Prepping for ‘The Last Of Us’

HBO’s smash hit video game adaption of Naughty Dog’s ‘The Last Of Us’ has truly taken the world by storm. Over the past two months, HBO has seen viewership in the millions as well as rave reviews across the board. 

As the series comes to an end, viewers and critics have been reflecting not only on Ellie and Joel’s journey through the harsh unforgiving post apocalyptic world but also the stories of other survivors attempting to survive and adapt to this new way of life.

The third episode in particular really captured the hearts of audience members around the world with its beautiful characters and emotional storytelling. Episode 3 as titled ‘Long, Long Time,’ primarily focuses on self-proclaimed survivalist “Bill” (Nick Offerman) over twenty years as he adapts and survives in his hometown.  

During this time, Bill meets a fellow survivor called Frank (Murray Bartlett)  whom he falls in love with and decides to spend the rest of his days with.

Throughout this eighty-minute well-crafted love story, we see the pair use a variety of tools and strategies to turn their little town into a survivalist’s paradise.

So, big question, if the apocalypse was to really happen tomorrow and we found ourselves in the same predicament as Bill and Frank, would we be able to replicate their survivalist success in the real world? My Local Toolbox has highlighted some of the essentials to help you get started.

Let’s dive into what we’d need to survive the events of ‘Long, Long, Time’ (all fungal zombies, clickers and raiders should stop reading here).

Survival of the fittest

So what do we mean when we identify someone as a ‘survivalist’ or a ‘prepper?’ In simple terms, a survivalist/prepper, is an individual who believes a catastrophic disaster will most likely take place in the future and thus proactively prepares for it by stockpiling supplies, learning key self-survival skills and structurally adjusting their homes so they are ready for any emergency.

Survivalist website, Survival Sullivan claims there are roughly 3.2 million active preppers in the US alone. Other sources state that there are far more with some even claiming the number is closer to 14 or 15 million! With this in mind, it is clear there are plenty of people out there with their eyes on the doomsday clock so Bill and Frank would certainly not be alone.

Let’s for argument’s sake say that in a year, a ‘Last of Us’ style fungal-infected apocalypse is set to hit the world and we have to prepare our home for it. Like Bill, there are several essential things that we would need to sort out first. For this piece, we are going to focus on four key areas; water, electricity, security and food.

H2 oh no

Water is the one thing everybody needs. During the upcoming apocalypse, water will become the most important commodity so we are going to have to make sure we preserve it in the best ways possible. Since most water stations and water treatment centres will no longer be active, it will be down to the individual to collect, store and purify our precious H20.

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First of all, we recommend installing several simple water preservation devices around your home. These could include aerators in the kitchen and bathrooms, toilet tank banks and low-flow showerheads. All of these can be installed easily and very quickly by those with plumbing skills.

Furthermore, we also want to make sure all the water we are consuming is safe and suitable for drinking. To address this, we should perhaps purchase a high-quality water distiller/water filtration system to cleanse all our collected water from harmful bacteria, chemicals and viruses.

Rainwater could also be an essential way for us to collect water so maybe we should think about purchasing and installing a rainwater harvesting system. One thing to note however is that these can be very costly so it might be wise to spend our pre-Armageddon cash on other necessities.

Still, rainwater here in the UK and in other parts of the world is common and plentiful so this could be a lifesaving, long-term survivalist investment.

Speaking of rainwater, we need to make sure that the foundations of our homes are rainproof. To help achieve this, we recommend installing high-quality guttering. Many people decide on aluminium due to its strength, low weight and ability to function at a high performance for long periods. Additionally, aluminium gutters require less maintenance than other types of guttering.

It is highly likely that during the apocalypse, most, if not all plumbers and plumbing services would have gone the way of the Dodo, so it might be wise to learn the basic rules of plumbing.

We need to make sure we can fix and maintain all our different water-based systems so we can keep flushing, showering and washing whilst the world ends outside our window.

Electrical endurance

When Armageddon strikes, it won’t be long before we are cut off from the national grid. There are several ways however we can remain in power when everything switches off.

In the ‘Last Of Us’ HBO series, we see Bill unveil a portable electrical generator in his back garden. For most, these would be the logical option due to their reliability and obtainability. Unfortunately, these need fuel to function and therefore may not be the most efficient form of power during the apocalypse.

One could argue that solar energy may be a smarter option. Despite being tagged with a high price tag, solar panelling has increased in popularity over the years due to its green energy potential. In the right conditions, one could harness solar energy to generate an endless supply of electricity in a world where nuclear and electrical power stations have been abandoned.

Still, it should be noted that these panels only function during the day when the sun is shining so we recommend that maybe one should implement the use of both solar panels and portal electrical generators to achieve maximum efficiency.

Additionally, having a basic electrician skill set would definitely come in handy. As we all know, things break and other things need replacing. The more trade skills we possess, the better we will be at maintaining our isolated home.

Someone call security….oh wait

Obviously, we need to make sure our home is safe from any outside threats. During ‘The Last of Us ’episode three, we see that Bill utilises an extensive camera system to watch over his house and the surrounding town.

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Luckily for us, there are several different security camera systems that can be purchased online at a range of different prices. We need to make sure we have eyes everywhere, so an easy-to-use, multi-lens camera system is essential for our survival.

Let’s not forget the deadly traps Bill installs around the town to keep the infected and raiders at bay. Obviously, you can’t pop into Homebase and ask for trip wire nail bombs or flamethrowers that can be triggered by sensors and pressure plates. This stage of preparation is best done sometime after your town has evacuated!

Furthermore, we can also see in episode three that Bill and Frank construct an electric fence to help keep unwanted danger at bay. Camera systems, barbed wire fences, electrical fences and electric fence kits are all purchasable from different stores online and off.

Obviously, pricing will depend on how much fencing will be needed and how much land needs to be covered. During ‘The Last Of Us,’ Bill and Frank build a fence that surrounds an entire town. This probably would not be the cheapest option so maybe wait until the Armageddon has set in before shopping!

Food frenzy

Most preppers predict that after the first three days of an apocalyptic event, chaos will ensue in society with shops ransacked for food and supplies. Those with green fingers, particularly experienced gardeners with the knowledge to grow their own, will prosper in the long term. If you’re a tree surgeon with the equipment to fell trees for firewood it’s a bonus.

See you at the end of the world

Of course, there are so many other things one must consider when facing the end times. Preppers and survivalists spend years and years planning and structuring.

As for Bill, well it paid off for him. Let’s hope it doesn’t pay off for the rest of us. See you at the end of the world…