Survival planning: The pros and cons of different bug-out vehicles
05/20/2021 / By Zoey Sky / Comments
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Survival planning: The pros and cons of different bug-out vehicles

Before SHTF, preppers do whatever they can to get ready for different survival scenarios. In some cases, you’ll be fine if you opt to bug in at home until the danger passes. But if you need to bug out when disaster strikes, you’ll need a reliable vehicle to get you to your hideout as safely and as fast as possible.

Read on if you need help deciding what kind of car to use as your bug-out vehicle when SHTF. (h/t to

Things to consider before choosing a vehicle

Before you invest in a new car or expensive modifications for your current vehicle, here are some important factors to consider.


Is the bug-out vehicle within your budget? Will buying a new vehicle affect your funds for other parts of your emergency preparedness budget?

Accessibility and practicality

Can you keep the bug-out vehicle somewhere near your home? Can the vehicle also be used on a regular basis?


Is the vehicle spacious enough for your whole family or prepping group? Can it safely transport all your gear and supplies? Can you use the vehicle as a shelter?

Fuel requirements

Does the vehicle require fuel? What kind of fuel will you need and how much?


Can the bug-out vehicle get you out of a dangerous situation quickly and safely?


Can the bug-out vehicle handle travel through rugged terrains like snow and ice, flooding, broken glass on streets, or backroads?

Ease of repair

Is the vehicle likely to break down? What are likely repair issues? Can you repair the vehicle on your own? Do you have access to spare parts?

Damage and safety

Can the vehicle withstand damage from physical threats like bullets, looting, or the elements? Will the car protect you from these threats as you travel? Is the vehicle armored?

Bug-out vehicle options

Preppers have different needs, and what works for others might not work for you. Below are some bug-out car options and their pros and cons to help you decide what kind of vehicle to use when SHTF.

Cars (sedans)

Sedans are usually more accessible than trucks or SUVs for preppers looking for a bug-out vehicle.


  1. It’s cheaper to modify a car you already own instead of spending money on another car.
  2. There are many customization options for almost every car model on the market.
  3. A car will blend in more easily than other cars that scream “prepper,” like a truck or a decked-out SUV (Related: Making your escape: 5 Factors to consider when developing an emergency bug-out plan.)
  4. A large enough car can be used as a makeshift shelter.
  5. Depending on the model, you can easily find spare parts if you need them.


  1. Cars have low ground clearance, and you might have trouble navigating rough terrain.
  2. If you’re heading off-road or if you have to push abandoned cars out of the way while traveling, you might have trouble with a smaller sedan.
  3. Cars have less storage. While sedans have great trunk space, you might not have enough space for all your gear and supplies if you’re bugging out.
  4. Cars can be damaged by an EMP attack or external threats like gunfire.


Pickup trucks are a great choice for bug-out vehicles.


  1. Trucks have plenty of storage space, and you can fill a truck bed with supplies. If you have a topper, you can also turn a truck bed into a makeshift sleeping space.
  2. Trucks are designed for towing, and if you’re planning on stocking a bug-out trailer, a truck is the best choice.
  3. Using a truck means you have lots of diesel options. When SHTF, diesel is a great option. And if gasoline becomes scarce, you can make your biodiesel for your truck.
  4. You can get an armored truck to protect yourself and other members of your group.


  1. A truck lacks seating compared to a sedan or SUV.
  2. Truck storage is exposed to the elements. You’ll need a topper or secure tarp to protect supplies from snow and rain.
  3. Trucks will stand out and might make you an easy target for looters after SHTF.
  4. A good setup for your truck can cost more money.

Sports utility vehicles (SUVs)

Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) have a lot of seating and storage space, but they also have some cons.


  1. SUVs strike a good balance between transportation and storage.
  2. SUVs offer additional storage, and you can use one for towing. Alternatively, you can add more storage to the roof with a cargo carrier.
  3. You can also use SUVs regularly.


  1. SUVs have terrible gas mileage, and they can’t take you as far as a car or some modern trucks.
  2. SUVs don’t have a lot of diesel options.
  3. SUVs aren’t always suitable for off-roading, and the average commuter SUV won’t survive extensive off-road driving.


RVs or campers might be just the thing you need when SHTF.


  1. RVs are the perfect mobile shelter, especially if you’re looking for an option for long-term survival.
  2. Most RVs are already equipped with features like bathrooms, kitchens and even solar panels.
  3. RVs are roomy enough for a large group of five people or more, plus gear.
  4. You can modify an RV with armor and gun turrets for protection.
  5. You can buy rugged, off-road campers.


  1. Campers and RVs require a lot of fuel.
  2. They’re more eye-catching than a truck or an SUV, which could garner unwanted attention in a post-SHTF world.
  3. A lot of models don’t handle backroads very well.
  4. You may have trouble maneuvering RVs, especially on difficult or narrow roads.
  5. Campers and RVs are much slower speed than an SUV or a car.
  6. You need a place to park your RV.
  7. Campers and RVs can be very expensive.
  8. They can also be affected by EMP.

Choose a car that suits your seating and storage needs. Prepare before SHTF and decide on a suitable bug-out vehicle so you can travel safely when disaster strikes.

Visit for more articles with tips on how to prepare before SHTF.

Sources include:

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