Thursday, July 9, 2009

The final elements (Z Kit)

For those following along at home, your Z Kit is almost complete. You've included all the essential components, and the only things which remain fall into two categories:
  1. Stuff you've forgotten
  2. Stuff which is nice but not really necessary
An example of #1 is a set of disposable face masks. I'm not going to start any arguments by claiming that N95 face masks will keep you from getting the flu, but I know two things. One, it's better to have some protection rather than none at all, even if all the mask does is keep people away from you and remind you not to touch your face with your fingers; and Two, in many disasters there's a lot of crap in the air, be it smoke, dust, ash, chemical vapors etc that you don't need to be breathing.

(I just now realized, in the course of writing this, that I also need some kind of eye protection as well. So I'm going to raid my college trunk for old chemistry supplies, like safety glasses and an apron.)

Keeping a Z Kit current is an ongoing task, which is why I consider it a hobby. Whenever I enter a store I always browse with the thought of "would any of this be useful in my bag?" That's how a roll of industrial-strength all-weather duct tape and a spool of 100' of kitchen twine ended up in my bag.

Other stuff to consider:
  • Pens/pencils and pocket moleskine notebook
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Earplugs
  • Wind-up watch or travel clock, preferably with an alarm
  • 1 Liter Nalgene water bottle (you can stuff other crap inside it when not in use)
Things which fall under category #2 are what you call "gadgetry." It might be expensive, like a handheld GPS unit or satellite phone, or it could be as simple as a cell phone or MP3 player. I consider these items luxuries, as they aren't necessary for saving your life but they do make it much more bearable. Almost all of these things are electronic in some way, so either carry batteries for them (and you know my thoughts on that) or have some alternate way to charge them (if I had the cash I would buy a Freeloader Solar Power Charger in a heartbeat).

If you do end up carrying electronic gizmos, you need to protect them. I recommend the Lifeline Waterproof Case because for $5 you get a tough, locking plastic case inside which you can fit a cell phone or iPod. I found mine in the automotive section of Target.

The other doohickey I have is a Tasco 10x25 Monocular, which I got for $10 and free shipping. Woot! If you have the room or don't like squinting with one eye, you can get the binocular version for $20.

And that's it! You now have a perfectly functional Z Kit, which you can take everywhere you go so that you'll be ready for disaster at a moment's notice. I look forward to seeing your version of the kit and any ideas or suggestions for improvement you may have. Also, if you see a nifty gadget that simply screams "Z Kit!" I must know about it.

Don't let the zombies getcha!

As a postscript, is there sufficient interest for me to post a series of pictures showing how my bag is packed and what goes where? There is an art to packing it so as to maximize space and (perhaps more importantly) optimize weight distribution.


  1. If you want to go overboard. Assemble an optional NBC kit.

    In the unlikely case that your vicinity gets nuked.
    Or the sliiighly more likely scenario of a major chemical accident.

    NBC mask (with drinking capability!) + NBC "plastic bag suit".
    Possible geiger counter (needs alpha/beta particle detection capability).
    Chemical agent detection kit (such as the M256 kit).

    Mostly for impressing/freaking out acquaintances...and the remote possibility of chemical/nuclear disaster.

  2. I've actually looked into that, Bunny, and ran into two rather large problems:

    1) Most, if not all, of those items are prohibitively expensive to me
    2) Bulky, bulky, BULKY.

    Fortunately, I live in a fairly rural part of central Florida. If any part of the state gets hit by a chem/bio/dirty nuke, it will be one of the big cities to the north, south, or west of me.

    Now if I were still living in Washington DC, this would be an entirely different story.

  3. One other very important item I don't think I've seen, and correct me if I've missed it somewhere.. Is Toilet Paper. I'm sure the last thing you want when you're fleeing from zombies is a poison Ivy rash on your sensetive areas because you didn't have any TP..

  4. Huh. I could have sworn I mentioned them when I talked about hand sanitizer...

    Regardless, what I have are biodegradable wet wipes. Great for washing and wiping all sorts of things!


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