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I’m positive that there are quite a few of us who look upon our plush suburban surroundings and deep down, we know that if things go bad, then we’ve got to roll.
I know this, because I’m also in such a situation. While I don’t necessarily live near any major cities per se, I do live in an area that’s going to swell with refugees if the unthinkable were to occur. Of course, the refugees themselves aren’t necessarily the issue. It’s the fact that these droves of refugees will be low on survival resources, coming to an area that will be low on law and order.
To further explain, a single high-altitude EMP – or a major solar storm – could take out the grid and effectively render all emergency service communications devices into high-tech paperweights from coast to coast. This alone is going to have most officers headed homebound to look after their loved ones (and I sure couldn’t blame them for doing so). But even the ones that stick around are going to have a tough time coordinating crime-fighting efforts without so much as a working walkie-talkie to throw in their cruiser’s passenger seat.
And that’s IF the cruiser’s electrical systems haven’t been fried by the energy wave.
Thus, the word “chaos” comes to mind if I were to describe the unfolding hypothetical scenario. Even if I could pop the clutch in ye olde Chevy to get her working, then how exactly am I going to weave my way to wilderness freedom with the countless road-blocking variables that could possibly be standing between me and my retreat?
If, in the 50/50 chance that I’m unlucky, and I don’t have access to a working set of wheels, then am I really going to attempt this trek on foot? I had to leave my home because it was too dangerous, and now I expect to take the next week, meandering through the same chaos that ousted me from my home in the first place?
There’s got to be a better way. So, here’s a quick list of what we need in a fast transportation option.
Necessities of Bugout Vehicles
- Lightweight and low-profile
- All-terrain capability
- Carrying capacity for a bag
- Operator able to maintain or repair in the field
Well, my friends, I’ve come up with three that meet the above criteria … and these options will give you a little extra speed and agility to get you on your way … in a hurry.
No. 3: Multi-Passenger ATV
I’m not the only survivalist who believes ATVs are one of the most versatile forms of transportation and one of the best bugout vehicles.
Passenger and towing capacity has long been the crux of the ATV in this regard, but there is a market solution to this problem. Since the multi-passenger ATVs tend to have more power and additional space for boarding your gear and compadres, I feel like this would be the better option for families undergoing a forced, rapid evacuation.
However, if everyone in your company has access to their own transportation, or you’re traveling alone, then you might be better served with a two-wheeled option of some kind. With ATVs, they don’t exactly possess the optimally low mpgs, as the other options out there. But the three best strengths of these bugout vehicles are readily identifiable:
- Terrain handling
- Multi-passenger/storage capable.
No. 2: Motorized 66/80cc Bicycle Kit
A good friend of mine who happens to be an outside-the-box-kind of thinker, showed me this absolutely intriguing concept … and I’ve been stuck on the idea ever since.
It’s especially handy for those of us who don’t exactly have a couple grand to dump on mechanized bugout vehicles. But if you’ve already got an existing bike, and $150 to burn, this project might just get you by in a pinch.
These kits will actually allow you to slap a 66/80cc two-stroke engine on that bicycle that’s currently suspended in your garage. Apparently, they’ll do a whopping 55mph. (Not loaded down with gear, of course, but so long as you’re doing more than a human sprint, I’d still take it.)
If you want one, even for just a tinker project, just hop on eBay. Of course, it’s not necessarily the easiest install in the world, but you don’t need to have a certification from a mechanic school in order to figure out what you’re doing.
The cons for this system are going to be rather obvious, given its limited power. However, I’ve heard the two-liter tank’s mpgs can range anywhere from 100-150 (even 250, but that’s not without some highly sophisticated mods), and again … you just can’t beat $150 for a fun project. Just be careful with taking her on the road after you’ve put it together, because many-a-municipality hasn’t exactly accounted for them yet. I’ve heard of riders running into a tiff or two with local troopers over the required paperwork. And be smart with these kits, folks. Wear a good helmet while you’re riding.
No. 1: Kawasaki KLR 650
As I mentioned before, we’re going to need a way to weave through chaos, and depending upon the nature of the crisis at hand, the surrounding suburban countryside could look eerily similar to a warzone. But that’s why I couldn’t help but think of the Kawasaki KLR 650.
In fact, this particular “touring” motorcycle has been used by the Marine Corps for years, so it’s got a history of handling the unpredictability that’s inherently associated with warzones. Take a look at this diesel-powered variant that’s served us since 1999:
According to Popular Mechanics, the Kawasaki KLR 650  is essentially a mechanized pack-mule. And while I might disagree … they say it’s about as attractive as one, too. However, they also laud praises to the two-wheeled beastie, saying:
Its comparatively lightweight made it the easiest to wrestle through tight, rocky trails. It has just enough power to cruise at 80 mph, but don’t ask for more.
Hey, if the KLR 650 is the go-to bike for a long journey across the Australian Outback, then I don’t think it’s going to have issues handling the rigors of Appalachia — and at an average 53.3 mpg , I can’t exactly complain for doubling that of my current mode of transportation.
(I should also mention that it runs on a carburetor, which will naturally resist an EMP surge far better than its younger fuel-injecting cousin. Food for thought.)