Episode-2117- Steven Harris and Jack Spirko on Bug Out Trailers — 113 Comments

  1. I haven’t been able to listen to this yet but it appears to have information related to a shed to house build I’m planning. I wanted to get input about:

    Solar and wind energy combined

    Composting toilets

    Heating/cooling options off grid

    Cooking options

    If you our Steve Harris have input or informational links, I’d love to hear about them.

  2. I’ve been wanting to load-out my 7×16 enclosed trailer, so this is good timing. I do NOT want to make it an RV, I’ll be buying a motorhome in the coming years and will pull the trailer with the motor home on an evac.

    my 7×16 will primarily garage for my motorsports, transport, but secondarily an evac system.

    I have a list of things I want to load-out for my trailer.

    here is my WIP blog on this.  this podcast will really help!


  3. Costco has 27 gallon totes for $7.99 everyday price, at least in my state.  Same as the ones at Home Depot, black with yellow top, stack up to 4 or 5 high.

    • In Va. Office Max has the yellow and black totes 27 gal on sale at 5 for $32.

      $33.50 with tax. I bought a set yesterday.

    • I’ve seen Jame’s trailer vid, seems like it was mostly ammo & gas.  I think 1000 rounds of 9mm and 556 & 308 you should be good. 5k of 22lr.

      I don’t want to store gas inside my trailer, as it’ll leak and then won’t be good sleeping.

      I took the kids to Moab UT for a offroad adventure and we pulled the machine out and most of us slept in the trailer. It was about 40 degrees outside and we were pretty warm.


      • Actually, if you store gasoline properly, you will have zero leaks and won’t smell anything whatsoever.  I’d advise you to check out the episode on fuel storage for how to do so.

      • I have had a NATO fuel can in the full of gas in an enclosed space for 6 months or so now. I have not smelled it once. I got it from Amazon the seller was Atlantic British.

        • While I have explained this many times I’ll try again. With the NATO style cans that are not actually NATO cans, it isn’t that they fail in their seal, it is that pain inside eventually peals off. You didn’t say that your can was real NATO or NATO style so this may not apply to you.

        • The one I have is one of the Eastern Europe produced ones it is stamped Wavian. I haven’t seen any peeling as of yet. I use it with a clear hose super siphon and probibly would have noticed it. But like I said, it has only been 6 months or so. It isn’t one of the terrible chinese ones.

  4. Too funny. I have just started a YouTube Channel to help people build their own Bug Out Trailers. I don’t have much up as of yet.  I do plan to grow with step by step videos for the average person with average tools to be able to build one in a few weekends. The concept is to show people how to build a reasonable cost trailer that supplies can be stored in and also serve as shelter in a bug out situation.

    These trailers are made of foam and are super light so just about any vehicle can tow them.

    Of course the trailers can be used for other activities if a person was to choose so.

    • Thanks for that! I’ve been thinking about making an insulated trailer and matching it with a coolbot to make a mobile cold storage room. Then I can bring the trailer to the work site, harvest, pack, load into the trailer, and from there to customers, without the food ever leaving the cold zone. I was thinking foam with some type of covering, so that looks perfect!

      Btw, what did you use as the glue for the foam to canvas?

  5. Brilliant Podcast today, I can think of about 40 questions in relation to it here are a few for the moment..


    Question for Steve.

    Does cold weather or freezing weather do any permanent damage to a lead acid battery, or does it just temporary reduce the cranking power while the battery is still cold ?



  6. A great topic, and something I’ve thought about recently.

    As far as bare bones trailer, are there any pros and cons between one type of trailer vs. another? What are the must haves (or not haves) in bare empty trailer under consideration for conversion?

  7. Question for Steve

    I bought a few of the Harbour Freight 2 stroke gasoline generators. The are marked as 1000 watt but I think the the produce about 800 watt but that is fine for what I use them for (fishing, camping, hobbies etc)


    Steve mentioned that they are good for 1000 hours, just wondering can that be prolonged with care full use or extra maintenance etc, if so what could one do to make them last longer.


    For example would adding a little extra 2 stroke oil to make the mix more oily prolong the engines life?



  8. I once knew a truck driver who used to sleep with a 5 gallon plastic drum of cold water under a few duvets in the cab of his truck.

    His theory was that when he awoke 8 hours later the water was close enough to body temperature such that the cold sting was gone out of the water and he could wash and shower with the water comfortably with it.


    Not do be done if using an electric blanket !


  9. Someone correct me if I am wrong, I think singer Van Morrisin is from Northern Ireland , (band U2 are from Dublin Ireland as are The Boom Town Rats)

    The Boom Town Rats moved to London UK after becoming successful, Their hit song ‘I don’t like Mondays’ was featured on the Survival Podcast a few months back.

  10. Just wondering if Jack or Steve or anyone in the TSP Community have any suggestions for deterring climbing insects and slugs from climbing up a trailer (and possibly into it) when it is parked on grass similar to as shown on the photo above or when parking near trees.

    I recently heard here on the SP that mint plants deter insects, I have yet to try that, any further ideas welcome.

    (Handy as the mint plant can have a secondary use for brewing Jacks ‘Jim’s Socks’ tea to help me sleep and dream ! )

  11. Any thoughts on painting the outside silver or cladding it with some sort of stick on aluminium foil to reflect the heat ( like the greyhound coaches).


    Is silver/chrome much better or just marginally better than white?


    Would it be worth the extra effort?

    • Just painted my roof of my trailer a few months ago with PURE WHITE roof sealant paint, it was right next to the silver stuff.  The white had a by FAR better emissivity rating on it than the silver did.

  12. Does a twin axle trailer require a NCT / MOT /  anual safety cert, (ie brakes test etc).


    Would a single axle trailer be a simpler option ?


    Here in Europe my standard car/jeep licence only allows me to pull a single axle trailer.

    I could sit the test for the double axle trailer but it is a whole lot of bother and is just a money racket by the government.

  13. What about a washing machine in the trailer, what about power requirements for it?

    Next best thing after a shower is clean clothes.

    Perhaps a follow up show on trailer internal fit out , space optimisation, duel purpose items etc.

    Perhaps a small wood stove like fitted in canal barge boats.


  14. I was thinking about descrete component LED lighting using series connected LEDs four or five red ultrabright in series a resistor to limit current to 20mA on 14V alternator less on a 12V battery. That could be car charged without an inverter.
    What temperature will the heat pump no longer be able to draw heat from the outside air? -10F
    When it is hot wouldn’t it be cooler underground?

  15. Wondering would a large new horse box trailer be a good base to start from?


    Advantages are, they are high, usually have a curved roof ( which tends to be naturally rain proof, even with ageing, are fairly well built, yet simple.

    They often have a small door at the front, (good for quick access on wet days when the ‘deck’ is raised and closed.


    Well sprung, mass produced so easy to find.


    Anominity, looks like on a regular trip to collect horses, maybe wrap a bale of hay in clear plastic, water seal it and tie it to the front or back while on the road !


  16. Gentlemen,


    What about repair parts for the trailer? Electrical for brake lights , tires, etcetera?


    Jack, by chance is Daminana, available through Western Botanicals at all?

    Great Show, thank Jack and Steven.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  17. I’d be interested to hear answers from both Jack and Steve on these cargo trailer attributes:

    Steel or Aluminum Frame?

    Flat-Top/V-Nose or Round-Top/Round-Nose?

    Awesome Part One – looking forward to Part Two!

  18. Love this type of podcast episode.

    Steve – I really wish you had your own podcast.

    Jack – great content and podcast as usual.

    Thanks to the both of you.

    This type of content sets the bar for all other podcasts out there.


  19. Theft!  How would you recommend securing both the trailer itself, and its contents, so your valuable supplies don’t end up disappearing?

    Thanks, great show!

  20. For a shower, I use a pump sprayer that I picked up at Lowes and use an adapter and hose and hooked up a sink sprayer. The wand that comes with the pump sprayer has too fine of a spray to be useful but the sink one works great.


    I just moved up to New Hampshire from Texas so this is my first real winter to deal with. Instead of heating my room when I sleep I bought a queen sized electric heating pad from sunbeam. Turn it on hour before I sleep and bed is warm when I go to sleep. I wondered if you could run one on a battery setup. Only thing I don’t like about it is the location of the plug. It’s on the bottom of the bed and you end up running your foot over it all the time. Annoying but I can live with it.

    • Every bed in our house has a heated mattress pad by Sunbeam.  They’re amazing! I will share my experience though in a grid-down situation.

      A few Halloweens ago, we had a sudden turn in the weather.  The day went from 50s to ice storm in what seemed like no time flat.  My husband and I went out for some extra “nice to haves” if we lost power while the kids trick-or-treated with neighbors, and sure enough, we lost power.  Unfortunately for me, not only was it miserable outside but I was spiking a fever with influenza (didn’t know it at the time.)

      By the time my husband and I got back home, we were all ready to be warm.  We lit the kerosene heater and we got out the camp stove to make hot cocoa.  Then, I wanted to go to bed.  We plugged my heated mattress pad into our Duracell 750w inverter that was attached to a group 31 marine AGM, and we could NOT get the thing to power on.  The controller just kept blinking like it had power and then didn’t, had power and then didn’t.  It was really disappointing because the battery running heated mattress pads was one of our plans for heat while sleeping if we lost power.

  21. Steven, all of my vehicles are diesel as are the tow vehicles for many listeners. What are some heating, lighting, cooking, and generator options that you would recommend with diesel? Any specific brands or models?

    What about a (likely used) apu off a commercial truck or a semi trailer refrigerator unit for air conditioning?

    Second you mentioned pool chlorine and motor oil as a makeshift toilet, can you please elaborate?

    • If you want a new diesel generator, be prepared to spend a minimum of $2,000.  Central Maine Diesel is a great online resource for all generators, including diesel models.  The least expensive diesel generator they have for sale is a 4.5kW model for $1,995.  I would much rather have a quiet inverter generator, even if that means that I would have to store gasoline for my generator as well as diesel for my truck.

    • The standard answer is to get a 12V diesel hot air furnace from Webasto or Espar.  These can also get a combination air and water heater from either of the above.  You can get a diesel cook stove from Webasto, but I think the better answer is an electric induction cook top running on an inverter off the battery bank. As for generators, I will agree with the other reply, but on a budget it may be possible to get a Kohler/Lombardini generator out of a signage or light tower trailer.  I almost picked one up for $200 on Craiglist, so deals are possible.  They are supposed to be near unkillable, but they are loud.  The better idea is to just do the Steven Harris charge the batteries off the regular engine.  I have looked for Diesel APUs but I haven’t found them for a reasonable price.

  22. Timely topic. I just came back from very remote desert and blister cold winds and hot days I have used the trailer as a shelter/kitchen and bug in location.

    4 major things that are a must:


    -tools, including tire & vehicle repair parts as well as screws, tape, odd hardware ect.


    -solar cell, with charge controller and super capacitor bank!!


    With the power and power tools I was able to fashion a place to live. It really amazing what you can do if you have tools and endless power. It allowed me to transform raw material into proper shelter and hot showers.

    • I love the idea of the super-cap bank, but what are the real advantages over Li-ion or even a Pb battery pack?  I’ve watched lasersaber’s channel so I see the cool factor, but the density seems so low, I think it would be best for a parallel setup to a normal battery to absorb quick shocks like compressor startups. I love the massive number of charge cycles but you get close enough with an up dated battery to doubt the added advantage. I’m building a Sprinter 3500 as a camper and will have at least a 1kw powerwall out of 18650 batteries. I debated adding in a supercap surge pack, but I’m doubting that it is worth the investment.

    • ANY one trying to build a ‘power wall’ from 18650’s or thinking super caps  have ANY application has deluded themselves by watching too much SHIT from MORONS on the internet

  23. Are there any additional show links/notes available for this show other than what is listed under the “Resources for today’s show…” list?   Wondering if there are ventilation concerns for battery bank and fuel storage within a trailer. Do you need to isolate those items from the main interior area?

  24. Question mostly for Steven:   After watching several videos about conversions I have not seen the issue addressed about vibrations effecting things like mounted electronics (flat screen TVs, DVD players, microwaves…)

    Is vibration an issue for things that typically sit on a shelf and are now bouncing around in the back of a trailer for a couple thousand miles.


    When I build mine, I will probably go with a hammock, takes up a lot less space and weight.

  25. Excellent show!  A fan of Bob Wells too.

    Regarding the battery camp shower….a MUST.  Most recently the well went out  (I live in a rural town propane and wells).  I was able to get water, but obviously not to heat through my whole house water heater.  About three gallons of water to about one quart of boiling water makes for a great shower.   I wasn’t going to wait for the sun to heat it up in September in Michigan.   I would consider a shower from a garden pump sprayer a Navy shower….lol….I made one of these up first to get buy until I could get into the city to buy the other.  Still better than baby wipes and….. Everclear?!?!?

  26. Great show as always; however, I was surprised when Steve lumped wool in with cotton as a material you do not want to be wearing.  I assume this was an oversight/mistake, but I want to make sure it gets corrected.  As someone who spends a lot of time outside in the fall/winter in Michigan, wool is the best fabric for cold, wet weather as it retains its insulating properties when wet.  I have tried all of the polyester/goretex replacements, and they do not compare.  Even thin wool dress pants are better than flannel lined cotton.  The Gortex pants work up to the point that water wicks up the inside of the legs, at which point, they are no better than 100% cotton.  I do wear polyester shirts with wool underneath as the polyester dries quickly, and is much less expensive than wool.  If you want some good fall, wet weather hunting pants, you can often find heavy, wool dress pants @ Goodwill.  They are all you need for temp above 35 F, if you are moving.  You can buy wool blankets for cheap at Harbor Freight, which is what I use for the bottoms of my bird dog kennels.  Good to keep in your trunk if you get stranded.



    • No he is serious and it is one point where he and I 100% totally disagree. He has too much of his fricken cold weather hero in his big ass head on this one.

    • This is a hotly debated topic.  Check out some of the hiker forums, and you’ll see what I mean.  Here’s an example:

      A lot of seems to come down to personal preference.  There are pros and cons to both wool and synthetics.

    • I’ll second that as even on the hiking forums it is hard to find anyone to say a harsh word about Marino wool socks.  This has also bled over into other ultralight travelling circles as they also recommend just a couple of pairs of Marino wool socks and rinsing nightly.

      • My issue with Steve on this isn’t that he prefers one material over the other, it is his STUPID FUCKING STATEMENT and STEVE IT IS STUPID, that “wool sucks”.

        He doesn’t mean wool isn’t as good as _____.  He means it is worthless.  I should take his ass camping, with none of his shit, wait till about 3 am when he is shivering then offer him one of my wool blankets.

        When he says yes, I should say, oh wait it is wool, wool sucks, you don’t want this.

    • Glad you asked the question about wool because I was going to as well. I love my wool socks for the winter and I have used wool pants and shirts for hunting. I haven’t had any issues with them. Totally agree with the cotton though.

    • No.. I said it right, wool SUCKS compared to synthetics as far as your statement “as it retains its insulating properties when wet” that is FALSE !!!


  27.  Does Steven have a website for the items he talked about?  Specifically I am having trouble finding the R2D2 style heat pump rated around 15,000 BTUs.   Thanks. 

  28. One very useful idea for bug out vehicle or just for day to day emergencies is a simple 12/24 230/110volt inverter which can be connected to the truck battery or leisure battery to provide an a/c supply for l,aptop, mobile phone Tv, drill or small saw to get you out of a jam

  29. Damn it Jack and Steve, one more thing for my to do list.  With my homestead taking priority the conversion is going to have to wait until after retirement in about 7 years.  In the mean time do you have any thoughts on what to look for in a used travel trailer  or pop up that could be pulled by a S10 with a 4.3 liter V6.  I’d like to stay in the $2500 to $5000 range and would like to buy something that needs little or no work.  Thanks for another great show.

  30. Great show and a timely topic.  I’d rather sleep in a cargo trailer than a tent any day.  A/C is a requirement in some areas like mine so that’s a concern for sleeping.  I see 3 options:  rooftop, portable or window unit.  Pros and cons of each would be helpful.

    A few additional topics for further discussion in the next show;

    calculating the safe GVWR for your vehicle and trailer combination.   I see lots of confusion at the RV park over that one.

    Modifications to make your cargo trailer off-road worthy (raising axle, larger wheel/tire, roof racks).

    I converted my Honda eu2000 generator to trifuel pretty easily.  Would it make more sense to carry propane for the generator instead of gasoline?  Does the loss of effeciency impact my ability to run an RV A/C?  Haven’t tried that yet.

    What about cold food storage?  Technology has really improved on 12v portable compressor fridge/freezers. Now around $500+. Would a smaller 120v fridge be better than spending 2-3x more for the 12v?

    Best way to secure your BOT?  I see them getting stolen all the time.  Do any of the tounge locks work or should you chain up the wheels?

    Where is a good place to buy parts to accessorize my BOT?  I’ve seen many cargo trailers with a track system on the wall and I wondered if that could support enough weight for fold-down bunk beds?

    More detailed info on the toilet options would be great as well.  I missed mention of composting toilets? but I’ve seen a number of RV’ers using them on YouTube.


    • These are specialized questions. You are going to need to go on youtube to get the answers. These guys are not doing it fulltime like those on youtube. As was mentioned in the show, checkout Bob Wells Cheap RV living. He recently did a review of Fridges. They are living off solar, so they need to have efficient units.

  31. For the follow up show…My wife can’t start my current gen set. I’ve been planning to upgrade to a natural gas standby generator with transfer switch. Now I’m thinking trailer mounted Honda w electric start or a bifuel setup.


    Additionly, how do Steves comments on battery treatment apply to electric start items?

  32. Natural ventilation vent in or near bottom one end vent with pipe extension on other end.

    Tent inside trailer in cold weather to reduce heated area, winter campers use tent in tent.

  33. Steve can you compare and contrast the Generac IQ2000 vs the Honda generator you recommend. I already have the generac as it was an impulse emergency buy. Is it a good purchase?n

  34. for everything Bob Wells and his van/trailer conversion interviews. Good stuff!
    I may not want to live full time in a converted van or trailer, but he makes it look doable, comfortable, and frankly…his attitude towards life is inspiring. I hope you enjoy!

  35. Just a quick addition on the subject of the battery operated shower. We have been off grid for our water for 7 years and this little shower works great. We have been using it for at least 3 years now. My experience has been that a charge will last one person roughly a week and it charges pretty quick. Also, we use a bucket heater in a 5 gallon bucket to heat the water. Steve, I’m not sure how much power this would draw but if you have a generator it should be fine. I like my water pretty hot so I let it heat anywhere from 30-45 min depending on what the water is at room temp. We use the Marshalltown The Premier Line 742G bucket heater.

  36. Great episode. I just purchased an 6×12 V-nose to use for camping. We have had a couple different dedicated travel trailers and decided it makes more sense to have one trailer that serves two purposes (thanks Jack).

    The trailer is already insulated and has a small window in the side door. I want to install a fantastic fan in the existing roof vent and some 12v lights. My questions are…

    How could I set up a system to run the 12 volt fan/lights/usb charger and also have 110 volt plug to run a small a/c or heater, coffee pot, ect?

    Is it possible to have the 12 volt fan, lights, etc also run off shore power to save the battery?

    Do you have suggestion for sleeping in a cargo trailer that has a side and rear door and making sure you able to exit from both during the night if you were forced to. I am going to rig the side door where we cannot be locked in from the outside because it has a rv lock and bar lock but would also like to be able to open the rear doors from the inside. The rear door are double barn doors with a bar lock in the middle. Am I worrying /overthinking about something that is not a big issue? I just like the idea of having to avenues of escape when I am sleeping in it.

    Also I have suggestion, you and Steve could come up with a build (like Jack does for the guns) for say, under a certain $ amount, and link to amazon items you used to build it.


  37. Great show topic Jack and Steve can’t wait for the next one.  I have been contemplating idea for an Overland/bug out trailer for some time.  In the recent years the US market has been flood with Overland trailers.  Being an Overland/Off-road enthusiast myself I have decided to build one.  One reason is because most of the manufactured models are outrageously over priced.   I do think we can learn a lot from their design especially when comes utilization of space. Heck I have even concerned starting a side hustle retro grading cargo trailers into Overland trailers.

  38. I own 2 champion 2000’s with the adapter. I use it alot to feed my work trailer have been using them for 2 years.  1 gallon of gas lasts me all day with random saw use and charging batteries.

    I did have one die on me. (Main board died). I called and they had a new one shipped to me in under 15 min with no documentation no headaches.

    When I need more the 2000 watts I connect them. (AC in the rv) When I don’t I have one in my trailer and one that I use in the barn and get power in 2 locations.

  39. Multiple thoughts from this episode:

    1) We use space bags when we go camping.  We pack our clothes in them and then we load them into stackable totes.  That way, the clothes take up a lot less room AND they stay dry even if water ends up in our totes somehow.

    2) For coffee or cocoa, we have several air pots that we take for cold weather camping.  That way, you can make the coffee (or even just the hot water) and it’ll stay hot for ages.  My son and husband went tent camping when one night got down below 10 degrees and the water they’d boiled the night before was still hot in the air pot.

    3) Something to keep in mind with propane appliances is that they’re not always reliable in cold weather.  I know that’s not going to be an issue for Jack, but it’s definitely an issue for a lot of us.  We have a propane camp stove that we use in the summer, but we have a dual fuel Coleman that we use when it’s cold.  We just got tired of frozen regulators with those little camp stoves and we’ve never had the Coleman fail to work when it’s cold.

  40. My question for Steve is about Lithium batteries (Li-polymer or Li-Ion) vs. Lead Acid.  Doesn’t the increased cycle limit (2000 vs 500) make up for the price difference?  For this application the weight difference is also significant.

    • 12 volt lithium-ion batteries will cost at least $13 per 12 volt amp hour (some cost $20 per AH), whereas lead acid batteries will cost roughly $1-2 per AH.  Even if the lithium-ion batteries last five times longer, they will still be more expensive than lead acid batteries.

      Lithium-ion batteries will weigh around 70% less than lead acid batteries of similar capacity.  If weight is the driving factor, Li-ion is the way to go.  But you’ll spend a lot for that reduced weight.

  41. My second question for both Steve and Jack is about the best electric cooking method.  Induction cook top or electric pressure cooker?  Could you do sous-vide cooking with just an induction cook top, a pot and a pan?  i.e. Many induction cook tops can heat to a specific temperature, so could do the cooking in the pot and then use the pan to do the searing. Or get a Sous-vide pressure cooker and then do the searing with a different tool. The latter seems to have a possible ability to do mobile cooking if locked inside a cabinet or other safety container.  Does the water have to be circulated?

    Third question is best 12V generator. Inverter generators are very efficient, but I would not think as efficient as a 12V generator which is only run to charge up a battery bank and then turned off. What generator would you suggest to just charge a battery bank?

  42. What a great show!
    I really appreciate all of the information – this one was really packed. If possible, it would be great if, for the next “round,” you’d talk about what you would do to “upgrade” an existing travel trailer (or 5th Wheel or RV) to make it better for “bug out” or emergency purposes.

    We’ve had our 30′ travel trailer for just over a year now, and we love it. But I’d love to hear more about what the both of you think are great upgrades to have. We have already purchased a dedicated generator for it that will run everything and charge our batteries (we’ve upgraded to four, from the one that came with the trailer). We have a 50 gallon water barrel we strap in the back of the pickup to increase water carrying capacity. But I’m sure the two of you have a million things you might do to a “stock” travel trailer to make it better – and I’d love to hear about them!

    • Ditto that!  When we were using a travel trailer for about a month last year, I was thinking about lots of things that could be done to upgrade it for bug-out purposes.  Your idea of carrying extra water and batteries is excellent and should be at the top of that list, along with extra fuel.  My experience is that most RVers run out of fresh water or fill up their grey tanks well before they really need anything else.  Extending both of those is a big help.  One tip I’ve seen is to install an overflow pipe from your grey tank to your black tank (which rarely fills up with sewage).  This can almost double your effective grey water holding capacity.  And to be perfectly honest, there are many places where it’s not a problem to just dump your grey water (not black!) on the ground; it’s just water with a little bit of soap (use biodegradable soap if you want) and perhaps a few traces of food particles from doing your dishes.  My brother-in-law did this in our yard, and our grass was greener where he dumped his grey water for months after he left!

  43. Once you guys are done brainstorming the bug-out trailer, can you weigh it out against a used travel trailer fro the same purpose? Pro’s/Con’s kind of thing. Maybe even with an imaginary budget…

    • If you compare an equivalent sized cargo trailer to a travel trailer and add up all of the costs involved in equipping the cargo trailer with the same equipment as the travel trailer, the cost difference between the two will probably be around 30% less with the cargo trailer.  By assembling everything yourself, you’ll avoid paying someone else to do that work for you (like building your own house).  You also have the option of simply avoiding lots of the bells and whistles that you may not be concerned with in your bug-out trailer.  But you shouldn’t overlook how much time it will take you to fully equip a bug-out trailer either.  If you’re just planning on throwing in camping supplies and treating your trailer as a hard sided tent, it will probably be much cheaper than a travel trailer.

      While I do like the stealth aspect of a bug-out trailer, for me, I think that the ability to get a travel trailer that’s already equipped with sleeping quarters, refrigeration, hot water, shower facilities, electrical system with battery charging, a toilet, cooking, ventilation, windows, and storage outweighs the cost savings and time involved in building your own trailer.  Of course, if you’re building everything yourself, you can go with as high (low) of quality items as you want.  Often, much of the equipment in travel trailers is of questionable quality.

  44. May we hear about lightsabers? I think this is the first show that Steven has not mentioned them :).  That’s my favorite classic Stevenism.

  45. Just FYI for anyone looking at moving. We moved our 5 person family from WV to KS using a UPack.  We used 23 feet of space and it cost us $1900 total. We crammed a 4 bedroom into that.  If you’re a big packrat, you probably can’t do it for less than $2,500 though.  We used our Chevy pickup and 20 foot Aluma trailer to haul the chickens, ATVs and dirt bikes.

  46. Dumb question for Steve and Jack, how do you charge batteries using a generator that has AC and DC plugs?

  47. Question for Bug Out Trailer Episode 2

    To get more use out of the trailer, I would want to use it to haul other things when I didn’t need it for bugging out or recreational use. What ways can the interior be made modular so that say bunks or storage shelves could be locked it place when needed, but taken out easily when not needed.

    Thanks!  Great idea and show.

  48. I loved the show, but need to ask one water storage question. Steve talked about storing city water in this episode and some of his other audio shows, where you don’t have to add anything to the water. Do I need to add anything to well water for long term storage in plastuc drums? I do use a water softner to remove iron and CaCO3.


  49. Couple things to consider.

    #1 snowmobile trailer, usually lighter but have way more floor space. Lower gvwr but for most people it’s still plenty for this and the occasional utility use.


    #2 ZODI Outback Gear Extreme SC Hot Shower Idk about you but a hot shower makes me feel much more human than a warm shower. When I had my pop-up camper this thing was the friggin bomb when we were boondocking.

    #3 I’d really like to hear Steve talk about setting up a portable hard shack in one of these. I have ideas but would like to hear his.

    Great show guys. Thanks for all you do. 73

  50. Great show, love this idea.


    Question for Steve:

    Have you had a chance to look into these new inverter predator generators from harbor freight? Their ads compare them to the Hondas you love but they’re half the price.

    Also, another sort-of related idea could be to pull your ideal trailer setup with a long bed pickup truck that has a shell and a carpet kit which offers extra storage and sleeping area as well as keeping a “discrete” appearance.

    Thanks for the great show and podcast guys!

  51. I loved the show, but need to ask one water storage question. Steve talked about storing city water in this episode and some of his other audio shows, where you don’t have to add anything to the water. Do I need to add anything to well water for long term storage in plastuc drums? I do use a water softner to remove iron and CaCO3 in my water.


    • Personally, I wouldn’t store unchlorinated water in a drum, and I doubt that Steve would recommend it as something could start growing in it over time.  The EPA has guidelines on how much bleach to add to water to disinfect it.  It basically comes to 6 drops per gallon if it’s 8.25% sodium hypochlorite bleach and 8 drops if it’s 6% bleach; don’t use any kind of bleach other than the plain stuff (i.e. nothing scented or color safe).  After you add this, seal up the drum and don’t open it until you’re ready to drink it.

  52. Bug out Trailers 2

    I have owned several box trailers and they were all designed to close and lock from the outside.  If you are sleeping in or conditioning the inside of the trailer, do you have a good way to close and lock the doors from the inside?  How could you get out if someone locked you in?

  53. Jack, Just some additional input for your two bucket water filter system.

    If you get a third bucket and 5 gallon paint strainer you can mount it on top of the original two to have the ability start with some pretty dirty water.

    Also, the only bucket that “needs” to be food grade is the lowest bucket with the dispensing spout after the filters.  (You do have a spout to dispense the clean water, don’t you?)

    A couple of years ago Cheaper Than Dirt sold a kit with all the fittings and filter for making one of these.  I haven’t seen them for a while there.  I wounder if Tim Glance would consider piecing together a bunch of these kits for sale?


  54. Questions for bug out trailer part 2:

    1) Things to consider or plan for while bugging our with four legged friends?  We have a cat and a dog and would choose to bug out with them.  Brainstorm ideas?

    2) Cool food/meds storage.  Ice maker & 5 day cooler  VS  mini fridge?

    3) trash/waste  collection and disposal?   example: trash bags are full; what to do with them till you find a dumpster?

  55. Never thought about running everything on gasoline like Steve said. My one thought was what uses the least amount of gas? Using a generator to produce electric for a small electric stove/heat plate or to burn gasoline in Coleman stove to cook? Another example is using the generator to produce electric for LED lighting or to burn gasoline in Coleman lanterns?

  56. Also curious about “value” inverter generator brands, like Pretador, Champion, Generac, etc.

  57. Jack, I believe you mentioned planning to use a propane stove in your trailer. How much propane will you plan to store in your trailer and will you be storing your propane in 20lb tanks?

    Thanks and great show as always.

    • Likely 2 20s on the tongue so they are outside that is safer and equipment to mount them that was is cheap and readily available.

  58. One thing you talked about was getting a heat pump instead of just a air conditioner.  What about getting a portable air unit and then putting the output of the AC into the camper via the hose that it comes with to put the heat out the window or door and put it into instead of out the window?  You would just have to keep the unit dry outside.

  59. I’d be interested in hearing a few things discussed on part two:

    1.  How can the newer superduty diesel trucks that have 2 heavy duty alternators be leveraged to best provide power?

    2. Increased cost notwithstanding what are the merits of upgrading to lithium or newer type batteries over lead acid?

    3.  For those of us already with traditional travel trailers what things should be considered to make it more bugout resilient/useful?

  60. An additional follow-up question:  for those of us that travel extensively for extended work assignments, say 6+ months out of year, and essentially live out of a travel trailer or 5th wheel (In my case as a Insurance Catastrophe Adjuster), what  things should i consider or do to enhace the resilence/usefulness of trailer and/or tow vehicle?  If I were to start with a blank slate what vehicles/trailers should i consider?

  61. You spoke of using an air conditioner/heat pump to heat and cool the trailer. Would it be possible (or even feasible) to put one of the roof units from an RV on the trailer? My thought is that it would be more than you could ever need, therefore it would be all but impossible to wear it out.

    • Additionally, could you talk a little about proper weight distribution? With all of the water, gasoline, batteries, generators, etc. I don’t think it would take long to make it a hazardous situation for a beginner towing a trailer.

  62. Loving this idea, I’ve been scouring YouTube since you guys did the show. One guy did an amazing job with his, everything was on casters and could be moved in and out of trailer when he needed them. He normally had them set up with tools, but had cabinets and bed built on casters and just would roll tools out and roll his camper setup in. I’m totally stealing his idea.


  63. * Setting up a HBB (Harris Battery Bank) in the trailer, and connecting it to the truck.

    * Features to look for in a trailer, and some suggestions for in “commercial” trailers that we can build out.


    Thanks for all you guys do.

  64. Follow up show questions:  Do you have  any small wood stove options?  Heating is priority, but also the ability to do some limited cooking would be ideal.

    Condensation issues?  Having camped in my insulated tool trailer (which has doubled as the divorce bug out trailer!!!) I noticed condensation on 20 -30 degree nights here in Wisconsin were somewhat of an issue, even using portable electric heater.  Rigid polyiso foam panels, with great stuff filled and trimmed so the finish panels of 3/8 plywood could be installed on the interior, and 2″ foam panels with hardware cloth and panel fasteners on the underside.  Aside from leaving the roof vent cracked, and allowing cold air in , do you have any suggestions in dealing with condensation?