There’s a certain kind zombie fanatic who watches “Night of the Living Dead” and thinks: No, no. You’re doing it all wrong! This is the same kind of zombie fan who knows that the folks in “Day of the Dead” had a much better chance of survival judging by their survival shelter: a fairly secure structure stocked with supplies and strong enough to resist the maniacal mobs of infected biters. But unfortunately, most of us won’t have the luxury of shacking up in the Mall of America during the zombie apocalypse. For the DIY zombie survivalist, here are a few structures that you can construct yourself in the event of a widespread, full-fledged, walking dead outbreak.
An Underground Silo: Take the Low Ground
If you have had no time to plan, have limited tools and are surviving the zombie nightmare alone, you may be limited to a crude, underground shelter that you are able to build quickly. In cold climates, a snow cave may be your only option. Since zombies tend to move even more slowly in the cold—or avoid it altogether—this would not be a bad idea, except that a snow cave is a dangerous shelter to construct, because the builder risks oxygen deprivation and could be buried alive. So let’s just assume that you have taken the time to prepare your shelter in advance and that you are surrounded by your zombie apocalypse dream team.
You’re going to need a lot of supplies to build an underground shelter, including large-scale digging tools like an excavator. You’ll also need wooden poles to place horizontally across the walls and a few vertical poles placed strategically along the walls and down the center. And concrete. Lots of concrete. Once you get the structure completed, the roof and room division will depend on the needs of your group. If you plan to go incognito and allow the hungry flesh eaters to stagger around above you, a flat, inconspicuous, very sturdy roof would do the trick. But be wary of the possibility of collapse; the heavier the roof, the harder it will fall…on you. Also, be sure to design two exits and entrances in case of collapse or invasion.
An Elevated Fort: Take the High Ground
An elevated shelter or tree fort might be your best chance of surviving a zombie war. Hunters use lookouts to track game and sailors equip themselves with a crow’s nest to see what they couldn’t see at eye level. If you can build an elevated fort near water, all the better, as you can rely on it for drinking water and it serves as a natural choke point in the event of an attack. Even if there are no bodies of water in your vicinity, be sure to choose a location as far outside of town as possible.
To build the tree fort, you’ll need a set of hardwood trees, like oak or hickory, to serve as your center. Construct a wooden frame and base, or two bases, to fit around the diameters of the trees at the point at which you want your floor to sit. In the case of a zombie apocalypse, put the base as high as possible. In addition to your standard building tools and supplies, renting a scissor lift (if you don’t already own one) will help you safely assemble the base and frame as high as you’d like. When you get the frame and baseboards in place, secure them to the tress with standard V braces.
A Remote Island: Make a Getaway
In an ideal zombie-ridden world, you and your hardcore undead-killing all stars would retreat to a sunny island off the coast and live out your days sipping fruity drinks from a coconut. But as we’ve learned from authors like Max Brooks, not all species of zombies are deterred by water. Some are quite comfortable when fully submerged, just waiting to grab and devour the first calf to pass by.
Although an island wouldn’t eliminate your problem, it would certainly limit the zombie threat. Best advice: set up camp on an island with some hills. A set of steep hills and a plateaued top, would serve as a natural disincentive to any zed-heads around (after all, zombies aren’t the most coordinated of monsters). With a flat surface surrounded by slopes, construct a traditional, four-walled shelter using a set of building tools and wooden planks or logs.
After reading this post, you should have gathered some ideas for when the zombie SHTF. A viable shelter should be at the top of your survival list. When the dead come knocking, make sure they don’t know you’re home.
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