Okay, so today’s ZA survival tip has to do with camping. Remember, I mentioned that a couple of weeks ago? We’d talk about camping (if you have to) during a ZA. I recommended then that you not travel at night and one of the primary reasons for this is that you can’t see very well in the dark and if you use a flashlight or any kind of light, you’re going to attract zombies. And just as bad, in some cases, other survivors.
That means you need to travel during the day, and you need to think about where you are at all times. We’ve already discussed getting out of urban areas (simple formula: the more people –> more zombies), and I recommended that you stay mobile. So you need to travel light, with some basic supplies. Other stuff you can grab along the way. No living crowds, anymore, at stores, after all.
I’m personally of the opinion that going north (if you’re in the US) is a really good idea. Why? Well, think about it. Huge swaths of Canada weren’t that populated prior to a ZA, which means fewer zombies. Also, I subscribe to the Max Brooks theory, in that cold weather slows zombies down. If you read his World War Z, there are survivors there who go north and make it a habit to go out with the spring thaw and start dispatching zombies that were frozen during the winter. So yes, winter and cold weather can totally suck and it’s dangerous for the living, but I think that it can provide a good chance for you to survive and perhaps even hunker down a bit, to give yourself a rest.
ZOMG! There’s more!
So while you’re on the road headed north, travel during the day and camp at night. I do not recommend camping out in the open. I also don’t necessarily recommend sleeping in trees. Remember, zombies can wait forever. So if one or a few happen to discover that there’s fresh meat in a tree, they’re going to gather at the base of that tree, making noise and waiting for your tasty ass to come down. So unless you’re Tarzan, I do not recommend that route.
Some alternatives: abandoned RVs. Keep the door locked and an escape route through the roof. RVs in a car lot are good, because you can always leave via the roof and jump to the next RV roof and the next and so on.
Houses: if you’re in a rural area. Go for the older farmhouse types with an upper floor. Do some recon first, to make sure it’s zombie-free. Then do an interior sweep (it helps if you have a buddy or two) and go and see if you can disable access to the second floor easily. Does it have an attic, like in the original Night of the Living Dead? With a pull-down staircase? That’s a pretty good alternative. Most attics in older houses also include a window — scope it out. Can you easily escape through it and get to the ground? If so, that’s a decent hideout.
One-story suburban houses: If it’s nice weather, sleep on the roof (if possible). If not, choose a room on the backside, especially if the lawn slopes downward (running downhill to get away is easier than running uphill unless you’re in awesome shape. Uphill might be harder on zombies.) or there’s a high fence that’s secure around the yard. Do your recon, do your sweep (include neighboring houses, if applicable), and set up your campsite. That means covering the windows if you need to use a light/candle. Just make sure when you put the lights out that it’s easy for you to peek through the window for recon. Barricade what you can. If there’s an attic, even better. And remember: BE QUIET. Get used to not talking much!
Other alternative camping areas: visitors’ centers at National Parks; gated communities (remember! RECON! SWEEP!), marinas (especially if you’re a sailor-type), houseboats (though zombies aren’t necessarily water-phobic, if you read Max Brooks). If you’re in a former urban area (think small towns, here), go to the main street. Libraries, old police stations, government buildings, churches (nice, solid doors on most old churches), historic buildings (they usually have second stories and tall windows and easy access to the roof and neighboring buildings). Just remember to do your sweeps and, if you can, dispatch a few zombies (preferably without a gun, so you don’t draw more with the noise of the shot).
Use common sense. Don’t take a break on a park bench. Don’t hang out in clearings. Don’t go into cities. Think outskirts and rural areas. Stay away from freeways (out in the open) and abandoned vehicles (which might contain zombies who, for whatever reasons, haven’t figured out how to exit the vehicles unless the door’s open). Don’t walk too close to windows, whether you’re inside a building or outside. Get a map. Those still work, and you can at least figure out what towns are around and what your options are in terms of places to stay. And if you have to camp outside, choose heavily wooded areas so you can hear things moving around. Ideally, have a buddy or two so you can take turns keeping watch. NO FIRES, NO LIGHTS, NO TALKING. Think like a soldier.
There you go. My thoughts on some options for places to sleep when you’re on the run during a ZA. Here’s hoping you’ll never need any of these tips! 8)