Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Zompoc 101-Prepping your Stronghold

In my last Zompoc 101 post, I talked about some of the ways a zombie outbreak might come about. This week's post is all about preparing for the coming apocalypse. There are several things to consider when preparing for the end of the world via zombies.

The first step is to establish a base of operations, perhaps more than one. A good location could be the difference between fighting off the zombie hordes and joining them. Once you have that you'll want to plan how you'll get water and food (the location will affect your approach). And finally, you'll need to work out fortifications and storage caches.


Somewhere out of the thick of things would be good, particularly if a virus causes the outbreak. If I were preparing a zombie-proof hold out, I'd want it out in the countryside, or maybe in the suburbs. Why not in a city? Well, viruses and other contagions tend to spread quicker in urban environments, and if the victims then go on to spread it some more, the city would quickly be overrun. There are other benefits to having the stronghold in either a suburban or rural location.

The Suburbs

If you choose a suburb, you're far enough from the thick of things to be able to scout your surroundings and not be trapped in a sort of post-zombie house arrest. Yet, you'd still be near civilization. There would be abandoned homes, gardens, and even stores. You could find and use items that others have left behind to supplement your own preparations and perhaps find other survivors to boost your numbers and your chance of survival.

The Rural Scene

If you choose a rural setting, the benefits and approach to survival will shift a bit. Instead of relying on scavenging and strength in numbers, you'd likely need to take a more agricultural approach. Important factors to consider include fortifications, a healthy seed bank, a nearby water source that can be used for irrigation, and prolific animals (bunnies and chickens are good bets, and goats are great for dairy).  You might even consider creating a fish farm.  Being in a more remote location, you probably won't face many zombie hordes, but you'll want sturdy fences and early warning systems that will let you know if something or someone has entered your perimeter.


This is a tough one. Again location is key. When choosing your storage and stronghold sites, consider nearby waterways and lakes. If you settle near one, see if you can divert some of the water into your building or into your fenced-off holdings, that is ideal. Wells are a good option, so consider getting one dug at your site before the outbreak. You might find it hard to find a contractor afterwards. This is where planning ahead can save you a ton of back-breaking work.

Now, if you have the perfect spot, but you can't get the water in, you'll need to consider alternatives. You'll want something to contain and store the water, such as milk jugs or buckets. And you'll need something to transport them: a wagon, wheel barrow, or a cart. Keep in mind the terrain between you and the water and apply that to whatever type of conveyance you select, particularly the wheels and suspension.  I also wouldn't rely on gas-powered vehicles for this purpose or any other, unless you're manufacturing your own ethanol or fuel alternative.


No matter where you decide to make your stand, you'll want to fortify it.  I like the idea of something easily defensible, not only against zombies, but also other survivors.

Barriers to Entry

A large building, strong doors, maybe no windows on the first floor or windows secured with bars or strong shutters. If you can get bars on the doors, too, that's good. If you have fences, they need to be designed so they cannot be easily scaled. I always imagine that zombies cannot climb, they're too far gone to manage something like that, but other survivors might not be as prepared as you are.

Higher Ground

Or, in more practical terms, an elevated deck or a roof, accessible from the inside, but not from the outside. This would give you somewhere to pick off those zombies from afar if they do manage to get too close. Or you can use it as a look out post. And, if you do happen to get unwanted visitors of the human, non-infected variety, you could probably converse with, threaten, or perhaps even barter with them from there, without ever having to come into direct contact.

And, considering that roof, if it is large enough and flat, you might be able to plant a garden up there. This could be particularly helpful if you choose a suburban location, or take over a large building, like a library, jail or office building. You'll want a source of food that you can get to and maintain without having to go out, just in case things get a little dicey on the streets. And don't forget the chickens and bunnies, I'm sure you could keep a few cages up there, too.


There will be times after the zombie apocalypse where your best bet will be to stay put, and that's where storage comes into play. You'll want sufficient space to store not only food and water, but also clothing, weapons and ammo, cooking oil and goods for barter.

If you can't fit enough inside your main building, you could fortify some alternate locations. You might even want to prepare a few extra supply drops just for the sake of redundancy. At a minimum, you'll want to be able to lock them up tightly with sturdy locks and shutters. Also consider camouflage. If it doesn't look like a good place to shelter or a good place to find food, perhaps no one will think to investigate it.

Fortification and camouflage will only go so far if you don't post guards, so you'll want to put things in place that will tell you if someone has been there and either accessed your cache or tried to do so. If some one's finds the cache and is watching it, they could follow you back to your stronghold. And, even if they move on, you'll want to know if another group of survivors is in your territory.

So, just to make it clear, I'm not a fan of booby traps, particularly fatal ones, but if you want them, I'd recommend those that would scare someone off or simply give you an idea that some one's found your cache.

The Stronghold, Final Thoughts

So, in summary, you'll want to find (or build) a stronghold in a good location, fortify it, and stock it as much as reasonably possible before the zombies run amok. In choosing your location, consider your water sources and how you'll get that water into your stronghold. And don't underestimate the importance of redundant storage locations.

The last thing you want to do is find yourself on the road and exposed with no idea where you'll find your next meal or safe place. Plan, prepare, and survive.

The zombie apocalypse is coming. Are you ready for it?

Do you have any zombie survival tips? Share them in the comments.

This is Zompoc 101 #2 of 4. In the next Zompoc 101 post, I'll discuss a few weapon and armor options that might come in handy in the zombie apocalypse. Click here to read on.



A survivor's account of the zombie apocalypse

After a vaccine meant to protect against a biological weapon backfires and turns those who are inoculated with it into zombies, a young woman, having survived the initial outbreak, now runs with a group of others who stick together for safety, not that it does them much good. When she picks up a notebook in a grocery store her group is looting, she decides to begin a journal for future generations (if there are any). (NaNoWriMo 2012)

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