What Type of Car Is Ideal for Bugging Out?

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Written by Martin Banks

If things go pear-shaped and the world ends, you’ll want a car in your garage that can keep you moving and help you survive. If sheltering in place isn’t an option, you’ll want to have a good bug-out vehicle in your garage. The best bug-out vehicles start with a good foundation.

So, what’s the best type of car for a bug-out vehicle, and what sets them apart from the others?

Bug-Out Trucks

Pickup trucks are the vehicle that everyone wants to have, especially if they don’t mind helping their friends move in exchange for pizza and beer. What makes them a great choice for bug-out vehicles?


Plenty of storage space. You can fill your entire bed with supplies or even convert it into a sleeping space with a topper. If you’re handy, you can even build the topper yourself.

Torque is your friend. Trucks are designed for towing, so if you’re planning on stocking a bug-out trailer, a truck is going to be one of the best options.

Lots of diesel options. For a SHTF scenario, diesel is the better option. If gasoline gets scarce, you can make your own biodiesel to keep your truck running.


A lack of seating. You don’t get as many passenger seats in a truck as you might in an SUV or sedan. You’re swapping storage space for seating.

Storage is exposed to the elements. You have to invest in a topper or secure tarp to protect your supplies from rain and snow.

Best Bug-Out Trucks

If you’ve got your heart set on a truck, there are a few good options out there for you.

Dodge Ram Outdoorsman. It’s designed for off-road work, has a high towing capacity, and has decent fuel efficiency for everyday use. It’s also making a comeback for 2021.

Toyota Tacoma. These little trucks pack a lot of potential. It’s affordable, too, so you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Bug-Out Cars

Cars are often more accessible than trucks or SUVS when you’re designing your dream bug-out vehicle.


Access and affordability. It’s always better to mod what you already have instead of springing for a new vehicle to ensure you have a bug-out ride.

Customization. There are hundreds of aftermarket mods for nearly every car model on the market to help you trick your apocalypse ride out.

Looks. This might be a little silly, but it’s the end of the world. Your ride should look cool. There’s a reason why Mad Max drove a Ford Falcon XB GT instead of a minivan.


Low ground clearance. If you’re heading off-road or think you’re going to have to push abandoned cars out of your way, a little sedan isn’t going to cut it.

Less storage. Trunk space is great, but if you’re bugging out and leaving your home base behind, it might not be enough to carry everything you’re going to need.

Best Bug-Out Cars

Durability and moddability are the two things you really want to look for in a bug-out car.

Any Honda Civic or Accord. These are popular with street racers, and there are literally tons of modifications on the market that you can use to get the most out of your little sedan.

Ford Mustang. In addition to being easy to work on and easy to mod, it looks cool! Who doesn’t want to cruise around the apocalypse in a muscle car?

Bug-Out SUVS

SUVs give you the best of both worlds when it comes to transporting both people and supplies, but it isn’t perfect either.


Balance between transportation and storage. You don’t have a lot of one or the other, but if you need both, an SUV is the best option.

Additional storage. You can use SUVs for towing or add more storage to the roof with a cargo carrier.


Lousy gas mileage. They don’t take you as far as a car or even some modern trucks. There also aren’t a lot of diesel options.

Not always great for off-roading. If you opt for a Jeep Wrangler or a Toyota 4Runner, you might be okay. But your average commuter SUV isn’t going to survive extensive off-road driving.

Best Bug-Out SUVs

The best thing to look for in an SUV is off-road capability.

Toyota 4Runner. These easy-to-work-on SUVs are popular with off-roaders and are usually easy to get your hands on, especially if you’re not averse to working with a used model.

Anything from Jeep. Wranglers. Cherokees. The Jeep brand as a whole is built for bouldering and rock climbing and for being the perfect SHTF vehicle.

Be Ready for Anything

Whether you’re driving a truck, a car, an SUV, or something strange like a school bus, the most important thing to remember is to be ready for anything.

It’s impossible to know how the world might end, so all we can do is be ready for anything it might throw at us.

About the Author:

Martin Banks is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Modded where he covers survival, the outdoors, gear, cars, and more.

We are an affiliate of Amazon.com, which means we received a small commission if you click through one of our Amazon links when you shop, at totally no cost to you. This helps keep the lights on at the blog. Thanks!

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  1. Great article! I often ponder the pros and cons of certain vehicles.
    I think any pre 1973 RV outfitted with solar, and a diesel engine would do really well.

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