What Vehicles Would Serve a Disaster Survivor Best?

Photo Credit: Expedition Overland

Now I know what you are already thinking…is this going to be another zombie apocalypse nut pessimistically ranting about what cars will cause the most bloodshed? Your answer is no.  Is the Zombie Apocalypse inevitably coming? Probably not. But naturally occurring disasters happen all of the time and they happen with little notice and little time to prepare. Natural disasters may replicate some of the emotions that may be related to a zombie attack and that’s why it’s important to discuss the measures that may save your life whether its zombies or the weather we are combating. This article is intended to highlight the measures one should take in preparation for a natural disaster or even the latent coming of a zombie apocalypse. I also wouldn’t be who I am if I didn’t mention the vehicles that would serve a disaster survivor best. So without further adieu, these are my suggestions:

Photo Credit: automobilemag.com

Photo Credit: automobilemag.com

  • The Ford Raptor: This powerful truck offers utility, off-road prowess, and the acceleration and torque to get out of any situation. The Raptor is Ford’s most radical version of its popular F150 pickup. This truck showcases a 6.2. liter SOHC V8 that produces a whopping 411hp and 434 lb-ft of torque. All that power get puts to the ground via four massive BFGoodrich All-terrain’s that were produced in conjunction with Ford specifically for this truck. The Raptor also brandishes an aggressive Fox-Racing suspension that features a high-altitude commercial jet-style fluid and an internal bypass system that allows the shock to stiffen and dampen itself as needed. From a survivalist standpoint the immense power that the Raptor produces would be a great asset. Being able to outrun wrong-doing transients while maintaining passenger comfort and still being able to haul a hefty load would be a must in a survival situation. The raptor boasts a 930 pound payload and can tow 6,000 pounds all while advancing a rapid transit to your safe house. The downside of the Raptor? It’s 11mpg city and 16mpg highway ratings. In a survival situation the availability of gas may be limited therefore lessening my excitement about the Raptor. The truck has all of the features that would make a good overlanding or overnight survival rig but its appetite for gas is its vice. With the help of a few (or several) jerry cans the Raptor might be able to survive okay but all those jerry cans will limit critical load capacity. The Raptors race truck lineage lends it to be incredibly off-roadable and a versatile survival vehicle but may not be the most pragmatic option.

    Photo Credit: autoevolution.com

    Photo Credit: autoevolution.com

  • The Toyota Tacoma: This truck may not be quite as radically designed for off-road terrain as the Ford Raptor, but it does boast something almost equally as valuable, simplicity. For years expeditionists and overlanders have used this modest rig to reliably haul their gear and themselves to far away destinations. As a cornerstone of the overlanding community the Tacoma lends itself to the benefit of any potential survivalist trying to traverse unknown territories when it counts the most. The 2013 Tacoma TRD T/X Baja Series model (my selection for an overlanding/survivalist application) is equipped with a 236hp four-liter V6 that makes 266 lb-ft of torque. The six-cylinder can be shifted either manually or automatically and showcases a banquet of off-road goodies. The Tacoma is equipped with off-road features such as hill-start assist, downhill assist, an electronic locking rear diff, as well as traction control. The Baja series is also equipped with BFGoodrich tires wrapped around 16-inch beadlock rims. The truck rides on Bilstein race shocks and TRD coil springs which increases ride height by two inches from standard Tacos. In addition, the Baja boasts a TRD cat-back exhaust that allows the Tacoma to breathe a little better. This model series weighs a bit more than a standard Tacoma but the extra weight is an easy trade off. The Baja series still accomplishes 19mpg city and 24mpg highway which is very admirable for a truck of its capability. As far as bang for the buck, look no further, the Tacoma has proven itself to be reliable, versatile, and efficient. With some slight modifications the Tacoma should be able to tackle any trail, haul the necessities of life, and seat four comfortably.

    Photo Credit: everythinglandrover.com

    Photo Credit: everythinglandrover.com

  • The Land Rover Defender: The Defender will celebrate its 30th Birthday in 2013 but that isn’t to say it isn’t a phenomenally capable and modern vehicle. Although over the years the Defender hasn’t seen much of a remodel since its conception, this vehicle has seen a few improvements for 2013. The sport utility that started its production during the Reagan administration will see a face-lifted interior, revitalized seating, a new sound system, and in acceptance of the 21stcentury, even a USB port! The new sound system boasts an admirable note and Bluetooth connectivity sans touch screen, which has become a staple of other sport utility manufacturers. The motor in the 2013 Defender will be consistent with the past year which showcased a new 2.2 liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel that makes 122hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. The Defender has long been recognized for its utilitarian character and its off-road ability. The Land Rover marque is unfortunately known for its questionable build-quality and unreliability. This having been said, Land Rover is also known for its ability to traverse all terrains and topographies. From a survivalist standpoint the Defender offers off-road prowess, reasonable gas efficiency, copious storage possibilities, and a vibrant off-road aftermarket. This vehicle has also been sold across many continents for many years making parts accessible in a variety of regions. Bummer is, you may need those parts sooner than you plan.

    Photo Credit: motorimpress.com

    Photo Credit: motorimpress.com

  • Toyota Land Cruiser: If I didn’t mention the Toyota Land Cruiser I would probably increase my hate mail ten-fold. The Land Cruiser has long been a competitor of the Defender and shares a similar off-road prowess without the unreliability. Over the years the Land Cruiser has built a cult following of overlanders, off-roaders, and soccer moms alike. What the Land Cruiser offers that the Land Rover does not, aside from the reliability factor, is its level of luxury. The Land Cruiser may be a Toyota but it comes equipped with a number of comfort features along with off-road characteristics. The Toyota showcases a 5.7 liter V8 that makes 381hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. This power is put to the ground via Toyota’s full-time 4WD that features high and low settings. The Land Cruiser too has a vibrant aftermarket following and is very modifiable. It also gets 17.1mpg city and 19mpg highway. Although the Land Cruiser is phenomenal off-road and at overlanding, its base price of $79,250 is it’s disadvantage. For the money, you can get Toyota reliability and off-road ability in a Tacoma for about $40,000 dollars less, not to mention the added versatility the truck bed adds.

To make a conclusive decision about the vehicle that facilitates a survivalists needs best, it must possess a few key characteristics. If a natural disaster of any kind were to occur, clearance and off-road capability would be paramount. Whether standing water or damaged roadways are the case, clearance and traction would be critical. The rig should be fitted with a snorkel and should allow reasonable clearance and maneuverability over any obstacle.

In addition, this truck should facilitate a large amount of storage and should include two very important items at all times, a “bug-out bag” and a “get home bag”. A “bug-out bag” should include things like ammunition, a gun, MRE’s, a blanket, a knife, a first aid kit, a compass, a headlamp, paracord, and maybe even a change of clothes. A “get home bag” should include those and other necessities like toiletries, sanitizer, and maybe some handheld radios. The importance of these bags is critical because you won’t always know when a disaster is coming. Your friends may deem you a paranoid mental case but when the going gets tough, you can get going.

However, I digress, these bags are vital to any survivalists assemblage but this article is about the rigs that can tackle anything. All of the vehicles listed above are capable of containing both bags but each have different capacities for remaining goods. These trucks are extremely capable off –road and each can be fitted with aftermarket equipment such as snorkels and roof racks. This being said, the deciding factors boil down to cost efficiency, homogeneity of parts, accessibility of parts, and storage. As far as I can tell the Tacoma takes the cake. Not only is the Tacoma a reliable off-roader, it also offers the most storage without compromising mileage or versatility. The Tacoma is also a very high production vehicle making parts easy to find and inexpensive to obtain. It also starts at the lowest price point in this comparison. In the end though, the best rig in a survival situation is the one that keeps running. If you’ve found one that works for you, hang on to it and continue to modify it to best serve your needs. Thanks for reading, stay safe, and stay driven!

Credits: Emmett Vick, leftlanenews.com, and motortrend.com

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