There is a lot of attention paid to bug out vehicles, from the average 4x4 truck to some really heavy-duty vehicles which are designed more as urban combat vehicles than anything else. While I drool over those just as much as anyone else, I recognize that they are beyond my price range. Besides, in a true TEOTWAWKI event, gasoline and diesel will probably be scarce, making those options a bit impractical.
My personal bug out vehicle, like many people, is my daily drive. I’ve done a few things to it to make it more appropriate for a survival situation, without going overboard to the point of attracting attention. But more than anything, I’ve equipped it with the supplies and gear I think I would need, if I was forced to bug out.
Even so, I’m not fully convinced that bugging out in a car, truck or SUV is the best solution in all cases. We all assume that the roads will be crowded with other people trying to evacuate and turning those roads into parking lots; yet nobody has a plan to deal with that. Not only that, but what about finding more fuel? Even in a simple evacuation, like for a hurricane, the gas stations sell out. What about a grid-down situation, where they can’t even pump the gas out of the underground tanks?
For this reason, I don’t just think of trucks and SUVs when I’m thinking about bug out vehicles. As with most things, I tend to think outside the box; or in this case, outside the wheels.
If you live near either coast, or on the Gulf of Mexico, you should seriously consider a sailboat as a getaway vehicle. While such boats can be rather expensive; if you’re a handyman you could buy a used one that needs some TLC and refurbish it yourself. That would give you a bug out vehicle which few others would be able to follow.
In the case of pretty much any emergency, a sailboat will allow you to get away from people, the biggest danger you face. Powered by the wind, you would be able to travel pretty much anywhere, without having to worry about buying fuel. You can eve fish for dinner, right from your bug out vehicle.
I’d have to say that the horse was the original bug out vehicle. You could always leave town quickly, taking to the hills, on trails that others can’t follow. Fuel is abundant and maintenance is pretty low. Just make sure you have a pack horse too, as you would be overburdening your horse to make it carry you and all your gear.
Of course, the drawback to horses is the cost of buying them in the first place and then keeping them. Unless you’re going to stable the horse somewhere, you’re going to need some land to have it on. You’ll also have to invest the time in caring for it and riding it regularly.
Bicycle with Trailer
Perhaps a variant of the horse idea is to use an off-road bicycle, towing a small, lightweight trailer for your pack. They make trailers for taking your kids along, as well as ones which are just for cargo. Weight is an issue, so you want to make sure you have good, lightweight backpacking equipment; but then, you’ll want that anyway.
Hauling a trailer with a bicycle definitely limits the places it can go, off road. But you’ll still be able to take quite a few trails, or even ride it down the shoulder of the road, passing all those cars stopped in traffic.
Speaking of passing the cars stopped in the 100-mile-long parking lot, have you thought about a motorcycle? We’ve all seen people cutting through the traffic on one, riding the line between lanes. One of the larger trail bikes would also make it possible to ride off the road, expanding your options.
As with the bicycle, you can pull a small trailer with a motorcycle. Of course, you don’t want to forget it’s there, if you go off road. Get carried away, and you could leave your gear, along with pieces of trailer, scattered along the trail behind you.