The correct formula for a successful zombie-proof, battle-ready fortress can vary depending on who you ask. Granted, zombie real estate is not an easy field to go into given the broad range of perspectives people have on the subject as well as the obvious lack of experience people have with it.
I have, however, seen one too many zombie flicks that have shown the world a wide variety of fortresses and “homes” with the apocalypse happening right outside. With this in mind I’ve put together just a few pointers that may come in handy if the worst were to happen.
Must be up off the ground in some way.
Let’s be honest, zombie’s are good at one thing. Walking (or running depending on who you trust) and absolutely not stopping until they’ve sunk their teeth into the “good stuff” (you). A common home is ill-prepared to battle a horde of oncoming zombies merely because its high number of entry points, like doors and windows, and weak building materials, which could not withstand a constant barrage . A (former) business is a bit better but is very weak at the ground level because of features such as glass storefronts, dock loading and unloading doors, and who knows how many more emergency entrances in the back and sides. Damned safety codes. Never planned for zombies.
Great vantage point—for times that call for strategic defense.
Going hand-in-hand with being up off the ground, to fight a battalion of zombies coming for your face, you need to be able to see where they are and when they’ll be upon you. Not only can you better prepare yourself and your team with proper armaments, but it also helps to be high up off the ground, as far away from the tramping feet of your attackers as possible. This means that they will have to climb their way to you or else just hang out below and wait for the massacre at your feet.
A well placed fortress can defend itself from nearly any direction of attack and hold a few tricks up its sleeve when push comes to shove… comes to bite. Generally you will need a place low-key enough that it is not a constant target from impeding zombie foot traffic, but well equipped to become the Alamo if necessary. Plan ahead.
… But still be accessible.
I know, I know, accessibility on a fortress?! Absurd right? Wrong. If you’re to live through the apocalypse, you will need to gather supplies from time to time as well as search for other survivors to join your rag-tag team of exterminators. Living near a former site of civilization is essential unless you have a ready supply of food from other means, such as farming and hunting. But beware of Zombie cows on the loose!
Nature (and the remnants of a fallen society) can provide for you, but it always makes you drop your guard when you get too cozy.
Must have proper storage.
Even a battle-ready fortress requires proper storage facilities. Seriously though, consider this…
You finally get to the top of your high-rise zombie fortress after a successful day searching for supplies and ammo. The sweat drips down your forehead as you silently curse the blazing sun outside, causing the air to swelter with the scent of rotting flesh that you’re oh so accustomed to. You drag your loot slowly through the main entryway into your fortress and finally fall to the floor, exhausted. You wipe the sweat from your brow and look over the many items you collected that may help you last the next few months—when it hits you. You don’t have anywhere to store all of this!
A well-equipped and properly stored weapons cache will go a long way when keeping counts on ammo, hardware, and ballistics (whether homemade or not), and will help ensure that nobody is wasting ammunition with a sniper rifle sitting atop the local mall’s roof. Everybody in your base should be able to get to the main weapons lockers quickly.
Even a battle-ready fortress requires proper storage facilities.
This of course doesn’t even touch upon the need for storage from armor, helmets, and whatever other protective gear you’ll need to step outside in to the world occasionally. Yeah, you could throw it about your pad at reckless abandon, but what happens when your new roommate wakes you up with a nasty case of cannibalism and you just can’t find that baseball bat?
A dedicated place for foodstuffs is also very important. Not only will you need to keep accurate counts on your food supplies to ration off for you and your survivors, but there are plenty of other creepy crawlers (and people) that are hungry too. Improperly stored food could be easily stolen or even torn through by a rat infestation within hours. That is, if you’re unwilling to eat rat… and if rats survive the apocalypse. You know what I mean.
While man-made zombie traps, static defense systems, and even guard towers will go a long way in protecting you and your fellow survivors, the environment you’re in plays a big role in how long you will survive as well. Not just the climate either. Yeah, extreme heat and cold will complicate things, but so will a pit full of trapped dead humans.
Wherever you’re able to call “home” during the apocalypse, you must be continually scouting your area not only for resources to survive, but also potential problems; things like: other survivors who may threaten your camp, unforeseen environmental details (fallen trees, fortified semi-trucks for ramming walls, etc.) that may be detrimental to your base of operations, and many other surprises.
While the basics of zombie survival will be a bit more complex than the quick list I just supplied you with, the flesh of the article stands firm. You need to be prepared, and plan ahead. Start looking around your home town or city for places that could not only become substantial zombie fighting temples, but also smaller, makeshift forts that could get you through the night. Even if it is only a tree-house!
Here are some more examples of some potentially awesome anti-zombie strongholds, big and small:
Which one would you choose?