Bug Out Vehicle Gear

In times of emergency, it may require you to evacuate and leave home for days, weeks or even months. A decent survival kit for a quick evacuation with your bug out vehicle should be a main concern because having some bug out gear in your car can mean the difference between life and death in a SHTF situation.

Now the question that comes to mind is: what should I be packing? When you’re packing your bug out vehicle gear, think of your vehicle as a home. Instead of standing on concrete, it is on wheels. With that in mind, it will automatically give you an idea of the common home essentials that you usually buy from your local grocery stores.


In this post, we will discuss those and the other bug out vehicle gear essentials you need while traveling on the road.

Knowing Your Bug Out Needs

You must be pretty specific with regards to what you pack in your vehicle’s bug out bag. We know that it can be overwhelming- there are considerations like climate, geography, and your personal needs. On the off chance you have pets, elders or children in your care, you may want to adjust what you pack in your car’s bug out bag accordingly.

Just because we mentioned that you should treat your vehicle like a home does not mean you should pack everything with you. You do not want to take up space that it leaves no room for other members of the family inside your vehicle. Overstocking is an easier task than choosing what you think you may need. Do not be discouraged by the thought of leaving some things behind. In the long run, if the vehicle’s broken, out of gas or you have decided to travel on foot, having a light bag to carry will not be a burden to hold you back.

Furthermore, when stepping out and leaving the vehicle for a while, make sure that everything’s locked securely. You do not want your precious things stolen by other people—everything in you vehicle, including your firearms, may vanish in a blink of an eye. Therefore, bring anything that you think that would help to protect your vehicle more.

Advantages of Bug Out Vehicles

1. Greater Travel Distance Radius
Using a vehicle will permit you to travel further and more quickly. This ought to be thought deliberately when planning on bugging out. This will also be massive help when looking for food and your bug out location.

2. Extra Storage for Supplies
You can store and carry more supplies and other belongings inside a vehicle. You can also make use of the trunk. Again, just because you have the space does not mean you will fill the vehicle up with everything you have at home. Always bear in mind the primary goal—to survive and get past the crisis alive. Only pack things that will raise your chances of survival.

3. Shelter
Apart from tents or anything that can put roof over your head, your vehicle will also serve as a shelter especially against the heavy rain and strong winds which most tents are not able to overcome. When running it can also provide you heat or cool depending on the weather conditions you are under. Having your vehicle as shelter will increase your chances of survival.

Road and Bug Out Vehicle Essentials


Always keep in mind that water THE essential need in any survival situation. Hold on to a lot of extra water- more than how much you think you need- inside your vehicle to quench the thirst for yourself and your family from time to time. We humans can go only about three days without any water consumption before we decease from dehydration. But it is highly recommended in a survival situation to at least consume a gallon of water per person on a daily basis. If you have any, you should also bring with you your water purification straws or tablets in the event you ran out of supply of water—with the purpose of being able to still have a sip where there is any water resources around you


Food is one of the vital aspects of any survival situation. Humans must have a food intake of 2500 calories per day. Therefore, you need to make sure you bring more than enough food with you. You may also want to include stove, fishing kit, energy/protein bars, food storage containers, cooking tools and cooler.

First Aid

You never know when you will get injured or feel under the weather during a crisis. It is life-threatening to be falling under those circumstances given that there will be no medical assistance for you to reach. Thus, it would be wise to have your first aid kit including hand sanitizers, insect repellent, hygiene kit, sunglasses, lip balm, sunblock, soap, tissues, surgical masks, latex gloves,
meds, wipes, diapers (if necessary), and more. We’ll talk more about First-Aid must-haves in another post.

Fire and Lighting

Always have a flashlight and a good supply of lighters and matches with you. These will come in handy and make the work easier when igniting a fire for warmth, cooking meals and purifying water. Aside from those, you may also need these to make a torch to chase away some wild animals especially during the night.
Flashlights and fires make perceptible signals over significant distances by any chance you need to signal for help.

Shelter and Clothing

Keeping warm during the long cold nights is a priority in a survival situation. Instead of running the car’s engine for heat as if fuel is not a limited resource, you should pack extra layers, beddings, sleeping bags and blankets as an alternative yet effective option for generating warmth. You should also include packing clothes appropriate for the changing climate.

Hypothermia is the last thing you would want, so it would be better to have these in your bug out vehicle. Tent is a nice-to-have, too, particularly when you reached your final stop for your bug out location. Typically, it will occupy more space inside your vehicle or put more weight on your bug out bag, it would be better put it inside the trunk instead.

Navigation Maps

Obviously, you will need to explore places—for the most part, those you are unfamiliar of. It may be in search of food/water, rescue or  your bug out location. One of the most important things that should not slip your mind is packing a map or a navigation device such as compass or GPS devices. 


We recommend an old-fashioned compass that won’t run out of batteries or lose GPS signal. 


Since smartphones are already built-in with map and GPS, that would somehow eliminate the problem. However, in a survival situation, once your phone’s battery runs out, it can be a difficult task to find a place where you can charge it unless you have those hand crank generators or power inverters with you. You must use your phone’s battery power wisely.

Tools and Equipment

You will need to ensure that you have at least the basic tools that you may need for minor repairs
to your vehicle and other different things as well. This is a good start, but is by no means an exhaustive list:
  • Vehicle replacement parts
  • Spare tire
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Siphon pump
  • Tow cables
  • Seatbelt cutter/window breaker
  • Jumper cables or jump starter
  • Extra fuel or gas
  • Multitool kit
  • Rope
  • Straps
  • Duct tape
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Shovel
  • Heavy, thick gloves

Signaling and Communication

Being able to communicate with others is one of the crucial things in a survival situation. Aside from flares, there are other effective ways to communicate with others. Remember we mentioned that you must use your phone’s battery power wisely? Well, this is why. Phones are great ways to maintain communication with other people or keep up-to-date with the latest news during a crisis. If by any chance, your area is not covered by the network, you can use a solar-powered radio to still get updated with the developments in your location. This way, you will not have to worry about the battery power. The same goes with compact CB radio or two-way radio. Other than phones and radios, another way to alert attention and ask for help from others is whistle. This does not require any charging, so make sure you also bring it with you as it will come in handy

Safety and Protection

In a survival or SHTF situation, you very well might need to defend yourself and your family- whether it be against wild animals or other people. You should pack in with you some firearms like handguns that can be kept near the driver’s seat or long guns that go inside the trunk. Remember, your ammunition will be limited unless you happen upon a gun shop like the movies (it’s a trap! Don’t go in!). 


Therefore, having backup weapons such as large knives, machetes or even makeshift clubs are most likely good choice to carry around.

The Takeaway

As we had discussed, there are a lot of things to consider to decide on which items you should put inside your bug out bag for your vehicle. Planning and understanding every situation that may happen along the road will help you out choosing what items work best on a particular situation. 
You should organize a bug out vehicle gear checklist for yourself, and create a dedicated vehicle bug out bag in order to maximize the advantages and your survival capabilities of bugging out in a vehicle.
However, do not depend solely on your bug out vehicle. You must learn how to be versatile by learning at least the basic survival skills. Because when things don’t go your way, you will be left with no choice but to bug out on foot.