Whether it’s a nuclear war, zombie apocalypse, or some viral epidemic, like B-Real said, “when the sh*t goes down, you better be ready.” That is, if you still want to survive, because, let’s face it, sh*t’s gonna be pretty bleak and gloomy after you’ve watched the collapse of civilization and everyone you love die.

A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Apocalypse

But if you do decide to give survival a go, you’re gonna need a few skills if you want to survive. Well, a few skills and a whole lot of luck.

1. Auto Mechanics

When the poop hits the propellor, you’re probably gonna wanna get the poop out of dodge. Now, this may or may not be a good decision depending on where you are at the time, but you’re not really gonna have any way to know any better, so mobility is going to be important.

Pass the socket wrench…

You might be fleeing zombies or nuclear fallout, or just looking for food and shelter. So you’re going to need a car. But Mr. Lube and Mr. Muffler aren’t gonna be around to help you out when you need them. You’re going to have to change oil and fix flat tires, and replace belts and brake pads. You’re also going to have to salvage spare parts.

2. Horseback Riding

Gas and spare parts aren’t always going to be easy to come by, though, and sooner or later, your wheels are going to reach the end of their road. So if you come across a horse that hasn’t been eaten by zombies or people, it’ll be nice to know how to ride it.


Horses might move a lot slower than cars, but they move a lot faster than you, and offer a couple other advantages over motorized vehicles. For starters, they can run on grass and water, which is easier to find than gas — which is going to be a lot easier to find than gas. They can handle much rougher terrain. And they offer companionship when you’re missing your loved ones and wondering why you’re struggling so hard to survive.

3. Navigation

There will be no GPS when the grid goes down. This means you better know how to read a map. A real map. A topographical map. And You’re going to have to know how to to triangulate your position on it. You’re also gonna have to know how to use a compass. And if you lose those to bandits or a zombie hoard, it wouldn’t hurt to know how to read the stars, too.

Survivor’s don’t ask for directions…

4. Firearms Handling

While roaming the post-apocalyptic wasteland, you’re gonna have to be able to protect yourself — from bandits or flesh eating zombies or whatever. That’s gonna be a lot easier if you’re packing, and you’re gonna be a lot better at it if you know what you’re doing.


You’re also gonna need to know how to strip and assemble, and safely clean your firearm. It will last a lot longer that way, and so will you.

5. Hunting, Trapping, & Fishing

The stores are probably all gonna be looted pretty quickly, and a survivor’s gotta eat. This means you’re gonna have to shoot your own dinner. And if you don’t have the bullets to spare, you’re gonna have to catch it — one way or another.

The Deer Hunter...
The Deer Hunter…

Your firearms training should come in handy here, but it won’t be enough. You’ll have to know how to track game, and set traps that actually work. It also won’t hurt to know how to fish, and I’m not talking the getting-drunk-with-the-boys kinda fishing. I’m talking

6. Foraging

Wild game isn’t always easy to come by, especially when everyone other zombie and/or survivor out there is hungry. So you’re gonna have to know how to forage for all kinds of things that you probably don’t even know you can eat. But you have to know what you’re doing. I mean, do you know what kind of mushrooms are safe to eat?

A snowball in hell...
A snowball in hell…

7. How to Build a Fire

You’re gonna need to keep warm at night, and you’re gonna need to be able to cook any wild game, raw fish, or strange roots you’ve come up that day. And for that, you’re gonna need fire. But matches and fuel are going to be too precious and scarce to be be used as fire starters, so you’re gonna have to know how to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together, or something…

Look Mom, no matches!
Look Mom, no matches!

8. First Aid

Now, I’m talking about the kind of badass first-aid that’s a step above your everyday CPR and Heimlich maneuver. I mean, will you know what to do if someone trips, falls, and bashes their head open on a rock? Or gets cut in a badass knife fight with a roaming band of bandits? What if they get shot? Will you know how to patch up a sucking chest wound until real help arrives (if it still exists)? Will you be able to reset a bone or make a proper splint?

Cutting your losses…

9. Sailing

Maybe it’ll be rising sea-levels, or maybe you’ll just run out of road before you run out of hope, but whatever it is, you’re gonna have to know your way around a boat. A real boat. The kind with a jib — because there’s gonna be even less gas at sea than there was on land. And this is where knowing how to navigate by the stars is gonna come in really handy.


10. Farming

If you ever do find a nice and safe place to settle down, you’re gonna need a steady food source — something more substantial that hunting and gathering can offer. This means farming, and not the kind of hobby farming you picked up when you got into gardening, but actual subsistence farming where you can feed a small community. I mean, do you know exactly when to plant crops and in what rotation so that you can have a spring, summer, and fall harvest so that there’s gonna be something to meet all year round (or at least most of the time)?

Old MacDonald...
Old MacDonald…

Insurmountable Odds

But let’s face it, whether it’s a zombie outbreak, viral pandemic, or some nuclear or deep impact catastrophe, surviving the apocalypse probably isn’t something you want to bother with. In addition to watching civilization collapse and watching everyone you care about die, you’re gonna be facing insurmountable odds.

Man and his best friend...
Man and his best friend…

I mean, within two weeks of no one manning them, the 430-something nuclear reactors around the world are going to make Chernobyl look like a kitchen fire. And then there’s the 65,00 oil and gas rigs that will start bursting into flames or spewing their contents into the air, oceans, and water tables. Not to mention what all those chemical plants and weapons systems worldwide are gonna start doing after a while.

But if you’re stubborn or delusional enough to try and outrun and outlive the end of days, you mind as well be prepared for the few situations that you can control. After all, preparation meets opportunity, and there’s nothing quite as badass as a gunslinging hunter-gatherer on horseback who can patch a sucking chest wound and change a flat tire.

About CT Moore

Hi, I'm CT Moore (@<a href="http://twitter.com/gypsybandito">gypsybandito</a>) and this is my personal blog, a place where my thoughts go to wander. I'm a recovering agency hack who now manages <a href="http://socialed.ca/seo/">SEO</a>, <a href="http://socialed.ca/social/">social media</a>, and <a href="http://socialed.ca/content-marketing/">content marketing</a> campaigns through my consultancy <a href="http://socialed.ca/">Socialed Inc</a>. Sometimes I speak at conferences, too, but you can check me out on <a href="http://ca.linkedin.com/in/ctmoore">LinkedIn</a> if you really wanna know <i>that</i> much more about me. And if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line. I love it when strangers come a callin' ;-)

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