Bugout Vehicle (BOV) Evaluator

A BOV is a pre-prepared egress vehicle that is loaded with supplies and outfitted for mobility  during a Life Altering Event (SHTF)

Think realistically when prepping your vehicle and realize that planning with a cheap SUV is far more important than spending planning time on expensive modifications to a luxury truck. Your loadout includes a combination of the INCH Checklist (Downloadable as Part of our ELG Series) and the VEK Checklist (See below).

● When selecting a BOV the following 8 Categories should be weighed. Assign a rating of 1 to 5 for each below category then add up your total. While it is a subjective rating, you should target a 18+ score.

○ For Example: A motor bike may score high in mobility and mileage (i.e. 5/5) but would score low is storage and seating capacity (i.e. 1/5). A utility van with a ballistic kevlar curtain and sandbagged sides would score low in mileage and mobility (i.e. 2/5) but would score high in security, storage, seating capacity (i.e. 4/5).

Bugout Vehicle Checklist

1. Mileage (Fuel MPG, alternative fuel options, alternative powering option, fuel tank size). Gas/Diesel may be scarce. Bugging out with enough fuel to reach your planned Rally Point or BOL is key.
2. Mobility (offroad capability, turn ratio, ability to navigate in traffic or narrow pathways). The BOV should be 4x4 with ground clearance for curbs or downed trees on approach, breakerover, and departure.
3. Maintenance (ease of upkeep, complexity of motor/electronic components, ease of locating replacement parts, repair potential). Newer vehicles usually mean they are more difficult to make repairs however troubleshooting and finding spare parts may be easier. Weigh the pros/cons based on your experience and make sure you can resolve basic repairs and upkeep.
4. Speed (acceleration is needed to quickly escape from hostile situations and have top speed to outrun incoming danger). Keep in mind this category is focused on acceleration and top speed but as a rule; speed isn't everything as in almost all scenarios it would be better to sacrifice speed before mobility. Don't overlook a slow moving offroad capable truck for a powerful sports car.
5. Storage (space to pack and organize INCH/VEK, should have appropriate size truck bed, trunk, aftermarket storage containers, roof rack). One of the best ways to extend the amount of storage space is to have external storage such as a roof rack. Consider incorporating features such as an outboard water tank or a Roof Top Tent(RRT).
6. Security (tinted or bullet proof windows, ballistic walls/doors, fully contained, low profile, roll bars). Consider the ability to react from inside the vehicle, can you return fire easily from a rolled down window, is there a rear sliding window, is there a push bar installed for ramming a hostile blockade?
7. Seating Capacity (number of persons that can be carried, if you are the only person in your party then 1-2 seats is acceptable)
8. Impression (low-profile, does not attract attention or standout, concealable, fits in with surroundings, utilizes “grayman” system). A fully loaded down BOV that lacks security and planning can become a target for marauders or non-friendlies. Don't draw attention to yourself.

So if you rank your vehicle a 5 in a category then that means there is absolutely no better vehicle in that field of consideration.  Don't just throw out a 5 unless you are confident, likewise don't be quick to downplay your vehicle's capability by giving it a 1. This Evaluation Tool is for you. Make it work. If you don't exceed 18 total then it's time to make adjustments. Can modifications or upgrades bring up the grade? Should you consider another ride?

Leave a comment below with your vehcile and self rating. Explain why.


  • You got a nice write up here and I really want to thank you for sharing this post as it contains a lot of information, keep up this good work.

  • Subaru Outback. Seating for 5, decent gas mileage, decent cargo capacity. Blends in in most places, except maybe Texas. You get a roof rack for additional storage by way of a cargo basket or roof box. Always on AWD, almost 9 inches of ground clearance and they are comfortable. I considered many vehicles and a truck or jeep just didn’t give me the capability that the Outback did with the mileage to match

  • my idea of the ultimate bugout vehicle is a pre 1974 ford f250 4×4 with a 300 six cylinder engine and C6 transmission. good gas mileage, tough as nails, 16.5" tires to take poor road conditions. the pre 1974 gives you points and plugs which are immune to EMP’s. the camper special has 2 gas tanks extending your range and the f250 can handle a payload with ease.

    timothy j mcphillips
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