Tuesday, 24 March 2015

If it ever hits the fan - what do you wear?

Granted this has nothing to do with hobbying but last week at my local geek club we ended up getting onto the subject of what we would do if it all went south, the zombies were at the door etc etc.I was briefly in the military, I know how to read a map, how to do basic first aid, make a fire and defend myself at distance and close range (Krav-maga is awesome, I suggest you give it a try!). On that front I’m feeling fairly confident - I’m also reasonably paranoid so will hopefully not be tricked by fellow survivors…

There are 3 things to consider in this apocalypse scenario - what to wear, what to carry and what to bring with you.

What to wear: I think the trick here is layers and pockets. I would throw on some woolen hiking socks I wore on an expedition to the Amazon, a pair of sturdy hiking boots (mine are ankle high solomon) and a set of trail trousers. Because I’m a sucker I’ve got a pair of Bear Grylls trousers - they’re actually great for hiking, they’re quick drying, tough wearing with reinforced knees, shins, hems and backside. They also have a shit load of pockets.
You’ll need a good belt to keep your trousers up when they’re full of food cans and ammo, nothing with a friction clasp - grow up and get one with holes in it.
Up top I’d wear a sleeved base layer I use for rugby, this thing is designed to get muddy, sweaty and generally abused whilst keeping you relatively fresh. I also have a pair of base layer shorts that I’d wear instead of regular boxers - I once wore a similar pair for a week solid during my army training and they were superb.
On top of that I’d have a trail t-shirt, and a long sleeved fleece (I’ve got an acid green one, it’s awesome).
For outwear I’d take my wax jacket. It’s not fully waterproof but should do the job in everything but a full deluge. It’s thick, warm and again has plenty of pockets (including some concealed ones). To finish it off I’d have a wool beanie, scarf and leather gloves.

What to carry:Water, shelter, food are your basics for survival. so you need to take as much of that with you as you can. I have a range of backpacks collected over the years from a 25lt school backpack to an 85lt monster. For day trooping about I’d take a 40lt backpack I have left over from the army. I took this round Australia for 5 weeks and it was fine. The idea with this bag is it should last you for 72 hours whilst being light enough to carry long distances and to be able to run if need be. You should also make sure you have space to store things you find whilst you're out and about.

Inside I’d place the following:
Rations - two meals a day of boil-in-a-bag, don’t be fussy you can eat them cold if need be. Chewing gum, boiled sweets and some chocolate. Also a fork.
Blanket (sleeping bags take up a lot of space) and spare socks - if you’ve dressed properly this is all you should need in the short term.
First aid kit (with super glue), multi-tool, compass and map, fire starting kit, spare shoe laces, 10m rope.
1.5lt Canteen and small 500ml-1lt bottles (allows you to more easily keep track of how much you’re drinking and to share if needs be).
Hooded poncho and bungie cords (makeshift doorway, shelter or coat)
Knife in sheath - this should not be on display but should be readily accessible.
Hammer, pliers, duct tape and small saw.
Everything should be made as compact as possible and as waterproof as it can be. Get a collection of dry bags like those used in canoeing. I’ve got ones ranging from sandwich bag to shopping bag sized.
Even if you consider yourself a pro, take a pocket survival guide - you never know!
I have an old indestructible Nokia that still lasts for about a week, on the off chance that mobile signal is still running it’s important to stay in touch. If that doesn’t work, a pocket radio transmitter and or long range walkie talkie.
Identification - just in case.
I’m sure there’s lots of things I’ve missed but this seems like a fairly good starting point.
Also a torch.

What to bring:I’m lucky, I have a new (2013) 3 seater VW Transporter with no seats in the back. As such it has a ton of space. If you’ve got a car you’ll need to be a bit more picky.

Imperatives -A week’s worth of food and water plus an additional tank of fuel in metal jerry cans. In the UK this should get you from one side of the country to the other, you should be able to find somewhere safe in that distance! Take a rubber hose and funnel so you can syphon from abandoned vehicles.
Sleeping bags - sleep in your car, it’s safer than a tent.
Maps, lots of maps.
Shovel, bucket and rope. Make sure you’ve got a jack and spare tire.

First choice - Spare clothes, wellies, waterproofs, cooking equipment (large pot, small pot, crockery and cutlery).
more medical supplies. If you’ve got a bike rack, take those too - sometimes cycling is safer than driving and it will let you check out the area without wasting fuel.
A good book, to keep your spirits up.
Fishing rod and tackle box.
Solar powered USB charger for phones etc

Second choice - This is where the van comes in handy!
I have 2 dogs, I’m not leaving them behind so they’re coming in their cage. I’d also take their puppy cage to keep poultry/rabbits etc in if I find/catch some.
Wetsuit, tents with bedding, hammocks, tarpaulin and builder’s bags (those massive blue things). Thinking long term I’ve got a plastic greenhouse which would come with, as well as a small gas powered BBQ. On the roof I’d put my kayak and some planks of wood I’d forage from the local builder’s yard…
And a small box of geek stuff - X-wing, my Pathfinder rulebook and some HH novels. Probably a chess set if I could fit it in. My DS and Vita should probably be in there too…

In the main my plan is to get onto one of the local islands - Scillys, Herm etc. Either that or go feral on the moors...

My mate on the other hand plans to board up his house and break out his shotguns.

Wow, what a colossal waste of both yours and my time…


  1. Wow... beats my plan to go wade into the zombie hoard high on amphetamines, drunk on vodka with Guns and Roses blasting in my ears, brandishing a ballpeen hammer in each fist and go out grinning.

  2. My wife is all: What will we (hypothetically) do? I'm all like: The neighbors have what we need and we have many implements of violence and death. I'm sure we can come up with some kind of arrangement... -_-

    That's so cruel says she :( That's survival says I ;)