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Bug Out Vehicle Gear Every Prepper Needs

bug out vehicle gear

So you have a bug out location and a vehicle to get you to that location.  You also have supplies packed in your vehicle for the trip.  The next thing to equip is going to be bug out vehicle gear that can help increase your odds of survival.

Bugging out after SHTF will be one of the most dangerous experiences of your life.  Before we get into my recommendations I have to mention that bug out vehicle gear is going to be dependent upon what vehicle you are using.  Although most of the gear can be used with any type of vehicle, you may be limited on what you are able to pack.  This is especially true if you have a family that you are packing for as well.

What Bug Out Vehicle Gear is For

Another thing about having bug out vehicle gear is that the list is already supposing that you have a bug out bag, supplies, protection, and other survival gear.  So the gear that you should have packed in your bug out bag will not be listed here.  Depending on how much space your bug out vehicle has, you may be able to pack extra gear for redundancy sake.

Much like what is packed in your bug out bag, the purpose of the bug out vehicle gear is to get you safely to your bug out location within 72 hours.  The gear that I will mention isn’t going to ensure your survival for the long term.  Your bug out location is where your supplies and gear stockpile is ready to help you survive for the long term.

Do You Really Need Bug Out Vehicle Gear?

Now some may say that having bug out vehicle gear is stupid because you will most likely be walking for most of your journey.  This isn’t always going to be the case.  Whether or not you will be able to drive is going to be dependent upon a lot of factors.  These factors include the impact of such a bug out scenario and the density population around your location and destination.

Essential Bug Out Vehicle Gear Every Prepper Needs

Rhino USA Recovery Tow Straps


During a bug out scenario, the elements may cause your vehicle to slide into a ditch or just off-road in general. Having tow straps are an important item to have to pull you out of those situations.  Not only should this be packed as part of your bug out vehicle gear but for an everyday basis as well.

Tow straps are not only useful for recovery but can be used to tow other things.  For example, if you have downed trees along your route that need to be moved.  These straps will definitely get the job done.

The Rhino USA Recovery Tow Straps provide up to 31,518 pounds of breaking strength and are 30ft long.  The looped ends are tripled reinforced to lower the risk of the straps breaking and snapping back at you.  The company is so sure of its quality that they provide a lifetime warranty along with a money back guarantee for any reason.

MaxTrax MKII Recovery Boards


Recovery boards are another great option that can be used in conjunction with the tow straps.  Even if you have all-terrain tires equipped on your bug out vehicle you can still get stuck in the mud, sinking sand and snow.

Recovery boards can be placed on the ground in the front or backward direction of your tires.  These boards are also called traction boards because it gives your tires the needed traction.  Now you could use hacks like keeping a bag of kitty litter in your vehicle.  The downside of such a hack is that you could run out and they take up a lot of space in your vehicle.

Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry Portable Battery Charger


Portable battery jumpers should be packed for everyday situations that may occur.  It is even more necessary to have them with your bug out vehicle gear.  If you are in a bug out scenario, you may not have the option to get a jump from someone else.

The portable battery jumpers can be used without any assistance.  Of course, the battery would need to be fully charged beforehand.

The Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry Portable Battery Charger is not only clutch for when you need it but for others as well.  If you have family or a survival group then this could come in handy for them.  It is super easy to use and doesn’t take up much space in your storage.

ARB ARB505 E-Z Deflator


Based on certain terrains you may need to deflate your tires.  For example, a lot of overlanders will deflate their tires when traveling across rocky or sandy terrains.  By deflating the tires over these certain terrains your vehicle will have better traction.  With better traction, you are much less likely to get stuck in holes.  The ARB505 E-Z Deflator is compact saving space in your storage and easy to use.

ARB CKMAI2 Air Compressor


An air compressor is also something that I recommend having packed on an everyday basis.  But in a bug out scenario, having a way to air your tires is extremely important.  If you are going to be traveling off-road, then you will come across a lot of sharp objects that can puncture your tires.  Although the ARB CKMAI2 Air Compressor is light and compact, your bug out vehicle would need to either be a truck or SUV in order to fit under the hood.

Tooluxe 50002L Tire Repair Kit


Of course, your bug out vehicle should be packed with a spare tire.  However, not every puncture is always going to require a tire change.  Many tire punctures can be simply patched up as long as the puncture is not on the inside of the tire well.  The Tooluxe 50002L Universal Tire Repair Kit is perfect for small punctures.

Hi-Life XT-485 Jack


Along with the air compressor and repair kit, you will need a way to jack your vehicle for these types of situations.  This is pretty much standard for every vehicle these days.  You could stick with the factory included jack but I would recommend using something that has been field tested and can stand the test of time.

The reason that I like the Hi-Life XT-485 is that it can serve multiple purposes.  Not only can it be used as a jack but also as a clamp and to assist with a winch.  By being able to serve multiple purposes you provide redundancy to your bug out vehicle gear.

Wavian USA NATO Fuel Can


Most preppers know that you shouldn’t drive around with less than half a tank.  However, this isn’t always practical.  So having the Wavian USA NATO Jerry Fuel Can gives you an alternative to that.

Most of the time, but out plans take into consideration having enough gas to make it to your bug out location.  As we all know, things don’t always going according to plan.  You most likely might get caught up in traffic jams or forced to travel a longer route than expected.  That is why having a fuel can with your bug out vehicle gear gives you an advantage and helps to increase your survivability.

Plumber’s Siphon Pro


Having the Plumber’s Siphon Pro Siphon and Pump with your gear gives you redundancy to your gas supply.  Between having a siphon or a gas can I would recommend having a gas can first.  The siphon and pump should be the absolute last option.

I say that because most likely in a bug out scenario a lot of cars will be stranded on the side of the road without gas.  Hell, it doesn’t even have to be a bug out scenario to run out of gas.  A few years ago, as a hurricane was heading to Florida thousands of people trying to flee from the path were stranded on the side of the road.

Even if you do find a parked vehicle with gas, you may be placing yourself in danger trying to siphon someone’s gas.  Along with that, you are going to be competing with other desperate people who need gas.

Magellan eXplorist TRX7 GPS System


Now having a GPS system might be helpful depending on a few factors.  If you are in a bug out scenario due to an EMP, a lot of GPS devices may not work unless it has been protected in a Faraday cage.  GPS systems are run by satellites in the upper atmosphere.  So who knows if those satellites will be affected.

The Magellan eXplorist TRX7 GPS System comes preloaded with maps, 44,000+ off-road trails, public lands and other points of interest.  The system even allows you to record your own trails.  That gives you the ability to practice your bug out route and go back to it when you actually need it.

Baofeng UV-5R


The effectiveness of radios is also going to be dependent upon what type of bug out scenario you are facing.  Again, if there is an EMP then most radios will not be operable unless protected in a Faraday cage.  However, you will want some potential form of communication especially if you have a family or survival group that you are meeting at rally points.

CBs and HAM radios will also be useful as you travel on the road.  You will be able to listen in on communications with truck drivers who typically relay a lot of important information with fellow drivers.  HAM radios may give you access to the emergency stations for police and EMT.  However, a lot of police communications are done over encrypted channels so not all scanners may work.

Most HAM radios are equipped with radio stations so that you can stay up to date with the situation at hand. Regarding HAM radios, I would recommend packing the Baofeng UV-5R with your bug out vehicle gear.  It is portable, easy to use, and has great range reception.

H3R Performance HG250R Fire Extinguisher


The reason for having a fire extinguisher is pretty self-explanatory.  All types of fires can happen like forest fires or even vehicle fires.  Vehicle fires can be caused by fuel or electronics.  You could either install the H3R Fire Extinguisher on a rack in your vehicle or in storage.

Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade


Shovels can be used to dig your vehicle tires out of certain spots if you are not getting much traction.  Along with that, shovels can help you dig a trench to hide in at night as you travel to your bug out location.  Finally, it can be used to shovel snow or rack leaves where you need to place your shelter.

Of course, you probably don’t have a lot of room in your vehicle to pack a standard size shovel.  When it comes to loading up your bug out vehicle, you want to use the least amount of space as possible.  This is why I like the Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade.  You can easily fold it away.  Despite its small size, it doesn’t lack durability.

Remington RM4216 16-inch Gas Powered Chainsaw


If your bug out route takes you off-road then you are most likely going to face fallen trees in your path.  Unless you are he-man, you will not be able to move larger trees on your own.  Instead, you can cut those trees into smaller movable chunks.  It could also come in handy if you are looking for camp firewood to keep you warm or cook food.

I recommend that you have the Remington RM4216 Gas Powered Chainsaw.  During your bug out scenario, you might not have the ability to fully power a battery powered chainsaw.  You would have to make sure the battery is fully charged beforehand which isn’t likely to happen.

Also with a battery powered chainsaw the effectiveness decreases as the power of the battery decreases.  It may be challenging to find gas but probably easier than fully powering the chainsaw with a battery.

GOOACC Seatbelt cutter/window breaker


Seatbelt cutters and window breakers should already be something you have equipped for everyday use.  There may come a time where you are in an accident and your door is jammed preventing you from leaving the vehicle.  I like the GOOACC Seatbelt Cutter and Window Breaker because it is small which means that you can keep it in your glove or middle console compartment.  You will want to store it where you can easily grab it in an emergency.

APEMAN 1440P & 1080 P Dual Dash Cam with Night vision


I wouldn’t say that having night vision is essential but definitely gives you an advantage.  If you are in an escape and evasion situation night vision gives you the ability to not only spot adversaries but also obstacles that may be in your path.  For example, if you are driving and trying to hide from someone, you can turn off the vehicle lights and use the night vision to continue your path.  The great thing about the APEMAN Dual Dash Cam is that you can place one camera on the front and another one on the rear.

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station


Having alternate power sources are not a necessity but very important to have especially to back up your vehicle’s battery.  Some additional sources that I would recommend having are portable solar power panels that be used to keep your electronics like GPS systems and other electronics powered.  Luckily Goal Zero also produces solar panels that are compatible with the Yeti 400 Portable Power Station.

One comfort item that you could have powered are tablets.  That way you can watch movies and shows for entertainment.  Having comfort items helps to keep your morale high and gives hope.  If you don’t have something to stimulate your mind during a disaster then you could lose it.

Reliance Fold-A-Carrier, 5 Gallons


Water jugs are another piece of bug out vehicle gear that should be loaded for everyday purposes as well.  Having extra water loaded in your vehicle will come in handy in the case that you are in an emergency situation and are out of water.  Water is also useful in the case of cooking your emergency food.  Finally, it could be used in the case that your radiator is leaking and needs to be filled.  The great thing about the Reliance Fold-A-Carrier is that it is collapsible which means it can fit any size storage that you have available.

Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-up Propane Grill


Your bug out bag should already be packed with a portable camp stove or some sort of method to cook food.  However, a bug out vehicle gives you more room which in turn gives you more options.  Also, having additional cooking methods give you redundancy.

I recommend the Coleman RoadTrip 285 Portable Stand-up Propane Grill.  You aren’t going to be able to cook big servings from the stove in your bug out bag.  If you have a family or survival group you may need to cook bigger meals.

Conclusion

Altogether these would be my suggestions on essential bug out vehicle gear.  Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list and like I said before the gear is going to be dependent upon your vehicle.  However, if you have any additional suggestions then please leave them in the comment section below.  Your feedback helps the community prepare the smart way now so that we can thrive later.

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About Aaron

Aaron is the founder of Smart Prepper Gear which is a blog dedicated to helping people prepare the smart way now so that they can thrive later. He has been involved with preparedness since 2009 after feeling the effects of the financial crisis that affected most of the country. Aaron also volunteers with CERT (community emergency response team), ARC (Amateur Radio Club), Red Cross and currently studying to be a certified NRA instructor.