If a natural or man-made disaster hits, or some other SHTF event takes place, preppers may need an adequate “Get Outt’a Dodge Vehicle” (G.O.O.D. ….aka Bug-Out Vehicle). The opinions on what vehicles make the best G.O.O.D. vehicles vary greatly among preppers, but there are considerations we should all contemplate when narrowing our choices.
First, and foremost, can you afford the vehicle? That Hummer Alpha may kick butt and look like a tank, but if it will take you 3-4 years to save enough to buy one, what good does it do your family in the meantime? For someone whose finances don’t permit buying a special vehicle for bugging-out, making do with the vehicle they currently have may be their only option.
Another very important consideration is how many people you will need to provide transportation for in a G.O.O.D. situation. But remember, seating capacity is not the only consideration. You also have to consider the gear each person will bring along. It could range from luggage to last a few days to every possession they plan to keep for the rest of their days. Don’t forget pets in this consideration either. I personally have an affinity for early Broncos (pre-1978 ) and Jeep Wranglers. But neither has adequate size to moving my family to a safe location if the situation arose. Bigger vehicles are typically better for this purpose because they permit transporting more people and equipment. They also have other advantages that will be discussed later.
What about the age of the vehicle? While it might seem logical to prefer a newer vehicle, many recommend purchasing a pre-1980 vehicle. Why? EMP resistance. Electromagneticpulse (EMP) refers to a blast of electromagnetic energy that, when released, disables any electrical system in the blast radius. If you have read the recent bestseller, One Second After, you are familiar with the enormous threat posed by such a weapon and understand that the threat is not just science fiction anymore. Pre-1980 vehicles are considered to be less susceptible to the effects of an EMP because they do not rely on computers and modern electronics to function. Pre-1980 vehicles are also typically easier to repair than modern vehicles.
You also need to decide whether you will require a 4-wheel drive vehicle. A van or station wagon can make an excellent bug-out vehicle, but if there is any chance of traveling off-road or if you may face deep snow, mud, etc…, then a 4×4 will be necessary. Whether you need to cross a mountain trail or drive over a tree blocking the road, the off-road capability of a 4×4 is a huge advantage.
Fuel-type is another consideration. Most Americans prefer gasoline-powered-vehicles for their daily drivers, but diesel vehicles provide a decided advantage in the case of a long-term incident. Diesel fuel can be stored for years longer than gasoline and older diesel engines can run on home heating oil, if necessary. I personally have gasoline powered vehicles at this point, but am considering purchasing a diesel vehicle. I don’t think it will be my primary bug-out vehicle, though. Again, this comes down to personal preferences and situations.
Another consideration is the size and weight of the vehicle. Heavier vehicles will suffer when it comes to gas-mileage, but have numerous other advantages. They provide much better protection, if colliding with a deer, tree or other vehicle. They also usually have the advantage in terms of cargo room and passenger seating.
So what are the best bug-out vehicles? Opinions vary, of course. I personally prefer large sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) such as a late 70’s Ford Bronco, Chevy Blazer or Jeep Wagoneer. If you need more room, a pre-1980 Suburban would be a great choice. All of these vehicles would preferably have 4-wheel drive, and are readily available. They are built on heavy truck frames and are designed to withstand a lot of abuse, even from underneath the vehicle. Many modern SUV’s in America’s suburbs built on car frames and don’t have the strength found in real trucks. Also remember that they do not need to look shiny and new. But you will want them to be reliable, so be sure they are in good running order with good tires, well maintained drive-trains, and have frames that are free of cracks.