On that note, planning for any devastating natural/supernatural disaster is hard work. Prior to my obsession with the zombie apocalypse survival show, The Walking Dead, I’d never given a single thought to emergency survival kits. However, considering the size of my family (six people) and the fact that my country is located atop three tectonic plates and is historically prone to earthquakes, survival gear doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all.
Once I got to thinking about details, the sheer amount of supplies needed hit me like a shovel. If we’re thinking short-term, I suppose a good first-aid kit and a water supply as well as some random foodstuffs would suffice, but I think this would only work if you’re trapped for, say, three days, maybe four max. That is, that’s what you would pack if you’re expecting for aid to come soon. If this disaster were to last for a couple of months or longer, then your supplies won’t help you one bit. Here goes my personal list of short- and long-term essentials for a (non-flood related) natural disaster and/or zombie apocalypse:
- Water! If you’re going to stock up on anything, stock up on water. You can survive solely (albeit poorly) on water for about three days. Hopefully you won’t need to be fighting off zombie hordes during those three days, because you’ll be weak and hungry. You need a gallon (approx. 4 liters) per person per day, so plan ahead. Remember, it’s not only for drinking. Pack hydrogen peroxide (household cleaning bleach) in order to sterilize water. Two drops of bleach per liter of water will sterilize it. Let water stand for 30 minutes before use
- Cans cans cans! Stock up on as much canned goods as possible. Meat is a no-brainer, but I think fruits should also be stocked up on as you won’t be seeing those for a looonnng time. I haven’t seen much of an assortment of canned vegetables, but buy what you can find. Beans would be a good option, plus the cans are reusable. Don’t forget to pack a manual can-opener with these!
- Salt. For preservation and flavouring. Use sparingly, you don’t want to run out of water
- Lard. It’s not healthy, but hell if it’s not versatile. It doesn’t go bad easy and a single can will helpt serve countless meals
- Dry foods such as cereals, nuts, non-salted crackers, biscuits, dried toast, dried fruits, and any such foods. Take care not to pack too many salty items as you will need water to rehydrate, and you don’t want to drink through the entire supply
- Vitamin pills. You will hopefully have enough food to eat during a zombie apocalypse, but the food you’ve salvaged is not guaranteed to provide you with the vitamins your body needs to properly function. Keep these at hand
- Flour for those thinking long-term. Attach a recipe or two for flatbread along with the sac of flour. It requires only water, flour, and some salt. I believe it doesn’t even need an oven to cook, just a pan over a fire
- Include food for infants and newborns, if needed
Note: Consult the internet for the best ways to store these items. An airtight concealer would be your best bet, but certain foods may need further measures. Make sure to label the containers with a list of the items inside and individual expiration dates. Rotate through food every 3-6 months, replacing as needed.
- A basic first aid kit. Include shears and tweezers, surgical thread and needles (you never know), plastic syringes, latex gloves, aspirin as well as other pain relievers, flu medication (Panadol and Paracetamol are usually good), laxatives as well as anti-diarrhea medication, and a good supply of hand-sanitizer. Make sure to stack up on cotton and sterile dressings for wounds
- Soap. Considering the fact that shampoo is prone to spilling and is very heavy, soap would be a much lighter as well as more multi-faceted replacement. Stock up on soaps packaged together, not the type sold in individual tiny boxes. You’ll save space
- Toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues
- Wet wipes will come in handy if shower water is not available
- Hand sanitizer
- Q-tips or cotton swabs
- Facial cleansing wipes
- Deodorant. The dry-stick type is best since it’s small, lasts long, and isn’t as hazardous as the gaseous type.
- Feminine hygiene products (in this case, go for reusable rather than disposable)
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste
- Trash bags or just plastic bags in general. These could be used as single-use toilets, to carry thing, etc.
- Bleach (ordinary 4% hydrogen peroxide)
Note: Other than sanitising water, bleach can also be used as an antibacterial to sterilise clothing, utensils, and tools as well as just about anything else. Keep a bottle at hand!
- Each person should have at least one full change of clothing. Long-sleeved shirts and pants are best for most situations, as they provide warmth in cold weather and sun protection in hot weather. Sturdy, covered boots/shoes are best suited for multiple types of terrain. It’s smart to pack for at least 5 days worth of underwear and socks. Make sure to consider the climate of your location as well as the time of year
- Towels, as the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy suggests, are one of the most versatile items one can pack. They can be used as blankets, jackets, something to sit on, as well as for drying things!
- Sleeping bags or blankets per individual. Again, consider the climate of your location and plan accordingly
- Matches and lighters
- Hand-crank radio and NOAA weather radio and batteries
- Flashlights and batteries
- Solar chargers for phones or other electronics
- Whistle and a hand-held mirror to signal for help
- Duct tape
- Knives and scissors
- Aluminum foil. At some point, you might want to make a solar oven to cook or bake something in
- Frying pan and a pot, if possible. Frying pans can double as weapons
- Rope or utility cord
- Screws, hammer, pliers, wrench, etc. for general fixing or walker head-bashing
- Pens and a couple of journals for recording the events as they unfold or general thoughts and musings. Optional: Pack pencils and an eraser as well as un-lined paper for a creative outlet
- Frying pans can double as weapons
- Knives; keep them sharpened
- If you have the time, learn archery or fencing, it’ll come in handy when you have to fight your way through a horde of the undead
- Shovels, hammers, axes, screws, blunt objects, etc.
- If available, guns would surely come in handy. However, use them with caution: loud gunshots can attract the zombies!
Keep the most essential items in easy-to-grab, easy-to-carry containers such as backpacks, duffel-bags, or trash bags. Store the other items in separated plastic containers such as storage boxes. Clearly label each box with list of items and date of storage. Keep them somewhere easy to grab, so not way up in the attic or hidden in the farthest corner of the basement.
Make sure to include first aid guides, survival guides, and a few maps of your location.
For families with children, pack a couple math and language books in as well. Just because it’s the end of civilisation doesn’t mean they should be left without an education. In case of the apocalypse, make sure to include some form of a world history book along with your belongings. It’s also a good idea to take a novel or two with you, especially a favourite book as a comfort.
Other than items necessary for survival, you should take family birth and death certificates, passports or other IDs, and cash. Photographs might also be considered to take along for sentimental value (full photo albums not advised).
One idea I had was to buy the cheapest Kindle currently on the market, the black-and-white kind, and fill it up with the free classics available in the Kindle store. The battery lasts forever, and if you can find a solar charger for it, then you’re set with books for a long while. Make sure to also keep an updated music library in your iPod because chances are you’re not going to be hearing any new songs any time soon.
For those looking to restart civilisation, I suggest packing plant seeds and farming tools in order to create your own food supply. In all honesty, the ones living on their own farms will be the most prepared (food-wise, at least) for the apocalypse, especially if they’ve got a few animals around and access to a water source.
Keep moving and don’t let them surround you! In case you’re faced with an actual natural disaster, help is surely on the way.
Good luck and keep safe,
P.S.: Feel free to add to the list by mentioning it in the comments section.