Building a Post-Apocalyptic Survival ATV

Fresh off watching Mad Max Fury Road for the second time, I am almost ready to drop some cash on airfare TEOTWAWKI ATVand tickets to attend the increasingly popular Wasteland Weekend.  For someone like me, a publisher of post-apocalyptic fiction and survival nonfiction, it’s like a dream event right up there with attending the annual SHOT Show in Vegas.  Wasteland Weekend… don the roughed up leather jacket, scrap metal and cut rubber for shoulder armor, make a wild Mohawk and prepare to party with post-apocalyptic peeps for an entire weekend.

By DG, founder of Prepper Press

I’d roll into the event in my… on my… hmmmm.  Post-apocalyptic ATV? Yes!  Now hold up, before you all-too-serious folks dismiss this post, read on as I’ve included more practical SHTF information in the second half. But for now, how would I get to a post-apocalyptic ride like Max’s off road motorcycle?  There’s some obvious takeaways here, mainly dirt, scuffs and randomly secured blankets and bags. The ATV, though, while slower than a dirt bike or motorcycle, may be better equipped for riding through the wasteland. It can carry more gear!

Racks & Boom Sticks

Racks – you can’t store spare gear without front and rear racks, right? Chances are high if you own an ATV, Best Survival ATVyou already have racks installed.  Figure out how to use them to their fullest.

Spikes – I didn’t get this far, but if I was going to Wasteland Weekend with an ATV, you can bet there’d be spikes all over it to ward off people and enemy ATVs.  The easiest route would be welding pieces of rebar to the rig, but that would likely be more apt to risk hurting the rider than anyone else, but in a Fury Road scenario, you don’t want people jumping onto your ride – let them impale themselves on that pig iron.

Antlers – they look kinda cool, don’t they?   All post-apocalyptic like?  Horns would also work, ideally Texas long horns.  They’re not very practical, but they can offer an imposing appearance, a symbol of… something, I’m not sure what, but I like them.  They give the ride character, like it’s ready to butt heads.

Fury Road Boom Sticks – you know the explosive spears they toss in Fury Road to disable vehicles.  You Best Survival ATVneed ‘em. I made replicas, took wicker tiki torches, spray painted them black, and “boom” goes the stick – at least we pretend, but if loaded with tiki fuel, it’d do something.

No, I didn’t end up going to Wasteland Weekend, sadly.  If I had, traveling from Maine wouldn’t really make arriving in an ATV probable, but maybe someday. In the meantime, the boys had fun pretending to be war boys.

Beyond Appearance, More Practical

So you’re not planning to hit Wasteland Weekend with an ATV or looking to make an “art car” for Burning Man Festival. You’re of the more serious mind, practical and logistical, and you’re certainly not going to waste time and energy making what equates to vehicle cosplay. The ATV is still an obvious asset to have should SHTF, as any fast, light, off road transportation would be.  What you need to know.

ATV Specific Gear

Zombies (a.k.a. unprepared urban dwellers invading your neighborhood) are on the hunt and you need to get out of dodge – ASAP! You saddle up your ATV ride, but with what? It calls for some special “insurance” items:
1.  A Jerry Can and mount. You can’t roll without gas. One of these cans will carry 5 gallons of spare gas. Double the tanks if your machine can fit them and your planned route warrants it.  Want a better idea?  Check out the RotopaX gas packs, they’re made for ATVs.
2.  A winch. Well duh. Do I really need to explain this one?
3.  A basic commercial patch/plug and compact tire pump.  That will take care of most tire-related troubles. Toss in some spare headlight bulbs as well.
4.  An axe or quality saw. Don’t let a downed tree block your path to safety (and it doubles as an anti-zombie tool).
5.  A trailer – that’s right. It’s a whole lot easier to pull gear and there’s a lot more room. You can easily triple your load capacity with a trailer. It’s a no-brainer. Just make sure to get one specific to the task with enough ground clearance to meet your needs.
6.  GPS – mounted to the front.
7.  Gun carrier – again, for obvious reasons, unless you want it accessible and ready to go at all times. Then figure out an attachment that works for you.


“But wait,” you say. “Fire that ATV up and you’ll be heard a few miles away, eliminating any hope of OPSEC.” They’re called “ATV silencers” and they’re readily available on Amazon and other sites. “Silent Rider” is a popular brand.  Did you hear that?  No, me neither.

ATV Bug Out Bag – How’s it Different?

So your bug out plan involves departing by ATV – lucky you! Not only can you travel faster, but you can carry Best SHTF ATVmore gear.  I’m not going to rehash what goes into a bug out bag as I’m sure many of you know, but the ATV allows you to double, or even triple, up on some key pieces of equipment.  My advice? More water and more food.  Perhaps some additional gear pertinent to your locale (extra blanket, sun hat, etc.).  Still, put all of that “stuff” inside a backpack just the same. Who knows what you and your machine might encounter. Plan to bug out by ATV, but be able to take essentials with you by foot if necessary.


The ATV, under certain circumstances, can make a wonderful survival vehicle and/or post-apocalyptic ride. This all assumes you need to get from point A to point B, and the ATV will facilitate that.  It could also have utility in a SHTF situation.  Say, for example, you need to get firewood or carry water in a trailer, things of that nature.  Remember to be mindful of your ATV’s load capacity. You don’t want to exceed it. Ideally you’d come under capacity.  Keep your ATV maintained, and ride safe, ride hard!

– Derrick Grant.  Mr. Grant is the founder of Prepper Press, a publisher of post-apocalyptic fiction and survival nonfiction. Follow his Facebook writer page for all things apocalyptic.

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9 comments… add one
  • Duder McGruder June 20, 2016, 12:32 pm

    David Crawford (Lights Out) wrote another book (Collision Course) about a guy bugging out on an atv. I haven’t read it yet. Can anyone weigh in on it? Any good?

    • Doc Montana June 20, 2016, 9:10 pm

      I read Collision Course. Twice actually, once on purpose, once by accident.

      Interesting beginning, with some takeaways. Did have a tricked out ATV and Trailer but after a hitting a few potholes in the plot, the …spoiler alert…main character went to the dark side and got himself offed.

      I think the author had some great ideas and played well with them for the first few dozen pages, then lost his way. While looking for a purpose the story went into classic prepper cruise control until its deflated and tragic ending. No sequel on this one.

  • Bakeca Brescia June 21, 2016, 12:08 pm

    I really need to try this!

  • Pineslayer June 21, 2016, 3:55 pm

    I like the ATV as a workhorse/BOV/toy. I was able to pick up an older one with low miles and extra’s for free from a guy who was tired of trying to keep it running. It doesn’t idle right, but runs great. With a little work it should be ready for duty soon.
    Downside is that it is red, I’ll be working on that too. For running supplies around the backwoods or neighborhood, why not?

    • BamaMan June 27, 2016, 4:00 pm

      FlexiSeal type spray paint that red plastic.

  • Jim Rawles June 24, 2016, 1:08 am

    ATV’s are the best bug out vehicle by land – hands down. Unless you can pedal.

  • Levy Mayer March 26, 2017, 7:03 am

    What type of ATV do you ride and why?

    I’m doing some market research on the ATV industry and I would love some input from the consumer perspective! My research is targeting ATV sales and accessories. The purpose is to provide understanding of the market to your local powersports dealers to help them understand the consumer’s needs. What do you ride and why do you love it? Why did you chose the type of ATV that you ride? (Multi Purpose or Sport) What do you think is the “must have” accessory to complete your ATV? How was you purchasing experience?

  • paula January 2, 2018, 9:21 pm

    I really love this article and i can’t but appreciate those who come up with a powerful content as this.

  • Ricardo October 4, 2019, 3:06 am

    haha, Nice, Will Try.


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