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9 Ways To Protect Your Survival Vehicle

White Survival Van Parked On A Lot
White Survival Van Parked On A Lot

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You smartly invested in a survival vehicle as a means of protecting your family in case the unthinkable happens. However, many Car Preppers forget to consider that they now have a highly coveted luxury item that many unsavory characters would love to get their hands on, either before or after an emergency event takes place.

We aren’t suggesting that you go full tactical and or know every survival skill, but there are a few upgrades that can significantly improve the vehicle’s security posture. So we put together this list of ways to protect your survival vehicle and other enhancements that are important to secure your 4-wheeled protector.

Here are the 9 ways to protect your survival vehicle:

  1. Heavy-duty carriage bolt locks
  2. Bullet resistant survival windows
  3. Bullet resistant interior panels
  4. Portable video monitoring system
  5. Mountable LED fog lights
  6. Hood latch
  7. Gas tank locks
  8. Wheel locks
  9. Keep the vehicle’s exterior plain and inconspicuous

1) Heavy-duty carriage bolt locks

Carriage bolts


With the amount of sweat equity that has gone into building your bug out vehicle, it would be a shame if all it took was a simple pair of bolt-cutters for an unwanted intruder to make their way inside. If your goal is to adequately protect your survival vehicle, it’s critical to prioritize reinforcing all existing door locks on your vehicle. We would recommend using high-grade padlocks that require drilling into the exterior hull using carriage bolts, and a steel-cased hasp that protects the locking mechanism.

To do this, drill holes into the car door corresponding to the hole pattern of metal plates that came with the padlock. Next, mount the metal plates on either side of the hinging and stationary sides of the door. Input the carriage bolts in the drilled holes, then from the inside of the door, tighten the nuts and washers using a wrench. In cases where you want to secure the back hull, like with Cargo vans that have dual opening back doors, mount the metal plate on both doors, so when closed, the lock prevents either door from opening.

2) Bullet resistant windows

Bullet proof glass


Most people tend to think of bulletproof windows as something that only happens in the movies, and in a certain sense, they would be correct. In fact, there is no such thing as “bulletproof” windows, and this was simply a Hollywood fairytale to make our favorite heroes and heroines look cooler than they actually were. Bullet resistant windows, however, are real and can significantly improve the security of your bug out vehicle, particularly when SHTF.

Despite popular belief, installing bullet-resistant glass on a civilian vehicle is not illegal, and depending on the grade of glass being used this can be relatively inexpensive in relation to the enhanced security it provides. For the remainder of this article, we reference the term “bullet-resistant” to highlight the inherent strength of materials being used, not necessarily because of the fear of being shot at.

3) Bullet resistant interior panels

If you have already decided to invest in bullet resistance windows, the next logical upgrade would be to secure the entire hull of the survival vehicle. Automobile exteriors are typically composed of rather weak materials such as aluminum, plastics, or fiberglass. Believe it not, fortifying the interior hull of your survival vehicle can be easy depending on if you are retrofitting a survival car, cargo van, or a truck.

A common material used to secure areas like bank teller counters and other secured enclosures is bullet-resistant fiberglass panels, which are composed of flat sheets of polyester laminate reinforced with fiberglass.

Since trucks (like a moving truck, for example) typically have flat and even wall surfaces, it will be easier to cut and apply the bullet-resistant material to the interior walls because fewer cuts will be required. For cargo vans, there could be a challenge mounting the material to rounded or uneven interior surfaces, which may require building a separate wall, or structure, to hold the content in place. It’s also critical that the bullet-resistant material is secured tightly using clamps designed for its usage.

4) Portable video monitoring system

Survival vehicle car camera



A key element of survival is making sure that you have extra pairs of eyes to monitor your surroundings at all times. A video monitoring system is an absolute must-have, not only for your survival vehicle but also for your everyday vehicle as well. Over the years, the cost of High-Definition portable video monitoring systems has decreased substantially. This is just another tool on your belt to increase your family’s safety.

5) Mountable LED fog lights

Mounting LED fog lights on your survival vehicle is another great way to provide an additional layer of security during a bug out emergency event. Regardless if you need the extra light to be found by rescue crews, or to shine a bright light on questionable activity lurking nearby, the inexpensive cost of these make them a no-brainer for all prepper vehicles.

6) Hood latch

Historically, one of the ways criminals could break into your car without tripping the alarm is to cut your vehicle’s battery cable, which disabled the auxiliary power to the vehicle. Some car models today don’t prevent someone from simply opening the hood of a car. In a survival scenario, aside from family, your survival vehicle is by far your most valuable asset. Using an external hood latch to secure your hood can be a great safety mechanism against nefarious behavior.

7) Gas tank locks

Gas is the lifeblood for mobility, heat, and other aspects of a survival scenario. As seen in our favorite apocalyptic TV shows, one of the first resources to get rand-sacked are gas tanks. During the 2000s when gas prices sky-rocketed, many stories of thieves siphoning gas out of vehicles made national headline news.   You want to make sure that you secure your gas tanks as best as possible, and one way to accomplish this is with a locking gas cap.

8) Wheel locks

Car wheel locked


Wheel locks are an excellent option to help protect your survival vehicle from theft, both before and after a disastrous event strikes. If you notice, many of the items on this list individually are not full-proof solutions; however, together they act as a deterrent. Wheel locks are big and noticeable, and most thieves are prone to engaging in crimes of opportunity, meaning cars, vans, and trucks that are easy targets. Most criminals or bad actors will not want to deal with wheel locks, in addition to all the other fun gadgets you have deployed.

9) Keep the vehicle’s exterior plain and inconspicuous

Perhaps one of the most overlooked security aspects of survival vehicles is to make sure they can hide in plain sight. We recommend keeping your vehicle’s exterior as plain as possible in an effort not to draw more attention than necessary. This is one reason why we always recommend either a cargo van or a large flatbed truck as your survival vehicle of choice. This is primarily because there are fewer windows, creating fewer points of entry and opportunities for others to peek inside.

The name Rugged Man was born out of a bet gone horribly wrong, however, the name stuck. Technology nerd by day, and survival enthusiast by night, he is committed to helping thousands of everyday people become more educated about topics such as Prepping, Survival, and Bug Out Strategies.

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