What Is the Best Vehicle for the Apocalypse?

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By Oscar Collins

The apocalypse could look like a number of things. It could come in the form of nuclear war, societal collapse, or a new contagion. Regardless of the scenario, the surviving humans need to be able to navigate the stressed landscape with efficiency and safety.

When determining what is the best vehicle for the apocalypse, all have their pros and cons – the key is adaptability and knowing your survival plan.

For this article, we’re going to look at the ideal. If you could pull out a apocalypse vehicle Christmas catalog, this would be it.

These are great vehicles for traversing difficult terrain:

Maybe your hideaway is on a small island surrounded by a large lake or tucked away in the mountains so nobody can compromise your stocks. Traversing rugged terrain will undoubtedly be necessary for some in the apocalypse trying to escape the potential quarrels in populated areas on the ground.

There are vehicles like the Sherp ATV and Gibbs Quadski Amphibious Quad for water. The Sherp only puts out 44 horsepower and 25 mph – however, it can go around 4 mph in the water. Its massive 63-inch tires can also tackle other intense terrains like dunes and snow.

The Gibbs Quadski is less heavy-duty for a cheaper alternative and will kick up rocks effectively while off-roading. Its abilities on the water are unparalleled, propelling at a much faster speed of 45 mph, and it could keep that up for almost two hours. Safe escape from land has never been so easy.

The Ariel Nomad Tactical may be the dune buggy apocalypse dream for hot deserts, reaching 230-300 horsepower and weighing only around 1,750 pounds. This makes control precise, so manipulating through any environment will be smooth sailing even if it hits the pavement. With its open design, hauling your safety and maintenance necessities has to be well-thought-out if you’re going to maintain speed and preparedness.

(Need to evacuate in a hurry? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to emergency evacuations.)

If you’re traveling short distances on a regular basis after the collapse, you’ll want one of these:

Who knows what resources will be available? And gas stocks only last so long. With this consideration, electric vehicles are the way to go, provided you can keep them charged. That will take a substantial solar setup at your retreat, but it is something worth thinking about. Especially if you may need to regularly travel 5 miles down the road to check on friends and family when the SHTF.

what is the best vehicle for the apocalypse

If you are familiar with the overlander lifestyle, specific EVs will provide greater endurance and comfort.

The Mustang Mach-E is one of those, going from 0 to 60 in less than four seconds. With survivors probably making the roads less safe than they already are, the safety features like automated emergency braking will help keep you and yours alive for longer.

For long distances, you may want to prepare for any extreme condition. The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport R might serve you well with its intimidating body. With all-wheel drive, hill-start assist, and blind-spot monitoring, staying well-equipped for long periods is no issue with its V6 engine. It also provides additional lumbar support for those struggling with back pain.

For something with fewer wheels, the Motoped Survival Bike may be more fitting for a survival plan, needing less room to haul and having more opportunity to travel stealthily and economically. Its motocross-style build could withstand more wear than the average bike, especially traveling long distances. With several mounts for a phone and flashlight and tons of tie-on points to carry bug-out gear, it can still go 160 mpg.

If battling adversaries, you need a vehicle that can take a beating.

For zombies, aliens, or whatever the world throws at humanity, it’s possible to survive by fighting back — that means having a vehicle that can withstand a beating. This means durability, bulletproof exteriors, and heft. Being on the battlefront may also mean a more nomadic lifestyle, and your vehicle has not only to be solid but also spacious enough to survive the new routine of nights sleeping in the back seat.

With that in mind, Jeep has many great options for offensive apocalypse survivors, including the Wrangler. It’s also suitable for off-roading but has the room and robust build to tackle adversaries. With tons of safety features in case of an emergency, its Off-Road Plus driving mode offers drivers an optimized throttle feel, shift points, and traction control for when things get out of hand.

Jeep Wrangler image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Roll into the arena fully equipped with the Knight XV Fully Armored SUV, decked out with a V10 engine, night vision cameras, and bulletproof exterior. Fit your family and friends safely with room for six while still proving everyone wrong that you can’t go into the apocalypse with luxury tastes.

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What’s the best vehicle for the apocalypse?

Every apocalypse situation is different – you may need more storage than the ability to go off-roading. You may need to consider access to parts in case of repairs. No matter what, each vehicle should provide sound security for its distinctive circumstances. Design a plan for where you want to hide away and choose the car best suited for that adventure.

What are your thoughts on what the best vehicle is to survive the apocalypse? Are there other makes and models you have in mind? Have you used any of the above? Let us know below.

About Oscar Collins

Oscar is a car fanatic who spends a lot of time writing about vehicles over at Modded.com, 

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      • A great “green machine”. Grass and water. Not gas and water. A lot slower but a lot easier to hide. If you can’t ride any more it can carry a lot. Can go just about anywhere — even swims. Lot of upkeep while you’re “waiting” though unless you are already on a farm or ranch — in which case you’d want to stay put. But if they are coming for your farm….. Horses are not pets.

    • You beat me to the punch! I’d also add a good pair of running shoes and make the bicycle either a lightweight road bike if you’re planning on traveling highways, or a lightweight mountain bike if overland.

      • Jim,
        I have a cyclecross bicycle with a set of slicks for road, and another set with knobbies.
        I also have a mountain bicycle. Even on my trails, going off road is a heck of a workout! And I had it in the lowest gear!

    • Several years ago we had a donkey. A friend suggested we train her to pull a small cart. We couldn’t train her to do anything, including eat hay that she deemed low quality or be caught to have her hooves trimmed. When she ran away to the neighbors, we let them keep her.

      I’d absolutely love to have a horse, but alas, am too old and arthritic.

  • The body shop guys who built the vehicles for Road Warrior movies said their crazy dune buggies looked awesome but were entirely impractical for actual use. Given that I’d go for an Air Force A10 Warthog with 30mm chain gun, stripped of wings and with big studded tires on the landing gear. Hard to park, but what an arrival!

    • I respectfully disagree.
      While I have no real use for any of the vehicles listed in the article, it does make one think of what kinds of vehicles or modes of transportation for a post-SHTF world.
      If I were not staying in one spot, and opted for a nomadic like lifestyle, I think a moving tribe on horse back with horse drawn wagons might be an option.
      Makes one think outside of the box.

      • I think as written, the article is a waste of time. Considering it was probable aimed at new preppers, it give no useful info and they are not experienced enough to think of transportation modes for SHTF themselves. Especially thinking outside the box of normal life.

        It is highly doubtful than any gas fueled vehicles will be running 1 yr after SHTF. Bio Diesel, bio gasifier modified vehicles. possible. Electric vehicles are possible, if the batteries hold out and some one has a way to charge them.
        Another big problem often over looked is vehicle(and bicycle) tires. They don’t last forever. With the unkept roads(potholes, washouts, etc.) and the potential for sharp or large debris on the road, flats and blowouts will probable be a big problem.
        So Horses, oxen and other animal driven wagons are the most likely forms of transportation in the long term for SHTF.

        • I used to race bicycles, Tour de France style.
          A short ride would be 30miles. A long one about 70 miles. That was 5-6 times a week.
          In the hundreds of thousands of miles I have put on a bicycle, I have experienced two flats on the road.
          I have stocked up on extra tires, tubes and patch kits.

        • The trouble is such articles as this acknowledge that an apocalyptic event will cause massive changes, yet they can’t think far enough outside the box to recognize the impact of those changes. Electric vehicles operating and recharging after an EMP? Pretty doubtful. Gasoline vehicles when there is no oil production and old stores of refined products fail or are used up – and the vehicles in which they operate have their computerized ignition systems fried by said EMP? I could go on. This sounds more like a marketing gimmick for some high-priced entertainment gadgets than a truly analytical approach to preparing for a catastrophic but regrettably potentially occurring event.

  • That gave me some new ideas to think about. I like Marine’s ideas, too.
    My personal dream machine would be a three-wheeler comfy to sleep in and with an external combustion engine that could run on any carbon fuel–gas, diesel, motor oil, coal, paper, old orange peels, dry grass clippings…
    I dream of horses, but they are hard to park these days.

  • Our 1971 VW Beetle. Can almost be repaired with paperclips and chewing gum. Back in the 1980s when my husband was out of work, he used an empty tuna can to prop open the heater vent; no money to buy the replacement cable, so he improvised.

    Also, we ran it for about 6 months with no battery. There was literally no battery in the car. Always parked on an incline/hill (not always easy to find in north Texas) and popped the clutch. When there was no hill, we simply push started it.

    The back seat can be turned down for cargo. Once we hauled an 1967 console television in it.

    Probably not susceptible to an EMP, except possibly the voltage regulator. Even then the points could be filed and made to work. It’s an extremely practical car. And fun to drive.

    • My first car was a cherry red 1969 VW bug. I pulled it out of a cow pasture, cleaned the engine, put new oil in it, new tires, and had them realigned. Total cost about $300.00 (this was 1980).
      I drove that little car for years and years. It sipped gas daintly. I used to put in a dollar at a time when I was broke. It was so simple to repair even I could do it (and I am not mechanical).
      If I had a car like that today it would be interesting to see if it could be run on alcohol. I don’t see why not, but like I said, “not mechanical.”

      • My husband used to think about converting ours to alcohol, but never did. He didn’t know anything about working on cars when we got married in the early 70s, but quickly learned out of necessity. He rebuilt the engine several times, did all the brake work; even installed a push button starter when one of our kids broke off a piece of plastic in the ignition (until he could replace it). Fun cars.

  • I’m in agreement with 1stMarineJarHead on all three choices.

    I know, horses are not practical for 99.9% of the world today. I get that. In my area everyone -or, at least it seems that way- has at least one horse, pony, or mule.

    Besides being excellent modes of transportation and draft animals, I’d like to offer another reason for those that my be considering equine as a possible prep. Since I was a boy riding alone I noticed that deer (around my area, at least) do not spook from the scent of horse, even with me aboard. I have ridden within 20 yards of doe plenty of times. Even then they seem puzzled that what they smell don’t match up with their eyes. Most times they just bound another 50 or so yards away, stop, and look again. Some even continue to go back to eating. If one needed to put meat on the table efficiently with little physical labor, having a horse, pony or mule offers an almost unfair advantage. AND!, the horse can easily haul you plus a skinned and quartered whitetail with no thoughts over extra weight.

    My experience with elk, however is completely opposite. So many wranglers are out chasing them on horseback that the association of the smell of horse equals danger, again, just my experience. Ymmv.

    • We raise pack llamas and have had many hunters tell us they come back to camp after unsuccessfully scouting elk to find them bedded down with the llamas. They are really good at spotting game and predators too. Can’t carry as much as a horse but can definitely go places I’d never try a horse; blood doesn’t scare them, and they eat a fraction of what a horse does.

  • Nuclear war is different today. The invaders want to occupy after. More clean burning bombs have a short rad output time. But your cars are not going to work after an EMF or an EMP! If you don’t protect your home and cars America will not be able to come back for decades. We don’t have enough electricians or wiring to redo everybody’s homes. Computer boards for your newer cars will not be affordable or replaceable for a very long time. Roads will be blocked with tons of broken-down vehicles everywhere. A new military grade and certified whole house and vehicle shield is now available. http://www.survivalshield.com. Gov. will be first in line for repairs, not us. But when the lines are repaired those protected will be the first back online for power. Multiple backups will be required for the long wait. If you can bugout gas pumps will not be working so hand pumps will be needed if you can even get into a gas station. And where you finally land will be it, and no return; so, you better have everything you need with you. Not likely! And how long can you manage where you are? Travel after a nuke is not wise. Wind and fall out need to be understood and the wind changes. Fukushima evacuees drove straight into the fallout after the plant blew. Troops will move in in short order down through Canada and Mexico. UN forces have been there for decades now on standby. They are not our friends. Dug in at home and ready is a better choice I believe. Only close to ground zero land nukes should take off for the hills or family. And only if you can beat the rads- not likely. Know where your military targets are close to you and plan for their targeting. Even shut down nuke plants require power for cooling-forever! The depleted rods are still there and will melt down and are more dangerous than the modern bombs are. And take iodine every day because FUshima is still falling out on us. Keep your thyroid full. Yes, you will feel sick for a few days detoxing all the fluoride, but you will feel much better afterwards and protected to a degree if more fallout comes. Iodine in salt evaporates so no you are not getting any. Infowars.com has thee best iodine offered, survival shield X2. Don’t like the X3 because it has sea based added in. You are going to have to know more hazards like pools, chem companies, and the like. Gasses can be released that can harm. Button up and seal up and listen to your crank radio. Rad counters are expensive, and the military don’t travel in warfare without them. Not should you. GWG

    • teri…that survivalshield.com domain name is for sale……also, older cars without electronics are likely to not be impacted by an EMP, and they can be modified to burn alcohol based fuels.

  • It will definitely depend on how many people you’re trying to move. A family of 5 or more would need something quite different . But I would suggest an older rig that won’t be bothered by an emp and has minimal electronics and could be repaired with basic tools. Much more practical and not so expensive.

  • I can foresee a business opportunity for those who have horses, mules or donkeys and wagons and who are willing to haul goods and people. Leather workers who can make harnesses will be in demand, too, as will blacksmiths and those who have low-tech equipment to plow, cultivate and harvest.

    I don’t own horses or other draft animals, but I am very fortunate that I am surrounded by neighbors who do. Something to think about when considering a homestead or bug-out location.

    Also good to think about other resources that can be used by a neighborhood, like a hand pump well, an outdoor bread oven, a storage building for hay, a large root cellar, etc. There may be a return to the long-hunters, as well as the community woodsman.

    Back in the very early days of this country the community baker would fire his oven, bake bread for the town and then permit the town folks to use his oven to cook their own pots of beans. There was often a town pump, too. Resources that might be too expensive or impractical for one person or one family to obtain were shared, sometimes for a price in money, goods or services.

    There is a YouTube channel called Townsends. The fellow on the channel is a re-enacter of the colonial period of American history. Lots of how-to info on things like building an outdoor bread oven, building a log cabin, etc.

    If we experience something like an EMP, we will likely be propelled back in time to a life like colonial Americans experienced.

  • Electric vehicle batteries do not last well, and will not be replaceable. They charge on electricity made from diesel, gas, or other fossil fuels. Therefore, when the fossil fuels dry up, the electric vehicles will be as useless as any fossil fuel burning vehicle. Horses, mules and other beasts of burden require feeding even when they are not working, but they may be the best option for longer distances, and hauling goods. I suspect we are going to have to learn that walking 5 or 6 miles to go somewhere is not a big deal.

  • If SHTF becomes Mad Max, then this is an open matter because no one really knows what resources will be available and what conditions will be faced. And no, the movies don´t

    If SHTF is a bad economic recession or depression, which I personaly find more probable, then we have plenty of real-life examples and established facts from the most varied countries and societies.

    In any case, boots are sure to work. Second are bikes because they only depend on human power, no fuel, no roads, nothing. And third horses, if they´re around.

  • If we do have a SHTF event, and there’s EMP involved, any electric vehicle will just be big lump with tires, and that ridiculous roof of solar cells will do absolutely nothing except weigh it down.

    Who on earth would consider an electric vehicle for any emergency, outside of the one involving a par 5 and a sand trap? Jeez

    • “and that ridiculous roof of solar cells will do absolutely nothing except weigh it down”

      Not if one has shielded the chargcontroller/inverter/home against emp.

  • An older 4X4 truck or Jeep. If gas, point type ignition. If diesel, non-computer all mechanical.
    Manual trans as well.
    An old 6X6 would be nice, if not exactly stealthy.
    My 20+ year old Dodge Ram turbo-diesel A/T goes where I need to go.
    Will it survive an EMP? Not sure, but probably not.
    Diesel advantage is you can make your own fuel

  • If your car has 4 wheel drive, that should get you most places you may want to go. Many SUVs made today fit that bill. But be prepared to make a one-way trip.

    From what I have seen, an EMP is way overrated. Oh yes, they’ll wipe clean any spinning rust hard drive. But one would have to be close and powerful to melt the wires inside an integrated circuit. At the time an EMP hits, it will mess up the ones and zeros within the circuits, but a reboot will take care of that. The biggest danger of an EMP is that it can send a surge of high powered electricity through long-distance wires, and that surge can burn out electric motors and computers. But if your electronics are off-grid, like in a car, most likely an EMP will cause only temporary inconvenience.

    But for long-term, we just don’t know. Will gas still be available? Will it be cheap and abundant or rare and expensive? What about food? We can expect that many things will be unavailable, what about necessities? We need to be concerned not only of bugging out or in, but what of the aftermath.

    • Everything I have read on EMPs, say unprotected electronics may experience a total shutdown never to be restarted again, to just needing a reboot.
      The problem is newer vehicles are loaded with electronics.
      How many people doing 70mph down a busy highway could successfully pull their vehicle over if it were to experience a total shutdown unexpectedly?
      Big rigs?
      Imagine a few tens of thousands auto accidents all happening at once.

  • A Bike….I have plenty, or a ’60’s to early ’70’s Caddy….I have a ’61 and spare parts, nothing computerized……And you best be putting gas up!

  • Was interested in reading this content, was greeted by pop ups, promoted ads, stuff beyond the side bar practical stuff. Do less. It’s not worth the couple grand a month to pimp yourself out (if that).

  • I was expecting a useful article with common cense information for the everyday prepper…

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