Halloween Holiday Post: Zombie Culture and Overlanding

It’s no secret that Zombie Culture has a certain appeal to the overlanding community. From Resident Evil to The Walking Dead there are many movies and TV shows that have feature vehicles of all shapes and sizes living lives as survival rigs and tools of.  There is also a skills element to life after civilization where survival, weapons, and self-sufficancy are more important than spreadsheets and time clocks.

How many of you have seen one, or more, of these stickers on an overland adventure rig?
Every wonder why they are so common?

So, in honor of Halloween, let’s take a look at some connections between Zombie Culture and the overland adventure lifestyle.
There’s an iconic scene early in one of the  Resident Evil sequels where a convoy of kitted out survival rigs barrels down a desolate desert highway.  It’s an eclectic eccentric mix of trucks that mirrored the personalities of the characters that drove them.

Claire Redfield’s convoy from Resident Evil: Extinction 

What a mix. TV Van, an ambo, a schoolie, duce-and-a-half, and a tanker.

I think that’s part of the appeal.  It’s all about personality.  Many of us choose our adventure rigs and modify them as a manifest station of how we see ourselves.  Some rigs are very humble or simple and cover the basics.  Others are over the top in terms of extravagance and complexity.  Either way, there is often a connection, a visible connection, between the owner/operator and their vehicle.

Daryl’s motorcycle from the TV show The Walking Dead
A more minimalistic and individualistic approach to the zombie ride.

Another common theme in both Zombie Culture and overlanding culture is repurposed military hardware, or military inspired modifications.  Often referred to as “tacticool” in a tongue-in-cheek manner, this theme manifests itself in everything from vehicles and gear to fashion.  There is often a utilitarian nature to military equipment.  Function over form usually drives design.  This often leads to overbuilt trucks with harsh angular lines compared to the softer rounder designed of consumer vehicles.  With large knobby tires, straight steel bumpers, and plenty of auxiliary lighting it’s easy to see why they’d be a natural choice for both the zombie warrior and the overland adventurer.

The other side of the Resident Evil coin: The Umbrealla Corporation.
This is when the word “Tacticool” comes to mind.

The same goes for gear.  There is a lot of military gear that is up for the abuse and will outlast some of the consumer “weekend warrior” gear that’s for sale in the big box stores.  I know I’m guilty of having more than a few “mil-spec” and “standard-issue” pieces of equipment floating around in my kit.  I even have a few surplus ammo cans as gear organizers. Even I’m guilty of the “tacticool” bug.

When the shit hits the fan, it’s a good idea to be prepared enough to hit back.

One thing I think Zombie Culture is good for is being a discussion catalyst for the concept of preparedness. Scan any of the survivalist blogs and everyone is talking about their “Bug Out Bag”, what’s in it, what needs to be in it, and what it’s good for.  For those unfamiliar with the idea a BOB is a small to medium sized backpack that is ALWAYS ready to go and has enough food, water, and gear to sustain you for up to 72 hours.  They are often very personalized and always setup for the environment the person is in.  So someone’s BOB for downtown Washington DC will look every different that someone who lives in the mountains of western Montana.  Either way, the idea is in the event of the Zombie Apocalypse you can just grab you bag and get out of Dodge without having to worry too much about if you have what you’ll need to survive.

Even the CDC jumped on the bandwagon with a series of zombie inspired ads

Truth be told, I doubt there are very many sane rational people out there that honestly believe we’re on the verge of a Zombie Apocalypse.  It makes for great entertainment.  From a philosophical standpoint Zombie Culture represents a window into the human condition, how we handle adversity, and how we overcome it.

When it comes to overlanding I think the zombie problem is fun and interesting way to discuss and debate what vehicle you drive, how you modify it, what gear you carry, and the ultimate “what-if” scenario to measure exactly how prepared you are for disaster — be they walking zeds, a nor-easter blizzard, or a menacing hurricane. I think Zombie Culture also presents an interesting thematic approach to vehicle customization that helps people differentiate themselves from the herd.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this Halloween inspired look at some of the connections between Zombie Culture and overlanding.  Feel free to comment bellow and show how ready your overland rig and kit are for the Zombie Apocalypse.

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