A Shopping List For the Apocalypse

Ben Wagner’s DEAD WITHIN got my wife and I thinking: are we ready in case the Zombie Apocalypse hits?  For years we lived in LA and had an ‘Earthquake Bag’ ready to go and this included items like a portable radio and a first aid kit.  How much of this really helps in the wake of brain-eating undead?  

•  Dry food, such as candy bars, dried fruit, jerky and crackers – absolutely, but this is only going to last you so long.  Learn right now to hunt wild game, preferably with a crossbow, as the arrows are reusable.  You may find yourself in the woods and miles away from ammunition.

•  Water or orange juice – anything sealed is great, but be ready to run out and water is especially problematic if it is one of the sources of the virus that turns your co-workers into mindless monsters.  Get yourself a Bunsen burner and a healthy supply of propane to boil all your water before drinking.

•  Tennis shoes or walking shoes – this is an absolute.  No open toes, no heels.  You are going to be running for your life.

•  First aid kit – obviously, except just remember a bite is often incurable.  Make sure your kit includes a machete and material to make a tourniquet so you can hack off any part of you that gets a little close to our new partners on the planet.

•  Flashlight and portable radio with extra batteries – forget the radio, all the stations will be static within days.  And flashlights will end up out of batteries pretty quickly, unless they are crank self-powered.  Learn to light a torch and find a lantern that will run on a minimum amount of fuel.   And matches.  Lots of them.  Better yet, learn to make fire Quest of the Clan Bear style.

•  Small and large plastic bags – not sure the purpose of this unless it is to carry your hacked off limbs.  

•  Toiletries – learn to poop in the woods.  This just takes up space in your bag, wimp.

•  Entertainment pack of family photos, notebooks, reading material and games – make it light if you have to, but really think about if looking at pictures of your dead family after you’ve seen them eaten is going to cheer you up and spur you on to survival or if you’d rather just cut your losses and make new friends in a rag tag group of survivors.  Seriously, why wait.  Look at those around you, will they help you or slow you down in undead combat?  Sometimes loving someone means sneaking out in the middle of the night without a note.

•  Nylon tote or backpack – the bigger the better but not so big that it will slow you down.  And be weary of extra straps that might catch in closing doors or give the compatriots you are abandoning something to grab hold of.

•  Manual can opener – yes.  Absolutely.  Or better yet, just learn to use your knife like a real survivalist would.

•  Gloves – not sure for the reason for this, unless its winter gloves.  Because the power grid is going out soon and you are going to be sleeping in drain pipes and such.  So add to this a scarf and a hoodie.

•  Blanket or sleeping bags – these are pretty big and bulky and are going to take up a lot of space in your bag.  Better learn to use your hoodie as a bed roll.  Besides, a big part of your life is going to be breaking into abandoned houses, sleeping their beds and eating their canned goods.

•  Moist towelettes – You want grey poupon and a tea set as well?  You’re going to get dirty.  Get used to it.  

•  Small tool kit – fantastic idea.  Make sure you have wire snips.  Strangely not enough tool kits do but they are really good for breaking into armories after the electrical fence goes down.

•  Cash (small bills and coins) – not going to help after the collapse of civilization.  But grab a couple of cartons of cigarettes and flasks of whisky.  They will go far with people with whom you want to make a deal or bribe for your life.

•  Local street map and compass – absolutely.  No one knows their way around their own town anymore after the crippling effects of GPS turning us into mindless robots following instructions.  In fact, get your self a solid statewide atlas and a decent US map.

•  Essential medications – whatever you need, have some extra while you still have a doctor.  Unfortunately, what you really need, like penicillin, is not going to be available.  But apparently you can grow your own.  You can also get certain types at the pet store or illegally at some ethnic grocery stores by asking correctly, not that I recommend this.  When push comes to shove, there will always be an abandoned Walgreens post-apocalypse and zombies have no idea what to do with medications.

•  Extra pair of eyeglasses – Because you will be running, and they will fall off your face, and you will not go back because you will die.

•  Extra set of house and car keys – sure, but see above about other people’s houses and learn to siphon gas out of other cars and hot wire engines.

•  Fire extinguisher – if only it were that easy.  Not worth the space.

•  Pet food, water and leash or carrier – Pets are great, they will offer ‘sense’ a zombie way before you will and warn you of its approach.  Far worth their food intake.  Although a small dog is just as good for the above as a big one.  They aren’t going to be much in a battle against a zombie hoard.  Cat-lover?  Yeah... let them fend on their own.  Just like they basically do now anyway.

•  Any special foods and supplies for babies, the disabled or the elderly – I’m not going to dignify this one with a response.  

•  Plastic eating utensils, paper cups and plates – You already have them, they’re called fingers.  

•  Heavy-duty aluminum foil – not quite sure why except to make hats out of to protect you from aliens as well.

•  Paper towels – to wipe up your blood?  No.

•  Knife or razor blades – finally, but one knife is not going to cut it.  I swear by the  Apocalypse Kit by Gerber (no, not the baby food manufacturers).  As seen in The Walking Dead, this pack includes three knives, two machetes, a parang and a 
high performance axe in a sturdy canvas carrying case with reinforced stitching, all for $300

•  Candles and light sticks – like glowsticks? You want to dance to the Happy Mondays as well?  Candles are good.  Get the massive ones and make sure they are odorless.

•  Coils of rope and wire – this is great.  Make sure you have enough to tie down your friend when you think they might be infected and you have to wait to see if they turn.

•  Crowbar and shovel – Crowbars will help you break into places you need to get, shovels will help you bury your dead and in a pinch are excellent blunt force weapons.  Sharpen the edges to drive into zombie skulls.

•  Paper and pens – yes, keep a journal, it will help you keep from going mad.


• Crossbow and arrows – learn to shoot.  Food, zombies, other humans after your food.

• Handgun – for close quarters – don’t use too much, they attract more zombies and ammunition is at a premium.  The Springfield XD 9mm can hold 20 rounds, it’s compact and has very little recoil according to the experts.  It’s not super fast on the reload, but if you’ve had to shoot that many times, you’re probably going to die anyway.

• Aerosol Paint Cans – to leave messages for other post apocalyptic wanderers

• Thermal and Night Vision binoculars – so you don’t get surprised

• Brunton SOLARIS 62 WATT 12V Portable Foldable Solar Panel Battery Charger – seriously, this exists.  You can charge your iPod and the power on your night vision goggles.

•    A good science kit – so you can search for the cure