First up, is the question of apparel, what you intent to be wearing when the fight begins…
As we all know, taking on zombies is a matter of protection as much as firepower. Nobody wants to step into the middle of the apocalypse naked or clothed in their basic street wear, especially if they dressed light! In addition, you also have to think about mobility, both in the getting around sense and the ability to move your limbs with comfort and ease. If you’re weight down, you’re likely to become a zombie’s meal. Using your physique as a template, select from the following items to see which would best suit you, taking into account various mobility and protection factors.
Pros: Military issue body armor has a number of advantages when it comes to fighting zombies. For one, its loaded with kevlar plates that a zombie is going to have a hell of a time ripping through. Second, it covers your vitals, shoulders, crotch and neck from bites, while leaving your arms relatively free to fight. It’s also lightweight, which is handy since mobility is key in a zombie fight.
Cons: However, the downside to this armor is that it doesn’t provide protection for your limbs, which are often what the zombies go for. So in a close fight, you’ll have to keep moving to avoid that fatal bite and/or scratch. What’s more, it can constrict your mobility just enough to be considered an impediment. It’s great for protecting against bullet-fire. but in melee combat, it’s protection is limited. But of course, not all your enemies may be zombies. Just in case you have to go up against other hunters or certain “Governor” type forces, this suit could come in handy…
Pros: If you’re looking for something loose-fitting and made for getting around, look no further! Army fatigues were specifically designed to give soldiers a full range of motion, which includes marching, running, shooting, hand-to-hand fighting, even rappelling. And the stitching ensures that you won’t have any embarrassing rip ups! What’s more, it covers your entire body which is great protection against zombie scratches.
Cons: However, the protection factor does not reach very far beyond that. The fabric is not strong enough to protect against bites, and a committed undead will be able to tear off a sleeve or a pant leg without too much effort. So while it’s great for mobility, don’t count on it saving your life when you’re in the thick of it!
Pros: True, the main advantages here are cosmetic, but damn it if those don’t count for something! Like Michonne’s mysterious cloak, this gives any zombie fighter that je ne sais quoi, that undefinable quality that makes others not want to mess with them. What’s more, its good cover for a sword or small arms weapon, which can come in handy when going up against the walking dead. And the cloak can even act as a weapon itself if its wearer is quick and uses the lapels to distract their opponent and then deliver fatal stabs.
Cons: Downsides are obvious. The cloak can be a liability when it comes to running and fighting. While it can conceal your face and give you a certain mystique, it can also get in the way in the middle of a fight. And of course, zombies can easily find their way inside it and get at your flesh. As your mamma may have told you when you were a kid “looking cool isn’t always smart”.
Pros: One has to assume that in the event of a zombie apocalypse, police gear will be suddenly available for civilian use, especially if you know the police HQ has been overrun. And as far as protection and mobility go, a Kevlar vest is not a bad option. While it may not provide any arm, leg, shoulder or neck protection, it still ensures that your midsection is well defended against clawing, biting zombies who would just love to get at your organs. What’s more, it does not constrict your mobility or weight you down.
Cons: But alas, armoring your midsection and leaving the extremities exposed might leave you wanting. Much like the full suit of Kevlar, this option is only partially suited to close encounters with zombies, but highly useful against opponents who have access to firearms. Again, it’s important to keep in mind that not all your troubles will stem from the undead.
Pros: When it comes to combining armored protection with enhanced strength and speed, the powered armor suit is the absolute tops! In addition to boasting armor plates in all the right places, it gives the wearer the ability to wield a power punch that could knock off a zombie’s head! And the enhanced leg strength allows for speedier running and higher jumping, which comes in handy in a pinch!
Cons: The armor suit has some drawbacks vis a vis its enhanced power, in that it requires you to wind up and let loose. If and when you find yourself set upon by hungry zombies, you won’t have the space to deliver a blow. And in this instance, the suit’s weight and armor can become a liability as well, proving heavy and cumbersome, and hence restrictive to movement.
Pros: Another police issue, the riot gear outfit is perhaps the best armor option available to the zombie hunter. Made up of Kevlar, plastic and fabric that covers your core, shoulders, arms, legs, and head, this suit has all your bases covered. Unless they are able to swarm you, zombies will have a hell of a time finding their way through this suit or armor. If you’ve read the Walking Dead comic or seen 28 Days Later, you know just how effective this suit can be.
Cons: But of course, the likelihood of being swarmed increases exponentially when wearing this suit. Although the wearer is a veritable walking tank, running is very difficult in it and mobility is highly constricted. And in the end, some areas are still exposed to zombies clever enough to find them, such as your armpits, neck and chin. These, they’ll only find if they really search for them, but if and when they get you cornered, expect them to try!
No zombie warrior is fully equipped without a melee weapon, which is both a weapon of last resort and a way to dispatch the undead in a way that is quiet, and up close and personal! Not only do melee weapons not run out of ammo, they do not make a significant amount of noise which will attract more zombies to your location. Just remember, the bigger and more deadly the weapon, the harder its going to be to keep swinging it. Choose wisely!
Pros: As zombie-smashers go, an axe is a pretty popular option. A solid blow from one of these is sure to split a zombies head in half, and the size and weight are still manageable. This balance of size, weight and killing power make it a weapon that can be swung for awhile before the user will succumb to exhaustion, and the odds of it breaking on you are quite minimal.
Cons: Only downside is that this weapon is capable of getting stuck in a zombie’s face after its been used to split their skull. This can really screw you in a pitch battle where multiple swings are needed to dispatch wave after wave of incoming undead.
Pros: Perhaps the most popular option for zombie-smashing, the baseball bat offers numerous advantages in a small, lightweight package. The blunt force trauma from a few good swings is likely to be fatal, and since zombie heads are often softened by necrosis, a single good swing can often deal death on them.
Cons: Only downside to a baseball bat is that extended use can break them. Being small and lightweight, repeated blows to zombie skulls can lead to a breakage.
Pros: Another favorite of the veteran zombie warrior, the modern hammer offers a lot of killing power in a tiny package. Especially the all-metal variant, this melee weapon is a boon at close range since it can offer blunt-force trauma from the head or punctures from the clawed edge.
Cons: A small weapon, a hammer is heavily reliant on the one who swings it. A good strong arm can wield it for extended periods of time and send zombie after zombie to the grave for good. But in the hands of a smaller person, it’s likely to have limited power.
Pros: An ancient and powerful weapon, the katana offers zombie-hunters quite a few advantages, and makes the wielder look pretty damn cool in the process! The solid blade, sharp edge, and manageable weight give it some pretty awesome killing power. Not only is it capable of hewing off limbs with ease, an overhead blow can split a zombie skull in half.
Cons: But of course, the katana is not for everyone. Like all swords, it requires some training before it can be used effectively and efficiently. Its not like other melee weapons that can simple be picked up and swung willy-nilly. And those who try are likely to hurt themselves or make a mess of things!
Pros: The standard issue of the Marine Corps, the Ka-Bar knife is an effective killing tool when re-purposed for zombie-hunting. Lightweight, easily wielded, and very portable, this knife is sharp enough to slice through any necrotic tissue, and the sturdy blade has been known to be able to punch through skull.
Cons: One downside to the knife is that it is not designed for repeated skull-stabbing. Using it in this way can lead to breakage or loss, especially if the weapon gets stuck in a zombie’s skull. The best option is to find another route to the zombie’s brain and stab there.
Pros: A one-handed medieval recreation, the longsword is an effective zombie-killing tool in the modern age. Made of tempered steel, razor-sharp, and possessing a few good pounds of weight, a single blow is likely to split a skull or remove a head with ease. At the same time, it is easy enough to wield with one hand.
Cons: Some training required, and given the balance of weight and the fact that it’s one-handed weapon, its really only useful in the hands of someone strong enough who can comfortably swing a five pound weight without getting overtired. Much like the katana, the weapon is not for everybody.
Pros: Lightweight, easy to wield and sharp as hell, the machete is perhaps the most balanced weapon in the zombie-hunter’s arsenal. As an edged weapon, it possesses many of the advantages of a sword, but its smaller size and lighter weight make it far more portable and much easier to wield.
Cons: Interestingly enough, the advantages of this weapon also present some downsides. The lighter weight and small size means it has less killing power than a larger, heavier edged weapon. While a good blow is likely to take off a zombie head or hew a limb, its more likely to get stuck and has a shorter effective swinging range.
Pros: Another blunt-force trauma weapon, the truncheon is a common law enforcement tool that is popular when re-purposed for zombie-killing. Composed of metal, collapsible, and easy to swing, the truncheon is very handy in a close fight with a horde of undead. It can also be used for extended periods of time with little training and requires little upper body strength, making it highly versatile as well.
Cons: Unlike other blunt-force trauma weapons, this small and lightweight weapon is not likely to smash a skull with a single blow. While useful when deployed against a person, zombies feel no pain and aren’t deterred by stinging blows. Lucky for users that its light, because many swings will be needed to take your enemy down!
Time to pick and choose folks! Get your gear on and select your zombie-smasher of choice. And stay tuned for the next few posts in my series of Zombie Warriors! Next up, we talk about guns and ranged weapons! The zombie apocalypse doesn’t stand a chance!