission, then automatics are and advantage, so both have their pro and cons.
*It should be able to deal with some off-road driving, drive across mud, snow and sand. Even if this vehicle will be dealing with paved roads 95% of the time, you don’t want to get stuck during an emergency or if you ever have to drive around traffic or blocked vehicles. Because of this, the vehicle should have the option of 4WD. The chances of you needing it aren’t high, but if possible it would be good to have that alternative. Here we will have to compromise to a degree because off road capability, good road driving and efficient gas millage tend to be mutually excluding. Don’t forget that a fuel efficient soccer mom van may take your entire family and gear twice the distance a fuel thirsty 4.0 4×4 can. Not to mention that its much cheaper to driver on daily basis. Think SUV or light off road capability, you don’t need a monster rock climber.
*The vehicle should be small enough so as to maneuver around debris, car wreck, or whatever may be blocking the road. You want a car that has some muzzle, but agility makes for a more convenient vehicle for daily driving and when you need to move fast during emergencies as well. At the same time, it should be big enough to fit your entire family and your supplies. Again we’ll have to compromise and go for some medium sized vehicle, not too big, not to small, but something that seats 5 with room to spare. You might get away with a smaller 3-door SUV if you’re on your own but always plan on needing some room later on.
Here’s a video I found on the Honda CR-V. This one would be one of my first choices. Honda cars have the same reputation as Honda generators. They just work and keep working after others die.
My second recommendation is the Toyota RAV4. This is a nice little vehicle and has acceptable gas millage. Its also pretty good as an off road vehicle.
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