How To Equip Your Car Or Motorhome For Survival

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A familiar scene in any disaster movie is the mandatory evacuation. The protagonists hastily pack their bags and leap into a car, only to either get stuck in miles of dead traffic, or end up running into an obstacle in which they are totally unprepared to deal with.

But movies or not, disasters do happen. And it makes sense to prepare for them. In this guide, we will tell you exactly how to prepare your vehicle, and what vehicle to take, so that you are well equipped if the need to evacuate ever comes.

What vehicle to have

In an ideal situation, there would be a Marauder sitting in the garage, or some other type of military-grade vehicle. But for the purposes of this article, we are going to look at more down-to-Earth models.

According to research by Money Advice Service, the two safest cars to drive are the Skoda Octavia large family car and the Mercedes-Benz CLA small family car. These two cars are the most likely to withstand an impact, such as a head-on collision, and keep your family safe.

But for cars capable of off-road travel, then two very affordable cars that are able to handle muddy, water-logged roads and woodlands without getting stuck are the Dacia Duster and the SsangYong Tivoli, at least according to research from the car insurance firm Admiral.

All of these cars can accommodate a family of five. It would be worth considering all of them — or doing further research on other models — and then weighing up which is likely to be more important depending on your circumstances: collision safety or off-road worthiness.

Motorhomes are also a great choice because they provide living space and therefore can pretty much be a permanent home-away-from-home if the going gets really tough. Some of the best off-road motorhomes, at least according to research, are the Iveco Daily 4×4 and the Mitsubishi Delica D:5 Terrain campervan.

What tools to have

Now that you have the perfect (or near-perfect) vehicle, it is time to stock it up for a serious evacuation. Some absolute essentials include: a torch, a map, a battery charger to charge batteries through the car, a fuel can, drinking water, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, jump leads, at least one spare tyre and the correct tools to help with changing the tyres. Those should (hopefully) all be obvious. But I would recommend a plethora of other items that may really be vital uncertain circumstances that might not be so obvious. Including:

Pepper spray

• A high-vis warning vest

Gloves for handling tools and changing tyres

• A crowbar — if there’s ever a situation where you may be trapped inside the car, a crowbar will help you escape

Good boots for walking through fields and woodland

Warm blankets for sleeping and keeping warm at night

• A hatchet — if there is ever a felled tree or bramble covering your path, a hatchet will help you clear a way through

Tyre chains for driving over snow and ice (if you live, or are planning on heading to, an area that experiences heavy snowfall)

• And duct tape, because things fall apart

Another absolute must is a solar panel. There are lots of different types of solar panels and they all have their advantages and disadvantages, but mounted-roof panels and briefcase panels are the most practical, because they can be oriented to follow the sun. They are also easily portable; and can be folded away to prevent theft. Solar panels at the very least, are good for recharging phone and car batteries, and obviously have much greater uses too. (While we are on the topic, it will be immensely rewarding to learn how to achieve power self-sufficiency before the time for evacuation comes. Being energy self-sufficient is not as hard as it looks.)

What supplies to have

In addition to the right tools and vehicle, it is also necessary to stock up on some food supplies. This obviously does not include food that is likely to spoil or perish
after a few days, nor does it require stockpiling huge amounts of tinned food (which can be cumulatively heavy and impractical). If you can, it is best to have about two weeks’ worth of food to ration out to your family members — so you will want the food stocks to be as light as possible. In these respects, astronaut food is very practical. It often comes freeze-dried in light vacuum packs and modern developments have — much like aeroplane food as come on a long way — even made the food tasty as well as nutritious. Astronaut food is varied enough to include steak, spinach, cheese, and even ice cream.

Another simple tip to keep in mind is to have some energy bars — or even just plain old sugar — at hand for an energy boost at times where you might be tired or weary from long spells on the road or without rest. If you do have a motorhome or if space is less of an issue, then of course take a cooler and consider storing some perishables there. You can always eat them first, and cooled vegetables can last more than a week providing the weather isn’t very hot.

Where to go

A well-prepared evacuation is all well and good, but where is the best place to go during a time of crisis? The answer is: it depends on what type of crisis it is.

If you just need to leave the city (or part of that city) then you can usually park up and rest in locations such as car parks, hospitals, and camp grounds — at least for the night. If you need to evacuate much further, or even escape, then consult your map for a sparsely populated area with a high-water table and dense woodland.
That way, you will be away from the ravages of the population, and should have access to some drinking water and game food. It will take some time to learn how to source the water and game, but at least the resources will be there.

This Author: Neil Wright is a writer and researcher. He has an interest in travel, science and the natural world, and has written extensively about how to
survive living off grid in the UK on his motorhome website.

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