As civilians, we often find ourselves envious of all the high-tech equipment that's only accessible to military organizations. From innovative weapons and communication systems to cutting-edge vehicles and aircraft, costly new technology is often developed for military use first, and eventually trickles down to the civilian market as it becomes more common and affordable. This can be seen across the board in many industries. Even the internet that you're using right now was originally funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

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Above: This “side-by-side” Ranger Northstar is a two-occupant off-road utility vehicle produced by Polaris.

Tracked Side by Side

If you've ever looked into purchasing a small off-road vehicle, you've likely heard of Polaris. The company has been producing ATVs, snowmobiles, and side-by-side vehicles for decades in the commercial market. However, you may not know that Polaris also has a large division focused on the development of military vehicles: Polaris Defense.

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Above: The Rampage is no ordinary side-by-side vehicle. It's not even available to the general public.

Recently, Polaris Defense has been working in conjunction with the Canadian military to develop a new “Twin-Track Fully-Suspended Amphibious Terrain Vehicle”. It's known as the Polaris Rampage, and it's designed to traverse virtually any type of terrain. The Canadian military needed a small and agile vehicle that could handle dirt, sand, mud, water, snow, and ice, even in sub-zero Arctic conditions. Polaris drew on its experience developing wheeled vehicles and snowmobiles, and delivered.

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Above: The Polaris Rampage has undergone extensive testing in the arctic. Photo: Defence Research and Development...

The Rampage is powered by a 1000cc Polaris RZR engine under its rear deck, which can propel the vehicle to over 60mph. It also uses a standard steering wheel to control the rotation of its dual tracks, and it can rotate 360 degrees on its own axis.

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The rear deck we mentioned earlier is designed to accommodate a shipping pallet for transporting gear over rough terrain. With doors installed, the fully-enclosed and heated cab can keep occupants comfortable and safe in freezing conditions. There are even charging ports for laptops and other electronics.

Rampage In Action

The Rampage is not available to the public at this time, and is exclusively a military-spec project. However, the editors of Dirt Trax Television got their hands on one for some initial testing, and called it “a complete force to be reckoned with”:

Based on what we've seen so far, we hope that Polaris eventually brings the Rampage to the civilian market. At the very least, we're sure some of its innovations will continue to make their way into the company's commercial and recreational side-by-sides in the near future.


  • Q: Are tracks on a side by side worth it?
    A: Tracks let you take your all-terrain or utility vehicle off trails, in deep snow or just about anywhere else you want to go, but they can still get stuck.
  • Q: Can you put ATV tracks on a UTV?
    A: Yes. Certain brands of tracks can be configured for both.
  • Q: How fast can you go with tracks on a side by side?
    A: In general, however, and in ideal conditions, you can get around 40 miles per hour.
  • Q: How much does it cost to put tracks on an ATV?
    A: You can purchase track kits perform the installation yourself. Track kits cost anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000 depending on the kit.

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