In today's episode of the Practical Prepper Podcast, Joe is joined by Jordan from Valley Food Storage to go over the best bug out vehicles that you have to choose from.
They go from the practical to the insane and everything in-between to help you choose from your best options!
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Joe: Hey guys, it's Joe, and we're here with Practical Prepper Podcast again today. I've got my friend Jordan here from Valley Food Storage. And today we're going to talk a little bit about vehicles, although we're going to get into the prepper side of Bug Out vehicles with an important smartphone applications during emergencies and some cool ones. We're also talking about just general maintenance on vehicles as well, too and how do we make sure that we're ready? But before I do that, I'll ask Jordan, maybe just say a word or two from our sponsor at Valley Food. What is Valley Food? What do they do?
Jordan: Yeah. So here at Valley Food Storage, we provide you with peace of mind. We have freeze-dried food that lasts up to 25 years. So that's just food that you put away in case of an emergency together with your first aid kit. If the food stores dry up, you know that you got a security blanket of survival food kits with an emergency survival radio ready in case of emergency, maybe in your basement. So definitely feel free to check us out. There will be a link in the description below, or you can visit valleyfoodstorage.com/slash practical prepper. We're actually going to give away 25% if you're using that link to get some freeze-dried food.
Joe: That's awesome, thank you for doing that. Supporting the show and supporting the listeners as well with the discounts in the market of survival food, 25% off is a pretty huge discount. So thank you for doing that. Also, a quick thank you if you're listening on the podcast, there's a little bit of background noise here, but that's because we've got a really cool location today here at our R Shea's brewery. So what you're hearing are the brewmasters hard at work in the background, putting out what is some, in my opinion, pretty delicious beer that goes with the great food that's here at R Shea's. If you're ever in Northeast Ohio, swing through. and a little thanks for them too, for letting us use this space today. So when we talk about a Bug Out vehicle, now, we've talked about this before, your mind frame, you're probably not a Bug Out vehicle owner, right?
Jordan: Yeah, I do not.
Joe: But you have vehicles, right?
Joe: You have four wheel vehicle, you've had two wheel vehicles and they have different purposes and some were just for enjoyment and some prefer getting your butt from one place to another. When you start to think about when you want to buy a vehicle, vanity aside, what are the things that you look for if you're buying a, say used vehicle in this particular instance?
Jordan: Yeah. So if you're shopping for a used vehicle, I want to make sure that it's probably fuel efficient right now. We're definitely seen gas prices go up. I want low maintenance, even though I can work on my own car, I don't want to be out there all the time under the hood.
Joe: Tell me what that means, a little bit about low maintenance. What does it mean? I just do oil changes, rotate the tires? Is that what low maintenance means?
Jordan: Yeah, every car is going to need it's oil changed. Every car needs rotations on those tires, but there's definitely some vehicles that are more maintenance prone. I think everybody has their favorite brand, but there's been some really nice bulletproof motors that people have promoted for years and years. So something that's stood the test of time, has a great powertrain on it. That's something that I want to invest in. I don't want to have to purchase maybe a new vehicle that's under a warranty. If I'm looking for used, I want to make sure that my investment's protected and I'm not throwing a new motor in or calling the junkyard because the thing exploded, right?
Joe: Certainly. If you're not a mechanic and you want to find that right car that's going to be, whether it's one you're buying specifically for the purposes of a Bug Out vehicle or it's one that you're going to drive every day, you're not a mechanic, how do you go about finding someone that's going to give you a good rating on a used vehicle? Do you just take the dealership's word for it? Do you get a second review on it? What do you do?
Jordan: Yeah, I think if you're buying from a dealership, they're always going to have the car facts and things like that that's going to show a history. So your best case is that you have an owner that maybe wasn't a mechanic, because they're going to have it in there for routine interval service at that dealership, maybe they're visiting the same one that you're buying from. So you can see how often they're doing that. You can be confident that that motor has been maintained throughout. I think that that's important, but I would always recommend taking that off the lot, see if you could borrow it for a day or a few hours and drive it to a local mechanic, have them lift it up, get a new set of eyes on it and make sure that you're not buying something off paper. You want to see that and get a second opinion, just like going to the doctor's office, right?
Joe: Yeah. Second opinion is always a good idea, right?
Joe: So, all right. So we talked about low maintenance, the fuel efficiency. What are other things that you are going to look for in your everyday used car, used vehicle purchase?
Jordan: Yeah, absolutely. So obviously space. I got two kids, but back in the day I love a coup, I like something that's fast, but obviously becoming a dad, you need four doors. I don't want to have to move the seat and tuck them in car seats. So getting the dad mobile, making sure you got space. If you want to do weekend trips, you got the trunk space, nothing like getting the little compact that's got four seats, but you can't travel because you got no room for suitcases. So definitely space as well would be important to, I think everybody.
Joe: Perfect. I think we're going to dive into Bug Out vehicles here and we're taking this one step further away from just your general maintenance and whatnot into what are some of the cool Bug Out vehicles you should look at? But the first set we're going to look at are ones that you could drive as an everyday car, but also double as a get out of town vehicle. I myself, when you talk about Bug Out, I care mostly about get home vehicles because that's where my family is and that's where my stash is of all my stuff. I can stay at home. Yes, if I've got wildfires which needs training or knowledge about wildfire safety or maintaining a wildfire preparedness checklist, if I've got a hurricane coming, I need to make sure I've got a reliable ride out of town. Understanding that if I've waited too long to be in the traffic of exit, fires may change and block places that were going. And my route that I thought I was going to take is no longer my route.
The gas stations I was going to stop at are no longer going to be open. And so I've got to plan through that whole side of things where your fuel efficiency comments come in. We look at some of the pictures of California last year and some of the exit areas where you can barely see getting out of, you've got down trees, you've got all kinds of stuff that are blocking the way or hampering your exits and people are constantly kind of moving on that. So I'm also going to look at what are things that can not get stuck when I have to go around a tree that's down or take a path that I didn't intend to originally through somebody's front yard to reopen a path out or to my next refuel station. So we talked through some of that stuff as well. The first one I have on here is a Mercedes G wagon. Have you ever seen one of these things?
Jordan: Yeah, I think most of the time I've seen them, they're more so dress for the city, the luxury vehicle. But G wagon, definitely a nice off-roading vehicle as well.
Joe: Yeah, this is not an every person kind of a vehicle that you're going to get, even a used vehicle can be 80, $90,000 for this one. So it's going to be at the higher range of some of the stuff that we're going to talk about as a vehicle. But I think it meets some of the things that you're talking about, but it obviously is also going to, it's got the horsepower, it's got some of that. It's going to lose a little bit on maybe miles per gallon. It's going to lose a little bit on, it has great towing capacity, it has the space that you want, but ease of maintenance, probably not there.
Jordan: Yeah, definitely to source those parts is going to be expensive. So that's another, another factor there we can break into is just, how easy is that going to be to find parts? If you have to go to a salvage yard, how many parts would you find for a Ford or a Chevy versus maybe a Mercedes?
Joe: Yeah. So cool car. I think it is, it looks pretty awesome, but the fact that when you're towing something, if you're getting 13 miles to the gallon and the weight of it when you're off-roading can become a factor when it's fully loaded down with all your water gear and all that stuff, it has the ability to move with 20 or 22 inch tires through some good terrain. But if you've weighted it down, it's going to get stuck too. That's where you got to come in with the winches and all the other gear that you need to have when you're starting to look at a true Bug Out vehicle. When I think about entry level Bug Out vehicle, I'm thinking Jeep Wrangler.
Joe: I've taken these things off road in the mountains and I've really wrecked him through doing some crawling on them and they're fun little vehicles to get into. What do you think about a Wrangler as an opportunity?
Jordan: Yeah, I think Wranglers are great. If you're into the hobby of rock crawling, you're already a step ahead. You're a prepper without even knowing it, you've got a great Bug Out vehicle. Smaller wheel base, as you were saying, if your main track gets shut down and you have to go off road, having a smaller wheel base or good approach angles or slip over angles, that's going to be important if you're having to clear maybe a fallen tree, something like that. So Jeep Wrangler's great. They're inexpensive, especially when we're looking at the G wagon prior and parts, there's a whole culture.
Joe: You can buy five of these for one G wagon.
Joe: So I'd rather have five Jeeps on hand, maybe in this particular instance, although I have but one butt so I can't drive all five at the same time, but a good, reliable machine. Parts sourcing, you mentioned, is huge. You're going to find a ton of these.
Jordan: Absolutely. And getting spare parts, prepping that beforehand. There's just a whole culture of Jeep owners. So you see the Jeep owners wave at each other. There's probably plenty of sources to find groups where you can get those parts. And it's kind of fun too in the meantime, while you're prepping, you get to have a hobby as well, make that vehicle your own and customize it for your family and whatever event that you think could happen to you.
Joe: You're going to get double the fuel efficiency of a larger vehicle like a G wagon. You're going to find a lot of these actually in sunnier states, which is going to give you a lot better salvage too. These tend to be very popular in that kind of climate with a rag top kind of deal, being able to have the convertible piece. But you're probably not going to get as good mileage per gallon as if you had, let's talk about motorcycles. The one that we have up that we're going to talk about here, the BMW R 1200, this is the, I think a mission impossible when I think of this on the roads, riding through the streets. But a lot better fuel efficiency, right?
Jordan: Yeah. Much better. I can't help but whenever I look at this Joe, side story, when I took my motorcycle test, we borrowed, me and my dad, he'd been riding his whole life. We borrowed a BMW touring bike like this, and I'm not a very tall person, but swinging my leg over that and getting a Charlie horse in my leg and having to swerve cones, not the most fun thing. But yeah, absolutely, when you're looking at a motorcycle versus a Wrangler, you're going to expect those a miles per gallon to be way better. Obviously the capacity could be an issue, but with a touring bike like this, strapping an extra jug to the sides or to the saddlebag is very easily done. So a great alternative method right there.
Joe: What are the things that you think about when you're looking at bikes that, we talked about touring bikes, we have these mixed off-road bikes that you can take, not just meant for pavement. Compare some of the different things that you would look at, you would think about when you're like, "All right, so I can ride a motorcycle. I'm now thinking about what if I needed to navigate small streets, what if I needed to get through traffic because it's all blocked? And it's just me or it's me and one other person, and we can use this as a vehicle, it's an option that is on the table." You're not going to throw a car seat on it. It's not a dad vehicle as much, although there are plenty of dads that own motorcycles. When you're thinking of it as a, "I've gotten home and now my best chance to get out of town is on something that doesn't have to really follow the general lane requirements." This is a solution so now what do I think about BMW, Harley's, what's the difference and what do I think about?
Jordan: Yeah, I'm definitely big into Harleys. Harley's definitely rebranding recently and getting into more of this Enduro, off-roading, touring bike, which you could search that up, but definitely wouldn't want to take my street glide or Sportster and think I'm going to go anywhere off road. Just getting into summer riding when there's still sand on the road, that gets kind of iffy. So definitely finding a motorcycle that's got knobby tires for off-roading, that's going to be important. As soon as you hit some dirt or mud, it needs to be able to go right through it, otherwise that's a horrible method. So all of these BMW, Honda, Kawasaki have made a great name for themselves. Very, very popular, just like the Wrangler. There's a huge following on it as well. So definitely getting into those groups, getting opinions, I'm sure there's preppers within that group as well that have set up theirs similar and you can get some great information on that.
Joe: And this at a price point, you're similar to an entry level of a Wrangler, or in some cases you get a nice used one for under 10 grand. When we're thinking about accessories, other things, I know there's a whole line, a whole world of things that are out there, but things that you would think through, I'm going to travel with this thing for a period of time, let's say I'm going to go 1000 miles on a bike, what are the things that I need to consider, apparel accessories, I need to know ahead of time?
Jordan: Yeah, definitely through Harley Davidson, the biggest thing that's done is customizing, making it your own and getting those ad-ons to the vehicle or getting the riding gear for yourself. So I think important things to look at would definitely be, there's about a million different luggage options where you can strap it to the side, you can strap it over the top. Looking at the BMW bike, a bunch of different tie-down spots. So make sure that you have space to put those things. They're nice because they're detachable so you could throw it on there, bungee it down, you get to the spot, throw it over your shoulder and you're right inside. So you see that a lot through the touring bikes on Harley so that could definitely transfer over to just traveling. as far as gear for yourself, obviously if it's raining, you don't want to be riding and soaking wet.
So having a rain suit. If you're preparing for cold weather, on the Harley side of things and all other brands, heated gloves, heated suits, nice boots, riding glasses. You don't want to catch something in the eye while you're riding so a bunch of different things that you can look at and would definitely recommend if you're using this as a Bug Out vehicle.
Joe: I think additionally too, if you have a Bug Out motorcycle, the moment you Bug Out, shouldn't be the first time you've taken that motorcycle 500 miles.
Jordan: Sure. Yeah, definitely get familiar with the equipment. Enjoy it as a hobby on the side, just like everything else. So you got all your touring gear, maybe you got another pack that just sits in the closet and that's your Bug Out bag list. It ties down the same way. Maybe it's the same one you use for your weekend trips so that you're familiar with that equipment. That's a great point, Joe.
Joe: Yeah. And I think if you're getting to that point where you're bugging out and you're on the shoulder and you're going, "The grass would be a lot faster," that shouldn't be the first time you've tried off-roading terrain on that particular vehicle. So you need to find those locations where somebody is going to allow you to take that thing off road and figure out if that is a good solution, because the last thing you want to do in a Bug Out situation, traffic jam packed, I'm trying to make something to hurry things up, is get an injury.
Joe: Nobody's going to be able to get to you, right?
Joe: That's the whole reason you went around the traffic to begin with. So don't ever make the situation worse by taking a gamble in that situation. Your vehicle should be rehearsed. All the plans you do, you should have tried. It shouldn't be one of those things where, "All right, let's try bugging out." Bugging out is as simple as taking a family trip on a weekend to go to another location, they go take the kids to a playground. It's just adding the extra gear and gathering it up or taking them on a camp out. If you're not a survival camping person, find somewhere to go pick a museum, I don't care what it is, but load the car up for the day with an intent to try to not stop or stop at targeted paths along the way to be able to really rehearse, "All right, remember we did that, the kids were in the back. It sucked, the kids screamed for two hours. Okay, so now my Bug Out kit needs to include earplugs"
Joe: So again, I don't know what it is, but it's something that you understand that entertaining the children is going to be a part of keeping your head on straight in that situation, because you're going to need to be a little more mindful when you're in that situation, trying to get away from a hurricane and the kids are going to be now away from everything that they use a support system for the next three to five days, so if you didn't bring something for them to do, you're probably going to be trying to get to a store to get it. And who knows what the Target situation is, or Walmart situation is along the way to go pick something up.
So preparedness extends more than just having the right engine in the right place, and having the right plan, having it practiced, understanding how to use the equipment that's there, and understanding the situational and mental game that's happening while you're trying to make that escape to know that I can have my head in the game because I've planned enough that I'm not concerned. My family is taken care of. They are content enough to help me continue to move forward. And I think that really makes a difference when you think about the mental state of how you're going to operate these vehicles as you're moving.
Joe: Let's talk about a couple of trucks. I think we're going to go through two trucks here real quick, and those are the two that I always look at when I'm going to go buy a new truck. We're talking about our Ford F-150 and a Ram 1500. I drive one of these as my everyday vehicle, that is my Bug Out vehicle as well. But comparatively, people love one or love the other. I think either is an option, we're thinking about pickup trucks. I always opt for the four by four version of the vehicle. People love diesel, I find that diesel can be a great option for torque if you have a trailer. If you don't have a trailer, diesel fuel's just hard to find sometimes. It's not at every single rest stop you're going to get to along the way. Truck stops, sure, but not at every gas station that you might need to get to. What are your thoughts on the two different trucks and different options that come with them as far as preparing?
Jordan: Yeah, I think that they're both great trucks. I think a truck is one of the best Bug Out vehicles. You can use it day to day with the bed, with towing, and you've got that extra storage for your Bug Out vehicle. I think either way, it may just come down to a personal preference there. Any truck should be great. As far as reliability, definitely look up, as years progressed, new motors come out, so I definitely urge you to do your research on that. You'll find, if you search up the newest Ford F-150 and whatever motor they're dropping in at that year, and you see search results being recall, recall, recall, maybe you go towards a different one. You don't want to be part of that Guinea pig process of finding out that, that investment isn't reliable. I think that's the most important thing.
So you'll have fans of each and if you like one, you probably hate the other. So you'll find some mixed things in there. But I think they're both great options. Similar features, might come down to luxury edc items and things like that, that may be important to you. If it comes with an entertainment system, maybe that's important for you because of the kids, keep them busy so we don't need to always have the earplugs.
Joe: Right. And I think either direction, you're probably not buying that truck, much like the next one we're going to talk about, you're not buying it as a Bug Out vehicle typically. It's your everyday vehicle that just happens to be equipped to handle more severe situations than your average Camry is going to be able to take you through, right?
Jordan: Yeah. Yeah, I think it's important if you do get those things to look at, as far as the Bug Out portion, approaching angle and the slip over angle, things like that. You can buy a stock truck if you want to make it your own by making that front fender come up higher. That way you can clear that debris, remove that rear bumper or put a rock slider underneath it, I think those are all things that you can do to make it your own. Kind of build it up over time and then just make your Bug Out vehicle that much better.
Joe: Yeah, it's one of those things I think about too, I have a step-up bars on my truck. If I was in a Bug Out situation, there's three bolts on each one, do I just take the few minutes and just pull that puppy off so that you can clear an eight inch tree that's fallen without having to hit your plate? So those are things that I have to think about, what did I add to the vehicle for my everyday life, that if I was really concerned about bugging out, I might detach from my vehicle prior to moving? And what is that time, if I got three days time ahead of a hurricane or ahead of a potential, the fires are starting to sweep down and winds are changing, I'm going to take that time to do that? If it's a different situation where I have maybe a power outage and I don't have any power tools now, or I don't have access to a compressor and stuff, am I going to sit there with a ratchet in the dark and do it?
I don't know if that's going to be my option, but we've seen these times where we've had power outages for two, three days and you're like, "All right, this is probably the time to go to my secondary location," which is a family friend's house that has power for a period of time and just shut the house down and let it sit. Those, I might just drive it as is, maybe there's not a lot of traffic. You got to really play the different and evaluate the different situations to understand what comes off the truck, what goes on the truck and so forth.
The next one, if you're, again, not wanting a truck, we'll talk about SUV's. The one that hit our list here, we talked about the Toyota 4Runner. This one is going to get you in a little bit under 40 grand, but new, so obviously these things are going to run 120,000 miles plus probably. But finding one that's reliable for you. It just happens to be one that had some pretty decent engine options in there as far as a SUV's go, but there's dozens of different SUV's you could really equip in the same way, right?
Jordan: Yeah. Yeah, I think there's a huge following around these Toyotas. They're popular overseas, military as well, Land Cruisers, 4Runners, all of those. There's actually a group on Facebook, it's like a 300,000 mile club and people just show their odometers on there, which is pretty awesome. You know that you're getting a reliable product, but that might also come into not buying brand new, but not buying too old. So trying to find that if it's going to be more so a Bug Out vehicle and you don't want to buy brand new, some of those electronics, if you're bugging out over a long period of time, we don't want to have too many things that could go wrong. So finding that happy medium, you don't want something so old that it doesn't have any technology so we don't have to worry about electronics, but the reliability suffers there.
So yeah, lots of great options in the SUV field there versus a truck. If you had to sleep in it, obviously the coverage is already there, which you could always just throw a bed cap over that truck and camp out in there as well. So definitely some different pros and cons to the truck versus an SUV. The smaller wheelbase would favor on the Wranglers and the SUV's over the trucks, but great options there as well.
Joe: Let's just talk about some stuff for fun, that we're probably not going to buy, and maybe there's a listener that has some of this, but let's jump to the EarthRoamer. The EarthRoamer is built on a truck chassis, but it is for all intents and purposes, a really bad-ass camper that is ready to move, not only what you need for, to sleep in and your gear, but it also, 85 gallons of water, it's going to contain and hold 95 gallons of diesel, it's going to run almost a thousand miles on a refuel, and your solar panel equipped give you over 1300 Watts of power, all in one piece. Now, the part that strikes me is just about a half a million bucks, which is probably going to be out of most people's price range, out of my price range, but pretty cool to look at and think about.
Jordan: Yeah, absolutely. It looks like the all in one package there. It's like a glamping mobile, but for a zombie apocalypse.
Jordan: Pretty awesome that you got everything that you need right there in one spot.
Joe: Absolutely. You have a compressor built in, you get a flat tire, you're going to have your pneumatic impact there and change the tire no problem, refill it up full of air and you're on your own, it's its own service station. But for the half million dollar price tag, it better damn well be its own service station. I want it to change the tire for me at that price.
Jordan: Yeah, I'm with you there.
Joe: But there were some takeaways from it that you can think about. When I think about, it's the truck and it's got a camper. Your point is, you can get a camper cab for back of a truck. Yeah, it contains water, I can put a 55 gallon drum in the back of my truck full of water. It has a compressor, I can bring a compressor that plugs into my truck that I can run on the road to have some of those extra features that I want. And as far as additional fuel, I'm not going to bring 95 gallons, maybe if I get a drop in gas tank for the back of my bed, I can definitely have that ability as well. So I don't know that you need to spend $490,000 to get to that point.
I think you can put a drop in tank and a toolbox in the back of your truck and have plenty of space still for water and gear. You can put a camper over top if you needed to, or even some of those inflatable mattresses that fit in the backseat of a truck, they kind of blow up and conform to the floor to make a bed. So there's a lot of ways to get to this kind of really bad vehicle without having to shell out all that cash.
Joe: All right. The one that's basically a tank, the UNICAT.
Jordan: Yeah, it's pretty awesome.
Joe: What is this?
Jordan: It almost looks like a business trailer that's slapped on top of an industrial trucks. It's like you've got a house and a brute force vehicle as well. So it looks like you're ready to take on anything with that.
Joe: It's running on a rig basically. You're talking about, you're running on an Allison transmission here, so you're firing on a pretty big cab here for what you need. It's basically a box truck at this point, that's been rigged out to be able to withstand the apocalypse. You could throw a motorcycle on the back of it, just extend the distance a little bit there. It's a 2000 mile range pure fuel up. So that's pretty decent. Pretty decent. A little pricey though, so I think we'll skip onto the next one, which is probably the coolest looking one. That's that Knight 15. It looks like something out of a James Bond movie probably, right?
Jordan: Yeah. Yeah, that's the first thing I think of as well, or maybe the next Batman movie, he's driving this Knight. Yeah, that thing's awesome. It definitely grabs the eye. So if you're trying to be a prepper, that's not really on the radar, I think this last category goes without saying, maybe you don't just have it chilling in your front yard or all your neighbors are going to show up and want to ride in all your vehicles when things go down. So yeah, definitely a sweet car for sure.
Joe: Ford basically made what is the baddest ass Jeep that is out there on the market, in this particular instance. And these are all attached in the show notes as well here too. And you can check out all these images along the way, if you're listening to the podcast, to get the full feel, please go ahead and make sure you check it out. I want to talk about some takeaways that I want to talk about. Well, what I want to talk about is the number one Bug Out vehicle that's on the market today. And hold your horses, here it is. It's your car that you drive every day because it's the only one that you've probably kept the oil changes up on. You've made sure the maintenance is ready. You made sure it was fueled up because you had to get to work today.
The number one vehicle in my mind is the one you drive every day because of the amount of the intent that you put into keeping it up and running, unless you're a really crappy car owner, you've probably put the most into it. When we think about what we need to do to our vehicle, are there two or three things that, from your mind you would say, "You need to be doing this to your everyday vehicle" or are you just kind of letting your asset go?
Jordan: Yeah, absolutely. I think just keeping up on the maintenance intervals. If it's starting to get weak starting, be proactive, do those maintenance intervals early. That way, if you do need it in a pinch, you knew it was struggling for a week to really turn over and then something happened and now you've got a dead battery, so don't be caught slacking off, stay ahead of that. Not always when you go into the dealership, are they just trying to get a plus one on you, maybe it has some validity to it. So definitely do those maintenance things early. As far as things that you can do to stay prepared, it's just like you said, your normal everyday car, your daily driver is great.
Just throw something in the back, a smaller Bug Out kit that you always keep. That way, if you're coming home from work, whenever that happens, you got enough on you to just at least get home. You don't have to carry your Bug Out vehicle with thousands of gallons of water in the back all the time preparing for the worst. But keeping something on hand is definitely important.
Joe: Awesome. Well, and with that song, I think we'll kind of take it out. Thanks again for having us here today and talking about Bug Out vehicles. Appreciate it.
Jordan: Yeah, thanks so much, Joe.
Joe: All right.