Strange times call for strange solutions. And I cannot think of a stranger time in recent history than what we are facing globally with COVID-19. While sickness and death is arguably understandable, this worldwide “shelter in place” deal and the government deciding what businesses are essential and “non-essential” are on a whole other level.

If you are reading this, I sincerely hope you weren’t surprised by Americans’ collective panicked response. Along with uncertain times and panic comes a huge dash for basic necessities, like food, water…and toilet paper (seriously, WTF, America???).

Even more interesting was the massive spike in guns and ammo sales to first-time gun owners. Reflecting a sudden, miraculous shift in political ideologies, people who normally stood to the left of anything 2nd Amendment now found themselves standing in line at the local gun store, hoping to buy whatever was left in stock.

So….food, water, shelter, guns, and…(sigh)…toilet paper.

This begs the question: have these new “preppers” really thought through their necessities?

Hollywood has long had a romance with stories about viruses, zombies, the end of civilization, and viruses that create zombies who end civilizations. The Omega Man/I Am Legend, World War Z, every Mission Impossible, Resident Evil, Night of the Living Dead, 28 Weeks Later, Dawn of the Dead coupled with TV shows like the Walking Dead, Z Nation, In The Flesh – there is an endless stream. But what if this were to actually happen?  How would I survive, you ask?

Like any good movie series, I’m breaking my zombie survival guide into sections– Food, Water, Weapons (both offensive and defensive), and Mobility.

The Basics

For basic survival, you need three things – water, food, and shelter. Since buying cases of water from Costco would not be viable in the long term, let’s explore other options.

First, we address a long-range solution that requires some foresight and prep work – rain water collection. While Texas hill country well water is hit or miss, rainwater collection is the ticket given the area’s abundant rainfall. I was fortunate in that our home already had an underground rainwater collection tank when we moved in. The trick is piping it into the house for more than irrigation and feeding livestock.

A rain water collection system is simple in theory. Set up a network of collection pipes that sets rainwater into a large collection tank. That water then needs a means of reaching a viable location.

The second solution is a new product I have been investigating. Watergen builds an atmospheric Water Generator capable of generating up to 211 gallons of clean water a day from the air. Unlike rainwater collection, you need a power source. But for an off-grid solution, the atmospheric generator might be an option assuming we can build a sufficiently powerful solar farm.

What’s For Dinner – Grocery Shopping 2.0

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, I doubt Trader Joe’s would be a safe bet, despite how their cheerful Hawaiian shirts make you feel. The consumer must take control of their food supply.=

Basically, you need to hunt, best with stealth. If you go all John Wick on that feral hog, even with suppressors, you potentially put you and your family in danger by drawing attention to your location. As they say in most movie theaters, silence is golden.

The first option is a bow. I shoot a PSE bow as they are one of the only companies that make an off-the-shelf solution for a 6’5” hunter with a 35” draw. Arrow speed from an 80 pound draw is a bit of overkill for anything inside of 50 yards, but like some wise person once (maybe) said, there is no kill like overkill.

The second, more general solution is a crossbow. Crossbows have come a long way since their inception circa 700 BC China. The advances in crossbows in the last decade alone are nothing short of amazing, with sub MOA accuracy at over 100 yards, yet light enough for a child to shoot.

I have been looking at the TenPoint crossbows in awe. TenPoint’s top of the line Vapor RS470 boasts an arrow speed of 470 feet per second. For reference, a .45 caliber handgun shoots out of a government issued 1911 at 830 ft/sec. That means TenPoint’s Vapor RS470 shoots an arrow 56% as fast as a .45 bullet, but at only 65 decibels at the bow (compared to a .45’s 162 decibels) – stealth and precision in a carbon fiber package light enough to be used by children, yet sufficiently user friendly for inexperienced hunters.

Add to that a suppressed Volquartsen .22 rimfire, and you’re good for load out. Scott Volquartsen makes the best rimfire on the market and tuned up the Ruger Mark IV 22/45 I already owned with a new trigger and firing mechanism.

To support a solid food supply from the land, you have to grow food. Part of that is understanding seasons and what foods adapt best during various times in your environment.

While California’s milder climate is much more advantageous to fruits and vegetables, central Texas is good for beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, Swiss chard, and leafy greens such as collard, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, spinach and turnips. Green onions, radishes, arugula, dill, and parsley may also be planted in the fall.

Fruit-wise, Texas can grow varieties of apples, plums, persimmons, pears and perhaps most famously, peaches. About 60 years ago, my old neighbor had a peach tree orchard on the other side of the creek running through our property, but a long cold snap back in the 70s decimated it. My plans involve reclaiming that land for peaches in the near future.

The last piece of the puzzle would be chickens. Chickens are great for a few reasons – one, they give eggs, two, they provide fertilizer, and three, they are great for reducing garden pests, since they eat grasshoppers, scorpions, termites, mice, flies, and June bugs. And finally, they serve as nature’s perimeter alarm in case interlopers look to wreak havoc on you and yours.

You don’t need a ton of land, just resourcefulness. To see what people can do with small gardens, click here to see what people are able to grow in relatively small plots.

“Urban agriculture in developed countries has also been found to be effective at producing high-value perishable crops, such as vegetables, in close proximity to where they will ultimately be consumed and can provide important nutrients in low-income “food desert” areas, where geographic and economic factors can make fresh, healthy food difficult to access.”

When I lived in downtown Philadelphia, I would walk past an urban garden on South Street pretty regularly. One summer day, I stopped and talked to the lady working in the garden, who mentioned they provide all the vegetables for local food banks. She said if I saw the amount of food they produced, I would be shocked.

Protect Ya Neck

When it comes to defense, nothing beats a Benelli M4 semi-automatic shotgun. A shotgun should be on everyone’s list of mandatory equipment as the requirements are simple: point the weapon in the general direction of the threat, pull the trigger, and hold on. Precision is secondary.

For both offense and defense along the human (and zombie) front, an AR-15 is standard issue. I like the 10.4” barrel HK 416. The piston gun runs well with a suppressor and is an easy shooter with great follow up. Despite the company’s general malaise for the consumer market (HK has a lot of government contracts and thus, focuses on providing weapons systems for countries and police departments), I find their HK 416 to be the standard for piston driven weapons.

When it comes to hunting though, the AR-15 is not great, as I have used it to shoot a decent number of hogs who subsequently ran off. I prefer something that knocks them down so I don’t have to chase them into the brush at 2 AM. Keep that in mind if getting one gun for multiple purposes.

Personally, the standard for 7.62 rifles in the AR-10 platform are Knights Armament’s SR-25. Its weight, maneuverability, and engineering are far ahead of anything else I have owned. For years, I was a big fan of the LMT MWS 7.62 weapon system, but it wasn’t until I acquired an SR-25 upper did I understand the cult following surrounding the KAC SR-25.

While I do not consider the pistol a primary weapon, I do understand its function as a secondary to fight your way to cover, given a primary malfunction. Defensively, where a pistol can be concealed and drawn quickly, it has value, but it’s not like zombies would ask themselves (or each other), “yo…think he’s strapped?” before lunging for your brains. Therefore, choosing a simple side arm with a high capacity is necessary. I like the Glock 17 (9mm) and have personally beaten a few of them to death and they keep performing.

** Gun-heads, I know there is a whole category of sub guns worthy for inclusion (HK MP5, HK UMP45, or any AR15 chambered in pistol calibers), but I decided to keep my weapons choices mainstream.

Regardless of the situation, everyone should carry a pocket knife. General Mattis’ wisely said, you should always carry a knife in case you have to slit a throat, or encounter a piece of cake.

I believe in carrying the best quality folder on the market, therefore I carry a Strider SMF made by Mic Strider. That knife is bulletproof, keeps an edge, and has been with me all over the world. My only fear is checking it in baggage and getting it stolen. But that would only give me an excuse to get another one.

Shelterin’ Place

When zombies roam, one has two choices – bug in or bug out.

“Bug In” means that your home is ready for whatever the world throws at you. Your pantry, freezer, and water supply is prepped, and you have the ability to fight zombies.

“Bug Out” means you have a location set up to meet the needs discussed earlier: solid food supply, adequate hunting, water, well thought out defensive measures. If this is your plan, make sure you own this land or at least have been granted rights to be there. Lots of city folk think they can jump in a car and set up camp in some unsuspecting hillbilly’s land. What people forget is, said hillbillies not only live on that land, but hunt year round, wear camouflage daily, and have a families and livestock to protect. They are more than equipped to defend their land and fight off trespassers. While it is illegal to shoot trespassers in Texas, the law allows for deadly force if you reasonably believe it is immediately necessary to prevent the imminent commission of specific enumerated property crimes.

Whichever fits your strategy, I suggest you set it up ahead of time and have some contingency plans in place should things go bad.

Live Apocalyptic Life A Quarter Mile At A Time

Last, you need an adequate vehicle to get you anywhere you need to go. Remember, civilization has collapsed, so you may encounter more than just the occasional pothole.

It is no secret that I am into off-road trucks and diesel engines. One of the greatest blends of function, style, reliability, and abundance of spare parts manifests in a 70/80s one ton Chevy K30 “Squarebody” with a Cummins 12 valve, an NV4500 manual transmission, and Dana 60 front axle and 14 Bolt rear axle. The only issue is the Cummins 12v and NV4500 never came in a Squarebody, so that requires some fabrication, either by you or from someone who is mechanically inlined. For reference, the last year of the Squarebody was 1991 and NV4500s didn’t make it into a GM truck till 92. The first year for the NV4500 was 1994 for dodge trucks.

The Cummins 12 valve is known as the “million-mile motor” because if you regularly maintain it, the engine will long outlive the truck body. Pair that up with a manual transmission, and you have a truck that requires no computer to start or and only 3 wires to operate.

Pair that Cummins and Chevy K30 up with a bunch of unbreakable parts from Stephen and his band of one ton elves at Offroad Design and you have something that will drive you to the Apocalypse in style and get you through the other side without even a broken bolt.

Depending on your level of skill, you can go from mild to wild with your End of Days vehicle. I am working on a 4-door version of my ranch truck pictured above so stay tuned for updates.

Wrapping It Up

When it comes to surviving the zombie apocalypse, preparation is key. While you shouldn’t necessarily go the Mormon route by maintaining a constant 3 month’s supply of food, you should still have a plan so that, given a disaster or quarantine, you aren’t scrambling to the local HEB to score food, water,….and if you’re American, fighting Mrs. Robertson over the last pack of toilet paper.

It boils down to being self-reliant.

  • If all social services collapse, can you survive?
  • Can you hunt, grow, and store your food?
  • Do you have access to water?
  • Can you defend yourself, your family, your property?
  • Do you have access to a location safe to rest your head, despite zombie hordes?
  • Do you have a vehicle fueled up and ready to rock in spite of distance, rough (or no) roads, or EMP blasts?

Personally, are you physically prepared to be durable in any situation requiring excellence?  And I’m not talking about scoring that sweet, dual-colored participation medal (with bonus action photo!) from the May Day 5K sponsored by Oracle.  I’m talking about chasing down game, carrying a 200-pound deer back to camp through heavy brush, processing an animal, building a fire to cook the meat, and of course, fighting off zombies. Check out Power Athlete’s Third Monkey for a free at home quarantine training program.

Third Monkey Training

We can help. Power Athlete focuses on ramping human performance by developing athleticism and educating coaches, all driven from a continuous desire for education and personal growth. Embarking on this path to excellence requires honesty and planning much like surviving any given zombie apocalypse.

Are you ready?