One of the things I love about my little slice of West Oakland is that it could easily be the setting of some kind of apocalyptic film. It’s all factories, warehouses, cracked pavement, and rusted metal. Trash blows like tumbleweeds. Lost souls shuffle through the streets.
Living in San Francisco made me incredibly soft. I was barely exercising and when I did I was taking chill yoga classes. Rent control, while lovely for a while, robbed me of the ambition to own a home (thankfully my wife is brutally single minded when she wants something). I was really upset at how little there was to eat within walking distance to our new home, but that’s been a good thing. We save money and eat healthier now. We didn’t know any of our neighbors in San Francisco. Now we’re quite friendly with a number of people we see everyday walking around.
We live a debt free lifestyle and other than the mortgage, we don’t owe anyone shit. I’ll probably write a little more about that process in the future, but now that Mrs. Lott and I have a nice place to call our own and some money in the bank, it’s time for me to get serious about what’s really important: preparing for a zombie apocalypse.
Zombies work as a nice metaphor for any threat. If you can deal with zombies, you can deal with a pandemic that simply wipes out most of humanity. It’s way easier when they aren’t all bitey. Most other types of post-disaster civil unrest are relatively survivable if you lay low for a while and let the looters die of starvation. Depending on where you live, this could happen quickly or drag on for months if cannibalism becomes trendy.
For many people, prepping for the apocalypse is all about the gear you buy and the training you have. I agree, but I’d also add, in a statement of uncharacteristic optimism, it’s also about the friends you meet while you develop the skills necessary to survive a wasteland full of the dead. You meet the nicest people at the end of days.
What’s deeply cool about prepping for a zombie apocalypse is that there’s always something new to learn. These are great life skills t have. A lot of them transfer over to my other project, learning everything in the Hank Williams Jr. song A Country Boy Can Survive.
The following isn’t an “ultimate survival list.” It’s a list of things I’d be able to do and buy on my current budget if it was obvious the shit would hit the fan soon. And just so we’re all clear, I’m well aware this is some silly shit. And spare me your buzzkill opinions about firearms. Zombies don’t care about your feelings and neither do I.
Crossfit. Despite suffering a fair number of minor injuries and having a general distaste for the Reebok era and the Crossfit Games, I still think it’s a great training methodology for general physical preparedness. I’m sure a few of the trainer types I’m friends with will have something to say about my decision to return to Crossfit, but nothing else in the East Bay meets my needs like this does. I need morning classes and I need programmed training. I’m training at my buddy’s gym and there’s a law enforcement element that trains there. I’ll be doing this in the morning.
Krav Maga. This is another controversial training decision, and one I may choose to revisit, but I think the concepts and training style of Krav is perfectly in line with my goals: be able to kill zombies and assholes if needed. The particular gym I’m looking at offers firearms training and a good friend’s brother teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu there. A co-worker I really respect is also a trainer. The plan is to do this in the evening. I probably won’t start this for a few months.
Trail Running/Hiking. It’s nice to get out in nature. It’s also a fact that when society breaks down, you might have to walk really far carrying your stuff. Being able to put in miles could make the difference between dying on the side of the road and making it to a sweet cabin in the woods. I plan on doing a few miles on the weekend when weather is nice. Oakland has a ton of cool trails.
Bicycle Commuting. I don’t have a car or motorcycle these days, so I get around by foot. I usually ride about 4-5 miles a day, just jamming around town and to work. I’ve been kicking around a concept for a bicycle focused zombie comic for a few years. My friend told me bicycles are a nightmare to draw, though. The working title was Velo Dead.
You may notice that this seems like a lot. And it is. But consider this, I don’t really go out or socialize much, so this stuff all puts me into contact with other likeminded folks and gets me in shape. I’m also planning on maintaining frequency and consistency by regulating intensity. In the old days, I’d go balls out all the time. I plan to keep things relatively moderate, be vigorous in prehab and rehab, and eat super clean.
As I mentioned above, I’m a bicycle commuter now. I’ve quite enjoyed the huge financial savings I’ve had from not dealing with vehicles. But having a cool vehicle is essential for surviving the apocalypse. Just look at the Mad Max franchise. These are the biggest ticket items and honestly, probably the last thing I need to buy. If things get crazy, I can just steal whatever’s available. Or borrow my wife’s car if she’ll let me.
Kawasaki KLR 650. This is a great do it all bike. There are parts everywhere and they run forever. Even brand new they’re pretty cheap. I think the digital camo decals on the 2016 model are pretty cool. There are like a million other bikes that are better (the BMW GS 1200 comes to mind), but this one is affordable and practical.
Volvo XC 70. You might expect I’d go in for some kind of crazy Ford Raptor or V-8 muscle car, but my taste in bug-out vehicles is fairly normcore. I like the anonymity of a station wagon and this one has enough oomph to drive over shit if needed. It’s also a good all around vehicle if the world doesn’t descend into chaos.
Trek 920 Disc. I think I’d enjoy bikepacking. This bike looks cool and has a lot of the features I’d like: racks, disc brakes, good ergonomics for traveling. This goes on the back of the wagon for stealth missions into town.
After watching the Punisher wreck ninja ass on Daredevil, I’ve come to realize my own armory is incredibly uninspiring. To re-emphasize, this is not my super dream weapons cache. It’s stuff I could afford now, that would be awesome to have if I was dropped into The Walking Dead.
My choice in weapons is focused on reliability and functionality. I’d like to be able to fight, hunt, and have fun with this stuff in three gun competition or something like that.
Boutique Trench Knife. This thing is just cool looking. It’s similar to the knife Carol carries on The Walking Dead, which is more or less based on a 1918 Trench Knife. This particular one is made by a knife maker named Mark Terrell. This goes right on my belt at all times.
Leatherman Tread. This bracelet has 23 different tools on it. It’s not really a weapon, but it looks extremely useful. This is what I think I’m asking the wife to get me for my birthday. I’d also probably keep a regular Leatherman on my belt, too.
Crovel Extreme II. This piece of equipment was invented by Max Brooks for his novel World War Z. It’s basically and edged weapon you can use for a variety of tasks (I’m sure you can figure a few out just by looking at it). Some psychos decided they were going to make them for real, so now you can buy one. Apparently they’re actually pretty useful. This would go in the back of the wagon.
Gransfors Swedish Viking Axe. This would go on my belt for use with the trench knife. This is balanced for throwing and based on an axe made around 800 c in Sweden. Pretty metal if you ask me.
Glock 19. Even people who claim they’re not Glock fans have to admit their pistols are amazing. This model is what just about everyone recommends for a decent all-around sidearm. It’d be nice to have the accessories pictured, but a basic out-of-the-box pistol would do just fine. 9mm is my preferred choice for ammo in a zombie scenario.
Glock 43. This is chambered in the same 9mm as the 19, just really small and concealable. You hide his one somewhere.
AK-47. There are basically two kinds of battle rifles people seem to dig in America, ARs and AKs. It would be cool to have both, but I’ve always enjoyed AKs more. They’re currently in service all over the world’s shittiest places and are known or reliability (though so is any decent and well cared for rifle).
Remington 870. It’s just a solid shotgun. And who doesn’t need one of those? I’d have this right in the center of the seats in the wagon. Along with a few boxes of shells in the glove box.
Well. That’s pretty much it. I’ll probably do a recurring monthly Doomsday Fitness blog post. That was the name of my first blog that I started writing back in 2005. I kept it up for about 4 years and actually had a pretty decent following on it. I really should’ve kept it going. Story of my life right there.