Fresh off watching Mad Max Fury Road for the second time, I am almost ready to drop some cash on airfare and 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.
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
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 need ‘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 more 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!