Survival Skills

Societal Collapse: How to Survive Doomsday

Societal Collapse

For those of you who think that societal collapse is nothing but a good idea for a horror flick, we’ve got news for you: even NASA thinks it’s going to happen all too soon because our society has reached the same stage all great societies do before crumbling to the ground. The point is that we’ve used up most of our natural resources, which will lead to our unimpeded doom. But there are also other scenarios we might want to consider that will hasten our demise, apart from global warmings, like a virus or even a generalized power outage.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know to get yourself ready for an occurring disaster that might ruin our society, and how you can survive in those heinous conditions.

What are the worse case scenarios?

To be honest, the absolute worse that can happen is a nuclear bomb. But if that’s the case, we’re all dead, except those who’ve built impressive and long-lasting bunkers with tons of provisions. However, there are a few other things that might happen which we can be prepared for.

A zombie virus

It’s true that medicine has advanced tremendously, but that facilitated the evolution of other dangerous things since certain viruses have become immune to drugs. It’s not far-fetched to think that we can be infected with something so strong that can control our minds, and transform us completely.


Besides, there are all sorts of experiments being done we don’t know about that can help the evolution of this sort of virus.

A power outage

If that happened, we wouldn’t have any access to:

  • Food – Crops need to be watered, and irrigation systems will fail. But food also needs to be transported, and that can’t be done without electricity.
  • Running water – You can’t have that without electricity, and generators work for a limited time.
  • Heat – Most heating systems need electrical power to work.

Additionally, all the prisons in the world have electrical fences and power-activated doors, which would suddenly stop working: it would be complete chaos.

Global warming

That is something we’ve known about for a while, and it can likewise lead to a new world order since:

  • There will be little food left.
  • There will be little to no water available.
  • The Elites will control the little remaining resources.
  • Temperatures will change drastically, which means that even if you’re self sustainable, you’ll find it difficult to grow crops.

What do you need?

That being said, let’s take a look at the basic things you need to have or to look for in case of our world ending up in total ruin. However, you can be sure that our society will become really unstable, there are bound to appear violent groups of looters which will try to steal everything they can find from shops, drugstores, and homes, without being afraid to kill those who stand in their way. That’s why you need to think in advance about everything you must have prepared.

Water and food

These are some of the basic items for which you need to plan way ahead of time. Because people can survive without food for almost 2 months, but only 2-3 days without water. So it’s good to think about emergency supplies like bottled water or canned food, but that can last you for a month tops.

Bottled Water

So the best thing would be to also get a water purification system so that even if it rains and you find a muddy puddle, you can still get clean water from that. If you have a boat or other type of water vehicle, you might also get a desalinization system for seawater. The last thing you’d want is to die of thirst in the middle of an ocean. For the best survival filters in the market, see our article reviews on these for more insight.

When it comes to food, the fall of the modern world will probably take a few decades to recover from, so it’s good to have some seeds too in your emergency kit. That way, you can plant them at a later date, once you’ve settled again so you can live a self-sustainable life.

A shelter

The shelter issue can raise a few debates when considering which option is best for you: a mobile shelter, a fixed one, or both. A tent is always a good idea to have, as well as a sleeping bag. It’s better to choose the items that can withstand the lowest temperatures; you never know where you might end up.

But in some conditions it would be better to think about making a shelter on higher ground, like in a tree: most humans won’t think to look for someone else there, and most non-human predators can’t climb up to get you.

On the other hand, fortifying your home or building an underground bunker can be a great idea too, since these are safer than a tent.

However, say there’s a zombie apocalypse going on and all your friends and neighbors have been bitten and transformed. Can you be sure it is in fact safer to stay put? Sure, you can clean up the area, but new threats may constantly appear.

Underground Bunker
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Besides this, consider your resources: if you stay in one place, you might use up the food you have and then be forced to move away. And what if looters find you out? Then you’ll have to fight them for what’s yours and it might not end in your favor. Read our article on how to build a bunker for your family to provide you with more options to take.

Then why not get a boat? You can go out at sea, eat fish and drink desalinized water. Plus, you’ll see danger arrive from miles away. The problem is that you might not get back to land, and you might also not be able to travel very far away.

Still, no one can guarantee that you’ll be able to remain unbothered in your own home for very long so it’s best to consider all your options and be prepared to move.


Here are your best options for transport in case of a total breakdown of society:

  • Cars – These are great options for securing your supplies and for providing you a comfortable shelter. The downsides are that they need gasoline to work, and they’re also quite noisy. It’s good to have a car at least at first, as you’ll be able to travel for a longer distance in less time.
  • Motorcycles – If there’s a lot of traffic and stuck cars that block highways, a motorcycle can be better for getting you out of a traffic jam. However, you won’t be able to pack as many supplies, and you couldn’t use it as a shelter.
  • Bikes – A bike is the perfect idea when it comes to your moving at a steady, moderate pace, without making too much noise and attracting too much attention. If you don’t have a lot of luggage, that can be a great option. You can even use a bike through alpine or forestry roads where you wouldn’t otherwise have access with a car.

Where would you go?

You must have a plan in place for the best fleeing options in case it all goes south.

ALPS Mountaineering Extreme 2 tent

In fact, all these options can be reconsidered depending on the disaster that will cause our demise, but it’s better to ponder on some destinations now.

In the mountains

Is it better to go somewhere north, where you can live in a forest?


  • You can take better refuge in the forest.
  • You’ll have plenty of wood to keep you warm during winter.
  • You’ll find plenty of materials to build a cabin.
  • You can find plenty of springs.
  • You can find some animals you can hunt.


  • You won’t have very good visibility in the forest; you’ll need to hike to a peak for that.
  • You may not be able to plant your seeds.
  • You may be the victim of a surprise attack, if you don’t have a good fence.
  • The weather isn’t very pleasant, so members of your group may not survive.

At a farm

Maybe you have a farm yourself, or someone in your family does. This option entails advantages and disadvantages as well.


  • You’ll sleep in a home, in a bed.
  • You can grow food.
  • You can grow cattle.
  • You can build a community.
  • You can have better visibility.


  • You can get too comfortable and in denial about the world ending.
  • You may become an easy target for both humans and non-humans.
  • You may not find enough firewood.
  • In case of drought, you may not have enough water.

At the sea shore

This is one of the choices that definitely needs considering.


  • Warmer weather, you don’t need to worry about getting enough firewood for the winter.
  • You can fish and eat other seafood as well.
  • You can swim when you need to cool down.
  • You can sleep in a tent or on a deserted ship.
  • You’ll have very good visibility.


  • You might not find enough fish.
  • It might be too hot in the open sun.
  • You might not have enough water.
  • Sleeping in a tent can prove perilous.
  • You may have good visibility, but your enemies can spot you easier as well.

Group or no group?

That being said, you need to think about whether you can survive better alone or in a group. Obviously, people are pack animals and we can only thrive when we’re in a society, but that’s true in the long run. In the short run on the other hand it might be better to survive either alone or in a small group. Let’s analyze these options one by one to see which could be more suitable.

No group

This may not be an option for you to begin with, but you may end up alone if everything comes crashing down very fast, and you can’t find your friends or loved ones anywhere.

The best thing when you’re alone is that you don’t have to worry about protecting other people or being a burden to them. You can move at your own pace and make the decisions you think are best for you, without having to argue or consider everyone else’s opinion.

Car Camping

On the other hand, you might not have all the know-how about surviving without modern comfort for very long. Do you know how to make bullets or the names of chemical compounds used in the basic drugs? Do you know which mushrooms you shouldn’t eat? Some people might have valuable insight which could save your life.

Besides, even if you do move swiftly on your own, you need to stop and make camp at some point. If you’re alone, you can’t possibly keep watch all night, so that’s a definite minus.

Big group

If you’re in a big group and you’re the leader you may end up with more responsibilities on your shoulders than you can possibly predict. If you’re not the leader, you might have to sacrifice yourself for the good of the community if you’re asked to. So you may be more protected, but you may end up taking more risks as well.

The destruction of modern civilization will require a rebuilding of society, so in a big group, you can achieve that more easily if you survive. You may find people with different abilities who can protect you better and can help you find or grow more resources. You’ll also be able to build things faster if you work together and keep at least the semblance of a civilized world.

People Training

In the long run, you may also find different communities to trade with and establish beneficial relations that can help you live longer.

Small group

This is a great idea, at least for the start. You may actually talk with a few of your close friends or family, and draft up a plan of who you can take in case it all comes crumbling down around you.

Who do you need?

  • A leader. Firstly, you need someone with great organizational skills who will think about the group’s well being above everything else. A leader is someone you can count on to always asses thoroughly the pros and cons of any given situation, and make the best decisions possible, even if they aren’t pleasant.
  • A survival expert. You need a person who can survive in the wild, who knows how to build a shelter and a fire, who will find the best tracking routes, and likewise knows a thing or two about hunting and using weapons.
  • A scientist. Someone who knows how to grow crops or manufacture medicine from basic chemicals, someone who can make things happen with little resource is definitely a person you want on board. If they have some sort of medical training as well, they can keep you up and running for longer.
  • A pacifist. You need someone to keep the group grounded, because in stressful conditions triggered by the world’s end spirits are bound to get a little higher.

Who don’t you need?

  • People who complain a lot. Unlike the pacifists, these people will amplify the stress and make you argue instead of reaching a fast, effective conclusion.
  • People who take unnecessary risks. Leaders can make hard choices, but they always think about minimizing risks. People who don’t do that will put you in danger instead of helping you.
  • People who aren’t willing to learn. Instead of helping you get to the best resources, these people will become dead weight very fast.
  • People who can’t respect the power structure. These people will only think about what’s right for them and will lead your group to anarchy.
  • People who are willing to betray you to save their own skin. Needless to say, these people will definitely not work together with others, and they’re just using your group instead of helping you.

Do you know how to defend yourself?

Knowing how to defend yourself makes the difference between life and death in the case of a worldwide disaster.

Because with the disappearance of armed forces and police, rogue groups that won’t think twice about killing you for a bottle of water will emerge.

Get Fit

So you need to:

  • Get fit – Strength training, running or swimming are great ideas to increase your muscle mass and help you stay in good physical shape.
  • Learn how to use a gun – You’ll need to learn how to pull the trigger to scare the bad guys away and protect what’s yours. Our piece on best survival shotgun will help you a lot, so check it out.
  • Get weapons – Knives, guns, rifles, hammers, hatchets – whatever you can get your hands on. Nevertheless, if you’re trying to be stealth and not make a lot of noise, you shouldn’t use firearms.
  • Learn hand to hand combat techniques – Nobody will play by the rules after the world ends, so make sure you know the best moves to win even in a dirty fight.

To sum up, we don’t know what might happen to us or when, but we may as well expect it to since history has taught us that every great civilization is destined to fall at some point, and we’ve surely turned Mother Nature against us.

Best Martial Arts for Street Fighting

As such, it’s always best to be prepared for the worst-case scenarios, have a plan in place for everything, and learn all you can about survival and self-sustainability.
To learn more, see our important article on basic survival skills and be prepared for anything.

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About the author

David Dawson

David Dawson is a retired security specialist with over 20 years of experience. He worked for a secret manufacturing facilities and hospitals in Illinois. David's responsibility was to protect people in case of any disaster or cataclysm that might occur. Now he keeps on doing it through teaching others about how to prepare and survive flood, earthquake or even war.


  • The sea can be a safe refuge during the zombie apocalypse. It can be a secluded island or a massive bug out ship. With enough people and resources, this can make a thriving community. Water purification will be substantial, and there is plenty of fish in the sea.

  • Not necessarily. You also need to take into consideration the weather systems that originate from bodies of water like tornadoes, cyclones and tropical storms. It is good that you took into consideration that water can help separate you from the horde but preparing for a collapse takes more than preparing a bug out boat. You should be able to 1. find the right island; 2. prepare the island for emergency habitation; 3. ensure that there is enough potable water. While it is true that you can just bring the supplies in, you can never know how long the collapse will last and how long society will take to recover.


  • This is again a very interesting article, I for one thinks that people in this world are most likely to fit the characteristics of people you do not want to be with when all hell goes loss, and do you graden (no flowers).

  • Hi!

    Thank you for the comment. I do have a garden but they are mostly crops, like potatoes and carrots, and herbs like basil, dill, tarragon and parsley.

    There are some people who we all feel would not survive a SHTF scenario but we should not, in any way, refuse to provide them assistance if they need or ask for it.


    • Potatoes, carrots an some herds is a nice garden lay out, but your dill looks like it could use a “friend”, solution, grow some cucumbers, will be perfect combo if they are preserved.
      -The 5orce

  • The 5orce, your observation is correct but what I meant about dill is that the can be planted with other herbs as well. I myself have them at home and I used a three-pot tiered system where the top pot has basil, followed by dill and rosemary on the second with parsley and thime at the lowest level. I admit I did not follow any scientific rule when I planted them before but they have flourished quite well so I must have done something good.

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