There is a lot we still don’t know about zombies, which is why the Zombie Research Society was created in the first place. What will ultimately cause the coming zombie plague? How exactly will it spread? Will it be a virus, hybrid bacteria, or something else entirely? The questions are endless. However, when taking a hard look at the specific makeup of the modern zombie, one key ingredient is as obvious as the nose on your face: people.

People make zombies. No matter what else is in the mix, without people there can be no walking dead trying to hunt and eat other people. This seems like a simple concept, but it’s too often overlooked when developing survival strategies for a zombie outbreak. The best advice for increasing your odds of staying alive, and the first thing to consider when developing a survival plan, is to keep away from people. No people means no zombies.

With that in mind banding together in large groups is a bad idea. Finding refuge in any densely populated area, such as government camp, city building, or military base, is a recipe for disaster. In fact, the classic cinematic image of a hoard of zombies attacking a few people in an abandoned farmhouse presents exactly the wrong impression.

Abandoned farmhouses have two major advantages built right into the name: 1) they’re abandoned – meaning no people, and 2) they’re on a farm – meaning a large plot of open land that provides good visibility and further decreases the likelihood of any other people being around. Not to mention the potential for growing food, and accessing an independent water supply.

Healthy people can also turn out to be a serious threat, stealing your food and gear, or causing you great physical harm. So when the zombie crap hits the proverbial fan, try to get as far away as possible from pretty much everybody else on the planet. It may quite literally be the difference between life and death.


  1. so true, the thing that “28 weeks later” and “Land of the Dead” did well was how fast things can go downhill when a populated place has no real plan for a walking/running outbreak.

    So if the zombie show up, and you movie to a new place that has a lot of people there, and it has not started doing a zombie drill by the time you get there, plan on moving on. When you have a large group of people, they need to know what they need to do when a disaster happens, if they don’t, the will just do what they think they should do, or what they want to do, and soon after panic.

    Smaller groups tends to be more flexible, and it becomes easier to see when a problem is forming among the group. Also, as a smaller group, when you meet other groups, you just become two/three groups, so when something happens you just stick with your group, and move one when it’s time.

  2. Being solo can’t be good either. What is an optimal group size for survival?

    • The ideal group size can change depending on your needs and ability. But a rough number of something like 4 or 5 would be a safe bet. Enough people to help collect food, water and supplies, and also keep watch at night, but not so many that factions will develop.

    • Jason A. Martin

      I agree that you want to keep your group small and flexible (I’d have said more than four or five… hell, that wouldn’t even cover all of my kids!), but wouldn’t something the size of a modern military squad be feasible? Say… a dozen members?

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