You turn on CNN, and it’s official: the zombie invasion has begun.
As the Scout or Scouter in your group of survivors, you’ll be the guy or gal everyone turns to. Are you prepared?
If you’ve read these five merit badge books, the answer’s yes. I’ve looked through all 135 currently available merit badges to find five that’ll help you if (when?) the zombie invasion comes.
Take a look at my list, and tell me which ones I forgot in the comments section.
5. Wilderness Survival
In almost every zombie-related TV show and movie, the survivors end up in the woods.
So the skills taught in Wilderness Survival merit badge, which was my favorite as a Scout, will be critical to your group.
For example, pages 29 to 33 cover how to build a fire, including info on fire by friction: “an important and enjoyable skill to master” but one that requires practice so that “in emergency situations, you will know just what to do.”
You’ll also learn how to treat water (page 38), including info on boiling, chemical treatment and filtering.
The pamphlet doesn’t say it, but I will: Don’t drink from water zombies have been splashing around in. Speaking of water …
Everyone knows zombies can’t swim.
If you can, with the help of Swimming merit badge, you may be able to escape those walking corpses. Pay particular attention to the survival skills section (pages 22 to 27).
Maybe you’ll hop into the lake or an abandoned swimming pool while the zombies stagger pass. If the water’s cold, use the HELP position (heat escape lessening posture), which has you float motionless while wearing a PFD and your clothes. Your head is out of the water, and your legs are drawn close to your chest.
If you’re with multiple people, you should huddle together. Either way, when surviving in cold water, remember this tip that should become your outlook for the entire zombie apocalypse: “Maintain a positive mental attitude. Never give up hope.”
3. Rifle Shooting
The first rule in gun safety: “Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.”
The Rifle Shooting merit badge pamphlet reminds you of important safety rules like this in pages 17 to 19. So while you would never point a gun at a human, good news: zombies aren’t human.
If you’re going to be out on the road battling zombies with your rifle for the next, well, forever, you’re going to want to clean that rifle. Note that this essential step is something they never show in those zombie movies.
“Cleaning is essential when a rifle has been stored for a long time or has been exposed to dirt or moisture,” the pamphlet reminds us (page 30).
Check out pages 30 to 33 for the 10-step rifle-cleaning process and the six basic materials (cleaning rod, cloth patches, soft cloth, bore solvent, small brush, gun oil) you’ll need for cleaning your firearm.
2. Home Repairs
Or maybe you’re the kind of zombie apocalypse survivor who would rather board up the windows, reinforce the doors and wait this thing out at home. Could be a lot less stressful than life on the road.
If that’s you, you’ll want Home Repairs merit badge.
While you probably won’t worry anymore about replacing damaged tiles (page 52) or fixing sprinkler heads (page 37), the section on repairing things like doors, stairs and fences might interest you in this new, chaotic world.
Take page 77, about repairing fences. If you have a loose fence post, for example, the book tells you how to bolster it with a fence iron and some nails. Fences are great at keeping zombies out — but only if they’re sturdy.
Let’s just hope you have everything you need in the garage to fix that fence — chances are low your local Lowe’s will still be open.
At some point during all this mess, you’re probably going to have to pack up and head somewhere else. Maybe to the next town over where they’re setting up shop in the abandoned mall. Or maybe to the big city where you hear they found a cure.
Before you go, check out Backpacking merit badge.
You’ll be walking, meaning you’ll have to carry everything you need for the journey. You might be able to raid a 7-Eleven on the way, but you can’t count on it having what you need.
Consult pages 39 to 41 for the outdoor essentials, items that “should go on every backpacking trek, just as they do on any Scouting adventure.”
They are: pocketknife, first-aid kit, extra clothing, rain gear, water bottle, flashlight, trail food, matches/fire-starters, sun protection, and a map and compass.
Good luck out there!
Which other merit badge pamphlets would come in handy? Use your braaaiiins and leave a comment below.
Others in my Top 5 Merit Badge Books series
Photo: From the “Take A Photo With a Zombie Arrowman” booth hosted by Coosa Lodge at the 2013 SR-9 Section Conclave.