Zombie Survival Kit

Zombie outbreaks are a recurring theme here. We have already discussed our Zombie Survival Plans™ in much detail. The general idea was to try to get away from urban and suburban areas and head North into Canada and Alaska territories. The reasoning was fairly simple – if you are away from human settlements, you are less likely to encounter a hungry horde of undead. In addition a colder climate may be advantageous to humans who have constant body temperature, and can use fire (and other sources of heat) or bundle up in thick winter clothing. Zombies on the other hand will be exposed to the elements and are likely to freeze solid in the winter. This is especially effective against the “fast zombies” which tend to be victims of some sort of a virus rather than the more traditional true undead. The former probably wouldn’t survive the winter, while the latter would eventually thaw out. Still, a season without the living dead is still a pretty good thing.

If you see this outside your window... Run!

If you see this outside your window... Run!

So that’s pretty much the plan. We had slight variations on the theme but “going where there is no people” was universally accepted as the optimal solution. What we didn’t discuss in much detail is gear. What do you think would be useful to have during a zombie outbreak in terms of equipment? Let’s try to be practical about it too. Of course it would be nice to have a year’s supply of canned food, an armored truck or an assortment of weapons but you likely won’t have any of that stuff at hand when shit hits the fan. Let’s say you wake up tomorrow, and realize that all your neighbors have been infected and are roaming the streets looking for new victims. You only have few minutes to gather few things and make a run for the car – if you stay to long, or make too much noise packing you may draw attention to a whole horde of undead.

Ideally, you would want to have a zombie survival kit, all ready to go. Like a big backpack you can stuff under your bed, or into the trunk of your car. This way you don’t really need to think about packing. Just grab your kit, and run. Once you are out of immediate danger zone, you can worry about collecting other stuff – such as canned food, weapons, ammo, etc. That’s your loot list – things you will be looting and/or appropriating while on the move, or once you establish a temporary base of operations somewhere. You can write down your loot items along with their potential locations and stick that in your pack. What other necessities would you put in the kit?

Comfortable Shoes and Change of Clothes

You definitely want to put a pair of comfortable hiking shoes in your pack. Zombie apocalypse is very unpredictable, and you can potentially be forced to run away from your home wearing nothing but boxers and flip flops. That’s why you are making this kit anyway, no? So you don’t actually have to worry about changing. It is a good idea to think utility rather than style here. Since we might be migrating North, you probably want clothes that will keep you warm, and protect you from the elements.


It’s probably a good idea to get a few road maps in the pack just in case. A road atlas doesn’t really take that much space and it may prove invaluable if GPS goes tits up. I’m not actually sure how much daily maintenance is needed for the system to function properly. I mean, chances are that it will continue to work properly for quite a while seeing how the satellites themselves are solar powered and out there in space away from the zombies. Inevitably however it may fall out of sync, or deteriorate to the point where it is unusable. In fact, GPS is already in the need for some serious maintenance so without people to monitor it, it’s likely to fail sooner or later.

You will probably also want a good compass for those times when you get off the main roads, or when the road navigation becomes difficult due to destroyed road signs and landmarks.

Self Winding Grear

Since you will likely be running away from centers of civilization, you may eventually run out of fuel, batteries or ways to recharge your equipment. You should therefore make a point of equiping yourself with tools that do not need an external power source but can instead be winded up or powered in some other way.

A Kinetic Flashlight

A Kinetic Flashlight

For example, it is a good idea to get several of those kinetic flashlights that can be charged up by shaking them, or with a hand crank. They are silly novelty items right now, but if you are in the middle of nowhere, or if civilization have collapsed they may be extremely useful.

You should also purchase an automatic, self winding watch. I know, I know – no one wears watches these days unless they have a Rolex logo on them and are used as a status symbol rather than time keeping device. Just put it in your pack. Then when your cell phone battery dies, and you are forced to ditch your car you will have an alternate time keeping device. Don’t underestimate the usefulness of having a watch – it can help you navigate, calculate distances and etc..

You might also want to get yourself a clockwork radio to listen for live broadcasts. Surviving packets of civilization will likely have emergency broadcasts running 24/7. Catching these signals may save your life. If you catch such a signal, you should immediately try to pinpoint the location of the survivor camp on your map, and then do your best to stay few miles away from it at all times. Unless of course you don’t mind your gear and food being taken away from you and redistributed among the locals. Oh, and if they are starving you may get eaten. So yeah.

You will also need some hand cranked walkies. Even if you are running alone, you will likely run into and potentially team up with other survivors at some point. And having a way to communicate that does not require electric power or working cellular network.

Backpack Solar Charger

Backpack Solar Charger

Of course some of your items may not be available in clockwork/windup version. So it might be a good idea to invest into some solar panels. For example, you could get one of those solar charged backpacks or a foldable kit that can be rolled up and stashed somewhere with the rest of your gear. These devices won’t yield much power but they could give you enough juice to use a laptop for a few hours, recharge a cell phone, and etc..

Survival Gear

It goes without saying that you should also take some regular survival gear. Chances are you might be forced to sleep outdoors on some nights so packing ne of those ultra-light micro tents, or a bivy bag is definitely a good idea. You will definitely want one of those mylar space blankets too. You also want a decent sized first aid kit.

Now, we all know that if you are bitten by a zombie you are pretty much done. That’s a given. But zombie related wounds are not the only injuries you have to worry about. You are likely to fall down, cut yourself while shaving or even get shot and having basic medical necessities may increase your chances of survival or prevent you from getting a nasty infection.

You will also need a good hunting knife, and a multi-tool. Other essentials are a length of rope, duct tape, sawing supplies (to patch your clothes and/or tent) as well as a fishing line, some hooks and baits and etc. You probably would want to grab one of those mini survival kit tins, or put one together yourself. They take very little space, and can be crammed with all kinds of goodies.

You definitely want to pack some waterproof matches a zippo lighter with some fuel and Ferrocerium rod or two. Eventually the matches and the lighter fuel will run out, and you may or may not have a chance to resupply. Trust me, you don’t want to be making fire by rubbing two sticks.

Food and Water

You should pack some bottled water and MRE type consumables. Water, especially will weigh you down and it is one of the things that will probably be easy to loot or obtain naturally. You can probably safely drink rain water, river water or even melted snow after you boil it. MRE’s tend to be light weight and will let you survive the first few days.


This might be a problem, depending on your state laws. If you do own a gun, or can purchase one legally you may include it in your pack. Otherwise this should be one of the things to put on your loot list.

What weapon is best against zombies? This tends to be open for a debate. I’d think that a high caliber pistol is probably most practical (with regards to stopping power, portability and ability for an average person to obtain). Then again, unless you had some basic training, or spent a lot of time at a gun range you probably would want something like a sawed off shotgun. It has a lot of spread so it’s hard to miss and a head-shot at close range would likely put a zombie down for good. Or at least one would hope. Of course there is a catch – sawed-off shotguns are illegal in US. So, yeah…

Loot List

Ok, so we have our essentials in a pack. What should we loot and in what order? I recommend the following list:

  1. Transportation – you will probably need a decent car. Something that you can take off-road and that can hold a lot of your gear and supplies. It’s also good idea to reinforce the vehicle and make sure zombies can’t just break the window and pull you out. Not to mention the gas mileage. Getting a Hummer may seem like a good idea at first, but you don’t want to be stopping every few dozen miles to fill up the tank. Any suggestions?
  2. Food – you want to pack a lot of canned food, cereals and other stuff that is not perishable. Please note that abandoned supermarkets and malls are preferred hiding spots for survivors. They may not take kindly to you looting their hiding spot, and may try to stop you. Alternatively you may find a group of scared and confused people looking for a leader. They will likely to latch on to you and insist to tag along. This may or may not be favorable – depending on your transport and or supplies. Don’t forget that supermarkets may also be death traps full of zombies who got trapped inside. This usually happens when a group “rescues” some people that were bitten, and then leaves them untended allowing them to turn, and spread the infection
  3. Guns and Ammo – you probably want to swing by a gun shop, police station or a military base. You probably want to pick up some rifles to give yourself an edge at long range, and some shotguns for close quarter fighting. Experienced marksmen should be handed the long range weapons, and told to only fire in single-shot mode. Inexperienced party members should be given shotguns (easier to hit things with). You should also try to give them some pointers on the spread of these weapons so that they don’t shoot any party members by accident.

    Note that gun shops can be often manned by paranoid, trigger happy owner or weapon enthusiast. Police stations and bases on the other hand tend to be populated by surviving crews who will probably try to “save you” by placing you under arrest and appropriating your gear. They usually have a lot of firepower, and should be avoided. You should always scout ahead and thoroughly check these places for human activity before looting. Well armed survivors can often be more dangerous than zombies.

Now it’s your turn. What did I miss? What else would you include in your pack? What else would you put on your loot list. My brother had some original ideas for the loot stuff. Maybe I can convince him to come by and comment. If not, I’ll append these things later. Let me know what would you put in your kit, and the stuff you think needs to be looted to ensure survival.

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21 Responses to Zombie Survival Kit

  1. Steve CANADA Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I think you missed an important category – medical supplies: bandages, penicillin, antibiotics (creams), sutures – possibly some really strong painkillers (morphine), regular painkillers like Aspirin/Advil/Tylenol. You might want to grab some elastic bandages in case of sprained limbs.

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  2. Steve CANADA Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @ Steve:

    Oh…and I would think you should grab vitamins – especially vitamin C. You don’t want to be dealing with scurvy when fresh fruit gets scarce.

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  3. Square UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    You forgot something crucial! A hammer and plenty of nails.

    With a hammer, you can forge weapons, use the hammer as a weapon, reinforce temporary shelters, build temporary shelters, take apart buildings for materials, etc…

    Not to mention it would be even wiser to carry both a small hammer and a sledgehammer.

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  4. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    The problem with trying to get out of the city is 2-fold – first off, in the early stages of an outbreak you’ll be one among many who are trying to get out to somewhere more rural, which happens every day and is called rush hour. Inevitably the roads will be jammed and the outbreak will probably out-run you.

    Then if you do make it out, you’re in unfamiliar territory; you won’t know where to go for good looting or to find shelter/help. I think you’re actually better off more or less staying put and fortifying somewhere close to home. Then you just have to hope you can either successfully make foraging trips through the zombies, or that zombies eventually die again, or else you’re going to be stuck wherever you holed up forever – zombies aren’t exactly limited in their ability to lay siege.

    Anyway, the survival kit would have to include some tough clothing… motorbike style stuff, because zombies only have human teeth to bite with and I’ve yet to see a human bite through leather or a bike helmet. Some kind of weapon, but guns in general being illegal here it’d have to be a melee weapon. I’m thinking something stabbity or something bashity. Cricket/baseball bat or a spade or a hunting knife or something.

    As soon as it becomes clear that there’s an infection, retreat to the designated safe place, and fill whatever you can (bathtub, sink, any receptacle going) with water. Try to quickly gather and hoard any and all useful supplies – tinned food, batteries, medical supplies, the other useful items already mentioned, whatever you can get. Just don’t let it be known that you’ve got a stash – anyone left alive will want to take it from you.

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  5. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Steve:

    Actually I didn’t. I loped it all up into a single key phrase: “a decent sized medkit”. Most of the stuff you mentioned would be included in your average first aid kit.

    Vitamins are a good suggestion though.

    @ Square:

    Oh shit! Yes. A hammer and nails is a splendid idea here. :)

    Matt` wrote:

    Then you just have to hope you can either successfully make foraging trips through the zombies, or that zombies eventually die again, or else you’re going to be stuck wherever you holed up forever – zombies aren’t exactly limited in their ability to lay siege.

    That’s exactly why I’m advocating trying to escape the city. If you try to fortify in one place you may end up being stuck there being stalked by a horde of hundreds if not thousands of undead.

    If you are leaving the town early, there is no horde yet. You will probably run into isolated groups of zombies but they will be low in numbers and probably distracted by the chaos.

    You are right about the traffic though. I’d suggest using a dirt bike for the first leg of the evacuation. It’s maneuverable enough to weave in and out of traffic jams and if the highway is completely blocked you can ride the shoulder, or the grass islands between traffic lanes.

    Fortunately I live in the NJ suburbs so it’s a bit easier for me to distance myself from civilization. Population of NYC on the other hand would be royally screwed.

    If I was in NYC I’d recommend trying to find/steal a boat, and try to get out using waterways. The middle of the Hudson River might actually be a relatively safe place during an outbreak…. Unless of course Zombies turn out to be good swimmers despite the popular belief they are not.

    I love the tough leather clothing idea. Of course Zombies may actually be able to bite harder than normal humans. For one, they don’t actually feel pain and they are not afraid to chip their teeth or break their jaw while biting down super hard.

    Ideal protection would probably be that chain mail crap that divers wear when they go swimming with the sharks. I imagine it’s quite expensive and very heavy/cumbersome to wear.

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  6. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    OK, about the fire equipment, you don’t really need the matches. They tend to take humidity. The fuel lighter is a good one, but actually only necessary in case of bad weather. All you need is a decent lens, which will most of the time be including in any decent compass… and a bit of sun or good bright light.

    Personally, I’d take a daisho (pair of Japanese swords), but that’s a question of style. ;-) More realistically, a good long range .22 carbin with a basic scope and a lot of ammo. Not so much for shooting zombies, but rather to hunt rabbits, birds and other edible smaller animals. And of course, defend against bigger pests. The fishing gear makes a lot of sense, although in most rivers and lakes, a net and some bait is faster and easier to use than hooks and wire.

    I love the idea of the solar pannels to reload batteries for any kind of electronics. However, I am not too confident in any kind of electronic equipment enduring more than months in the wild, especially in rough areas or difficult climates. I’d say, keep it simple and as low tech as possible. Low tech means you don’t rely on anything that’s gonna fail you once you became dependent on it. Multitool kit is a good thing, lots of ropes of different length and thickness is invaluable (as well as a couple of these nylon loops used for climbing, plus a couple of climbing hooks and an “eight”).

    For clothes: a pair of thick leather mountain shoes with heavy rubber sole and inside goretex doubling. That’s the minimum, to which I would add several extra laces. Socks are often underestimated, but I’d take at least four pairs of the thick wooly sort. They tend to itch a bit but you don’t get wounded feet, which would be a death sentence in the case you propose. Other clothes largely depend on your local climate and environment, but I’d take two types of set: for cold or wet and for dry and hot. Color would vary, but green, brown or camo would make a lot of sense, unless zombies are also color blind.

    For sleeping, and unless the area you are in has no decent trees, I’d have one of these hamoc hanging tents. They are probably safer than anything else if there are creepy brainless things hunting you on foot. And they are very light and small, which should be interesting. No car (to tech and gas dependent). Although a bike would make sense in not too rough terrain. Zombies are not going to outrun a good bicycle any time soon, are they? Although of course, the ultimate solution is a (sailing) boat… ;-)

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  7. Tino UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    I’m entirely serious: A somewhat robust hand-held computer with an application for reading Wikipedia offline, with a couple of backups. I think the data files are only ~5 Gb compressed so you can have a few copies on separate SD cards.

    Not only is there a wealth of immediately useful information in there with respect to medication, survival, “can I eat this plant?”, etc. Also it may help answer those questions you have no idea yet will come up.

    Not to mention that you can use it to keep yourself entertained during the lonely nights, reading random articles.

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  8. nightrush GERMANY Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @ Tino:
    What about this? “Bit” expensive but very durable, lightweight and small. You’ll have to save wikipedia on an external device, for example an usb-stick, but that’s not a big problem in my opinion.

    What i want to add is another effective weapon: handgrenades. Got a mass of zombies around your house blocking your way? Simply throw a handgrenade and watch how they get blown away. Of course i think grenades are illegal – you can’t even say, you want them for hunting deer or something like that.
    But if you can grab a pair or so, they will really help you leaving the city.

    Another point about vehicles are planes. If you live near a airport – small airports with private planes should be the best – and know how to control a plane or even a helicopter grab one and fly away. Leaving the city through sky is much less risk than trying to get out on foot or with a car. Just watch your fuel….

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  9. Tino UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    nightrush wrote:

    @ Tino:
    What about this? “Bit” expensive but very durable, lightweight and small. You’ll have to save wikipedia on an external device, for example an usb-stick, but that’s not a big problem in my opinion.

    I like the style, it looks like something someone would use in a zombie movie to read wikipedia. And that movie would be awsome :)

    Of course i think grenades are illegal – you can’t even say, you want them for hunting deer or something like that.

    Deer hunting with handgrenades? I like the way you are thinking, and would like to subscribe to your newletter :D

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  10. James Heaver UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Mac OS says:

    A copy of the anarchist’s cookbook. Perhaps even a revised, zombie attack edition.

    A moleskin and pen – useful for drawing maps of the area and god knows what else. If there is some critical piece of information (radio frequency, cure, directions, lovely recipe for brain tartare) do you really want to rely on your memory in these stressful times?

    Flare gun in the event that rescue is ever sent, even better would be one of these watches which contain a distress beacon http://www.breitling.com/en/#/models/professional/emergency/

    Another thing would be iodine tablets for water treatment. I don’t know if these could also be used to produce a antiseptic in a pinch. Id say these should always be kept on you at all times.

    You’ve got all this stuff to carry which will be useful, but you could easily get separated from. You would also need to consider what you keep on you at all times and never allow you to be without.

    I’d say a can opener would be critical (probably part of the multitool). You wouldn’t want to find a stash of canned food with no way to get at it.

    A map of the area, possibly one printed on parachute material or similar. Something small and detailed.

    Also a morse code and emergency frequency crib sheet.

    A hand gun and holster (if you can hold of one). Just in case your rifle/ shotgun/ sledge hammer falls off a cliff.

    If you have combats or something with enough pockets, atleast a couple of bandages and so antisceptic, maybe a course of antibiotics.

    A knife and your chosen source of fire.

    A hand mirror for shaving, checking round corners, signaling to people and giving yourself someone to talk to.

    A radio, even if its a battery powered back-up to your main radio.

    Something that annoys me in these apocalypse scenarios are the repeated radio broadcasts. These should be updated every day with the date as a proof of life. Whether you think you should move towards them or away from them, you don’t want to be attracting people into a deathtrap that has already been overrun.

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  11. Jim UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    If you stay put and fortify the house until a better escape opportunity presents itself, then move everything to a second floor or move to a house with one and tear the stairs out. Use a ladder to get up and downstairs if you need to. Fill up the bathtub with water. You can fill it up and use it for drinking water since the pumps are sure to crap out.

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  12. Paul PHILIPPINES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I think binoculars would be a good thing to add. For scouting and general observation tasks.

    I would’ve suggested NVGs too, but the battery life on those things are pretty short. Plus they’re heavy. Add them to the growing list of kit you’ve got here and it’ll weigh you down if you’re on foot.

    Maybe safety glasses to protect your eyes. Ever see the movie 28 Days Later?

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  13. Columbia UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    **Add to the end *Leather are harder to bite through* **

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  14. Melinda Google Chrome Windows says:

    Baby wipes make a nice alternative to regular adult ones. They don’t leave a sticky residue and are available in lightweight travel pouches. Also, protein bars are sort of perfect. They fill you up and have a high-calorie content and sometimes vitamins, which will be essential at first as you’ll need the energy to get on the move. The take up less space, leaving more room in your pack for other thing. =]

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  15. Melinda Google Chrome Windows says:

    Sorry about the typos.. Haven’t slept in a while. One more thing about the baby wipes, there are often more of them in the same sized pouch as the adult ones, and they cost less. Ok I’m done. Lol.

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  16. Darrell Hester Internet Explorer Windows says:

    I think if this happened i would be fucking screwed. but i would bring a sword or a knife to slash some necks. and i would bring steel -nets to catch the cheeta running muther fuckers trying to eat me.

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  17. Josh UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @ Matt`:
    I want to start by saying I appreciate the thought that you are putting into this, but also tell you that you need to follow your own train of logic just a bit farther.

    You are right about the early stages of an outbreak being difficult times to make an escape from a large city. If you are paying attention though you will know before anyone else and will be able to beat the rush. If however you find out at the same time as everyone else, you would be PARTIALLY correct on your recommendation of staying put. You should evacuate the city as soon as possible though. Only set up a temporary refuge. After a few days (or up to a week) the streets should be sufficiently clear of the living and the dead will have given chase to the survivors or will at least be slowed by the maze of cars and other debris. That is when you should make your escape.
    The suggestion about leather clothing is also rather wise. However I think you may be taking it a little too far. Even a pair of good jeans will probably suffice.

    As for weapons though…

    Guns are not illegal in any state. While some states such as CA have heavily restricted gun laws, it is still possible to own a firearm and ANY firearm (that works properly and has ammunition) is better than ANY melee weapon. Period. You just have to be wise about using it though.

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  18. Jon UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows says:

    in the event of an infectious outbreak you might want to pick up a gas mask too. pretty cheap also

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  19. fred UNITED STATES Safari Linux says:

    A mossberg 500 shotgun can be purchased in any state for around 200 dollars and can be had with a 18 1/2 inch barrel ( which is perfectly legal ). It loaded with various rounds makes a great survival weapon for defense, hunting. And even signaling ( 12 gauge. Flares)

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  20. A lot of socks is what you need!

    Thx for the solar charged backpacks info, didn’t even know that existed.

    A good huning knife OR a trench knife (designed to pierce helmets in trench warfare), also… duct tape (the most useful item in existence right next to a towel) and a can opener (if your multitool doesn’t have it).

    thx for the info, and hope my info helps people in the future

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