The Citizens Guide to a Zombie Apocalypse


Introduction: The Citizens Guide to a Zombie Apocalypse

He comes from the grave, his body a home of worms and filth. No life in his eyes, no warmth of his skin, no beating of his breast. His soul, as empty and dark as the night sky. He laughs at the blade, spits at the arrow, for they will not harm his flesh. For eternity, he will walk the earth, smelling the sweet blood of the living, feasting upon the bones of the damned. Beware, for he is the living dead.
—OBSCUREHINDU TEXT, CIRCA1000B.C.E via Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

The undead, a living nightmare for some but only a challenge to those prepared. In this instructable i will show you the most effective materials to bring, proper techniques of survival in one/two story homes (plus other alternate buildings), and places not to go to during a zombie apocalypse. Only you have the power to survive and as long as you make wise decisions during this time you should come out not being a rotting member of the undead army.

“The survival of the fittest is the ageless law of nature, but the fittest are rarely the strong. The fittest are those endowed with the qualifications for adaptation, the ability to accept the inevitable and conform to the unavoidable, to harmonize with existing or changing conditions.”

Step 1: Materials

.22 caliber rifle (pictured Mossberg 802 Plinkster Bolt Action) semi-auto best but bolt action usuable (to anyone who thinks the 22lr is not powerful enough watch this
9mm, .40 caliber, or .45 caliber Pistol (example 4th generation Glock 19 or Colt 1911)
500 rounds or more of .22 caliber ammunition (best because you can carry many more rounds than larger ammo, cheap to get, and easy to find)
100 rounds or more of your pistol ammunition
Crowbar (best bludgeon weapon as the curved side can be used to crack zombies head, pointed to stab through temple to brain)
Slingshot (ball bearings and lead shot .54 caliber best, silent also)
Aluminum Baseball Bat (aluminum best as it won't crack or break like a wooden one)
Trench Knife (perfect for close quarter combat)
Machete (multiple use weapon effective for close quarters, creating shelter, etc.)
Canned food, dry food such as rice, oats, rye, flour, etc
Magnesium fire starter, disposable lighter
(in case of fire needed to be created fast)
Heavy boots
(resistant to zombie bites)
Earmuffs (used to tune out the zombie moans)
Mountain Bike (with bicycle pump and extra innertube)
Hammer (useful for barricade construction, digging, and a last ditch zombie killing weapon)
Fishing Rod
(ones like in this link are ideal
Gun Cleaning Kit
Survival Radio
(rechargeable from solar power, human power)

Step 2: How to Survive in a Single-Story Home

Step 1: Fill up your tub, sinks, shower, buckets, and if you have one a pool with water (this is key as this will probably be your only sources of water for a very long time and is a essential step in a desert environment)

Step 2: Barricade all sources of entry such as doors with 2x4s nailed to walls, furniture, pallets, bricks and concrete blocks, sandbags, barrels filled with water or rocks, ambandoned cars, tires stacked and filled with dirt, a abatis with a trench filled with spikes on each side
Windows should be covered with aluminum foil (reinforced with sheet metal/chicken wire if possible). Some parts of a window can be covered with chicken wire for observation, protection, etc. and this protects from objects throw at window from raiders.

Step 3: Cut a hole in the roof in the attic for observation and as a last ditch escape route. It is advisable to make a cover for this hole

Step 4: Eat all perishable food in your refigerator first such as fruits, vegetables, cheeses, milk, etc.
All meat should be preserved by first cutting of all the fat (as it is harder to preserve) then marinated in salt or vinegar for a day. If available roll in herbs such as rosemary, basil, black pepper, parsley

Step 5: Any available cars tap for fuel (even the motor oil) and that can be used for to make molotov cocktails used to disperse large zombie crowds

Step 6: Check if you have any local schools in your area for food as they should have decent food supply if not already taken

Step 7: Have guard shifts if you have the manpower of having a shift of guarding during the night and one during the day. Ear muffs will come in handy as they will help you sleep through the moans of the living dead which often will drive people to insanity.

Step 8: Stay in your home unless one of the following happens: you run low on food\water, are about to be over-run for some reason, your home gets flooded or is caught on fire, or some other reason that makes your home deadly to stay in.
Step 9: Have a escape route planned if step 8 happens   |

Step 3: How to Survive in a Two-Story Home

Step 1: Follow all the steps except 3, 5, 6  in, "How To Survive In A One-Story Home" except that you will put all food and weapons upstairs as this will be your residence for a while.
*Remember don't spend to much time fortifying the down stairs or getting supplies as it will give you less time to do step 2

Step 2: Destroy your staircase! Zombies are unable to climb so this will be a for sure defense. One thing you don't want to do is burn it as this only makes your entire house go on fire instead of saving you time. Also don't waste the materials from your staircase as you can use them to further barricade you home.

Step 3:  If you have a ladder continue to stock the upstairs with supplies, if you don't try to get as much food as possible upstairs without compromising your time for step 2.

Step 4: Now you should cut a hole in the attic for observation and hunker down unless one of these happens: you run low on food\water, are about to be over-run for some reason, your home gets flooded or is caught on fire, or some other reason that makes your home deadly to stay in.                                         
Step 5: Plan an escape route in case something in step 4 happens       | 

Step 4: How to Survive in an Apartment

Apartments are a little tricky to classify specifically because of their different sizes and layouts but basic rules can be applied to all.

Step 1: If you have a ground floor apartment, take the above-ground ones as the ground floor apartments are almost suicidal to survive in. This is due to their small size and easy accessibility to zombies, bandits, etc.

Step 2: Now that have taken a above-ground apartment or just live in one, get all supplies as in your apartment before you destroy the staircase.

Step 3: Rally your other tenants to help you destroy the staircase if they are there. Demolish your apartments elevator (if you have one) as this is the only other place the undead could reach you. As in the two-story home you want to keep the materials from the staircase for barricade materials.

Step 4: Tell everyone to fill up all tubs, sinks, etc. and eat all perishable foods. Have guard shifts with someone observing from the rooftop of the apartment.

Step 5: Your apartment building is now an ideal place to guard from the dead as you have your tenants to help you (some may have experience in carpentry, engineering, farming, are military reservists, etc.) Some apartments might be vacant if the tenant turned in to a zombie during the beginning stages of the outbreak with all food still stored inside.

Step 5: Other Alternate Places to Survive

Office Buildings: Same rules apply as with apartments but usually have less food and people to help you. A viable option but not the best one.

Warehouses: A generally good place to survive since they have few windows, have entrances that are secured with ease, and with spacious layouts that make a warehouse a wise choice to be at for a extended period of time. Most warehouses have a security office with bathrooms and thus a good source of water. Barricading materials are easy to find as warehouses are usually stored with heavy, durable storage crates, barrels, etc. One thing though is that most of the time there is little food in a warehouse, before you go there bring plenty with you along with other critical supplies. Do not stay in a warehouse that is refrigerated because when the electricity is lost all food stored will become rotten causing a deadly health hazard. Be careful if you are in a warehouse near a shipyard, factory, or other industrial sites to always be ready to flee as these area's might get caught on fire, explode, etc.

Off Shore Oil Rigs: If you live near the coast this could be a very good option as it is a near perfect artificial island. They are equipped to supply the food of the crew for up to six months, have their own fresh water distilleries, and power is unlimited as they are equipped to mine oil for years. If the government had shut down all drilling so there would be no spills, then the ocean could provide much food (fish, kelp, sea mammals) and supply your group for years. The Off Shore Oil Rig also has its disadvantages: corrosion will eventually weaken and destroy the oil rig sending it to Davy Jone's Locker and even with little corrosion a powerful tropical storm could have the potential to destroy a oil rig to. Nothing can save you from the wrath of nature including this guide.

Military Forts and Complex's: These places depending on how well the government responds could be a great place to survive or one of the worst. Usually when a crisis develops people assume that a military base is a safe place to stay. This might or might not be true to say the least. They may be one of the most secure places with high walls, fallout shelters, weapons, etc. but they are known to get overcrowded in times of crisis. Depending on how the government handles the outbreak, military forts might be a safe haven or another place of chaos.

Step 6: Places Not to Survive In

Schools: Many places that can be easily entered and must be guarded. Only use it to raid for food
Hospitals: The "capital" of the undead as this is were the outbreak will most likely start
Police Stations: Can be overtaken by concerned citizens who think this is a safe place to be. In the truth it is one of the worst as it will become a center of chaos.
Retail Stores: Where most people will think is safe to take refuge, much looting will go on and is one of the most dangerous places to stay from the undead as the advertising windows only show your flesh to all hungry zombies looking for a meal.
Supermarkets: One of the worst places to stay as this will be the first place people will take refuge in, first place to be looted, and the giant glass doors offer little protection from the undead. If you see a supermarket, turn the other way as it is a death-trap.
Shopping Malls: Unlike what some zombie flicks like to depict this place is also a death-trap: has many entrances, huge glass doors, and many chaotic shoppers who will loot and trample anyone who stands in their way only attracting the undead.
Church's: This building while secure from forced entry with heavy doors and windows high off the ground are one of the first places people will flock to pray for "Satan's Soldiers" to stop and this only achieves attracting the undead through the noise of these crowds.
Piers and Docks: These if you can modify them to make them float are not ideal places to live as they are not secure, can be taken from ocean zombies, and have little protection from the sun or tropical storms which can easily destroy this flimsy craft.
Shipyards: This will be a place where people will flock to get to a place and were they think is safe: the ocean through whatever floating craft they can get. Shipyards often have stored industrial waste which is highly dangerous and flammable further making this place unusable to survive in.
Banks: Have little protection from the undead as the glass can be broken and there is little food or water available. The vault is useless as it has no food or water with little oxygen breathe in.
City Halls and Other Government Buildings: Just about as same as a shopping mall, police station, church's, etc. It is a center of chaos, turn around if you see one of these.

Follow These Rules For a Shelter To Survive In

Is there a wall, fence, or other physical perimeter?


How many potential entrances/exits are there?


Can the people in your party simultaneously defend each fence and exit?


Is there a secondary defensive position, multiple floors, or an attic?


Can the building be secured?


Is there a potential escape route?


What is the supply situation?


Is there a water line?


If needed, are weapons or tools available?


Are materials available to reinforce the entrances?


What about means of communication: phone, radio, Internet, etc.?


Given all these factors, how long could you or your group survive an extended siege?
(Zombie Survival Guide)

Step 7: Bugging Out to a Permanet Home

Materials To Take.22 caliber rifle/pistol (500 rounds of more), crowbar, slingshot, signal mirror (a busted car mirror works great), camelbak, compass, map, poncho, sleeping bag, multi-tool, rechargeable radio (small with earpiece), binoculars, gun cleaning kit, dry food (rice, oats, etc.), canned food, earmuffs, fishing rod (compact as possible), magnesium fire starter, disposable lighter, thick hiking boots

Ideal Vehicles To Use:
Probably the best car to use is the Honda CR-X as it is compact (perfect for traveling along canals, railroads), gets excellent gas mileage (50 mpg highway), and can still carry a backup vehicle: a mountain bike. If you can have your vehicle run like this ca  it would be even better. A rear wheel drive decent car like a 1995 Ford Thunderbird could be useful also if you encounter more rural areas but is a trade off as the v-8 engine is not very efficient in gas (again if you convert to convert to trash power it would be just about perfect).

A Mountain Bike is a good back-up vehicle because it is fast, quiet, easy to maintain, powered by human muscle. A disadvantage is that it offers no protection unlike the CR-X but has no gasoline that needs to supplied to it. Another option for a backup vehicle is a dirt-bike because of its off-road capability and has decent gas mileage. Disadvantages are that it has a small gas tank and offers no protection like the mountain bike.

For foraging for relativly short missions you can use a Go-Kart because of its good gas mileage (about 30-50 mpg), its compactness, toughness, and decent protection compared to mountain bike/dirt bike which you could fall off of, get injured and become a lunch for any waiting zombie.
Other vehicles use a huge amount of gas and are nearly impossible to use as dependable modes of transportation due to their fuel demand.

Additional Vehicle Equipment To Take

Tire-patching gear


Extra fuel (as much as can be carried and stored outside of the cabin)

Extra parts (within size limits)

C.B. radio

Instruction manual

Repair kit (jumper cables, jack, etc.)

Step 8: Traveling to Your Permanet Home

Step 1: DON'T TRAVEL ON ROADS,HIGHWAYS OR ANY OBVIOUS PLACES TO TRAVEL ON!!!! These will be impossible to travel on as they will be filled with abandoned vehicles with often undead passengers. People will get stuck on these roads, highways, etc. and will abandon their vehicles running for their lives only attracting the undead.

Step 2: Find a place far enough from urban area's and if possible surrounded by mountains with a dependable source of food/water. If possible also have a small town that is relatively near-by so that you can find supplies but not to close were the undead will come to your shelter with ease (a good distance is about 10 miles from the town). Factor in also the amount of zombies you might encounter.

Step 3: Travel on less obvious places such as canals, railroads, etc. as few people will think of these pathways out of urban area's. Large groups while good during a siege are bad when you are "bugging out" because it will increase the risk of detection. Speed is reduced also in large groups due to differing paces. Groups of three are best but groups up to eight are manageable.

Step 4: Be aware of friendly fire on your journey and make yourself know through a signal mirror or even yelling (be careful this will attract the undead) as you don't want to end up like the last surviving person in the film, "Night of the Living Dead' who got shot from friendly forces.

Step 5: Don't kill a zombie unless you have to, often you will kill one and a dozen more will come. Kill if you can through silent means and if you can't, plan for a speedy escape!

Step 6: Plan were you are going to sleep throughout your journey as this will help with morale and speed up your travels. Have guard shifts during this time if possible.

Step 9: Surviving in Your New Colony

Step 1: Construct defenses to isolate yourself from the undead and from bandits. Try to make your fortifications blend in to the landscape and make a second fall out shelter such as a cave or a hidden wall. Keep food supplies hidden so that bandits won't have anything to make off with. Always make an escape route in case of a breach by the undead or bandits, no matter how attached you get to your settlement. Guard these new defenses as well with the usual guard shift.
Links to potential colony homes:

Step 2: Plant a vegetable garden/rain catcher for long-term survival. You might have to raid surrounding small cities for seeds but agriculture is a necessity to your survival.
Rain Catcher Guide:
Gardening: (One 3rd place in this one)

Step 3: Try to find or make an alternative energy supply. Solar panels if you know how to install them are useful even in cold climates (same with wind turbines) and a generator powered from a bicycle can supply much of your energy needs for survival.
Alternate Energy:

Step 4: This might sound a little silly but you should go in to the city and rob a library of its literature. Find stuff on gardening, alternative energy, wilderness survival, gunsmithing, engineering forts, alternative medicine, animal raising, etc. If you have it, a Go-Kart is ideal for foraging for literature, food, weapons, supllies, etc.

Step 5: Clear you area of all the undead if you have the supplies available. Here is a method you can use:
*Get a car and activate its alarm far away from your colony but still within range of your weapons (just about every zombie in the area will come) and destroy every one of them one by one. This is probably the best method to use as most other methods are risky to do and don't always ensure all the zombies are killed.

Step 6: Survive and adapt till society pieces itself together. We can only hope that the government would be able to take the country back from the undead but this might not be the case. It might be a society much like the dark ages with warlords and barbarians ruling the land. This is all speculative but be prepared for the worst that can happen.

Step 10: What You Can Do Now

Step 1: Try to get everything from the materials list

Step 2: Become more independent from the world by creating a vegetable garden, going off-the-grid with new alternative energy sources, and STUDY on more survival techniques with subjects like gardening. You can never have enough information! Some examples: The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks (this instructable is based off of this) World War Z by Max Brooks, Back to Basics, Living On A Acre

Step 3: Create your own zombie survival guide that takes in factors from your own home, area, and climate like i did. In this instructable i tried to cover everything but everyone's area is different mile by mile and only you can create what is right for your own needs.

Step 4: Practice your marksmanship with a firearm by practicing out in a shooting range, backyard (if it large enough and safety in mind), or joining your local area's gun club.



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    Your so screwed up zombies cannot happen! Rotting flesh can't live

    I have a big pry bar with a spiked end, it wold be perfect, still wana get the curved crow-bar for..Half-Lifenes.. lol

    Well thought-out guide. Even though it's about surviving zombies, many of the tips I think would work with most other emergencies.

    One thing I've always noticed in these "zombie guides" is there's no mention about how to deal with the living. How do you tell they're on your side? When do you help and when do you leave them behind? Do you join a group or do you go solo? I would like to think that not all of us would become crazy and savage like the movies and video games enjoy portraying.

    From what I hear, the Heckler and Koch HK45 is a good handgun.

    Aluminum baseball bat is a waste of time. They are too light and are intended to have bounce when they strike an object. One of the guys I worked with had a friend hit him in the leg with an aluminum softball bat to try and break his leg(he didn't want to leave the country without his wife on deployment). The aluminum bat severely damaged the tissue in his leg but after 3 strikes no broken leg. A nice wood bat will be much more likely to deliver a crushing blow instead of a *ping* bouncing blow.

    1 reply

    think about this decayed easy to tear flesh it wouldnt be hard to break the skull

    You wouldn't want earmuffs. If they block out the moans then what are you gonna do if a zombie lunges at you when you cant hear him/her? Or if your sleeping you want to hear if there is zombies, then you can run.

    1 reply

    Yeah that's what I was thinking, you always want to be prepared for anything. Adapt to survive is my motto in these situations.

    Cool list here, definitely some things I haven't seen before, but that's a lot of baggage to be mulling around with quickly... Not sure if a trench knife is how I want to engage a zombie... ever, but maybe you're right.  

    It'd be cool if more cities had zombie survival station like this one, I know it's a joke or whatever in a cemetery from my home town, but wouldn't that be a cool concept.

    Step1: Get water.

    I think its one of the more important steps indeed, but whats more important to create or get will be a good and longterm filtration device.
    Although rainwater can be drunk reasonably safe, other sources will most likely be or get contaminated with parasites and bacteria.
    In case of the Zombie's, they wil most definatly be carying bacteria, and if one, or a piece of it gets into contact with water...
    Who's to say the outbreak isnt transmitable trough this medium?

    Remember that one time when a dog got bitten and got rabies, and then three days later, every dog on earth had rabies?

    ^my only statement to the validity of zombie apocalypses.

    Anyhoo, this is a very well thought out guide. I like the suggestion of the .22 rifle due to it's versatility. Yes, a .22 can kill easily with a headshot. They can easily be sighted in to medium range, it is the most common ammo, can easily be silenced, and have so little recoil that they can be used in all conditions.

    I also like the discussion of vehicles.

    My advice would be this: go to a very hot or cold climate. The zombies would either rot or freeze.

    Guides like this are interesting. It floods a huge wealth of survival and violence oriented knowledge, a good amount of it pretty legitimate, out onto the internet where anyone can get it. Now, zombies are fictional, but revolutions, war, and economic collapse are very real things which will probably increase in prevalence in the next few decades. Now suppose that all this zombie info is used by people in these situations. That could either result in A)everyone survives pretty well. or B) Everyone kills everyone.

    It will be interesting to see.

    Ok, check this out "Toxoplasma gondii" it the name of a parasite that takes over the brain of its hosts!

    If it gets into a rat, it infiltratets its brain.
    After a period of time it instructs the rat to find a cat!
    The cat eats the more than willing rat, and thus the Toxoplasma gondii can start its second lifecicle inside the cats gut where it mate's!

    O yeah! this is the SH*T!
    Scientists all over the world are bending there heads on this parasite.
    When ever those guys find out how these Toxoplasma gondii parasites work...
    Well... lets just say that 28 days later, the world is gone...
    Better read this instructable out load for the next couple of days guys!

    Being a really cool instructable, i still have one tiny question.
    Can you really "kill" an allready "dead" person...???

    2 replies

    yes-_-. the zombies are zombies from a virus that controls their movements. it requires the brain. as soon as you destroy the brain... its officially dead and will not walk again.

    in a certain way that is correct, only the term dead is a bit double.
    Because the zombie brain is a not so dead brain in the essence of being dead... the brain is alive, or atleast, the organism thats inhabitting the brain is alive and keeps the brain in workable order to do its zombie thing.
    So... your not really killing the man, but the zombie.

    zombies arnt real just so you know but this in an entertaining instructable

    3 replies

    are you telling me im not real! ill remember that when im eating your brains.

    im 9 and i beleive it will happen im with ya i hope we meet on the battlefeild :)