Most of us have some sort of bugout by vehicle plan in place. The first questions to answer are what to I need to carry, and where am I going? Leaving one rural area for another is a far different scenario than an urban area escape, and a large family is a far different than a single guy.
Carefully recon and evaluate your BO route. If there are pipeline or power line rights of way, or abandoned railroad lines, consider using them as a route during an emergency. If passable, they may save a lot of miles and will avoid traffic. Tertiary routes like farm roads, logging trails, and local roads will be the least crowded and the most likely route for a successful trip.
Most of us have 4 wheel drive vehicles for bugout for obvious reasons. Selecting such a vehicle is a major investment, so a few criteria to keep in mind:
Bigger is sometimes better. A full sized truck or SUV will have enough power in low range to drag wrecked cars, trees, etc out of the path with a chain or cable. Extra cargo space is valuable, and a heavy vehicle can be used to crash thru a lot of obstacles. Smaller vehicles will fit in places that the full sized ones won't, and usually get better fuel mileage. Consider your route, and what and who you will be hauling.
Good off-road capable tires are an absolute necessity and the most cost effective modification you can make. Several of us have had excellent results from BFG All-Terrain tires, and unique among tire brands in a heavy three ply sidewall which is much more resistant to damage. Vehicle mounted counter-insurgency operators go thru tires in a big hurry, so buy good ones and carry several repair kits as well as an onboard air compressor. Believe me, you don't want to inflate a big SUV tire with a hand pump.
Radiators are fragile and highly subject to damage, and a punctured radiator will leave you stranded in a hurry. A grille or brush guard is a worthwhile accessory. Duct tape, body filler and stop leak will often be enough to get a busted radiator serviceable enough to keep going, even if you need to stop every 10 miles to add water. Also carry a spare drive belt, most newer vehicles use a single serpentine belt which will leave everything un powered if it fails.
Modifications beyond a brush guard for the front end and good tires are subjective, and must be balanced with needed off-road capability. While a lift kit and locker type differentials will indeed render the vehicle more capable off-road, if the BO route does not encompass any rough terrain it maybe advantageous to spend the money elsewhere. Keep in mind that a 4x4 with good tires and a limited slip or locker type rear differential will go just about anyplace a reasonable person will want to go.
Feel free to add to this, and I will post some photos later. Ops
I will address the diesel vs. gas in another post. Here I will detail some of what was discussed in the first post.
Plan C is above, off road bicycles for all members of the household.
Many light trucks and SUVs are available with diesel engines. This option should not be overlooked. While gasoline is more widely available in residential areas, the rest of the world runs on diesel fuel. Farm and construction equipment, railroad locomotives, and even deepwater ships run on diesel. Those of us who heat with 'fuel oil' are heating with diesel fuel. Any farm of any size will have a tank of diesel fuel with pump for the farm equipment. Highway trucks usually have tanks for 250 gallons or more, and railroad locomotives carry anywhere from 100 to 5000 gallons of diesel.
Diesel is far more plentiful than gasoline if you know where to look. Another advantage of diesels is that diesel engines will run on 'biodiesel' - usually soybean or canola oil, kerosene, jet fuel, turpentine, and maybe a few other flammable liquids. Every fast food restaurant has a tank of used cooking oil that will run a diesel just fine once the impurities are filtered out.
Diesels are more fuel efficient than gas engines, particularly at low speeds and off-road. They arealso far simpler as diesels use the heat of compression for ignition, instead of using a separate electrical ignition system.
The drawbacks of diesels are initial cost, and some diesels can be an SOB to start in cold weather if the glow plug system fails. For a big SUV or off road truck, the high torque, fuel economy, and multifuel capability of the diesel should be considered.
"Every fast food restaurant has a tank of used cooking oil that will run a diesel just fine once the impurities are filtered out. "
Incorrect. Pouring WVO (waste vegetable oil) 100% in a diesel will normally render it inoperable. In order to run WVO, you need to pre-heat the oil in the line, preferably as close to the injector pump as possible.
Many newer Diesel motors will not be as "understanding" when running WVO. Multiple issues.
I'd recommend doing a "blend" of WVO (filtered of course) and Diesel for the un-prepared emergency utilization of WVO. For more long term use, retro-fit to a heater system with a dual fuel starting system. (read the link to understand all my lingo
This is the basic stage of my .xls for back county travel.
Vehicle specific items. Medkits/food/water/armory supplies are a separate topic
5 Gal Fuel cans steel with a filler neck! (2)
5 Gal Water Cans (2)
5 Gal drinking water
Brake fluid (1 quart)
Gear oil (1 gal)
Motor oil (4 gal) (Diesel application. Gas could get by with 2 Gal)
Transmission fluid (Hopefully BOV is manual. MT Scout = 1 gal 50wt, AT would be 3 GAL)
U-joints (IN A WATERPROOF CONTAINER!)
Hoses (1 ea)
belts (2 ea)
Roll of paper shop towels
Alternator (in a water proof bag)
Extra locking hub
5 extra lug nuts
Lug nut wrench
2 sets of open-end/boxend wrenches in sizes for all bolts on vehicle.
1 set of 3/8 drive deep sockets (All bolt sizes on vehicle)
1 set of 3/8 drive sockets (ditto)
1 3/8 breaker bar
2 3/8 ratchets
1 set of 3/8 drive extensions (1", 3", 6" 12")
1 3/8 drive torque wrench in protective carrying case
4 pair of Vise-Grip
Needle nose pliers
Set of screwdrivers
MAPP Gas + torch (much hotter than propane)
Hacksaw with 10 extra blades
Drift, centerpunch and chisel set
10 lbs of common assorted bolts, washers, locknuts, nuts.
hand drill (electric drill optional, but must be able to be powered/recharged without vehicle power)
set of drill bits in protective case
"QuickSteel(tm)"(2 part non-flowing epoxy) _AND_ JBWeld (2 part flowing epoxy)
Self-vulcanizing rubber electrical tape (4 rolls)
Normal, vinyl electrical tape (1 roll) (go 3M or deal with fraying!)
50 foot spool of lamp cord (thick gauge, easy polarity identification, heavy insulation, doubles as bailing wire)
Wire stripper (or strong teeth!)
Hi-Lift jack (many, many uses)
Spindle socket in the size for your vehicle (scout = 2 1/16")
Circlip removal tool (inner and outer kit)
Tire puncture repair kits "SafetySeal" brand (5, yes, 5...getting stuck sucks)
Silicone RTV sealant "Right-Stuff" in tubes, NOT pressurized cans(3 tubes)
Shovel (a good one with a handle end..NO FOLDERS!)
Leather gloves (hot stuff is not fun to grab)
Protective goggles (not trivial.. Getting something in the eye 100 miles from medical help is bad news)
Hydraulic bottle jack
Jack stands (2) (I prefer 10 ton semi sized, because of the height of a 4x4 and the wide base of the stands)
8ft thick canvas tarp (extraction in sand/snow and working on under the vehicle)
Some type of jaw puller tool
2 ft of 3/8" all-thread rod, nuts, and heavy washers for various "field press" uses
additions welcome. Remember, only items for the vehicle.
The waterpump comes with a gasket. But if it gets hoarked, I can always just use "The Right Stuff". That gunk works awesome.
Yes, add antifreeze to the list. 1 Gal. Brain-fade on my part. Not a lot more is needed, even for my high capacity cooling system. If things go seriously south, and I need to consume the whole 10 gal of water, then keeping a good mix ratio is the least of my concerns. Under a failure scenario, I'd be draining the existing AF mix and straining it through a t-shirt to re-use.
Thanks for pointing it out!
Personally, I like manual hubs on a 4x4. I converted the ones on my explorer and like it a lot. It may be a pain to get out in the cold/rain/mud to engage 4 wheel drive, but it gives me better MPG on highway, and if anything happens to the front diff I can unlock them and still travel in 2wd.
I'm looking to fab up a custom front and rear bumper HD style. Need new tires soon.
Carry spare fluids for everything. Tire plug kits. Make sure you have a full size spare (most trucks/SUV's do).
And if you ever find yourself needing to cross water/deep mud. Please make sure you check it first. I almost drove into a 3 foot deep water/mud hole. I'm pretty sure I would have gotten stuck if I attempted.
Next is the topic of route finding. Those of us in hurricane country know the frustration of 5 mph on the interstate, and this is a 'well-planned evacuation.' Rapid bugout due to terr attacks or hazmat incidents will be worse.
The point is that the contingency planner should plan for Interstates to be impassable. Little known is the fact that the military has priority on the interstates, and can pre-empt civilian traffic. I have personally seen the interstates closed due to a bad snowstorm, which should be sufficient to convince anyone that interstates are a bad idea. Most interstates parallel the older Federal highways, so jumping onto the 'old road' may not be any better. What is needed is a route over tertiary roads, local roads, or even power and pipeline rights of way. Even abandoned rail lines will be passable to a decent 4x4 SUV.
Topozone.com has a full set of topo maps for all of the US, and should be used to plan an alternate route. Look for alternate routes via the map, and then physically go and inspect the route and drive it. Time your travel carefully, and double or triple it for shtf. Also triple your fuel use to allow for stop & go driving, detours, etc.
Get some off-road experience so that you know the vehicle's and your own capabilities. Periodically review your route in the event of road changes, etc.
I've got my own bias towards the DeLorme maps. (TopoUSA5 on DVD).
In any case, you should plan for multiple bug-out locations. Consider my own situation;
I live 50 miles from work. Should a SHTF situation hit while I'm at work, I have no choice but to bug out. To head home would be going back into high chokepoint, high population density areas.
With that, I've laid out 3 directions with 6 paths. North, East and West (ghasp, west would be a volcano event...). South would be a bug-in scenario, where I feel I can safely traverse urban areas to get home. Given that I have lived most of my life in the area, I've got more surface street knowledge stuffed in my head than most pizza deliverers, so I don't need to route plan for that.
Each BO direction has two modes:
1: Slow and steady.
This is where I use rail, trail, tertiary roads, boats, motorcycles, unicycles, stilts, clown cars, whatever, to get to the rally point. I've made sure to pre-run the routes and have some interesting obstacles to overcome, but it's doable. Primary travel is in my BOV, but if I have to, it's a relatively safe foot route.
2: 3 Minutes to the road.
chokepoint interchanges and keep ahead of the rush of folks. Granted, if I do get stuck in traffic, I've thought out the choke-points and anticipated off-ramps to go back to mode #1.
Above all else, avoid major roads that run parallel to freeways. Not a decent route if the roads are clogged. Think 3 degrees out from what most people will take on a certain path.
Or, I could always bug in at work