A Guide To Apocalypse Survival In Your Man Cave (Walking Dead Approved)

You can survive any apocalypse, whether it’s a zombie invasion, plague, or another catastrophe, provided that you follow the advice in this guide. Be one of the lucky few who will survive the destruction by preparing for it now, within your man cave. Be forewarned, though, this guide is not for the fainthearted.

Mind you, if you’re a massive fan of AMC’s The Walking Dead TV series, then we don’t need to tell you about violence and bloodshed.

The television series has taken the dangers of the world from comic book pages to your HD television in awesomely horrific ways, and the next logical step is for an apocalypse to become a reality. We don’t mean to frighten you but do want you to be prepared for when all hell breaks loose.

In honor of The Walking Dead, which is back for another season (cheering ensues), you can learn how to survive like Rick Grimes and his posse in a post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested world. We’ll prep you for other types of apocalypses too, including alien invasions and deadly diseases. While not everyone will survive – RIP Andrea, Shane, Hershel, and others – you can be one of the few who lives through the ordeal and achieves super hero status.

Of course, it won’t be an easy road. You’ll have to stumble through woods with bleeding wounds, pillage for food, and watch some of your closest allies be killed. But you can respond by getting tougher and being a leader who stands the course of time.

Get a Crossbow, as per Daryl Dixon

Hunter Camo Bedding Sets

The Walking Dead‘s Daryl Dixon is a southern tracker who hunts animals and walkers equally well. Become his equivalent in the event of an apocalypse by protecting your family and friends, just as Daryl does for Rick Grimes. You will have to lead supply runs too, which can take you out of the safe confines of your man cave, but we trust you to return soon and bring the sought-after necessities with you. Maybe, if you do well at those tasks, you can become a series regular and fan favorite like the underrated actor Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl on TV.

In the first three seasons, Daryl Dixon used a Horton Scout HD 125 crossbow. That’s an entry level weapon to scare the crap out of your Grandmother and should be treated as such – here is your plastic replica, go play!

Partway through the third season (Episode 12, to be exact), he got a new crossbow. The replacement one is more powerful; it is the Stryker StrykeZone 380. Now we are talkin’! That sucker is sold out in most places due to the recent increase in roaming walkers, but you can check this list for possible alternatives!

The Walking Dead Roleplay Weapon Daryl Crossbow

There are some drawbacks through to using either crossbow, as Daryl would likely tell you. Firstly, a crossbow lacks the firepower of a gun. Secondly, it takes time to reload. As for the benefits, crossbows are typically easier to hold in target than bows. The accuracy of shooting targets is quite high too with a crossbow. 

As for the Horton model, in particular, it is lightweight and small. It also is great at hitting close targets. These reasons likely explain why AMC chose the Scout 125 model. Now you can get a replica of Daryl Dixon’s Horton Scout 125 crossbow. You’ll be sexy and cool like him – not to mention keeping the zombies at bay. You’re welcome.

Now, let’s say you’ve got to kill a zombie fast. Grab your Horton crossbow and aim for the brain. You’ll need a steady hand. Make sure you have enough arrows to take down the zombie, or you’ll have to run to the police station to restock. Try going to the precinct where Rick Grimes previously worked. But watch out, there might be more zombies there.

Perhaps this arrow signed by Daryl Dixon himself (aka Norman Reedus) will bring you good luck. Heck, survival is about skill more than chance but it doesn’t hurt to have such a prestigious weapon within your arsenal. 

A Hands-On Approach: Close Combat Gear for the Stealthy Slayer


michonne katana

Aside from the crossbow, you’ve got to consider the katana. Michonne’s iconic katana is awesome. You can get a replica of the katana that was custom made for the television show. But there is only a 5000 unit run, so you better get in there fast while there are still some left!.

It sports great details, including the pommel Celtic style symbols, and a black rayskin handle with a white wrap made of synthetic leather.

This replica is officially licensed merchandise and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. Use Michonne’s signature weapon to take down the zombies when they rise.

It’s noiseless so it won’t attract the attention of the undead, and it won’t use up any of your precious ammo either.


walking dead knife and gun

Slay walkers and aliens with a hands-on method. Knives might do the job (which reminds us, you won’t have to return the office anymore, on the bright side). While a gun might attract a zombie’s attention and a crossbow’s sound when fired might be enough to turn an alien crazier than it is already, a knife is quieter. Try your best not to startle the biters, at any time. Also, ammo is likely scarce in a post-apocalyptic world.

Plus, you can enjoy the satisfaction of performing the act. You are limited by your physical strength, though, so you had better enroll in classes specifically for close-combat training as soon as possible. Build up your muscles before the apocalypse becomes a reality.

​By now you are likely wondering, what type of knife do I get?

Sure, you could use a closed knife with a graphic of The Walking Dead on its handle. But, let’s get real here, you want to be sure your knife can handle the zombie-laden demands that Rick and his tribe battle against every episode. You’d better choose a Gerber knife (or two) then as most of the ones on the TV show are made by this company. Remember the episode “What Lies Ahead” the first episode of Season 2? When Carl Grimes found a bunch of knives in a vehicle, they were – you guessed it – Gerber knives.

Let’s discuss the features of the knife you’ll want to possess in the post-apocalyptic world. There’s the folding knife. For example, in the show’s first episode of Season 1, Morgan Jones threatened Rick with a hunting knife that looked a heck of a lot like a Buck 110 Hunter. There’s also the scene where Deanna’s son Spencer uses a Busse dagger to help defend Alexandria.

twd rick folding knife

Then there’s Rick’s main knife that he keeps on his person. We’ve seen this folding knife appear countless times on the show. It’s a Gerber DMF Folder.

The manual opening DMF Folder has a sure grip with your bare hands or gloves, thanks to its textured G-10 handle.

It works great for self-defense moves, like when you’re defending your man cave against zombies or aliens.

Remember that badass knives like this one work best when put through a zombie’s brain. Although Rick stabbed a zombie in the face through a fence in Season 2’s “18 Miles Out” episode, so that’s another option.

Or, you could opt for a fixed blade knife instead of a folding one. Daryl Dixon prefers a Busse Team Gemini, in addition to his crossbow. So, there’s no rule saying you can only have one type of weapon. Let’s talk about “18 Miles Out” a bit more. Remember when Rick threw a knife on the floor for Randall so he could free himself and hopefully survive? It was a Gerber Freeman Guide.

Machetes and Axes

Looking for more options for slaying the zombies or aliens? Well, it’s always good to keep your options open, particularly when you’re the prey.

Lori Grimes carried a Gerber Bear Grylls Parang Machete when she was looking for Sophia. It’s a “silent” weapon that won’t attract the zombie’s attention.

lori gerber machete

Machetes also feature into scenes with Rick and Aaron. In Season 5, Rick described the red-handled machete, which he said he would use to kill Gareth. Also, Aaron used a machete ​in the Season 5 finale. But the cleaver-like weapon can be heavy.

Keep going to the gym and doing free weights there to build up your arm muscles, so you won’t fatigue as quickly during zombie attacks at your man cave.

​As for axes, aha, we have another winner! It is Dale’s preferred weapon and might be yours too. Aim at the zombie’s brain as your go-to move. Rick carried a fire axe back when he was in Atlanta. The obvious downside with an axe is that you have to be in close proximity to the walker and you likely don’t have a high skill level with this weapon.

But it really is handy to have an axe! Aside from killing zombies, your axe is great for chopping firewood, and you can swing it to take down blockades. Look for an axe with a steel head and wooden handle for a strong, effective tool that doubles as a weapon.

The best types of axes for a zombie apocalypse are fire axes, bush axes, and pick axes; all three are versatile and weighted.

Guns to Use on the Undead

twd grimes with colt python

When the undead rise up, you better be ready. We can’t forget about guns, but the real question here is what type of gun would you use during a zombie apocalypse? Apparently you don’t have to go fancy, at least if you follow the lead of The Walking Dead characters on TV.

the walking dead revolver

What do we mean? Well, let’s take a look at what Rick Grimes is packing. He’s got the Colt Python. You can get an airsoft version of his gun or, alternatively, opt for a prop model of Rick’s Colt Python. This gun is easily the most famous one on the TV show, so it is a must-have item in your post-apocalyptic surroundings. 

If you’re looking to arm the people around you with guns too, so that you can work just like Rick and his crew in cooperation to kill more zombies, then you can also get the Mossberg 690 12-gauge shotgun. It’s the one used by sheriff’s deputy Shane Walsh in the pilot episode. Shane continues to use it to slay walkers throughout the seasons.

In case that’s not your thing, you might find your ideal zombie slayer after comparing Glock 19 and M&P 9mm c handguns.

Of course, should you find yourself on top of a Winnebago like Dale Horvath, you’ll want a Ruger M77 Hawkeye Bolt-Action Rifle like him. Did you ever notice that he was rarely seen without it? Man, you want a trusty bolt-action rifle like that one to take down a hoard of walkers. 

Or, maybe you’ll scare the biters off with your intimidating 11″x14″ photo autographed by Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick. This signed photo is 100 percent certified authentic and features Rick ready with his gun to take on the undead.

Other options for dueling zombies (and aliens too) include throwing a large rock or using a baseball bat if you just happen to have either one laying around. Killing walkers doesn’t have to be complex, although it can be quite a gruesome act.

Secret Compartments

Secret Storage Book

secret compartment inside a stack of books

No matter what the type of apocalypse, you’re going to benefit from having a secret compartment (or two) in your lair. A great one is a secret storage book safe.

It looks like a real book when it’s on your wood pallet shelf but open it up to reveal a storage compartment for your valuables. Store your jewelry in there, as well as account numbers, credit cards, and keepsakes.

Be sure to choose a book title that will be inconspicuous. In other words, don’t use “War and Peace” if you’re known for being an avid reader of spaghetti westerns instead. Also, place the book on a bookshelf between novels of a similar height and subject matter. Avoid looking suspicious! You can also keep ammunition, which will quickly become scarce, in this secret compartment.

Hidden Firearm Shelf

You know you want one. Get all of the usefulness of a regular shelf, with the addition of a cavity lined beneath its surface.

Store your guns within this secret part of the wall shelf. To access the locked compartment of the hidden firearms shelf, simply disengage the lock using a key that only you have on your person. The hinges use a gas spring dampener for a controlled opening.

Diversion Safes

There are many options, depending on which secret compartment you prefer (or use a range of different ones to spread your valuables throughout your man cave). For example, fake cans with hidden storage are readily available online that mimic products you have around the house.

They are called distraction safes because they pretend to be real products. For example, here is a WD-40 can diversion stash container.

Some can safes even look like bottles with liquid inside. Nearly every item around your man cave can be disguised as a hidden storage area if you plan ahead. Or, just buy one already made online to save precious time.

Food and Water: Preservation and Storage

survival food and water preservation

Pack in advance for the long treks that you will likely have to make to find food and water. Make sure that the backpack in which you put your essentials is easy to carry, sturdy, and waterproof. Packing ahead enables you to grab the bag quickly when zombies are chasing you.

You need food and water just as much as you need to escape those zombies or aliens. As per the rule of threes for survival, you can survive three days without water and three weeks without food.

To keep from dying of dehydration before the plague takes your life, if that is the unfortunate apocalyptic situation that surrounds you will require that you have access to clean drinking water.

Let’s assume that the water mains are broken. You’ll need a long-term water solution. Prepare now by storing jugs of water and water filters in multiple locations around your man cave. The general rule is that a gallon of water a day is sufficient; half of it is for drinking while the other half is for hygiene.

Obviously if you live in a warmer climate, then you will require more water (and a dehumidifier in a pre-apocalypse world). If you feel your motivation for getting through the huge crisis wanes, transfer water into this travel tumbler that is an ode to The Walking Dead for an instant zap of Daryl’s heroic energy.

If you’re storing tap water now, while you still have the precious liquid, then use food-grade plastic bottles or glass bottles that haven’t had food items within them. And, for goodness sakes, make sure you seal the bottles so that they don’t get contaminated.​

Speaking of contamination, here’s what you need to produce clean drinking water if there are bugs within the only water you have access to:

the crew of the walking dead hanging out in front of a store

​Now, let’s talk more about strategy. Stores usually carry three days of supplies of items. Send the wild fighter on your team (see the “Organize A Survival Team” section below) to the store as soon as possible after the apocalypse hits to get food and water to bring back to your family.

As the power will go out soon after the apocalypse happens, you will want to stock up on items that won’t require cooking to be digestible. In other words, stay away from rice and dry beans.Pick foods that are fine to eat right out of the can. Along with canned foods, get vacuum-sealed goods.

Also, you can hope for a prison with a lot of food nearby, like the one located in Woodbury on The Walking Dead.​ But it’s okay if there isn’t a lot of food as you rarely see anyone eating or cooking on the television show anyway!

On a side note, if a walker bites you just might be “tainted meat,” like Bob Stookey was in the TV show. Although, as Gareth said to Bob in Season 5, “If it makes you feel any better, you taste much better than we thought you would…” Now there’s some food for thought (groan).

Watch out for roamers as you go off on treks for food and water. They don’t have digestive activity, but they won’t let that stop them from trying to gnaw off your limbs.

Living flesh is a treat to them, regardless of whether they have jaws or guts. Good thing they have bad eyesight, as proven by their irises that fade and decay.

Power Generation

The source of most US power is coal, so it needs people to feed the hoppers. That means that in the case of a zombie apocalypse, power would go out in 12 hours in some places and everywhere within one day.

Why? While there are about 600 coal power plants across America, there still need to be skilled workers to mine the coal and move the resource to the power plants. The workers aren’t likely to do so if their families are in danger, or they get bitten by zombies. Even if a store has hydro power, it still requires people at the power source location to maintain electrical power transmission lines and electrical substations. 

Given all of this work that highly-skilled workers must do to generate power, it is unlikely that large-scale power will return anytime soon. The same statement holds true of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Oh and, heads up, without power there will not be working cellular towers and sewer processing plants. You won’t be able to dial 9-1-1, and the sh*t will fly! You won’t have cable either. Well, that’s one way to cut the cord.

My, this all sounds miserable, but you do have options! Small generators may still function. Their fuels won’t last long though as gas slowly evaporates. Are you thinking about gasoline in cars now? Good idea, in theory. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to drive your car because gasoline will slowly evaporate. Don’t tell the folks starring in The Walking Dead, though, as we still want them to be able to make getaways in cars. We suggest investing in a bicycle instead for when you need to travel long distances.

OK, back to the generator. A 5000-watt version is enough to be able to run your fridge, lights, and a few small appliances, but only until you run out of gas, which is already evaporating as I type these words.

westinghouse wh5500 generator

The Westinghouse portable generator has 5500 running watts and 6750 starting watts. The 357cc overhead valve engine is fully enclosed, which keeps it going strong in spite of debris or weather. 

Also, be sure to store batteries, to run devices like radios and flashlights. The 6D MagLite flashlight is a reliable choice and doubles as a club to hit the zombies. As well, stock up on matches, lighters, and glow sticks so you can be productive after the sun goes down. 

Set up a communication system with your family and friends too. Walkie-talkies are a great choice, and keep your batteries with the radio. If you have to leave the man cave to help your team get supplies, then tell the rest of your network where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

Unplug your light source!

Are you looking for a light source that doesn’t depend on burning fossil fuels?

The Solar Air Lantern can provide emergency lighting without relying on batteries, fuel or the need to plug it into the wall for power.​

  • Light up campsite by hanging on tree or rope
  • Great for reading a book in the dark
  • Lights inside of tent, hang it or lay on ground
  • Power outages at home or office
  • Keep in your car, boat or RV
  • Waterproof and it floats
  • Must have item for your ‘bug out bag’
  • Light up a backyard party

If you’re feeling handy and are technically inclined, you can also generate your own electricity.

Here’s an example: use renewable energy by making your own wind turbine out of PVC pipes and a car alternator. Then you’ll have electricity so you can run water pumps, radio equipment (even when the batteries die), power tools, and more.

You can charge your smartphone too, provided the earthquake didn’t render the cellular tower useless. Another option is to use solar panels, which seem so useful in the Alexandria Safe Zone.

Rub Guts all Over You? Not Effective!

Perhaps at this point in the apocalypse survival guide you are wondering why we haven’t suggested you cover yourself with zombie guts like Rick and Glenn did in Season 1 to avoid hungry walkers? Well, there are many reasons we’re not suggesting this tactic.

Firstly, remember that it didn’t work out so well for the two guys when it started to rain in that episode. If it rains, then your disguise is going to slide right off of you. Now that’s a bummer. Then there’s the obvious point that you’re rubbing intestines all over your face and body. That’s a risky move as they have pathogens… talk about bad hygiene.​ Plus, the smell of a rotting corpse is gross.

twd michonne with her boyfriend in chains

Using walkers as bodyguards seems to be a better method. Michonne showed us how to disarm zombies and use them to protect yourself. It appears to be a longer-lasting, more effective method than the zombie guts strategy.

Michonne used de-jawed, neutered walkers as her scent shield and now you can too. You’ll need a rope or chain and more prep time than the “guts all over you” method but, hey, it looks much cooler.

Or you can take a more peaceful route and get this certified authentic autographed photo of Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne on The Walking Dead, with her bodyguards.

Organize a Survival Team

Organize social units to ward off the brain-cravers, like Rick and his posse, or to stay alive in any other apocalyptic situation. But, make sure that you plan ahead and are a smooth talker or the only people you’ll successfully recruit are your whiny coworkers and second cousins. 

twd team

Here is who you ideally want on your survival team:

A Leader

Pick a person who takes charge and handles stress well. In other words, pick the “Rick” in your crowd. This person must be strong and loyal. The leader looks out for the team at all times too; when Glenn and Maggie were taken hostage by the Governor, Glenn told his captors that the group was coming to get him, and it was true as he knew Rick had his back.

medic Denise

A Medical Pro

Enlist the help of a medical professional, such as a doctor or nurse. This person can help you to heal as quickly as possible after a zombie bite or a concussion following face-to-face combat with an alien. If a horrific disease is taking over the country, your medical guru can provide you with medicines that keep your immune system strong. He or she might even suggest you drink beer, , which may be healthier than you realized!

daryl dickson survivalist

A Wild Fighter

Yes, in a case of an apocalypse, it is helpful to enlist someone who keeps going and killing in spite of how bad it seems. Envision a member of the Navy SEALS or SWAT teams. The ideal person is emotionally stable, physically strong, energetic, resilient, and confident.

glen of the walking dead is a survival expert

A Survival Expert

This team member is clever at survival. Glenn is a clear example. He recently returned, as per the episode that aired November 22. Amidst rumors he died, Glenn is alive, despite being knocked off a dumpster by Nicholas’ falling body. When we learned that he hid under the dumpster and avoided the reach of the walkers until he could safely get away, we realized he is a great survivalist!

hershel in the walking dead

A Nurturer

You will also want a nurturer on your side. It can be depressing out in the post-apocalyptic world. Think of someone who offers you an ear to listen, without wanting anything in return, and who is good at offering sympathetic words in difficult situations. The nurturer will probably also provide the best recommendation on what pillow and blanket to store in your man cave.Avoid working with kids and animals, as per the show business adage, except Carl Grimes, of course.

Also, Don’t Forget to…

There are likely to be signs of an upcoming apocalypse if you know where to look to spot the clues.

Firstly, keep up to date on upcoming crises via Facebook. That’s right, you know that Mark Zuckerberg rules the world so it makes sense he’ll know about any catastrophe before it happens. Secondly, Google it. The Internet is our go-to tool for any info, so, of course, that makes sense. BUT get ready for all hell to break loose once the Internet goes down.

The words OMG and WTF will be spoken by many (oh pop culture, how you have slain the English language).

Also, and we can’t stress this point enough, stay at home as long as possible when the apocalypse strikes your area. If you think you have it bad, ​chances are good it’s worse somewhere else. Ever heard the saying, “the grass is always greener on the other side”? It’s true. Craft a survival plan so that you can stay in your man cave and survive for as long as possible. 

Store warm, long-sleeved clothing too if you are in a cold climate. Also, you will benefit by having a change of clothes in storage, as well as boots, a map, pot for cooking or boiling water, and can opener. Ask your medical pro to prepare a first aid kit that has essentials like bandages and medical tape.

Congratulations, you really might make it in the post-apocalyptic world! After reading this post, you now have knowledge of survival tactics and tools that are essential for surviving a range of catastrophes. Prepare for the worst. In the meantime, prepare for the continuation of the Kardashians, people with bad breath, and politicians who say “with all due respect” yet actually mean the opposite.

You can also start to prepare for future issues by watching reruns of MacGyver and learning not complain when your Netflix buffers.

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