There’s an older post over at Jalopnik: The Ten Best Post-Apocalyptic Survival Vehicles. Fun and amusing, but not practical.
So, what practical steps can a prepper take to turn an ordinary car or SUV or pickup truck into a survival vehicle? If you are on a budget and don’t want your vehicle to look like a Mad Max inspired monstrosity, consider these few simple changes.
1. Tires – For an SUV or Pickup, consider off-road tires, especially if you live in a rural area. For urban situations and most cars, replace your tires before the tread wears too thin. If you have to bug-out over a long distance, you don’t want to be near the end of your tire’s lifespan.
2. Vehicle Maintenance – keep up with your car or truck’s maintenance, and throw a small bottle of antifreeze and some motor oil in your trunk, just in case. Also check the spare tire and jack to make certain they are ready to use. Some motorists keep a can of Fix-a-flat handy, for quick tire repair. But I’ve found that product to be hit or miss. It’s a decent option for quick repair of small punctures, but it doesn’t always work. And it’s a short term solution.
3. Maps – your smart phone might not be able to connect to the internet for a digital map when the SHTF. Keep a state map and a national map in your glove box for handy reference.
4. Rooftop Cargo Carrier – when bugging out, you always want to take more stuff with you than can fit in a trunk or passenger cabin. A rooftop cargo carrier greatly increases the amount of supplies you can bring with you. Make sure you have a couple of good locks for it, to prevent casual thefts. (But there’s no way to make a carrier entirely theft-proof.)
5. Car First Aid Kit – in addition to your bug-out bag, you should have a modestly sized first aid kit in your vehicle. Take a look at this past post: The 7 Most Useful Items for a Car First-Aid Kit
6. Emergency Food – We’ve discussed this topic before. You might want to keep some food and water in your vehicle, in case you are stranded somewhere or if you have to bug-out unexpectedly (e.g. from work rather than home). It’s tough to find foods that keep well in a car. The temperature can vary drastically. But water, a small bottle of vegetable oil, trail mix and granola bars, and also couscous (which can be made with bottled water without heat) should all keep well. I would also include cookies and some Pop Tarts (or the like). Despite their lack of nutrition, they provide essential carbohydrates.
7. Security Window Films – This last option may be a little pricy. You can have a plastic film added to your vehicle’s side windows, to make the glass much more difficult to break. This prevents smash-and-grab type thefts. Very useful when you have bugged out, and your car is filled with supplies that others may want. It also offers some degree of protection from flying debris in storms and objects thrown at your car by miscreants. The front and rear windows of your car are already break resistant, so only the side windows benefit from this treatment.