Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Bug Out... House?

We’ve talked quite a bit in the past about bug out bags, bug out plans, and even bug out vehicles. Today, though, I want to offer up the notion of a bug out house.

Don't worry, I’m not seriously going to try and convince you that you can somehow move your entire house, and while having a second house that is distant enough from your primary residence to serve as a bug-out location would be great, no way is that blue collar. But what is blue collar, and almost as good as having that second house, is having some manner of RV or camper.

I will concede that large, fancy camping rigs are incredibly expensive, sometimes costing as much as a small house or even more. But a budget-minded individual who is a bit handy can acquire an older unit for the price of  a teenager's first car. A rig like this will need some maintenance that newer units won’t yet need, and it won’t have all the top conveniences, but it will keep you warm (or cool, depending on season) and dry, and is considerably more comfortable than a tent.

Trailers obviously aren’t as quick to press into action as a simple grab-and-go bag. Depending on who we’re taking with us, and where we are when we get the call to go, it would take my family somewhere between one and two hours to get loaded up, hitched up, and on the road. My brother-in-law can have his trailer rolling in an hour or less, but his is a much smaller and simpler rig. However, the trade-off for that slower reaction time is that a trailer can be kept stocked with sundry nonperishable supplies and equipment that would be infeasible or impossible to carry in a bag.

Another complication with a camping rig is the need for a tow vehicle and fuel for same. I’ll go into the particulars of towing at a later time, since it's a valuable skill to know, but for now it's enough to say that all but the very smallest of cars can tow something. My best friend hauls his trailer with a Dodge Durango, I pull mine with an old Ford F150, and my last rig, which my brother-in-law now owns, could easily be pulled with a midsize car.

Finally, don’t discount the “recreational” part of the name. Recreation is vital to mental and emotional health, and maintaining your emotional well-being during an extended emergency is every bit as important as keeping up your physical health, and if you’re so lucky that you never need to bug out, you can still use your RV or camper to spend time outdoors, learning and practicing skills, and making lifelong memories. Many of my outdoors experiences growing up came while camping in Mom and Dad’s old rig, and the love I had for those experiences drove me to build more skills and learn more. These are the same skills I now pass on to the Scouts I teach, as well as to my friends’ children.

If you’re caught in an evacuation scenario like the Southeastern USA regularly gets with hurricanes, or the Midwest is currently seeing with rain and flooding, being able to hitch up a small house and leave within an hour or so grants a lot of flexibility. You don’t need a friend with an available bed, or a hotel room that may be in short supply, and you don’t have to figure out where to stash the family pet(s); all you need is a friendly parking lot or a bit of driveway at a friend’s home.

[Editor's note: Chaplain Tim has a series on converting and upgrading an RV ad a bug out vehicle here.]


1 comment:

  1. I made the mistake of saying that here in MI we had very few tornados anymore. That weekend, we had 4 of them in the central part of the state touchdown. I won't say that again.


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