bug out trailer

This article was kindly provided by Jeannie who talks about 8 Steps to make sure your trailer is bug out prepped for when SHTF.

8 Things to Consider When Prepping a Trailer for When SHTF

When it’s time to get out of dodge, grabbing your bug out bag to head off the grid or hunkering down in your bunker to wait it out isn’t always your best option. Having a bug out trailer prepped for when SHTF can tip the odds of survival in your favor during emergency evacs or when you’ve got a family to protect but need to stay mobile.

If you’re lucky enough to have a trailer, prepping isn’t just a matter of staying stocked up on camping supplies. You’ll need to outfit your ride with some special considerations to make sure you’re equipped for anything that comes your way, including TEOTWAWKI. Make your lists, check ’em twice, and take your trailer for a maiden run to shore up any weaknesses in your plan or items you’ve overlooked in your bugout trailer.


Here’s where to start.

1. Stock Up on Food & First Aid

Every survivalist knows the drill—food, and water for 72 hours. With a bug out bag, space is a premium, but when you have a trailer, no need to skimp on essentials. Build out a food stockpile and think outside of the can. If your trailer has a stove, don’t rely exclusively on bland MREs. Remember to refresh your food stockpile frequently and replace expired items promptly.

A trailer allows for plenty of room for a robust first-aid kit, so do more than buy a basic out-of-the-box approach. Consider the people you might be supporting and what their needs are now and in the future. Feminine hygiene, baby supplies like diapers and formula, life-saving medicines for the older adults, pet essentials, and more should all be part of the equation when we’re accounting for basic survival needs.

2. Filtered Water and Storage

If you’re headed off the grid, it’s unlikely you’ll have access to hook-ups for your trailer or RV. FEMA advises stashing a minimum of a gallon per person per day for long-term emergencies. Make sure you’ve got a filtration system for long-term drinking water needs and water purification tablets when you find yourself in a pinch.

Opt for investing in extras that’ll earn their keep like a sump pump to pull water from streams rather than tricking out your trailer with little luxuries like solar-powered water heaters. If your trailer has a waste holding tank, consider replacing it with a composting toilet or even a water storage tank.

3. Power Up

Having a bug out trailer when SHTF is great, but there’s just one teensy problem. To stay mobile, you’re gonna need fuel. You’ll also need to consider everything in the trailer that runs off power like lights, cooking, and heat. Adapt your trailer to run off solar, wind, or batteries as much as possible, convert to low-power LED lighting, and stock up on portable fuel sources like propane, gasoline, and wood that’ll give you a short-term advantage until you find a long-term fuel solution.

4. Keep Comms Up

If landline and fiberoptic networks fail during a disaster, satellite internet is likely to be up and running, so it’s your best bet for staying connected. Short of a global power outage, keeping a portable satellite internet device with you helps you follow any news or safety updates. Ham radios are also an excellent option since they’ll work long after cell phone towers have gone silent due to lack of power. Even a good CB radio may come in handy, especially if you need to call for help on the highway or backroads.

Some survival kits come equipped with hand-crank weather radios, and those are reliable solutions during basic evacuations. But also think about what tech to bring along that uses communications systems likely to survive disaster scenarios—especially those that occur more frequently in your region.


5. Got a Spare?

Give your vehicle and trailer the once-over bumper to bumper and think carefully. What components are most likely to break down? Once you’re off the grid, you’re going to become your own mechanic. It’s one of the hazards of taking to the road, and without the ability to do repairs yourself, you’ll quickly be stranded.

Keep a collection of spare parts and the tools you’ll need to address breakdowns and conduct ongoing maintenance. Consider stocking up on the following:

  • Spare tires (duh)
  • Tire repair kit
  • Air pump
  • Jumper cables
  • Duct tape
  • WD-40
  • Spare battery
  • Extra belts
  • Spark plugs

Also keep handy a variety of tools that’ll do the job, like an adjustable wrench, torque wrench, socket and ratchet set, a pair of pliers, a set of screwdrivers, tire iron, and a jack. Because knowledge is power, bring a copy of a trusted repair manual for the make and model of your vehicle. If you can’t find your trailer manual, you can probably download a copy from the manufacturer’s website to print and store.

6. Lock It Down

One of the real risks of using a trailer as a bug out plan is that it becomes an unwieldy asset that’s too valuable to leave behind. And trailers are easy to steal if you’ve got a trailer hitch and a few minutes away from prying eyes. Using redundancies in how you secure your trailer will make it much harder to drive away with.

Consider first how the trailer is coupled to your vehicle and whether a hitch lock makes sense, then invest in a wheel lock to secure it on site. Pay attention to all windows and doors and bolt them, but also lock down what might be exposed outside of your trailer like a generator.

7. Have a Backup Plan

First off, it helps to know where you’re going. There’s no point in being mobile if you don’t have a destination or the off-grid maps to help get you there. Navigating your way with a compass through the wilderness is impressive, but it won’t help you much on the open road. Download and print the local, state, and national maps you’ll need ahead of time, and pay special attention to getting quadrangle maps that will give you the detail you need.

Secondly, under no circumstances should a trailer be your only solution to survival when SHTF. Make sure you’ve also got a bug out bag and other supplies ready to go in your vehicle. In a worst-case scenario, traveling is going to be difficult, and having a trailer may become a liability. If you need to ditch it due to clogged roadways or the attention it attracts, you want your backup plan in place and easy to execute.

8. Think Ahead

So, you thwarted death and averted disaster. Now what?

If you decide to take your trailer off the grid and establish a homestead elsewhere, you’ll need a few things to put down roots. Think seed vaults and farming tools, a sewing kit and material, animals, and ammunition.

The list should encompass what you might need for long-term survival and to cultivate and build a life. Once you get beyond the basics of clean air, safe drinking water, an abundant food supply, and weather-resistant shelter, consider other needs to help you and your family thrive.

There may be several reasons why you’d want to take it to the streets instead of sheltering in place, so prepping your trailer is smart.

Just be sure to cover your bases by having other options such as a well-equipped bunker on your property. Or a lean solution like a bug out bag that’ll enable you to head out into the wilderness.

Being prepared is all about having choices and staying one step ahead so you can not only survive but also eventually thrive.

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