Bug Out Vehicles: The Best Setups To Escape The Chaos

By "Just In Case" Jack | Updated: 10/12/2023

Bug Out Vehicles - 3 Hero Shots Of 3 Tactical Armored VehiclesToday I’ve got something really important to share…

A Complete Guide To Finding (Or Building) A Reliable Bug Out Vehicle

Because why walk when you can ride? Plus:

Now, there are two kinds of bug out vehicles out there:

  • The ones 99.9% of us CAN’T afford
  • The ones we CAN afford

Today I’m going to cover both (plus so much more)…

TOPICS IN THIS ARTICLE…    ↓(click to jump)
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Want a free 104 item bug out bag checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

So Let’s Suspend Reality For A Few Minutes…

Let’s start by looking at a few insanely expensive ones…

You know, just for fun.

Now even though most of us can’t afford these bug out trucks…

They still provide inspiration for our own garages.

Plus, they’re just awesome!

↓ Top 10 Best Bug Out Vehicles

Toyota Tacoma Artic Vehicle

The Arctic Tacoma

Back in 2010 Toyota built a Polar Expedition truck for arctic conditions.

So IF your bug out happens to be in Antarctica , this would be your dream rig.

Hey…at least the population densities are extremely low there…

This truck was specifically made to travel to the South Pole.

What’s even more impressive is it successfully did just that in record time (under 40 hours).

This rig has a 4.0-liter V6 supercharged engine that makes 341 HP.

It also has an extended-range gas tank that holds up to 330 gallons of fuel.

So at 15 MPG, you’re looking at 4950 miles until your next refill…

It’s outfitted with a set of Mickey T. Icepack tires, a beefy roll cage, and a custom suspension made with military-grade steel.

Making this a cold-weather dream machine with a mere $400,000 in mods.

Tactical Armored Vehicle

The Tactical Armored Beast

Imagine this Tactical Armored Vehicle parked in your garage.

It’ll be perfect for when the roads are unpassable due to all-out chaos.

Its curb weight is just shy of 20,000 lbs.

It comes equipped with a 6.7 L V8 Diesel that delivers 300 HP and more than 600 lb-ft of torque.

It has a few highlighted features, such as a 6-speed auto tranny, 4 by 4, and a 40-gallon diesel tank.

I’m guessing the fuel economy will be terrible with this one…

Probably about 6 MPG.

Rhino GX Ultimate Bug Out Vehicle

The Rhino

Rhino…what an appropriate name for this massive vehicle.

As we all know, rhinos are tough SOBs and not animals to be messed with.

It lives up to its name by starting with a Ford 450’s Super Duty frame (which is made using 18 gauge steel).

A 362 HP engine powers it due to its 6.8 L V10 Single Overhead Cam design.

It has all the extras, including 38-inch mud tires, 20 by 10″ aluminum-alloy wheels, heavy-duty calipers, and vented disc brakes.

You’ll make it to your bug out location just fine in this beast.

Land Rover Defender Truck

The Defender

Looking for a truck that includes a camper with side storage for your firearms?

Then check out the Land Rover Defender.

The biggest limiting factor here is it only has room for 2.

What it lacks in it transport capacity, it makes up for in camping qualities.

It has an outdoor kitchen system, a folding stove, outside lights, and camping gear storage.

Who needs a bug out location if you got this guy to survive in?

Combat Guard Military Vehicle

The Military Combat Machine

How about this combat vehicle for your bug out transportation?

It’s definitely in the running for my ultimate armored vehicle award.

The amount of protection you’d have is unprecedented.

And it can handle the most extreme terrains.

This 8-ton beast can plow through water levels up to 1.5 meters deep, thanks to its .7 meters of ground clearance.

I suppose the 54-inch tires are responsible for that.

It’s designed with a 6.5-liter Cobra diesel power plant under the hood and can carry 1.5 tons of weight through mud, sand, or loose gravel.

While its four-speed auto tranny allows it to do all that at up to 75 MPH.

Seats have straps and harnesses, with room for up to 8.

As far as protection goes, it’s designed to deflect ammunition and even land mines.

Even if you did have the money to blow on something as awesome as this…you still couldn’t buy one.

It’s military-designed, so a civilian cannot purchase it (Bummer.)

Oh, and yes…that’s a turret poking out the top of this beast.


The Earth Roamer LTi

Here’s one of the more recent newcomers on the market today…

The EarthRoamer is a beast designed to handle long distance off-roading…

It’s self sufficient, without using propane or a noisy generators.

Instead it utilizes a massive rooftop solar array.

Inside the vehicle includes a full height bathroom with a shower and cassette toilet onboard.

Of course, it also comes fully capable for long term off road adventures with:

  • Massive Fuel and Water Tanks
  • Heavy Duty Ford F-550 4WD Chassis
  • Powerful, Efficient, Turbo Diesel Engine
↓ We Lived In The New $1 Million EarthRoamer LTi

The Traffic Un-Jammer

Ok, here’s what you need when all the roads out of the city are clogged.

Just line them up and clear your own path…

↓ Myth Busters Epic Car Split

Enough Dreaming…Let’s Get Real

While ogling at those Ultimate Bug Out Vehicle was admittedly fun, it’s also not realistic.

But let’s not get depressed…

Let’s take inspiration.

I want to take a look at some vehicles the everyday survivalist can:

  1. Afford or
  2. Build

First, let’s go over the aspects that make a vehicle worthy of a bug out.

Bug Out Bag Checklist eBook Cover - a man walking away wearing a military style backpack

Want a free 104 item bug out bag checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

How Will Your Bug Out Vehicle Be Used?

The answer to these questions will help us make wise choices:

Plus, you may want your rig to be tough enough to drive through a few fences…

How Important Are Off-Road Capabilities?

Personally, I think THIS is a must for any good bug out vehicle.

But you don’t need the “best of the best” here either.

All you really need for survival is:

  • High clearance
  • And 4 wheel drive

With those two features alone, you’ll be able to transverse 99% of what you’ll likely run into.

But without these 2 basic off-road capabilities, you’ll end up like this:

↓ Car got stuck in the mud

Bug out locations should be in remote areas.

So the odds of encountering muddy hills or deep ruts are much higher.

Yes, even 4×4’s vehicles can get stuck…

But the odds are reduced.

Jacked Up Truck

However, TOO much of a good thing can be bad.

If you’re thinking more clearance is always better…not so fast.

With this sort of clearance (see image on the right), you’ll clear just about anything.

But your vehicle’s center of gravity is too high…

And now rollovers are more likely.

If you look back at all the “unaffordable examples” above…

You’ll see most of them don’t have crazy extreme clearances.

They all have good clearances, but NOT at the sacrifice of balance.

Or You Could Always Add A Set Of These…

I literally just found these the other day, and they look amazing.

They can be used in all terrain but excel in softer terrain like snow.

↓ Dominator Track System American Track Truck

The Dominator Track System can turn just about any ordinary 4 by 4 truck into an off-road terrain-taming beast.

It’s hard to believe, but the company claims they’re easy to install and can be done in less than an hour.

They also suggest that they come off as easy as they are installed.

Taking your bug out truck from a super-powered terrain destroyer back to a daily driver in under an hour.

Old Vs. New Vehicles

There’s an ongoing debate over which makes for a better vehicle for bugging out…

Old vs New

One major concern for newer models is their dependence on electronics.

In an EMP attack, they may be rendered useless.

However, there are some significant concerns related to older vehicles too.

With really old vehicles, finding spare parts can be challenging.

They’ll also require frequent maintenance.

Sure, the design is simple, but you’ll probably be working on it more often.

Another aspect of this debate is vehicle abuse.

So which survival vehicle can take more abuse? Older or newer?

The saying,

They just don’t make ’em the way they used to…

Might be right in some respects.

But newer vehicles are made with better materials and better designed for safety reasons.

You might want to look at this crash test video if you choose older:

↓ 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air vs. 2009 Chevrolet Malibu crash test ↓

Aftermarket Accessories Options

Ideally, you want a vehicle decked out with bolt-on accessories to improve your stock setup.

Full Spare Tire

Having a full spare tire is essential.

If you get a flat tire mid-bug out, can you afford to be at the mercy of a donut spare?


If your vehicle doesn’t have a full-stock spare, purchase one and find a way to store it.Full Spare Tire Roof Rack

Here’s an example of a full spare added to the roof of a Jeep.

You’ll Need Storage

You’ll want lots of storage space for your gear and supplies.

You won’t need as much inside your vehicle if you have a survival trailer.

Or a bed of a pickup truck works really well for this…

Get a topper to keep your supplies and gear protected from adverse weather.

So what are the things you’ll be storing?

Guns and Ammo

Take as many survival guns, rifles, and ammo as you have room to spare.

Plus, you should get Keeper Gun Magnet to have your survival pistol close by while traveling down the road.


You’ll want to take a bunch of food you’ve stockpiled with you unless your bug-out location is fully stocked ahead of time.


It’s always a good idea to have some extra water on hand.

You’ll want your final bug out location to have a natural water source.

But if something happens on your way, you’ll want some water with you.

And a water filtration system, just in case…

Survival Gear

Don’t forget all the rest of your survival gear.

From fire starters to survival bows; survival knives; solar lanterns; jerry can water filters, and maybe even some survival playing cards to help pass the time.

It all adds up and takes up room in your vehicle.

So need to perform a test run with all your gear to ensure it will all fit.

Lastly, even if you have a bug out vehicle, you should also have a ready-to-go bug out bag.

You never know if you’ll have to ditch your vehicle…


These machines are not known for their fuel efficiency.

So if you’re going further than one tank of gas, can take you, you’ll need to store extra fuel.

Because YOU CANNOT rely on gas stations when SHTF.

Even if you are only traveling a short distance…

Are you sure your tank will be full when disaster strikes?

Plus, you’ll want to have some fuel when you get to your bug out location.

Light Rack

Running off-road at night takes good lighting.

You must avoid rocks, cliffs, and wildlife to make it from point A to point B safely.

So get a high-powered light rack for your bug out rig.

Emergency Jump Starter

A bug out vehicle that won’t start isn’t any good to anyone.

So get a small (but insanely powerful) emergency jump starter that can get you running again if the battery dies.

This device is a wise investment in the present day.

And help you prepare for the future; win-win.

Bug Out Bag Checklist eBook Cover - a man walking away wearing a military style backpack

Want a free 104 item bug out bag checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

Hauling Capacity

Will you be hauling a camper or a trailer to your bug out location?

If so, you’ll need enough towing capacity to pull it.

Find out what your hauling capacity needs are, and make certain your vehicle meets the requirement.


When the SHTF, how much civil unrest will there be?

It’s best to plan for the worst.

So think of some ways to protect your vehicle from objects being thrown, such as bricks.

Ideally, your vehicle’s bulletproof.

But I know of no affordable way to add such a feature.

A Couple Of Realistic Examples

Here are a couple of videos of realistic bug out vehicles with many of these desirable capabilities:

↓ The Perfect Bug Out Vehicle?

↓ ULTIMATE BugOut Jeep

If I Had To Choose Just One For Survival…

I was forced to choose just one realistic vehicle, it would be a toss-up between:

  • An off-road equipped pickup truck (with a topper) or
  • A jeep Wrangler (with a trailer).

Bug Out Jeep With Trailer

Bug Out Truck With Topper

Both options meet all the previously discussed criteria points and are affordable.

To recap, you want:

  • Off-road capabilities with clearance and  4×4.
  • Aftermarket accessories for additional protection.
  • A full spare tire, no donuts allowed!
  • A good amount of storage space

After you’ve met these basic criteria, you can add as many “extra” accessories as you’d like.

For example:

Add some SHTF communications devices (like a cell phone booster) and navigation devices.

It’s up to you, but getting a reliable bug out rig doesn’t have to be an impossible task.

Just stick to the basic criteria and build from there…

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