What Zombies Can Teach You About Dispersed Camping Preparation

zombies in car in woods

In light of the recent pandemic, I’ve been thinking about how preparing for the zombie apocalypse is similar to preparing for a dispersed camping trip. Like dispersed camping, in an apocalypse, we won’t have access to the grid that sustains us in modern society. Electricity, water, fuel, and food will not be readily available. This begs the question; How do you prepare for dispersed camping?

Since dispersed camping is off-grid, it requires the ability to acquire, produce or obtain shelter, electricity, water, fuel, food, and clothing. You’ll need the power to run your devices, water storage, extra fuel, food, clothing, and some sort of shelter. You’ll also need a destination.

Gimme Shelter

During the zombie apocalypse, you’ll need shelter. Many people have RVs, but if you don’t have one, you’ll need some other sort of shelter. Most will choose a tent or camp in their car. The same is true of dispersed camping.

RV Camping

When the zombie apocalypse hits (or if you are dispersed camping), if you have an RV, you’re golden. You’ll still need to equip your RV. And you’re in luck! I wrote an article on the 10 Essentials of RV camping to help you out.

If you have an RV with a shower and toilet, even better – skip to the next section.

If you aren’t one of the lucky ones with an RV, you’ll need some kind of shelter. Most campers choose a tent, but some like the safety of sleeping in their car. During a zombie apocalypse, you’ll have to make this difficult choice.

Car Camping

tent for an suv hatch

If you are sleeping in your car, there are items to make it more comfortable. Camp N Car makes some cool mods that you can install to make camping in your car more comfortable.

If you want to get out of the city on the cheap, consider a bed for your seat or the back of your SUV.

If you have an SUV, consider buying a screen enclosure for the rear of your car. it won’t keep the zombies out, but it will help with bugs.

Tent Camping

If you go the tent route, you’ll have plenty of options for tents to buy.

We recently purchased the Gazelle T3. It’s a pop-up tent that is super easy to set up. It does take up a bit of space because the poles are so long, but it’s worth the space and money in my option. If the zombies come, you can pack up quickly.

After seeing our Gazelle T3, my daughter and her boyfriend bought the Gazelle T4. They like it because they both can stand up in it. In the T3, we are ducking since it is not as tall as the T4.

Along with your tent, you’ll need other camping equipment like a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and sleeping pads, a camp kitchen, flashlights, chairs, a cooler, some repair items, and a first-aid kit.

Check out the REI camping essentials checklist.

Whether you’re running from zombies or just dispersed camping, you’ll also need some way to deal with your waste. Take a look at the article I wrote on toilets. This is not just specific to camper vans as all dispersed campers need a way to deal with their waste.

Mo Power (Electricity)

We all have devices that need power like phones, headlamps, and tablets, just to name a few. In an off-grid situation, you have a few options: Solar, a power station, or a gas generator.


Jackery solar panels on the bed of a Tacoma truck
Jackery Solar Panels

Solar power is a renewable source of energy. As long as you have a solar panel (or panels) you can stay off the grid for a long while. Solar panels are great while the sun shines, but you’ll also need a way to store that energy.

Power Station or Battery

A power station or battery will store the sun’s energy until you need it. We have the Jackery 1000 and love it. It has just enough power to run my coffee maker and hairdryer. Of course, it powers our phones and other electronic devices.

We also have solar panels that go with it. There are other options for power stations. Jackery is just the one that we picked.

In our Casita Travel Trailer, we have 135 watts of Zamp Obsidian solar panels on the roof. We bought the Zamp integration kit and three of the 45-watt Zamp Obsidian panels. We also have two UnoWix Lithium Batteries.

I wanted to use my hairdryer and coffee maker off-grid, so we also bought the Victron 2000 Inverter. Now we can use the Jackery 1000 for other things.

Gas Generator

honda ie2200 companion generator sits on anderson trailer tray on casita camper

Another way to get power is from a gas-powered generator. These generators can be fueled by either gasoline or propane.

The downside of a gas generator is that you’ll eventually run out of gas. However, they are good for powering energy-sucking devices like air conditioning units. If you’d like to see the low down on gas-powered portable generators, here’s an article I wrote about that. Gas-powered generators are loud, but I did focus on the quietest ones in the article.


Water is definitely the limiting factor unless you are camped near a river or lake. You’ll need approximately two gallons of water per person per day if you are doing dishes and showering.

My husband has been eyeing the Guzzle H2O Overland Bundle for some time now. He hasn’t been able to justify the price yet. It’s a nice piece of equipment that will pull water from a lake or stream. It also has a built-in filter. For now, we are using a drill-powered water pump like this one.

You’ll need some hoses, but if you have a cordless drill, you can use it to pull water right out of a lake or stream. And, they are very inexpensive. When we are tent camping, we have a drill anyway to drive the screw peg tent stakes that we use for the tent.

We like the Aquatainer for carrying water. Each container holds 7 gallons of water. Some campers prefer a collapsible water container as they take up less space.

To filter water for drinking we have relied on the Sawyer Squeeze for many years. It hasn’t failed us yet.

If you are camping in an RV, I know many RVers swear by the Berkey Travel Water Filter. But they are very expensive and I’ve never used one.


RotopaX gasoline container attached to our Stromberg Carlson Trailer Tray

Dispersed camping away from zombies, or in a dispersed campsite, requires fuel. You’ll need fuel for your vehicle, fuel for your cook stove, and fuel for the gas-powered generator. Of course, there are other ways to cook besides a cook stove and I’ve covered many of them here.

Camping over a fire is a favorite way to cook. If you live in a high-fire danger area as we do, consider buying a gas fire pit. We have the Ignik FireCan. It’s compact, lightweight, portable, and doesn’t use much fuel. Still, it puts out a nice hot fire. You can purchase the handy storage container separately.

We carry extra gasoline, primarily for the generator. Still, it’s always prudent to carry extra fuel for your vehicle when you are camped off the beaten path. We like the sleek design of the RotopaX fuel container. Plus they have some nice mounts and mounting hardware to secure the tanks to your vehicle or RV.


Food gets tricky on longer trips. Dry food takes up less space. When using dry food you’ll need access to clean water since dry food requires more water to cook.

I prefer to do the least amount of cooking possible. Therefore, I buy several pre-made, pre-packaged foods. For example, I like packages of cooked rice and canned food. They are easy to prepare and don’t require much water. Plus, you can store them at room temperature and they don’t take up much space.

Nicole, who writes for me, wrote a piece about some easy camping foods that aren’t too expensive.


Bring clothing for a wide range of temperatures. When you’re camping, temperatures and weather can change at the drop of a hat.

Select clothing for comfort and function. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but bring layers. That way, you can doff clothes as you retreat from the zombies.

If you get wet, you’ll be happy to be wearing your quick-dry, synthetic clothing.

Warm clothes, like jackets, hats, and gloves are essential when you’re at high elevation, camping on the shoulder season, or camping near the ocean.

Consider packing a swimsuit if you’ll have access to water.

Pack comfortable shoes for the types of activities you’ll be doing. For hiking, bring hiking shoes. If you know you’ll be in the water, bring water shoes. Of course, you’ll need your zombie apocalypse running shoes!


According to FEMA, during a zombie apocalypse, you should look for a safe area to meet with your family. Even if you aren’t meeting with your family, you’ll need to let your family, or someone close to you know where you are going when you are dispersed camping.

You’ll also need a destination when you are dispersed camping. Where should you go? I wrote, “5 Ways to Find Free Dispersed Campsites,” just for you.


During a zombie apocalypse and while dispersed camping, you’ll need to be prepared for being off-grid for many days. Go out there, have fun, and stay safe.

Crystyn Chase

Crystyn enjoys traveling to new locations off the beaten path. She's passionate about RV adventure travel and her desire is to share that love with readers. She is married to Doug and has a playful German Shepherd named Trinity. When not on the road, Crystyn enjoys gardening and food preservation.

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