How to Survive a True Walking Dead Apocalypse

The zombie apocalypse might seem like a great opportunity to clear your debts and catch up on reading, but if The Walking Dead taught us something is that surviving in a wasteland of the undead is not easy. As the show enters its eleventh and final season, we chat with survival experts and professional preppers about what’s right and wrong, along with their own tips for surviving a doomsday scenario. After all, after the past two years, a zombie apocalypse doesn’t seem as far-fetched as it once did.


John Ramey, founder of survivalist company The Prepared, doesn’t recommend throwing your money in a bunker. “Instead of thinking about things like bunkers,” he says. “We should focus on strengthening our existing homes and communities and making them more resilient, with doors that take more than a kick to knock down. Your home is your castle. This is the best place to get out of any emergency situation.

That’s why he’s encouraging people to think about how long they can shelter in their homes. “If you were to lock yourself in your home right now, without gas, water, electricity or communication, how long and how can you do it?” he says. “The baseline should be two weeks, as that covers most emergencies like natural disasters. Some people go further in their preparation and can last six months. I’m at the point where I can survive indefinitely. I have an indefinite ability to create food and find and process water etc.

Survivor in the apocalypse © GrandFailure


Failing to prepare and prepare to be eaten alive, screaming. According to Ramey, you should be well stocked with basic supplies. “Think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – food, water, health, communication,” he says. “You need first aid supplies. Hygiene Supplies: Can you wipe your pits and poo? A great example is water storage. The rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per day. So if you have three people in your household for two weeks, that would be 45 gallons. In the long term, do you have the capacity to capture and store water? And then the skincare products that go with it. Do you have a water filter or reverse osmosis system, maybe a UV purifier? You need a certain ability to take wild water and make it drinkable”

You should also have what the preparedness community calls a “bug out bag,” a bag of basic supplies that you can grab when you need to leave the safety of your home. Cameron Carlson, survival expert and member of the Zombie Research Society, compiles a shopping list: “Lighter or waterproof matches, emergency blanket, sleeping bag, freeze-dried food, flashlight, batteries , solar radio, water purifier, camping stove, knife, gun (if you can get one), medical kit. A tarp that would help build a shelter, if needed. A good tip is to pack some AAAAA steel wool (which is really good) and a 9 volt battery. You can easily start a fire by touching the steel wool with the battery and the steel wool can compress to fit a lot in a very small place.

Ramey also recommends investing in a bicycle. “The bicycle is the classic breakdown vehicle,” he says. “It is the most efficient human machine ever created. Whenever professionals watch The Walking Dead, one of the moans is that it’s eight years later and people are still driving gas-powered vehicles. The gas expires in about six months. You can add additives to it and extend that life, but the idea that after six to twelve months of the company’s downfall you’re going to find usable gasoline is laughable.


However, it doesn’t matter how many supplies you have, if you don’t have the skills to use them.

“Most important is first aid and a basic medical understanding of how to clean and dress the wound,” says Ramey. “If Daryl from The Walking Dead gets hit in the shoulder with a crossbow bolt, how are you going to handle it? Modern society is great, but we’ve lost thousands of years of hard-won survival skills over the past hundred years. Many of our grandparents would have had at least some basic knowledge of how to treat an injury. Even if you take a standard first aid course, they teach on the assumption that you can pick up the phone and a hero will show up seven minutes later with drugs and electricity.

Outdoor survival skills are also essential. “Similarly,” adds Ramey, “people don’t know how to navigate anymore. There is now a thing in the search and rescue community called Death by GPS. So, can you read a map? Do you know how to light a fire? Do you know how to create a winter shelter so as not to die of exposure? A less obvious example is conflict resolution and situational awareness. Do you pay attention to your surroundings? Do you know how to defuse tense situations without resorting to violence?

© GrandFailure

Man running away from zombies © GrandFailure


At some point, you may have to leave home and seek refuge elsewhere. But where should you go?

“If you live in New York or London and the zombie apocalypse happens, you probably have to go to the country to get away from people,” Ramey says. “But even in a zombie apocalypse, that desire to be alone might change. Because, as we see in The Walking Dead, at some point you’re going to need community. Community wins 99% of the time by compared to that kind of lone wolf imagery of walking alone into the sunset, with your dog by your side and a shotgun slung over your shoulder.

The idea of ​​humanity tearing itself apart after a post-apocalyptic event is popular, but Micheal Zalewski, author of Practical Doomsday: A User’s Guide to the End of the World, doesn’t buy it.

“I think most people would rather suffer quietly than hurt an innocent person,” he says. “A deeper risk is that in times of uncertainty and fear, we tend to lash out at outside groups. But in the zombie scenario in particular, we already have a clear enemy. I think it would bring us closer, not that we would drift apart. And more prosaically, we are not machines: we can get sick, we need to sleep, we cannot acquire all the skills necessary to survive all possible calamities. Being on good terms with a doctor or plumber can save the day.


But what about the zombies themselves? According to zombie expert Cameron Carlson, it depends on whether it’s the rabid kind that runs like wild animals (think 28 Days Later) or the slow, plodding variety of The Walking Dead.

“If they’re fast, I know I’m not chasing them,” he says. “So you have to turn to stealth. Move in the shadows, underground, by all means possible to avoid them. If you enter a confrontation with a fast player, you know where there is one, there are more. Unless you have several people in your party who know how to use weapons tactically and proficiently, you’re done. As for the slower ones, just move around them.

Carlson also recommends using dogs, which can detect major threats or changes. Dogs have a very keen sense of smell, much more so than you or me,” he says. “They would be a good warning device. Observe the dogs, if they start acting strange, growling, baring their teeth or walking around a lot, something is wrong. They might give you an early warning.

One intriguing difference between the UK and the US, of course, is the two countries’ approach to gun ownership. How would this affect the outcome of trying to survive a zombie apocalypse?

“There’s good and bad,” says Ramey. “If I’m at home and the zombies try to come in and eat my face, then my last line of defense is a shotgun in my hand. In that regard, American gun culture offers an advantage. But it can also create a negative effect because if society breaks down and people panic, those people are going to be armed. And you know, we’ve certainly seen in the last couple of years that even in a mild emergency, about a third of society is going to lose its mind and be horrible to deal with. So blessings and curses.

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