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Bug Out Vehicles: Best Rigs for an Apocalypse

As the world becomes increasingly unpredictable, many people are beginning to prepare for worst-case scenarios. One popular form of preparation is the creation of a bug out vehicle. In this article, we will explore the various features that make up these rigs. We will look at the types of vehicles commonly used and the modifications that are often made. We personally have built a bug out vehicle, which we will share with you below.

Whether you’re a seasoned prepper or simply interested in learning more about this fascinating trend, read on to discover everything you need to know about Apocalypse Bug Out Vehicles.

apocalypse escape vehicle

What Is a Bug Out Vehicle? 

A bug-out vehicle is a heavily modified vehicle designed to help individuals and groups evacuate quickly in the event of a disaster or societal collapse. This might be an evacuation due to a hurricane or forest fire. You want a reliable and durable off-road vehicle capable of escaping whatever danger is lurking. 

It’s fun to dream of owning a Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic vehicle, but most bug out vehicles can be built on vehicles you already know. Everyone’s situation is different, so choose a bug out van that suits your family’s needs and the unfortunate events that might come your way.

Why Is It Called “Bug Out?”

The name bug out vehicle comes from the military phrase “bug out”. It means to evacuate quickly or to retreat in the face of danger. In a civilian context, the term has been adopted by preppers and survivalists to refer to a vehicle that is specifically designed to help them evacuate quickly in the event of a disaster or emergency situation.

The term “bug out” emphasizes the importance of being prepared to leave quickly and efficiently, with all necessary supplies and equipment in tow. Hence, a “bug out vehicle” is a vehicle that is equipped and modified for this purpose.

Pro Tip: Always be prepared by knowing What Is a Bug Out Bag? And What Should Be in It?

bug out overland vehicle
In case of emergency, a bug out vehicle can help get you to safety.

What Types of Supplies Should You Have in a Bug Out Vehicle?

A bug out vehicle should be equipped with a variety of essential items to ensure that you can survive and thrive in an emergency situation. You need your vehicle to not only make it to your destination but support you along the way.

Ability to Go the Distance

A bug out vehicle should have ample water and fuel capacity to allow you to travel long distances without needing to stop for refueling or resupplying. Many choose to also add solar power or a backup generator. In case of a prolonged emergency, you may need to generate power to recharge batteries or run appliances.

Communications equipment is also important. A bug-out vehicle should be equipped with a radio or other means of communication to stay in contact with the outside world. We recommend sat comms, ham radios, and of course, your cell phone. It’s important that you also know how to use these devices.

Reliability

To have a functional, safe, and effective bug out vehicle, you need to maintain it regularly and have it in good working order at all times. It does you no good if it won’t start or has a flat tire. Make sure to keep up with regular repairs and maintenance.

There are also many supplies you should prepare. If you want to bug out quickly and escape danger, you can’t be searching for items. It’s always good to have a spare tire, jack, folding shovel, wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, and other handy tools in the vehicle.

Because of the hazards of a hurricane or forest fire, there won’t be anyone to rescue you. Have the extra fluids your vehicle needs on hand, like coolant and oil, as well as extra bulbs and jumper cables. You’ll need to be able to make your own repairs in case you’re stranded.

Off-Grid Survival Capabilities

You’ll also want several days’ worth of food and water. Have a planned evacuation route and know how long it will take you to get from Point A to Point B. Have enough to get you to your destination and more since things can happen along the way.

Many choose to use the vehicle for shelter as well, which means having living space inside it. This does not need to be glamorous, but keep in mind that you might be trying to avoid smoke, bad weather, and freezing or hot temperatures. Some might feel a rooftop tent is perfect, while others want a hard-sided enclosed vehicle.

Finally, make sure you have an adequate first aid kit. You want more than a few bandages and ointment. Buy a survival kit with all the items you’d need, like gauze pads, scissors, tweezers, gloves, antiseptic wipes, and more.

Winnebago Revel
The Winnebago Revel is a popular bug out van option.

Best Bug Out Vehicles for an Apocalypse

When considering a bug out vehicle, your budget will be the biggest influence. Most people can’t afford a daily travel vehicle and a second bug out van for an emergency. You’ll need to think about the vehicle’s functionality if you’re going to use it to drive to work every day.

First, choose a vehicle that’s capable of traveling over rough terrain. These are usually higher clearance vehicles with AWD. You want it to be reliable under any circumstance to get you from Point A to Point B.

You also want to have a self-contained vehicle; you can’t rely on outside amenities during an emergency, so you should have everything you need in the bug out vehicle. That includes a water filtration system and a two-way radio system. Cell phones are certainly good to have, but cell towers will likely be overloaded or go down during these types of situations.

Pro Tip: Prepping for the end of the world? Find out why Surviving an Apocalypse Isn’t Even the Coolest Thing About Prepping.

bug out truck camper
We built out a 4×4 truck camper that you could call our bug out vehicle

Any DIY Customized 4×4 RV

There are all types of 4×4 RVs that you can customize to create your bug out vehicle. You can completely gut a Class B camper van and transform it into a home on wheels during an emergency. If you have a truck, purchasing a truck camper to quickly slide onto the truck bed and get out of dodge is another good option. We personally built our vehicle from a truck camper and a heavily modified Ram 5500.

Unimog builds are also another common DIY customized 4×4 RV option. These military-looking tanks will offer superior protection and off-road capabilities. Plus, they can handle a whole lot of solar panels, lithium batteries, and other needed items to supply power to the rig.

Unimog Camper
Unimog builds make for excellent bug out vehicles.

Premade Options 

There are also companies that specialize in creating vehicles for such events. Some of them offer upgrades and modifications to premade vehicles. Others allow for completely custom-built floor plans. You can choose a specific chassis, how much solar power you want, the type of water filtration system you need, and much more. 

Check out Global Expedition Vehicles for some of the coolest and most apocalyptic-ready vehicles you’ll find in the world. Your eyes might just bug-out at the prices, though!

Global Expedition Vehicles Rig Walk-around - Ultimate Overlanding Rig?

Sportsmobile Classic 4×4

The Classic is part of the 4×4 Adventure Vans from Sportsmobile. This conversion van is ready for off-roading with its Dynatrac Pro-Roc 60 front axle, Dana 60 rear axle, and Fox 2.0 Performance Series shocks. It also has partial military wrap springs, a reverse shackle leaf spring design, a front sway bar with a quick disconnect system and custom shocks, and F550 rotors. 

The ground clearance from the van center is 16.5 inches, and the towing capacity is 10,000 pounds. Depending on the options, the starting price is $175,000 to $225,000.

Heavy Duty 4x4 Adventure Van Walk Through | Sportsmobile 4x4

Overland Jeeps and Trucks

If you don’t want an RV or campervan, you don’t have to buy one. There are overlanding Jeeps and trucks that also make great bug out vehicles. Starting at $31,195, the Jeep Wrangler is one of the most popular overlanding vehicles today. 

The Xtreme Recon Package equips the Wrangler with 35-inch tires that provide 12.9 inches of ground clearance and 33.6 inches of water fording depth. In addition, the 4×4 High mode delivers a 50/50 split between the front and rear axles for superior traction. 

The Jeep Wrangler is available with five different engines to provide the horsepower or fuel efficiency you’re looking for in a bug out vehicle.

Pro Tip: Hook up your Wrangler to one of these 9 Small Campers to Pull Behind Your Jeep Wrangler.

ULTIMATE BugOut Jeep- Black Scout Survival

EarthRoamer

EarthRoamer is a well-known, well-respected brand in the overlanding community. The EarthRoamer SX is a Chevrolet Silverado 6500HD with the Duramax 6.6L Turbo-diesel V8 engine. It’s durable and reliable. 

Plus, the 18,000-watt lithium-ion battery capacity and 1,600 watts of solar power mean you won’t have to worry about losing power. It is completely self-sufficient and has huge fuel and water tanks, and is all-weather capable.

The EarthRoamer LTi is built on the Ford F-550 chassis and has a 12,000-watt lithium-ion battery capacity and 1,320 watts of solar power. It has 43-inch military tires, air ride suspension, King off-road shocks, and heavy-duty anti-sway bars. You won’t go wrong with the EarthRoamer SX or LTi for your bug out vehicle.

EarthRoamer LTi Interior Walkthrough

Winnebago Revel

The last bug out van on the list is the Winnebago Revel. Built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, it’s a 4×4 vehicle powered by a 3.0L 6-cylinder turbo diesel engine. The Revel starts at $210,292 and comes with one 320-amp hour LiFePO4 battery, a hydronic heating system, heavy-duty vinyl flooring, and a 21-gallon fresh water tank and gray tank capacities. 

The rear power lift bed provides easy access to the lithium system, internal fresh water tank, and water center panel from the hatch. The 19-foot 7-inch campervan includes a wet bath, induction cooktop, removable pedestal table, refrigerator, and sink. You’ll have everything you need to escape a dangerous situation safely.

Pro Tip: We compared the pros and cons of a Winnebago Revel to help you decide if it’s the right bug out vehicle for you.

2023 Winnebago Revel 44E

Is a Bug Out Vehicle Worth It?

If you live in an area prone to natural disasters, it’s not a bad idea to invest some time and money into a bug out vehicle. 

Whether you buy one premade and ready to go or choose to do some customizing to make it exactly what you need, there are quite a few options for a durable, reliable, and safe bug out vehicle. Just make sure to examine what exactly you need and then start preparing for the worst-case scenario.

Be prepared! Have you ever considered a bug out vehicle? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for Hwy.co and an Arizona travel guide.

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