Canadian Bug Out Vehicles That Will Get You Out Fast
You get the news. This is it. Things have broken down, and the expected has arrived. Time to move.
Of course, it’s in the dead of winter. There’s two feet of snow on the ground and more on the way. You know where you need to go, but getting there is the problem. How will you, a resident of the Great White North, keep your family safe and hope alive when bugging out is the only remaining option?
I had to think this over a bit. I was out and about in my town recently playing through some scenarios in my head. I know my family and I will have plenty of challenges when the breakdown finally happens. Fortunately, none of them will involve snow. Because I like to keep my Canadian friends in mind, I did some digging and came back with some ideas for Canadian bug-out vehicles that can get you out fast.
Your Destination, Sir?
The location of your refuge will partially determine the vehicle used to get there. Some bug-out options are much better suited to slugging 50 miles cross-country than cruising 500 miles over whatever remains of the roads. Decide on your destination, and what - if anything - will be there when you arrive.
And You’ll be Traveling With?
If you’re on your own, snowshoes might be your best bet. You can find plenty of solo-survivor tips elsewhere, including information on self-defense. Once you add other people - and stuff - things get complex. Will there be kids? Older folks? Any disabled people with special needs? These questions further define your best options.
I’ve cataloged a few bug-out vehicles suited to harsh, Canadian winters. I’ve favored vehicles made in Canada. This isn’t just out of patriotism: You’re going to need to keep in mind supply lines for parts and local repair help.
It’s available, affordable, and can be used day-to-day while you’re waiting on the inevitable. This part is important: machines like to get used. Leave them unused long enough, and you’ll need to revive a fuel system, replace a battery, or get new tires before you move anywhere. This is a pain in ordinary times: Think of how much worse it’s going to be when credit cards stop working and you can’t turn your back on anyone.
One thing to consider is gasoline vs. diesel. Diesel seems the cool choice, but in a SHTF scenario, it has some drawbacks - especially in a winter climate. Will you be able to find diesel fuel wherever you might go? The relative rarity of diesel cars makes it less likely you can refuel with a screwdriver and funnel at the nearest pile-up of abandoned Hondas or Volvos. Some will mention bio-diesel and make-your-own fuel setups. Congrats if you can stay that prepared. Many of us can’t. Also, if you choose diesel, keep in mind you probably won’t be plugging a block heater in just anywhere. Basically, gotta keep it running all the time in subzero conditions.
Versatile and configurable
Long-distance and high-speed capable
Good daily driver
Not very off-road capable in standard form
Lack of maneuverability
Iltis Military Vehicle
This was the Canadian army’s answer to the U.S. of A’s Jeep, and it was a doozy. Designed by VW with a 4x4 system so capable they later put it in Audi rally cars and won. You can find them on Kijiji for anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 now (that’s in Canadian money). Don’t expect power windows or cup holders like in a fancy new pickup. These were war-fighting vehicles. They’re bound to get you through, just don’t expect to arrive at your destination looking fresh and fashionable.
Very manœuvrable and off-road capable
Parts still supported
Repair knowledge still fresh among army vets
Can tow a trailer
Not a good daily driver for most people
Parts available, but no longer in production
Not as large as a pickup
Your wife probably won’t like it
Now, we’re talking. Canadians invented the snowmobile as we know it today. Makes sense considering Canada is one of the largest countries in the world, and is covered with snow and/or tundra a good part of the year. A snowmobile will get you and at least some of your stuff where you’re going no matter what. Keep in passengers and cargo in mind. Also remember that you’ll need to dress for the occasion. Snowmobile suit: that’s what I’m saying here.
Unstoppable (you can even get a wheel kit to allow use on dry pavement)
Not much space on board, though most can tow a sled behind
No weather protection
Not so good for long-distance highway runs
Bombardier Side-By-Side ATV
Bombardier is a great Canadian company that makes world-class products: All sorts of machines to get you out and keep you mobile. Even their straddle-type ATV’s will be great assets in a world gone wild. I like the side-by-side because it addresses most of the problems of the snowmobile mentioned above, while remaining almost as capable. It has the space, comfort, carrying capacity that the SkiDoo lacks, and can still get through some deep stuff.
Not a good daily-driver
Still not as big and capable as an actual road vehicle
Argo 8X8 ATV
This is an amazing vehicle. Eight - count ‘em - driven wheels. Low-pressure tires help it roll over just about anything. An available track kit enables it to roll over everything else. It’s available with gas or diesel engines. It’s made in Canada. But probably the best part of it is how it must make you feel like you’re in some sci-fi movie. You’re part of an away team exploring the surface of an alien world. And really, when the big one hits - whatever the “big one” is to you - our planet is going to feel like an alien world.
Can be stored in part of your garage
NOT a daily-driver
Not good for long-distance high-speed runs
Still small compared to an SUV or pickup
Canada is probably one of the best places to be in a SHTF scenario. With sparse population and plenty of food and fresh water in the backcountry, Canadians tend to be aware of their surroundings and what's available to them. They keep readiness in mind because they need to, even in terms of personal defense.
Some steps in selecting the right bug-out vehicle:
- Where is your destination?
- Who and what do you need to take with you?
- How likely are you to keep the vehicle you choose in regular use while you await the downfall?
- How able will you be to keep it running when everything you know has turned upside-down?
Keep these questions in mind, and you’re going to do fine.