Bug Out Load-Out for Your Car

The George Floyd riots – which have been co-opted by violent leftist organizations – have brought terror, looting, and outright insurgency to the United States. We are now facing the most serious crisis we have seen since the Civil Rights movement and it could become another Civil War. Those who have prepared have done themselves and their families a great service but it is time to take inventory and ensure that we are ready for what may come next.

What may come next is a decision to bug out and head for your retreat location if you have one. No one knows how long we’ll be secure in our homes, especially if they are in major metropolitan areas, so now it is time to ensure not just that your bug out bag or bins are ready to go – its’s time to ensure that your vehicle is ready to go.

Your bug out vehicle can be anything you own. A discussion on what is the best or most suitable vehicle is not a part of this discussion. What is a part of the discussion is what you need to ensure you have in your vehicle in case you have to rapidly relocate. Most importantly keep up with regular maintenance on your vehicle so you don’t have to carry equipment for every possible contingency. You won’t have enough room for that. Beyond getting your regular maintenance taken care of, make sure you have these items immediately ready to go in case you need to relocate.


Your car should never be less than ¾ full. Generally we like to see a car never less than half full but now ¾ full is the minimum. Most cars and trucks can go around 300 to 350 miles on a tank of gas so wherever you are headed should be well within this range. For those that live in Washington DC, this means you could go as far west as Charleston, West Virginia but you don’t want to arrive with no gas in your tank so something within 150 – 200 miles like Morgantown, West Virginia would be a better location.

The same thing goes for those in New York City. Heading out to Oneonta, NY is going to be smarter than thinking you can get to the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. You may make it but you’ll be running on fumes by the time you get there if there is no other gasoline available for sale. You also should consider taking a five gallon tank of gas with you. You’ll be able to get another 100 miles out of this if need be.


You’ll need to have an extra quart or two of motor oil, even if your car is in good condition, because your oil may be running low especially if you haven’t changed the oil in a while. Many are diligent about this but many forget.


Particularly in the summer months you’ll want to ensure you have some coolant with your vehicle supplies as well. Having a vehicle that overheats can be worse than having a car that runs out of gas. If you run out of gas, you put it in and its running again. If you run out of coolant you can end up with bigger mechanical problems which may mean your car not being able to start up at all after refilling your coolant.

Tire Changing and Repair Kit

Every vehicle should be sure to have a jack, spare tire, compressor and/or Fix-A-Flat, as well as a tire plugging kit. When it comes to plugging a tire, there is no better way to learn this than by practice so if you can find an old tire to try it out on give it a try. It isn’t the most complicated thing in the world to do but doing it for the first time under stress means you will likely not be successful.

Having these items will ensure you are prepared for the most common problems you’ll face on the road but you should also have some additional emergency items with you in a bag or a bin to make dealing with problems a bit easier.


Having a flashlight or two or a headlamp will ensure you are able to see what you’re doing if you have problems at night. It also pays to have a pack of road flares or a reflective hazard triangle with you.


You must protect your hands and fingers from weather and from burns so having a good quality set of leather gloves will ensure you can work while minimizing potential harm to your hands.

Emergency Tool Kit

Have a basic vehicle tool kit which allows you to manage lug nuts, hose clamps and add-ons like tonneau covers and seatbelts. Having a good knife or seatbelt cutter along with a glass breaker are good additions to your kit. Also, having a small folding shovel will help you to navigate through adverse weather events or road sections that need improving. Also consider having a small sized fire extinguisher to put out car fires. They don’t happen often but when they do they are devastating.

First Aid Kit

This is self-explanatory but make sure you keep one in your glove box for ease of access. You may need to get to it from inside of your car or be unable to walk to your trunk in an emergency.

Rope and Bungee Cords

If you need to secure some supplies to your roof or trunk, having some cordage would be a big help. Fifty feet of rope and four bungee cords will get most jobs done pretty easily.


You’ll of course want to be able to communicate and charge your communication devices so make sure you have a car charger for whatever device you are using stored in your car.

Food and Mess Kit

You should have enough emergency food for each member in your car to eat at least a couple small meals or snacks and a way to heat, prepare and eat your food which means having forks, spoons or knives available as well as a trays or plates unless you are eating from the containers the food comes in. You’ll also need water for all travelers but don’t overdo it. Remember you aren’t going more than 300 miles so there is no need to bring a water buffalo with you.

Having these materials will not take up very much room in your vehicle – even if you drive a compact car. You want to ensure that you have the basics covered but also leave enough space to haul your longer term supplies if you are relocating for a while and don’t have substantial stocks of supplies in your retreat or bug out location.

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