While you will hopefully not ever truly need to survive a zombie apocalypse, you might need to survive a pandemic, a natural disaster, or some other emergency – and you don’t have to be a weirdo survivalist prepper to feel a bit comforted by a few survival preparedness items.
I decided to write this after watching Walking Dead one night, thinking about things like, “How prepared am I for the Zombie Apocalypse?”.
Well, here’s how prepared I am not. The other day the power went out in our house, not once but TWICE. My internet cable modem requires power to work, so I was completely dead in the water to do any work.
The heat was off in the house and it was snowing, so it quickly started to get cold. I thought, “this is a good time to take a break and cook something”… but oh wait, the POWER is out for all of the electric items I use including the stove, oven, every other item.
The fridge was dark and off and I took a quick peek inside but then thought, “everything in here will start to go bad soon”, and quickly shut the door.
You really forget how reliant we are upon the luxuries of life and modern technological advancements. If we end up without these for even a few hours, we are pretty much screwed – at least I know I am.
I have friends who are collecting and eagerly awaiting the day they’ll get to use their zombie-killer maces and crossbows, but my weapon arsenal is lacking.
Now, while I completely get that the reality of a zombie-plague is a bit of a fantasy, everyone should be prepared for an emergency where we might be without things that we take for granted in having today.
When was the last time you had someone work on your home and they shut off the water? Makes you pretty vulnerable, doesn’t it? Can’t cook, can’t wash your hands, can’t flush your toilet more than once, can’t take a shower.
Resources we all take advantage of suddenly become precious commodities.
The truth is, you probably don’t need to worry about a slurry of zombies at your door anytime soon.
BUT, you never know when the next earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane or power outage will bring life as you know it to a standstill. Even if your cut off from modern technology is only temporary, you will be happy if you did some planning before-hand and assembled some vital tools you might need.
I admit that one of my guilty, brainless, pleasures are zombie shows – a la The Walking Dead.
Gruesome display of ways to kill the undead are titillating sure, but I’m more fascinated by post-apocalyptic survival and what happens to our psyche when our world gets turned upside down.
What do we do when there are no cell phones, no power, no running water, no gas, no shelter, no continuity with the dependable everyday world? That’s when people who have basic camping/hunting/foraging/”I-got-me-a-pocketknife” boy scout skills rise and ordinary people turn…savage!
It comes down to the question “if you were stranded in the mountains and didn’t know exactly where you were, would you survive? Could you live on berries, mushrooms and find water that won’t give you Montezuma’s revenge? Could you protect yourself from the elements, carnivorous beasts and successfully find a way back to civilization with all of your limbs intact?”
Personally, I don’t think I’d fare very well out there and it’s likely most of us wouldn’t. However, for probably no more than $100.00 or so you can have a little peace of mind that you’ll give yourself a fighting chance!
So, what would it take to survive the zombie-apocalypse? My personal escape strategy would be to gather and collect as many items as possible and head for the hills. Less people in a natural environment with raw resources is probably your best bet. Widespread panic among a population will wipe supermarkets clean in a matter of hours and leaving those who were unprepared and late to “rush-hour” as serious threats as they enter carnal survival-mode.
But before you can plan a long-term strategy for living like Daniel Boone in the wilderness and beyond, you’ll have to get through those first critical weeks when the rest of the herd is getting thinned.
Come with me if you want to live
What are the essentials besides a kick-ass armored vehicle, an arsenal of weapons and a ton of gas? Here is a list of some of the most important accessories to ensure zombie (or other emergency) survival.
10 Critical Needs for Surviving a Catastrophe
You will need fire for warmth, protection, light (there’s no electricity anymore, remember?), cooking food, purifying water, disinfecting surgical tools – blech, and probably countless other activities. Unless you plan on rubbing two sticks together, it’s recommended to own a fire-starter like this flint stick, or a waterproof case for a lighter, or just good old fashion matches which they now make waterproof as well. This will run you anywhere from a few dollars to upwards of $100.00 if you want to go high tech, but most run around $10.00.
#2: A utility weapon
Do more than just hack away at the undead with this gem. All-purpose tools are great for spur of the moment fish gutting, seat belt break-outs, spear whittling and opening a cold one after a long day of surviving. For around $8.00, there’s no excuse not to own a tool like the Emergency Camper Multi Tool!
It takes only 3-4 days for the human body to erode from the effects of dehydration and maybe a week before the eternal dirt-nap. You could store gallons of water in your basement, but if you’re forced to hit the ground on foot, that’s not at all sustainable and too cumbersome for travel. Hanging close to a river/lake/stream you can opt for a filtration system like this filtration pump, or use tablets such as these Treatment Tablets to clean the water without the need for boiling. You could also think about packaged water for a lightweight, temporary fix. To be minimally prepared with water tablets will cost you around $8.00.
This is where the price of survival can add up quickly and chances are you already have SOME items like canned goods and dry goods that you can take (rice, for example). Rations like these food biscuits typically last around 5 years – they taste like sawdust but will keep you full, sustained and not make you overly thirsty. These start at around $8.00 for one person for 3 days. If you want to spend more money on a more complete meal – garnished with a snack and dessert, you might look into something more ambitious and expensive (starting around ~$80.00) like ready to eat meals which come with their own heating mechanism. Bonus item: You may want to think longer term and grab a seed kit like this while you’re at it.
#5: First Aid
This is two-part. #1) Medical supplies, such as bandages, band-aids, antiseptics, topical anti-biotics, peroxide, scissors, cotton balls (which can also double for tinder), and alcohol wipes are all your bare minimum essentials. #2) Medicines like ingested antibiotics, pain-relievers and other prescription drugs are going to be high value and harder to come by. Be sure to grab whatever you have from your medicine cabinet on your way out the door!
#6: Thermal Blankets
Blankets like these are compact and take up little space, but can be lifesaving. The ones linked are made by NASA; if it’s good enough for an astronaut it’s good enough for me! Probably not a bad idea to keep a couple in your car just in case you break down in a blizzard or fall into cold water. The average cost is about $10.00 to save 4 people from hypothermia.
#7: Solar powered charger multi-charger
No More Candy Crush? You’re probably not going to be able to use your cell phone for much more than capturing some cool slo-mo pics of the undead. However, you’ll probably find an item like this solar charger comes in handy when it comes to many of the gadgets today that can work off pure micro-usb power (i.e., compasses, clocks, radios, etc). Plus, some (like the one linked) have a built-in flashlight! These vary in price range, but the average price is around $25.00.
#8: Survival Guides
No tool is going to save you if you don’t know how to properly use it. A book like the SAS Survival Handbook comes in very handy and should probably be something everyone owns and has rudimentarily looked through even before an emergency – your most valuable commodity in situations where you have to live off the land is survival knowledge. Also recommended is a book which will teach you what is edible and what is not in the wilderness, like this book How to Eat in the Woods.
#9: Hand-Crank Radio
There are some, like this very inexpensive hand crank radio, that have built-in flashlights and/or solar chargers that can provide power to other gadgets. For $17.00 you can’t go wrong!
#10: Binding Material
You probably already have something like this at home, but rope, duct tape and string are important for many tactical purposes. This paracord is ideal since it is paracord strong but also can turn into fishing line, tinder, or wire for a snare or trap. It represents 100ft of options for less then $25.00. You might also want a tent (this one comes with paracord too).
With these items at your disposal, you undoubtedly stand a greater chance of faring better than most in situations that would make anyone want to shudder.
Why not be prepare yourself now, rather than risking becoming one of the herd?
All it takes is a little proactive planning and wherewithal to be one step ahead of the rest.
Hopefully you never need an emergency stash, but if the time comes, you’ll thank yourself for it in the end. Don’t wait for the day you see your neighbor’s rotted corpse moaning down the street before you think to pack your getaway bag!