Off Road Checklist: Don’t Get Stuck Bugging Out

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Written by Pat Henry on The Prepper Journal.

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If you find yourself in a survival situation and realize it’s time to get your family on the road to safety, most of us are going to hope we can rely on our vehicle. All things being equal, a properly maintained vehicle of just about any configuration and size is going to be better than humping out-of-town under the power of your two feet. You can carry more stuff, further, faster and a vehicle affords you a little more protection.

However, one of the very real risks we face when we are trying to make our escape is that the way will be blocked with too many other cars. In evacuation situations, such as hurricanes, we see news reports of traffic backed up for miles and hear stories of people sleeping in their cars, running out of gas and getting into fights. This is certainly a possibility, but if you are prepared to bug out and act quickly ahead of the crowd, you could largely avoid this fate. In a dangerous survival situation, you want to be on the road, hopefully to your destination safely before anyone else even knows what is happening.

But there are no guarantees in life and so as preppers, we have backup plans. We have our bags ready to go, caches planned along our multiple routes and with some luck we will make it to our bug out retreats even if we must walk there. Vehicles can break down or become stuck and if this happens and we are not prepared, you could find yourself leaving the family bug out mobile parked, when you could have kept going with some simple supplies.

Those alternate routes could lead you through areas that aren’t paved over obstacles that could put a halt to your forward progress, but with this off road checklist, you could be able to unstuck yourself and keep going.

Off Road Checklist – Getting your vehicle out of a bad situation

If you are attempting a mud pit like this, I hope your vehicle is up to the challenge.

This list isn’t for the type of off roading enthusiast pictured galloping through the mud hole above, but for the prepper looking for a little insurance should you find your self on back-roads without the advantage of AAA. Now I know that not everyone is going to see a need for some of these items, but if you plan on going off the paved roads, some of these items could help you.

Jack and tire iron to change your tire – I’m going to start with some of the more obvious choices, but you should never get in your vehicle and set off on a road trip, certainly one that holds the fate of your family without the ability to change a flat tire. Off road terrain is rougher than asphalt and your average commuter tires have weaker side walls than off road tires. These tools and a spare will get you back on the road in a short time, but you must make sure you have them, AND know how to use them.

Spare Tire, Full Size – And since we are talking about tires… a full-size spare is going to allow you to go faster and will put up with more abuse, like those high-speed J turns you will be doing to get away from the zombies or the mutant biker gangs.

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Tire repair kit But what if someone shoots a hole in one of your tires as you execute that flawless J turn, keeping your family safe? Or as you are careening through the industrial park a hunk of metal punctures your back spare that you just put on before the evasive maneuvers? A tire repair kit may be able to get you back on the road.

Fix A Flat – To inflate that tire. Either that or a good air compressor you can connect to your battery to get aired up and going again.

Basic Tool Kit

Just an assortment of items you can use for minor or major repairs if you have to.

  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers
  • Hammer
  • Wrenches (standard and metric)
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Sockets (standard and Metric)
  • Prybar
  • Electrical tape
  • Allen wrenches
  • Hacksaw
  • Spare Fuses

Getting Un-Stuck

MaxTrax – Makes getting out of snow, sand and mud easy even without 4WD

So that was the basic items, but if you are traveling across really rugged terrain, and assuming you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, the following items can be used by you, hopefully with another buddy in another vehicle to get unstuck.

  • MaxTrax – These lightweight traction pads can get you out of snow, sand and mud easily. Just wedge them under the tire that is slipping and slowly roll out. There are cheaper knock-offs but I have read varying reviews on their durability. They stack nicely too.
  • Tow strap – If you are stuck in mud or sand, sometimes you will need some assistance getting un stuck. If your buddy has a trailer hitch, you can connect up and use the tow strap to pull your vehicle out and get back on the road.
  • More Power Pull – Don’t want to mount a winch to the family car? No problem, bring the winch along with you. The Wyeth 3-ton Ratchet puller works just like a winch in terms of physics, but you supply the power. You can attach to a tree and ratchet yourself out of that sticky situation. A winch is a nicer option, but that requires a more permanent commitment to your vehicles aesthetics.
  • Shackle or two – You can use these for connection points if you have them on your vehicle’s frame or to connect to straps.

A short-cut through a rain washed dirt road could stop your progress.

  • Chain (Grade 70) – Can handle a load up to 6,000 lbs. For serious hauling chores.
  • Receiver Hitch with D-Ring – Even if you don’t have a bug out trailer you are dragging along, that factory trailer hitch of yours can be used as a recovery point. Slide this in before you hit the trail and you will be ready to pull or be pulled.
  • Snatch block – Doubles the capacity of your winch.
  • Shovel – Because sometimes you will need to dig yourself out. Also works for burying number #2.
  • Axe – You might need to chop some branches to get an unobstructed connection for your winch cable or a downed tree could be blocking your path on that old logging road. Bonus would be a chainsaw, but not everyone would do that.
  • Gloves – With just about any work like this gloves protect your hands and give you a better grip for safety. Buy 12 pair..

What did I forget? I already know that some of you will have a long list of items and that’s what I would like you to share with the group. What’s in your off road checklist?

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