Quick & Dirty – Packing Up
They’ve smashed in your kitchen window looking for a meal, and they don’t want mom’s leftover meatloaf. If you’d have been more ambitious, an escape pack would be ready to go. But no, only now did you consider it might be a good idea to go frantically rummaging through the attic looking for Pappy’s old rucksack. Now you’re desperately trying to cram all your worldly possessions into it. Good idea, don’t forget that golden smiling Buddha. You’ll definitely need that.
Did you make it out alive? Unbitten? Great, but now you’re toting around a plethora of who-knows-what that you subconsciously mashed into a musty 50-year-old backpack. It’s this kind of carelessness that gets people eaten.
There’s an art to packing like a pro. You’ll have nothing but time to learn what works best for you in the Aftermath, but you need to brush up on the basics. Following these simple rules will help you survive another day by keeping everything where it should be.
This would have been a lot easier before the plague of zombies hit town and ransacked your living room, but at least you’ve found a quiet place away from the dead-heads to see exactly what you grabbed in a panic.
Lay all your gear out and take a look. Do you really need your sister’s lone flip flop? No. Chuck it along with anything you don’t absolutely need. Any extra room in your pack will be useful for things you find later on. Chances are, in these first, horrifying days of survival, you’re going to have to be light on your feet and ready to dash at the first sign of trouble. So don’t bother with anything that’s going to weigh you down. Survivors carrying packs full to bulging are sure signs of inexperience. Don’t be one of them.
Keep On Rollin’
So you’ve pared your concert hoodie and shoe collection down to the basic, functional necessities. But in reality, showers and laundry day will be few and far between. Clothing, however necessary, will become the biggest space-waster of your backpack. Luckily, there’s a method to squeezing them in as tight as possible, and that’s rolling them. This saves space by making clothing and other soft objects as tight and compact as possible. It also keeps them organized and easy to grab.
Keeping a handful of elastic bands handy can prevent unravelling. Using colour-coded elastics can help you quickly identify your bundles. Consider investing in a few stuff sacks, compression bags, or dry sacks to add even more organization or weather protection to your gear.
Everything In It’s Place
Now that your gear is all neat and tidy, don’t just go tossing everything back into your pack like a savage. There’s a method to follow. And no one wants to be that guy who can’t find his spare belt which would have made a perfect tourniquet– Oh, but now your best friend is dead. Well, you should have kept reading.
Backpacks can either have just one opening on top, or one on the top and bottom. Keep your essential items easy to grab by keeping them near these entry points.
Light and durable things are kept low. Carrying your sleeping gear at the bottom entry makes it easy to retrieve on a nightly basis and protects more fragile equipment. For top-loaders, pack your rolled clothes tightly along the bottom. You didn’t change your pants for weeks at a time before the apocalypse, how long will it be before you change them after it?
Heavy things like cans of food and that extra box of hollow points should be packed against the small of your back and run upwards towards your shoulders. This will make your load easier to carry and give you better balance. This also means they’ll have protective layers on all sides (if you consider your guts to be a protective layer).
The top of your pack should be as light as possible. Use the compression or cinch straps along the sides of your backpack to keep everything tight and compact. See? There’s no reason to have a bulging backpack. Now you have room for that rubber vagina you scavenged while hiding in a burnt-out sex shop.
Outer pockets are perfect storage for quick-need items like med-kits, flashlights, energy snacks and multi-tools.
Got everything you need? Know where all of it’s at? Good. Now you’re all set to trek out into a dying civilization with room to spare. Don’t be afraid to replace the things you own with something better along the way.
Most backpacks aren’t fully waterproof. Consider protecting your gear with plastic bags, Ziploc bags, or garbage bags. No one wants moldy underwear.
Packs sometimes come with a “daisy chain” for hanging gear on the outside of your pack. While handy, swinging gear can cause unnecessary noise and may create pesky snag points.