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Bugout Trailer


The Teardrop as a Bugout Trailer for 2

I've noticed that people all have what I call, "Life's little emergencies" or disasters, and that this teardrop trailer would be a perfect accessory to help deal with those. In fact, as I am getting older, I'm noticing more disasters all the time.

August 2004, multi state blackout, we had no power, no water, or if you could get a trickle of water, the quality was questionable.

Winter 2003/2004 A severe ice storm that took down limbs and trees in our area, knocking out power, and leaving us without heat.

Summer 2002 A train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in a neighboring town, forcing evacuation of that town. It could have been us!

So disasters do happen. Many of them are very short term disasters. You could go to a motel, if there are vacancies, or to a campground with your tent if it's summer. But what if it's winter, the motels are all filled up, or there isn't any power in a multi state area?

In a situation like that, I don't know about you, but to me, the idea of snuggling in my tiny, cozy teardrop with light, heat, and many of the comforts of home sure sounds good.

So that's what this page is all about, giving you many of the comforts of home in a disaster situation, whether it's across your backyard, or across the state.

Here's another document that you can read to better prepare you to deal with a disaster…

Need some more examples of life's disasters? Here's a few…
Winter Storms/Ice Storms
Extreme cold
Power Failures
Contaminated Water
Hazardous Material Incidents
Damage to your house

Not every situation suggests that you leave town. If you are in FL and are threatened by a hurricane, bugging out and moving inland is probably a good idea. But a power failure might suggest camping out in the backyard.

Lets look at some common denominators of life's disasters, and see what we can do to make our teardrop or tiny trailer a little more versatile.

Lets set some parameters first. Let's say that the most you have to be prepared for is 72 hours, or 3 days of bugging out, and let's say that you are preparing for two adults. This will put a realistic limit on how much you need to pack.

Whether you stay at home or leave town, you've got to have water. If your area has lost electricity, the city water pumps may not be working. The water could be comtaminated. If you're out of town, there might not be any bottled water available, or there may be a severe shortage. The solution is to keep some water in your teardrop. How much? You should store 1 gallon of water per person per day for food preparation and drinking. Another ½ to 1 gallon is recommended for bathing and hygiene, and to wash dishes. That's 12 gallons of water. Water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon, so 12 gallons weighs 96 pounds. You'll definitely want to store that above the axle.
More information on water can be found here:

No need to run out and buy any unfamiliar foods like dehydrated trail packs or MREs (meals ready to eat). The best foods to buy are familiar foods that you know and enjoy, but with an eye to storage and shelf life. The foods you pick should also be high in calories and nutrition.

Recommended foods
Canned meats, fruits and vegetables
Canned soups
High energy foods, like peanut butter, jelly, and trail mix
Comfort foods such as candies and cookies
Coffee & tea

Food Storage
Food should be stored in a cool dry place. If you teardrop does not stay cool, keep your foods in a plastic storage box in the house that can be quickly and easily moved to the teardrop when it's time to go.

Foods should be used by the "expiration date" or the "best if used by" date. If there is no date on the product, then plan on using them up within 6 months. You could plan on using food from your teardrop food supply for regular meals, and replace them immediately, so your teardrop foods are always fresh.

More information on foods can be found here:

First Aid
Have a first aid kit, and any medicines you may need. More information can be found here:

Get a porta-potty. While you are traveling the porta-potty can be set up for use on the floor of the teardrop. When you are set up in camp, the porta potty can be set up inside a small tent, such as the
Additional information:

Shelter, Warmth, Cooking and Light
This is what the teardrop is all about. Shelter, where ever you happen to be. Throw in a nice down blanket, and you got at least 3 seasons of warmth and comfort.
For that 4th season, you can consider adding a forced air propane furnace inside your teardrop. It needs to be installed high enough so there is no danger of igniting your blankets or other flammable materials.

Another idea is a mattress warmer that runs on 12V. Because this can use up your batteries very quickly, you may just want to use the mattress warmer to take the chill off the bed and then turn it off for the night.

Most other options, candles, lanterns, charcoal, catalytic, can not be used inside a teardrop because they create carbon monoxide. Do not go to sleep with any un-vented burning device in your teardrop, you might not wake up.

This is another good reason why the teardrop is so good as a bugout trailer. It's already set up for cooking, outdoors, without the need to be on the grid.

The galley can be set up with a camping stove that runs on propane, or white gas (Coleman fuel). Coleman even has stoves that will run dual fuel, i.e. white gas or unleaded gas.
Make sure you have enough fuel or propane to last at least 3 days. If you're using propane, have extra 1 pound bottles.

If you've designed your teardrop with 12V lighting, and you have a good deep cycle battery, you should have no problem with 3 evenings of light.
A closet light that takes 4 AA batteries can be kept handy for emergencies also.

If you are running more than just lights on your battery you may need a way to recharge your battery before the 3 days are up.

Recharging options include
Charging from the tow vehicle
Charging from a solar panel
Charging from a generator

Keeping cool
A fantastic fan roof vent goes a long way to keeping the inside of your teardrop cool. Unlike other roof vents, the fantastic fan moves huges amounts of air very quickly.

The color of your teardrop also plays an important role in keeping cool. The lighter colors will reflect heat better than dark colors, and shiny surfaces reflect heat better than dull one.

Insulation helps keep your teardrop comfortable also. 1" of extruded polystyrene in the walls gives the walls an R-value of 5. R values " are nothing more than a materials ability to "resist" the conduction of heat flow thru a solid material (the wall). The higher the value, the better the resistance. An insulated teardrop will do a better job at keeping you warm in the winter, and cool in the summer!
More information on Shelter, Warmth & cooking can be found here:

I think the cell phone is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Even during our last multi-state power failure, we still had cell phone coverage, even if service was spotty at times. So how did they do it? I don't know, but our cell phones are going to be our first line of communication. We'll develop some back up plans, but for the moment, cells phones are it.

Listen to the Radio or TV.
NOAA weather radio
AM/FM Radio or TV
More here:

Know where you are going. And take advantage of free camping.

So that's the basics of our teardrop converted to bugout trailer for two, for 72 hours. Someday we might come back to this and see what has to be done to make it work for 7 to 10 days. If anyone else has an interest in this, let me know and I may start working on it sooner. Also any corrections, suggestions or comments are also appreciated.

Here's somemore information on a bugout teardrop...

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All Contents Copyright 2004 by Mike Schneider

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