Prepping Your Tractor for SHTF and Bugging Out

If you’re a homesteader or a farmer, you’ve got a lot more preps to do than someone who’s bugging out. If you’ve already equipped your bug out vehicle, you many be thinking what else you could do in case of a bug out.

Your tractor, along with the rest of your assets should be up and running for SHTF, and the long, hard years following a total collapse.

Yes, it is possible to bug out with your tractor. You’ll need to find a way around potentially hazardous terrain safely, and as you can imagine, that’s no easy task. For survival in the field and extended lengths of time away from your homestead, you’ll be turning your tractor into a BOV with these tips.

man on a tractor

Start With A Four-Wheel Drive Tractor

We’re not solely navigating paved roads and clean streets. More often than not, you’ll be traveling in the backroads of the backroads; overlooking dirt trails, forest brush, etc. I’m going under the assumption you’ll be travelling alone, or at least lightly in terms of crew size. With four-wheel drive, you’re at the helm to maneuver quickly and effectively. Now let’s get you protected during these travels.

Optimize Storage Capabilities

In a SHTF world, we’re all scavengers. If you’re heading out for any extended trip, you’ll need storage capabilities to retrieve any goods you may encounter, but more importantly, to bring sufficient supplies with you to survive out there.

If you’re unable to return to the homestead for whatever reason, you’ll be glad you packed those extra supplies. Let’s look at a few ways to attach storage:

  • Kitchen Cabinet Chest: You could very easily remove a singular cabinet from your kitchen and secure a latch, or lock so it doesn’t open on the road, or to prevent intruders from siphoning your goods if you’re away from the tractor. We don’t recommend a latch/lock for security, however, since bashing in the area nearest the hinges isn’t rocket science. We’re talking storage. You can usually find everything you need within your garage or workshop. Rope, latch/lock, drill for the holes, and you’re good to go. Try affixing these to higher areas on the tractor to avoid drag against terrain.
  • Costume Trunk Chest: If you’re military, you probably have a trunk lying around that you can easily empty. Otherwise, most Wal-Marts have these on display for as little as $39.00. They aren’t the sturdiest construction, but quick to assemble since they already include some sort of latch system to prevent spilling while out on the road. Use rope or bolts to secure this to the chassis of the tractor.
  • Tool Box Chest: While you’re not going to raid a supermarket with this size in mind, it’s a great tool for storing small and important items while out on the road — electrical components, medicines, ammunition, and so forth. Two bolts should keep this from even jingling along the body of your tractor.
small tractor

Gather Spare Parts

You could definitely utilize previously mentioned storage techniques and designate specific areas for spare parts. Your tractor isn’t bulletproof — yet.

You’re bound to run into standard issues; never fear, you’re prepared! Essential components to include would be: an alternator, regulator, spark plugs, ignition coil, ECU, additional controller, fuel injector, and if at all possible without weighing you down, an extra motor.

In addition to extra parts for the mechanical life of your new mobile fortress, try and find space to store a hydraulic jack, cables, and tire repair kit.

Raise The Shields

Every inch of you is vulnerable. You can blare “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” while driving all you want, but it’s not going to protect you from that stray bullet. This is something you absolutely need to do, and cannot easily whip up out of nowhere. Go to a junkyard and get two car doors off any vehicle, all four if you intend to have a gunner or passenger behind you.

You’ll need:

  • Staple Gun
  • 100 Three Inch Screws
  • Drill
  • Jigsaw or Chainsaw
  • Stacks of Newspaper
  • Large sheets of fabric

Fire up the jigsaw/chainsaw! You’re going to remove the glass windows, and furthermore, slice off the window frames. With how we’re going to attach these, they’re a hindrance to quickly entering or exiting your battle tractor. Next, gather old newspaper from around the house.

If you don’t have any, visit local hotels or corner stores, place that still actually carry printed newspaper, and ask for their day-old copies. More often than not, they don’t have an issue just handing them out. Yesterday’s news is yesterday’s news.

We’re going for bulletproof, here. Stack the newspaper as tightly as possible. On your newly sliced car doors, lay them flat and stack the newspaper in every single area possible. Once you’ve got a good thick cushion (At least 8 inches, no less,) you’ll need some sheets of fabric, and a staple gun.

Lay the fabric over the newspaper stacks and secure around the edges. If the car door’s interior has leather/cloth, staples will secure your fabric to it. If it’s all plastic/metal, you’ll need some three-inch screws.

To mount these, you’ll need some more screws. Most tractors bow inward for your leg space, leaving the bulky chassis surrounding the motor and widest areas of the seat compartment open.

Here, you’ll pop in at least four screws per side, tightly securing it to the body. Place one on each side, and you’ll quickly see why removing the window frames was a good idea. (Besides, it would look ridiculous.)

You can mount the seat by stepping up from the back of your tractor; while driving, you’ll enjoy extended protection. It not only protects (most of you) from gunfire, but also reduces any injuries you’ll incur along your legs from pummeling through thick nature.

Bulletproof Dome

This one’s a really cool project. While it hinders your 360 view while driving, you’ll prefer that taking a bullet to the chest. Grab the components below, but be warned, this will weigh down your tractor slightly.

  • Four PVC Elbow Joints
  • Ten Feet (Or More) of Straight PVC Pipe
  • Twenty Pound Bag of Concrete Mix
  • Bucket / Spindle For Stirring Concrete
  • Three Standard Hinges
  • Plenty of Bulletproof Polycarb Sheets
  • Silicone Caulking
  • Concrete Screws

Start with your PVC pipes and picture yourself sitting on the driver’s seat. You’ll have four columns of PVC pipe around you like a tiny house.

First things first: depending on your height, cut your PVC to be about six inches taller than you are. You’re going to attach your elbow joints at the top of each, and smaller pieces of PVC between those. You’ll have two separate frames.

For the bottoms (parts that will directly connect to the tractor chassis,) you’ll want to place the PVC pipes like a mockup, and use a jigsaw to conform the pipe to the shape of your tractor for easy installation later.

Secure these PVC pieces together with silicone caulking. Place them upside-down, and prepare yourself for some heavy lifting for tomorrow.

You’re going to mix the concrete in a bucket, and once at the desired consistency per the package’s specifications, fill every PVC opening with the stuff. The result will be two extremely heavy, sturdy, bulletproof frames.

In the meantime you can cut the bulletproof plexiglass to the necessary specifications. You’ll have pieces fitting the inside of those frames that are setting, a sheet in front of you, on top of you, and lastly, behind you. You’ll be in a little square-ish box by the end of the project.

Those hinges mentioned above will come in handy. You’ll attach these hinges to the top piece of bulletproof material, and it’s very important to ensure you place these on the outside of the bulletproof box. Your door will open upwards (like a Ferrari), one the whole thing’s finished, and if the hinges aren’t placed on the outside, you have a problem.

Once you position the frames into the previously designed areas, use your concrete screws to drive at a 45-degree angle through the PVC/concrete, and secure it to the body of the tractor.

Attach the last piece of bulletproof material to the hinge, and you have a door that opens upward, allowing you entry to the back area of the seat. For an added effect and ease of use, attach a standard handle or towel bar to the outside of the door to allow for easy entry.

Radiation Detector – Pocket Size

In the instance of a nuclear attack on the United States, you’d be a fool to travel without some form of radiation detection technology. Pockets of radiation can poison or fatally wound you in a matter of seconds; you’ll need one of these, and they’ve never been more accessible to the public-at-large. This will set you back ever-so-slightly, depending on which model you purchase.

You can mount the physical device to your tractor; have the wire run to your dashboard area for convenience, especially if using the bulletproof dome. If you’ve read our article, which includes the miniature horizontal axis wind turbine, you can mount one to the area adjacent to your radiation detector to charge your phone while driving your tractor, all without draining your battery.

GPS For Offline Use 

Navmii is a free-to-use app, but there’s a catch. Like others in its class, this uses a massive amount of storage space on your device and is available on iOS and Android.

The catch to this one is paying a one-time fee for map packs. Most apps like Navmii offer regional maps (North America, Europe, Africa, etc.) or a World Map feature, generally found for between $30.00-$50.00 depending on which app you use.

These do suck up a lot of energy, but with the versatility of using them offline, in the event of an EMP waged against the US, you won’t ever lose your place in the wild again. It’s definitely something to consider, whether you’re directionally challenged or an adept vagabond.

You could use the app for a grand total of thirty seconds (maximum seen in reviews) to locate your position on the map, punch in your destination, and know how far to go on your current path. Simply cancel the application, and bring it back up some hour or two later to check again. This will save battery life and maximize your traveling.

The EDC Checklist

I call it this because, as a prepper, you should know what items are necessary for survival when away from the supplies and comfort of your homestead. These are items to try and always keep with you, whether it be in one backpack, or in compartments alongside your battle tractor.

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  • Binoculars
  • Abundance of water (Based on tractor size, aim for 6-gallon jugs)
  • Fire starter kit
  • First aid kit
  • Compass
  • Personal water filter
  • Extra clothes
  • Flashlights / candles
  • Batteries
  • Fishing equipment
  • Tarp
  • Duct tape
  • Small shovel
  • Zip ties

For the most part, the above items can help you in just about any scenario you may encounter while out on the road. I didn’t include weapons; your fighting style and weapon choice is up to you.

tractors loaded on a platform trailer
If bugging out on a tractor is not for you, you might have to keep a larger vehicle on hand to load it, and evacuate.


You remember those car doorframes we cut up earlier? If they’re not shattered to bits, you can cut them in six-inch strips, and slice those at forty-five degree angles to create a few dozen spikes per door.

Cut up all four, and you’ll have a medieval torture device for the front of your tractor. The intimidation factor will definitely pay off in the end.

The Prison Yard Fence

Named for the way penitentiaries are portrayed in just about every film ever, this method focuses on the possibility of being rushed, or overrun by a small group of plunderers.

If you’re sitting pretty in that bulletproof box, you’re not in the easiest spot to knock off an intruder when they mount your battle tractor in the spirit of confiscation.

Using about 200 feet of barbed wire, tightly wrap the exterior of your tractor from the bulletproof doors to the bottom of your bulletproof box.

If you can eliminate any path to your swinging door immediately after mounting your battle tractor, it is all the better. You want attackers looking at you like, “How did he/she even get in there?”

Your Tractor is Your Tank!

Defense; offense; barbed wire fence. You’re ready for anything with your new battle tractor. It’ll look like something out of Road Warrior for certain, and if you’re in a community of homesteaders that stick together when SHTF, you’ll be the envy of all your neighbors – not that a stealth prepper would want that. 🙂

8 thoughts on “Prepping Your Tractor for SHTF and Bugging Out”

  1. It is easier to buy a used military tractor for combat zones. We got an articulated forlift that came with bullet proof dome by pettibone.

  2. plexiglass is not bulletproof nor bullet resistance. I think you are speaking of polycarbonate, commonly called Polycarb or Lexan. Watch “1/2” Lexan “bullet proof” testing” on Youtube. It might help. Using plexiglass is differently the wrong material to be using.

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