16th Jun 2012
I'm a big fan of the zombie mythos — the kind that looks forward to an undead apocalypse, replete with the de-facto standard zombie bible, a frighteningly elaborate survival strategy, and a go-bag containing all that you need to hold out after a zombie outbreak. Given the recent turn of events, this blend of fantasy and paranoia might not sound so crazy after all. "Bath salts", my ass!
Having established that a zombie outbreak is just around the corner, it's time you got yourself an insurance package. And I mean a full-blown zombie survival kit by that. More importantly, one that's more focussed and relevant to the Indian context, because the basics have already been covered by the Yanks. However, as proper zombicidal gear can be (a) illegal, and (b) not very practical, this guide does its best to stay within the legal boundaries and strike a fine balance between utility and pure zombie-killing power.
To defeat your enemy, you must first know it. Noted zombie expert Max Brook's magnum opus will teach you all that you need to know about the undead and how to survive an apocalypse. From zombie behaviour and anatomy, survival strategies, preparedness, and a weapons guide, to the psychological aspects of a long-term zombie siege - this tome covers everything you would want to know when the dead walk the earth. The book will prove instrumental in helping you select the number and the kind of people in your zombie survival group.
When you finalise your survival team, don't forget to stock up on the Zombie Survival Guide Deck to get your recruits up to speed. Remember, sound planning is the foundation of success. Your survival is important, because for all we know, the task of repopulating the Earth may rest upon your groi- erm, shoulders post the zombie apocalypse.
Webtex Combat Survival Kit
Price: Rs 1650 (OlivePlanet.in)
If you're reading this, there's a good chance that you're a city boy. There's an even greater chance that, like all city boys, you are a slave to urban comforts. Luxuries such as clean water, hot food, easy access to medical attention, and power. Things that you take for granted - but the fact is that you won't survive a week without them. During any apocalypse - zombie or otherwise - these modern amenities are the first to go. The Webtex Combat Survival Kit is an absolute must for surviving the initial few days, when the poop hits the ceiling and all hell breaks loose.
The kit has all that you need to tend wounds (first aid kit), navigate smartly (compass), and snare small animals and fish (snare wire and fishing kit) for survival. However, its most important inclusions are the commando saw and Swedish FireSteel. The former is invaluable for sawing trees off for firewood, whereas the FireSteel makes starting fires easy, as demonstrated in the video below. Don't forget to add the Swedish Army's Camp-A-Box for having meals on the go.
US Army Canteen
Price: Rs 300 (OlivePlanet.in)
There's a good reason why I prefer to buy anything and everything from military surplus depots. If there is a MIL-SPEC (built as per military specifications) option available, grab it with both hands over the civilian equivalent. These goods are are rugged and no-nonsense, while employing simple, effective engineering over wanton flamboyance. Since it's a matter of life and death, they are stress-tested for years before induction. They're also surprisingly cheap, thanks to the wonders of mass production.
The US Army Canteen is a lightweight hydration gear designed to carry the most amount of water with the smallest possible footprint. It's fashioned out of High-Density Poly-Ethylene (HDPE), which means it doesn't produce shrapnel when subjected to concussive forces caused by explosives. It's good to know that at least your water bottle won't kill you. Moreoever, HDPE doesn't produce carcinogenic bisphenols - something that can't be said of regular plastic bottles. For its measly Rs 300 asking price, you also get a high-quality, fleece-lined holster replete with ALICE clips. And anything bearing ALICE clips is serious business!
It's a well-known fact that a zombie's vision depends on the state of decomposition its eyeballs are in. Since they are in a perpetual state of rot, it's obviously not all that good. However, it is postulated that the undead are excellent nocturnal hunters that greatly leverage the senses of smell and hearing. What you must do, therefore, is stock up on lighting gear.
The Geonaute LF 500 is a headlamp that keeps your hands free to wield a tool or weapon, so that you can go about screwing bolts and unscrewing zombie melons in the dark. It sports a large LED lamp rated at 1 Watt that's good for lighting up roads and trails, while its secondary triple LEDs are suitable for reading maps. However, if you like to keep things old-school, an LED angle torch provides handsfree illumination as well.
A dynamo-powered torch is a true post-apocalyptic gadget, as it carries its own power source. Crank it for a few seconds and it will light up for several minutes. The video below demonstrates how this device is capable of charging your cellphones and two-way radios as well. The costlier version available on Rediff Shopping even includes an AM\FM receiver, which will come in handy for listening to emergency broadcasts.
As explained earlier, zombies can hear you long before you can see them. It's therefore imperative to augment your visual range with good optics. The KONUSPOT-50 spotting scope is just what the doctor ordered for excellent situational awareness. Its variable magnification, ranging from 15x to 40x, lets you spot ghouls and plan your route to minimise undead encounters, thereby reducing risk as well as conserving ammo.
Zombies may be oblivious to pain, hunger, or exhaustion, but they lack our intelligence, as well as the ability to communicate and work as a team. A good 2-way radio is a must to leverage this crucial advantage over the undead. The MR355R is one such device, rated to operate up to a theoretical range of 55 km and a power output of 1.32 Watts. However, the effective range varies from 2 to 5 km. In general, choose a radio based on its wattage and not the quoted range in km. A radio of this calibre will cost you around Rs 10,000 a pair - and less than half that price if you can import one.
Combat (Close Quarters)
A knife is not what you'd ideally use against zombies, but they aren't the only threat when civilisation ends. This not only serves as an excellent close-quarters weapons against hostile humans, but it can also be improvised into a spear to deal with larger animals, or as a shallow-water fishing tool. Its clip-point design makes it ideal for skinning as well as carving meat, whereas the serrated edge is good for cutting ropes and working with wood. The KA-BAR's relatively thick construction gives it enough strength to be used as a throwing knife. Best of all, its 7" blade length is within the permissible legal limit in India. Note: The version available on OlivePlanet.in is the classic straight-edged, non-serrated one.
Price: Rs 1800 (OlivePlanet.in)
The only way to kill a zombie is by removing its head or destroying its brain. The survival axe is just what the doc ordered for effective decapitation. Yes, a machete would be more appropriate for that purpose, but the all-round utility of a hatchet earns my approval.
However, if you prefer an agile, blunt weapon, the ESP hardened telescopic baton is your best bet. Unlike regular batons, its tempered steel will crack open zombie skulls without bending. The baton's small footprint, speed, light weight, and potency makes it an ideal weapon against humans and zombies alike. Don't believe me? Our masked baton expert will make you reconsider.
Our nanny state may deem us unworthy of guns, alcohol, and partying, but fortunately, the law doesn't consider bows and arrows as "arms". Once mastered, a bow works better against zombies than a gun, because it's a silent killer that doesn't reveal your position to the undead. Even better, you can always reuse an arrow, thus practically never running out of ammo. This bow can be disassembled to enhance mobility, while its recurve design delivers added power for its size. At just Rs 5500, it's a pretty inexpensive means to reach out and touch a zombie. Just don't forget to pick up essential accessories such as arrows (duh!), a quiver, arm guard, et al.
Epilogue: Going Ballistic
The idea of staying within legal limits for the weapons is simple: there's no point stashing away illegal arms until an emergency strikes. The weapon is only as good as the one who wields it, and you're in for a disaster without sufficient practice. Although getting a gun licence is nigh impossible (unless you're a criminal \ politician), it's relatively easy to obtain one for competition rifles firing 0.22 calibre rimfire rounds. All you need to do is join your local air rifle shooting range, spend a few months perfecting the craft, and then graduate to the ballistic weapons category. This is the best way to own a rifle and sharpen your skills as well. What's more, a 0.22 calibre round may be inadequate against humans, but it's considered the perfect anti-zombie ammo. Why? Because this round is enough to penetrate the average zombie skull, and a smaller size ensures you can carry many more bullets.
This covers the elementary aspects of zombie survival. The zombie bible mentioned at the beginning will teach you everything else you need to know. Don't forget to stock up on emergency supplies, undertake yearly maintenance, and keep practicing. Good hunting!