It’s been a month since my debut post-apocalyptic horror novel, The Darkening, hit the electronic and physical shelves (you can check it out here and here), and I’ve been looking into things that one should do to survive an apocalyptic event. Now, a few months back, I wrote a list with the 10 post apocalyptic scenarios most possible to happen. Inspired from these, I thought I should come up with a list of things one should do to be prepared for such an event.
Please note, though I have written a post apocalyptic novel, that does not mean I am a prepper, or that I have done or tried any of the following things. So don’t take my word for any of these. You see, I’m more like this:
Keep in mind that everything depends on the type of the apocalypse you’ll be dealing with, however, there are a few things that will prove helpful no matter what the scenario is. With the following list, I tried to take into account as many different scenarios as possible.
1. A satchel or backpack
Imagine this: something catastrophic happened a couple of days ago on the other side of the planet. The effects spread rapidly and are not too far away from where you live. Others have seen it too and are acting accordingly.
The local infrastructure is already ruined because… panic, and from whatever the effects of the apocalypse may be. You’re going to have to leave, but you should take some items with you. No, grocery store bags are not ideal for something like this. You need something to carry your gear, and it had better be something that will last you a long time. Bug out bags, as they’re often called, are lightweight and can carry provisions and items that you will need for the first couple of days. Some of them come pre-stocked with items like water purification tablets and other useful items. Make sure you keep it somewhere handy, and that its provisions have not expired.
This one should be pretty self-explanatory. Skin your food, hunt, or defend yourself out there. In an apocalyptic scenario, you’re not going to be the only survivor (hopefully). However, usually, when things get really ugly and resources necessary for survival become too scarce, people tend to look after themselves. Survival instincts and desperation kicks in. What you have and I don’t, I can try taking it from you. So make sure you keep your knife sharp.
3. Stormproof matches
I don’t know about you, but I suck at lighting fires. And I don’t mean trying to light a fire out there in the wilderness (Chris and the wild don’t mix together, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post). I’m talking about trying to get a fire going in a fireplace. If you’re like me, and for some reason you have yet to master evolutionary basics, like getting a fire going in a warm, summer day for a barbecue, imagine how much harder it will be to light a fire when it’s raining outside your shelter, you’re miserable, cold, and drenched to the bone from hunting the foul beast of Caerbannog in the rain.
Your hands are shaking. You strike the match, and just as it lights up, a gust of wind puts it out. Meanwhile, you’re still freezing, and you’re also one match shorter than before. Still no fire. Bet now you wish you had bought stormproof matches, huh?
4. Flint and steel
Eventually your stormproof matches will run out. Then what? Well, time to go old school. Flint and steel. I’ll leave the pros do the talking for this one, so watch the videos and mimic them.
If you want to know more about how to start a fire, you can check this site out. Please don’t do it in the middle of forests or in your homes, m’kay? This knowledge should only be used in case of emergency.
We take electricity for granted nowadays. Just over a century and a half ago, in some places, the streets at night were dark, and unless the sky was clear and the moon big enough to shine, you couldn’t see where you were going. Modern power grid requires constant monitoring and maintenance, so if an apocalyptic situation occurs and civilisation collapses around you, the power will be one of the first things to go. And if the scenario forces you to leave the city (assuming you live in one), you’re going to have to see where you’re going in order to avoid falling and breaking a bone. Make sure you have plenty of batteries with you, but bear in mind that they won’t last you forever. For that you may want to consider a solar-powered flashlight.
6. A compass
– Does it need batteries?
– Good. Will it save my life?
Seriously, if you have to travel and you’re miles away from any roads, or even if you find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere, a compass will save your life, provided you know the relative location of wherever it is you wish to go to with respect to your current general location (in other words, “I’m in Pennsylvania and I want to go to Florida. Florida is south of where I am now”). The only chance a compass will fail you, is if you fail yourself and mistake north for south, or if something happens to the Earth’s magnetic poles. Of course in the case of the Earth’s magnetic poles disappearing, going in the wrong direction would be the least of your worries…
7. First aid kit
Regardless of the apocalyptic scenario, if you’re one of the survivors, your primary objective is to keep yourself safe. Yes, our bodies can cope with a lot of things, but would you be willing to test your limits during an apocalypse? Potentially, even a scrape from a rusty piece of metal can be fatal, so do make sure you have a handy first aid kit with you. And keep it safe. Even if you’re Superman in disguise and viruses and diseases run away from you in terror, you can always use it to barter for something you don’t have. Not that I advise you to trade away your medical supplies.
8. Hard Currency
Speaking of bartering, remember the time when banks and politicians created money out of nothing and gave us all thin plastic cards that supposedly represented equal value to hard currency, like gold? Now let’s imagine a situation where the world’s banking system has collapsed. Power and telecommunications are also no more, so no internet or electricity. And you need food and water. Lucky you, there’s a store across the street with a couple of walking mountains-for-guards keeping an eye on things, that still has some food. Of course prices will be inflated, but who cares? You have your mighty plastic card! Gold or platinum coloured!
When was the last time you tried trading plastic strips (with fancy colours) for food or water or anything valuable? Mine was in kindergarten or maybe early elementary years. So, do consider grabbing and holding onto some hard currency. Gold, silver, jewels. Things you can actually barter with. Depending on the crisis at hand, food, water, or antibiotics may be even more precious than gold and silver. While we’re looking at alternative forms of currency, and if the apocalypse allows it, consider seeds from plants that bear fruits. Preferably not from genetically modified plants, since seeds from most of these cannot grow after a couple of harvests.
9. Warm and sturdy clothes
Imagine surviving whatever apocalypse befell the world, only to succumb to a cold or hypothermia. That would really suck. So, the next time you go to a shopping spree to buy the latest awesome and fashionable clothes, you may want to consider adding something less fashionable but more durable and warm.
Yeah, that also goes without saying, however, how long will it be practical for? Assuming the apocalypse at hand is here to stay for the foreseeable future, how many bullets will you be able to carry around? And how much weight will that add to your backpack? What will you do with the gun once you have no more bullets? Throw it at the enemy? Maybe, if it’s heavy and reliable.
And there you have it, folks. Now, I tried my best to take something grim that potentially could scare a lot of people, and turn it into an enjoyable read. A lot of people take the end of the world seriously. Even if the end never comes during our lifetime, it’s always best to be prepared, right?
8 thoughts on “10 things you’ll need to survive the apocalypse”
My twin even knows how to make a blade from a piece of rock (flintknapping) — we’ll all be fine. 🙂
“Preferably not from genetically modified plants, since seeds from most of these cannot grow after a couple of harvests.” It’s not just GMOs that don’t grow well (if at all) from their own seeds. Pretty much all modern food plants are hybrids, and hybrids tend to be sterile. (I learned this from Pseudo-mom back in the late 1970s when she explained to me why the seeds from our marigolds wouldn’t make more marigolds. I don’t think she expected me to pay attention, much less remember…) For food seeds, you need to look for varieties that specifically say on the packaging or whatever that they will propagate from their seeds each year, or at least are perennials (grow year after year).
I didn’t know this about hybrids. I always thought that since the vast majority (if not all) of the plants we cultivate for food is a hybrid that we created centuries ago through natural means, they would still be able to propagate. I think I forgot the part where even those seeds are nowadays manufactured for profit, rather than occur naturally. Makes you wonder though, about the odds of survival for the entire human race, doesn’t it?
When we lived on an island in the Mississippi River I did “earthquake preparedness.” My husband said it was useless—if an earthquake hit, we’d be floating to New Orleans. Seems like bungee cords were on my list. Go figure. 🙂
We do a lot of earthquake preparedness here in Greece as well. We have lots of earthquakes shaking things up every now and then, though most go unnoticed. I thought about including a rope in the list, but I figured I should narrow the list down to the most essential for survival (like fire and med kits). That’s why I didn’t include it here. As for that list you mentioned having bungee cords, maybe they thought that one could use the cord to climb down from a building. Assuming of course we’re not talking about skyscrapers.
Of all things, the one time I have been to Greece, y’all had just had an earthquake (in Thessaloniki). It had done extensive damage. They also had me buy large yellow slicker overalls. I think that was for the rain and to be seen by emergency crew. All I ever used it for was a Halloween costume.
I didn’t know you have been to Greece! When was that? Was that back in 1978 or are we talking about a different quake? The one in ’78 did some serious damage.
Yes, it was 1978. We had to skip a few of our stops. I still fell in love with Greece
Yeah, that was a really nasty earthquake. It forced us to review all anti-seismic building regulations, until they were all reviewed for a second time after the deadly quake of 1981 in Athens. I’m glad you enjoyed your time in Greece, despite the unpleasantness with the earthquake. My country is full of faults and volcanoes, but some areas are more prone to quakes than others. I hope you get to visit us again soon 🙂