Letter Re: Your Bug Out Vehicle as Your Daily Driver

I take a different approach to choosing a Bug Out Vehicle (BOV). I recognize many who read this site can afford a well equipped vehicle for your BOV, but not all are in that position.
Let me offer a few suggestions for a different slant on the need to get out of Dodge.
Here is a description of my daily work/family car. This is a 1999 Plymouth Voyager Minivan, in the longer wheelbase version. This has a 3.3L V-6, and gets about 18 MPG around town and approximately 22-23 MPG on the highway, depending on traffic. This is rated for E85 for Ethanol use.

There are presently only two in our family so we leave the two bucket seats and the bench seat out of the back of the vehicle and stored in the garage.

The first consideration after buying this used was to put new Michelin X tires on it, which made a very big improvement in handling, especially in our wet Oregon weather. Costco had them on sale, and they now have over 8,000 miles on them with no discernable wear showing. Next was an Optima Red Top battery, which insures reliable starting every time, even in freezing temps.

My wife and I are both Amateur Radio Operators, and involved in Emergency Communications so we installed,, in the dash console, down low and out of sight a Yaesu FT 1500 2 meter radio with many Oregon 2 meter repeaters, plus several simplex frequencies, plus all of the public service, fire, police, highway frequencies that are VHF high band, that we can scan. Knowing what is going on, on these frequencies give us a good picture of what is happening in our area. We also travel with a scanner guide for the area we are going to be in and passing thru.
The antenna is a 18 inch 1/4 wave thin whip on the roof, and barely shows.
Maps of our area plus surrounding states are also carried in the van.
This model mini van has factory tinted windows which hide a lot of the gear we keep in the van.
We choose to have no decals or signs on the outside of this vehicle, to make it look like any other family van.

We keep a porta-potty in the van all the time, plus all of the extra survival gear that enable us to camp in the vehicle for short times, with bedding, food, water, butane stove, plus clothes for any weather. We keep our equipment covered with blankets, so that a look inside does not give away the multi purpose of this van.We also keep tools, extra fan belt, tow strap, jumpers, and shovel in the back.

This, like most of the mini vans, has front wheel drive which gives it good traction. This is not an all wheel drive vehicle and we do not try to take it in those off road conditions.

I spent most of my adult life in the auto repair business, and do most of my own repairs/service. Please feel free to use some of these ideas in your own preps. This is working well for us. Your mileage may vary. – Tom in Oregon