What ATV or UTV Would Make the Best Bug Out Vehicle?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
An off-road capable ATV or UTV can take you pretty much anywhere

Off-road vehicles like ATVs and UTVs are designed to go where no regular car or truck can go. So while they weren’t designed for it, an ATV or UTV would make for an excellent bug out vehicle if the need ever arises. But which ATV or UTV would make for the best bug out vehcile?

Let’s start with the UTV category, since it likely has more than enough storage space for the, y’know, actual bug out bag. Laden with the essentials – a handsaw, MREs, bivouac bags, and party hats – a typical bug out bag will consume about the same amount of space as a well-stuffed backpack. Expert hikers can pare down their bug out bag to about 15 pounds. Your author packs that much in food related items (don’t judge).

Polaris RZR PRO XP 4

When things get to the point that you’re eyeing the bug out bag, you’ll want a UTV that’s fast and able to scamper over rough terrain in a hurry. Having a bug out vehicle with built-in navigation gear won’t hurt either, especially since a compass was one of the first things you put in the bug out bag and is now buried at the bottom. The Polaris RZR PRO XP 4 has all these attributes in spades.

Polrais RZR PRO XP 4 Bug Out Vehicle

Four seats so you don’t have to leave your least-favorite kid behind? Check. A menacing stance and mean styling sure to ward away miscreants? Yep. Very nearly 200 horsepower? Oh yeah, this thing will do just nicely. The snazzy Ultimate trim is the one to get for that navigation system mentioned earlier, but all RZR PRO models have the same amount of power and yawing wheel travel. Funny stuff aside, this rig’s fold-flat rear seats are a very clever feature which expands the cargo area to 16 cubic feet with integrated tie downs. That’s more than enough for your bug out bag, even one like mine with too much food in it.

Can-Am Maverick X3
Can-Am Maverick X3 Bug Out Vehicle

Another option? For three years in a row, the Can Am Maverick X3 has won its class in the brutal Dakar rally, weathering all manner of abuse and terrain. If speed is your priority – it’s certainly ours – go for the *takes deep breath* Maverick X3 Max X RS Turbo RR *exhales*. If extra letters were of any advantage in a bug out vehicle, this thing would be the hands-down victor. No fewer than 22 inches of suspension travel won’t hurt, either.

Bug Out Vehicle – ATVs

Not everyone wants a UTV, though. Sticking to a quad can have its advantages, not the least of which are agility and maneuverability. When you simply must pick a path through that thick grove of woods, a narrower ATV can be just the ticket. This year’s Yamaha Grizzly is available in several different trims but, most importantly, all come with electric power steering. The masochists and Luddites in the audience might sneer at this feature, but their arms will thank them during the third hour of riding with a heavy bug out bag on their backs.

Yamaha Grizzly XT-R Bug Out Vehicle

Find an SE trim, as it includes a factory-installed Warn Pro Vantage winch which will enable you to claw out of tricky spots. Its 686cc engine serves up mid-range power a mite more easily that the (virtually) same mill does in the Kodiak, making it a better choice for high-speed bursts of escaping civilization. The Grizzly also has two extra inches of width compared to the Kodiak, making it slightly more stable and marginally better equipped to carry bug out supplies. It also has a half inch more wheel travel for surmounting that log standing between you and freedom.

Vintage Honda Foreman

Getting an honorable mention on our list is the 1980s-era Honda Foreman, preferably a 350cc model. Rugged and easily fixed with a hammer, these things can be knocked over rocks and sunk in a pond without complaint. Keep a couple of spare fuel pumps on hand and you’ll make it to your bug out spot easily. Slowly, but easily. Feel free to deride this choice as being selected through rose-colored glasses.

We hope you never truly need your bug out bag, in the same way one hopes they’ll never need their car insurance or the phone number of their ex-wife. But if you have to take off, one of these machines might just make for the best bug out vehicle as they are all sure to get you there. Stay safe, folks.

Bug Out Bag Essentials

Having your go bag stocked up with everything you need is a must in a bug out situation. Here are a handful of essentials worth keeping in your bug out bag so you are ready to go at a moment’s notice. This is just the tip of the iceberg, though.

We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

More by Matthew Guy