Archive for October, 2011

Survival Tip of the Day brought to you by Kershaw.

WATER PURIFICATION
boiling water is a good way to purify it

Rainwater collected in clean containers or in plants is usually safe for drinking. However, purify water from lakes, ponds, swamps, springs, or streams, especially the water near human settlements or in the tropics.

Another easy source of water can be found in household water heaters. Most hold at least 50 gallons. All you do is drain them off via the faucet usually located at the bottom of the tank. Don’t assume this water is clean. Still treat it.

When possible, purify all water you got from vegetation or from the ground by using iodine or chlorine, or by boiling.

Purify water by–

  • Using water purification tablets. (Follow the directions provided.)
  • Placing 5 drops of 2 percent tincture of iodine in a canteen full of clear water. If the canteen is full
    of cloudy or cold water, use 10 drops. (Let the canteen of water stand for 30 minutes before
    drinking.)
  • Boiling water for 1 minute at sea level, adding 1 minute for each additional 300 meters above sea
    level, or boil for 10 minutes no matter where you are.
    By drinking nonpotable water you may contract diseases or swallow organisms that can harm you.

Examples of such diseases or organisms are–

  • Dysentery. Severe, prolonged diarrhea with bloody stools, fever, and weakness.
  • Cholera and typhoid. You may be susceptible to these diseases regardless of inoculations.
  • Flukes. Stagnant, polluted water–especially in tropical areas–often contains blood flukes. If you
    swallow flukes, they will bore into the bloodstream, live as parasites, and cause disease.
  • Leeches. If you swallow a leech, it can hook onto the throat passage or inside the nose. It will
    suck blood, create a wound, and move to another area. Each bleeding wound may become
    infected.
WATER FILTRATION DEVICES
Big Berkey Water Filter System – 2.25 Gallons

If the water you find is also muddy, stagnant, and foul smelling, you can clear the water-

  • By placing it in a container and letting it stand for 12 hours.
  • By pouring it through a filtering system.
    Note: These procedures only clear the water and make it more palatable. You will have to purify it.

To make a filtering system, place several centimeters or layers of filtering material such as sand, crushed
rock, charcoal, or cloth in bamboo, a hollow log, or an article of clothing (Figure 6-9).


Remove the odor from water by adding charcoal from your fire. Let the water stand for 45 minutes before
drinking it.

Information courtesy of the U.S. Army Survival Manual.

Don’t forget to like Kershaw and Zero Tolerance Knives on facebook.

– Tim

When on the move after Z-day, it will be imperative to keep a low profile. No one knows how Zombies will truly hunt, by sight, sound or scent. Add to that the potential for renegades and you need to be extremely aware of your own actions to keep from becoming lunch or a victim of bad guys.

Maintain a low profile on the move. You will be harder to track.

Noise, Light and Litter Discipline is the concept of how you conduct yourself in a tactical environment.

Tread lightly: Don’t make a lot of noise when you travel. Watch your footing, and make sure all your gear is strapped down and any metallic objects are taped off or covered. If you look like a gypsy camp when you are moving around, you will clank and rattle—thereby alerting everyone within earshot to your existence. It’s like ringing the dinner bell.

It’s not a rave, put those chemlights down: Use light sparingly, especially in the open. Light can be seen for miles in the open. If you have to use light, cover it or get a redlight filter.

Leave no trace: When you are munching on your favorite Meal Ready to Eat (MRE) or whatever licky-chewey you are enjoying while traveling about, bury your trash (if time and security allows) as well as any human waste. If you leave an area and it looks like “Occupy Wall Street” was camped there, you are wrong, as well as easy to track.

So remember, Noise, Light and Litter Discipline could save your life.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Paratus -Eric

ZAI

The U.S. Army Survival Manual contains a wealth of information for many survival situations and is based entirely on the keyword “SURVIVAL”. The corresponding terms of the letters in this word can help you in your actions in any survival situation. Whenever faced with a survival situation, remember the word “SURVIVAL”.

Survival Actions

The following sections expand on the meaning of each letter of the word “SURVIVAL”. Study and remember what each letter signifies because you may some day have to make it work for you.

S – Size Up the Situation
U – Use All Your Senses, Undue Haste Makes Waste
R – Remember Where You Are
V – Vanquish Fear and Panic
I – Improvise
V – Value Living
A – Act Like the Natives
L – Live by Your Wits, But for Now, Learn Basic Skills

Pattern For Survival

Develop a survival pattern that lets you beat the enemies of survival. This survival pattern must include food, water, shelter, fire, first aid and signals placed in order of importance. For example, in a cold environment, you would need a fire to get warm; a shelter to protect you from the cold, wind and rain or snow; traps or snares to get food; a means to signal friendly aircraft; and first aid to maintain health. If injured, first aid has top priority no matter what climate you are in.

Change your survival pattern to meet your immediate physical needs as the environment changes. Keep in mind the keyword “SURVIVAL” and the need for a survival pattern.

Information courtesy of the U.S. Army Survival Manual FM 21-76.

Download a version of the survivor manual

– Tim

This is not your typical zombie book. In fact, it was an unexpected place to find zombies at all.

Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century, #1)Premise: Set during the Civil War, a poisonous gas is released when a burrowing contraption called the Boneshaker runs amok underneath downtown Seattle. Briar Wilkes and her son Zeke run through subterranean tunnels to find their way out of the walled downtown area to catch an zeppelin into fresh air. Throw in zombies and steampunk elements to this alternative historical fiction and you have Boneshaker by Cherie Priest.

Zeke sneaks into the walled city of Seattle to find evidence that might clear his father, Leviticus Blue, of the crimes of burrowing under the city in the Boneshaker machine, originally designed to drill for gold, and releasing a toxic blight that changes people into zombie “rotters” that roam the streets. There are still people living in the sewers who have secured entrances and have found ways to filter the gas from their underground home. They have some helpful mechanical tools that aid them in their life that Dr. Minnericht has built, but no one really knows who he is or where he came from.

The mysterious Dr. Minnericht provides the people with tools and weapons, but he is also quite unknown. It is he who Briar seeks out to find her son, Zeke, because it is rumored that he could be Leviticus Blue, but she knows that to be impossible.

Themes: The relationship between a mother and her son plays a huge part in Boneshaker. She has raised Zeke alone since her husband took the Boneshaker for a destructive joyride by working in a factory and making sacrifices of the kind that parents do for their kids. Briar is even willing to delve into a zombie-infested cesspool in order to save and protect her son from harm.

Survival is hard enough without the threat of zombies, the yellowish noxious gas, the recurring earthquakes, and living under the whims of Dr. Minnericht. In such an unforgiving world, survival takes on a new meaning. Where else do you have to cover all your skin and wear a gas mask to go out in the streets and rummaging through buildings for simple supplies?

This is also a book about facing your demons. For Briar, going into the city is a challenge not only because of the rotters, but also because it means going to the home she left behind and unearthing the memories of the things that Leviticus Blue did to bring the city to its current state. Her husband supposedly died, but her father, Maynard Wilkes, saved people in the carnage caused by Leviticus. Will the people there know Briar by the legacy left by her father or the mistakes of her husband?

Pros: Priest successfully manages to combine elements of steampunk and zombie novels into one without coming across as forced or cheesy. The characters are well done, with a strong female main character that is far from cliche, her independent teenage son without all the expected angst, a cool Jeremiah Swakhammer that knows how to survive in the city, and the towering airship captain Andan Cly that helps Briar into the city to find Zeke. Boneshaker has an atmospheric style that makes this a fun read from start to finish.

Cons: I would have liked a little more world building simply to give genre fans something more to chew on. Basically, more zombie action for the zombie fans and more steampunk elements for the steampunk fans. Any twists at the end were also fairly obvious.

Recommendations: Needless to say, I loved this book. Even the brown printed text helped suck me deeper into the gritty world Priest has created. For people new to either steampunk or zombie books this is a good entry point for either. Others familiar with either genre (or subgenre) will be pleasantly surprised with new elements to both. This will be a flagship book for the steampunk genre, if it isn’t already.

Boneshaker on Goodreads
Cherie Priest’s website

– Tim

Some of you may have noticed that our facebook page is unavailable.

Allegedly facebook is doing some sort of routine maintenance and our page is Tango Uniform until some unknown time in the future.

Please bear with us in this time of unexpected technical difficulty.

No, it is not Z-Day … yet.

-Eric

So for those of you into pain and suffering and self deprecation, it’s that time of year again. That’s right, NaNoWriMo!

What is this, you might ask? Well, it is a competition against yourself with no prizes where you attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November.

Well that’s only a measly 1667 words a day. No problem, right?  Yours truly has competed three years and never completed it once. I came close in 2007, with 44,000 words while running combat missions in Iraq. How I got there, I have no idea.

If you like to write, this is for you. If you hate your free time, this is for you. If you enjoy pain and suffering, this is for you.

It is also a lot of fun.

http://www.nanowrimo.org/en

Check it out – Eric

Greetings Survivors,

Today I am going to show you a stupid simple way to carry not only a pen (which you should always have on you during Zpoc) but also some Duct Tape (the uses of which are infinite)

To carry a whole roll of Duct Tape either in your EFB (Extended Fight Bag) or on your person takes up room and is cumbersome. There are instances where you will need a lot of Duct Tape (like to make a sweet post-Zpoc wallet) but for the most part you will only need one or two feet to make due.

It is also imperative to carry a pen and note pad on your person or in your EFB. You may need to write notes and observations, maps, first aid, sector sketches or just keep a journal.

So, to kill two zombies with one stone, here is a field expedient way to combine your pen and a couple feet of Duct Tape (or 100 mile per hour tape, whichever you prefer) and your ink stick in a way that is again, stupid simple.

1. Get a standard ink stick and a roll of Duct Tape.

Roll of Duct Tape and a standard ink pen.

2. Roll out some tape and place the pen on it.

Roll out tape and place pen on it.

3. Roll the tape around the pen tightly until you have added the desired length or tape to it. (Any more than a couple feet and it gets pretty cumbersome.)

Roll tape tightly around pen.

Like I said, Stupid simple, but you never know. This might save your ass.

Ink pen with a couple feet of Duct Tape. It's a beautiful thing.

Semper Vigilans Semper Paratus

-Eric

Greetings survivors,

We here at ZAI have received hundreds of requests for us to open a storefront for people to buy our logo stuff, so they can show their support. Well, we finally got off our duffs and put together a site for you guys, our awesome fans.

http://www.cafepress.com/zpocawareness

Right now we just have logo products, but we will be creating more stuff as we can. We hope you enjoy it, and if you have any suggestions or requests, please feel free to email us at zpoc.awareness@gmail.com

Semper Vigilans Semper Paratus

-Eric

Here is our first guest submission from our good friend and tactical adviser, Zom Tac. (the views and opinions expressed here are those of Zom Tac and not necessarily ZAI. Zom Tac suggests a knife other than Kershaw, the official knife of ZAI for its great price, reliability, and customer service. WE at ZAI recommend Kershaw.)

Photo: Book of Eli, Warner Bros. Pictures, 2010

Hello Survivors,

We’re taking a dive into our bags to see what’s going to get us through. We’ll start with the basics of selecting a bag and fill it with our essential kit for moving home, or just basic survival on the move.  There are copious tutorials, lists and even PowerPoint presentations on Bug Out Bags. But this is the official layout for the ZAI EFB, coordinated through the staff there. By there, I mean the subterranean compound that they live in, or Mom’s basement.

Supplies are our quintessential bread and butter. We need our supplies to help us complete our mission. Our mission is to stay alive. From simple fire wood chopping to escape and evade (E&E), let’s take a good solid look at what we’ll need to help us out. As with all things Zombie apocalypse or just mundane emergencies we need to be versatile. This bag will have more than one use so bear that in mind. The key to being a well prepared survivor and a running buffet for brain chompers is versatility.

We’re going to need a bigger boat.

This is not a Bug Out Bag, or an All in One Bag. This is to get you through the fight and home to your hoarded supplies and a more secure location. This is not a 72 hour bag. It’s closer to a 12-24 hour bag as far as food and water are concerned. That’s why it’s small. With ingenuity and God’s blessings this could be all you need, but it probably won’t be. That being said, first we need a bag.

“Pick it up put it in the bag, boom boom…”

This sounds simple but you can drive yourself mad trying to find a good fit. I’ve found two. Both are Maxpedition. What you want to look for is a decent size for your mission. Mission drives equipment. To get an idea for my bags I went to REI and looked at the bags, getting a good gauge of what a 6,000 liter bag is versus a 32 liter, or a 1,100 cubic inch versus… You get the idea. Finding the right fit is essential. Take a look inside; look for the amount of organization you want and features you would like to have. Does it have enough zipper compartments? Too much mesh?

A lot of this was trial and error for me. But that is how I got what worked for me. Online shopping can be a blessing and a curse. Read the return policies and carefully make sure you don’t see “return only in original packaging, unopened.” It is infuriating to no end to get this language in a return statement.

So learn from my mistakes and read carefully. I don’t do business with those companies anymore. How the hell would I know if I want it if I can’t take it out of the packaging? I suppose you’re right: the four pictures on the website should have told me everything I ever needed to know! Come on!

Therefore, return policy is important. The best advice I can give in regards to bag selection is this: Try it. Make sure you load it up, get it on, and move around. Take the things you want to put into the bag with you, then load it up and try it out. You might think you look like a fool. But really you look like a pro. I’ve seen people in REI with an entire back packing load-out spread out on the floor stuffing it into a bag they wanted to buy. Thankfully they didn’t buy it, it wouldn’t hold what they needed and they needed almost another thousand liters. The pack was right around $900. That little time spent actually testing the bag saved them more money and hassle than just guess work. Let others make your mistakes for you.

The first of my recommended bags is the Kodiak Gear slinger. This thing is a chest rig, backpack, and desk all in one. Its economical design gives you the space you need to put essential items easily at hand. In the backpack configuration you have a row of two PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System, for use with MOLLE pouches, Modular Lightweight Ladder Equipment); you can throw a compass, radio, or knife here and have easy access to it. The cross chest strap comes with an integrated whistle: a seriously snazzy feature! There is also a strap to secure your drinking tube.

Front Strap

That was just the front strap!

Moving on to the cavernous main compartment you see that there is plenty of space.

Main Compartment

Each pouch may have a specific use for you. Note that some pouches are water resistant. While the entire bag being made of 1,000 denier cordura is naturally water resistant due to the tight weave of the nylon, Maxpedition went the extra mile and put extra water resistance in the built in pockets and pouches. These are some of the obvious reasons I chose this bag.

Note the mesh pouches which save weight and allow easy visibility of what’s inside

The front pouch has a lot of organization to it.

One thing I do wish would have been done with the smaller upper pocket was put a gusset on the slash pocket. This would have allowed for those items such as the radio shown in this stock photo to be put within easy reach and a more natural position.

The entire front and sides are covered in PALS, attaching magazine pouches or anything else is extremely easy, especially with Maxpedition’s attachment system. Ever had a snap get crushed beyond function? Well with Maxpedition’s system that’s not going to happen.

Still more storage can be found in the hydration compartment.  Here you see the loop side of a Velcro strip used to fasten a universal holster and magazine pouches.

Front Pouches

There are cons with this bag, and the other bags like it.

It is very easy and very possible to load this thing up uncomfortably full. For what we use it for it is VERY easy. It does not ride extremely well for hikes over six miles at 35 pounds and above. Be very particular about the items you put in here. Ammo must be a priority so pack accordingly (approximately 1 pound per loaded 30 round AR-15 magazine. Those of you in CA, NJ, NY, move and save your own life.) Another con is counter balancing the weight with your rifle. If you can’t or don’t own a rifle or shotgun, your load bearing shoulder is not going to be happy with you. All of that weight rides directly on your shoulder. The cross strap (the one with the whistle) does help in offsetting it a little, but at mile seven you’re going to need a serious break.

The Falcon II

This is very similar to the Kodiak because it was the precursor. It does not have the same organization characteristics as the Kodiak but is still 200ci larger. This is my bag of choice for just about everything. It’s my assault pack for the Army, my EFB, and my diaper bag for my daughter when not in the other two roles. Just as with the Kodiak you can overload this puppy easily. Thirty five pounds fits like a glove, so be careful.

The Falcon II has a lot going for it even if it is an earlier model. It’s very streamlined and has a lot of the same features as the Kodiak.  The main compartment zips fully open just like the Kodiak and can fit a large amount of gear. I recommend keeping your items in individual Ziplocs, redundantly sealing water sensitive equipment. . The main compartment has two mesh pockets, the larger with a zipper, the smaller without.

Falcon II front

The gusseted sides shown here are to allow for a full water bladder. This is an awesome feature. The internal frame is a very nice plus, and the waist belt helps distribute weight onto your hips.

Front of Kodiak

The exterior is also covered in PALS and you can attach your favorite pouches. The bottom features a rubber slip resistant pad  that also has adjustable cinch straps. You can use these to cinch down your Thermarest. One of the best features for us military folk is the helmet strap. Although this is not its primary design it works exceptionally well for it.

The cons:

It’s not a double strapped Kodiak. If this bag were a double strapped Kodiak it would be the perfect bag for us. Take all the features of the Kodiak, add the extra cubic inches, and put two straps on it and BAM! The perfect EFB!

Both the Falcon II and the Kodiak have a pistol pouch in them

Hint, hint Maxpedition!

The categorized list:

Keep in mind we need to be lightweight, so very bare essentials: water, food, fire, shelter, miscellaneous, medical, ammo. Lots of ammo.

This tastes like… Burning?

Water storage, purification, and filtration. Above all else, this is your biggest worry. Berkey does it better than anyone. For at home use get a Berkey www.getberkey.com. For field use, use what you have. If you chemically treat, know what you’re doing! Read the instructions! Killing yourself for a drink of water doesn’t do much good. Whether you use iodine, bleach or something fancy, do it correctly. Filtration is easier, but most filters don’t catch viruses. And what do we know? It’s a Zombie VIRUS that we’re looking to stop. But the bright side is that most viruses will die in open air in a few seconds. AIDS doesn’t last thirty seconds outside a host. Will the Zombie virus? Who knows? Don’t take a chance. I double up. I will chemically treat and filter/purify my water. It’s just good tactical sense: dual stages of defense. AquaMira makes a filter that attaches directly to your Camelbak or other bladder.  It uses coconut husk fiber.  Pretty cool really. Why a hydration bladder? Canteens and even my beloved Nalgene slosh if not topped up or empty. Making excess noise is not an option. Humans and Z’s know what water sounds like. Do a jump test with a half full canteen and see. Lot o’ noise! Well, more noise than you want. A tip from someone who has done it: only put water in your hydration bladder. Anything else will screw up the tube and make it forever taste faintly like lime beverage powder. You must air dry them when you store them. Make sure they are as dry as possible. Run a few gallons of water through them before use. They are plastic and will taste like it for a while. My wife still complains, but not when she’s thirsty enough!

“It’s not a flavor thang, it’s a texture thang.”

Food is the other non-tool item that should be discussed. Whether you opt for lighter weight or just munch and run there are three that I’ll discuss. Each is mission dependent. First is freeze dried. Got to love it! Nice shiny package, light weight and they have some delicious entrées! But you have to boil water to eat it. MREs are the staple of the Military. They are heavier but you can eat them cold; just be choosy. Some are better cold than others, but you can eat them on the go easy. Finally, we have ration bars. They’re bricks of sustainment food, usually seen in life rafts. These things are dense and taste like coconut. They won’t really curb your appetite, but hopefully you’ll be observing rule number one too much to care (cardio). I go with MREs as it’s what I know and I have access to them. Just save a few from the field each time I go.  You can pick them up at a surplus store or online. I recommend www.MREinfo.com before you do. These people are obsessed with them. Ration bars would be my first option if I didn’t have MREs for food. They are easy to pack and each bar is 1,200 calories. They will keep you going in a fight.

Let’s get into the nuts and bolts of our bag. Or should I say the straps and buckles… I’ll be here all Apocalypse, just laugh or the beatings will continue…

FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! Uh huh huh huh!

(This section has been revised from www.survivalcache.com)

The first real tool is fire. Have a minimum of five ways to make fire on you or near you. In your bag is just fine.

Burn baby, burn!

This super tool I picked up at the Saturday Market in Eugene, Oregon (Pronounced: Orygun). This thing is the bee’s knees. Tinder when you need it, magnesium when you don’t. This handy little tool is made by Jack Ward. (To get yours send $20 check or money order to: 89772 Sutton Lake Rd Florence, OR 97439. Or call 541-997-1999. The one I use is the “Survivalist”, good for ~60,000 strikes on the flint.)

Flick your Bic… or mine..?

Yep a good old Bic lighter or three. These things will light forever! I used ONE on an entire 16 month deployment and let me tell you I smoked A LOT! Kind of got to. It’s that or go crazy from boredom most of the time. And you look cool right? Right? Anybody? Ah! Marlboro man! Knew you’d say yes!

“I Need more powa!” Scotty, Star Trek

As our fearless site leader stated: 9V battery and steel wool! You saw the video. This stuff goes up quick and HOT!  Besides, you can use both for just about anything: powering electronics, shorting them out, silencers… Only after the BATFE folks are walking meat sacks though. Dead walking meat sacks. It’s not worth 25 years.

“I’ll make my fortune with sticks…” Aludra, Wheel of Time series.

Matches: a million and one uses. Tips dipped in paraffin wax to water proof the coated ends and you’re good to go! Strike anywhere matches work best because, well, they strike anywhere… An old film canister works very well for this. Tape some sand paper to the lid for a striking surface and you have a handy sander, for those things in the field* that need sanding.

Wait… What do you mean?

You figure it out. You need one additional way to make fire. Rubbing two sticks together is just as valid as all of the above. But here’s the catch: ever tried it? We know it works, but I hope you have a pair of gloves and a lot of time because you’ll be there a while. Try it first, and then pack more lighters, matches, and strikers. It’s NOT fun, it’s not fast, but it does get the job done eventually… Hours later.

Is it chilly or is it just me?

Our second tool is insanely important. You must have shelter. Doesn’t matter what really, but a way to keep yourself warm and dry at night is key. In my terrain we have trees. Shelter for me consists of a jungle hammock, a lined survival/Emergency blanket with a green side, and a lightweight sleeping bag. I also have a Thermarest accordion that is amazing! It gets strapped to the bottom of the Falcon II wrapped in a noiseless garbage bag, which coincidentally doubles as a poncho or additional shelter. So now you have a lightweight solution that you can keep in your bag year round. Just for extra comfort I keep a lightweight sleeping bag in a compression sack as a standby. I like to be comfy while I sleep. A pillow? Really? Ok fine. For a pillow, a jacket folded like so… (img of jacket folded into the hood) works awesome! Used it every time I’ve been in the field, both for jacket and pillow (link to pillow jacket folding tutorial)

“No! We’re not lost, the map is broken!” LT. Arriola, four miles away from where he should have been.

A compass and a map are key components. You need to know where you are to get where you’re going. A simple street map and a compass can often do that for you. You can also map out areas you could shelter in or find supplies. Some people call it a “Plan B” map. If “Plan A” worked you wouldn’t need a map, but it’s always good to have one or two. I recommend either laminating it with acetate or getting it laminated. A set of map markers can be used to mark key locations and areas of interest. Make sure you know how to read a map. It’s not like Call of Duty where it shows the little green “You are here” arrow. Something to remember: the top of the map is always North.

…Then divide by zero and carry the one…

An additional tool that’s worth the weight is a Pocket Reference guide, as well as a Ranger Hand book. Both have valuable information that comes in handy for mission planning and trying to remember that darn metric conversion. I keep mine in a heavy duty Ziploc bag.

“Who’s on first?”

Have a small AM/FM NOAA radio: solar and battery powered. The best have a hand crank flash light and a solar cell phone charger outlet. Being able to get information is essential. Knowing if there is a Mega Swarm sweeping across your part of the city is a really good thing to know as well. Additionally, have some sort of communications equipment. I recommend an XMRS radio keyed to specific channels for your internal *squad and or *company size.

“Peace be with you.”

Something I never leave without is a Bible, just a New Testament: hope, salvation, and something to read and study besides the four walls of your shelter, also stored in a Ziploc bag. Whatever your religion, take it with you. God may need to have a word through His word with you.

… I wish I would have written that down.

Never underestimate the power of notes. A pencil and paper are great tools to have and I typically get silly redundant with it. My bag features two write in the rain tablets, a mechanical pencil, and a wood pencil. Why both? Prepper rule number one: Two is one, and one is none. The wooden pencil shavings can also double as kindling if needed.

Timmmmmbbbbarrrr!

A saw, a nice little zip saw, can do wonders in the woods and in an urban environment. It’s light weight and can cut wood and plastic pipe. It can also choke people… Bad nasty people, of course. Admittedly, this is not in my bag yet. But it will be soon.

“Machete don’t text.”

One of my favorite weapons is a machete. It’s a tool too, but it has a great heft and you can swing it all day. This, accompanied by a tomahawk, is all I really need to be nasty. They don’t run out of bullets, and even when they’re blunt they still do the job. ‘Nuff said. I recommend, at bare minimum, a 1/4″ – 1/8″ blade thickness running down to a 20* sharpened edge. It really gives you the best of a lasting edge and sharpness. The tomahawk is the same. It needs to be heavy enough to use as a weapon or a tool and balanced enough to throw. I recommend a Chippewa style. The heart cut out isn’t necessary but it makes me throw better. Practice a lot with both your throwing knives and axes. To a lot of the tactical community, throwing knives are a joke. I’m not saying I’ll go running into battle bladed up like some uber ninja in Hiroshi’s castle. It’s just an additional skill that could come in handy. Maybe you need to cut a rope across a canyon and can spare the knife but not the rope? Who knows? It’s a tool for the tool box. Great stress reliever too, not to mention it’s cheap fun.

“It messes with their head when I do it naked.” – Broc Samson.

A knife. This seems like a no brainer, but you can forget it. How often do you use one in this modern world of ours? You don’t need a Rambo knife, but it does need to be hefty. This is your utility knife, not your melee weapon, but it can double as one when needed. It does a lot of the work for you with its weight. There are tons of articles and volumes of information on knives. Find what fits you best. Just remember you’ll have to haul it around with you. I use a United Cutlery S.O.A.  It’s not the most expensive knife out there but it works well for me. One thing I must add about this knife is it’s a little lightweight. I will most likely be upgrading to the same blade design but heavier. In addition to this knife, I carry no less than two multitools. You can’t really have enough of them. Okay, maybe six is a bit too many, but they are essential. **Zombie Awareness International recommends Kershaw brands Zero Tolerance or Kershaw USA knives, the official knife of ZAI**

“I think it’s broken…” Countless people.

Why is medical almost last? Well, we’re kind of going in an importance wave. We start at the top with water, food, fire, and shelter. Then we move down into miscellaneous items that help us out but are not immediate essentials, and back up to medical and ammo.

The reasoning is to get basic needs met first and foremost, and then go on to more advanced needs. Medical and ammo are advanced needs by definition. I have an extensive medical kit. It’s far and away more extensive than someone would likely need. My motto is “Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.” Where’s a cop when you need one? Well, probably buried under an officer to issue ratio that looks like the U.S. debt. It is the same with the medical personnel in a crisis.

So why would I wait for them when I could get myself stable, and most likely lengthening my life by several months?

In an outbreak, natural disaster, or just plain catastrophe YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND, “they” are not coming to get you right away. You are your best immediate hope. You will get you out of this because YOU prepared, and YOU knew this might happen. “They” are too busy rescuing as many as they can as quickly as they can. They’re trying to save hundreds or thousands; you’re worried about one person. You. Nothing wrong with that. For most of us, this is the only life we know, and for the most part we like it. By having a preparedness plan, bag, and mind set, you just took responsibility for your own life. You now have the power to get yourself out of most sticky situations almost unscratched by comparison to those less prepared, while the majorities blow up the phone lines with calls to 911 and frantic calls to Mrs. Cleo for psychic guidance out of a burning building. This entire article is about your choice not to rely on someone else, but be responsible for you and your survival. That’s why medical supplies are an essential. Having an extensive first aid kit is a very good start. We have no idea what form the Zombies will come in: viral, mega bacterial, parasitic, chemical weapon gone bad, who knows? So having the best medical kit you can have is a very good idea. In a survival situation, dying from normal infection is as common as dying from everything else. Being able to treat it quickly and effectively is essential. Remember the hero in the movies who gets stabbed, shot, and drug behind a car, then refuses medical attention? He’s a moron. He just became five times as big of a problem as if he would have come running for medical assistance. Infection, blood loss, and contusions all take resources and time to heal. The worse they are, the more resources they take. All wounds get worse with time when severe enough. Don’t be a stupid hero. Do the best you can with what you got, and then when you find someone who’s better let them fix you. If you can save the world single handedly, by all means do it, but it probably would have been easier if you had not lost your other hand to an infection.

A few tips for your medical kit.

What to fight:

  • Infection
  • Bacteria
  • Disease
  • Contamination
  • Dehydration
  • Constipation

Infection and bacteria die with alcohol, peroxide, or benzoin iodine.

Disease can be controlled with sanitation and proper living conditions. Keeping a mask, CBRNE or Surgical, can help. Keeping the latrine away from the kitchen and living quarters and washing your hands constantly helps also. Hand sanitizer rocks!

Covering wounds keeps contamination away, as well as staying sheltered. Depending on your conditions you may need to stay undercover or sheltered for a very long period of time. Keep this in mind.

Dehydration can be combated with clean water.

Constipation can be combated with fiber.

An additional item is a pen light: unobtrusive and very functional.

One seriously good idea is to go down to your local paramedics in their down time and ask them what’s the bare minimum you would need to treat “X”. Example: gunshot wound, broken leg (closed and compound fracture), amputation, etc. serious medical issues we may actually have to deal with. Show them your bag, then show them how much room you have for the items. You might get the rolled eyes, or the standard “Why do you want to know?” question. Because you want to be better prepared to treat yourself and your family when medical attention may be far off or not available. If you tell them you want to have a medical kit for the Zombie Apocalypse you know the answer you’ll likely get. Not everyone is as enlightened as you, so perhaps you can bring them around.

“My goal is 100,000 rounds per weapon. Or, if I could buy it, make it or find it, the infinite ammo bandana from Metal Gear.” Zom TAC, when asked: how much is enough ammo?

Why so much ammo?

If you were to take a snap shot of where most of us have to work for a living, therefore spend most of our time, then count how many people that are within a block radius. How many would there be? A thousand? Hopefully a lot less. But, tactically speaking, multiply that by two bullets each. Now all of those people are infected… Get the picture? You also have to deal with uninfected: people who are just like you, or are barbarians stealing and looting, or who have just gone postal. You have to be selective with your targets, but rule number two – the double tap – applies. Almost all the Zombies at this point will likely be fresh, so ammo type is a major consideration. We’ll go through types and reasoning for certain calibers later. Suffice to say a silenced .22 is essential for ammo volume and concealment. For those of you who don’t know, or buy into anti-gun rhetoric, silencers are not illegal. Nor do they make that “Pfft-zing” sound you hear in the movies. Silencers are VERY LEGAL in most states. Check yours. Then move to a gun friendly state. Something else that is hardly common knowledge is that you can make your own, FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY, as long as you fill out the tax paperwork (weird story) first, before construction. We will go into construction of that later as well.

Let’s start with ammo for our EFB. Simply put, have magazines. Ammo in the factory box in my bag means two things: 1. I just bought it and am transporting it back home to put it in my magazines. 2. All the magazines I own (that are not on rotation to avoid spring death) are full and present in my bag for my particular weapons. Those are the only two logical reasons to have a brick sitting in my bag.

A full combat load of ammo is really up to you. How much can you carry comfortably without sacrificing movement or firepower? My answer is: fourteen standard capacity AR-15 magazines, seven ten round magazines for a Sig P220, and three 15 round magazines for my P11, with a brick of fifty in my bag.

My total:

AR-15: 420 rounds .223/5.56 (we’ll get into that later too)

P220 (.45): 70 rounds

P11 (9mm):  22 rds loaded in mags 50 in a spare brick.

Grand Total: 864 rounds.

I’m a spinning death machine of strawberry jam producing goodness.

All of that weighs: ~19.5 lbs.

That weight does not include the bag, the rifle, or the pistols. That is ammo only. Think about it long and hard before you get carried away with packing your tactical hair drier. I am also considered to run very light ammo-wise for these types of operations.

Very briefly in conclusion let’s discuss how to carry your ammo. I recommend building your own tactical gear. You get a really good eye for how well something is made if you build it yourself. I’ve built a few chest rigs, and they are very easy to build. Check out www.diytactical.com for tutorials. Aside from that, keep it lightweight and maneuverable. Try it BEFORE you buy it. Look online at the return policy and make sure you can return the item if “it is not in its original packaging”. A lot of online places will ground slouch you with this crap. Try it on and load it up. If it does not work, fit, or feel comfortable, send it back and get something different. This is the voice of experience talking. Check the policies before you buy!

It’s like a man bra, or a bro, if you prefer.

To easily store the massive amount of ammunition you may require you’re going to need some kind of chest rig or vest. Easily the most lightweight and basic chest rig is the Blueforce 10 Speed. It does not get lighter than this. While I have not had personal experience with this item, I can tell by how it’s made and what materials are used that it will be both durable and extraordinarily lightweight. The price might be prohibitive for most of us, so other options are in order. Something that is an eighth the cost is the Voodo Chi Com chest rig from www.cheaperthandirt.com. It serves the same basic function but weighs more. If you prefer a MOLLE rig, such as I do.

Make your own.  The www.diytactical.com forums have a ton of information on how to build your own equipment. It starts out with the expense of buying a machine, but candidly you’re going to need one anyway. It pays for itself really quickly. You’ll also have additional skills. You’ll be able to see exactly how much you’ve been over paying for gear, what gear is good, and what is just crap. Think of everything you can make with your own sewing machine. The repair aspect alone is worth getting one. Make sure you do the research and try it out first! There is a primer on DIY Tactical.

I use a Tactical Tailor MAV clone I made myself for my EFB. Whatever you choose, consider what you’re doing, how you will be using it, and how the weight is distributed. The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to get out and train with it. Actually put it on full, with your pack, and walk around and through the areas you maybe navigating in a crisis situation.

Your chest rig or vest for your EFB may or may not be your “Go to Work” rig. It may be a lighter more versatile system that allows for additions. A few good add-ons are: A helmet (even a bike helmet), knee and elbow pads, different types of gloves, and what I consider to be the most over looked pieces of equipment in any kit.: eye and ear protection.

Think of a scenario where you’re in a confined space without either eye or ear protection. You have to fire your weapon. If you’ve ever fired a weapon unprotected you realize that it’s extremely loud unsuppressed! Now you’re deaf and you have no idea if something is sneaking up behind you. Eye protection is critical because there will likely be dust and debris flying all over, as well as other threats to your sight. Being sighted, I like it and I take great care to stay that way.

The helmet may bear some explanation. While “ballistic” helmets were not designed to be bullet resistant, they were designed to save your head from other battlefield hazards like falling rocks, shrapnel and debris. The same idea goes for us. Get something on your dome. Bike helmets work just fine. You might look stupid, but guess what, the dead guy looks stupider. You can’t defend yourself if you’re unconscious, and you’re a liability to your group if you are. Reef surfing helmets made by Gath are a good way to go, as are rock climbing or skate boarding helmets. Just get one.

I’m Zom TAC and this has been more information to keep your ass alive.

Train, prepare, grow, hoard.

Glossary:

It’s come to our attention not everyone is familiar with military jargon. Or “Army talk” as my wife puts it. So here are some of the terms.

*Field:  “The field” is typically the area we military types go to train in. Most of the time it’s desolate wilderness with very few creature comforts, but sometimes we luck out and get a nice spot.

*Squad= 6-8 persons

* Company= 150-250 persons.

Zombie Awareness International has entered two patches into Larry Correia’s MHI Patch Contest. The winner of the contest will be added as another monster hunting company in his novel in progress: Monster Hunter Legion. So support your favorite zombie survival group ZAI by voting for our designs and help us spread zombie awareness around the world! Voting ends November 7th.

VOTE HERE