Survival Buzz: Thoughts on Alternative Transportation Following an EMP

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Jul 2, 2019
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Last week’s call for questions was amazing.  There were over 100 of them which will surely keep me busy for awhile.  There were so many that I actually hired an assistant to help me categorize and compile them into an organized list.

With that type of interest in what I have to say, it seems fitting that I answer one question right away.  This question comes from the winner of the LifeStraw Go and it is a good one.

I would like more information on alternative transportation in an EMP situation.
What might still run? Motorcycles, golf carts, ATV ? Bicycles and horses are slow
and can’t carry much.

Thoughts on alternative transportation following an EMP | Backdoor Survival

Let me preface my answer with this: I am not an EMP expert and have no firsthand experience with an EMP.  Furthermore, anyone who claims to have a definitive answer of what the impact will be on our transportation system is a “prepper catfish”.

So what do I think?  I believe that modern vehicles whose operation is dependent upon silicon chip technology are going to become the equivalent of huge boat anchors.  Plus, even if they could be operated, traditional sources of fuel would be scarce.  No electricity means no power to the gas pump.

Anyone who owns a Harley Davidson Motorcycle will tell you that it too will not be operational for basically the same reason.  This applies to all late model motorbikes.

Setting all of that aside, there are battery operated golf carts.  With an adequate number of solar panels, the batteries can be charged again and again by the sun.  Not only that, you can retrofit a golf cart with a rooftop solar panel.  By integrating the solar panel on the cart itself, you increase the range of the cart, provided you have adequate sun, of course.

Additional Reading:  Will Solar Panels Survive an EMP?

I do have a golf cart in my garage but rather than add solar panels to the roof, I plan on purchasing a large solar generator and extra golf cart batteries.  This way I can use the generator for purposes other than just getting around.  The Goal Zero Yeti is on my bucket list for later this year.

Other choices of transportation are bicycles, foot-powered scooters, roller skates, and of course, walking.  All of these options require a reasonable level of fitness which is why I expound on prepper fitness more often than you might like.

Side note:  Being away from home for six months has been a blow to my personal fitness level.  Weight is good, blood pressure is good, BMI is good.  But overall stamina and the ability to hike great distances?  Not so much.  It will be good to get home to those 700 foot climbs through the forest!

Something to keep in mind is that an EMP, when and if it happens, could vary widely in magnitude and scope.  An EMP may be localized or regional.  Or, in a catastrophic disruptive event, it take down an entire country if not a continent.  Will this happen?  Who is to say.  Some believe it was a massive EMP killed off all the dinosaurs.  Will humans be killed off in the same way?

I am afraid that I have not provided much of an answer to this question.  That said, what I have done personally is keep a stash of electronics, including an old eBook reader, laptop computer, emergency radio, and a wide variety of other items in a DIY Faraday cage.  Twice a year, I update the reader and laptop to include all of my digital reading material and a copy of the documents folder from m main computer.

Additional Reading:  How to Build a Simple Faraday Cage for EMP Survival

In addition, I have a couple of heavy duty hand trucks and a wagon that may be useful for hauling water.  I also keep a bicycle in good working condition although it just occurred to me to get some spare parts, including tires.  Finally, I do my best to stay prep-fit.

Additional Reading: What is the Baseline of Prepper Fitness?

Backdoor Survival Mail Bag & Reader Tips

Earlier this year, Bill S. passed along this tip for using a FoodSaver (or other) Vacuum Sealer.

I would like to respond to someone asking “does anyone know how to turn the heat setting up on vacuum sealers”.   I didn’t respond at the time because I don’t have the  correct answer but as I was sealing up some meat I bought on sale last night, it occurred to me you may want to at least get my spin on it this way.

I have found (so far) a work around. I actually seal both ends twice and about ½” away from each other. I have had occasions like you whereby the one seal doesn’t seem to take completely as I find the vacuum has been lost over time. To that end, I started doing a double seal as mentioned and so far, so good.

Let me echo that.  Double sealing really does help, especially when repurposing vacuum sealer bags a second or third time.  This also works if you want to cut up larger bags in order to make your own small packets for such items as spices.


In response to the post Clean Your Toilets Naturally with DIY Toilet Bombs,  JJ offered this alternative solution to icky toilets.

Since I moved here 8 years ago, I have had the most horrible time with the toilets—never before, and married for 46 years.  I started using a DIY cleaner found online.

It works; I now do NOT have dirty toilets that need cleaning every day, just spray. Also, the nasty ring that showed every few days is no longer a problem–non-existent.

1/4 cup peroxide
1/4 cup alcohol
5 drops of dish washing liquid (or Dawn if you use that)
2 TB jet dry (or generic)

Mix in spray bottle with about 2 cups water.

You will love this. Ingredients we all have at home.  I hate DIY with baking soda–it is hard to rinse.


Reader Dan, needs your help.  Is there anyone out there with experience raising quail?

I wanted to try raising quail, after having chickens for years. I bought10 eggs.

They act like they are happy and energetic, but they are dying off one at a time, and I can’t imagine why. I’ve done research, and I am doing all that I have found, but I’m down to5 chicks now, and I don’t want to lose any more. Please help!

Additional Reading: City Farming with Backyard Quail – An Alternative to Raising Chickens

An Update on the Oil of the Month Club

There is some exciting news for essential oils enthusiasts.  Spark Naturals has introduced a Premium Oil of the Month Club that features the higher priced oils at the bargain price of $24.99 with free shipping.  To give you an example of the savings, the May oil is a 15ML bottle of Frankincense, normally $70.  That is a discount of almost 65%.

If you would like to learn more about the Oil of the Month Club, visit the page I created for you (shown below) or head on over to Spark Naturals web site.

Additional Reading:  Spark Naturals Oil of the Month Club

Help Wanted

Behind the scenes I am working on a new web design.  Nothing drastic, mind you, but an improvement in the way you navigate and find archived articles.

That is where you come in.  I need to come up with eight to ten categories that best describe the topics I write about and the topics you are interested in,  Any takers?  When you go to a preparedness website, what are the broad topics you are looking for?  Survival?  Food Storage?  DIY?  Product Reviews?  Something else?

Please do share you thoughts via email or in the comments below.

The Final Word

Things are pretty busy as I wrap things up in Arizona in preparation for my return home to the Pacific Northwest.  I have learned a lot in the experience, not only within the context of prepping, but in terms of regional nuances in culture and mindset.  Last week there were some questions about desert living and be assured that they will get answered.

Something else that has been taking up time is the process of testing an Aladdin Lamp (very cool!) as well as an EnerPlex Solar Panel and external battery.  This solar charger will charge a laptop and will be coming up in a giveaway as soon as I get my notes together.  You are going to be impressed.

And finally, I am working on those DIY Miracle Salve samples I wrote about last week.  They will be available on a first come, first serve basis for free although I will charge for shipping (which will not be much).

That’s a wrap for me this week.  How about you?  What did you do to prep last week?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates.  When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!

The Survival Buzz Almost “Free” Department

10 Pack Mini LED FlashlightsThe Sunday Survival Buzz Volume 127 Backdoor Survival:  What a great deal on 10 mini flashlights on a key ring - button batteries included.  I happen to like a more sturdy ring so I remove the one that comes with and use a small bit of tie-wrap (zip tie) instead.   The included battery seemingly lasts forever and at this price, you can stash them in the car, purse, pocket, tool box and by the circuit breaker box, and still have some left over for other uses.

As of this writing, all 10 are under $4.00 in black although from time to time they are available in colors as well.

Bargain Bin:  Today I offer up a mixed bag of items related to today’s Buzz as well some current favorites.

LifeStraw Go Water Bottle with Integrated 1000-Liter LifeStraw Filter:  The Lifestraw Go integrates the fantastic LifeStraw Personal Water Filter with a sippy-type bottle.  It is like getting two for the price of one.  The included carabiner hook makes it easy to attach the LifeStraw Go to your pack.

FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer: As long as the unit has an accessory port (and this one does), an in expensive FoodSaver will work just as well as the fancier models. That is my two cents, at least.

FoodSaver Wide Mouth Jar Sealer: Already have a FoodSaver? If so, check out this jar sealer which can be used to vacuum seal your Mason jars. This is a great option for short to mid term storage of items such as beans, rice, sugar and salt. Store your jars in a cool, dark place and you are set with the added advantage of removing a small amount for current use without having to disrupt your large Mylar bag or bucket of food.  There is also a version for regular sized jars. See Fast Track Tip #4: How to Use a FoodSaver for Vacuum Canning.

Ultra Bright LED Lantern – Collapsible:  I admit to now owning 3 of these collapsible lanterns. It uses 30 different LEDS and is powered by 3 AA batteries, including rechargeables.  Instead of a switch, you turn it on by extending the lantern from its collapsed condition.  With a lifetime warranty and over 1,350 close to perfect ratings, I can see why this is popular.  With free Prime shipping.

Color Me Calm: 100 Coloring Templates for Meditation and Relaxation:  Those of you that follow Backdoor Survival on Facebook know that I have become a coloring maniac.  This book is my latest splurge and what a fantastic adult coloring book it is!  This is another one of my favorites:  Balance (Angie’s Extreme Stress Menders Volume 1) Yes, I am totally addicted.

Colored Pencils 36-color Art Drawing Pencils: This is the first set of pencils I purchased and they have served me well. I can also recommend this set of 72 colors from Prismacolor.  Expensive, yes.  But really worth it for coloring scenes where you want to do a lot of shading.

LolliZ Gel Pens 48 Gel Pen Tray Set:  I have also branched out to gel pens which are great for use on Mandalas or for highlights.  The glitter pens are awesome.  So far, they are lasting quite a long time and there is no bleed through.


Are You Interested in Essential Oils?

OOTM is a great value and shipping is free!
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Visit the Spark Naturals Oil of the Month Club page for additional information.




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24 Responses to “Survival Buzz: Thoughts on Alternative Transportation Following an EMP”

  1. On modes of transportation, your riding lawnmower, or garden tractor. Both will probably survive

    • Other comments, true non-fuel injected engines will survive, but if you have an alternator, and not a generator it will fail and if it fails shorted, it will drain the battery and probably start a fire as the wiring melts. so for older vehicles, I would suggest replacing the alternator with a generator if you can find one.

  2. greetings power if emf or other tech disaster strikes. would be wise not to try to go super technical. remember they did not have the things like gas engines in the past, and not that long ago in the past. I’m only 72 and I can recall living in houses in Detroit Michigan that had gas lights and side arm water heaters gas of course. and in case you think gas from a petroleum deposit is the only one, check history. in world war 1 and 2 many vehicles were converted, a simple process, to burn what was known as producer gas, we now call it carbon monoxide. check photos of vehicles in England and note the bag on their roof. that was monoxide. same with Australia, Japan had cut off their supplies of fuel, but some of them could read and converted their vehicles to home made monoxide. no sense me getting into how to do that here. if you are interested check out the web and you will find all the info you need to make it and use it. and the monoxide for cities used to be made from smoldering their garbage, that we now contaminate our land with land fills to get rid of. it can be made from wood, weeds, grass or hay. leaves or anything that can be burned with limited oxygen. and unlike solar there is no need to be satisfied with just golf cart size transport. During WW2 Germany used monoxide trucks to carry supplies to their troops in the interior of Russia. ran them on wood or other burnables collected as they drove along. is no secret, just forgotten technology. a monoxide fueled vehicle can go anywhere a gasoline powered engine vehicle can go. and make its own fuel as it goes along. big thing still in Australia and I understand you can even buy a new Volvo already set up to make and burn its own monoxide from a production plant in its trunk. might be worth you while to check it out.

  3. I believe you’ve left out the obvious – horses and mule drawn carts or wagons. I even have a large dog and a gorilla wagon that I believe I can rig a harness for (if she doesn’t tear up the wagon testing it). I, of course, would have to walk. I understood from the NatGeo video on your last article that many modern vehicles will still work, based on testing. Did I get that wrong? If that’s so then I think we can expect other smaller vehicles to work: 3 and 4 wheel ATV’s and motor scooters.

    • I’m with you on the horse power thing. Have two carriages and harness and horses to drive – will be able to get around ok. Wonder if others would try to steal such “transpotation” in very difficult times. Just bought a bicycle too. Good idea with big dogs to pull loads. Maybe the Rotties can do double duty!! No electric – little fuel will be available. A real grid down situation will out live any fossil fuel sources. Most young people are totally unprepared.
      Poor things – no cell – no twitter…..

      Modern solar will be fried – with an big emp or hemp. Better to think outside the box…

  4. I have the simplest of solutions for you: I have a 1971 VW bug. It will run no matter how many EMPs are detonated. It will run on any grade of gasoline you have available. If you’re stuck on the electric idea, a friend of mine has converted his to electric with an available kit that “plugs” in a large electric motor directly to the car’s transaxle. The conversion can be done in a day. I’m looking at a 1973 VW micro-bus to add to my “fleet” right now, which would be of even more use in a post-EMP environment. Millions of these things were made and parts are cheap and plentiful. These little cars are extremely simple to work on and are VERY reliable.

    • In 1980 I owned a1974 VW Superbeetle which I drove to work because of its good gas mileage. I was headed home one night after midnight when the headlights would get dim and bright. I pulled off the road to see if I could find the trouble. The engine died. No loose battery cables. No obvious problems. No cell phones in1980. I was faced with sleeping in the Superbeetle until daylight or coming up with a solution. The car had a manual transmission and I had cranked it before by putting the transmission in neutral, having someone push the car and quickly putting it in gear and letting out on the clutch. The cars momentum would turn the engine over and it would crank. There was no one to help push the car. With the transmission in neutral I began pushing while standing outside driver door with one hand on the steering wheel to guide the vehicle. After reaching good momentum, I jumped in the seat, put it into gear and let out on the clutch. To my surprise, the engine fired up and ran great. I reached to the light switch and turned them on the engine died instantly. After a few minutes I realized that alternator was failing to provide enough current to fire the spark plugs and operate the lights. As luck would have it, I was on a down grade. I pushed the car again with the lights off and it fired up. Without the lights on it ran great. Remember it was now approaching 2:00 am, but overhead it was a clear October night with a brilliant full moon. I pulled back onto the highway with that little four cylinder humming. It took about 90 minutes to go 40 miles. I made it home safely without meeting another car or stumbling across law enforcement. You will not do that with today’s cars.

    • I keep an emergency repair kit in the car…I have a fanbelt, spare clutch cable, throttle cable, a complete spare distributer and even a rebuilt alternator. I can change out any of these things in just a few minutes with basic tools. Like me, you will probably find that if you have those things with you, NOTHING ever goes wrong!

  5. all autos before 1980 have no chips,i have a 1978 gmc that has no chips.have some gas stockpiled that has no will keep for a long time.also put a propane kit on the truck as i have a lot of propane will get around for a while…..

  6. I suspect that most farm equipment manufactured in the early 1980’s or earlier would still operate. Those Ford 8N’s, 9N’s, John Deere 4020’s & 4440’s, many International’s & Massey Ferguson’s as well as a variety of others with no electronics should work. I plan ahead and have on farm fuel storage capacity for one year so I can take advantage of the year ‘s best prices which are normally in late December. It is also insurance against some international incident driving the price ridiculously high or fuel unavailable and be unable to harvest the crops. Of course, a very big concern is if there is a regional or national incident, the authorities could STEAL (by way of martial law) the farm fuel to ride up and down the roads instead guarding it 24/7 for use in food production. Gravity flow tanks or 12 volt pumps operated would refuel the equipment. And yes, I have an International 1440 combine that would harvest the crop.

    • You are so right… my dad and brother still farm and my nephew is a wrench. with the 4020 that I grew up on the back of… My 1980 Sporty will still run to…

  7. You can see hundreds of designs (maybe thousands) if you Google for the following terms and then click “images” near the top of the screen. Try it. You’ll be surprised.

    (1) pedicab
    (2) rickshaw
    (3) Philippines sidecar
    (4) goat cart (2 words)
    (5) dog cart or dogcart (1 or 2 words)
    (6) pony cart or ponycart (1 or 2 words)
    Note that “dogcart” (1 word) gives different results that “dog cart” (2 words).

    • Here’s another one. Google for “Animal Traction – Peace Corps”. You’ll find a free, illustrated, 163-page, pdf document on draft animals, the feeding thereof, tillage implements, and harness. At last you will understand the harness terms you’ve been wondering about all these years – hames and jack saddles and the like. It’s hard to search eBay for “clevis pins” if you don’t know what they’re called. Anybody with a water buffalo for a pet can now put him to work.

  8. In many European villages you see people pushing – not riding – bicycles which are loaded with everything from straw to baskets to spare car tires. This may not be specifically “transportation”, but when the bicycle’s unloaded, it becomes transportation again.

    • During the war in Vietnam bicycles were the main transportation system used by the VC and NVA to move ammunition, food and equipment along jungle and mountain trails. It always amazed me how much weight they could pack onto a twenty five pound bike.

  9. In your original question, it stated that bicycles can’t carry much. I beg to differ on that statement. My husband and I have traveled on our bikes and hauled what we needed for a week. That includes camping gear. There are so many accessories for bikes out there. Even trailers that can hold children or extra belongings. I think it’s amazing how much you can carry on a bicycle. I have detachable bags for either side of the back wheel. Or there are ones for the front wheels too. Baskets that carry dogs on the front or the back. I wouldn’t think twice about using a bike.

  10. Overall, transportation is going to GREATLY curtailed, compared to what we’re used to using now. If u have any means of alternative transportation, be prepared to secure it in some way. I suspect, that post grid down, many would be happy to have a bicycle or horse. Also, if u need to move stuff, a children’s red metal wagon or a wheel-barrow are possibilities.

  11. Aladdin lamps don’t need “testing” My Great-grandparents and Grandparents, all long dead, used them until the Rural Electrification Act, and kept them for emergencies. We have one and I intend to get another one and plenty of fuel. Another light source ae your Goodwill stores, DAV=,Salvation army, and other such places. I have 6 boxes that oranges come in stored in the garage. Horses, mules, donkeys, and large dogs may not be Maserati’s or Ferrari’s but they moved freight for thousands of years. A proper wagon is the problem, but I suspect if you have any Mennonites (leeches) or Amish (also leeches- why- this country is good enough for them to live in but not to fight for, and don’t give me that crap about conscientious objector’s either – I’ll handcuff you to an M4 and put you right in the battle zone)

  12. Aladdin lamps don’t need “testing” My Great-grandparents and Grandparents, all long dead, used them until the Rural Electrification Act, and kept them for emergencies. We have one and I intend to get another one and plenty of fuel. Another light source ae your Goodwill stores, DAV=,Salvation army, and other such places. I have 6 boxes that oranges come in stored in the garage. Horses, mules, donkeys, and large dogs may not be Maserati’s or Ferrari’s but they moved freight for thousands of years. A proper wagon is the problem, but I suspect if you have any Mennonites (leeches) or Amish (also leeches- why- this country is good enough for them to live in but not to fight for, and don’t give me that crap about conscientious objector’s either – I’ll handcuff you to an M4 and put you right in the battle zone)The stores like those above always have lots of candles, and cheap too.

  13. Garden carts may not strictly qualify as transportation, but I have an oversized cart that can haul 400 pounds and I can easily move it while fully loaded over the roads, or with a lesser load over yards and trails. Heaviest thing I plan on hauling with it is water post SHTF. I can bring six 5-gallon water containers down to the river for filling, then cart it back up the hill fairly easily. Not quickly given my age, but easily enough.
    Folks who are planning on finding fuel after SHTF may be in for a rude awakening….so a few good pairs of walking shoes and a cart will probably be more useful than a pre-computer gas guzzler….

    • I have one also and for the same reason. It’s a little large for my garden and lawn needs but with the neumatic tires it pulls much easier than I expected when loaded down.

  14. Good article!
    For those of you who want a comprehensive understanding of EMP, I recommend that you read the following article: “Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack.” Subtitle: Critical National Infrastructures. The report date is April, 2008 and is an official government document. It is 208 pages in length and is about a 7MB download in PDF format. Nevertheless, if you want to understand the impact of a nuclear or solar EMP, this is the definitive article.

    • Here is the link to the report, if you read between the lines, we are FU**, as nothing has been done to protect the private infrastructure, my best guess is that food and water will not be available in cities for three to six months, could be even longer, especially if the elite want to use the attack to farther their agenda of depopulation, what a perfect way to do that in all developed countries.

      Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the … – (EMP) Attack Proxy Highlight

      (2) the vulnerability of United States military and especially civilian … United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse. ( EMP) …

    • Here is the link to the report, if you read between the lines, we are FU**, as nothing has been done to protect the private infrastructure and probably won’t be, could be this is part of the elite’s global depopulation plan, even if not best guess would be three to six months before food and water is restored in major cities and longer for the smaller cities and towns, so the problem will not be transportation long term but getting out of Dodge as soon as possible, preferably before an attack, going off grid, without any electricity, go Amish.

      Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the … – (EMP) Attack Proxy Highlight

      (2) the vulnerability of United States military and especially civilian … United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse. ( EMP) …

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