First, fantastic book! I’ve read it twice and referred to parts of it many times. Both your book and your website are invaluable.
I have what might seem to be a dumb question, but here goes anyway. I am about to buy a new vehicle. Years ago I had a pickup truck and when I had it always said “I never want to be without a pickup truck”. Well, after many years of good service it died, and I ended up with a minivan, thanks to the family life. After a little while with it, I grew to love it and began to say “I never wanted to be without a minivan”. Anyway, the van has died and I’m now trying to decide which to get. On the positive side for a pickup truck are things like ground clearance, ability to throw absolutely anything in it, and oh by the way it’s a truck. As great as all that is, I found over the years that the minivan was almost better. Taking the seats out gave me tremendous space, and it was all enclosed, all the time. So if I had “stuff” in it and it was raining it did not get wet. If I wanted to stop someplace I didn’t have to worry about someone walking by and taking things out. As dumb as I feel like it sounds, I really cannot figure out which might be better if something bad breaks. Everyone thinks the truck is better, but I’m not sure. Any thoughts??
Hi Terry, thanks for your email. Its not a dumb question, it actually makes a lot of sense.
Sometimes the things you see on the internet about Bug Out vehicles are funny or plain sad when you can tell that a person actually is preparing for real for a fantasy he came up with.
You often see these huge 4×4 tucks, expensive to keep fueled, expensive to repair, that sit on a garage waiting for that “golden horde” and if something remotely like that ever happens and you happen to get to use that said vehicle, it has a 10 MPG efficiency… meanwhile your sissy ecofriendly neighbor covers five times as much distance per gallon on his Prius. It doesn’t make much sense does it, to waste precious and scarce gas on a vehicle designed mostly for off road when a real bug out or emergency situation still means you’re on roads 95% of the time or more.
As always the answer lies in between the two extremes, that place of common sense that survivalists so often miss.
Your points about the minivan advantage are correct. The only thing that I feel may be missing is capabilities in case of that rare 1-5% chance of needing four wheel drive and better ground clearance. I’ve had years of experience living with roadblocks, sometimes you couldn´t avoid at least one every single day. At times it got ugly and violent. What I learned from that was a)I want a vehicle that can go up a boulevard or sidewalk if needed. B) I want a vehicle that can go through dirt, mud, snow or sand if I need to do so. No, not badass off roading, just from a practical perspective of having to go off road for a bit to avoid trouble. I’ve seen cars trying to go across an ordinary grass field with a bit of mud here and there and the guys with 2WD would get stuck while the ones with 4WD sailed right across it without a problem. Yet since this will be done rarely a SUV with 4WD would do good enough, and clever selection may still land you one that is financially viable for everyday driving.
AS you mention, the minvan gives you a lot of space that you can actually use often. What you describe is correct, your stuff doesn’t get wet and you don’t have to worry about anyone stealing from the open compartment. Its not dumb, its a matter of practicality. If you have to sleep in the vehicle, you can move the seats and you can sleep there rather ok. Sometimes you see trucks with these fiberglass or fabric covers, which seems to be a poor solution.
If you consider these things, you see that you need a minivan type car with acceptable millage, ground clearance and 4WD capability. Certain SUVs come to mind, and when I came across your same predicament I ended up with a used Honda CR-V. It wont be winning any off road comeptitions but it gets you almost anywhere. The 2.0 litre isn’t a powerhorse, but well within the speed limit and the speed I usually drive at anyway. It does have a nice amount of cargo capacity for a medium sized SUV and its dry and well secured. Just a couple days ago I had a couple brand new bikes for the kids and various other shopping bags in the trunk, and still we could leave everything in it while we went to have dinner. With a truck you have to be more careful or keep an eye on it while you grab a bite.
Sometimes SUVs can be a pain so choose wisely. Two car dealers that I’ve talked to recently told me they only buy and drive Hondas or Toyotas. These two have been pretty consistent in terms of quality and reliability. Either the Honda CRV or Toyota Rav4 are good models. Toyota’s Land Cruiser is nice as well, but try keeping it realistic in terms of how much engine you need.
Take care and good luck!
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