Category Archives: Transportation

RV Ops: Preparing Your Base Camp

Entering into a survivalist situation often means having to think on your feet. And sometimes, it means having to think on your back as well. Or, to be more specific, about how and where you intend to bunker down each night.

Preparing a camp isn’t simply a matter of pitching a tent and unrolling a sleeping mat. There are all sorts of things to consider when you’re in a survivalist situation; such as, how to make fire without being seen, how to sleep (or not) on wet ground, and how you should prepare for inclement weather or hostile conditions.

With these factors in mind, it becomes clear that preparing a base camp will take careful consideration. But if you prepare in advance you’ll find that, when it comes time to put your plans into action, everything will go smoothly.

Packing for a Survivalist Situation

When it comes to packing, the old adage is ‘pack light’. But when it comes to preparing your base camp, this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on any of the essentials. You basic camping kit should contain:

  • A medical kit, including antiseptic, plasters and bandages.
  • Food; dry goods, energy bars and tins.
  • Water, and a water purifying system.
  • A cooker, and cooking equipment.
  • Firelighters, including a tinder box and flints.
  • A sleeping mat, sleeping bag and tent, AND
  • A hammock.
  • A navigation kit, including torch, compass, notebook, map etc.
  • Sharps and tools, including a hatchet, Swiss army knife and safety pin.

These items will form the basis of your survival checklist – the absolute bare minimum of what you will need in an outdoor survivalist situation.

How to Prepare Your Camp

Choosing the location of your camp is the first important part of setting your camp up. It doesn’t matter if you’re bunking down for just one night, or if you intend to ride out a few seasons in the same location. A well chosen spot will aid you in the event of your needing to find food, water or an escape route. With this in mind, camping with your back to a cliff or steep incline is a great idea, as you’ll also be protected from the wind.

The type of camp you will set up will be dependent upon a number of factors, including how permanent your camp will be, what the weather and ground conditions are like, and whether or not you expect to encounter any nasty bugs, predators or other dangers. If in doubt, opt for a hammock. Sleeping above the ground will offer you the best protection from most natural hazards.

About The Author: Daniel Stratton is a freelance writer with an interest in outdoors and prepping topics. Most of the goods mentioned above can be found at who specialize in outdoors, tactical and similar gear and items.

DHS Purchases 2,700 Armored Vehicles… For What?

By Ken Jorgustin | From| Updated March 4th, 2013


The Department of Homeland Security (through the U.S. Army Forces Command) recently retrofitted 2,717 of these ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ vehicles for service on the streets of the United States.

Although I’ve seen and read several online blurbs about this vehicle of late, I decided to dig slightly deeper and discover more about the vehicle itself.

The new DHS sanctioned ‘Street Sweeper’ (my own slang due to the gun ports) is built by Navistar Defense (, a division within the Navistar organization. Under the Navistar umbrella are several other companies including International Trucks, IC Bus (they make school buses), Monaco RV (recreational vehicles), WorkHorse (they make chassis), MaxxForce (diesel engines), and Navistar Financial (the money arm of the company).


From Navistar Defense:

The International® MaxxPro® is Navistar Defense’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle and incorporates the latest design in armoring technology. Extensively tested by the military and used in theater today, the MaxxPro features a V-shaped hull and other design features that greatly improve survivability. With so much protection, it’s the vehicle that every crew wants when they’re out in the field.

MaxxPro® MRAP specifications:

Length: 254″ (21.2 feet)
Width: 102″ (8.5 feet)
Height: 120″ (10 feet)
Wheel base: 153″ (12.8 feet)
Curb weight: 37,850 lbs. (18.9 tons)
Engine: MaxxForce® 9.3

The MaxxPro MRAP is built to withstand ballistic arms fire, mine blasts, IEDs, and other emerging threats. Its V-shaped hull helps deflect blasts out and away from the crew and its armoring can be customized to meet any mission requirement.


The installation contract retrofits 2,717 vintage MaxxPro vehicles (work performed in West Point, Mississippi) with a new rolling chassis. This chassis enhancement included the addition of the DXM™ independent suspension, a MaxxForce® 9.3 engine, and a 570 amp alternator and driveline. The work was completed at the end of May 2012.

Observations and Questions:

Why would DHS need such over-the-top vehicles on U.S. streets to withstand IEDs and mine blasts?

There are rails along the perimeter windows/gun ports to help displace the impact of RPG rounds… seems a bit much for a Police/Rescue vehicle…

They all have gun ports… Rescue vehicle?

Seriously, why would DHS need such a vehicle on our streets? What are they expecting or preparing for? It is a ridiculous over-the-top display of force that is meant to intimidate and associate the DHS name and logo with ‘FEAR’. Just like all that’s happening with the TSA (under the wing of DHS), this is about normalization of a new way of American life.

By the way, you’re the one who paid for these. Or better said… your grand-kids will pay for these since we are living on a negative balance sheet with a 16 Trillion dollar deficit.

I am curious to know if any of our MSB readers have seen any of these vehicles? Send photos and encounters if you have them…

George Washington once said, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”

Update: One reader has suggested that the DHS vehicles are not Navistar MaxxPro, but Golan (Israeli made) armored vehicles, while another reader who apparently has worked for Navistar confirms that this vehicle is indeed made by Navistar. There have been numerous reports on this story swirling within the blogosphere with varying claims of make and model. While this new information may or may not be accurate, I still question the need for these types of military armored vehicles riding on the ‘free’ streets of America, regardless of who makes them.

Existing Reset Line Available to Service Vehicles Returning from Deployment

LISLE, Ill., March 15, 2012 Navistar Defense, LLC received an award to conduct the installation work associated with its January order to upgrade 2,717 International® MaxxPro® Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles with a new vehicle chassis.


These mods are for the “vehicle reset line”, meaning, for those that are or have apparently come home from overseas. Where are they exactly being deployed? It is difficult to say, because they have not exactly said. There are pictures out there with Homeland Security printed on the sides of these vehicles. There are reports that some of them are being purposed for Border Patrol. There are personal accounts of seeing the vehicles elsewhere. The DoD and DHS have an apparent working relationship, and these returning MRAP’s are apparently being re-purposed here on American streets. On the one hand it sounds frugal, on the other it sounds unnecessary (with exception to border patrol IMHO). One could argue that we might simply mothball them until such time they’re needed again (although understandably, decay would set in – it’s cost versus reward).


“We are focused on increasing the capabilities of our existing fleet with minimal impact to defense funding,” said Archie Massicotte, president, Navistar Defense. “The vehicle reset line we established for this installation work can also be utilized to restore older vehicles to like-new condition. Therefore, we are poised and ready to reset vehicles returning from deployment…”

The installation contract retrofits vintage MaxxPro vehicles with a new rolling chassis. This chassis enhancement includes the addition of the DXM™ independent suspension, a MaxxForce® 9.3 engine, 570 amp alternator and driveline, while leaving a residual chassis with a beam axle that can be reused. The retrofits will be conducted in West Point, Miss., and work is expected to be completed by the end of May 2012.

The company has fielded nearly 9,000 MaxxPro vehicles and continues to anticipate needed vehicle capabilities, enhancements, reset and reuse options for its entire fleet of 32,000 vehicles.

source: Navistar Defense, LLC (March 15, 2012 archives)

The DHS and DoD report up the Executive branch to the Commander in Chief. The DoD / military is primarily limited to overseas actions due to the Posse Comitatus Act, while the new DHS (thanks to the Patriot Act after 9/11) is intended for operations on U.S. soil. The DHS is seemingly becoming the ‘legalized’ military here at home… and one could argue that it may be circumventing the Posse Comitatus Act to some degree.


About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

Choosing A Bug Out Vehicle

By Sixpack | From

A highly customized ex-military M1008 as a bug-out vehicle

A highly customized ex-military M1008 as a bug-out vehicle

Peoples opinions on which Bug Out Vehicle (BOV) is the best, are about as varied as the discussions on which firearm is the best. But choosing a BOV is something I’ve given a lot of consideration to because I live on the out-skirts of a major city, and will have to bug-out to a prearranged retreat in the event of a crisis. I started researching my options shortly after the 9/11 attacks, and have come up with the criteria that fit my needs, and maybe the needs of some body else.

This is what I’ve come up with, and I hope it helps someone else.

1.) Four wheel drive vs two wheel drive–Whatever vehicle you choose MUST be four wheel drive, nothing else will do when going off-road. I know that in my area, any and all paved roads will rapidly become parking lots, leaving going cross-country as my only option and two wheel drive will do nothing but get you stuck.

2.) Cargo capacity–What ever vehicle you choose MUST have adequate cargo capacity to carry ALL your survival goods, plus your loved ones (there are off road trailers that can help, and I’ll address those later). This leaves out any of the CJ-YJ series Jeeps, Honda’s, or ANY of the small “SUV’s.” I personally wouldn’t use anything smaller than a half ton. You must also remember that the heavier duty the vehicle is, the tougher it is to break. And believe me when you go off-roading, parts break. So again the spaghetti thin axles and drivetrain parts on these smaller “SUV’s” will probably become a liability, if you have to go cross country.

3.) Mostly stock vs highly modified–Unless you’re extremely wealthy and can carry any spare parts for a modified 4×4, what ever vehicle you choose should remain as stock as possible, with mild upgrades of hard parts being ok. While it’s cool to have a 4×4 that has a lot of “eye candy” and makes every one at the local “Joe’s-biffy-burger-cruise-in” jealous with envy, it will be very difficult to repair in the field when something breaks. You’ll have a much better chance of finding used parts for a mostly stock vehicle, than one that is highly modified. Just keep your modifications to those that will add durability to the vehicle, and give you better off-road performance.

4.) Diesel engine vs gas engine–I’m a huge proponent of a bug-out vehicle that runs on diesel for a number of reasons.

a) Durability: A diesel engine’s service life is about twice that of a gas engine.

b) EMP proof: Most of the diesels manufactured before 1998, are mechanical (no computers to control the vitals), and electronics are minimal and should survive an EMP blast, or will be easy to replace. [If I’m wrong about this, some one correct me.]

c) Economy: Generally speaking a diesel engine will get better fuel economy, than it’s gas engine’s counterpart for the same vehicle.

d) Ability to use non-standard fuels: A diesel engine will run on other fuels that are “not for highway use.” Diesel engines will run on diesel (of course), home heating oil (keep some cheese cloth or old tee-shirts to strain it), kerosene, JP-5, and JP-8 jet fuels. So by “thinking outside the box”, you have improved your chances of finding a way to re-fuel, when the gas stations are out.

e) Storing diesel vs storing gasoline: With stabilizers, diesel fuel will store about ten times longer than gasoline that has stabilizers added. Those who already live at their retreat and are storing diesel, will have a fuel source longer than those who are storing gasoline. This also applies to those folks who have diesel generators and live at their retreats.

5.) Off-road trailers: For those who have to have “the latest and greatest” small SUV’s, off-road trailers are available. But when choosing one try to stay away from the standard Ball hitch, try instead to use a trailer that uses a Pintle type hitch. Any one that has done any off-roading with a ball type hitch, knows what I’m talking about. Over rough terrain they tend to come loose, and that’s not what you need when trying to get away from a crisis. There are some really nice commercial trailers but the downside to those is cost, they are expensive. The best deals I’ve found on good off-road trailers, are the ex-military trailers. I’ve seen them selling from around $300-$500, they are the best bargain for those wanting to go that route.

6.) Paint: Some might ask, “why is paint important?” Having brilliant, attention getting colors that stick out in the woods while trying to escape doesn’t make sense. A simple paint job, in a non-obtrusive basic color is your best bet. I would choose any of the green or brown colors as they will blend in better with foliage, a lot better that the flashier colors will. And if you have thought about it in advance, brown or green paints just need a light sanding, and paint job with camo-paint from Walmart, to blend in better.

7.) Diesel conversions for gasoline vehicles: These can be done, and are being done by more than a few off-roaders. I’ve seen Jeep Cherokees and Wranglers, as well as some other 4×4’s that have been converted. A lot of the conversions are being been done using the Cummins 4BT Turbo Diesels and the Hurcules DT3.7 Turbo Diesel. Both of the engines are four cylinder, and are achieving an average of 30-35 mpg. There is a company that is selling rebuilt Hurcules engines for $5,746, and also have the adapters to retro-fit them to several vehicles. You can find them at: The Cummins 4BT’s were used in a lot of the old delivery panel trucks, just look for an older Frito-Lays delivery truck, more than likely it’s a 4BT.

8.) Used military vehicles: Used military vehicles are a good source when looking for a bug-out-vehicle. The Chevy M1008/M1009 trucks and Blazers can be had for a very good price, most under $5,000. They use the 6.2 liter diesel, it doesn’t make a lot of power but it’s a very durable engine, and at the prices you can get them for it makes for a pretty good bargain. Another plus to using ex-military vehicles is, they are also already set up to tow the military trailers.

Okay, all this to get to what I have chosen for my BOV………………Whew!!!!

I ended up buying a 1980 Jeep Cherokee. I also bought a 1984 M1008 CUCV for it’s entire drivetrain. When the Cherokee is finished it’ll have the 6.2 diesel, turbo 400 tranny, an NP205 transfer case, a Dana 60 front axle and GM 14 bolt rear axle (both with 4.56 gears and lockers). I’m using stock leaf springs with a spring over axle swap in the front, and a shackle flip in the rear. We are making custom front and rear bumpers, sliders, and exo-skeleton with a safari rack. I’ve got four of the front fender flares from an older Jeep M715 military truck, these along with the lift from the suspension mods I’m doing, will allow me to run the Michelin 325/85r16 military radials, I’ve bought. It will also have a snorkel, and the exhaust raised above the roofline in case we come across deep water. I will be covering it in green bedliner instead of paint, I’m doing this for two reasons, durability and I hate washing this beast! If time allows I’ll also be doing the veg-oil conversion. Here are a couple pics from before I took it off the road to do the conversion, the black one is a friends that’s also being built.

Anyway, I hope my research and opinions help at least one person who is trying to figure out what they need in their bug-out-vehicle.

This article was originally posted at

About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

Book Preview: Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters

The front cover of Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters.

The front cover of Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters.

From the back cover:

A cataclysmic disaster strikes your area. How will you evacuate your family to safety? Do you have a vehicle you can count on? Can it double as a mobile retreat, or do you have a shelter prepared in advance? What’s your plan for reaching the shelter?

Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters gives you the vital answers and options for becoming a survivor instead of a refugee:


  • Prepping fast-escape vehicles
  • Using specially equipped vehicles for unique situations
  • Planning for backup vehicles if your main escape option fails
  • Utilizing bikes, canoes, kayaks, rowboats and other human-powered means of escape


  • Preparing temporary shelters
  • Locating and stocking long-term shelters
  • Using an RV, motor home, camper trailer or converted utility vehicle
  • Living aboard boats, from motorboats to houseboats to blue-water sailboats

Explaining the advantages and drawbacks of each vehicle and shelter option, this survival handbook zeroes in on the key considerations and essential equipment for planning all your bug-out needs.

The book, written by Scott B. Williams, Editor of, contains 320 pages and comes in two editions. The paperback version is available for $10.85 while the price for the Kindle edition is set at $8.99. Both are currently sold at The Marketplace.

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ulysses Press (October 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569759790
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569759790
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.8 inches

Special thanks to Ulysses Press for providing the preview sample.

About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.

The Art of Bugging Out

The Art Of Bugging Out

The Art Of Bugging Out

By: The Covert Prepper

Bugging out of, or evacuating, our homes is a last ditch effort to stay alive in a dynamic and turbulent situation. It must be the last thing that a prepper can do, or should do. You’re not just bugging out, you’re becoming a refugee.

So if you only have a minute in which to evacuate, such as a train derailment that is leaking poisonous gas, consider this plan:

  1. Everyone gets dressed appropriately, including shoes and boots, coats and jackets
  2. Grab your bug out bag
  3. Grab sleeping gear. Include Teddy Bears for the little ones
  4. Everyone walks out of the house as a group.
  5. If a person is missing, grab their stuff so they will have it when they reach your location.

If you have about 5-10 minutes to evacuate, you’ll have more time to get more stuff in a vehicle and leave. Delegate age-appropriate areas of responsibility to children and work as a team. Once a person has completed their tasks, they need to help another complete theirs.

Follow the first 5 steps

People can be assigned to get the following to the vehicle. Assign as necessary

  • Food preps
  • Important documents
  • Laptops
  • Weapons and ammo
  • 1st aid kit and toiletries (like toilet paper)
  • Water containers and filters
  • Camping gear
  • Fishing gear

Make a check list for each person so they have a list in hand so nothing is forgotten.

Once these things are out to the vehicle, someone should secure the utilities while the vehicle is being packed. Everyone in the family or group should know how to secure the utilities if they should be asked to. Once everything is packed, then the bug out bags are carried in by each person LAST. You may need to abandon the vehicle, so keep the BOB’s handy. Don’t forget to pack distraction stuff for kids like books, games, music, whatever to keep them mellow. And you need to stay calm.

If you have more time, about 30 minutes, add this to your check list:

  • Fill any containers, and the bathtub with water for your return.
  • If there is room in the vehicle, pack more food and water in the spaces.
  • Lock all doors and windows. Remove any window A/C units and then lock them up.

So just a few pointers:

  1. Put a red zip tie on everything that will be used to bug out. If there is no zip tie, don’t grab it
  2. Put your evacuation point in your GPS NOW to avoid being rushed at the last minute
  3. Have at least four routes to your destination in mind. And share this with everyone you are grouped with.
  4. Tell or text people when and where you are going, and when you have arrived at your destination.
  5. If you are separated from the family or group, don’t waste time trying to contact anyone until you are in the vehicle and on the road. Just plan on meeting at the agreed upon point.

Special thanks to The Covert Prepper for the guest-post. Posted here with permission. To read more from The Covert Prepper, please visit

About The Author: RSOP is the co-founder & Executive Editor of Radical Survivalism Webzine, as well as a Family Preparedness Consultant with nearly five years of personal experience in the self-reliance game. RSOP's many preparedness roles within his own group include team mechanic, head of security, electrician, and project designer/engineer.