It’s coming. Soon. Are you prepared? The CDC and your girlfriend want you to be prepared for any disaster, zombie, hurricane or running out of chapstick crapstorm that may happen. If you plan ahead and think about how the proverbial shit may hit the fan, and to what degree, your preparedness will pay off in the short and long term.
There are a zillion things you can use for weapons, as you’re most likely aware. Some practical, some extreme, some personal — weapon choice is highly contested and left for another debate. The following are a few (non-weapon) items to get you started for a variety of scenarios on a reasonable budget.
1 - Gas mask. You want something real, not an old Israeli or Canadian something or other that you can’t trust. Nerve agents may be used. Corpses may stink. You may just want to intimidate the dead.
Recommendation: SGE 400/3 NBC Full Facepiece Respirator ($175). Fun tip: if you get confused with the enraged zombies and are hit with tear gas (CS gas), rub Maalox on your face. CS gas is an acidic powder and the Maalox counteracts it. Milk helps as well.
Short term: Awesome to have, useful to prevent mesothelioma if you’re crawling in forbidden places of urban exploration. Long term: keeping your ass alive.
2 - Communication. How will you rally the troops and order for a zombie skin pizza? While some services may remain in the early hours of an apocalypse, you’ll need something for short and long distance communication. Radios. A few pocket radios and a trusty CB for your vehicle will help you stay alert and alive.
Recommendation – Good ol’ GMRS walkie talkies. Look for something that can handle water getting on it and is rugged enough to be dropped. Motorola makes a decent pair, though you’ll never get more than two or three miles out of any GMRS radio.
Short term: Great for road trips. Long term: coordinating information and trolling other survivors on the channel.
3 – Multi-tool or knife. Stuff will need cutting, fixing, and stabbing. It will also need opening, wrenching and prying. It’s best to have a tool at your side that can serve many functions. No uni-taskers on your belt.
Recommendation: Gerber Multi-Tool ($48).
Short term: you may use it every day. Long term: Again, this could save your life.
4 – Boots. Comfort is a must, and this is a very personal choice. You’ll want ankle protection and good traction. Leather provides ample room, protection and is fairly light weight, but its warmth and water resistance can falter occasionally.
Short term: come on, you look smashing! Long term: Staying comfortable and protecting your tender toes.
5 – Torch. Here, too, you want reliability over features. You’re going to need a long life flashlight over something super bright with strobes. Practicality over wishful thinking.
Recommendation: The ever reliable, had it for years and I’ve used it underwater Mini Maglite.
Short term: Stop using your cell phone. Long term: Stop using your cell phone.
6 – Entertainment. You don’t want to be bored do you? Just because its the end of the world doesn’t mean it has to be the end of fun. A small MP3 player with USB charging is ideal, but don’t forget a small radio with aux input or SW radio capabilities to share the news and tunes.
Recommendation – Your personal MP3 player or Wind-up SW radio receiver ($50). There are many on the market, but make sure it has wind up auxiliary power, and if possible an aux input for your MP3 player.
Short term: You probably already have one. Long term: Sanity.
7 – Medical treatment. It’s not the cut or bite that kills, its the infection and bacteria. You’ll want to keep those wounds clean and address them quickly. There are many First Aid Kits (FAKs) on the market, but be sure to inspect it and customize it to your needs. Pack anti-mosquito spray if you’re in the jungle, frostbite kits for the frozen north, and so forth.
Recommendation: Voodoo FAK ($50). An alternative is to buy and empty pouch and then customize to your needs. Dont forget knives and scissors.
Short term: Hangnails. Long term: Rigor mortis prevention.
8 – Power. You’re going to need to power your radios, music players, GPS’s and floodlights somehow. Solar collectors and battery chargers are your friends. Think versatility: 12V accessory, USB, and small inverters. You want to charge some gadgets, not blow dry your hair, so you don’t need a massive system.
Recommendation – A battery and USB charger in one. Try the XTG Solar Charger ($25) for AA, AAA and USB Charging.
Short term: Being green. Long term: Keeping you moving and operating.
9 – Directions. You’ll need to get around, and your smart phone will probably not cut it anymore. It’s time for tried and true means of getting your bearings. Map and compass; with them, you are never lost.
Recommendation – Road atlas and sturdy metal compass. You can pick both up at a hardware store or large gas station for around $20. Paper maps will do you well to make notes, plan courses, and find points of interest.
Short term: It’s good to know how to use these for the Long Term: Prevent doubling back, getting lost, and winding up in Atlanta. The city is always full of the Walken Dead.
10 – Rope. You never know when you’re gonna need rope. Tying bundles, rigging a shelter, hauling equipment or lashing down some undead, make sure you have a decent supply of rope, and know your knots. Simple knots and good rope can get you up a building, down a cliff, or save your life.
Recommendation: Charlie Bronson’s always got rope.
What else would you recommend for robust preparedness in any situation? Leave your comments below.