What TV Has Taught Me About Packing For an Apocalypse

Revolution, Battlestar Galactica, Falling Skies, Fringe, Firefly

Several of the TV programs I regularly watch or watched seem to involve some kind of disaster or apocalypse. Hopefully that is not a statement on me so much as the genre I enjoy! Recently, SyFy channel broadcast one of their made for TV movies about a bunch of geeks surviving an apocalyptic adventure. During the movie, it was revealed that they had a closet full of survival gear bags – a different one for each type of potential apocalypse. That got me thinking – what have I learned from TV programs about what to include in such a bag?

One thing I am not worrying about too much when packing this bag is how I would carry it, because it is likely to be pretty heavy. My reason for excluding this concern is partly because worrying about the weight makes it impossible to pack what I need. And, unlike in the movie mentioned above, my bag will be a more general all inclusive bag, not specific to any particular singular disaster or apocalyptic event. So, just what would I pack?

Cold Compresses

Charlie and Nora - Revolution

During or after an apocalypse, people get beat up on a regular basis. Consider the program Revolution, where people are tortured, beaten, and otherwise misused. The same beautiful faces are pounded on week after week, and miraculously, with only field medicine available, they recover completely, with no scarring – not that I’m complaining! Knowing myself, I would likely be in harm’s way, not being able to mind my own business or keep my mouth shut, so I would be sure to pack lots and lots of cold compresses in the hope of preserving my face.

Weapons and Ammunition

Tom and Maggie - Falling Skies

After the apocalypse, fighting is endemic, so I definitely would need lots of weapons, and ammunition of course. This is an issue on Falling Skies, where they are always on the lookout for both. No point in having a weapon if you can’t use it. Yes, a rifle can be used to beat your opponent senseless, but that is so much extra work! It is also good to diversify in your weapons, since arrows are likely to be much easier to come by than bullets.

Spare Clothes

Mal Reynolds - Firefly

Ok, so besides packing extra underwear – you know your mother told you to! – at least one extra set of clothes is mandatory, because you will either be in a fight in a mud puddle or be caught in a rainstorm, possibly both! Then there is also the torn clothes problem, after being chased by feral animals or the like. Finally, consider the extreme problem encountered by Capt. Reynolds on Firefly, where the thief stole his clothes and left him naked on a planet. I do hope she left him some sunscreen lotion! And, because of the possibility that your bag will also be caught in a rainstorm or dropped in that pesky mud puddle, it is a good idea to pack the clothes in a plastic bag like I learned in girl scouts!

Comfortable Shoes

Jason, Maggie and Charlie - Revolution

Since I expect to do a lot of walking, and also a significant amount of running, comfortable shoes are essential. I would also pack some cushiony insoles, to make the walking and running even more bearable. Hiking boots might be a good bet, but sneakers are better for running, so maybe a pair of each? Let’s remember that on Revolution, the main characters walked to Chicago from the east coast, and then back to Philadelphia, for crying out loud! How many pairs of shoes did they go through on that trek?

Food and Water

ruptured water tanks - Battlestar Galactica

On almost all of these shows, the people do not appear to be emaciated, so it seems like I will not have to pack large supplies of food or water, just enough to get by for a couple of days. Since every indication is that I will be meeting up with others on a regular basis, I should have ample opportunities to restock my supplies. In fact, only on Battlestar Galactica was there ever a regular mention of shortages of food and water.

Hair Product

Anne and Lourdes - Falling Skies

This one is especially important! All the people in these post disaster worlds, guys and gals, always look like they just stepped out of a hair salon. I need to keep up! Caught in a fire fight? Hand to hand combat going on? No problem, my hair product has staying power and never will you find a hair out of place on my head! Just look at Falling Skies as a case in point – a program where soap and combs should be at a premium, although I am sure you could find examples across the board in just about every action adventure program, not just disaster related programs. Even when their hair is disheveled, it still looks great!

Duct Tape

Peter and Henrietta - Fringe

This item is so very versatile, where to begin? I think my favorite use of it will be to put over the mouths of those that cannot resist gasping or otherwise giving away our hiding location to aliens/zombies/evil dudes searching for us. But, of course, it will also come in handy to repair the engine on the one last car that is still able to run, to bind a captive’s hands or repair the tear on the bag of saline that will save the hero’s life!


Those are the items I think will be most important to put in my apocalypse bag. Can you think of some other items I may not have mentioned? Or do you have a comment relating to the items I chose? Please let me know in the comment section below!