Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bug Out Retreat Vehicles

The "BORV"
Bug Out Retreat Vehicles

When people talk about Bug Out Vehicles ‘BOV’ it’s commonly centered around 4-wheel drive trucks, tents and a Bug Out Bag.

Well there are other options and it’s now time to be more category specific and start using Bug Out Retreat Vehicle ‘BORV’ when referring to the most capable and ever popular self-contained recreational camping vehicles. It is a nearly perfect mobile retreat because they are mobile and totally self-contained. Typically 20 year old RV’s are very affordable at just $1,000 to $5,000 for a very nice unit. I paid $5,000 for my 26 foot when it was 17 years old.

No matter where you live, you are susceptible too without notice a life threatening situation either man made or by Mother Nature. If like me you just can’t afford a fully stocked remote location Retreat to Bug Out to then what are your options?

I’d like to share with you the option I use, the motor home, so you can see that this is a very good way to Bug Out and be very comfortable while doing so.

“Bug Out” a term heard a lot today but just what does it mean? “Bug Out is simply a term used when “evacuating or leaving your home without notice when a local and life threatening emergency event happens”. This evacuation happens within minutes and includes carrying all the pre-stocked and ready to go survival supplies to a predetermined safe and secure retreat location to safely and securely wait out the event. The duration planned for once at your safe location is commonly a minimum of 72 hours however many weeks are normally planned for lasting as long as the event does”.

It may seem pretty drastic to actually plan to up and leaving your home on a moments notice but today’s world is very insecure and the USA is boiling with turmoil just below the surface. In a matter of a few hours city wide race or religious riots can break out followed by looting, burning and violence of all types, chemical plants leaking poisonous gases, complete loss of the power grid, loss of all city utilities, earthquakes, forest fires, volcano eruptions, tsunami, Marshal Law imposed, bad weather storms and hurricanes to name a few. Any of these and many more not mentioned will prevent you from staying; you must leave and leave quickly. In my area the most common threat is hurricanes which are pretty easy to deal with, but then we have two nuclear Naval Bases within a few miles and any mishaps there I may never be able to come back. If like me, you don’t have a relative to stay with, a second home or a retreat to go to what’s your best solution? For me it’s my RV, my BORV.

Let’s look at some common Bug Out vehicles.

Everyday Vehicles:
How do many people plan on bugging out (well actually most all don’t have a plan)? Generally in their favorite vehicle which can be a pick-up, SUV or the everyday car and most that have no other option plan on sleeping in a tent. There’s nothing wrong with a tent providing it’s not 10 below zero outside but it is far better than nothing.

I started with a tent years ago and as my age and funds increased I progressed through vans, pick-up trucks, travel trailers and motor homes. All have their advantages. If there is just yourself or two of you, then the van or pick-up truck with a topper will give you solid shelter for months, although not the most comfortable but far better than just a tent.

Vans:Full sized ½ ton vans are what I’m talking about. Lots of room inside for stowing all your gear and as a shelter from the elements when on hunting trips or weekend camping outings. They also have the power and towing capacity to tow a 30+ foot trailer reasonable distances with just a small V-8 engine.

The photo below is my van (the little one!) years ago in a campground in Florida during one of my trips down there. They make a great utility, hunting and traveling vehicle, lots of room for the dogs and my stuff.

Pick-Up Trucks:Full sized ½ ton pick-ups are similar to a van if a topper is added enclosing the bed then you can stow all your stuff and a bed area back there. The carrying capacity is plenty to haul all your stuff and when at the camp site you can sleep inside out of the elements in the back. They also have the power and towing capacity to tow a 30+ foot trailer reasonable Bug Out distances with just a small V-8 engine.

The photo below is my ½ ton f-150 truck and 30+ foot trailer that I pulled from Chicago to Florida without issues. The motor was just a 302 with an automatic trans, nothing special.

Which one; Travel Trailer or Motor Homes?
Either one of these has the advantage over anything else. They are as close to a home as you can get with all the comforts of home inside; heat, storage, cooking, real beds, bathroom and a lounging area. These are the ultimate bug out platform. Below is a list of some of my stuff in our motor home and it would fit just as well in the trailer.

Is there an advantage between the motor home and the travel trailer? I think so, Personally I would prefer the trailer. Why? Something magical happens when a motor home sits for several months and not run. It seems something always doesn’t work, won’t start, dead batteries, etc. Currently I have a problem with mine. It appears that due to not running it on the road at least once a month I wore off a lobe on my camshaft, I have a serious repair ahead. Another issue is the motor home must have insurance on it all the time and there is far more overall maintenance on it. A trailer you can sometimes get away without it if you can add it to the vehicle policy. Or have none if it’s to be just a bug out retreat vehicle. Trailers give you the most living square footage when compared to the same length motor home.
When you arrive at your safe area you disconnect the trailer and still have your truck to drive around. The other thing is you use your truck every day so you know it’s always ready to go.
So in my opinion the best way to evacuate or Bug Out is with a ready-made shelter -- a motor home or travel trailer that’s full of all your supplies and survivalist tools.

Without a travel trailer or motor home may mean leaving your home or apartment behind with everything in it except what you can carry or toss in your vehicle. Over the years of your planning and practicing being prepared with the purchase of countless survivalist items, weapons and hundreds of pounds of food, you have accumulated quite a load of stuff. Well you can take much or all of it with you in an RV and after all the reason you purchased all these survival items is for bugging out and being self-reliant when you do.

Just what can you put in an RV so you can comfortably survive in a remote safe location?
Here’s a list of some of what I have in my Motor Home at Bug Out time:
It's fairly easily carry 60 days of food inside along with 40 gallons of fresh water. I do not leave this food in the motor home year round, but when an emergency presents itself I transfer all this food from my survival preparedness pantry, it takes about 20 minutes to do so. Everything in the motor home is stored out of the way but easy to get to. Inside I use the queen size bed above the cab area for all the bulk food storage. There is another full sized bed in the rear that's why I can use the bed area over the cab. The kitchen cabinets keep all the typical cooking tools, dishes etc.

The all important Bulk Dry Foods stored in 5 Quart Jugs, 2 Jugs of Each Item
Elbow Pasta
Rotini Pasta
Rice, White
Pearled Barley
Hard White Wheat Grain
Pancake/Waffle mix
Corn Meal
Pinto Beans
Instant Mashed Potatoes
Dry Milk
Coffee, cans
Creamer, containers
Coffee Filters, 100

Vacuum Bagged Items
4, 5# bags of White All Purpose Flour

Pet Food:
Food for Dog #1, 5 gal bucket
Food for Dog #2, 5 gal bucket
Treats, 2 gal bucket
Prescriptions for Dog #1

Dehydrated Foods from #10 Cans Repackaged in
Quart Canning Jars, 3 Quarts of Each

Whole Egg Powder
Butter Powder
Cheese Blend Powder
Mozzarella Shredded Cheese
Celery, Diced
Onions, Diced
Green & Red Peppers, Diced
Tomato Powder (4 quarts used for sauces)
Spices, all typical types

Baking & Cooking Essential Items
Yeast, 2 lbs.
Baking Powder, 2 cans
Baking Soda, 1 large box
Cooking Oil, 2 gallons
Shortening, small can
Vinegar, 1 qt
Dough Enhancer, 1 box
Vital Wheat Gluten, 1 box
White Sugar, 2, 5 Quart Jugs
Salt, 5 Quart Jug

Canned Foods Please Note:
On average I stock about 5 cans of each item listed
Or about 5 – 6 cases in total

Canned EntrĂ©e’s
Macaroni and Beef
Beef Stew
Chop Suey

Canned Meats; Small cans.
Each can will make two sandwiches

Chicken Breast
Armour Ham
Chunk Turkey
Corned Beef Hash
Corned Beef

Canned Vegetables
Diced Potatoes
Whole New potatoes
Corn Sweet Kernel
Green Beans

Canned Soups
Clam Chowder
Beef w/Vegetables
Chunky Chicken Noodle
Chicken Noodle
Chunky Chicken & Dumplings
Steak & Potato
Sirloin Burger w/ Vegetables
Cream of Celery
Cream of Mushroom
Cream of Chicken

Dry Soup Mixes, 10 of each
Ramon type Beef Flavor
Ramon type Chicken Flavor
Ramon type Oriental Flavor

Pouched, Dry Sides, 5 of each
Alfredo Pasta & Sauce
Butter Pasta & Sauce
Chicken Flavor Pasta & Sauce
Jambalaya Cajun Rice Mix
Parmesan Pasta & Sauce
Chicken Broccoli & Rice
Chicken Rice & Sauce

Important Documents
House and Vehicle titles, insurance, etc.
Bank Account, Credit Card contact info
Address Book (for everyone’s numbers)

Hygiene - Personal
Prescriptions & Medications
Prescriptions VET
Eye Glasses
All typical hygiene stuff


Kitchen Items
Stick Matches, 250/box, 8 boxes
Bic Lighters, 5

All pots, pans & silverware

All utensils, pans and sheets

Propane & Water needs
40 lb tank (1) with hose/hook-up
1 lb cylinders (6)
Refill adapter for 1 lb cylinders
5 gallon water jugs (2)

Kitchen Appliance
Berky Light Water Filter
Grain Mill, manual
Hand Mixer
Coffee Pot, percolator, stove top

Survival Items
Chairs Folding
Survival CD's and DVD's case, 3
Food Storage & Recipe Book,1
Hand Ax
Bow Saw & spare blades
Splitting Maul
Survival knife
Folder knife
Shovel, Folding Army
Flint Fire Starter
Knife & Axe Sharpening Stone & File
2, 5 gallon water cans

Propane Lantern & spare mantels
Battery Lantern, LED (2)
Flashlights, LED (2)
NiCad Battery Recharger
NiCad Batteries

Solar PV & alternative power
45 watt system roof mounted system
Generator, 4,000 watt frame mounted
Inverter 150 watt (needs to be increased 1000 watts)

9mm Hand Guns (2) with CC holsters
AR-15 Carbine 223
9mm Ammo, 1 ammo can
223 Ammo, 1 ammo can

CB Base Station
CB Hand Held
GMRS (2)
Ham with Stick Antenna
TV and CD player
Radio AM/FM
Laptop Computer & Printer & Ink
Cell Phone
Office Paper

Tire pump 12v w/12v extension cord
Battery Charger
Jumper Cables
Gas Siphon Hose
Mechanics Tools
Gas Can 6 gallon
20,000 lb. Tow Strap
Extra engine oils
Fix a Flat aerosol for emergency repair
Tire Plugging repair kit

Fishing Gear
Two spinning poles and reels
Two 15 foot cane poles
Tackle box


Hygiene - Personal
Soap, Bath Bars, 16 bars
Soap Hand Liquid, large refill container
Laundry Soap, 1 box
Bleach, 2 gallons
Toilet Paper, 24 rolls
Toothpaste, 4 tubes
Deodorant, 3 each person

Special Clothing
Rain Gear
Gloves (work)

Motor Home Exterior Stuff
Hitch ball 2" & 1 7/8"
Platform in hitch receiver for bulky items
Holding Tank Chemicals, 12 bottles
Black Water disposal tank, portable

Add to pick-up Truck Bed
(The truck is towed behind the motor home or driven by another person)

Chain Saw and oil
All extra fuel cans
All Additional Stocked Ammo Cans
All the other guns
Remaining Stocked Bulk Foods

Again there are many items not mentioned that are in the motor home all the time that I just take for granted and not listed but the list gives you an idea of just how self-reliant you are in your own RV. If the world really turned to poop and all is lost including you home or apartment you will have a great permanent shelter with all you need to survive for years. The little cash you may have will go a long way because you will have no bills what so ever, even the mortgage or rent payment will be gone.

Hope this helps!

1 comment:

  1. A comment left by Sheldon:

    Hey Mike, a comment about your motorhome. I know the post is old, but something for you to think about.

    Sometimes, the huge fuel tanks are not quite large enough at times, especially when running a generator. There is usually adequate room under the coach to have auxiliary tanks installed to hold additional fuel. A simple tap into the vent and an "unpumped" transfer line between the aux. tank and main tank is usually all it takes.

    If your engine is gasoline, you may be able to burn the propane located in the ACME tank underneath, as well as for the generator too.

    And along the lines of propane, do you have a way to fill it yourself?


    Hi Sheldon,
    Comments to my older posts I have often missed in the past and that’s why I now moderate all posts so not to miss any.

    Generators I look at as a convenience while the fuel lasts. To have 30 days of gas for a generator on hand is not practical and very dangerous and in or on a motor home or travel trailer just can’t be done safely. Diesel is a better way to go but still you have to have a lot of fuel on hand. Any time I’m in a disaster situation I’m betting fuel of any type will be difficult to obtain so I’m more interested in firewood for cooking etc.

    As for my propane on board when it is gone I have a connection that lets me hook up 30 lb. RV propane tanks to take over. This way I don’t have to move the motor home that may be very low on fuel just to try and find a propane dealer that’s open who can fill my tank. And if the grid is down they can’t pump it anyway. However if grid power comes back I can bicycle the 30 lb. tank to a refill station.


Your thoughts are welcome!