Scott B. Williams has done it again. Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters is the latest in a line of books designed to help you save your hide (and your family) should disaster (or mayhem) strike. Unlike other survival authors who may claim to have all the answers, Williams may actually have them: understand your needs and situation; think for yourself; plan and prepare ahead of time; the world doesn’t have to end for you to be forced to face a nasty scenario and make tough decisions; the more homework you do now, the less stressful it will be later.
Bug Out Vehicles is not a book that will tell you to “do this” or don’t do that.” Instead, Williams walks readers through the thought processes of true preparedness. He wants readers to learn how to think about survival situations, develop skills ahead of time, and get things in order before it’s too late to do anything but panic. Unlike other survival books that seem bent on getting people ready for an influx of zombies or invading aliens, Williams’ books offer sound, common-sense advice on being ready to deal with real world situations: like evacuating ahead of a hurricane or wildfire, for example. The S*** doesn’t have to hit the fan for Williams’ books to be useful.
Williams’ series of books is like a course in preparedness thinking. In Bug Out, he introduced readers to the idea of bugging out, getting them to think in terms of leaving as opposed to trying to stick it out when things go bad. In Getting Out Alive, he introduces the concept of thinking through scenarios ahead of time, in order to think through how you might react in similar situations and what you might do about it. In Bug Out Vehicles, he’s on to the next step, “So, how are you going to get there?”
Bug Out Vehicles begins with the premise “So, you’re leaving for ________ [your bug out shelter, another state, an area not impacted by the disaster, etc.]. Have you given much thought to how you’ll get there?” Along the way Williams covers various sorts of bug out vehicles and runs through lists of pros and cons for each one under various circumstances — what works in an orderly, low-key evacuation for a family of four, might be deadly for a single individual trying to get the hell out of an urban area in the midst of violent civil unrest. And he provides “don’t forget this” checklists for each type of vehicle he discusses.
Williams, to his credit, offers ideas and starting points for many modes of transportation (from human-powered, to internal combustion, to hay powered) and for every income level. The ability to escape in order to survive should not be limited to those with an unlimited budget. Being able to get out, Williams’ says, doesn’t depend on going out and buying a new vehicle. And he makes a compelling case for why your four-door family sedan (as unattractive as you may think it is) may not be such a bad bug out vehicle after all. He offers suggestions for modifications and accommodations for every mode of transport. Again, always with the implied questions, “What if ________?” and “Have you thought about ________?” Williams, if nothing else, wants his readers to get their minds right about being prepared.
Would I recommend Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters? You bet. For most of us, transportation is an afterthought at best. All too often, we take for granted that we’ll hop in ours cars and SUVs and take off. Williams give his reader plenty of food for thought, and readers should be biting.