Bug out Vehicle/camping setup

I added quite few things this year to my bugout/camping setup in order to use the Kia Minivan as a Bugout vehicle rather than just relying on the RV as my BOV. One reason is fuel economy, I can get a lot further away using the minivan compared to RV based on fuel mileage alone. Another consideration is the minivan offers a better chance at blending in compared to the RV.  Lets face it if things get bad the RV will probably look more like a target to others, where as a minivan is the vehicle of choice of “Soccer Moms” everywhere.

I keep a lot of small items in the mini van at all times because of there are plenty of little drawers and cubby holes that can hold many items that are just always great to have available. Some of the newer minivans have in-floor storage which is very handy. I have a few items I keep in the minivan at all times for emergencies. In the small glove box I keep a 12volt USB adapter and extra cable so I can recharge my kindle or my cell phone. I have a small fold up solar panel and a wind up flashlight with adapter for additional charging options. I keep a ball cap with a clip on flashlight for working hands free in the dark in the CD case drawer. Under the driver’s seat I have quilted wool shirt and snuggie for keeping warm if I get stuck in a snow storm or just slide off the road along with a collapsible snow shovel for digging out. I use a large canvas tarp to protect the cargo area but can be used as for shelter if needed. Then there is my small car box https://myadventuresinselfreliance.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/the-car-box/ along with basic tools and 2 cans of fix-a-flat. I keep my small thermo electric cooler in the car at all times and I have stored two boxes of soup, shelf stable pudding and jello, a package of dehydrated potatoes and some Ritz crackers. With my my small rolling backpack as my GHB I could survive for 3-7 days without loading a single thing.  Of course prepping isn’t just about survival and getting by. It about planning ahead to be somewhat comfortable long term.

I think your first step to preparing your BOV is prepping your 72 hour bag/BOB. This is your bag you can grab as you go out the door if there is fire in your home. I keep mine in a closet on my way out the door. http://www.theplacewithnoname.com/blogs/klessons/index.html refers to this bag as you are gone in 60 seconds. If you have not seen this site it is one of the most detailed I have found that deals with a Bug Out situation (Katrina) and what went right and wrong and how he fixed the things that went wrong.

For my Bug out/camping gear I use two totes to hold most of the items I need. One is a cheap rolling tote I picked up that was sold as a basic kitchen set up for a college student. These college kitchen totes are fairly cheap around $40.00 or less and you can have a full backup kitchen for camping and bugout with one purchase. Plus it is already packed and ready to go though I adjusted mine quite a bit adding and subtracting items. The other tote is a heavy duty Rubbermaid Roughneck that you can lock with a couple of padlocks. I used these totes while in the Army and they are in great shape after 20 years of hard use. This is the tote I need to adjust by trading out the small tent for my new larger tent as well as changing out the older full sized air bed for a smaller twin size air bed. I like air mattress to sleep on as the air insulates and some of the foam camping mattresses sweat and soak your sleeping bag.  By using these totes you can use them as tables, sinks or even to catch and store rain water. You know how I love multi-taskers!

On the shop shelf ready to load is my duel fuel camp stove that use white gas or unleaded fuel and  next to it is a siphon so I can use the gas from the minivan or from a gas can. I have a small plastic French press coffee maker in my GHB and by adding my new little 12 volt coffee maker I am covered for making coffee and teas. I have two sleeping bags, one is a lighter weight bag for summer and the other bag is the old Army Arctic weight, down filled sleeping bag for winter. These bags are super cheap now that everyone wants the new Gortex sleep systems. If you have a tent and good mattress to stay dry, these military surplus sleeping bags are a bargain.  For lighting I have a propane lantern and a small battery powered lantern. For comfort I added a small battery powered fan for the summer and moving air. I will be moving one of my Mr. Buddy propane heaters to the camping shelf for heat in the tent. These are great little backup heaters and while this shelf is for the BOV you can always use these items in your home if a disaster happens. I think of  loading the items on the shelf as my 15 minute Bugout. I need to move a small chemical toilet to that shelf and add a few more detailed maps to the minivan. I wish my shop was insulated so I could store 10 gallons of  water on the shelf. The best I can do is have a 5 gallon camp jug and my BOB in the same closet so I can have some clean potable water to start my bugout. I have a small Hibachi type grill ready as well as a small barrel type wood burning  stove I need to finish burning off the old cheap paint and add to my Bug out/camping shelf.   I have one of those battery jumping power packs that I keep charged in the house. It has both an AC and DC outlet with  a 400 watt inverter that I can grab and go in my 15 minute Bug out plan. Sorry I almost fogot the pets and pet carriers so they critters have a safe place to ride and have food. If you have critters you must plan for their needs as well as you own in a disaster.  No,  I don’t think letting them go, and roam is a good answer as your pets need the basics like any other family member.

Last but not least is food https://myadventuresinselfreliance.wordpress.com/2012/03/23/the-charity-bucket/ I call it a charity bucket but it will work nicely to hold your dry goods for your Bug out and camp food. I’m a firm believer that a person can’t have to many buckets on hand and each bucket can hold about 14 days worth of food for one person.

Overall I have covered most of the basics from water, shelter, food, heating, cooking and sanitation. I will leave you to add your basic defensive and security measures. In my Every Day Carry gear (EDC) I have a 9mm, pepper spray, a tonfa/billy club(in the car),  multi-tool, a P-38  can opener,  a jump-drive with important files, and some backup “junk silver” and mad money.  I can’t tell what disaster you might have to deal with, but this post should give you an idea where to start and cover the basics you would need if you have to bugout.



6 Responses to Bug out Vehicle/camping setup

  1. Kimberly says:

    Awesome article. I’m keeping it up to reread over a couple of times.

    • Jamie says:

      Kimberly: Thank you for your kind words. If you are interested in adding some 12 volt appliances to your bug out vehicle you might check out some Truck Stops or RV shops. In my opinion Truck stops tend to be cheaper on average compared to RV suppliers.
      Many people used their cars as a backup generator during super storm Sandy. A small inverter or power pack made charging cell phones, radios, laptops and even a bit of lighting, seemed to make a big difference to those in an Urban environment.

      If you are in an Urban environment I believe you must be one of the first to leave or have enough on hand to be one of the last to leave in a disaster area.
      I think you should plan for a 3 day-3 week type of BOV situation. I don’t know if you have kids but adding some simple travel games, cards, coloring books or a couple of Kindles, books or a laptop that can play movies and music might help keep family members entertained.

  2. Kimberly says:

    I will take a look at truck stops next time we travel. My kids are grown but my hubby travels around the state for work and I want to update things for us both. We have 1yr supply of food/hygiene, but I feel we are lacking in creative solutions for our vehicles.

    We are definitely in an urban setting, but have chickens for eggs, 13 raised veggie beds and growing, and a 150 gallon rain catchment. My current plans are to stick it out at home unfortunately, because I just don’t see a safe exit (too much exposure) for us.

    I might add that full size replacement tires are in our near future. Being in a big city, we often have to repair or replace tires (3 this year, and 2 last year) due to road conditions and city garbage. If we were away from home or needed to evacuate, chances are real good we would run over a nail or something, and a doughnut wouldn’t be sufficient.

    • Jamie says:

      Kimberly, I’m with you as far as trying to bug in. Being a “refugee” of any sort has very little appeal to me and seems to be a dangerous option, though it might be the only one avalible. I’m a believer in backups and a plan B, C and D if things get messy. If I were you I would add couple of cans of Fix-a-Flat ($3.00-$6.00 a can) to your emergency car kit. If you added one of those little battery jumper packs with an air compressor for under $100.00 that would make a huge improvement in your vehicle bug out/Get Home kit.

      What is great about prepping your vehicle is you have all kinds of backups on hand if a disaster strikes while you are at home. Plus you have a great tailgating and picnic setup all year round.

  3. Kimberly says:

    We lose power often in summer storms due to outdated power lines…so we have several inverters for short term,and quiet power. Then, if the power outage is longer than 2 days,we start up our big generator that will power the whole house, except for the central air (yuck) but is really loud. We have another smaller generator.

    So, We purchased a neat back up air conditioner this past summer that sits on the floor and has a hose that adapts to any window. It can be powered by our generator. It is on wheels, lightweight, and easily moved room to room as needed.

    • Jamie says:

      Kimberly: You might look at adding some sandbags around the generator to reduce the noise level. We did that in the Army when we did not have to worry about lost LTs using sound rather than maps to find their units. You might be surprised how much of the sound is dampened if you build sort of wall around the generator but leave the top open for ventilation. Sand is better than kitty litter for traction and a great building/insulating material.

      I’m a big believer in small air conditioners compared to central air, as the electric cost saving alone is a huge help. Plus many smaller generators can run a small AC unit but not a big central air unit.

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