Sep 04

Your Bugout / Survival Vehicle Achilles’ Heel

I have a large truck, it’s capabilities are extensive.  I can haul people and gear with the full size cab and large bed, I can tow or even winch my way out (or others) of trouble.  The powerful V8, 6 inch lift and large tires have gotten me through all sorts of mud, deep snow and even difficult off road trails where airing the tires down was a necessity.  Large steel bumpers with beefy mounts on the front and rear not only improve the look of the truck but are much more sturdy than the standard plastic / thin aluminum near worthless bumpers that come standard on most trucks.  Yet with all of this, my truck has a major vulnerability that has showcased itself 3 times in the past year: flat tires.

Yes, I have a full size spare and the equipment to change it out but that takes time.  Also if you are on a slope or any sort of area that is not flat pavement it can be a huge challenge to jack up a lifted truck with all that weight.  The point being that all of our vehicles, to include those with run flats (yes, I’ve owned a car with run flats that actually caught a flat) have this similar vulnerability.  In a bugout or survuval situation, all the prep and planning can be stopped short by a simple roofer’s nail.  What if there is a fire, flooding or some other natural disaster and you have to make a quick exit and whoops…tire sensor comes on and now you are on the side of the road at a stop where every minute is precious.  You need to be able to recify this quickly in order to get moving, here are a few items that I have in my vehicle which can help with this.  You will notice some redundancy built in here, that’s intentional.

Slime Flat Tire Repair Kit:  All the basics to repair / seal flats with a small compressor to assist in airing up the tire.  Relatively cheap and good for most vehicles, easy to use.

ARB Tire Repair Kit:  I found that I needed a much more robust tire plug kit when I snapped the handle off of my cheap plastic kit trying to plug a tire.  Trying to ream and subsequently plug a 10 ply tire required the use of a rubber mallet and some force, better to have this kit on hand when the chips are down vs something of lesser quality which could (and probably would) fail.

Smittybilt  5.56 CFM Air Compressor:  This is my primary compressor and it is very powerful, easy to use and quite handy.  My wife messaged me via her satellite communicator that she had a flat tire (no cell service) a while back.  I hopped in the truck and went to her location, an obvious hole directly in the sidewall of her tire which was not repairable.  I looked at my watch and knew the tire shop was 15 minutes away and would be closing in about 25 minutes.  I had 10 minutes or less to make something happen, as we live in the moutains it is not like our options are that of those who live in the city or suburbs.  I quickly plugged the hole and pulled out the compressor, it aired the tire back up in seconds…we were on the road very quickly headed to the shop.

The Bottom Line

This isn’t a new topic and almost borders captain obvious territory, but I know everyone who has been driving for a while has caught a flat and there is never a convenient time for this to happen.  I would also guarantee that a few choice words accompanied the realization that a tire was flat, because it always sucks.  Folks in Houston had to evacuate under duress, I was discussing the possibility of having to evacuate our location if fire ever threatened.  In times like these calling for AAA, waiting for a tow or even taking the time to jack the car up and swap to a spare (that might be buried in the trunk under lots of gear or supplies) isn’t optimal.  Time is of the essence and having the right kit to deal with a flat quickly can make all the difference.  I’ll leave you with this with respect to a spare tire, should you need it…when was the last time you checked the psi on that bad boy?

 

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2 comments

    • Roger on September 4, 2017 at 12:49 PM
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    I agree with everything you have said! My brother’s ‘hunting’ truck has two spares, mounted one on each side just inside the tail gate along with two jacks (hey, they can break too) and two 4-ways. I keep the spare behind the truck passenger seat (along with a handy-man jack & 4-way) because some genius at Ford thought putting the spare on a cable underneath the truck bed was a good ideal. Great until I got a flat on the right rear tire, pulled off road into a shallow ditch, tried to get the spare out but couldn’t squeeze under the vehicle far enough to release the spare, so after a few ‘choice’ words, I jacked up the right rear corner, stacked up several just-filled-up sand bags (standard vehicle gear for me), got the spare out and finished the job. So what should have been a 5-minute job took almost an hour, I was not happy! With the aide of hindsight, I’m happy that there wasn’t any emergency occurring at the same time, could have been a real problem! GLAHP!

      • PJ on September 4, 2017 at 1:41 PM
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      • Reply

      Roger

      Great story, thanks for sharing. Redundancy is crucial as we both have found out.

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