In today’s world, we are dependent on modern electronics, without them, we would be back in the stone age. Relying on technology is a two-edged sword, on one side it makes our lives much easier but on the other, it is one of our greatest weaknesses. You might think that having no electricity for a few days will not be a problem, but without electricity, water won’t flow from your tap, and you won’t be able to buy water as without electricity everything will be closed.
The best bug out vehicle for EMP is the Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle, this vehicle was used by the US military in different environments and some of them do come with EMP shielding. The ones that were made before the 1985’s tend to be EMP proof as their engines do not need any electrical components to function other than the spark plug. Generally speaking, most cars made before 1985 tend to be EMP proof as they have either few or no electrical components which could be affected by an EMP.
An electromagnetic pulse or EMP can come from two sources, man-made and natural. Man-made is during a conflict situation where the enemy launches an EMP bomb or a Hydrogen bomb which will also have an EMP effect, although the current political climate is fairly stable and an EMP attack is unlikely. EMP from natural sources comes from solar flares which are fairly common and usually low in intensity.
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Although once in a while the solar flare can become as powerful to actually cause an EMP effect, the last time this happened was in the 1800s. Back in the 1800’s people were not relying on electricity as it was considered a novelty back then, but if a similar solar flare would hit today it could disrupt our entire way of life for years. Some people will actually make an EMP-proof garage, the problem with this is that you can never know when an EMP attack might happen and the odds are that your car will not be in the garage.
EMP’s can be either man-made or naturally occurring with solar flares, in my recent article How to protect yourself from solar flares ( Cheap & Easy ), I address both occurrences.
While most preppers are interested in EMP proofing their vehicle but only a few of them look at the big picture. In the case of an EMP, not only your vehicle will be disabled but also the complex network that allows you to refuel your vehicle. What is the point in having an EMP-proof vehicle if after a few miles, you run out of gas and there is no place where you can refuel it? In this case, in addition to food and water, you will need to stockpile fuel, enough to get you to your bug out location plus some extra gallons as you never know if you will need it.
Although people when thinking of a bug-out vehicle the first thing that comes to their mind is an EMP protected military vehicle or a Mad Max-style dirtbike. People tend to forget that we have a large variety when it comes to transport and not all of them will actually need an engine. Without an engine, there is no need to worry about an EMP stopping your vehicle. Although not all vehicles are actually considered “vehicles” by some but these have been used for thousands of years for transport and they have 0 chance of being affected by an EMP. In case of a major EMP event, you will most likely have to siphon gas out from other cars, for more information check out my recent article How to siphon gas out of a newer car? ( In 5 Easy Steps ).
Best Bug Out Vehicle For EMP
When considering the best bug out vehicle for an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) event, it’s important to prioritize vehicles that are less vulnerable to electronic damage. One option is to choose an older model vehicle, preferably from before the widespread use of electronic components in automobiles. Classic vehicles, such as those from the 1980s or earlier, often have minimal electronics and rely on mechanical systems, making them less susceptible to EMP effects.
Additionally, diesel vehicles with manual transmissions can be a good choice since they have fewer electronic components compared to modern gasoline-powered vehicles. It’s also recommended to consider vehicles with shielding or modifications that can protect the electronic systems from EMP damage.
Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle (CUCV)
The Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle is a utility cargo vehicle purchased and used by the US military, it is produced by Chevrolet and comes in various models but the most common one is the M1109. These have a 6.2-liter diesel engine and 4 wheel drive, do note that these are almost 50-year-old cars but they are also cheap and easily maintained with cheap parts. These have been used by the US military in different environments, try to get one specialized in your local environment as these are also prooved and tested for it.
An added benefit is most of these have some sort of camouflage already. Although these are very reliable vehicles try to keep an eye out for rust, as these cars are old you will find some rust but ask yourself if it is fixable. This is an excellent emp hardened vehicle, especially if you can get one that has been used by the military. If you are wondering if the EMP will affect the car’s batteries then check out my recent article Does an EMP affect batteries? ( Can they survive? ).
The Toyota Hilux has been produced for a long time, and the ones manufactured before 1985 are actually EMP proof. Back in the day, these trucks were built like tanks, and they were extremely reliable. Even today you can find a lot of them being used by small businesses, mostly due to their reliability. As long as the car doesn’t have too much rust, you will have no problem bugging out with a Toyota Hilux.
The Dune buggies are mostly lightweight and fast vehicles, although not all of them are equipped with diesel engines which I highly recommend. Usually, these are one or two-seaters and can not carry a lot of supplies. But if you need a good reliable vehicle which is mostly mechanical except for the spark plugs, this is an excellent choice. If you like car related projects these are fairly easy to make and you can find online several starter kits. What is great about a dune buggy is that you can easily convert it to an armored bug-out vehicle.
Deuce and a Half
The Deuce and a Half vehicles are massive, most of them are in fact 6×6, which means that they are good for off road conditions as well. Usually, these trucks were used by the military, although civilians can buy them as well. You can fit a lot of cargo on these vehicles, the problem is that they handle like a tank. On the other hand, as these have been mostly made for the military they do have some EMP shielding and most of them also have a diesel engine.
Mercedes Benz Unimog
The Mercedes Benz Unimog is extremely similar to the Deuce and a Half, with two notable differences, the Mercedes Benz Unimog is made in Germany, and the center of mass is significantly higher than on the Deuce and a Half. As for utility, these trucks have been made mostly for the German army and they also have an EMP shielding, they come with 4×4 or 6×6 drive and all of them have a diesel engine. If you are preparing to bug out then you should have a bug out bag, for more information check out my recent article Best premade bug out bag ( Top 21 ).
Older Model Dirt Bikes
Most modern dirt bikes have a lot of in-built electrical components and sensors, some even have onboard computers. Your best option, in this case, is to go for a pre-1990 manufactured dirtbike that runs on diesel. These are usually powerful and can carry a moderate amount of weight, as these are made mostly for off-road driving you will not have problems such as getting stuck in the mud as you might do with cars. Getting an emp proof motorcycle isn’t that difficult as long as you are searching for older models of dirt bikes.
The 76 GMC comes with a big V8 engine, manual transmission, and 4 wheel drive this is an excellent bug-out vehicle. It has no electronic devices which the engine uses and this makes it EMP proof. This vehicle has been mass-produced and you can find them for cheap. Another big benefit for the 76 GMC is that it actually has 2 fuel tanks, meaning you can carry a lot more fuel than with your average 4wd.
American Motors Spirit
The American Motors Spirit came out of the factory with a Ziebart Factory Rust Protection which guaranteed no rust for around 5 years. Although as it is a 50-year-old car this warranty is no longer valid but you will find that in most cases these cars have very little rust. In addition to that, it has a larger than average trunk space, most of them are equipped with manual transmission and you can find some with diesel engines as well. If you want to know how to maintain a generator then check out my recent article How to maintain a generator ( Fast & Easy Steps ).
The Chevrolet Chevette was one of the cheapest mass-produced cars in the USA, although it lacks power with around 70 HP it makes it up with being cheap as dirt. These come with manual transmissions although it might become harder to find a diesel-powered one.
International Harvest Scout 2
I am recommending the IHS 2 as the original one has a collector value and it will be more expensive the more time passes by. The original one is one of the most popular mass-produced SUVs, manual transmission, 4wd, and extremely reliable, I highly recommend it as a bug-out vehicle for any SHTF scenario.
The Ford Bronco was created as a family SUV, and comes with a powerful V8 engine and manual shift. It also has great off-road capabilities and spare parts are quite easy to find. One of the downsides of the Ford Bronco is that you will find it difficult to get one with a diesel engine that is in reasonable shape.
Land Rovers were used as a military vehicle by the UK army, they were produced as “recently” as the 1990s. What stands out with this vehicle is that the UK military had these made specially to be able to survive an EMP, meaning they come with a diesel engine and 0 electrical devices. As with all military vehicles these were worn and torn through the years and you will have to search a lot for one in good shape.
One of the major downsides is their right-hand wheel which could be a problem for some people, but you can find Land Rovers with a left-hand wheel for a little bit extra.
Chevy K5 Blazer
The Chevy K5 Blazer model was produced from 1969 to 1991, it has a manual transmission and no electrical devices needed for the engine to work. The most sold units were in 1972 and if you are searching for one right now you probably find one from that year.
The Toyota 4Runner is a Japanese manufactured car starting from 1983 till the present day, we are talking now about the 1983-1987 model. This is one of the more unusual models as you can take off the top revealing a second roll bar. As with all SUVs, it has a high center of gravity which means you can roll over in a tight corner, although the SR5 variant had an altimeter and a tip-o-meter. You can also roll down the back window adding extra ways to store your supplies. This vehicle is so robust that you can also use it as an emp proof tractor.
It comes with a shift stick, 4 wd and there are diesel-powered ones also.
The first-generation Dodge Ramcharger was produced from 74-80. while the second generation from 81-94, all others produced more recent than 94 I do not recommend as they have onboard electronics. Models after 85 had a 4-wd system that could switch in and out of 4×4 at 50 mph. Although there are very reliable vehicles but do not go with the ones using the automatic transmission system as they will be disabled by an EMP.
Jeep Grand Wagoneer
The Jeep Grand Wagoneer is a one-of-a-kind full-sized SUV as it is the only one being equipped with wood panels. The benefit of these wood panels is that you can make a small rack and place some of your supplies, do not forget to tie them up as best as you can. This SUV was produced between 1963-1991, a very sturdy vehicle, with no electronic components for the engine to work, manual shift, and comes with diesel engines as well.
Usually, this model has 4 doors but you might come across some that only have 2 doors, only go for one with 2 doors if it is in an exceptional state. As for packing and unloading the 2 door variant will be extremely time-consuming.
The Suzuki Samurai is the smallest SUV on this list but I just couldn’t ignore it, while it is small it consumes very little fuel. Although this is a Japanese manufactured vehicle you will have no problem finding these in the US, the same is true for spare parts. This is an ideal emp proof car for one or two persons, so if you have a family you can cross this off your list. It comes with a 4×4 drive and manual transmission but you will find it hard to get one with a diesel engine.
You might be laughing saying a horse is not a vehicle, I beg to differ, horses have been used for thousands of years as a pack animal. In the case of an EMP, you will not have to worry about not being able to use your horse, all it needs is food, water, and rest. Although I do not recommend using a horse for bugging out in an arid environment as horses need a lot of water and if you are not able to find any you will be forced to abandon your horse and carry all your supplies.
Even today horses are very popular among law enforcement agencies and rescue agencies, as they have the ability to access areas where your average vehicle with an engine can not. The only reason why I listed a horse on my best bug out vehicle in case of an EMP list is that it is the only “vehicle” which is unaffected by an EMP and does not require your physical force to be able to travel.
Bicycles are one of my favorite ways of transport, you can avoid most of the traffic jams, has the ability to go off-road, are easy to maintain and it is 100% EMP proof. You can also add a bike trailer, this way you can carry a lot more supplies. A bike is a fast way to get out of a populated city especially if you are an avid biker. The skill of being able to ride a bicycle is relatively low and with some practice, you will gain enough endurance to be able to bike for miles.
An added benefit of using a bicycle is that you can use it as a plan B if for any reason your bug out car breaks down you can use your bicycle to continue to your bug out location. Bikes are fairly common and in the case of a major SHTF event, you will not have any problems finding one.
Sail Or Paddle Boats
Oddly enough few people ever consider using a boat as a bug-out vehicle, provided that the boat or raft does not have an electric engine it is 100% EMP proof. Although using a boat for bugging out is highly situational, but if you are one of the lucky ones who own a boat you will find it an extremely good bug-out vehicle. Sail or paddle boats will work fine in the case of an emp and if you are located on a river and you are traveling downstream then you sit back and relax as the stream will do all the work for you.
The Lada was built by the USSR, it had to have very low fuel consumption and withstand punishing winter conditions, although it will work in the freezing condition you might freeze to death in it.
The Dacia was made in Romania during the communist leadership, this is not one of the best as it tends to break down a lot. If you know somebody who owns a pre-1990 Dacia mainly the 1300 model you probably know that for every week of driving it, he spends at least a day to repair it. Although later models do have 4×4 wd the pre-1990 models are not 4×4 wd, on the brighter side it has low fuel consumption, come with a diesel engine and a manual transmission and are EMP proof.
As a side note, you don’t even need a key to start it as you can put a screwdriver in the keyhole and it will start without any problems
The Fiat Uno is one of the smallest cars, produced in Italy and the pre-1990 model comes with manual transmission and most of them have diesel engines. The inside is even smaller than the Suzuki Samurai’s, and with only 2 doors this car is mainly suited for 1-2 persons. The trunk is also fairly small and installing a roof rack and putting your supplies there might let you pack more but its small engine will struggle a lot.
The Yugo was produced in Yugoslavia and it is considered a Supermini, much like the pre-1990 Fiat Uno this also has only 2 doors, manual shift, and almost 0 electronic components. Although this is more or less the same as the Fiat Uno it has no problems starting and running during the winter and it won’t be affected by an emp.
Although you might not think of Volkswagen as a car produced in a former communist country it actually was, as after ww2 the soviet union split Germany in half, with East and West Germany. Volkswagen was built both by the west and east, the eastern communist version came with manual transmission and most of them had a diesel engine. There were a lot of models built during this time from the Beetle to Polo and the largest one being the Passat.
These cars, even to this day are popular in former communist countries no matter on which continent you are.
The Trabant is one of the oddest-looking cars ever built, it has a metal frame and was almost entirely built from recycled materials. This was an unreliable car, with owners often joking that the car couldn’t survive a 500-mile journey. Although this is an EMP-proof car it’s hardly even considered a car even by the 1980’s standards. The Trabant has a large following of vintage car lovers and if an EMP hits these might be one of the cars driving on the road unaffected, although by driving I mean pushing it as probably once you get out of your parking space something will break.
- When considering a bug-out vehicle for EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) scenarios, prioritize vehicles with a higher likelihood of surviving an EMP event. Look for older vehicles without advanced electronics, such as pre-1980s models or specific military vehicles designed to withstand electromagnetic interference.
- Choose a vehicle with simple mechanical systems that are less reliant on electronic components. Diesel engines, manual transmissions, and minimal electronic dependencies can increase the vehicle’s chances of functioning post-EMP.
- Opt for a bug-out vehicle with off-road capabilities, such as four-wheel drive or all-terrain capabilities, to navigate varied terrains. Additionally, consider a vehicle with a sufficient range or the ability to carry extra fuel, ensuring you can reach your destination or find alternative fuel sources in a post-EMP scenario.
What factors should I consider when choosing a bug-out vehicle that is resistant to EMP (electromagnetic pulse)?
When selecting a bug-out vehicle with EMP resistance in mind, factors to consider include the age and make of the vehicle (older vehicles are generally less susceptible), the absence of complex electronics, the shielding of critical components, and the vehicle’s ability to operate without modern technology.
Are there any specific types of vehicles that are known for their EMP resistance?
While no vehicle is completely immune to EMP, older models with simpler electronic systems, such as pre-1980s cars and diesel vehicles without electronic fuel injection, are generally considered to have higher EMP resistance compared to modern vehicles.
What are some recommended modifications or features to protect a vehicle against EMP?
Recommended modifications and features for EMP protection include installing surge protectors or suppressors, adding metal shielding to critical components like the engine and fuel system, grounding the vehicle, and using non-electronic or shielded ignition systems.
How can I ensure that my bug-out vehicle is adequately protected from an EMP event?
Ensuring adequate protection from an EMP event involves a combination of vehicle selection, proper modifications, and adherence to best practices. Consulting with experts in vehicle EMP protection, conducting thorough research, and following recommended guidelines can help ensure your bug-out vehicle is as protected as possible.