BOBR (Bug Out Big Rig)

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Dec 24, 2002
On top of a big pile of ammo
If you live in an area where there is even a few % chance of encountering a storm/tornado/flood that can be foreseen, why not get a box van, or even a tractor-trailer. A lot of your possessions could be packed in a few hours, and as a bonus, you could live in a 48' or 53' trailer for weeks.
Cost for the project for a 15-20y.o. rig is $10-15000. This could be split between a couple of friends.
The quality of the rigs don't have to be more than to start reliably and able to get you out of the danger area.
As a bonus, you'll never have too litle space when transporting things from the lumberyard, and the trailers could be used as big storage sheds in your yard.
You could also have the truck/tractor parked without a valid tag, just keep the rig aired and fueled, and start the engine every few months.
Now you will never have to face the decision of what to bring along, and what of your prized possessions you have to leave behind.

One place to look at equipment is at places like this.
When I did disaster planning for computer facilities, one plan I developed included using rigs to rebuild a data center. Good application.

For A SHTF, I'm not sure. Think about the problem of getting around in it. When I want to bug out I want to be as low key as possible. not make a public statement. Stealth is a key to survival.

The only person I'd stop and pick-up would be my GF.
A big problem with a big rig is maneuverability. Boxtrucks have a high center of gravity, and they have problems with maneuverability as well.

About the biggest vehicle I'd want for SHTF is a crew-cab LWB truck. They arent very nimble due to theyre length, but I can still take it places the others wont go. With a little work, and a lot of money, I could get my Bronco II to go just about anywhere, but its too small to hold more than four or five people and gear on top of that.
Zach, there is no problem manuvering a big rig anywhere in the US.
Yes, you can not cross deep ditches or drive on narrow logging roads. But we are talking about getting out of town, not building a camp on top of a mountain.
As to high center of gravity, well, that depends on how you pack.
And as long as you don't drive like a maniac you'll be fine.
I live in a country where when I'm driving a big rig, when I meet other trucks on the roads, there is many times only 4-5" between the mirrors of the trucks, and we are both going 50-55mph.
Driving is all about skills, so if you don't have them, slow down.
And as long as you don't drive like a maniac you'll be fine.
Its not my driving I'm worried about. After driving a boxtruck for a living, its other people driving like maniacs that worry me...

I'm not trying to start a debate, just stating why I wouldnt want to be in a Kenworth when the S does HTF. I dont drive an 18 wheeler on a reuglar basis (sounds like you do) so me climbing in one when the SHTF would make as much sense as handing a pacifist a scattergun and wanting him to watch my back.

Actually, the closest I've came to an 18 wheeler is an F350 pulling a flatbed loaded with farm equipment.
I just saw a fellow on the local news last night who came here from NOLA in his dump truck. Had about 20 family members in the back, holding on for dear life. This was after he used the truck to get about 120 other people over to the dome for shelter.
In all seriousness:
***? Why would someone buy a big rig or a box truck just for the once in a blue moon's chance that they might have to bug out?
If you don't need it for your business, then you've invested in something that is going to just sit there, require maintence, and just might not work when you reall need it.
If, and I mean if you really gotta have a bug out vehicle, why not buy a class C rv? You can get one in decent condition, used, for under $10,000. Yea, it may be carburated, and might have fugly carpet/walpaper inside it. However, you can use it a few times a year to go camping. It will haul your SHTF supplies, and it will house you and your immediate family in realtive comfort. Additionally, attach a towbar to your favorite vehicle (preferably 4x4), and you've got an improvised trailer for more gear, plus a smaller more fuel efficient vehicle to get you further, or get around in when you reach that mystical Bug Out destination.
Another option is if you have a pickup or van, buy a travel trailer or pop up. Less expensive and requries less maintence than a class C, does the same job for you.
Don't forget the option of an older Class A motor home.They're built on a light duty chassis(usually w/a GVWR of 14,000-16,000lbs),come in lengths up to 34 feet,& require no special liscence(in Michigan anyways-chk local laws) to drive.Also,you can pick up an older coach pretty cheaply if you keep your eyes open.They don't stick out in a residential neighborhood the way a commercial truck might either.

Oh yeah,you can use it to go camping too.The S doesn't H the F very often.
Are you sure you really want a vehicle that gets 3mpg if you need
to bug-out? Also, driving that is kind of like hanging out a flashing
neon sign that says "Loot Me!" The vision of a worm getting covered
by ants also comes to mind.

How about $15K towards a used honda accord and a couple acres
of land?

You might as well hit the Convoy Tactics thread:
Thin Black Line:
Depending on where one lives, land may not be accessable for that price. Read Preacherman's thread about lessons from the Hurricane, seems a lot of people evacuated with thier Motorhomes or travel trailers. I also recall video of people evacuating on the freeways, with quite a few motor homes in the mix.
If you're still in town when the looting begins, you're a target no matter what.

Always keep the tank full, and who cares what kind of mileage you get? If you've got a 30gal tank, at 3mpg, that's 300 miles. If you've got 2 5 gal cans, that's another 100 miles.

Also, with a motor home, you can live out of it for months, years if necessary. You can pull into a trailer park and voila, you've got an address, shore power, water, and sewer. Now you can find a job and rebuild your life.
Always keep the tank full, and who cares what kind of mileage you get? If you've got a 30gal tank, at 3mpg, that's 300 miles. If you've got 2 5 gal cans, that's another 100 miles.
I think you meant 90 miles, with an additional 30 in your 2 Jerry cans.
You're right, my math is off.
I just checked, a Tioga 24' Class C (new) has about a 55 gallon tank. They also get better than 3mpg, more like 7-10 for EFI, around 5-6 Carburated. So that could be 330 miles or so on one tank. Certainly enough to get pretty far from ground zero.

Check this out. This is exactly what would be ideal IMHO.
I just emailed the seller for that fine honey....30 gallon tank, 8mpg.
Also, from my jeeping days, you can get a local company to fabricate a custom auxilliary tank for a couple hundred bucks. With a long frame like an RV, you've got room to double or triple your fuel storage.

Or, if you've already got a truck or van, a camp trailer is way cheaper.

Like I said, its all based off of where you're placing priorities.
Big rig, 6-10mpg, 100-200 gallon tanks = 600-1200 miles.
Even with heavy traffic it would get you out of any danger.

My reasoning for getting a big wehicle, even a big cube/box van is to avoid having to loose all of your possessions to weather/looting.
Yes, we should be able to walk away from everyting we have. But as stupid as it is, we have a lot of feelings for our possessions, and loosing them can be very hard on our psyche.
If you can carry with you most of what you feel is important to you, you'll be able to get an apartment and a new job anywhere, and start getting your life back together.
Look at what is happening. Yes this is a worst case disaster, but thousands of people are now sitting around in stadiums and in tent camps. For how long? It might be months still before anything happens. :(
But what in the hell are you going to do with a Big rig/Box Truck for years and years and years if you don't really need it? Most of us live in the suburbs and don't have room for a big rig and 50' trailer. And why spend $10 or $15 grand on something you might never ever use???? I mean, you can't even use it recreationally.
For someone in the trucking or moving business, or even if you have some kind of business where you move/haul alot of gear, it makes reasonable sense.
Otherwise, why on earth would you buy a big rig, or big box truck, just to let it sit? And, if you've only got a little bit of notice, just how much are you going to get loaded into that truck?
Anyone who expects to survive a real life SHTF must be willing to cut loose everything. Belongings, house, pets. The only things that should mean anything to you are the necessities and your family. If you need your Plasma TV, or your couch, then you need to reevaluate your interest in surviving should the S truely HTF.
Have you ever been in the back of a box truck when its hot? I mean really, truely hot? I loaded/unloaded a truck in Texas in August when I moved from Brownsville to Beaumont. I'd venture to guess it was around 140*. Not somewhere I'd want to live for 1 day, much less months.

My prized possions?
My wife, my children, my guns. That's all I need to pick up and start over.
Oh God. Wait 'till I post pictures of my new house on wheels :).

100gal fuel, 1,100mi range *minimum* (that's if there's hills involved). Internet sat-dish on the roof. Extended water tanks (95gal fresh, 120 waste). Washer/dryer...which is in the garage, with workbench and motorcycle ramp :D. Generator, dual air conditioners (garage aircon is a 5,600btu Sears Kenmore window unit!).

Rough sketch/layout with the electrical parts/descriptions:


It's about a week from started life in 1988 as a full custom truck conversion on a commercial chassis (manual tranny no less) with the back end a flatbed racecar hauler, the nose of the car went into the spot where the "computer room" is now (extra interior wall making a room underneath the rear bed). The whole garage is now walled off :D.
I was thinking about this while I was mowing the grass.
Let me put it another way:

We both get the same Evacuation order at the same time. Its 8am, and a Cat 5 hurricane is expected to make landfall the next morning.
at 0830, I've got my wife, kids, dog and cat in my SUV. We've got food and water in the back. (Eventually, we'll be purchasing an RV or camper).
You've been loading your precious belongings in your hot, stinky trailer.
1/2 a day later, lets say a modest 30mph average, my family and I are 120 miles away. You're just finishing loading your trailer. Now you're on the road...and its packed with other people leaving at the last minute.
Another 4 hours later and my familiy and I are at least 240 miles away. We're in a hotel, or staying with family. Meanwhile, you're lucky to have made it 120 miles. You're finding that the hotels are all booked. So you find a place to 'camp' in the back of your trailer. Its 97*. Humidity, 85*. My kids are playing in the pool at the hotel. You're suffering in the sweltering heat of your trailer/box truck.

Good luck with your strategy, pal. I hope your TV/VCR/Couches/clothes/Precious Moments figurines are worth taking with you now....
I noticed "motorcycle storage"
So basically, you've got an RV/toy hauler, that will do nicely in an evacuate/SHTF scenerio. Bravo. :D
A small camper trailer behind an SUV (assuming you already have the SUV or pickup) makes a good evacuation rig. You can buy a decent old trailer for about $1500 or less.

We keep food, utensils, and some extra clothes in ours (which we no longer use for much of anything else). Doesn't take long to throw in documents and firearms and hitch up and go. Small pets can ride in the trailer too.

When you get somewhere you at least have a place to sleep and cook where-ever you stop.

My wife and daughters evacuated to a nearby ranch during a wildfire a couple years ago (I was on the firelines). Now the kids are gone and we have cleared a perimeter and have our own tank/pump so we would probably jsut be staying and protecting the house.
You could ask Reginald Denny how effective a big rig is against an angry mob. REALLY slow excelleration gives people lots of time to crawl all over your rig. Unless your going to deck it out like your in the Road Warrior (and oh God i think you should!) its going to be a liability.

The only real dificulty is finding a place to park it, and keeping the gas in your massive gas tanks from going bad.

What about a Unimog? At least you could go offroading when you arent too busy "surviving".
Fortunately, I'm an independent trucker, so my 18 wheeler sees plenty of use (Mon-Wed) for business purposes.

Wife and I consider it our primary bug-out vehicle.

It is equipped with a 3000 watt inverter plus a 5.5KW diesel generator. Inside is a microwave, 4 cu ft fridge, toaster, electric skillet, and a porta pottie. It has 2 beds and is quite comfy. The genset powers a 20K btu AC unit which also has 1500 watts of heat...both controlled by a house type thermostat. In our over the road days, wife & I used to live in there 25 days per month with 2 small dogs. You get a free shower with every fuel purchase over 50 gal, and almost every truckstop has washers/dryers. We used to carry a tabletop gas grill and have enjoyed many fabulous meals in rest areas. We hauled a lot of produce, and you just gotta sample some of it to make sure it's travelling OK. ;) Nobody ever missed a few pounds of veggies out of 44,000 lbs. Hauling fresh catfish fillets packed in ice was a treat, too!

240 gal of fuel. 7.5mpg with empty trlr, 9 mpg tractor only. Acceleration with tractor only (bobtail) is nothing to be sneezed's a 500 hp turbocharged 4 speed.

Yes, any tractor/trailer rig requires a class A CDL to operate in any state. A lot of that has to do with the air brakes. Ins is also pricey...I write a check every month for $800, and that's with zero tickets and zero accidents; ever!

Buying an 18 wheeler for SHTF is not practical for the average everyday Joe.
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