This is a rewrite of an earlier piece I wrote to support my book The Ultimate Guide to Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse. For more information on Zombie Redoubts, read this piece. For the full skinny on Zombie Redoubts, I urge you to pick up The Ultimate Guide to Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse. It might just save your life.
When You’ve Got to Go
It’s not something we typically talk about in polite company, but everybody poops. And pees. For most of us it’s not a big deal: just go to the bathroom and do your thing. We don’t have to think about it. During the Zombie Apocalypse, disposal of human waste presents some problems.
It is not known if zombies have a sense of smell. It’s most likely that the zombies you’ll be dealing with will track you via sight and sound. That is, if they see or hear you, they’ll go after you. Zombies aren’t capable of examining your scat to determine where you’ve been or where you’re going, the way human hunters can with animals. Despite this, it’s not a good idea to just do your number twos wherever you happen to be: it’s unsanitary and attracts disease-carrying vermin of the living (not undead) sort.
Your Zombie Redoubt should include some way to eliminate or safely store your waste without the requirement of indoor plumbing. The two best options are a chemical toilet or a bucket toilet.
- Better Pooping Through Chemistry: A chemical toilet is a standalone reservoir containing chemicals that react with human waste, deodorizing it. The drawback to a chemical toilet is that you will have to replace the chemicals in it once you empty it out, otherwise it just becomes a bucket toilet.
- Don’t Kick the Bucket: A bucket toilet is just that: a large container with a toilet seat on it. Some of the more expensive models have water reservoirs for “flushing” the excreta into a waste reservoir, self-sealing lids, soft seats, and heavy-duty bucket liners.
The biggest problem with an indoor survival toilet is disposing of the contents once the reservoir is full. The last thing you want to do is dodge hungry zombies outside while running with a large, heavy bag of your own waste. Before zombies rise up to destroy civilization, identify places near your Zombie Redoubt that might be suitable for waste disposal: a nearby trash dumpster, a port-a-potty at a nearby construction site, a pre-dug latrine in the back yard.
If you’re on the road, always make sure you have an E-tool (entrenching tool/shovel) with you so you can bury your solid waste.
Toilet paper is pretty important, as anyone who is without it and needs it will tell you. The problem is that it’s fairly bulky. Use as little as you can get away with and still remain clean. MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) tend to have a constipating effect, which in the short term can be beneficial to your toilet paper bottom line. But if you’re traveling, you may not be so lucky in the food department, and what you find on the road may not agree with you. In that case, if you’re out of paper, you’re obviously just going to have to use what’s available: leaves, socks, moss, etc. Just make sure that the leaves you’re using don’t belong to a poison ivy plant. It’s very difficult to keep a two-handed grip on your pistol and face down a group of zombies when your nether regions are on fire.
Always carry a bottle of hand sanitizer and use it after going to the bathroom to prevent cholera, typhus, and other illnesses spread by human waste.
Survival preparedness isn’t just about a bug-out bag full of flashlights, Hydra-Shok rounds, and cans of pork ‘n’ beans: you have to think about the less-fun stuff, too. Poop smarter, not harder.
Illustration by Carlos Machuca for The Ultimate Guide to Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse.