Here’s What the Walking Dead Can Teach You about Survival

If you’re not already a fan of The Walking Dead TV series, you are definitely missing out in many ways. If you haven’t watched it because you thought it was “just another show about zombies”, let me be the first to let you know that The Walking Dead is about life, not zombies.

Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely zombies in the show, and for those who love blood and gore this series will not disappoint.

But even if you hate blood and gore, if you can manage to look past those scenes, you will find more than a few hidden treasures in the characters and plot of each season. But what does The Walking Dead have to do with survival in our world?

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Well, when it comes to figuring out how to survive in the worst possible situations, the characters of The Walking Dead start out newbies and gradually become experts.

This process is very similar to what happens when someone first starts to prep or first experiences a life or death situation and they aren’t prepared.

Learning to survive whatever comes at you is a gradual process that requires a persistent dedication to always expanding your knowledge and learning skills.

So, whether you like zombies or hate them, here’s what The Walking Dead can teach you about survival.

When SHTF, It Doesn’t Give Much, If Any, Warning

The series which stars Andrew Lincoln, as Rick Grimes, a small town Sheriff, is set initially just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

Fresh off a major argument with his wife, Rick Grimes and his partner and best friend, Shane, are caught off guard in response to a vehicle pursuit.

Rick Grimes is seriously wounded when he is shot by a third perpetrator in the vehicle that was not reported by dispatch or noticed by either officer.

Rick ends up in surgery, Shane is tasked with notifying his wife, who must then break the news to their young son, Carl as he gets out of school.

Rick wakes up in the hospital room, only to find the world around him has rapidly gone to the dogs, or in this case, the zombies.

He is injured, weak, dressed in a hospital gown, and has no idea where his wife and son are or what has happened to all the people.

When Trouble Hits, Most People First Get Home

When Rick Grimes wakes up and realizes that something really bizarre is going on in his small little town, the first place he goes is home.

He leaves the hospital barefoot and wearing a hospital gown, grabs the first bicycle he comes across and rides all the way home to his house. He searches the house for his wife and child to no avail. They are gone.

In the midst of his panic and distress however, he notices their family photo albums are missing from their usual spot.

Renewed with the knowledge that his family was alive when they left the home, he dresses in his uniform and rallies himself to go and find them.

When you’re in a SHTF situation, the first place you’ll want to go is home. Hopefully, unlike Rick, you’ll be able to rendezvous there with the rest of your family members and collect any resources you have stockpiled.

But if you are observant instead of hysterical, sometimes just getting home can give you the strength and hope you need to keep going from there.

Many Items Have More Than One Use

Another of the things The Walking Dead can teach you about survival is that many items have more than one use. This is important if you are foraging in an area for resources that may have already been picked over.

Your local Tractor Supply may not have any BBQ grills left but there may be some coat hangers or some other metal pieces that you can use to form a makeshift grate over a fire ring or even a metal garbage can.

When your stockpile of lighters and other firestarters run out, it’s important to know that those abandoned cars have parts, including mirrors, glass, or even batteries that might be helpful for starting a fire.

Individual Zombies Are A Threat, But In A Herd, They Are Deadly

One of the things The Walking Dead can teach you about survival is that even if you can handle yourself against an individual who is threatening you, a group or herd of desperate or criminal individuals is a totally different story.

What works to fight off an individual zombie or intruder, isn’t going to be as effective against a group of zombies or intruders. Sometimes you may have to get creative in how you defend yourself and think quickly about how to bring down multiple “zombies” at once.

There Are No Safe Places

For the first half of this series, maybe longer, Rick and his companions are continually searching for a safe place.

They find several possibilities, including an isolated farm, a maximum security prison with high fences and barbed wire, a “sanctuary” at an old train station, and even a housing development with high steel walls.

But as each “safe place” after the other falls short, the group soon discovers that there are no “safe places”. So, another thing The Walking Dead can teach you about survival is that safety is not about a “place”.

When it comes to survival, safety is about your knowledge and skill level, your group’s trust and loyalty, and your ability to secure resources.

Often The Biggest Threat Is Other Humans

Even though most people will tell you that The Walking Dead is about zombies and yes, zombies play a huge role throughout the series, often the biggest threat to the characters is other human beings who are desperate or bent on harming them.

This is a big lesson that The Walking Dead can teach you about survival because in a SHTF or survival situation, other people could be your biggest threat. People who are panicked and desperate, do really dumb things.

They do things they wouldn’t normally do. And people who are desperate or have nothing left to lose will often turn to violence against anyone who they perceive has it better than they do.

It’s people of this nature that you have to watch out for because they can be as unpredictable as any other threat out there.

Building Trust and Relationships Is Vital to Survival For Everyone

When it comes to survival, whether in our current world or following some type of SHTF event, trust in others and how you relate to others is vitally important.

There are not very many people in this world who can truly survive for any length of time without relying on others at some point.

Even Michonne, probably one of the most warrior like characters in The Walking Dead, needed to rely on help from others when she was injured by the Governor.

How to compromise and cooperate with fellow group members, when to draw a hard line, and how to quickly identify which newcomers might be trustworthy, is another of the things The Walking Dead can teach you about survival.

A Gun Isn’t Always The Best Weapon

Even though Rick starts his journey with a duffel bag full of guns and ammunition that he took from the abandoned Sheriff’s station, one of the things The Walking Dead can teach you about survival is that a gun isn’t always the best weapon.

Rick Grimes and the companions he bands together with along the way, soon discover that the sound of a gun draws even more zombies to them.

Gunshots attract the zombies, just like the sound of a gunshot will alert other humans to your presence in a survival situation.

This is just one of the flaws in planning for those who think they can simply head to the woods with their guns and hunt for food.

Sometimes stealth is what will keep you safe, which means you better know how to use more discreet weapons than a gun, like a good knife, a machete, or Daryl Dixon’s crossbow perhaps.

Sometimes Death or Survival are Simply Dumb Luck

The characters of The Walking Dead, just like the people on our Earth, have a huge variety of knowledge, skills, and resources to draw upon.

Some of them were trained to shoot, some of them were combat veterans, some had jobs as mundane as pizza delivery.

No matter how skilled or trained you are or aren’t, sometimes whether or not you survive is simply dumb luck.

You can try to avoid dangerous situations and you can continually develop your skills through experience and practice, but there’s no way to predict or guarantee you can survive zombies falling through the roof or a tsunami that hits while you are too near the coastline.

Even Good People Die

This is undoubtedly one of the hardest lessons that The Walking Dead can teach you about survival.

No matter how prepared you think you are, even good people die in survival or SHTF situations. It’s just the nature of the beast, or in the case of The Walking Dead, it’s the nature of the apocalypse.

Do what you can to prepare yourself for the fact that even good people die when SHTF, grieve for them when you can, and then keep going for those who still live and may need your strengths.

Are you caught up with what’s currently happening in The Walking Dead? If not, it’s time to Netflix and take notes about all of the different things The Walking Dead can teach you about survival.

Are you a dedicated fan of the show? What’s the best thing you learned about survival from The Walking Dead?

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10 thoughts on “Here’s What the Walking Dead Can Teach You about Survival”

  1. Nice, Megan. We were devotees of the show the first couple seasons, it got ‘old’ and then we gave up cable. I think the biggest takeaway from the show is inter-personal dynamics and group dynamics. That leaves one more than enough to think about.

  2. Rule #1 Expect the unexpected.

    Rule #2 Think outside the box. The episode with the herd on the road had my idea stolen, a cable attached to to moviñg vehicles. I said to do that at the farm but hey……..

    I actually went to where they film some of it and there is a restaurant there named


  3. they are too stupid to move up north, where all the zombies freeze solid in winter and you can just go around with a ball bat, knocking off their heads and/or breaking their legs. They are too dumb to live on an island in the middle of a river or lake, too. To dumb to have raided a N Guard or Army base the first WEEK and got all the supplies you could ask for. With the double filters that Military trucks have, the diesel fuel in tanks and drums will run them for many years. gas will all be ruined in a year or two. Get a truck and tow behind it a tank full of diesel and you can easily drive from GA to canada in two days ,BEFORE all the cars pile up and you can’t get around. Nobody has EVER had brains enough to use a bicycle, or solar charger for night vision. They’ve never learned to use discrete Dakota fire pits, and then only at night. Nobody’s figured out that your melee weapon should be a Cold steel shovel with a 2 ft long, homemade handle, or to stay hidden during daytime, and only one or two have had a silencer, when noise is SO likely to be really bad news. Army bases have diesel fuel, diesel generators, lathes, welders, tubing. you CAN make a couple of silencers per day. you want one for every longarm that you have and you dont want anyone in your group to not have an AR-15 and a pistol. To hell with having notching but a hammer, hatchet or big knife. That’s a total crock of it. There’s BILLIONS of rds of 223 ammo in miiltary arsenals. Break into one, first week of shtf, and get a truckload of it. Ditto their pharmeceuticals. Your next stop should be a big library, all of this at night. Other people are 1000x as dangerous as any zombie.

  4. what you can REALLY learn from is all the stuff NOT to take or do on Alone show, and how dumb people are on the Naked and Afraid show. You want as big a 750 paracord hammock as allowed, as big of a lw tarp as allowed and the machete. You unravel the hammock to have cordage, peel off the outer sheath of the paracord, to access the 11 inner strands and weave netting out of it. The tarp becomes your shelter, your sleeping bags, your containers, your cookpot. Make an adze out of stone and wood, make a wooden shovel, dig a pit, 1 ft deep, 1×2 ft in size (at LEAST(. Line it with clay if you can find/make some, and fire it. If you can’t find clay, line the pit with a chunk of tarp. Line the tarp with gravel or sand, to protect the tarp. Fill the pit with water, almost full and start putting in hot rocks, until the water is boiling well. Let it cool, put it into the tarp and cordage bag/containers. Boil meat the same way, drink the broth. Roasting food, you burn it, eat it raw and the precious fat drips into the fire. That’s stupid in the extreme

    • two of you can really catch fish with a narrow seine in shallow water, You can weave 200 sq ft of 1.5″ mesh per day, the two of you. If the water is only 18″ deep, you’ve can have a seine 100 ft long. Tie it to some long stakes, carry a baton for driving the stakes into the mud/sand. Start at the shore, move out with the net in a half circle, meet each other, weave a line to join the nets. then start moving it to shore. If all you catch is a few small fish, dont eat them. Instead, used them as bait. make another such net, and shape the 2 of them into a baited net-weir, shaped like a heart. It will catch fish for you, 24-7. If you;’re having success, make more such nets. You can make a 400 sq ft baited net weir in a day, the two of you, if it’s 3″ mesh, which suffices for catching baited-in waterfowl. A goose is 7000 calories. A duck is 2000+ calories, a gull is only 1000 calories and tastes nasty, but if you boil off seawater and get some salt, you can choke it down.

  5. you can carry 1000 rds of .22l and it will weigh just 7.5 lbs. Any barrel length of .22 shorter than 7″ will keep regular .22lr ammo subsonic, so it can be BB gun quiet thru a silencer. Supersonic ammo has a whiplike “crack” noise when fired thru a silencer. You can paint an ammo can will shellac, fill it with 5000 rds of .22lr and bury it properly (at night, leaving no sign, showing no light, with gravel all around and under it, vs freeze/thaw threat) in a couple of hours. That’s $300. Or you can bury smaller amounts in chunks of PVC pipe, with glued/threated on caps. Use vasoline on the threads, to form a water-tight seal.

  6. Agree, Bill. Couldn’t watch because of the stupidity. No thinking beyond a day or two. Most people who watched probably for 70% feel good relationships and 30% nasty zombies.

  7. first few seaons were ok, now it’s pure stupidity. if you can’t learn the basic lessons after 1-2 screwups, you’re toast and I dont care to watch the horrors visited upon the stupid. In fact, I think that they deserve what they get.

  8. We’ve watched all 9 seasons, some were better then other seasons, for sure now we are at the part where Judith, is 9 and I’m surprised in the six year’s since Rick, is gone they still act like season 1 in some of the episodes, we will watch until the end dumb, or not it’s been interesting.


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