When things get bad, it’s time to get going. That could mean a massive natural disaster that’s in progress or on its way, or maybe something akin to the LA riots in 1992. Disaster can take many faces but when things are at their worst, your best option is to get out of Dodge (GOOD) and live to fight another day. This means you need to have a vehicle that can get going on a moments notice and get you over just about anything that might end up in your path. You need a vehicle that is equipped with what you need and ready for the tough task of making haste from a world of bad that’s right behind you. Check out these tips on choosing the best GOOD truck and hopefully you’ll never have to use it, but at least you can feel safe in the knowledge that you can get out whenever you need to in case of a zombie apocalypse
1. Number of People
First things first, you need to be aware of how many people you’re planning on getting out of Dodge with. You need to remember that you’re not only counting heads, but the gear and supplies that go with each of those people, too. For smaller emergencies you’ll be carrying a few days worth of luggage with you for each person and in the worst-case scenario you’ll have all the belongings each person is choosing to keep while the others burn or wash away in a flood. This leads us to vehicle size.
2. Vehicle Size
The size of your GOOD truck is dependent on a few things. First, as we just mentioned you need to worry about seating for all the people you’re taking with you. Next, you need to worry about everyone’s gear and food. With those out of the way, you need to think about the overall size and maneuverability you want and need. In other words, if you have a cabin in the mountains that you’re planning on escaping to in case of emergency, your truck needs to fit on the trail and be big enough to handle the terrain, which leads us to number three.
3. Terrain and Weather
This tip relies heavily on you knowing the terrain around where you live and the weather you experience. Remember, you need to plan for year-round weather, not just how it is outside when you read this. If you experience harsh winters and the trail to your cabin is nearly impassible without a high ground clearance and hard-core tires, then that’s what you need to have. If the terrain around you is mostly flat and sandy, then having tires that handle the sand well are perfect. In an ideal situation your GOOD truck should be dedicated to this use, meaning your terrain and weather planning can be extreme, but for most people the truck will be used daily, so a happy medium must be maintained.
There are the standard upgrades like a suspension lift and bigger tires that help just about every truck, but there are a few upgrades you might forget about. First, a winch can save your life and while they can be quite costly, this is an upgrade you don’t want to skimp on. Check out our post on choosing the right winch
to see what you need. Along with a winch comes the need for a solid brush guard. While most people get these to look tough, a good brush guard is attached to your frame and protects the front of your GOOD truck from damage caused by hitting other vehicles, deer, and just about anything else in the road. Speaking of damage, installing skid plates on all the major areas under your truck is a must as well. Since you’re planning on using this truck in some pretty hairy situations, you need to make sure that you’re not stuck in the middle of nowhere with your family and a torn transmission line.
Basic supplies should live in your GOOD truck, so having a place to store them is very important when choosing one. Look for under-seat compartments and side panel pockets that can be fitted with smaller bags that can include first-aid kits, freeze-dried food
, and even a weapon or two.
(Photo courtesy of flickr)
One of the biggest debates in choosing a GOOD truck comes down to the type of fuel used. While gas is more readily available in residential areas, diesel is one of the most widely used automotive fuels in the world. This means in a complete societal breakdown there will be more diesel available to you as everyone rushes to get all the gasoline they can find. In the argument of diesel versus ga
s, your best bet for a survival truck is just about always diesel.
7. Age, Technology, and Reparability
The last tip to round out this list has to do with the specific vehicle you choose. While few of us have the money to choose a brand-new diesel SUV for our GOOD truck, it’s a bad decision even if you have the funds. First, newer vehicles are more difficult to fix yourself, and rely more heavily on computers and electronics. Older (10-15 years old) trucks and SUVs tend to have far fewer computer-controlled systems, which means they’re easier to fix and should ideally break less. With all of this in mind, two of the best vehicles you can choose for your GOOD truck are easily the full-size Chevy Suburban and Ford Expeditions. While the Expeditions are newer, they are built on a truck frame like the Suburban, and can take a lot more abuse. Unlike traditional trucks, these SUVs can hold their cargo inside, away from prying eyes, they have tons of cargo space and hidden compartments under seats and in doors, and with 4WD they will both get you over just about anything you can think of.
You could also choose an older Chevy Blazer or Ford Bronco, or even go for the favorite Jeep CJ or Wrangler. It all depends on how many people you need to bring along with you. Finally, you don’t want a shiny new truck or SUV because these attract attention. Buy a used truck or SUV that might not look great but runs solid and put the extra money you save into the upgrades we mentioned above. You might not be the prettiest truck at the ball, but you’ll be the safest. (Header photo courtesy of flickr)