Thursday, April 24, 2014
Bug out vehicle revisited
Who doesn't love the idea of a bug out vehicle? When we think of such a vehicle what comes to mind? Maybe we think of some massive 4x4 truck, with a big winch on the front, monster tires, extra fuel tanks, and loaded with supplies and gear. Maybe some of us actually own such a vehicle.
My camper van, a converted ambulance, comes close to fitting the bug out vehicle description. While not 4x4, it does have massive tires and good ground clearance. There's plenty of room for provisions and gear. It even can burn multiple fuels, diesel, vegetable oil, hydraulic fluid, heating oil, and kerosene. There's a roof rack for a canoe and a heavy duty trailer hitch. It's about as much a bug out vehicle as anything else out there on the road.
That being said, I'm not a big fan of the bug out vehicle concept. What's the purpose of a BOV? Bugging out, of course. The big questions are when does someone bug out and where will they go?
Some folks think the time to bug out is when a disaster is under way, be it natural or man made. As some things are not very predictable, that has some logic to it. Then the BOV's job is to get you and yours out of Dodge to somewhere safer. The problem is that everyone else will want to get out of town too. Roads will be jammed, bridges blocked, and tunnels will be choke points. A 4x4 capable of going off road, and a good route plan just may make escape possible. However, if caught in traffic, it's no better than the family sedan.
Where will you go? Do you plan on living in your BOV until conditions improve. In the case of something like a hurricane, that's a reasonable plan. There's time to get out of town before traffic is too bad. Staying in a campground or National Forest for the duration is a tried and true strategy. If it's a widespread and/or long term emergency, that's a less viable strategy.
Does anyone have the capability to establish a complete comfortable homestead with the gear in their BOV? Is there a place where you can get to that will allow someone to do such a thing? I doubt it. Maybe the BOV is just transportation to your cabin in the woods or other safe place. If that's the case all you need is something that will get you there: family car, motorcycle, bike, shoe leather -no need for a big specialized vehicle.
One of the big problems with a BOV is what will you do with it 99.999% of the time? If it's your daily driver you are paying a huge fuel penalty every day for a just in case situation. (unless you have a free source of fuel like I do) If it's a RV that you take camping on a regular basis, you can justify owning it.
Imagine a real bug out situation, but your BOV is the in the shop. The one time you need it, it's out of order. Better have a solid plan B.
Personally, I'm a big fan of living in your bug out location. That way if anything goes sideways, you don't have to go any where at all.