Are you prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse? Having watched all 7 series of AMC’s The Walking Dead doesn’t count. Do you have all the necessary zombie apocalypse survival gear? In truth, very few people do.

They don’t know what zombie survival gear to get and haven’t thought about how they would behave if such an incident does occur.

To most people the likelihood of a zombie apocalypse seems relatively low. Especially when compared with other apocalyptic scenarios. But, this hasn’t stopped the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from taking the issue seriously. So what’s your excuse?

This article is our admittedly preposterous attempt to take the zombies seriously.

A thought experiment if you will, in which we first pose and then attempt to answer three key questions for any budding zombie apocalypse survivalist.

zombie survival gear questions

Important questions which deserve a thorough and detailed answer.

If, however you just want to find out which is the best all-in-one zombie apocalypse bug out bag on the market then follow the link.

1. What is a Zombie Apocalypse?

In order to define a zombie apocalype we first have to define a zombie. The problem is that this particular creature has come at us in a variety of different guises throughout history.

To illustrate this point, check out this fantastic video from the guys at Top Trending which shows the evolution of the zombie archetype in pop culture over the last 100 years.

So with such a vast body of different literary and cinematic work we need to narrow the field a little. The most generous in detail seems to be Max Brooks’ World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

The book tells the story of the zombie apocalypse through interviews with survivors many years after the actual events.

This perspective allows us to explore the zombie apocalypse from multiple angles. It also gives us a lot more detail than most work.

What is a “Typical” Zombie?

1. Strength – equivalent to the human host 
2. Speed
– a slow almost crawl like pace
3. Life Span – 3 to 5 years depending on the climate and environment
4. Agility – unable to jump or balance easily
5. Intelligence – unable to use logic or reason of any kind
6. Death
– only by completely destroying the brain
7. Virus
– transmitted through contact with saliva or blood

So this is our typical zombie. Now, how exactly would a zombie apocalypse play out?

Again, we have borrowed heavily from Max Brooks’ World War Z but we have also used 28 Weeks Later, Dawn of the Dead and The Walking Dead to support the answer.

The 7 Stages of a Zombie Apocalypse

1. Mutation – The zombie virus comes into being through a mutation. This could be by natural or bio-engineered means.
2. Patient Zero – The first human is infected with the zombie virus. The patient exhibits the characteristics of a typical zombie but the doctors are unable to diagnose the condition correctly.
3. Outbreak – Patient zero begins to infect others. The infection spreads in the local area and attempt local media report on the events fuelling confusion. The medical and local governmental authorities start to take notice.
4. Containment – The police and military attempt to quarantine the main infected area. The local people are confused and the atmosphere is tense. The police and military use increasingly harsh measures to contain the spread of the infection.
5. Panic – The authorities begin to lose control and new outbreaks begin to pop up all over the place. The population begins to panic. Law and order breaks down even in uninfected areas. The fighting continues but it is an increasingly futile act.
6. Collapse – The number of zombies becomes overwhelming with many billions infected. The few remaining survivors retreat to safe zones. Everyday life is a struggle with people only really concerned with the most basic tasks of survival.
7. Reconstruction – A zombie can only survive for 3 to 5 years. Afterwards the survivors begin the task of reconstruction.

Advancement through each stage is by no means inevitable and there are opportunities for humanity to halt the apocalypse. That being said, any seasoned survivalist would prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

The single greatest action a survivalist can take to swing the odds of survival in their favor is to assemble a bug out bag with all the best zombie survival gear.

For those who don’t know a bug out bag is a collection of all the prepper gear and supplies that you need to survive in the wild for 72 hours or more.

We wrote a whole article on this topic a few weeks ago but the zombie bug out bag is a whole different beast and requires a different approach.

2. What Zombie Survival Gear Should I Get?

There isn’t, of course, a “typical” zombie apocalypse bug out bag. Each survivalist’s zombie survival gear is going to be different from the next.

But, when deciding on your gear it will be helpful to divide your items in to 5 different categories.

bug out bag zombie survival gear categories

You can then form a clearer picture about your specific survival needs.

What follows is my own personal list of bug out bag zombie prepper gear organised into the above catagories. The list is by no means exhaustive and I strongly advise you to add to or even take away from the items listed.

I don’t expect you to agree with everything I have written and I welcome all forms of discussion in the comments section below. Please enjoy!

Food and Water

Other than escaping the clutches of a zombie horde, food and water is going to be your biggest priority. If you are out in the wild for longer than 24 hours you are going to need to be prepared.

You are more than likely to be on the move often trying to stay ahead of the zombies. So you will need lightweight gear and supplies for the constantly changing circumstances.

Top Tip: You should stash food, water and equipment in one or more safe houses. Only carry enough to survive but not so much that you are weighed down.

Stainless Steel 25 0z Water Bottle – This water bottle has no rusty metallic taste. It is enough for a few hours heavy trecking but won’t weigh your pack down too much. You want something cheap that does the job.

The Life Straw – Removes 99.9% of waterborne bacteria and parasites and filters up to 1000 liters. This is my current favorite piece of kit in the bug out bag list. That being said, if the water seems contaminated by a zombie corpse stay well clear.

Water Purification Tablets – Anyone short on time and about to drink water of an unknown quality – buy these!

Emergency Ration Food Bars – At 2400 calories a pack any sane zombie survivalist will have a few of these stashed away in their bug out bag. They were designed specifically for disaster scenarios and provide a very efficient intake of calories. Perfect for anyone escaping a fast moving zombie horde.

Clothing & Shelter

The first 24 hours of a zombie apocalypse are going to be complete chaos. Whether you have the latest North Face body warmer or not won’t make much difference to your survival.

That being said, if you do manage to survive more than 72 hours then the zombies are not going to be your only problem.

You need to be prepared for a number of less immediate but ultimately important concerns.

You are quickly going to find yourself up against the elements. The right clothing and shelter can be the difference between life and death.

Top Tip: Socks, socks and socks! Anyone moving fast on foot is going to go through a few pairs of socks. Pack at least 5 pairs in your bug out bag.

Hard Shell Jacket – The Arcteryx Alpha is the best hard shell jacket on the market according to Outdoor Gear Lab.  While it isn’t bite proof it will certainly keep out the elements. Bright colors not advised. 

Hiking Socks – Darn Tough socks are undeniably the best out there. We particularly love their micro crew cushioned socks for hiking. If you are moving a lot you need to invest in high quality socks.

4 Season Tent – The Swedish built Hilleberg Nallo 2 is incredibly lightweight. It is also bomb proof, but alas not zombie proof. But well worth the investment we made! Check out this great review for more information. The green blends well into the background.

3 Season Sleeping Bag – Named the best sleeping bag by Outdoor Gear Lab. This 3 season goose down Megalite sleeping bag will quickly become your best friend. You spend a 1/3 of your life asleep. Invest well!

Essential Tools

In the wild there are some tools that any zombie survivalist can’t do without. The tools I have chosen have at least one life saving purpose if not multiple.

An investment here will pay dividends in the medium to long term and most of the tools will last many years.

We have included tools for starting a fire, lighting, communication, navigation, base camp prep and construction.

Top Tip: If you have to ford a river and need to dry off quickly then the Swedish Fire Steel should be easily accessible in your pack.

Fire Steel – Originally designed by the Swedish Department of Defense. This fire steel can be used at any altitude and in any weather to maximum effect.

Water Proof Lighter – This UCO Stormproof lighter is great in a crisis. Both wind and waterproofed, every survivalist should have one. And it even has a bottle opener…

Head Torch – Useful for a whole host of tasks performed at night. The torch provides 20+ feet of illumination. The stable head mount provides perfect lighting in your field of vision.  Be aware that zombies are attracted to bright lights.


Flashlight – The J5 Tactical Pro runs for hours on just one AA battery. It has a shockingly long range of 600 feet and can really take a battering.

Hand Crank Radio – The Ironsnow Radio has 3 options to charge. Hand crank, solar and mains recharge. It is small, light, and easy to use. If there are any survivors out there then this will allow you meet up.

Walkie Talkie – This set of Motorola walkie-talkies has a range of 23 miles. They are water resistant and are very difficult to break. This is a great tool for coordinating and ambushing zombie hordes.

Compass – The Eyeskey military compass is a very accurate piece of kit. Heavy duty and durable, it has handled many years of extensive use.  You should practice with it before the apocalypse occurs. 

Map – A professionally produced, detailed map of the area where you intend to bug out is a must. Invest wisely.

Folding Shovel – This SOG shovel has come in useful in a variety of unexpected situations. Excessive snowfall, burying supply caches, and waste. This piece of kit really saves time and effort.

Multi Tool Pliers – Strong and innovative my Gerber multi-pliers have well over a hundred different uses. Don’t leave home without a pair as you never know when you will need them.

Self Defence & Hunting

Weaponry is a polarising topic for zombie preppers. Do you use a gun or a bow and arrow?

It goes without saying that you are going to want to defend yourself but there are advantages and disadvantages to either option.

A gun is easy to use and precise but also very noisy and will attract any nearby zombies.

A bow and arrow is difficult to master but is silent and lightweight.

In the end we have gone with the bow and arrow. The choice is of course yours. Choose wisely!

Top Tip: If you decide to use the bow and arrow you should train extensively with it beforehand to ensure you can handle yourself in a crisis.

Hunting Bow – An economical entry-level bow perfect for a bug out bag. It is silent, powerful and lightweight. Only bring one along if you feel competent to use one.

Survival Knife – The Ka-Bar Becker is a lightweight steel bladed knife. I have found none better. Great for skinning game, cutting vegetables, and preparing kindling.

First Aid

Murphy’s law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. In the wilderness this can mean a serious injury or illness.

The relative likelihood of an injury or illness is higher than in every day non-apocalypse life so you need to be prepared for a number of different medical emergencies.

The best first aid kits are those which are tailored to a person’s needs.

We have suggested a basic kit but we advise that you add to it. You need to think about items that are appropriate to the local environment, your age, you level of fitness and any preexisting medical conditions.

Top Tip: If you are bitten by a zombie then there is nothing in the first aid kit to help you. Your best bet is to lock yourself in a room with a pile of rotten meat and wait for humanity to produce a cure.

First Aid Kit – Versatile, lightweight and effective. This kit contained lot of the emergency essentials you are going to need.

3. How Do I Survive a Zombie Apocalypse?

The team over at the Huffington Post put together a 5 point plan to surviving the zombie apocalypse.

1. Watch Zombieland – They believe it is the most informative of all the zombie movies – Scrap that, instead read Max Brooks’ World War Z instead.
2. Check Facebook – The idea is that Facebook will be the front line in zombie sightings – Anyone heard of fake news?
3. Make supplies your first priority – Your FIRST priority? Really? What about the zombie horde attempting to break down your front door.
4. Stay Close to home – Terrible idea if you live in any of the following cities – New York, LA, Washington, San Francisco, wait… how about any urban area with a population greater than 100,000.
5. Whatever you do, don’t go to Walmart – The only tip that makes any sense!

I hope that having read the Huffington Post’s 5 point plan you are as disappointed as we are.

By way of apology for wasting your time we have decided to produce our own 5 point plan. This one is bigger, better and may actually keep you alive (but no promises).

how do I survive the zombie apocalypse guide

1. Stay in Peak Physical Condition

Who is more likely to survive a zombie apocalypse, a sprinter, a decathlete or a marathon runner?

At first glance the answer may not be obvious.

The answer is in fact the decathlete. But saying that, all three have much better odds than the average person.

The reason the decathlete is best is that he combines speed (100m and 400m), strength (shot put, discus throw and javelin throw) and agility (long jump, 110m hurdles, high jump and pole vault) while the other two specialise in only one area.

To survive the physical challenges of an apocalypse you need to make sure that you are in peak physical condition. So we have put together a three part workout plan.

Speed – If you encounter a zombie in the street you need to be able to react fast and reach a reasonable top speed quickly. The best way to do this would be with interval training. The team at Nerd Fitness have a fantastic workout regime.

Strength – There are a number of different ways to build muscle mass fast. But we want to keep it simple. The Stronglifts 5×5 Workout is probably the easiest and quickest way to get strong fast.

Agility – Agility is an umbrella term that combines a number of different skills. Luckily it just so happens that there is a sport that trains a lot of the skills necessary to escape a zombie. Parkour! Yes, I know that most people won’t be doing back flips on their first day but the team at Nerd Fitness put together a Parkour for Beginners guide for anyone interested.

Now, a final though on physical fitness. If the apocalypse has already begun then you will be limited by what you can do.

We advise the following 20 minute hotel room workout to maintain your fitness level.

2. Form a Team and Work Together

There are few times in your life more lonely than a zombie apocalypse. Chances are high that most people you meet will want to eat you.

Our advice is to find a few people to team up with and work together.

However, be ruthless. You need people who are strong, smart, healthy, brave and resourceful. Unless of course you are related to them and then you have to stay together regardless.

3. Locate an Isolated Safe House in the Wild

If you live in a city you may think that staying where you are is your safest bet. This is probably not a good idea and we have the data to prove it.

Researchers at Cornell University modelled how a potential zombie outbreak might spread across the USA. They conclude that it is likely that the major cities would fall first but isolated areas would remain zombie free for many months.

They even go so far as to suggest the Rocky Mountains as the best place to take refuge. You can try the simulation here for yourself if you don’t believe us.

The take away from this research is that no matter where you are in the country as soon as you hear about zombies then you should head into wild preferably to a well prepped safe house.

4. Prepare Supplies and Gear in Advance

There is whole section of this article entitled What Zombie Survival Gear Should I get? which covers absolutely everything we have to say about the perfect gear to have with you.

In regards to supplies you need to stash enough food, water and medicine for at least 90 days at the safe house(s) discussed above.

5. Source Reliable Transportation

After following the interval training plan you might be able to post a sub 12 second 100m. However, biology dictates that you can’t maintain this speed indefinitely. Zombies are relentless and you are going to need some wheels.

But which is better a diesel or gasoline powered vehicle?

Well, it turns out that over time gasoline degrades faster than diesel. So, if you are in the market for a new vehicle, are not environmentally minded, and believe a zombie apocalypse is coming then invest in a diesel powered car.

Better yet, you should try to get your hands on a military diesel vehicle. They run on a number of other fuels including rotten kerosene and fermented leaves.

Final Thoughts

So, there we have a it. I hope this guide has provided at least a basic understanding of zombie apocalypse prep and zombie survival gear. If you have any questions then please feel free to comment below.

If you are still completely at a loss as to how to survive the zombie apocalypse. Then alas, I must tell you that there is no hope for you. We suggest that you spend the rest of the day watching YouTube videos. Enjoy!