Bug Out Vehicles – Setup and Items to Shop For


Bug out vehicles are just bug out bags that you can get inside and drive away. Here’s a list of ideas if you are preparing a bug out vehicle.

The thing about survivalism is that you always have to be ready. Bug out vehicles can help you hit the road whenever you need to.

Ideally, a bug out vehicle should cover your needs for at least three days, just enough to get you to a more prepared shelter. However, different situations demand different bug out setups.

Here’s a list of products and ideas to keep in mind when you’re preparing a bug out vehicle.


Top 5 Bug Out Vehicles


The first step to a perfect bug out vehicle setup is to pick the wheels. Depending on your location, budget, and family size, you can choose between the following vehicles:


1.   Regular Four Wheelers

Using your everyday car as a bug out vehicle is easy and convenient. Since you drive it daily, you’ll already know all there’s to know about it—repairs, mileage, and spare parts.

However, it comes with its limitations. Most of us don’t own high-power cars that can handle tough scenarios.

Still, we recommend this option to people on a limited budget and those who’d prefer to take their bug out setup with them everywhere.



  • Readily available
  • Moderate storage capacity
  • You can easily add to the setup as you go
  • Non-conspicuous


  • Might not handle rough terrains
  • Not very protective


2.   Jeep/Truck

Bugging out in a Jeep Wrangler is probably the most aesthetic thing on a survivalist bucket list. It’s rugged, tough, and can double as an everyday vehicle.

jeep wrangler


  • Rugged and handles a lot of terrains
  • Moderately protective
  • Limited space, you either have room for passengers (Jeep) or gear (truck)


  • High fuel consumption
  • High maintenance


3.   Camper/RV

Campers are probably the most common bug out vehicles. They’re easy to prepare and make you feel at home.

We’d recommend this for people who can’t reduce their package load and larger families.



  • Comfortable
  • Suitable for large groups and families
  • Highly protective
  • Large storage capacity


  • Slow
  • Suitable for paved roads only


4.   Motorcycles

Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well, Updated & Expanded 2nd Edition (CompanionHouse Books) The Must-Have Manual: Confront Fears, Sharpen Handling Skills, & Learn to Ride Safely
1,552 Reviews

A motorcycle is a lone wolf’s get-away drive. We consider it to be more of a temporary means of transport. Either that or you’ll only need it to travel a short distance to your bug out location.



  • Fast get-away
  • Adapts to different terrains
  • Low maintenance


  • Not very protective against the elements
  • Limited storage capacity
  • Limited passengers


5.   Boat

If you live in coastal cities, preparing a bug out boat can be very convenient. It’s both a shelter and a means of transport. It’s also very customizable.

Boats aren’t for everyone, though. It’s a huge commitment to make.



  • Serves as a bug out vehicle and location
  • Different powering/fuel options
  • Secluded shelter
  • Good storage space
  • Renewable food sources


  • Very location-limited
  • Demands a specific set of skills
  • Expensive


How to Setup Bug Out Vehicles

Build the Perfect Bug Out Vehicle: The Disaster Survival Vehicle Guide
  • Stewart, Creek (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 07/21/2014 (Publication Date) - Betterway Home (Publisher)

Now it’s time to take a look at the items that you’ll need to buy to complete your setup.


But Out Vehicles – Consumables

If your bug out vehicle is only a get-away to a separate location, you can cut the supplies short. However, if the bug out doubles as your shelter, you’ll have to gather lots of consumables.

Non-perishables are the go-to food supply for survivalists. It’s recommended to keep at least 72-hours’ worth of food and water. Depending on your location, you can pack fishing equipment too.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness, 2 Pack, Blue
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LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness, 2 Pack, Blue
  • Protects against 99.999999% of bacteria (including E.coli, Salmonella), 99.999% of parasites (including Giardia and Cryptosporidium), 99.999% of microplastics, silt, sand, and cloudiness
  • Ultralight and durable, the LifeStraw weighs less than 2 ounces (46 g) so you can pack it anywhere
  • Long-lasting membrane microfilter will last up to 1,000 gallons (4,000 L) of water, that’s enough drinking water for an individual for over 5 years

For water, it’s easier to invest in a water filtration kit. It’ll save you a lot of hassle foraging for clean water. LifeStraw is a highly recommended filtration product. It’s lightweight, portable, and sustainable.


Bug Out Vehicles – First Aid

When preparing a first aid kit for your bug out bag, you have two options to go with: buying a pre-packed kit or gathering your own supplies.


Pre-Packet Kits

Compact First Aid Kit (228pcs) Designed for Family Emergency Care. Waterproof EVA Case and Bag is Ideal for The Car, Home, Boat, School, Camping, Hiking, Office, Sports. Protect Your Loved Ones.
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Compact First Aid Kit (228pcs) Designed for Family Emergency Care. Waterproof EVA Case and Bag is Ideal for The Car, Home, Boat, School, Camping, Hiking, Office, Sports. Protect Your Loved Ones.
  • The basic 228 pieces of comprehensive first aid treatment products is manufactured from the Modern aseptic facility, exceeding safety standards for emergency first aid for adults and kids. See...
  • Compact High-end first aid kit (8.3”×6.3”×3.2”). Using EVA mold case that is Lightweight, shockproof and not easily deformed. The PU surface is smooth, waterproof and easy to clean with...
  • Make sure you keep your kit close to hand when professional medical care may be some distance away. Store it in your bug out bag, backpack,car or med cabinet for quick access.

On the upside, pre-packed kits are easy to find. On the downside, they cater to the basic needs only. This is a good option if you (and your family) don’t suffer from any serious conditions.



The main merit of making your own first aid kit is that you can make it uniquely yours. You’ll save money on things you won’t need and focus on others.

This is a particularly smart choice if you want to cater to chronic conditions. Keep in mind that some medications might need a cooler.


Navigation and Connectivity

You’ll need a radio scanner, compass, and an updated map (you can’t always rely on an internet connection!)


Radio Scanner

Mirkit Ham Radio Baofeng UV-5R MK4 8 Watt Max Power Two Way Radio with 1800 mAh Li-Ion Battery Pack and Mirkit Lanyard for Your Baofeng Radio and Mirkit Software for Walkie Talkie
  • ✔️Power: High /Med /Low Power Settings (8W /5W /1W)
  • ✔️FCC Part 15 Part 97 Certified. VHF/UHF 144-148 mhz / 420-450mhz.
  • ✔️Function : Auto Keypad Lock, Dual Band, Dual Frequency Display and Dual Standby

A wide-range radio scanner might be your only means of communication in a worst-case scenario.

We recommend a handheld, battery-powered model like Uniden Bearcat’s BC125AT. It covers over 40 thousand frequencies and comes with 10 storage banks.

Get a couple of those if you want to share the trip with a group in a different bug-out bag.



Sportneer Lensatic Military Compass, Compass for Easter Gifts, Baptism Gifts for Boys, Catholic Gifts for Men, Camping Survival Compass with Carry Bag for Hiking Hunting Outdoor
  • PROFESSIONAL GRADE: This professional grade military compass will always lead you in the right direction. Ideal for camping, military usage, emergencies, and anywhere the beaten track takes you
  • ERGONOMIC DESIGN: The lensatic function increases the reading’s accuracy with a lens on the rear sight that magnifies the card dial – so you’ll always get an accurate reading
  • MILITARY CONSTRUCTION: Tough and tenacious, the military construction with waterproof and shakeproof properties is built to survive the harshest of hikes

Depending on your journey, you can choose between baseplate and sighting compasses. For basic survival gears, a baseplate compass is usually enough. Get one with a clear base plate, they work best for navigating with a map.

Suunto is a reliable brand with affordable options. Their MC-2 Mirror is sturdy and practical. It comes both a Northern Hemisphere model and a Global model. The scales are also available in Metric UTM, Imperial, and USGS.

SUUNTO SS014891000 MC-2 G USGS Mirror Compass
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SUUNTO SS014891000 MC-2 G USGS Mirror Compass
  • Advanced Navigational Compass: Made with serious hikers in mind, this professional mirror compass was designed for precise directional measurement and has been balanced for global use with Metric...
  • Precise And Dependable: Operable in low light conditions, the MC-2 Compass includes a sighting hole and notch for accurate bearings, declination adjustment tool, and a clinometer
  • Stay On Course: Made in Finland, Suunto mechanical compasses help you safely and accurately navigate the great outdoors; Great for Alpine skiing, hiking, trekking, mountain biking, trail running...

Tool Kit

【16 In 1 Multi tool】Gifts for Men Dad Husband Gifts for Him Birthday Gifts Mens Gifts Pocket Knife Multitool Folding Knife with Pliers Screwdriver Bottle Opener Perfect for Camping Fishing Hiking
  • 【Compact, Powerful & Practical 】The 16 in 1 Upgraded multitool pocket knife includes needle nose pliers, rope / wire Cutter, 2.8'' large knife, serrated knife, fire starter, emergency...
  • 【High Quality & Easy to Carry】The multitool pocket knife is made of high-quality stainless steel & aluminum, durable and not rust. About 4.2-inch closed length, the folding knife comes with a...
  • 【Safeguard Locking Mechanism & One Hand Operation】The multi tool knife with 9 in 1 screwdriver bits set for many tasks /jobs. It with a built-in integrated safeguard which enables users to...

Tools Needed

Here’s a list of tools that could come in handy in your survival vehicle.

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Shovels
  • Flare guns
  • Rope

To save space on the little trinkets, you can get a multi-tool kit. Rush Deer makes durable options with pliers, fire starters, two knives, whistles, can openers, files, and nine screwdrivers. The tool is foldable and hardly takes up space at all.


Car Maintenance Items

Don’t forget to pack all the car maintenance tools you’ll need. A few to consider are:

  • Spare tires
  • Tire sealant and change kit
  • Motor Oil
  • Wiper fluid
  • Extra fuel



ALBATROSS EDC Cool Sharp Tactical Folding Pocket Knife,SpeedSafe Spring Assisted Opening Knifes with Liner Lock,Pocketclip,Glass Breaker,Seatbelt Cutter
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ALBATROSS EDC Cool Sharp Tactical Folding Pocket Knife,SpeedSafe Spring Assisted Opening Knifes with Liner Lock,Pocketclip,Glass Breaker,Seatbelt Cutter
  • Spring assisted pocket knife offers rapid one-handed deployment, you can open it by the flipper on the handle.
  • NOTE:The grease on the knife is anti-corrosive grease, which allows you to open the knife more smoothly, and prevent the knife from rusting,this is not a used trace.
  • 440 stainless steel,Sharp and reliable; 2.7-inch blade length; 3.8-inch closed length; 6.5-inch total length

Many survivalists opt for guns and rifles as a self-defense tool in their survival kits. Keep in mind that you should be trained to handle guns, though. You don’t want your protection to backfire.

If you’d rather avoid firearms, you can go for an alternative option.


Firearm Alternatives

Some alternatives to firearms are combat knives, electric tasers, and pepper sprays.

Since bug out setups rely on multi-use items, try to make the most out of the available space. There are a lot of tactical devices that combine different gadgets.

For one, we really loved the Albatross EDC Cool Sharp tool. It’s a 3-in-1 gadget: a foldable knife, windshield breaker, and seat belt cutter.

Another multi-use gadget that impressed us was the Sabre S-1005. It’s a pepper spray, torch, and stun gun, all in one.

SABRE Pepper Spray and Stun Gun Multi-Range Protection Pack, 25 Bursts, 10-Foot (3 Meter) Range, Ergonomic Finger Grip, Flip Top Safety, Key Ring, Painful 1.60 μC Charge, 120 Lumen Flashlight, Compact
  • TRUST THE PROFESSIONALS: SABRE is the #1 Pepper Spray brand trusted by police and consumers worldwide; The strength of SABRE stun guns are independently tested to ensure reliable protection when...
  • 5X MORE PROTECTION:42% of crimes are committed by multiple assailants-this spray has 25 bursts& a 10 ft range delivered in a powerful stream from nozzle to the target's eyes while decreasing wind...
  • EXTREME STOPPING POWER: Stun gun delivers a painful 1.60 µC(Microcoulombs)charge to help defend against an attacker; Quickly locate door locks in the dark with the 120 Lumen light;Get multiple...

Bug Out Vehicles – Apparel

When it comes to clothes and comfort items, we often fall into the trap of overpacking. It’s crucial to remember that you can’t pack everything. You’ll have to stick to the essentials only.

It’s advisable to pack one or two pieces for every weather. Pack sleeping bags, a tent, and a couple of blankets.

Keep a box for the basic personal hygiene items you’ll need. You might want to switch it up often before it expires, though. Natural soaps and creams can last longer and they’re easy to stock up on.


Bug Out Vehicles – Wrap Up

The options we presented here are general recommendations; there’s no universal bug out setup that suits all needs.

What’s important is to stock up on all the essentials. Don’t neglect any necessary repairs to the vehicle. Remember to always think ahead and have backup plans; better safe than sorry!