According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
trans·por·ta·tion | \ ˌtran(t)s-pər-ˈtā-shən
Definition of transportation
1 : an act, process, or instance of transporting or being transported
2a : means of conveyance or travel from one place to another
b : public conveyance of passengers or goods especially as a commercial enterprise
3 : banishment to a penal colony
Okay, banishment to a penal colony was a new one for me.
If the SHTF, what is your primary means of “conveyance or travel from one place to another?” If fuel availability is in question, that lift or ride might not be an option. And your options will change with the weather if you live in a place with distinct seasons.
Keep in mind that transportation isn’t just about bugging out fifty miles to your lodge. You’ll still have to get around on a regular basis for a variety of reasons.
For me, here in the Great White (i.e. snow) North, if the fuel is not available and the snowplows are not running how do I get around where we average 20 feet (yep, feet) of snow a year? What are your options for bugging out or just getting from Point A to Point B?
Not the old school, look like wood tennis rackets strapped to your feet. The new modern ones are a mix of metal, composite and plastics. I bought my first pair (similar to these) after taking the dogs out for their daily walk in our first real snow of the season when we moved to the farm. Later I upgraded to this pair.
At first, I highly doubted their merit, would I use them more than a few times and then they would spend the rest of their days in a forgotten corner in the attic.
I use them nearly every day in the winter.
Cross Country Skis
I have used the ones for use on groomed trails, and after some trial and error (and a lot of harsh language) I finally got the hang of it and could get up a good fast pace.
There are manufacturers who make skis for non-groomed trails. True backcountry, hilly terrain skis. A few of the neighbors have these. I need to get a pair.
A number of people have them around here. If you had the fuel to burn, a snowmobile could be used to get around.
Every fall the local snowmobile club around here comes out to check the trails for possible fallen trees to prevent accidents. Stick to areas where you know they are clear. That small looking mound of snow might be a tree or surface boulder.
Prior to the invention of the automobile, people used animals to get around. Could it be done again? Sure.
But the average American does not know how to care for properly, let alone ride a horse. I know food goes in that end, manure comes out the other end, you sit up there, and horses generally like apples. That is about the extent of my knowledge of horses.
There is going to be a serious learning curve. Obviously horseback riding could be done in any season as long as you are not putting your animal at risk with extreme conditions.
Making your trails
The first trails blazed for the winter season are generally the hardest.
Each time I go out, I take the same path as the action of snowshoeing packs the snow down. After a half a dozen or so, the trial is more like walking on a sidewalk vs walking in wet sand or deep mud. The exception is if we get significant snowfall, but even then it is still better than starting over.
The same goes for cross country skiing.
Interestingly enough, the local wildlife uses our snowshoeing trails. We find deer, rabbit, and what looks like coy tracks. They know it is easier too.
Someone may comment about leaving tracks giving away my position/OPSEC. That is true. The moment I walk out of the house I am going to leave a track. But I figure we get to that point in SHTF, my whereabouts are going to be known by the fires I have going to stay warm and cook with. Same with nearly everyone else who heats with wood, and that is most of us up here.
I carry a backpack for storing away layers, additional layers if it is really cold out, and of course a first aid kit (NOTE: Update your first aid kits to reflect the seasons).
Otherwise, I try to keep it as light as possible to keep the exertion at a minimum. If I have to haul something to the neighbors, rather then trying to hump it all in a backpack, a cheap plastic toboggan and length of static rope is easier to pull across the snow.
Winter Safety Tips
Despite it being winter, the kind of physical exertion that comes with either snowshoeing or cross-country skiing can still cause heat exhaustion. If you are not used to it, take your time.
With snow boots and the snowshoes, it is like strapping an extra 8lbs of weight to your feet. And then walking through deep snow.
We tend to overdress for the winter and then find ourselves outright sweating like it was a summer day. Layers are best. I can remove layers as needed.
As part of Daisy’s Prepper Health and Fitness Challenge, today I did about 2 miles of snowshoeing. I had to remove the performance layer, took off the gloves, opened the parka underarm/pit zips, and under zipped the parka and fleece halfway. I was still warm and sweating.
If you can find them or afford them, wool products are great. One winter one of the dogs fell through the ice into the brook. He could not get out. Into the brook I went snowshoes and all. Water came over the top of one of my boots and into my socks, soaking my foot. Once I pulled the dog and myself out of the water, we made it double time for home. Halfway there, I discovered my one wet foot was no longer cold but warm. Even wet, wool maintains its warming properties.
Carry water with you. A water bladder next to your performance layer, and keep the water tube if you have one there too. In single-digit temps, I have had the water in the tube mouthpiece freeze when I left it out once.
Warm Weather Transportation
Let’s not forget our Southerners!
Courtesy of the USMC, I have been to some of the hottest and most humid places on earth, to include my beloved Island.
While the location may be different, swap out snow and cold with heat and humidity, the idea is still the same: how do you get around?
I recommend seeing Daisy’s Health and Fitness Challenge on walking/moving.
Not only do you have the correct bicycle for your terrain, fitted to you correctly, but do you have the physical fitness to ride 10, 20 or more miles? Hilly terrain?
I just read an article 2 out of 5 adults cannot fix a single household problem without Google. What about a flat tire on the side of the road with no Google?
Summer Safety Tips
Water and staying hydrated still apply. Do not overexert yourself.
Loadout applies too. Rather than trying to haul a load in a backpack, do you have some kind of pull behind trailer?
Spare parts. Not only tires, and tubes, but extra cables, and even chains. Yes, if you put a lot of miles on a bicycle, the chain actually stretches. In my youth, I rode three Tour of the Scioto River Valley (TOSRV) bicycle tours.
How would you get around?
There is a wee bit of strife going on in the Middle East right now. Some have even suggested the possibility of a cyber-attack on our electrical grid. If something like that would come to pass, and as some studies have suggested it could be a year or four before we get back to “normal,” how would you fare?
1stMarineJarHead is not only a former Marine, but also a former EMT-B, Wilderness EMT (courtesy of NOLS), and volunteer firefighter.
He currently resides in the great white (i.e. snowy) Northeast with his wife and dogs. He raises chickens, rabbits, goats, occasionally hogs, cows and sometimes ducks. He grows various veggies and has a weird fondness for rutabagas. He enjoys reading, writing, cooking from scratch, making charcuterie, target shooting, and is currently expanding his woodworking skills.