We’ve already established that there are logical limits to what a zombie can bite through (see: Zombies Don’t Eat Brains).  Now ZRS Researcher, Kimberly Pastor, argues that our understanding of what constitutes zombie armor needs to evolve as well.

Pastor asserts that we should view armor as simply the first level of human shelter.  No one would ever suggest that wearing a jacket to protect against the cold is a bad idea.  Similarly, when viewing armor broadly it becomes nothing more than a layer of protection that increases your survival probability.

Unfortunately, too many zombie survivalists take Max Brooks’ narrow view of armor:

“Speed and agility should be your first defense against the walking dead.  Armor will not only decrease both of these advantages, but will also sap your energy during prolonged conflict.  Therefore, armor should not be worn.”

But what if zombie armor didn’t have any measurable impact on your speed and agility?  What if it didn’t require any extra energy to outfit yourself with greater protection?  Pastor points to a previous duct tape study when recommending the use of thicker materials and light-weight additives in your zombie survival wardrobe.

She adds that there’s need to strap on a full set of medieval plate male, or wear a full shark suite.  A hooded sweatshirt with strips of industrial strength tape could provide complete bite protection for your entire upper body.  Add leather gloves and goggles, and you’re well on your way to being virtually bite and splatter proof.

What does your zombie armor look like?


  1. I have to agree, duct tape, bad idea. Yeah enough layers it’s ok, but doesn’t breathe. Wrap wrist to shoulders and to neck only with a few layers underneath when taping to account for flex underneath when in use. And 2 pairs of jeans have u ever had to run in sweaty jeans?? At least cut the knee out of the outer layer for better bending and use knee pads. I agree completely with the plastic idea, I have a 12ft by 6″ cut. pvc pipe and and that’s hard to bite, not only hardness but it’s size alone. Cut,heat, and form over arms and shins…. keep biting Z lemme grab my knife. And I have WAY too many designs to type right now. Oh and phone books….? That seems a little bulky just sayn.

  2. My armor would be braced (as in its held together with stuff) football shoulder pads, then I would bolt shovel heads on the shoulder I would line either scrap steel or aluminum on the breastplate, and have the areas not covered covored in leather that has washer male on it, I would put knee pads and lacrosse pads on my legs, and take metal mails box and cut it down so it fits over my legs, I would put rectangle signs and the thighs for thigh armor, and for the arms I would just armor some elbow and arm pads.

  3. Here’s what I would use: shin guards on your shins and forearms, plus phone books on the other side of your legs and arms, all taped together with Gorilla Tape. It’s better than duct tape and very strong, especially when you wrap it 3 or 4 times. Headgear that’s worth a damn will only hinder your line of sight and peripheral vision. Try to find loose legged pants that breathe and fit over your leg armor. As for upper leg and upper arm protection, try out paintball gear and biker gear and see what works. Chest armor should be hockey shoulder pads (goalie shoulder pads if you can find them), as its light and covers most of your chest. Wear your armor underneath your clothes so that if you come across some asshole human, they won’t be expecting their weapons to not penetrate through.

    • Head gear doesn’t have to limit your line of sight, I do Nerf-gun-fights to prep my neighbors and I and i wear a air soft mask its hot but i can see fine plus it protects my nose and ears from being bitten and ripped off (probably the second worst way to be bitten with the first being your unmentionables).

  4. Link to study is dead please advise

  5. In this situation, I’d like you all to recall the magazine armor in WWZ. Even though most of us can agree it was a crappy movie, it made some good points. Ever try chewing through a layer of duct tape reinforced with 60 pages of paper? Even worn on only the forearms and calves it would help significantly

  6. If you want light weight armor get motorcycle armor. Virtually weightless, flexible, and strong.

    • but man is it hot when I go sledding in winter I wear motorcycle armor and only one sweatshirt and am sweating after twenty minutes.

  7. duck tape will do nothing if you want light body armor go for paint ball gear it is light flexible breathable and durable it would be the best choice if you have, it but if you have to make your own armor why duck tape it is not for everything in the world like someone else has commented you would die pretty quickly from dehydration please look past duck tape it is annoying to see all these posts up about how people will use it to survive…PLEASE

  8. useless armor but useable metal

  9. Bite-proofing is pointless. If you’re close enough to a zed that you’re in danger of being bitten you’re pretty well boned anyway unless it’s just the one. The main focus of any improvised armor should be splatter proofing and also stream-lining. Zed is going to try to grab you before he tries to bite you. If he can’t get a good grip that gives you more time to escape.

    Duct tape draw-backs:
    1. It’s not 100% bite-proof
    2. Even if it deters the teeth of a Z from reaching your skin, you’re still contending with 162 PSI or more from an average human jaw. That’s more than enough to break bones and tear skin just from pressure.
    3. Duct tape doesn’t breathe. If you’re covered head-to-toe in the stuff, you’re gonna overheat, dehydrate, and die pretty quick.

    I have to agree with Brooks on this front. Survival is your main goal. If you’re fighting Z’s in melee range you’re either incredibly unlucky (and probably about to die) or you’re incredibly stupid. By all means, have a melee weapon in case you need it, and wear light-weight protection, especially to forearms, hands, and face, but don’t think that you can wade into a Z mob with a duct-taped trench coat and a katana and survive. No amount of armor will make you invincible during Zombiepocalypse.

  10. The duct tape armor works well if you have a standard roll put on whatever you want to use as your out and about armor (the stuff you are going to use while in an urban area trying to fend off the hoard). a leather jacket almost everyone has one, they are relatively light, and very durable. That alone should work for a top layer throw a hoodie on under it and you got pretty good protection for body, gloves any gloves that are light that allow you to have dextarity you can reenforce between the joints with some duct tape (someone said that they can bite though it, I call bullshit, yes its not hard to rip it off the roll with teeth but with if its layered around soemthing you will not bite though it. as for pants i dont know about ductaping jeans i would ware a base layer of smart wool and have some hiking pants with say shin guards and hiking boots as for thighs well if you can get some light weight plastic and make some fitted thigh guards that will work best.

    People who keep saying leather leather leather obviously haven’t run in it, its hot, doesn’t breath well and as for pants well… yea… that’s a no go, light weight plastic it doesn’t need to be anything special just maybe milk jug cut into to strips that you use as leg armor remember if you are being held down by the zombies you’re as good as dead you only want to protect yourself while you are on the move from a finger or at worst a tooth that comes from a walker that’s crawling or something. it doesn’t need to be completely protective. Besides i think more dangerous then the walkers…. Other humans and if they have a gun well your made up body armor ain’t gonna cut it.

  11. Lets take into consideration what UNPREPARED people would have at their disposal to make into serviceable light weight armor. First thing that comes to my mind is copious amounts of canvas and leather as well as scrap metal and duct tape. Looking around my house I have two heavy weight cotton based coats. One of those over top of a hoodie covered in two or three layers of duct tape (smartly placed to allow for easy movements), two pears of jeans with my work dickies over top again layered with duct tape around the thighs, calves, and ankles but not the knees, my work boots which are not steal toe (so I can run) similar to combat boots but not as nice. For gloves I would wear my gardening gloves with duct tape reinforcement except for finger joints until I could make it to a grocery store and take several pairs of safety gloves from their meat department (similar to the stuff they wear to protect against shark bites).

    I think this would get me through until I could find a group to survive with and we could come up with more permanent safety solutions. I think it’s more important to have a vehicle with armor (think Dawn of the Dead) and a protected home stead. First thought? A city liquor store. In the city they have bullet proof glass between them and the patrons. So break into one with a small group of survivors and set up shop. I’ll have my original armor to use and hopefully replicate for early expeditions to gather food and later hopefully we’ll develop and scavenge better armor (think police riot gear with modifications).

    The majority of people who survive the initial threats will not be prepared for the apocalypse and will therefor have to improvise.

  12. Anyone heard of Ezeform splinting material? Its used in physiotherapy, google it.
    Not easy to get hold of as ‘improvised’ after a zombie outbreak but if you plan ahead its not hard to order some. If you really want light armour custom made for your legs and arms then this is the stuff. Molds to your contours with the use of hot water, very strong and you strap it on quickly using velcro straps. Leather underneath, skate pads on joints, gloves, some kind of facemask and away you go. Practically impregnable and still agile.

  13. No armor is stupid as well as heavy armor. The best thing to do is get light high-grade hand/forearm protection first, because you use your hands/arms for close quarter combat. A close second would be neck/shoulder protect to prevent zombie bites there (that’s a key bite area other than the arms). The third is foot/leggings, these MUST be kept light though but still provide good defense (not army boots).

    Best thing to do is stay light, don’t be tempted by heavy bulky armor unless it’s really huge and you can live in there for a few years and wait the zombies out until they die…..I’ve thought about this a lot because I have way too much time on my hands and not enough important things to think about…don’t judge me.

  14. you have to factor in that no matter what puncture (bites) armor can repel it would still hurt you through the armor -like a pinch through clothing – bite your self on the arm through a sweatshirt and you will still be mildly hurt

  15. In all honesty I can agree with Tom, Tyvek is extremely durable. Plus with the compliments of military BDUs and some M.O.P.P. gear you have some extremely light weight and durable armor. BDUs alone were designed to withstand punishment, and also blend with the enviroment, granted you have a set that matches your surroundings. You can tend to find M.O.P.P suits online for reasonable prices, along with BDUs. The problem I find with duct tape is it doesn’t flex when layered. So, you tend to have to sacrifice agility and flexibility.

  16. This obsession with duct tape is ridiculous. I can bite through duct tape. If you want something bite proof go with Tyvek this stuff is unbelievably durable and almost impossible to tear. Sure you can slice it with an razor but wear it under your jackets and jeans etc it would be virtually impervious to tears and punctures. They make the suits for use on asbestos, acids and moulds so there is no chance of liquid transfer and they are incredibly light and will not restrict movement in anyway. The only draw back is that this material doesn’t breathe so you’d be pretty warm but hey…you wouldn’t be dead or rather undead. They make the suits in different durability levels so obviously opt for the thickest.

    Just google it. Oh, one other bonus is the low cost in comparison to say leather pants and jackets

    Anyway that’s what I’m gonna be wearing when the dead come a knockin’

    Cheers and good luck with the blunt objects.


  17. Id like to point out that there are recorderings of people biting through steel and swallowing it I dont see how armor wouldf make all the difference as zombies cant feel pain and therefore would not stop biting

  18. See Using Improvised Weapons Against Zombies for my post

  19. First I have a gas mask from when my dad was in the military. Throw on a hoodie, and jeans, combat boots and welding gloves. Maybe reinforce it all with duct tape and it would be completely bite and splatter proof.

  20. I have an old WW2 Russian gas mask, Black Leather bomber jacket, Studded Leather gloves, 2 pairs of jeans (Leather on top and then duct taped jeans underneath), and then Black leather combat boots. and then a hockey bag with 3L of water, a baseball bat with a railroad spike through it, Saltines, KD and mp3 player full of metal with 12 extra batteries.

  21. the best i got for the upper body is an old leather jacket in the closet (sorta like the one Fonzie wears) all i have for the lower body is jeans and tennis shoes. this should be enough if fortified with duct tape (though i may need new footwear reguardless). a facemask could help against splatter, but it will also may impair your peripheral vision unless carefully selected.

    on a side note, EVERYONE who has loops on their pants (most people i assume) should wear a belt. even if your pants are tight and you are fairly slim, you will definitely lose a few lbs in an apocalypse and sagging pants=fatality. belts can probably be used for other purposes as well without adding much noticeable weight to your load.

  22. And the good thing about industrial strength duct tape is that when it does rip, if you have more, you can patch it easily enough.

    Get a leather trench coat and augment it with the duct tape. Not sure how easy it would be to walk around in, but a few years back when Highlander was big, they came out with a trench coat that could hold a katana on the left side. *shrugs*

    Probably just easier to have a short coat with duct tape though.

  23. phft, do we really need homeade armor?
    why cant we just put on some t5-1b
    but srearsely, id use my bomber, some jeans and cover teh jeans with duct tape. the bomber is already thick enought and ill need it anyhow, considering that i live in new jeresy

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