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Monday, March 27, 2017

Theme Week: the Perfect Prepper Vehicle

& is used with permission.
Lokidude, on the BCP chat channel last night: "I lack a muse. Anybody got an article idea?"

Me: "Anyone feel like doing a theme week? Where I pick a topic and you all write a post on it?"

The rest of the channel: [general sounds of interest and approval]

Me: "OK, the topic is 'If you could afford anything, what would your ideal prepper vehicle be?' Note that I did not say bug-out vehicle. That's because maybe you think it makes more sense to have a vehicle that isn't good for bugging out but has other practical prepping uses."
And that's how this theme week came together, dear readers.

The rules:
  1. Pick any ONE vehicle to get for free.
  2. You get the initial tank of gas (or equivalent) for free, but after that you have to supply the fuel. 
  3. You don't get a free place to store it, or people to work on it for you. All storage and maintenance requirements are on you. 
  4. It can't be a fictional vehicle. It has to exist, or be made to exist with modern tools. 
  5. You have to explain why you chose it, and why your choice isn't dumb. 
Erin's Prepper Vehicle
Unlike what other people may end up posting this week, I absolutely chose this vehicle because of its excellent bug-out potential. Living in a state that is prone to both wildfires and hurricanes, the ability to evacuate is of paramount importance to me. Having actually evacuated Florida back in October, I know from experience that it could take an awfully long time to get out of danger due to everyone else having the same idea and the highways becoming congested.

So with that in mind, I went with something that gives flexibility when it comes to evacuation routes: the Gibbs Humdinga, a car that is also a boat.



Many amphibious boats have truly abysmal speeds over water (nothing faster than 10 mph), and if I'm trying to escape a disaster by dipping into the Intercoastal Waterway, I need to move a speed that is faster than what I could manage on a congested highway. With a water speed of 30+ mph I can make good time until the roads clear, and then I can convert back to land travel and drive at interstate speeds. The Humdinga is also 4WD, which is not only useful for entering and exiting the water, but will be valuable if I literally need to go off-road.

As a bonus, I don't need a special place to keep this; I could just park it in my driveway (it's slightly too long for my garage).

Changes I'd Make
Anyone who knows me knows I never keep anything stock.
  • Convert the diesel engine (4.2 Liter V8, 300 horsepower) to run on biofuel, which is useful if all the gas stations are closed or out of fuel due to demand.
  • A hard camper top with a lockable door, so my gear would be secure and I could sleep in it. 
  • A hatch on top (probably over the cabin), so I could get to whatever's on the roof without having to climb up the sides. 
  • Tinted windows, both for privacy and to keep it cool in hot, hot Florida. 
  • Roof-mounted solar panels wired to storage batteries. This would power electronics and other creature comforts when the engine was turned off for the night, preserving the vehicle's battery. 
  • A CB radio or better, used for finding out what conditions ahead are like. 
  • A built-in wifi hotspot. 
  • A portable chemical toilet, because sometimes it's just not possible to go outside to 'go'.
  • I'd love to have RV stuff like a sink, propane oven, etc, but space is already at a premium... sigh. 
    • As an aside, room wouldn't be an issue if I just got a Hydra-Terra bus and converted the seats to living space, but it only goes 7 knots (8 mph) in the water. See "abysmal speeds", above.
  • Lots of gear storage points (tie-downs, cargo nets, etc) because god knows I like my stuff. 
  • Extra fuel cans. It gets only 3.4 miles to the gallon on land and 2.27 mpg at planing speeds on the water, so I'm definitely going to need more fuel in case of an evacuation. 
    • Considering even gas-guzzling SUVs get about 15 mpg, the Humdinga is a serious fuel hog. 
    • This is probably the greatest weakness of the design, which is why I have the option to use biodiesel.
  • Mooring points, in case I need to tie up to a dock or need to tow something. 
  • An anchor. This is mostly to satisfy my inner zombie apocalypse geek who thinks "If necessary, I can park in the middle of a lake or just offshore and no one can get to me!"
http://www.fastamphibians.com/this-truck-can-go-off-road-no-really-off-road/

In short, I'd want it to be a cross between a Humvee, a Coast Guard Defender-class boat, and one of those South African trailers that can transform into a campsite. All told, it would probably cost about a million dollars (Base price of $500K plus all the add-ons.)

So that's my "If I could have any one vehicle" choice. What's yours?

The Fine Print


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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