You want to know the first thing that’ll stop in a large-scale crisis? The cars on the road. Without gas, you’ve got a range of just a few hundred miles before your car becomes just another abandoned vehicle on the side of the road.
And even if you had the foresight to plan ahead (we’ve got two rather large diesel tanks on our property), these fuel sources will run out eventually, and the transportation we rely on will come to a screeching stop. But you’re still going to need to stay mobile.
Not just to get you from point A to point B, but to also haul your gear and supplies around once you’ve made it to your bug out location. If you don’t start preparing now, you’re going to struggle to stay mobile when the SHTF.
Get a bicycle
One of the most reliable means of transport you can get your hands on is a bicycle. Powered by your legs alone, a good mountain bike with a set of gears will help you to quickly and quietly evacuate most areas, skirting obstacles in your path with ease.
Even without a lot of training, you can expect to cover anywhere from 40 to 60 miles in a day on a bike. I’d recommend getting saddlebags to store your gear, because in addition to your bug out bag you’re going to need a basic toolkit for your bike, at a minimum a tire pump and patch kit. The time is now to get comfortable riding a bike, if you haven’t for years or never really did as a kid, because when the SHTF this is your best bet for easy transport.
Get an ebike
In a step up from a normal bicycle, an ebike comes with an integrated electric motor. They range from pedal-assisted models to those with more powerful motors that essentially turn your bike into a scooter, you can still pedal of course, but the throttle means you don’t have to.
The downside with an ebike is they will need to be continually recharged, and beginner models start with a range of 25 to 30 miles. If you’ve got an off-the-grid power source on your property, like a set of solar panels or a wind turbine, an ebike is a smart choice as it’ll help you cover more ground, faster, and also tow heavier loads. The additional torque from the motor makes it possible to carry 3-4 times as much weight than you could move by yourself.
Get a bike cart
After an extended trip to Northern Europe I fell in love with bike carts. They’re incredibly useful if you’re needing to haul anything from your kids to a load of groceries, and you have a few options for different styles of cart to best suit your needs.
From trailers that connect in when you need it, to fully converted “tricycles” with an integrated cart (on either the front or the back), if you’re going to be using your bike for any sort of hauling, like collecting wood or foraging, a bike cart will allow you to carry far more than you safely could on a traditional bicycle. They add stability to the load which is ideal for me when I am going off trail in my property, and I love having a portable solar panel on there.
Get a horse
I never really considered myself a horse person until we got our property, and at my wife’s insistence we ended up with a couple of docile mares that our kids love to ride. They do take work to keep fit and shoed, and despite many preppers telling you they only need water and grass, my bank account would tell you that’s a lie.
But if you’ve got the means, a horse is a great way to navigate your property, they can cover around 30 miles a day. Of course, the downside is they’re noisy on a road, can startle easily and require food and water, just like you, to stay alive. I include horses here because they are a way to stay mobile, but personally, I’d go with a bike.
Get a wood gas truck
Gasification is a little-known technique that’s not really popular today. But if you’re living off the grid, it can be your saving grace in a crisis. Essentially, it’s a wood gas generator, that you mount to your intended vehicle. They’re dangerous to run inside as they produce carbon monoxide, but outdoors, it’s an ideal substitute for gas.
Fueled with wood (or charcoal), a wood gas generator is a large chamber, that you start a fire within. It’s massive, we lose almost half the tray in our truck to this device, but it’s worth it. The fuel wood is added inside, and as it heats releases carbon monoxide that you can use to power an internal combustion engine. Yes, it is slow to start, but wood is a renewable resource and our truck will keep running long after we’ve run out of diesel.
Get a boat or kayak
If you live near any waterways a small boat or a kayak is a smart investment. We’ve got a large stream running through our property, that you can follow for a few hundred miles until it opens up to a large lake.
I’ve made the trip a few times, it’s beautiful fishing, but it’s also a hidden highway we can use to evacuate. Powered only by paddling, we can silently slip away in our boats while the roads remain gridlocked. It’s also a way for us to go out and reach new areas for foraging and fishing when the SHTF.
I like to think I’ve got a backup plan for most situations, but when it comes to mobility you have to start preparing now. Because once the SHTF you won’t be able to fill your tank at the local gas station anymore, and within a couple of weeks, most cars are going to be absolutely useless once their tanks run dry. Don’t be the one left stranded.