What to Include in Your Bug Out Vehicle
When people hear the words ‘bug out vehicle’ some immediately think of an extremely modified vehicle such as the vehicles in the film Mad Max! Then, of course, they give you ‘that look’ like you’re a little crazy! Every survivalist knows the ‘look’ I’m referring to. There’s a positive side to that though. It gives you a chance to educate others on the importance of being and staying prepared - and bug out vehicles (BOV) are an important part of survival education.
The first thing to always point out when teaching others about the importance of a BOV is that it can be any means of travel for you and your family - a land vehicle of any kind, air travel (airplane), and travel by water (boat). It’s the items within said transportation that are the most important.
Your BOV should carry enough supplies and gear to sustain every person traveling with you for at least 72 hours. Also, I would recommend that each person should have their own personal bug out bags with them. Each individual’s bug out bag should carry 72 hours worth of supplies as well. Some may say this is excessive but, in my opinion, being too prepared is never a bad thing. A good example of why bug out bags are also necessary would be if the person left the BOV for any reason, they would have the supplies needed to survive if they should become separated from the group.
Before we go over the BOV items list, let’s cover what should be carried in each bug out bag (BOB) which can be somewhat personalized to each individual person. Here are the most necessary items to consider.
Suggested Items For Each Individual Bug Out Bag
First aid kit - including any prescriptions you may take.
- Survival knife
- Bottled water - The rule of thumb is 1 liter per person per day. Your BOB should carry enough water for 72 hours which would be 3 liters of water.
- Packaged snacks / and or pop top can goods - Again, pack enough food for 72 hours. One person should consume approximately 2000-2200 calories a day. (Pack a hand held can opener just in case)
- Water purifying bottle - A way to purify water if your water supply runs out. Staying hydrated is so important!
- 1 change of season appropriate clothing with under garments.
- Compass / Road maps - Google maps is a great tool but, if your cell phone dies, you will greatly benefit from having roap maps of the area and a compass.
- A lightweight tarp
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Whistle - A great tool to signal for help.
- A brightly colored bandanna - Another great tool to signal for help.
- Travel fishing kit
- A way to make fire - I suggest a ferro rod above lighters and matches due to the fact that lighters and matches can get ruined if they become wet.
If you have room to add anything you feel is important to the list above, then by all means, do so. Like I always say, “Better safe now, than sorry later.”
Bugging Out Your Vehicle
As I said before, a bug out vehicle (BOV) can be any form of transportation - a car, truck, van, boat, or an airplane. Whatever means of transportation you choose as your BOV, it is important that it stays ready at all times.
- Check your BOV every single day - Check daily for things like leaks of any kind, tire pressure, and take note of anything out of the ordinary. Have repairs done as needed.
- Have your BOV serviced often - Things like oil changes and tire rotation (for example) should always be kept current.
- Never let your gas tank go below the half mark - Have at least a half a tank of gas in your BOV at all times. When disasters occur, you want to be able to escape and get as far as you can away from danger!
Stocking your BOV is similar to stocking your bug out bag (BOB). There are some differences as you can carry much more in your BOV. As I said before, (at least for me) you should always carry a bug out bag at all times even if your BOV is well equipped with similar items. If you have to separate yourself from the bug out vehicle, you want to have the necessary items with you in your personal bug out bag. Doing so means that the BOV’s supplies is not compromised.
Let’s talk bug out vehicle supplies. What should you stock in your BOV?
Let’s go over the basics first.
- Water - Depending on the number of people you will be traveling with it is a good idea to carry at least 8-10 gallons of water in your BOV. As with your bug out bag, you should also include a means to purify or filter water.
- Food - This food supply will be much larger than your personal bug out bag food supply. Here are some great choices to consider. Quick and ready to eat foods like pop-top canned goods, granola bars, and high-calorie energy bars are all things that can sustain you during an emergency. You should also include sugar packets, a couple of bags of nuts, and some hard candy. You’ll have a great source of instant energy and a good way to improve your mood.
- First aid kit - For bug out vehicles as opposed to bug out bags, I think that having two first aid kits in your BOV instead of one is a great idea and here’s why. For example, if you are traveling with a larger group and 2 (or more) people sustain an injury at the same time, then you will have plenty of first aid supplies to go around.
Invest in a good emergency road kit. Here are some great suggestions.
- A floor jack
- Jumper cables
- Spare fuses, extra oil, antifreeze, and vehicle fluids
- Spare hoses and fan belts
- Tire pumps, patches, and fix a flat
- Spare tire in great condition
- Gas can
- Tow Cable
- Compass and Road maps - like I said before, Google maps is a great tool but, in the event of your cell phone dying or becoming damaged these two items will be a god send in an emergency.
Communication and Signaling
During most disasters, there is a great possibility that most communication channels will go down. Hopefully this will only be temporary; but either way, you need to plan for the worst case scenario and have multiple ways to communicate available in your vehicle.
- Cell phone and car charger - While this is the first thing that will go down, you should always have a fully charged phone and an extra car charger at all times.
- Satellite phones - They are expensive but,if you can afford one, satellite phones do not rely on local cell networks, therefore they are less likely to be affected by an increase in call volume or network outages.
- CB radios - A CB radio is an excellent way to communicate if you’re traveling with a group of vehicles. They are also great for local communication and finding out local road conditions from truckers driving in the area.
- Ham radio - When everything else goes down, a good multi-band ham radio will allow you to hear broadcasts and communicate with people both locally and around the world.
A bug out vehicle in an extreme emergency/survival situation will basically be your ‘home’ and depending on the emergency, it could possibly be your home for a while. You do not want to crowd this space but, you do want to pack all necessary items needed during the emergency. Two items I would like to suggest - and these are definitely optional. A quick and easy pop-up tent and a few sleeping bags. If you were to possibly become stranded on the side of the road overnight for any reason, these two items would be extremely useful.
Selecting a BOV takes serious thought and time so make sure it is the right fit for you and your passengers. Even though knowledge and skill play an important role in all of this, always remember that survival is 90% mental. Always try your best to stay calm and focused and take it all one step at a time.
Written by Stacy Bravo of Anything Survival.