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Travel Trailer as a Bug Out Location Option?

October 2, 2012

It’s a very common discussion among us prepper types about the pros and cons of bugging out or not…..hunker down where you live or buy a mountain retreat and fight your way there. Even ‘retire’ and live on your BOL! If I could find a way to make a living out in the boonies, that option is very appealing to me.

But, then we get into the details of actually attempting to find a BOL and making it livable. I wrote a while back about building your own house at your BOL, which could be an option for folks with spare cash enough to work with that. Along with the skills for the project! Getting down to the price tag I could afford, we’re talkin’ way cheaper. No, I mean WAY cheaper.

I have no idea how many millions of Americans have an RV, travel trailer or pop up camper that you see on the roads all across the nation. Almost all these can be labeled ‘self sustaining’ to a degree from a very basic pop up to the insanely expensive, Vegas hotel room on wheels, glitz and glamor mega bus motor home which are fancier than the average house. Somewhere in this spectrum of product one can find comfortable accommodations for the average family. New units are in abundant supply, if you insist on new as your starting point. We bought ours several years ago as a closeout model for a couple thousand off the list price.  The market in used campers has just about anything you could want at far better prices, but will take the shopping and research to ‘fit’ you to the unit you can afford. The other caveat is, of course, just like used cars, you should be a good judge of what you’re looking for and looking at! Here’s a handy checklist on that subject:

OK, if you’re fortunate enough to have a travel trailer already or find a bargain that suits you, now you’re at the next stage…..where can we park? Especially as in long term parking. Finding a few acres up in them thar hills will cost you time, travel for inspection, and a hefty chunk of change. Most of the time you’ll have to buy several acres out in the boonies (an obvious choice for a BOL, right?) to get past the bothersome zoning regs that will block you from having a permanent travel trailer on the property, that you intend to live in, should it come down to it. Then, after all that, you must add enough utilities to make the place habitable, such as water source, septic tank, power to the location and so on. Rural properties all across the USA are for sale every day, everywhere, like this 13 acre spot in Tennessee (the listing may obviously go away, but the realtor’s site will be there) which will go with a $45,000 price tag. Plus those utilities. A fellow by the name of  Creekmore who made the deliberate lifestyle choice of permanent RV living wrote a book about how he pulled it off.

Now, here’s another angle. What about buying a camper lot? The spot will already have your water, sewer and power hookups. Like any other property, the price range is amazing and you may have to search for some time to find a lot that fits the budget, is close enough to be useful and has rules that fit with your BOL plans. In this one location in Dillard, GA (north mountains area of the state) you have a lot for $19,000 and another for $79,000! Wow, as much as prime real estate anywhere, right? Depending on the campground rules and local ordinances, you could possibly live there or at least keep your unit parked there as a permanent location. Other items one would have to research for this angle on a BOL is how and where one could store personal supplies for the SHTF situations. There is storage in every crack and crevice in the typical RV, but a long term deal would require much more than we could get in here. One would have to explore options like perhaps the use of small storage buildings /sheds on your site may be permissible, or the option of a rented storage unit close by.

In the time since the above photo was taken at a state park campsite, we have added a Leer cover to my truck, so I can use that as a portable storage space, doubling at least what the inside storage of the camper can handle. Good amount of room for extra propane tanks, food, gear, etc.  We’ve also continued to modify the camper, adding another weather cover to the front roof vent identical to the rear cover. Also, a solar panel to keep the 12 volt system up while doing true ‘boonies camping’, along with LED conversions from the standard equipment 12 volt automotive lighting inside the trailer. To extend our fresh water supply, we can run the ‘grey water‘ from the shower and sinks holding tank into a bucket to use for flushing. There is absolutely no reason to use nice fresh drinkable water to flush the toilet. I may eventually figure a way to run a pump from the grey water tank directly to the toilet water line to eliminate the bucket trip. I’ll blog that if I get around to it, as a ‘how to’ item.

Some possible pros of the situation may be that your fellow lot owners may be fine folks of the same independent streak as us preppers, and the place could possibly become a serviceable, somewhat secure (if everyone brought their weapons) area, with a defensible single road into the place. Some of the cons, well, all of the above turned around the opposite way.

So, there’s that option for you to think about for a BOL solution. As in everyone’s life, one size doesn’t fit all, every family has their specific situation, needs, budget, etc.

Plan, prepare…..survive.

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