“They’re coming to get you, Barbara.” Ever since George Romero’s 1968 classic, Night of the Living Dead, America has been obsessed with zombies. But after a string of grisly incidents across the country, the zombie apocalypse doesn’t feel so far-fetched. Before you go boarding up your windows, loading up your shotgun and stampeding to the nearest cellar, finalize your survival plan. After all, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ali Khan, noted in his “Zombie Preparedness” article, “If you are generally well-equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse, you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake or terrorist attack.” Perfect.
Some body has poisoned the water hole
Any viewer of AMC’s The Walking Dead knows all too well what happens when a “swimmer” gets into the water supply. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the average human can last about a week without water, so make sure to stockpile it before it gets contaminated.
You’ll need about a gallon of water per person per day. The six-gallon Reliance Desert Patrol container ($16.49) is durable and easy to carry. Fill up enough of them so that your water supply lasts for several days.
Once you’re forced to abandon your shelter—and you most definitely will be—you’re going to need the Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter ($324.49). Sold on Amazon, this filter is one of the best in the market for decontaminating outdoor water found in streams, rivers or puddles. The price is hefty, but the cost of drinking zombie guts is higher. If you want a much cheaper option—one that will take up very little space—go with the Potable Aqua Iodine Tablets ($6.95 for 50 tablets) from REI. (Get REI coupons.)
Don’t wind up on the menu
As long as you have water, you can survive 30 to 40 days without food. However, after a few days, your body and brain will go weak. In a stressful situation like a zombie assault, a sharp mind and healthy body is vital. Otherwise, you’re as good as lunchmeat.
If MREs are good enough for battlefield combat, they’re (hopefully) good enough for zombie warfare. Load up on MRE Complete Meals ($134.95 for a 12-pack) from Nitro-Pak. If your mouth’s not watering yet, feast your eyes on the canned chicken, beef, pork and turkey ($59.99 for four 28-ounce cans) from SurvivalCave.com. Mmm, almost as good as fresh brains! And for those moments when you’re feeling exhausted but have a flesh-eater nipping at your heels, just take a bite out of a mega-nutritional Probar ($29.69 for a 12-pack) from Vitacost.com. (Get Vitacost.com coupons.)
Throw in some Jack Link’s Beef Jerky (48-pack for $78.25), Stratford Farms Peanut Butter ($15.99 for a 5-pound jar) and Freeze-Dried Banana Fruit Crisps (12 single-serve pouches for $17.99) for good measure. And don’t forget to boost morale with Hostess Twinkies ($11.24 for a 10-pack).
Dress to kill
You’re going to need some heavy-duty clothing—preferably something that can withstand a life-threatening bite. Zombie expert and author of Zombie CSU, Jonathan Maberry suggests body armor made from carpeting because it’s hard to chew through and can be found practically anywhere. If you aren’t looking forward to rug burn, though, I suggest investing in some additional gear.
The Tru-Spec BDU Trouser ($39.90) and Tru-Spec TRU Combat Shirt ($63.90) from AMFO provide tear-resistant, moisture-wicking skin coverage. Bonus: The garments will also allow you to blend in with those corrupt military personnel that always seem to weasel their way into zombie cinema. (Get AMFO coupons.)
Zombies love throats. Keep yours from being torn out by wearing a Zephyr Paintball Planet Eclipse Neck Protector ($19). It comes with additional padding that can be folded up for double throat protection. (Get E-Paintball coupons.)
Throwing down with a zombie requires heavy-duty gloves. The Joe Rocket Army Tactical Gloves ($44.99) from RevZilla are made from leather and have padding over the knuckles and fingers. If you really want to pack a punch, get the Law Enforcement SAP Gloves ($29.99) from Drop Zone Army/Navy. They may look harmless but the steel inside says otherwise. (Get RevZilla coupons.)
For footwear, get something lightweight, durable and waterproof. The Converse 8877 Waterproof SideZip Tactical Boot ($99.95 at Amazon) is perfect. It even has arch support and heel cushions to supply comfort during those long treks through the city and wilderness. (Bonus: You can also use these boots to stomp on the face of any zombie that just won’t die.)
If you really want to camouflage yourself in the wild, get a Ghillie Suit ($69.99) from Gander Mountain. You might laugh at this foliage getup now, but you’ll be thanking your lucky stars when you’re able to snipe the undead and remain unnoticed. (Get Gander Mountain coupons.)
Heads will roll
I hesitate to present you with legit weapons. But if you’re in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, that porcelain vase and butter knife will only get you so far. My personal weapon of choice is a machete for one simple reason: It doesn’t require reloading. Also, machetes are lightweight, affordable and make quick work of whatever you put in front of them—be it branches, brush or zombie brains. The Condor Tool and Knife 14-Inch Golok Machete ($49.95) from KnifeCenter.com has a solid handle and razor-sharp edge perfect for sending heads a-flying. (Get KnifeCenter.com coupons.)
If you have good aim and a license to carry, a loaded weapon can get the job done fast. But remember, all it takes is the noise of one shot to attract a horde of flesh-eaters. Designed with input from World War Z author, Max Brooks, the Red Jacket ZK-22 Bullpup Stock ($299) is light, quiet (for a gun) and can destroy zombies at both close and long ranges. Attach the stock to this Ruger 10/22 Takedown Autoloading Rifle ($399).
You can never go wrong with a crowbar. The Stanley 55-136 36-Inch Forged Hexagonal Steel Ripping Bar ($10.99) is a multipurpose tool that can be used to open locked doors, windows and to pry zombie heads apart.
Finally, for those longing to live out their Evil Dead/Ash Williams fantasies, there’s the Husqvarna 24-inch Gas Chainsaw ($499.99) from Lowe’s. I do have a few warnings, though. First, good luck finding more gas once you’re out. Second, daring to put only 24 inches between you and a zombie is quite brave. Third, unlike Ash, this chainsaw won’t be fused to your hand. Otherwise, let this baby rip! (Get Lowe’s coupons.)
Always remember: Safety first!
You’ll need to be able to patch up just about any injury on the go. The 299-piece All-Purpose First Aid Kit ($13.29) from Amazon includes everything from alcohol cleansing pads and aspirin to an emergency blanket and gauze dressing. The only thing this one-stop kit doesn’t offer is a cure for a zombie bite.
Train hard or go dead
Murphy’s Law dictates that at some point during the outbreak, you’ll find yourself unarmed when facing a zombie. Survival favors the prepared, and you should never underestimate the undead. Basically, you better be able to run like hell.
Start working on your cardio by joining a gym or—even better—register for The Zombie Run ($75). This 5K takes place across the country and is an obstacle course infested with zombies. Nothing like a semi-authentic experience to get you prepped for the flesh-eating mongrel doomsday!
If you aren’t familiar with Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead ($11.61), buy it at Barnes & Noble ASAP. The book covers everything from zombie physiology and defense tactics to how to prepare your home for a siege and how to adapt to any terrain.
Another must-read is Roger Ma’s The Zombie Combat Manual: A Guide to Fighting the Living Dead ($13.77). It’ll coach you on how to emerge victorious from a close hand-to-hand battle with a living corpse. (Get Barnes & Noble coupons.)
Play video games while you still can. Get an Xbox 360 and buy Left 4 Dead 2 ($29.99) at GameStop. It lets you take on the infected with objects like a frying pan, axe, chainsaw and baseball bat. Grab some friends and play in multiplayer mode. Now you’ll know who is skilled with melee weapons. Start saying your goodbyes to the friends who aren’t. (Get GameStop coupons.)
Parting words of wisdom
My best advice to you would’ve been to seek underground shelter at the Survival Condo, a converted nuclear ballistic missile silo in Kansas. But unless you have $1.5 to $3 million dollars to throw at a room, you can forget about it.
And hey, there’s always Newt Gingrich’s moon colony, right?
(Get coupons for all your zombie apocalypse needs on our zombie coupons page.)