Top 5 qualities to look for in a bug out vehicle

In any disaster scenario, you and your family will always be presented with the choice to either bug in at your home or to bug out to a rendezvous point or location outside of town.

In most circumstances, it will be wiser to bug in than it will be to bug out. By staying at your house, you get to keep all of your possessions and your entire stockpile, and you don’t let yourself be vulnerable out on the open road.



At the same time, however, there will be certain scenarios where bugging in is simply not an option. If death is all but certain if you decide to stay at your house, then you and your family will have to bug out, and it will always be safer and faster for you to have a designated bug out vehicle than striking out on foot.


Many people are under the impression that their bug out vehicle has to be separate from all of their other vehicles, but this is simply not true. In fact, who says that your bug out vehicle can’t be the car that you drive every day?



That being said, not all bug out vehicles are built equally, and some cars are certainly more suitable for bugging out purposes than others.

While the specific brand and model of your vehicle is entirely up to you, there are five specific qualities that it must be able to meet for it to be anywhere remotely suitable for bugging out purposes.



Here are the top five qualities to look for in a bug out vehicle:

It Must Be Able To Carry Your Entire Family


First and foremost, your bug out vehicle needs to be large enough to carry each and every member of your family. This means if you have lots of children, you’re going to have to be thinking something along lines of a large SUV such as Chevrolet Suburban or a minivan over a truck or a normal SUV.


If you have an especially large family (as in not even a Suburban or a minivan is going to be able to carry everyone with your supplies), then you may have to have two bug out vehicles, with you driving one and your spouse or significant other driving the other.

At the same time, if your family consists of just you and your spouse or significant other, then you can begin to look at smaller vehicles such as sedans.

It Must Be Able To Carry Your Supplies


Next up, your bug out vehicle needs to be large enough to carry the supplies you want to take with you in addition to each member of your family.

Not taking any supplies with you in your bug out vehicle is simply unwise. Who knows how long it will take you to reach your bug out location. There is a multitude of things that could go wrong along the way (routes become blocked off by the authorities, heavy traffic, etc.).

Therefore, your bug out vehicle needs to be able to carry basic supplies to sustain you and your family along the way, such as food, water, and medical equipment. It’s also a good idea to take at least extra can of gasoline with you as well, since the gas stations are all going to be overflowing with traffic or otherwise not working at all.

It Must Be AWD


Having AWD is a necessary feature to have in your bug out vehicle because there’s no telling the kind of terrain that you may be forced to cross over. Could a little 2WD sedan be able to take you and your family up into the mountains over rocky and steep terrain, for instance?

While you may believe that you don’t need AWD, the truth is not having it is something you’re going to regret when disaster strikes and the time comes to bug out. While it is true that AWD vehicles tend to get a little less gas mileage than RWD or FWD ones, the truth is it’s a good trade-off.

It Must Be Reliable


When choosing a specific make and model of car to be your bug out vehicle, be selective and choose a model that is known for its reliable history. The last thing you want is for everything to be going smoothly while bugging out, only for your car to break down. This is especially something you don’t want to happen if you’re not a mechanic and/or if the necessary parts are not available.

It Must Be In Great Condition


Finally, your bug out vehicle itself needs to be well maintained and in good condition. You should be taking good care of your cars and performing routine maintenance on them anyway, but you’ll want to pay extra careful attention to your bug out vehicle. This is the vehicle that needs to carry you and your family to safety if you are forced to evacuate your home in the midst of disaster, so being lazy and not keeping your vehicle well-maintained is simply not a mistake you can afford to make.



We’re not saying it needs to be brand new or all polished up, but it does need to be safe and in good working order so you can rely on it doing what you need it to do.


The good news for you is that there is a wide variety of car models that meet all five qualities we have covered in this article. You could go with a pickup truck such as the Ford F-150 or a Chevrolet Silverado to a rugged SUV such as the Nissan XTerra or Toyota 4Runner to a family SUV such as the Chevrolet Suburban or Ford Expedition to a smaller AWD wagon or sedan such as the Subaru Outback or Legacy.


So when it comes down to it, the specific brand and model of car you choose is irrelevant so long as it has each of these five qualities. Who knows, maybe you already own a car that will work!


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nick-oetken is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival