5 Tips You Need to Know When Bugging Out in a Trailer


by Jeremiah Johnson, Ready Nutrition:

There are many completely everyday occasions during the summer months when a trailer is a nicety: that happy family vacation to a remote wilderness area, or the family trip to the beach. Visiting the relatives in another state without imposition. The list runs on and on. What about for a disaster as a backup residence? What about a complete collapse? A travel trailer can be much more than just a recreational vehicle.

We saw the practicality for campers in The Walking Dead. Granted, they are bulkier and slower but provide essential shelter during a full-on disaster event. Keep in mind, this is not a piece designed to address the human factors of displaced marauders or the “need” for allies and alliances. You’re going to have to assess what is in your area and where you estimate the human “flow” will occur relative to where you’ll be, as well as whatever territorial tribal “fiefdom” or enclave you’ll have to pass through, or around. The article addresses the basics.

A Hefty Price Tag

Firstly, this will run you some money. Then again, you’ll have to weigh whether or not you and (if applicable) your family that you’ll take with you are worth it to you in financial terms. If the answer is “yes,” then you’ll just have to figure out whether you’re going to pay for it or find a deal, but the basics are the same, bottom line.

If you’re “flying solo,” the needs and logistics are less, but they exist and are still the same.  Volumes of things needed such as food, water, medicine, etc., are less, but you need to take account of them. One good pick in this regard is one of the older model Bell Travel Trailers. I still have one for when I want to hunt a long distance from home. These are equipped with niceties such as a bed, refrigerator, stove, sink, bathroom, and some storage room, with a folding table.

5 Tips to Follow for Bugging Out in a Trailer

You can tow these with a pickup truck and not a “fifth wheel,” especially when they’re measuring about 25 to 30-feet in length. The tow hitch is usually fitted for a couple of propane tanks to use for heat, for the refrigerator, and for the kitchen stove. The trick for all of this is to maximize your storage within the space allotted. Before you start, there are some things you need to check out first.

  1. The integrity of the camper body: you need to be really thorough on this one. Ceilings tend to leak, and seams become cracked or they widen. A good way to test is to take a garden hose and run a steady flow of water over the rooftop.  You’ll find a leak in this manner. Look for places that have been repaired and then “stealthily” caulked and painted over. Leaky areas include edges where rooftop and walls meet, skylight/rooftop hatches, windows, and vent pipe openings.
  2. Check your fittings for the propane tanks and their hookups: the nozzles should be able to seal to the bottle and the tubes should not be bent, kinked, or missing. There should be a normal flow between the bottle and the stove or the refrigerator. There should be a heating system that works. Pilot lights should be in order.
  3. Mileage and tires: Most of these types of smaller trailers have two wheels and a post-stand that retracts for a third point. Check the tires for their condition and also see how it moves when it’s hitched up. The axle and bearings should be in good order and the wheels turn smoothly and straight. Many trailers are sold because they’ve been banged up and their axles and bearings are either bent or not working.
  4. Cleanliness: if it’s a used trailer and appears to be a pigpen? Then it hasn’t been maintained properly and you can depend on it to be undependable. This isn’t about complete trailer restoration. You can fix some things but don’t allow P.T. Barnum to “sucker” you with a low price on a lemon. This includes the bathroom, and if it has a septic/bathroom tank that hasn’t been cleaned out prior to sale?  Don’t even deal with them any further.
  5. Inspection record: if the trailer has a maintenance log, you should request to see it, and with a sale of good standing, the owner should have no problem with that or with explaining anything the maintenance records cover. Check out the engine and if you can swing it, bring a mechanic with you whom you trust to give you the yes or no nod.

There are many advantages to having a trailer to bug out in if a SHTF scenario occurs or a disaster strikes. During Hurricane Katrina (that I made it through personally: see my articles on it: Part 1 and Part 2), there were tens of thousands of people stranded on the highways. All hotels and motels were filled, the gasoline was gone, and the grocery stores and convenience stores for a radius of a hundred miles were emptied.

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