When the time comes for you to Bug Out, hopefully you will have already selected a decent bug out vehicle. Something dependable and capable to get you where you’re going. Unlike Henry Ford’s Model T era cars, today’s cars are built to be replaced. If it ran forever, the Dealership would go out of business. Some vehicles will last longer just by doing preventive maintenance.
The old Vietnam era military jeep M151A was a go anywhere, vehicle with solid dependable construction. The only problem was when the military phased them out, they cut the frames on many thus making them no longer road worthy. The small, 4-cylinder inline motor was very dependable. Change the oil, clean the air filter and run them into the ground. I blew out a rear axle once in one. I just put it into four-wheel drive and drove it back to the company area as a front wheel drive vehicle. Good for the upper bodywork out as it did not have power steering. Good for three adults and their Alice packs. The biggest issue is careless operations will cause them to roll over.
AM General HMMV 998 troop carrier has a dependable Cummins Diesel engine. The right front passenger side gets a little hot sitting over the Battery box. The hard tops generally leaked when it rained. They can roll over if the operator gets careless and there no fun to dig out if you get them high centered. Been there done both. I find them a little too wide for my taste as a bug out vehicle. The Kevlar body does not stand up to tree abuse making it a little expensive to fix. Will carry ten adults and gear.
The Stewart Stevenson m1079 and Swiss Army Pinzgauer 710m troop carriers are the latest fad in off road bug out camper conversions. They can be found on EBAY Motors for under $20,000. I have not had the pleasure of driving either one. They appear to be a little big and wide. When going far off road, they will leave a defined path. A creative mind can do wonders with both vehicles by putting most of your class B recreational vehicles to shame.
My choice of JEEP brand vehicles would be a Wagoneer 4.0 inline 6 cylinder made of steel. It should secure a good amount of equipment and hold up too a lot of abuse. The older Wranglers are nice but have limited room to carry stuff. My second JEEP pick would be the Cherokee model. I’ve scene a lot of interesting off-road modifications. I previously owned a 1999 Grand Cherokee and put 324,000 miles on it before giving it to a neighbor. All I ever did was routine brake maintenance and fluid changes. I only have good things to say about the Inline 6 engines.They are good bug out vehicles disguised as daily drivers in my opinion.
I also like the older 1980 Toyota SR 5 xtra cab pickup trucks. They have a smaller foot print and are very dependable. When you’re going further into the back country, the SR5 and its brother the Four Runner (one of each) would be my choice. Like the Jeep, it will blaze trails, fit under branches and conceal nicely with minimum effort. Full size pickups and SUV’s will work but length, weight and height will matter when you are traveling through uncharted terrain.
I will give the Kaiser Deuce and a half and 5 ton a honorable mention. In stock form they are large and bulky. They are dependable and capable. I have seen them knock down man size trees though I do not find them much fun when having to change a tire. I also witnessed a young specialist rotating the vehicle tires in the field in Panama as punishment. He must have really pissed his commander off.
The Kaisers troop transports that I would use sometimes, have been modified or “Bobbed” to 2 axles instead of 3 axles making for a shorter wheel base and better off road maneuverability. Kenosha Country Custom 4u had one for sale on Ebay motors.
I have seen some nicely modified Chevrolet and Ford 4×4 vans. But they will be more expensive to purchase and leave you in tears when you damage them. I am partial to the old Ford Bronco 2 and International Scouts because they did not have computers running them but as they continue to age, the repair parts get harder to find. If your modifying any older vehicles, make sure you choose an engine, transmissions, differentials and axles that are plentiful to find repair parts for.
The use and conversation of old box trucks and school buses I will leave for another day.
Everything breaks, and nothing lasts forever, just ask my ex.
As always be safe and healthy my friends.