So what vehicle would be not only the best SHTF vehicle but also affordable by the normal working person in the US? I’m going to buy a vehicle that satisfies what I need and then go through some of the improvements I make to it so I can give you some ideas of where to start and where to go with your vehicles.
What I’m looking at doing now is coming up with a vehicle that meets the following conditions:
- Under $10,000
- Cheap to maintain
- Very good off road
- Can sleep 2 inside comfortably
- Decent gas mileage/range
- Discreet enough that it wouldn’t be noticed as a SHTF vehicle
What would be optimal is if I could do the whole build for under $10,000. What I’ll settle for is something that I can buy, and make reliable, for under $10,000. I live in the Phoenix area so that’s most likely where I’ll be buying it but might go farther if the added cost of getting it would be worth it.
Cheap to maintain
I was first thinking that this category was going to be ‘Very reliable’ but after thinking it over (and some of the helpful comments on my facebook page when I first posed the question at this facebook post), I may reconsider if given the right vehicle at the right price.
Very good off road
The thing has to be able to handle off road 4×4 life like it was born to it. I plan on doing a lot of camping with the thing and in a SHTF scenario, the last thing I want to do is leave it behind halfway through my bugout route. And I want my bugout route to include places that mortal vehicles won’t go.
Can sleep 2 inside comfortably
What I’d like to be able to do with this vehicle is jump into it at a moment’s noticed with a ‘friend’ and drive up to some remote location to camp without having to sleep in a tent. I may still bring a tent but if the weather gets really bad, I’d like to be able to stay in the vehicle without having to suffer.
Decent gas mileage/range
A diesel would be optimal for a lot of reasons, but I don’t know of many vehicles in the US that would fit my requirements. That being considered, I need something that I’m not going to have to spend a fortune driving and wouldn’t have to keep looking for fuel if SHTF.
Discreet enough that it wouldn’t be noticed as a SHTF vehicle
The biggest diversion from my previous thinking about vehicles is being noticed. I was at first looking to build the most capable vehicle that would carry everything I needed. I now see that I forgot that ‘capable’ includes not only an urban situation after SHTF but also normal everyday life before SHTF. I don’t want people to know my capabilities in any other part of my life, why would I want my truck to scream them out like they do with my F350 Beast?
A Toyota Sequoia seems to fit some of those points on the surface, but due to the ‘luxury’ aspect, I have to used up almost all the $10k just to get my hands on one (I’m in AZ). It’s not off the table though.
I’m looking for something that will get me pretty much wherever I need to go and not look like it will. I’ll be adding several aftermarket upgrades.
What I haven’t settled down on yet is the ease of repair vs reliability factor. A 1990 Ford Bronco is very easy to fix and the parts are everywhere but it’s not even in the same ballpark as a 1994 Toyota Land Cruiser. On the other hand, good luck finding parts for a LC if SHTF. I may end up getting something less reliable that is easier to fix if that makes more sense.
I first thought a truck with a camper would be the solution (which is why I have the trucks), but I don’t like having to crawl through the sliding window to get to the rest of the truck. Plus, Fords are pretty good offroad but they aren’t the most reliable vehicles. Not the worst either, but not what I’m looking for.
Now that being said, a Ford Bronco or Chevy Blazer in the right year might not be as reliable but they’re definitely easier to fix and parts are everywhere. Unfortunately, they only come in two sizes: tiny and goddam huge. The little ones won’t work so they’re not in play. The bigger ones do have their draw though.
EMP-proofing is definitely a consideration, but unfortunately a pre-electronic vehicle isn’t very reliable usually. I’d probably just adapt a vehicle as best as I can and add redundancy with electronics that are in a faraday cage as a backup. If you happen to know of an EMP-proof vehicle that honestly fits all the requirements, feel free to suggest it but just commenting that a 1969 Bronco is the best because it can withstand an EMP isn’t helpful because it doesn’t consider the main requirements I’ve listed.
So, if you happen to have a vehicle in the Phoenix, AZ area (or enough of a deal that it would be worth the travel), email me at graywolfsurvival at gmail dotcom or through my Facebook or Google+ pages.
If you happen to have some ideas, please comment below or at my facebook post on the topic. I’ve seen these kind of requests before, so comments such as ‘I’ll just go with what I can carry’ or ‘The best SHTF vehicle is a horse’ are completely unhelpful and are probably just going to be erased. They don’t satisfy the requirements above and just prove you’re an idiot for posting them.