Emergency preparedness from a Counterintelligence Agent

Ford F-series 4×4 as a bugout vehicle

260407_2134191311813_3858221_nThere is a lot of debate as to which is the best SHTF vehicle out there. Some people go for a 4WD SUV, some for an old pre-electronic pickup truck, some a reliable, good gas mileage car, and some just a motorcycle or a horse. This post isn’t gonna solve that debate, but it’ll give you a few things to think about.

There are several considerations in choosing a bugout vehicle.

  • Off road capability
    • Unless your bugout location is in an apartment complex or at a home that everyone has access to, you may need to go off road to get to it. Even if the location is accessible, you’ll need to get firewood and hunt for food so a 4WD almost always trumps 2WD.
  • Cargo holding
    • If you’re going for an extended period, you’ll want to carry more than just a bugout bag. It’s tough to beat a pickup truck to carry your stuff but you may want to consider an SUV if you want everything within reach at all times. A good compromise is to put a cap or camper on the back of a pickup truck.
  • Payload capacity
    • Even if a truck can hold a bunch of stuff, it may not be able to hold a bunch of heavy stuff. Most trucks come in half-ton, 3/4-ton and 1-ton varieties.
  • Towing capacity
    • Check your towing capacity. This isn’t just limited by the size of your engine or truck, it’s also limited by your stopping power. You may be able to start pulling a fully-loaded car trailer with your Jetta, but you’re gonna be wearing it as a hat if you have to stop quickly.
  • Reliability/Repairs
    • These are two sides of the same coin. It’s not just how reliable your car is (which is important), it’s also how difficult it is to get parts and how hard it is to put those parts in your vehicle if they break.
  • Gas mileage and type
    • I still keep tossing this one up. Diesel engines last longer and can run off bio-diesel that you can make at home. Gas though is a LOT easier to find.

Each vehicle has its own plusses and minuses. Today, I’m here to talk about the old reliable Ford F-series pickup truck.

Ford has been making the F-series since 1948 (called the Ford Bonus Built), an upgrade from the car-based truck started in 1941. Ever since, it’s been one of the most popular vehicles of all time. And for good reason, it’s capable, affordable, and reliable.

Because it’s so useful, easy-to-fix and there are TONS of upgrade parts available for it, it’s been a popular vehicle for planning for SHTF. It’s also super useful in the meantime as just a work truck or for helping your buddy move away from that psycho he’s been stuck off and on with for the past 5 years.

I started my love for these trucks because my dad always had a 1979 Ford F-150 for hauling trees out of the woods, hunting and plowing snow. He had more than one, but always seemed to end up with a 1979 for some reason. Great looking truck.

For all these reasons, I ended up getting a 3/4 ton 4×4 (2610 pounds payload capacity), called the F-250. It’s an extended cab because I wanted to be able to carry a few people in it or a couple of bags of gear inside the cab.

Each pic will open up to a larger size if you want to see it closer.


The way you get clearance in a truck is by using bigger tires. Lift kits exist so you can put bigger tires on to give you more clearance. The problem with lift kits is that they draw attention to your truck so if disaster hits, you may find your truck stolen. Worse, if your truck is all kitted-out, they may assume that you’ve stocked food and ammo etc and come after it. Bad OPSEC. Because of all this, I chose to increase the tire size but not lift the truck. These are LT265/75/R16’s.

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Towing kit

A truck is immensely more useful if it can tow something. To tow a larger trailer, you need to actuate its own brakes. This electric brake actuator does exactly that.

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And here’s the towing hitch. If you want to tow something fairly heavy, you’ll want something like this. A bumper hitch just isn’t gonna cut it.

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This one’s a 5-speed with a granny gear. The granny gear gives you a super-low gear in first to give you a LOT of torque. Great for climbing steep hills or pulling a boat up a ramp. If you look just below to the left, you can see the 4×4 shift selector. I prefer these to the push-button selectors.

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Four Wheel Drive

This one has manual locking hubs. The good part is they work really well. The bad is that if you need to shift into 4WD somewhere, you have to step out of the truck to do it.


Seating / Inside Cargo

Even if you’re by yourself, you’ll want either an extended cab or crew cab. You don’t want to have to carry all your gear in the bed of the truck if you’re out for an extended time. This particular one has a fold-down bench seat that sit’s three people.

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Dual tanks

If you’re gonna use a large truck as your bugout vehicle, you need dual tanks. Together, these hold about 37 gallons.

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5.8L Engine

The type of engine for a bugout vehicle is also a large point of contention. Some say small with good gas mileage and some say large with lots of power. This one’s a 5.8L v8 that has about 145hp and 265ft-lbs of torque. It gets about 16 mpg.

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Air Conditioning

For a  lot of people, A/C isn’t an important option. Because I live in the desert in AZ, it’s a necessity.

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The truck works great. I don’t know of any rust in it and the 4WD functions like it should.

About the only thing it really needs is a gasket somewhere in the engine that leaks a little oil after a while. Everything else works just fine. I was gone for a couple of years so when I got back from Afghanistan, the fuel line was a bit gummed up. I went through and completely changed the fuel pumps, all the filters, rebuilt the fuel injection and changed out the electronics that’s involved. Works great now.

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How much? Only $3,112.74

Email me at [email protected] if you’re interested in getting a bugout vehicle.

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About graywolfsurvival.com

I am a former federal agent and military veteran who has deployed to combat theaters in Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan and have almost three decades of military and military contracting experience.

My goal is to help families to understand how to intelligently protect their family and their way of life against real threats, without all the end-of-the-world doomsday crap.


  1. Awesome, I have the 2007 F15o FX4, and a newer Grand Cherokee V6 get 22MPG NICE COMBO DUDE

    And the 1966 Mustang, post EMP, post Carrington Mad Max vehicle

  2. Shannon Roberts says:

    I love my Ford F250. Have a 75 gallon tank in the bed, also. It gets very very good fuel mileage and is definitely my bug out vehicle.

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