Just Cover You Calves and Ankles

Way too often I see games, movies, tv shows and whatever else where people are trudging through the zombie apocalypse and, surprise, they get bit on the calf or ankle. Duh! Cover your calves and ankles and this problem disappears.
See, when people die they fall down. On the ground. Around that area where your feet are… That area you’re not usually looking in when you’re walking forward. I see some of the best shooters and fighters kicking through knee-high weeds and then ARRGGGH somethings got their leg like a shark attack.
Seriously though, I can’t feel bad for you if you see a bun of zombies crawling and laying around and you don’t think to protect your most vulnerable parts. You don’t even need combat boots or women’s boots (though women have no excuse for not covering their calves and ankles with boots). Rain boots, though your feet will stink in like six minutes, are perfect. Can you bite through rubber? I can’t.
And you know what the first suggestion will be? Cut the leg off! This may or may not work. Sometime it does, sometime it doesn’t (even in the same fictional universe in some cases). But even if it does, you’ll be hobbled and they’ll be whispering about not wanting to take care of you or how you’ll slow everyone down. This is all the best case scenario where you actually survive the bite and amputation. Because there’s the slow descent into infection and death from either the bite or the amateur doctoring.
Your calves and ankles don’t need to be covered with some indestructible, adamantium-type shit. What’s important is, can’t it be easily torn or bitten through? If no, you’re good. Also important, can you comfortably flee from not only shambling corpses but also fully ambulatory, aggressive humans.

TLDR: Cover Your Calves and Ankles

1. Dead people fall down; living people look up. You can’t change this, just deal with it.
2. Getting bit on the leg is a dumb way to die. Even if they try to save you, you’re dead-ish. They’ll laugh when they tell your story as a cautionary tale to children.
3. Most any boot will do because most people can’t bite through boots. (Also, animals are less likely to hurt you if they have an extra layer or leather or  soccer shin guards to get through.)
4. Don’t cover your calves and ankles to the detriment of your mobility. There’s no point in just being safe from the crawlers if you can’t dodge the walkers or out run the humans.

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Blisters.

By now you probably know that we like to talk about the odd stuff. The things that other survivalists ignore, or don’t think of, the weird concepts our strange little brains come up with in the bath or at the supermarket.
Yesterday, I thought about blisters.
 
Yes, blisters. The annoying, painful, fluid filled sacks you get when you have irritated, injured skin. You get them when you burn yourself or when your shoes rub. Wait, when your shoes rub? What are you going to be doing post-apocalypse? A hell of a lot of walking. Which means what? Your shoes will rub.
Blisters can make it hard to walk or run and slow you down. So, what to do?
First, prevention:
You should, by now, have a pair of apocalypse ready shoes or boots. They should not be brand new and unworn, because that’s jsut asking for blistery-type problems. In fact, you should be wearing them as much as possible for two reasons. You’re going to need to wear the boots in – and get yourself used to wearing them. By doing that, you reduce your chances of blisters.
Invest in some hiking socks. Soft, thick and supported, hiking socks can reduce your chances of developing blisters, and keep your feet warm if the world ends in winter. Whatever you do, don;t think you can go without socks, no matter the emergency. You’ll be crippled with blisters all over your feet within hours. Keep a pair in your boots, and the rest in your pack.
If you do develop blisters, DON’T BURST THEM. The fluid acts as protection for the injured skin underneath. Bursting them before their time will lead to more damage to your feet. However, walking with blisters (especially on the soles of your feet, ouch) can be painful, so invest in some of those special blister plasters with the gel – it forms a protective barrier and reduces pressure pain.
If you have no access to plasters and the like, having not done your research pre-apocalypse (I don’t know how you’re reading this. Perhaps you have some kind of magic smart-phone that can still access the internet? If so, hello! Please tell us what finally finished us off. Was it badgers? I bet it was badgers) you still shouldn’t pierce your blisters. Instead, keep an eye out for a book on natural remedies and herbalism (loot bookstores) and follow their advice. Honey is a good way to heal injuries – it’s mildly antiseptic and soothing – but it’s pretty sticky, so it’s probably best to apply it at night. Similarly, try to keep your feet clean. It may be tricky, but the last thing you want is an infection setting in. So loot yourself some cleasning wipes and use them when you camp at night. And I want to wish good luck to my hypothetical post-apocalypse survivors currently reading this. Maybe I’ll see you out there.
Blisters aren’t the only foot injury you can face from lots of walking – sometimes the friction bypasses the fluid-filled stage and goes straight to the ouch-i’m-bleeding stage. If you are bleeding from your feet, don’t panic. Blood always looks more dramatic than the injury actually is. Simply use some of your first aid supplies to cleanse and cover the wound and try to mentally bypass the pain. The next day will be the worst, but survival is more important than the ragged, bleeding mess that used to be your heel. A sufficiently padded wound covering will stop it getting worse, and will reduce pain and prevent infection.
And rest assured that after the first two weeks of constant walking, your feet will harden up. No more blisters for you, so if you can just make it through those first two weeks…

Quick Survival Tip: Untie Your Shoes When You Take Them Off

Rarely are we in a sincere hurry to remove our shoes, but often shoes can be a very necessary hurdle when trying to get somewhere quickly.
I’ve spend way too many minutes psyching myself up for a workout only to deflated by sitting down and untying the double knots still in my laces. Once I’m on the couch working on those knots I’ll often see something or take a deep breath and all that hard work of getting myself into the mindset of getting up and going is seeping away; all because of a bow.
If your home is on fire of you’re finding yourself running for your life for any reason, you’ll want to  have quick access to your footwear. It’s easy to remove shoes while stile tied and probably looks nicer if they’re stored in the open, but you will waste precious time where it’s most important if you do not untie your shoes when you take them off.
And remember: if you’re concerned about tripping or the shoes staying on, just remember you haven’t tied them and make an effort to not fall out of them or over your laces. Just like you remember to chew your food and tap your breaks when the situation calls for it.