We recently covered the issue of Bug out vehicles,( jeep types versus RV types) fuel choice ( diesel or petrol) Internal or external load carrying,
internal or external sleeping space etc. I will repost my articles below in case anyone wants to go through it all again.
In theory this bit is easy, Ideally you need to get fit enough to be able to walk long distances whilst carrying a full pack on your back containing
everything you need to sustain you and your family on its journey to your place of safety. BUT in the real world we are not all fit enough, nor can we
carry all we need about our persons, add to this equation a wife, two kids, a baby and an elderly in law. So you need to consider transport. Think
about fuel types and its availability after a disaster, think about type and style of vehicle that suits you best, think about power to weight ratios
when you have the entire family aboard plus food and other outdoor survival kit, think about having to sleep rough using you vehicle as a bedroom,
think about storing your full bug out kit aboard and the family, think about maintenance, think about having to go "off road", think about fuel tank
range, and think about its suitability for your survival needs.
You need to discuss your requirements in depth with other survivalists and overland expeditioneers to get the best advice you can. Most favour large
bodied large diesel powered 4 wheel drive utility vehicles; though camper vans and panel van conversions are gaining popularity.
Learn new skills, If you get the chance to learn to ride a horse, grab it. Same with a motorcycle, motorboat, sailboat, quad bike etc, if the
opportunity arises get on a course on how to use a 4WD properly off road then take it.
The more operator skills you gain with differing modes of transport the better your chances are in bugging out or getting home safe after a
If more members of your family or group are capable of using the methods of transport chosen then get them trained up as well?
THE CASE FOR DIESEL
Yes I know there are far more people driving Cars, Vans, SUVs’s , Pick ups, 4X4’s etc with petrol (gasoline) powered engines than there are
driving similar vehicles running Diesel engines, But hang on a moment is that a good thing for us claiming to be switched on survivalists?
Some points I think need chewing over by the preparedness communities especially those with retreats, homesteads, secure homes and bug out plans.
If (or more likely when) TSHTF and fuel availability & storage becomes a major issue what will society in general start doing?
Lets accept that most of us already keep our vehicles topped off most of the time and also keep a few gallons of fuel stored for “The Day” but
nearly all of us must admit that overall we have not got enough fuel cached to get by with.
Question? What are the general public going to do as soon as finding fuel supplies become difficult ?
Answer, Yes they are going to form huge queues at almost every petrol (gas) station they can, the rest of this tale you already know, huge queues,
long waits, rationing, violence, riots, people getting killed for a gallon of fuel. The public will go berserk in next to no time at all.
(This scenario came 100% spot on accurate during the 2005 hurricane season in the US)
So what are the big boys and the prepared people doing?
What do the Railways (Railroads), Truckers, Maritime trade, leisure boats use as fuel? What do farmers choose as fuel for their tractors, ploughs,
etc? What do the military choose to power their vehicles?
Diesel, Yes Diesel, This fuel is found almost everywhere a survivalist would choose to look. Its safer to handle and store than petrol, it’s got a
better shelf life untreated than petrol and it’s used to power most of our commerce.
So whilst Joe Q public is waiting in the ever growing queues for his ration of petrol, or burning his house down after poorly stored petrol fumes
ignited in his garage, the switched on survivalist will have not only more safely stored fuel, but be using the same fuel he will need to run his
tractor at his retreat or homestead. He will be able to cache diesel far easier than gasoline, he can ‘OBTAIN’ more from truck depots, rail
refueling points, farm supply points, boat yards, truck stops etc. All places that offer nothing to the general public will be good places for
survivalists to visit.
Next time you are out and about have a look around and try to identify places you could ‘Source’ petrol (gas) and diesel. Petrol in general is
only available at fuel stations and in other petrol powered vehicles (cars, lawn mowers and jet skis?).It’s only found in fairly small quantities as
well. If you are lucky you will be able to fill your vehicle and a few jerry cans from a retail source before government restrictions or shortages
become an issue.
But look at places you can find diesel in an emergency and in what quantities? Trucks alone have tanks that carry many hundreds of gallons of diesel,
truck stops hold huge amounts in comparison to petrol stations. Look at you local railroad locomotive, even the smallest carry 1500 gallons of diesel
whilst the mainline locos can carry as much as 6000 gallons.
Coastal vessels have fuel bunkers of around 500 gallons whilst deep water vessels carry many thousands of gallons, Consider those facts plus the
places the trucks, locos and boats refuel at? , buying, storing, caching, scrounging, stealing, and finding you name it diesel has a huge advantage
over petrol (gasoline) powered vehicles.
Also in recent years modern diesel engines have advanced technologically, to a point that the power issues that traditionally separated diesel
vehicles from petrol (gas) powered vehicles has been eroded. So that unless you are into sports cars a turbo diesel can and will match your gasoline
powered car in everything except the 0-60 MPH stakes, plus modern diesels are still more economical than petrol engines.
Then of course when it comes to the reliability and vulnerability aspects of comparing the two types of engine diesel wins hands down.
I am also advised that certain types of heating oil can be used to run a diesel engine. Certainly after the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina you
need to carry enough fuel to travel 3x the distance to your retreat, this allows for diversions and long periods of very slow driving in heavy
So in closing if you have a rural retreat or bug out plans and you believe that sourcing fuel is going to be a major issue common sense directs you to
choose the good old compression ignition engine.
SELF BUILT CAMPERS AS BUG OUT VEHICLES
Currently growing in popularity in Europe, Australia and the USA is the trend for people to build and fit out their own campervans, not only is it far
cheaper to do than buying a factory built model (being as much as 70% cheaper in many cases) but the builders can also tailor the specific design of
the vehicle to exactly match their own requirements. All this is topped of with the fact that the self builders can also control 100% of the build
quality of the vehicle. Of equal importance is the fact that if you build the thing yourself you can do most of the maintenance and repairs yourself
Think about it for a minute, how often do survivalists and the preparedness community talk about wishing they could get a family vehicle that would
double up as a recreation vehicle and as a bug out vehicle. So if Ford, GM, Chevrolet , Land Rover, or whoever not produce a vehicle that best
suits your needs why not build your own ?.
To begin with you need a suitable base vehicle to meet your own personal criteria, for some folks it will be a panel van like a Ford Transit or Ford
Econoline, Other people will prefer the attributes of a four wheeled drive jeep type vehicle, some will prefer a motor home type base. In the US ex
school bus conversions are becoming popular, whilst in the UK panel van conversions dominate in a choice of two basic formats. First is to convert a
panel van into a custom built camper, fitting it out almost identically as a factory built camper with windows, air con, fancy stripes, etc but in
heavy duty format. The alternative is the “”Stealth Camper”“designed for wild camping. These stealth campers are plain panel vans externally,
but fitted out internally with the full range of fittings needed to support you and family. Toilet, Shower, Kitchen sink, H & C Water, Cooker and
Oven, Wardrobe and Storage space, Seating and Beds, Heating , Long range fuel tanks etc. Natural lighting is normally provided by fitting roof top
windows instead of glazing the sides of the van. Some vans are also laid out internally to be able to accommodate a motorcycle or quad bike whilst
still providing a full range of living facilities. In my humble opinion the stealth option gives the survivalist the best basic option to work with
because practicality is more important than pretty stripes and chrome wheel trims.
In a Bug Out Vehicle that you may need to possibly live in for up to six months you will need to carry more logistical support than Joe Q Public does
when he goes on vacation, So survivalists will need to plan far more storage capacity within their base vehicles than a conventional camper would.
The Survivalist primarily needs a large capacity engine supplied with fuel from extra large fuel tanks. The further he can go without refueling the
less vulnerable he is to meeting trouble in gas stations along the way. He is also less affected by localised or short term shortages of fuel that
could paralyze a conventional vehicle. Diesel is the preferred option in most European countries due to its cost and its safe handling
You may need large fresh water tanks (usually mounted under the floor between the chassis rails) usually in 250 or 400 litres sized tanks; they will
need to be insulated in northern climes
You may need dirty water receiving tanks so he does not foul your environment if you are stuck in one location.
You may need heating and hot water systems for cooking and hygiene
You may need cooking facilities, (Usually bottled gas fed cooker rings)
You may need seating that converts easily and readily into berths for his entire family group.
He / She will need storage for food, clothing, hygiene, tools, vehicle spares, weapons , books and maps, medical kit, recovery kit ( tow rope, axe,
jack, etc), Refrigeration is also required for fresh foods, most camping fridges run on all three primary power sources, IE 12V DC, Mains Electric,
and Bottled gas.
Many hot water systems also utilise all three power options.
In general you will benefit from a 12 volt electrical system, often supplied by a leisure battery, solar panel or micro turbine. A mains hook up is
also often fitted to connect up on camp sites.
Those are the basics and can be adapted, omitted or altered to suit your own needs and budgets.
Do ensure your vehicle has more and adequate fresh air ventilation so you do not kill yourself with carbon monoxide poisoning from your heaters if
they are diesel fuelled, and you can still also die from oxygen starvation from Butane / Propane heaters if a fresh air supply is not provided.
www.sbmcc.co.uk is a good place to start if you decide to convert your own vehicle. I strongly recommend a copy of John Speeds book called TRAVEL
VANS, it’s a great “How To” book on building your own Rugged RV.
MY BUG OUT VEHICLE (2005)
My family’s criteria for a Bug Out Vehicle have been dictated by various considerations, they are
Where we live
Where we would bug out to
Size of family
What I want to take with us
What logistics I have cached
What logistics I have access to at my retreat locations.
Firstly in my neck of the woods a 4 x 4 SUV would not be of much real gain for the extra cost involved in purchasing and running such a vehicle.
Access to what open terrain we have is very limited which puts all wheel drive lower down the list of priorities than fuel tank range and the vehicle
being as inconspicuous as possible. But to my advantage is the fact that in this area there is literally thousands of miles of roads and trails that a
rugged vehicle could travel along or hide along. There are old railway track beds, old roads now used as public footpaths, old bridle ways, B and C
grade roads and unsealed lanes, footpaths that are actually wide enough to get a vehicle down etc.
So I must admit that I have had to trade off some capability for crossing rough ground for being able to carry more equipment and supplies within my
BOV, I am to a certain extent relying on my being able to read between the lines as a crisis develops allowing me at the very least to place the BOV
outside the city limits giving me enough time to get ahead of any possible road closures by the authorities.
Some considerations in my planning involve the fact I need to feed , care for, protect and shelter not only myself but my beloved wife and son as
well, so where as I could happily get by with a rucksack and tent I know my wife and child could not.
Add to this the limited funds available to me I have chose the following options.
For day to day use for my wife who is a district nurse we have chosen a small diesel powered 4x4 which gives her a better chance of getting to a
rendezvous point should she get our pre arranged "bug out" message from me. The prime vehicle which we now will rely on for the foreseeable future
will be a much modified panel van.
I have started on converting a 4 year old Ford Transit van of medium roof height and a short wheel base body, it has a 2.5 litre diesel engine driving
the rear wheels via a five speed MT75 gearbox .The oil is 100% synthetic and the coolant runs at a 50% mix which is more than enough for current
British winters. If necessary a fuel system pre heater can be installed. All hoses and filters have been changed; the brakes have been up rated to
sintered pads and shoes pushing against ventilated discs at the front and drums at the rear, a 95 AH alternator charges the batteries shortly to be
supplemented by a PV panel on the roof. The headlights have had their bulbs replaced and upgraded to ultra bright H4 aftermarket bulbs that are 50%
brighter than normal; all drive belts such as Cam, Power steering and Alternator have been replaced with upgraded new belts.
The tyres have all been changed for new 8 ply, 195 R 14C LT commercial vehicle tyres mounted on 5 stud steel wheels, wheel nuts (lug nuts) are drilled
Inside the vehicle extra storage has been built above the driver / passenger compartment that will take clothing, bedding etc. seating/ storage has
been added along both sides of the van, a toilet compartment has been built in the remaining space at the rear of the vehicle. Across the vehicle
behind the seats kitchen unit containing a cooker, sink, water pump, gas bottle locker and water tanks has been installed, a hammock can be slung
diagonally across the rear of the van providing an extra berth. A certain amount of overhead storage has been built but I really want to keep the
centre of gravity as low as possible. Tinted side windows will be installed in the side of the vehicle when funds allow. The rear doors have been
bolted shut and the door release mechanisms disconnected in an effort to reduce break ins. Hopefully we will soon install either a diesel powered or
butane powered cab heater to keep us snug on those cold nights. An A frame steel bull bar has been fitted to protect the front of the vehicle and a
heavy duty tow bar fitted to protect the rear. The spare wheel has been moved from under the vehicle onto a custom made wheel carrier in the back
Food, fuel, clothes, medical kit, tools and spares, radios, batteries, and all the assorted bug out paraphernalia are stored within the now partially
insulated van body, So far I have not mounted anything outside the body of the vehicle though in time I can see the need to add external fittings for
jerry cans, spare wheel carriers, roof racks etc.
Currently funds are scarce so increasing the fuel carrying capability of the vehicle rests on carrying extra jerry cans within the vehicle which is
highly undesirable and smelly to boot. As an interim measure I will fabricate a rack to go on the tow bar to carry extra cans. I recommend you carry
enough fuel to cover a distance three times that of the distance to your survival retreat.
The vans own fuel tank carries 68 liters which gives a range of 450 miles and even in the small British isles is totally useless, so I also carry four
20 liter jerry cans of diesel which more than doubles the range of the vehicle without refueling at a garage.
I have two associates who have fitted huge long range fuel tanks to their works vehicles which has insulated them against fuel price fluctuations and
fuel shortages. The first guy drives a 1 ton Dodge ram pick up truck in south west Kansas, across the load bed of his pick up he has had installed a
huge U shaped auxiliary fuel tank right up against the cab rear window, he bought it to allow him be more selective on which " gas station" he has
to use because he always shops around for the cheapest fuel, this also serves him very well as a survivalist because when all his tanks are full he
has a range over 1500 miles. The second chap drives a truck from the UK to Greece and back. He has also fitted twin fuel tanks of some immense size
that allow him to drive on cheap Greek fuel all the way to the UK and back again without him having to buy expensive British diesel. Once again he has
insulated himself against the threat from fuel shortages with the added bonus both he and his wife can live fairly comfortably in the large sleeper
cab on his wagon should the need arise.
Water carrying capacity in my BOV is still also unsatisfactory at 50 liters of fresh water but finding fresh running water in the UK is not currently
an issue unless you are very unlucky, plans are in the pipeline to fit a 200 litre insulated freshwater tank between the chassis rails.( If I lived in
the great plains of the US I would store at least 400 liters of fresh water)
If push came to shove my family could comfortably live in the vehicle for weeks at a time requiring only occasional replenishment from outside sources
such as caches.
SELECTING THE B.O.V FOR YOUR NEEDS
OK so you have joined the ranks on then enlightened and decided you need an up rated vehicle to provide the best possible transport arrangements for
your family IF TSHTF.
How do you decide what you want or need? This is not a how to, simply an aide to helping you work out what may suit your needs
1. How far ( worst case scenario) will you have to travel to reach safety
2. How many people are you planning to transport
3. What is the geography like you will have to drive through
4. What are the worst likely weather conditions you will face
5. Will you want your vehicle to be of low public profile
6. Will you want to be able to sleep within the vehicle
7. Will you be towing a trailer
8. Will you want to cook, clean and eat within the vehicle
9. Will the vehicle need to be used as an every day vehicle as well as a BOV
10. Is your budget very tight or just limited by every day expense
11. Will the vehicle need to have off road capabilities
12. Will you need a lot of fuel for the vehicle
13. Will the vehicle have enough fuel capacity
14. Will you need to carry most of your water supplies
15. Will you need to carry many days worth of food for you all
16. Are you wanting to avoid stopping on route to your destination
17. Do you have very young, elderly or infirm members in your party
18. Are your mechanical skills limited?
1. Be honest, if it’s likely you have a long journey then you need to consider sleeping overnight in bad weather in a possible unwelcoming
environment, you need to think about food water hygiene and sanitation and reducing the stress already overwhelming the more vulnerable members of
your family. I don’t care how skilled, Rough and Tough YOU are, I’m thinking about tired, frightened, irrational, stressed family members, What if
you become ill or incapacitated for a day or two with some illness. Do you want to spend two days and nights in a tent with a complaining partner and
kids whilst suffering from Diarrhea in torrential wind and rain?
2. Shoving the kids and the dog plus granny on top of a pile of sleeping bag in the back of the car, facing a long and risky journey is simply not
going to work, everyone in your party including you needs a comfortable seat and time to rest and stretch your legs.
3. Study the route you are going to cover, then think what the route may be like unswept by the highways agency and after a landslip, snow storm, dust
storm, flash flood or whatever, will you likely be forced off the road and into the brush. If this is the case you need to be looking carefully at
ground clearance, weight, tyre choice, recovery tools and off road driving skills, plus whether you need two or four wheel drive.
4. The chance are fairly even that when you need to go it could be night time, It could also be raining, snowing, foggy, smoky from burning buildings
so you not only up rated lights or bulbs in your vehicle, AND you need also to consider being able to drive at night without lights for a fair
distance if your local hooligans decide to shoot at the passing headlights.
5. You may also need Snow Chains, High powered 12 Air compressor etc.
6. If you live in Smallville USA or Anytown England it’s pretty certain the local low lifes and jealous types will vigorously attempt to vandalise
or steal your BOV for the pure sadistic fun of it. Can the spot lights, sand ladders, winch, external spares etc be covered up or stored within the
vehicle until it gets close to bug out hour?
7. If you decide for health, comfort or climatic reasons you want to sleep inside the vehicle you will need to provide insulation, heating,
ventilation, toilet facilities, light etc, you will need berths for everyone if the vehicle is also to be used as a leisure vehicle, but one berth
less if you are using it solely for bugging out, One of you will be on guard duty at all times and can hot bunk with whoever replaces you on guard.
8. If you are towing a trailer then ensure it uses the same size wheels and tyres as the main vehicle, and ensure it has its own spare wheel.
9. If you want to cook food, eat meals, get washed or use the toilet within the vehicle you will need to ensure you have storage to contain your
supplies, power to move the water, a vented gas bottle locker and a securable toilet compartment. Sometimes in a crisis it’s simply not going to be
wise to stop because little Mary Ellen’s bladder has reached bursting point; don’t go covering the vehicle floor with kit so it becomes
10. Many of us can only fund a BOV if we also use it as an every day vehicle as well, so it needs to be town and commuter friendly, economic,
discreet, and reliable long term. I say think diesel but I know I face strong disagreement from many American folks, but consider the fact that
diesels are more reliable and durable, usually more economical and don’t have ignition systems to go wrong, plus its far easier to “Obtain”
Diesel than Petrol ( Gas) in a crisis.
11. Affordability? Perhaps a few of us can lavish a healthy percentage of our income on a high spec vehicle, but equally I’ll wager even more of us
can afford very little. BUT even if you are on a tight budget you can upgrade your family cars specification, regular servicing, use synthetic engine
oil, Up rate your headlamp bulbs, improvise a sump guard, fit extra driving lights reclaimed from the breakers yard, fit commercial grade reinforced 8
pr tyres on steel not alloy wheels, new hoses, new shoes and pads, new drive belts, second hand tow bar fitted and get your local DIY fan to knock up
a jerry can and water can carrier for you. A bit of steel mesh inside the plastic radiator grill to protect against stone chips, Child Safety
laminating film applied to all windows except the front screen. A second hand heavy duty roof rack with a piece of painted marine grade plywood fitted
with a fold away tent or top locker etc. Any upgrades will improve your chances of survival.
12. Time may be in short supply before a crisis or disaster strikes, but even so you must make whatever steps you can to improve your chances, so set
aside an affordable percentage of your pay each month for survival equipment. You will be surprised if you are frugal just how quick you can increase
your supply stocks, especially if you have a want list and keep an eye open for bargains (could be something like a 4 for the price of 2 new
13. If its possible you may have to go off the paved highway enroute to your destination and you have to account for this. So in the lowest threat
level you may only face driving across the meridian or central reservation through litter such as broken bottles and bits of old metal. You may have
to drive where a Hawthorn bush has recent dropped its tyre killing thorns. In that case you need dual purpose tyres with a good tread pattern and a
reinforced carcass. But if it’s possible you will face dirt tracks and rocks as you drive up to your place of safety you have got to consider 4
wheel drive, high ground clearance, off road tyres, winch etc, always plan for traveling in the worst possible weather.
14. The harder you drive and the further you go, especially off road the more fuel you will need, get the most fuel efficient engine you can along
with the biggest fuel tanks you can, and plan for carrying extra fuel in Jerry cans, The commonly held standard by many survivalists is to carry
enough fuel to cover four times the route to your planned destination, IE if your destination is 150 miles away then carry fuel at least for 600
miles. In the horrendous hurricane season of 2005 many people fleeing New Orleans and Galveston ran out of fuel after being forced to drive at less
than 5 mph for up to 15 hours, then finding out the gas stations along the way were completely sold out.
15. Stopping for water may be hazardous from the point of people wanting to ambush you, but also for the time involved in collecting water, Checking
its purity, and transporting back to your vehicle, If you are wise you will have moved your spare wheel from underneath your vehicle and fitted extra
water tanks in the gap, carry enough water to provide 10 liters per person per day for the duration of your planned journey, that covers washing,
drinking, cleaning and toiletries. Carrying a reverse osmosis or ceramic water filter as a back up is a must.
16. Look at the dietary needs of your party closely, you may be able to eat uncooked flour but I’m certain your family won’t, You need to provide
them with at least 2500 calories a day ( more if they are doing hard physical work) the food should be both familiar to them and popular with them,
its no use bulk buying a load of unbranded chilli because it was on offer if no one will eat it, plus the advantage of providing familiar food to
your family will mean it helps calm them during a stressful time. You will need to store all your needed food stuffs within your BOV set-up up and you
will be surprised how much space it takes and how heavy it can be. Dried and Tinned foods will dominate your food planning, dairy products and frozen
stuff will soon go off even in a camping fridge.
17. Are there dodgy neighbourhoods, towns and districts along your planned routes, are their government or military installations enroute if yes then
this again reaffirms the need for you to be totally self sufficient enroute and also off road capable. So your vehicle once again must carry all of
18. Yes you do need to consider the weakest members of your group the most, the very young and very old are particularly vulnerable to stress, so if
you have to bug out they are already suffering more than you, So they will need a warm place to sleep, good food, shelter, and as much familiarity as
possible to survive the ordeal. So please don’t plan on putting baby Ethan and granny Smith in a pup tent, in mid Feb during a rain storm on the
coldest night of the year. Plan on internal accommodation or hard top camping units not fabric tents.
19. If you don’t know much about vehicles? Then do a local MV course 101 at night school, plus if you are upgrading your own vehicle work with who
ever is doing the job to see how things work and fit, consider a diesel engine because they are more robust than a Gasoline powered vehicle and have
no ignition system to go wrong. If you help fit our your own BOV you will be come more familiar with it than you ever realise possible.
The Chances are if you are a fit single young man you will get by with a good SUV 4x4 type vehicles with camping equipment fitted wherever you can,
But if you are a family man or not in the first flourish of youth you are going to need something more spacious like a Van or Overlander RV
(Overlanders are basically heavy duty expedition vehicles),
I think very few people will need a huge coach built conversion like a Winnebago, the upper limit is likely to be the very rugged ex school bus in
the US and the ex army bus in the UK. But generally the trend does appear to be for a self contained BOV usually a van conversion, rather than an
upgraded SUV with external camping equipment. But not entirely, there are still many survivalists who are more than happy with their Land Rovers and
Jeeps and there are people who are more than satisfied with their upgraded family cars as well.
FITTING OUT YOUR B.O.V
There are some very important things to consider when designing, fitting out and loading your Bug Out Vehicle, they range from
1. Selecting the best vehicle you can afford to buy and run.
2. Fitting it out as best as possible.
3. Distributing the load evenly between the axles.
4. Keeping heavy items stored as low down as possible.
5. Balancing the weight evenly along both sides of the vehicle.
6. Keeping often needed and important equipment readily to hand.
7. Ensuring you don’t have to offload kit to get to the bed, toilet or kitchen.
8. Not overloading your vehicle so as to affecting handling or ground clearance.
9. Ensuring the vehicle is made as BOV suitable as possible (IE Rugged).
10. Remembering to redistribute weight in the vehicle as fuel, food and water are consumed.
11. Incorporating as many useful features as possible / affordable.
12. Making it easily repairable as possible
A fully fitted out Panel van, SUV or a family vehicle converted to double up as a BOV is not to be confused with the simple camper vehicle, the
similarity stops at the type of fittings used in the creation of the vehicle like kitchen, toilet and bed. Most motor homes are meant to remain on
smooth roads, they can be very delicate vehicles when it comes to the construction of the furnishings, plus they usually tend to have long overhangs
fore and aft of the road wheels. Very often motor campers have very poor ground clearance and any or all of these points can lead to the stranding of
your vehicle even in something as benign as an unsurfaced car park or truck stop. Your vehicle can become stuck solid on a bump or become grounded
fast at a time when good Christian charity in the form of a tow out from your fellow man is in short supply as everyone heads for the hills. A BOV in
camper form is more akin to an overland expedition vehicle with good ground clearance, rugged construction, large fuel and water capacity with various
internal and external storage facilities as possible.
Ideally if you want a BOV with internal sleeping accommodation a 4x4 panel van conversion will meet your needs the closest, followed by a 4x2 panel
van, the other common option of course is the 4x4 SUV or utility truck with a roof mounted tent or towed trailer containing some sort of opening or
demountable sleeping arrangement.
Many survivalists choose the Off Road vehicle option as it suits their needs best, but I feel that many survivalists with family members both young
and old will be better suited to sleeping inside a BOV rather than in a tent or trailer tent.
Your BOV will ideally be fitted with reinforced commercial vehicle grade tyres, very often the (wiser) BOV owners will sacrifice high speed cornering
capabilities and low road noise tyres for duel purpose (road / trail) slightly noisier town and country tyres giving that bit more traction when off
the highway. I’m not saying go out and fit huge great knobbly off road tyres because in general it is forecast that the majority of people bugging
out will be doing so on the highways, with only occasional forays off road to camp or avoid obstacles. In all cases your vehicle wants STEEL road
wheels which if dinged or dented can be bashed back into shape with a hammer, alloy wheels are fine for sports cars and leisure SUV’s, they may give
a slight unsprung weight advantage to your jeep as you go for a blast through the boonies, but if you hit a rock and crack the wheel whilst bugging
out you will be stuck. A nice extra to consider is to carry an extra spare wheel / tyre making it two spare wheel / tyre sets, and of course if your
vehicle is of the type that only has a slim line short term emergency spare wheel you need to change it for a regular one.
Two final points on wheels and tyres, first its always prudent if you are in a hurry to carry and use one of those emergency tyre repair / inflation
sealant aerosol sprays, it may get you going quick if someone is taking pot shots at you, and finally if your spare is mounted underneath the vehicle
then move it, to the back door, inside, roof or bonnet ( hood) of the vehicle, you don’t want to be crawling around in the dirt trying to extract
the spare from a vehicle that has already started to sink into the ground.
Your BOV should have the capacity to carry extra fuel, extra food, extra water, extra clothing, extra equipment and logistics to make the bugging out
event as least traumatic as possible, it has been debated to great length over the years but a commonly held belief is that your vehicle should carry
enough fuel to cover a distance four times of that equaling the most direct route to your final destination, IE if its 150 miles to your retreat you
should carry fuel enough to go 600 miles. This allows for road blocks, diversions, natural and man made hazards and pure bad luck. You can supplement
and extend your range by caching fuel along the most likely routes you will follow to get to your retreat, but what you must NEVER do is plan on using
gas stations to obtain extra fuel in an emergency, not only could they be closed, empty or looted but you can guarantee trouble makers will be
loitering around them waiting for people just like you to pull in.
I believe that the case has been made firmly in favour of diesel powered vehicles ahead of gasoline powered vehicles, though I do respect other
people’s choices, reasons and desires in selecting gasoline power. But for economy, reliability, accessibility, storage and safe handling,
efficiency and availability Diesel is in my honest opinion the best choice for survivalists.
Your BOV will ideally be able to provide enough sleeping space for all of your group/ family MINUS ONE, because at all times someone should be outside
keeping watch. You do not want to have to unload equipment or supplies in order to make up a berth because if you are forced to suddenly flee for your
lives then you will probably have to abandon the stuff you offloaded.
Use your head when designing and loading your vehicle, if for example your fuel tank is on the right hand side of the vehicle then position the extra
fuel tank on the left to balance the weight, if not the extra fuel tank perhaps a water tank, inside if you position the toilet on one side then store
a gas bottle opposite to counter the weight. Ideally the heavier fittings and supplies should be stored between the two axles, in my own vehicle the
modular and detachable kitchen unit is mounted across the van just behind the seats ( Its got sink, cooker, gas, clean water tank, dirty water tank,
and quick use food storage tubs all in one unit making it the heaviest fitting in the van.
As you use up your supplies do remember to rebalance the vehicles load to compensate.
As well as balancing the vehicle keep the centre of gravity as low as possible, keep all the heaviest stuff as low down as possible, fuel , bottled
gas, water etc on or under the vehicle floor, followed by food and tools, with lightweight stuff like clothing and bedding stored in the highest
spots. Make sure you have adequate ventilation in your vehicle when burning gas for cooking or heating.
FOUR THINGS must be kept / stored easily to hand at all times, your
First aid kit.
What should your vehicle have in an ideal world? (Only my opinion)
Good Ground Clearance (better off road capability).
All Wheel Drive (Selectable 4wd preferred to save fuel)
16 inch steel wheels & light truck re-enforced tyres
Diesel engine, none turbo preferred for reliability
Manual Transmission (Automatics waste far too much energy from an engine)
Long range fuel tanks (Greater independence and security in avoiding gas stations)
Twin Batteries (one charged from engine, other from auxiliary systems)
Auxiliary power supplies (PV Cell, Micro turbine, Bottle gas powered generator)
Upgraded Lighting (with auxiliary driving lights on separate circuit to main lights)
Belted Seating for everyone.
Domestically manufactured (for spares accessibility)
Internal insulated water tanks (Drinking/ washing)
Dirty water tanks (leave no trace of rest stop)
Toilet (with sealed easy clean tanks)
Shower (an external spigot will do)
Strongly build cabinet fittings
Kitchen Unit (sink, cooker, grill, fridge)
Dirty / Wet Locker (keeping wet and dirty clothing separate)
Vented Bottled gas locker (Min two 7.5 kg bottles)
Satnav / map locker
Good quality AM FM DIGITAL radio in cab and saloon
Power / light fused distribution board
External hookup for 120/220v
Ceramic or Reverse Osmosis water filter (if you fill up at possibly impure water sources).
Mobile phone charger.
External storage racks for stuff like Jerry cans, Bicycles, Spare wheel carriers etc.
Winch and bull bars & swivel spotlights (protection and self extraction and lighting)
Tool & Spares locker (vehicles tools and common spares).
Please do remember that for the average modern western family all of the above can be accommodated into a long wheel base panel van like a Ford
Transit or Econoline, and accordingly can be used as everyday transport for one of the family, the vehicle can most certainly be used for leisure
purposes as well as survivalism.