- 1 Introduction
- 2 Walking/Running
- 3 Bicycles
- 4 Other human-powered transportation
- 5 Animals
- 6 Motorcycles
- 7 Other powered transportation
- 8 Dune buggies
- 9 Automobiles (Cars/ Trucks/ Vans/)
- 10 Vans
- 11 Light trucks (pickups and SUVs)
- 12 Crossover vehicles
- 13 Emergency vehicles
- 14 Large vehicles
- 15 Armored Vehicles
- 16 Rail Transport
- 17 Watercraft
- 17.1 Human Powered
- 17.2 Sail Powered
- 17.3 Fuel Powered
- 17.4 Rafts
- 17.5 Catamarans
- 17.6 Motorboats
- 17.7 Speedboats
- 17.8 Dinghy
- 17.9 Jet Ski
- 17.10 Fishing Trawlers
- 17.11 Yachts
- 17.12 Cruise Ships
- 17.13 Oil Tankers
- 17.14 Freighter Ships
- 17.15 Military Vessels
- 17.16 Hydrofoil
- 17.17 Hovercraft
- 17.18 Airboat
- 17.19 Ferries
- 17.20 Houseboats
- 18 Aircraft
- 19 Improvised vehicles
There has been a great deal of debate in zombie survival communities regarding what is the most useful form of transportation in a zombie apocalypse. Some, such as Max Brooks, argue against the use of motorized vehicles, citing fuel and maneuverability as concerns, and believe that travel on foot or by bicycle is the best option. Others take comfort in the protection and capability that trucks and other large vehicles provide. Still others have argued in favor of the horse as the best method of transportation. This page will go over the various methods of transportation that will be available in the event of zombie related civil unrest. There are a number of different types of vehicles, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The feasibility or wisdom of traveling depends on many factors unique to one's scenario.
Whatever mode of transportation one decides to use, be very aware of its potential to attract the undead. The noiser the vehicle, the larger the chance that it will attract zombies. However, attracting zombies is not always a factor of noise. Bright or flashing lights can be a beacon on a dark night that can be seen for many miles. On motorised vehicles, be sure to remove as many lightbulbs as possible if you are likely to be in an area with zombies. It is vital to remove the tail lights, brake lights, and reversing light from the rear of the vehicle, to disable the horn to avoid accidental loud noises, and also to remove the orange turn signal bulbs. It is inadvisable to remove the headlights as they will be necessary for safe driving at some stage, but be very wary about bumping the stalk accidentally and activating the headlights while stationary.
The most versatile and possibly greatest method of transportation that one can find is his or her own body. Zombies will head for the noise of vehicles (and possibly animals). A person on foot can escape zombies much easier as long as they are silent and/ or fit enough to outrun them. A person's body can be brought up stairs, into tight spaces, and other areas that cannot be readily accessed with any vehicle. In addi
tion, this method of transportation requires energy which is found easily by crafting food and water. Perhaps the most obvious disadvantages that come with walking are that it is slow, and that cargo capacity is limited to what you are able to carry on you. Also, long walks may be quite tiring, especially when carrying supplies. So travel as light as you can while on the road. Fitness level and footwear are also major considerations. Even the healthiest of travellers will notice wear and tear, and the potential for injury increase if they do not occasionally take a day to hole up and rest.
Many people learn how to ride bicycles at a very young age, making this method of transportation available to almost everybody. Riding a bike is faster and less strenuous than walking, although not as fast as a motorized vehicle, and they can be taken almost anywhere that the human body can. They are relatively easy to fix, they are fairly quiet, and the only fuel needed is the food and water consumed by the human body, and the occasional drop of oil for the chain. Disadvantages include the fact that they provide no protection, and that cargo capacity is limited to what the rider can carry although small trailers are offered by some manufacturers. This however significanly adds to the weight of the vehicle and reduces the portiblity and speed. If one is not going to drive and must travel long d
istances then he or she should consider seeking out a bike as soon as possible. When selecting a bicycle you should make sure that you are getting one that is of high quality such as an aluminum, carbon fiber, titanium, or steel, is in good condition, and is rugged enough to last in a survival situation. Also, make sure that it is the correct frame size for you. Above all, make sure that it is suitable for the terrain.
These are some of the types of bicycle available.
These bikes were made to handle tough terrain. There are different types of mountain bikes, cross country for long distance, downhill for short runs downhill, enduro for short sprints, and sport for general trail riding. Be sure to get a cross country bike, for they are lightweight and fast. They will also handle anything.
These bikes are very fast and light. Road bikes can handle rough roads, and even some light off-roading, such as dirt or gravel roads. Be careful in mud, as the lack of tire tread and weight could cause the bike to slip over.
Hybrid bikes are lightweight and fast like road bikes, but can handle more and are more comfortable, like mountain bikes. They cannot go on everything a mountain bike can, but still perform well on most of what you will be doing.
These are basically tough road bikes that can handle just about anything a mountain bike can. They are comfortable, and can handle more than a hybrid and a road bike.
Always be sure to get the highest quality bicycle. Visit your local bike shop and they will have a bike that will suit your needs. Some of the better bike companies include Norco, Trek, Specialized, Giant, Kona, BMC, and Cannondale.
Other human-powered transportation
There also exist other methods of transportation that are powered by the human body. All of them have a number of benefits and issues. Remember: like bicycles, they provide no protection and little in the way of extra cargo space.
Skateboards function as a decent alternative to walking but if you don't know how to ride one it's not worth the risk learn during an outbreak. They are not recommened as an improvised weapon as they will break more easily than most quality melee weapons and would also leave you without your primary mode of transport. Travelling would be okay if you know how to ride a skateboard but keep in mind that big cracks and rocks will throw you off instantly, potentially putting you in risk of an open wound and/or zombies near by. They are also fairly noisy and might attract some unwanted attention.
Warning: Going down hill on a skateboard is not advised as there is no means to brake by default on the skateboard and the only way to slow down would be to use your feet or something else as an anchor and for an emergency stop you most likely will be jumping for it. Keep in mind that when trying to brake downhill, loud noises will be made that will alert zombies of your presence.
These incredibly stable and manuverable boards are usually bigger than skateboards, and can go through grass and dirt if you are already going fast. These will run over bumps, cracks, pebbles, and debris easily without throwing you off. Longboards are perfect for any road or city environment, but have most of the same drawbacks of a skateboard.
These two-wheeled skateboards are very manuverable, if you know how to ride one. There is a high learning curve for riding one, so if you do not know how to ride a ripstik, don't bother with one.
Warning: Riding at high speeds or going down hills on a ripstick is dangerous because the two wheels just aren't enough to handle the friction involved.
In use scooters fill a similar but easier to learn role as a skateboards, they are portable platforms with basic steering systems that help urban travelers coast on pavement by either kicking off against the ground or using gravity on down hill straights. Most scooters are 2 wheeled but you may find some that are three wheeled and balanced. In comparison with a skateboard, scooters are more practical than skateboards since they come off with a easier to almost non existant learning curve and function as a more durable improvised weapon being usually made of full aluminum. However they have similar disadvatages, and the metal frame can make a lot of noise when the scooter travels over a crack or uneven strip of pavement.
Skates are essentially shoes with wheels and can provide a faster form of travel than walking in a straight away but at the sacrifice of balance and true mobility. You can not walk up stairs fast in skates and you can not climb safely in skates. They have almost no tactical value unless you are using skates with detachable wheels.
There emerged in the late 90s a brand of inlines named "Hypno Skates". These pieces of kit are sturdy protective roller boots, with a completely detachable chassis. It takes about five seconds to remove them (after all removal is going to be the scenario where time is of the essence). These chassis are strong, made of steel and are heavy, making a very efficient melee weapon, but take up much needed space when not on your feet.
Skis and, to a lesser degree snowshoes, are for long distance travel and hunting. The most obvious problem with these is that without proper training the user can hurt themselves critically and they can only be used on snow . However, if the user is properly trained and if you are in an area that has a lot of snow, then these may be an effective method of cold-weather transportation instead of riding a bike. Also, if it's cold enough for heavy snow, it's cold enough to freeze zombies in their tracks, which means that one might not even have to deal with zombies.
See more: Animals
In addition to conventional vehicles, Animals can also be used for transport. Depending on your location, the availability of suitable animals ranged from extremely common to nonexistent. Be aware that all animals are susceptible to infection from zombies and require a significant amount of food and water, just like humans. To avoid injury or accidents, only use animals if you have had experience with them before. However, don't forget that these animals are survivors just like you, and you may end up creating bonds with them.
Humans and horses have a long history of cooperation. Horses are a truly domesticated animal, and are quite plentiful in most countries (though less so in many cities and suburbs). Their fuel consists of grass and water, they can carry or pull a lot of supplies, and they can be quite fast and can usually maneuver around traffic jams. Some zombie survivalists have proclaimed Equus caballus to be the superior mode of transportation for the end of the world. However, there are some serious problems which strictly limit the use of horses. The first major issue is that it takes a lot of skill to ride one, and even then, the horse also has to be well-trained, and in a situation where farms and stables are being abandoned, many horses may starve or go feral, leading to a lack of replacements in case something happens to your horse. This leads into the second, and more important, point: they're animals. They have to sleep when they're tired. They can make noise when you're trying to be quiet. If they get badly injured, unless you or somebody in your group is a trained veterinarian (or otherwise knows how to care for a horse) with access to the required medicine, you won't be able to do much to help, as basic human first aid can only do so much for a non-human creature. They can be attacked, by both zombies and bandits looking for food or transportation. And if a horse gets spooked, which could very easily happen if it confronts a zombie mob, it could panic and throw the rider from its back, which could cause a debilitating injury or even death. Finally, thanks to automobiles and tractors making them obsolete, many horses today are bred not for farm work or pulling carriages full of cargo, but are purebreds, bred for horse racing and beauty contests.
Other Beasts of Burden
These animals, which include asses, mules, goats, oxen, and llamas, are an excellent alternative to horses for people who don't want to rely on gas-powered transportation. To give some idea of how hardy they are, they brought the wagon trains into the Western United States, and were used for manual labor for centuries -- and in many parts of the world, they still are. They are a great way to carry large amounts of supplies, and can be used as riding mounts. Also, unlike horses, many of these animals are still bred for labor rather than for show, which means that they are not as likely to suffer from the diseases that purebred show horses suffer from. The disadvantages are those that all animals have (getting scared, targets for zombies and raiders, noise, etc.). Plus, beasts of burden are slow and not ideal when being chased by zombies.
Dog sleds have the same big problem that cross-country skis have -- they are only useful in cold, snow-covered places. Also, like any animal, dogs have to be trained, fed, and given special training. However, if you live in a cold place, then this is a very useful way of getting around. Unlike horses, sled dogs haven't had as much selective breeding, as all of them wind up becoming rather strong through their work. Also, dogs are easy to maintain, and as long as you continue to show that you're in charge, they are always willing to please you. They will eat almost anything, and as long as they're well-fed and staying active (which they will be, what with pulling a sled and all), they will be healthy. Finally, a group of healthy sled dogs can pull a great deal of stuff, almost as much as a small car. If you're planning on surviving in a cold place, then have some dogs trained. However, one must also be trained how to properly drive a dog sled, making this a difficult and very impractical source of transportation
These animals can only be used in the non-polar deserts. Other climates, even moderate ones, can weaken and kill an animal from being too cold, too wet, or other environmental reasons. They are specifically suited to the desert environment. That said they are excellent for desert travel. The can go long periods of time without water and food. The downside of this is that when they do get food and water after long periods of dearth they consume a lot of both; it is recommended that you do not keep food or water from them unless necessary. Fortunately in the United States the only camels are on camel farms which means they are used to people and some are already trained to have riders. They are hard to learn to ride well, but even if you can't ride them they make amazing pack animals. Their biggest problem is they are naturally stubborn when it comes to being ridden. It is recommended to not waste time getting them to allow you to ride, but instead use them as walking bases (they can carry all your supplies easily) and for support when engaging zombies. They are fiercely loyal once you spend time with them.
Note: Always have a rope tied to them so you can keep a hold so they aren't tempted to run to your destination, leaving you behind accidentally. When stopped tie them to a large rock or pole as the rare sudden occasional desert rain can startle them into running away.
Motorcycles may somewhat resemble bicycles, but there are a number of differences between the two types of vehicles. For one, they are as fast as cars, while getting exceptional fuel economy, usually 50-70 miles per gallon (4-5.6 Litres / 100 km) More importantly, they are also more maneuverable than cars, sometimes capable of fitting into tight spaces that can only be accessed otherwise by walking or riding a bicycle. However, they can be quite tricky to ride for somebody who does not know how to use one, they provide no protection from zombies and the elements, and a single crash may spell doom for the rider. Maintenance is also more difficult than with a bicycle, although the same can be said of automobiles. Finally, like any motorized vehicle, the engines on motorcycles require gasoline to operate, and most motorcycle engines are carburated resulting in a louder engine noise which may result in attracting unwanted attention from zombies. There are many different types of motorcycles that one can find. Be sure to pick the one that is most suitable to your needs. Keep in mind storage on these.
Out of the various types of motorcycles, mopeds are the most like bicycles -- in fact, the name moped comes from the fact that these bikes are started by pedaling. They are incredibly small, low-maintenance, and c
an often go about 220 miles (354.056 kilometers) on a single tank of gas. However, mopeds are also very slow, with most mopeds incapable of going much faster than 28 miles per hour (45.0616 kilometers per hour). Also, their cargo capacity is very limited, being little more than what the rider can carry on their person. There are better choices than a moped -- bicycles are better suited for traveling short distances, and the larger motorcycles and automobiles are better for moving longer distances.
Think of scooters as step-through motorcycles. They typically are larger and more powerful than mopeds, and models have a top speed between 60 mph and 70 mph (96.5606-112.654 km/h) depending on engine size. Fuel economy for most modern scooters is in the 80-110 mpg (28.3205-38.9407 kpl) range. Some larger models, known as maxi-scooters, are faster, have bigger engines, and can carry almost as much as some motorcycles, at the cost of a slight hit in fuel economy. Scooters may be a good choice for long-distance travel if fuel is a particularly pressing concern.
These bikes are quite big, they're very comfortable and they can carry plenty of supplies. Also, cruisers are big enough to have sidecars attached, which allow for increased passenger room, cargo capacity, and stability, at the expense of decreased maneuverability and poorer gas mileage. There are also trikes which will bump you up from two wheels to three wheels for more storage, larger fuel tanks and sometimes bigger engines than your average cruiser bike.
A chopper is a type of motorcycle that was either modified from an original motorcycle design ("chopped") or built from scratch to have an authentic appearance. The main features of a chopper that make it stand out are its longer frame design accompanied by a stretch front end (or rake). They may look cool, but that's really all they're built for. They are high-maintenance, and not very capable in rough conditions.
Sport bikes are incredibly fast, and are often based on racing machines. However, the forward riding position can be uncomfortable over long distances, the cargo capacity is limited, spare parts may be difficult to find for higher-end models, and performance suffers when the bike is taken off-road or onto rough roads.
The polar opposite of sport bikes, dirt bikes are built for off-road use. The main advantage of a dirt bike is
obviously its off-road capability, although they typically get good gas mileage as well. However, limited cargo and fuel capacity is an issue. The range of a trail oriented dirt bike is around 45-65 miles (72.4205-104.607 kilometers) and track oriented race bikes are around half of that. The type of fuel used by some is also a problem as many are equipped with a two-cycle engine which requires a special oil to be mixed with the fuel. Heat may be a problem as well, most are air cooled and aren't designed to run far or long without stopping, so long distances can be a problem if you don't know basic maintenance.
Dual sports come in a variety of sizes and ability. They range from 200cc to 1000cc. The larger ones are faster, but not as off road capable and less fuel efficient but offer increased cargo. Spectrum examples would be Suzuki DR200SE (air cooled, simple to work on, a great range of 200 miles per 3.4 gallon tank, very light and capable off road, but limited cargo, and a top speed of 60 mph although its best highway cruising speed would be about 45 mph) and Kawasaki KLR650 (has a top speed of about 100 mph, range of 150 miles per 6.1 gallon tank, heavy and rough on harder trails but you can take a tonne of cargo. The KLR650 is also liquid cooled, which helps with longevity but adds possible maintenance). If you are choosing a motorcycle, duel sport are the class you need.
- Suzuki DR200, light, easy to maintain, great milage, easy to ride.
- Kawasaki KLR650, fast, large cargo capacity, reliable.
- Suzuki DRZ400, fuel injected for fast getaways, and hits pretty close the abilties of the KLR650 and DR200 making it top pick.
- BMW F650GS, extremely reliable bike, large fuel capacity, can carry a lot of gear, and is light enough to maneuver around obstacles.
They're comfortable, reliable, and can carry lots of supplies, they have big fuel tanks and engines tuned more for torque than horsepower, they're fast (though not remarkably so), they're rather fuel-efficient (although again, not remarkably so), and they can have sidecars attached. One type of touring bike, the sport tourer, is also built with performance in mind, at the expense of being less comfortable. If you decide to use one, keep the fuel tank covered; because of its size, scrapes from big rocks could damage it and cut off your fuel supply, rendering the bike useless.
Enduro is a kind of dirt bike that is road legal as they come with headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and on the larger ones even a radio. These should be your first choice if you need something both fuel efficient and can go off road in most weather conditions, as long as storage is not a major concern for you and you don't need a side car.
Other powered transportation
These vehicles aren't motorcycles, but they can't be classified as automobiles either. Therefore, they get their own classification.
A cross between a golf cart and an ATV, a UTV (Utility Task Vehicle) or side by side vehicle is a 4x4 four wheel drive off road vehicle that can seat two to six people. The UTV is mainly used
in large ranches, border patrol, racing, extreme sports and the military. They are made for different purposes, in different sizes and shapes. Most have a payload of about 1500 and a large trunk with a lot of space for guns, food, gear etc. Some UTVs are made for racing and extreme sports reaching over 70 mph (112.65 km/h) but they require more maintenance and do not have a lot of space to carry gear. They come in gas, diesel and electric configurations. In all they're a good choice.
As their name (an initialism for All Terrain Vehicle) suggests, ATVs are very capable off-road. They can also be repaired easily, as they often use the same parts as dirt bikes. Finally, with their wider stance and two extra wheels, they are more stable than motorcycle, can reach speeds of over 75 mph (120.7 km/h) and have greater cargo capacity. The only disadvantage is that they are one-seaters, although even then, some ATVs are two-seat vehicles, and others can be customized to have passenger room. Overall, this is an excellent choice for somebody who wants the fuel economy of a motorcycle, but is unsure of his or her skill at riding one, or wants greater cargo room.
Also a good choice for raiding. However, they are very loud, so be wary of engine noise whilst cruising around. If you DO choose to take an ATV, be sure it has a box for storage and a gun storage case on it. Polaris OR Can-Am ATVs are recommended.
Basically ATVs for the snow. They have many of the same stability problems, but they also possess the benefits of high maneuverability and good fuel economy. Though special wheel kits can be purchased. Snowmobiles will work fine on dirt, shallow water, gravel or pavement, however this will cause some damage to the runners depending on distance traveled.
Golf carts are a weird sort of vehicle, with an even amount of ups and downs. They are very small, so they are maneuverable, they have enough room for 2-4 people, and can still carry up to 4 golf club bags worth of supplies. However, they can flip over in rough terrain, have an extremely slow top speed of 10-15 kilometres per hour, and have almost zero protection against the undead, They can come in both gas and electric versions, but unless it happens to be a solar powered golf cart (they actually do exist), you're probably going to be stuck using a gasoline powered one.
The Segway is a self balancing two wheeled electric scooter. It can carry a single person with very little additional weight. It is not impossible to find some uses for this unlikely piece of equipment in a desperate post-apocalyptic world. It has a top speed of 12 mph (19.31 km/h). The sole redeeming virtue of the Segway is that it requires almost no effort on the part of its driver to function, thus making it ideal for use by those injured or temporarily immobile (for those permanently immobile, there are more suitable alternatives) in order to be of use in light work duties in a camp while they heal. There will always be a shortage of beds in the medical section of a camp, after all, and no-one can afford to be laid up for longer than absolutely necessary.
If you manage to find an abandoned one in working order, you might be able to use it to give you a break from traveling by foot, your saved energy will increase you combat effectiveness for engagements, but you shouldn't go through any unnecessary trouble to keep it, and obviously you should dismount before engaging in combat.
Not a smart choice. They're not very fast, loud and they have very little cargo room, often being limited to seating one or two people and the handling isn't very good in wet conditions. The positives -- that they're exceptionally fuel-efficient and can zip in and out of tight spots -- doesn't change the fact that there are better vehicles available.
Ah, dune buggies. The classic baja bug conversion. They have low storage capabilities, moderate speed and a small gas tank. What they lack in size they make up for in off road capability. There are many types available: Sportman Ace, Sandrail, Meyers Manx, and custom ones also.
Automobiles (Cars/ Trucks/ Vans/)
The automobile is an incredibly common vehicle, second only to bicycles. There are few-to-no places where cars will not be present. Thus, it makes sense that it would appear on a list of various modes of transportation that would be used in a zombie apocalypse. Cars hold a number of advantages over motorcycles. The biggest is that they are safer and more stable than motorcycles, offering protection from zombies, weather, and crashes that motorcycles lack. They are also easier to drive, can take more damage, and even the smallest cars have a greater cargo capacity than the largest motorcycles. However, cars are larger and less maneuverable than bikes, and have much lower fuel economy, with the average being in the 25-35 mpg range. Like motorcycles, the problems of maintenance and noise come up as well. Many cars will clog up roads and highways when their owners abandon them (dead or alive!).
When selecting a car, try to look for a four-door model, due to the increased versatility, although loners or pairs may prefer two-door models, as they (usually) have less window area, reducing the risk of broken windows/ windscreens. One should also pay attention to cars and trucks with diesel engines, as not only do they have superior fuel economy, but they can be modified to run off of vegetable oil and other biofuels that can be manufactured in a post-apocalyptic world once gasoline starts running out (a fact that is also true of vans).
Also please take note that in this sub-section (and others in the Transportation section), the capability term 'off-roading' is used in the description of some of the vehicles. This term is used for actual off-roading, such as fording a stream, driving on bumpy dirt logging roads, through muddy swamps, and so on, but it is also used for regular roads. This is due to the general idea that paved roads such city streets and highways will be in a worse for wear condition due to the Zombie Apocalypse. For example, fallen street lamps or a car accident, or maybe there are a bunch of dead zombies/ bodies covering the roadway. It could also apply to un-plowed roads in the wintertime, or a road that is covered with a thick layer of slick, damp, fallen leaves. In cases like those, it can be considered 'off-roading' (even though you're still technically on pavement) because there are obstacles blocking your path that you need to drive through, over, or around. In order to do that, you usually need a vehicle that have off-roading ability's, such a tall ride height, a decent amount of durability, a 4WD system, etc. (Alternatively, you could have a very small, compact and maneuverable vehicle that can drive around some such obstacles).
Automobiles in a Zombie Apocalypse
Lets face it: When the Zombie Apocalypse hits and the undead are feasting upon the living, you will most likely need an automobile (or some sort of vehicle) for one situation or another. But what if you know absolutely nothing about cars? What if you can't tell a Chrysler from a Yugo, and there's a horde approaching? If that's the case, then here's some things to think about. Remember, only you can decide what type of automobile will best suit your unique needs and purposes to whatever situation you may be in. First off, be sure to know what you want in your primary survival vehicle and remember to take as many different factors into consideration as possible, and also try not to biased about it. If you're an environmentalist driving a Pruis, don't hesitate to get a gas hungry 4x4 pick-up truck if the situations calls for it, and vice versa. Ditto for everyone else. Some examples are, if you want a vehicle with lots of room and high gas mileage, get a minivan. If you want a vehicle like that but with some off road and high towing capabilities, get a diesel full-sized van or possibly a modern station wagon. If you want a vehicle with decent gas mileage, lots of room, and is able to tow a small-medium trailer, get a modern station wagon or a 2WD diesel pick-up or SUV. If you want super high gas mileage, great maneuverability, and you need only a little room, get a compact or sub-compact. If you need an average amount of room for people and supplies, get a full sized car or a midsized crossover, etc, etc. Very few vehicles, if any, are truly universal. Second, be aware of what safety systems the vehicle might be equipped with. A lot of vehicles nowadays either have the option, or come standard with, safety systems such as Automatic Braking, Collision Avoidance, and Advanced/ Autonomous Emergency Braking. These systems essentially make it impossible to run into something. In a zombie apocalypse, this is practically a death sentence, as the act of running down a zombie will be practically unavoidable at one point or another. Some can be disabled, though it varies from manufacturer. Third, try to remember these important points when deciding on a vehicle.
- AWD (All Wheel Drive) vehicles are meant mostly for all weather conditions (rain, snow, ice, etc) on paved roads, and will do some extremely light to moderate off-roading, depending what system they have. A Honda or Chevy or BMW AWD system isn't the same as a rally car based Subaru or Mitsubishi AWD system, which were designed originally for dirt and gravel, not pavement. If it helps, All Wheel Drive can translate into All Weather Drive.
- 4WD/ 4X4 is meant for off-roading and rough conditions (such as a destroyed city block, a steep muddy dirt road, a swampy field, etc) and works in all weather conditions. These can also be used on pavement provided the speed of the vehicle doesn't exceed 70 km/h.
- If a vehicle is displayed as AWD or 4WD/ 4X4 but there are no buttons or knobs to select what terrain the vehicle is on or to put the vehicle into 4 hi, 4 low, or Auto 4WD (A.K.A AWD), then it is not meant for rough road conditions in the slightest. You'd be better off with a 2WD version of the same vehicle (see below).
- Front wheel drive (FWD) or rear wheel drive (RWD) vehicles get better gas mileage (approx 1-2 mpg better) than their AWD/4WD counterparts due to the fact that the engine is only powering 2 wheels instead of four (A.K.A 2WD) as well as they weigh less due to the lack of a transfer case.
- Tires are key. They are the only part of the vehicle that is actually touching the road's surface. Take care of them. Also, make a note of what tires your vehicle is equipped with. If a Subaru or Jeep has summer tires, then that will drastically effect their off road and all weather ability, to the point where a 2WD vehicle with all-seasons or all-terrain tires might be better (off road and in slippery weather).
- Realize your vehicles limitations (ride height, durability, fuel economy, off-road capability, towing capacity, cargo space, etc) and do not overestimate your vehicle.
- Manual transmission equipped vehicles 98% of the time get better gas mileage than automatic equipped vehicles.
- Compared to the same car or truck with a gas engine, diesels get better gas mileage every time. However, they are also noisier, and diesel fuel and specific engine parts may be harder to come across.
- Newer vehicles doesn't always mean better vehicles, as newer vehicles are much more complex mechanically and electronically wise.
- Think realistically in all situations. If a car gets 34 mpg on a highway, then don't think that it will get the same mileage when loaded with people and supplies. ( for example, the Mini Cooper Countryman All4 with a manual transmission loses 3 mpg city and highway when loaded with 250 lb worth of goods)
Please note that it has long been contested what drive system (4WD/4X4 VS. AWD) causes worse gas mileage in a vehicle. Both these systems add weight to a vehicle, lowering mileage. 4WD/ 4X4 vehicles have ability to be 2WD, saving gas as well as drivetrain wear-and-tear (until the driver chooses to put the vehicle in 4WD), while an AWD system is on either all the time or when the vehicles computer thinks that it is needed. This wastes gas, although an AWD system weighs (slightly to moderately) less than a 4WD/4X4 system. For more info on mileage and general differences concerning AWD and 4WD/ 4X4, read this , this . and this  .
These tiny machines have the highest fuel economy (anywhere from 45-65 mpg, give or take),
and can fit through tighter spaces than their larger siblings. However, they have very limited cargo room, making them suited only for a lone survivalist or a pair, and they will suffer badly in a crash. Their top speeds are not that high, but with fuel scarce and the roads covered in debris and wrecks, there won't be much temptation to go fast. Examples include the Smart For two, the Toyota Yaris, the Ford Ka and Fiesta, the Honda Fit (also known as the Jazz), the Hyundai Accent, the Scion Tc, the Chevrolet Aveo (now called the Sonic), the Peugeot 107 and 207, the Citroen C1 and C2, the Renault Clio, and the Mazda Demio. The Mitsubishi Mirage and Mirage G4 should be specially noted, as they are one of the few modern subcompacts that offer a 3 cylinder engine as opposed to the more common 4 cylinder in other models, and get great mileage when driven with mpg's in mind.
Larger than the subcompacts, but still rather small, compact cars trade a bit of their fuel economy (around 40 mpg/17 kpl) for a slightly increased cargo capacity and crash protection. Examples include the Honda Civic, the Ford Focus and Escort, the Chevrolet Cobalt, Trax, and Cruz, the Hyundai Elantra, the Toyota Corolla, the Peugeot 308, the Citroen C4, Volkswagen Beetle, Jetta and Golf (also known as the Rabbit), the Mini Hatch, the Mazda 3, the Ford Focus, the Dodge Dart, the Honda CR-X, the Mitsubishi Lancer, the Volvo V40, and the Kia Forte.
Mid-size cars are usually quite large, while still getting respectable gas mileage (often in the 25-35 mpg range). The large cargo capacity and increased protection easily makes up for their decreased maneuverability.
Examples include the Volkswagen Passat, the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord, the Ford Fusion, the Hyundai Sonata, the Chevrolet Malibu and Cruze, the Mazda 6, and the Subaru Legacy. The exceptions to this are the diesel
versions of these vehicles. Both the Chevrolet Cruze and Volkswagon Passat, for example, can come with an optional 2.0 litre turbo-diesel engine, bumping their MPG up to 27 city/ 46 hwy (Cruze) and 31 city/ 42 hwy (Passet). The only downside to these vehicles are that due to the fact that they are diesel powered, they are inherently louder than their gasoline counterparts, and parts may be more difficult to come by if there was a breakdown.
These vehicles offer a great amount of passenger/ cargo space. However, fuel economy suffers with the increased weight (usually around 20-30 mpg), and the large size can make it difficult to get through tight spaces. Examples include the Ford Crown Victoria, the Chrysler 300, the Toyota Avalon, the Ford Taurus, the Dodge Charger, the Chevrolet Impala, the VW CC, the Nissan Maxima, and the Buick Lacrosse. Please note that most newer versions of these vehicles offer smaller, more efficient engines as standard with their lower trims. Thanks to this, they can achieve up and around 35 mpg (e.g. Chevrolet Impala 25/35, Dodge Charger 19/31, Lincoln MKZ 21/33). Although these might be harder to come across, they would offer the best of both worlds involving decent space and fuel economy.
Station wagons, also known as estate cars, are cars in which the interior cabin is extended all the way to the back of the car, absorbing the trunk. Most wagons can be classified as mid-size or full-size vehicles, although some, such as the Saab 9-3 and Subaru Impreza (27/ 36 I4, 19/ 25 turbo I4) wagons, are small enough to be considered compact cars. The wagon's increased utility over its sedan and coupe brethren should make it appealing to zombie survivalists who are willing to ignore the vehicle's "frumpy" image, especially when one considers the number of station wagons that have all-wheel drive, making them suited for bad weather and light off-roading. Examples include the Subaru Outback (24/ 30 I4, 17/ 25 V6), Honda Accord (22/ 30), the Ford Flex (FWD 18/ 25, AWD 16/ 23), the VW Golf sport wagon ( 31/43 diesel, 25/36 gas), the Audi A4 Avant (recently discontinued), the Dodge Magnum (discontinued in 2008) and the Volvo V50 and V70 ( AWD 18/ 26). Older station wagons like the Chevrolet Caprice and Buick Roadmaster wagons (1996 and back) and others like the AMC Eagle (1988 and back) should also be considered.
On the upside, despite being older, they still get decent mileage (94-96 Caprice/ Buick, 17/ 25 mpg), Even early 1980's wagons have acceptable ratings (ex. 1980 Ford Country Squire wagon gets 15/ 25 or 17/24 depending on engine and transmission options). These wagons have just as much, if not more cargo room than today's minivans and crossovers, and unlike minivans and crossovers, most Olds/ Buick/ Chevy/ Pontiac/ Ford/ Dodge station wagons from the 1990's and back have around a 5000 lb towing capacity as well as have a high level of durability. A posi-traction differential was also an option for these vehicles, making them a little more suitable for off-roading (more traction available). There were even several diesel engines available (for the GM products) for increased fuel mileage. (I.E, the 5.7 litre V8 and 4.3 litre V6). both these engines were not nearly as reliable as their gasoline counterparts, however, this was mainly due to poor diesel quality than the actual engines themselves. Also, like today, there were stations wagons from the 80's that were considered compact with 4 and 6 cylinder engines, midsized and fullsized, so there there is a variety of choice to select what would suit you best during the apocalypse. Examples of these would be the compact Buick Century (26/ 43 V6 diesel, 24/ 37 I4 gas, 19/29 V6 gas), the midsized Chevy Malibu (23/ 35 V8 diesel, 20/ 30 V6 gas, 17/ 25 V8 gas), and the fullsized Chevy Caprice (16/ 25 V8 gas, 22/ 38 V8 diesel). And, despite how they look, there actually were a couple station wagons that were designed for off-road use. The AMC Eagle and the Subaru GL/ DL wagons were midsized wagons that were equipped with a 4X4 transfer case, raised ride height, and usually manual transmissions. The AMC got 23/32 mpg (I4 w/ manual trans), 20/31 mpg (V6 w/ manual trans), and 20/ 29 mpg (V6 with auto trans). the Subaru got 21/ 29 mpg. On the downside,due to the age of these vehicles, one should expect more maintenance and possibly breakdowns, as well as rust issues that could compromise the safety of the vehicle. (factoring in the shape the vehicle is in to begin with). Having said that, it goes without saying that it is a lot easier to fix and repair older vehicles due to their mechanical simplicity compared to the complex modern day electronics that vehicles now use.
Although they're fancy, it's generally a good idea to stay away from luxury cars, especially the more high-end models such as Rolls Royce, Maserati, and Bentley. The advanced electronics that these vehicles rely upon are tough to maintain in a survival scenario, their big engines are not particularly fuel efficient, and their cargo capacity can easily be matched by a conventional large car. They also require premium fuel in order to operate correctly, or else premature engine failure can happen. Exceptions can be made, however, for the diesel-powered variants. In the United States, passenger diesels are largely the domain of European automakers, most of whom (with the notable exception of Volkswagen) aim for the top tier of the American car market. It is not uncommon to see a full-size luxury sedan that gets 30 mpg thanks to its diesel power, greatly increasing its value in a survival scenario. Examples include anything made by Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Cadillac, Lexus, Acura, Audi, and Jaguar.
Some say they're useless, but you can use them in some ways. The main attribute of the sports car is its speed, something that won't be very important in a zombie apocalypse. In addition, most of them gulp down lots of gas, they are usually complicated to maintain, they're usually not very reliable, and due to their large engines and small bodies, they have little room for cargo, and all need high octane premium fuel to run properly. They can be used for road blocks and scrap. Examples include the Ford GT40, the Chevrolet Corvette, the Dodge Viper, and almost anything made by Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, or Pagani. If desired, carry one in an 18-wheeler if you can. Stashing one of these cars as a last ditch escape plan from a fortified area in case of being overrun by zombies or bandits might save your life. If you live in a very lowly populated area and can carry lots of fuel in the passenger seat, then you might be able to use one. For example, a reliable, durable sports car such as a BMW M3 or M4 could be used (17/24 mpg), or a less durable Corvette Stingray (17/29 mpg- avoid the supercharged models). All in all though, more durable, useful vehicles could be used with the same or better mileage. High performance and luxury sports cars should be avoided.
The open top may make it a bit easier for you and your passengers to attack zombies, but it also makes it much easier for zombies to attack you and your passengers, eliminating one of the major advantages of having an automobile. Also, the retractable top takes up a very large amount of cargo space. Examples include the Lexus SC430, the Ford Mustang convertible, Nissan Murano, and the Volkswagen Eos and Beetle.
These cars combine the worst aspects of full-size cars and luxury cars into one useless package. Fuel economy is pitiful, usually comparable to a large truck (only without the utility). The increased length also makes limos extremely cumbersome to drive, and the high-maintenance electronics that are commonly found in luxury cars are also found in limos. They are really only good for two things: making road blocks, and providing great Romero-style social commentary about greedy rich people whose luxuries couldn't save them from the zombie apocalypse.
Gasoline-Electric Hybrids have some unique attributes that could prove both advantageous or disadvantageous in a post apocalyptic environment, depending on the situation. Some Hybrids can achieve fuel economy comparable to motorcycles along with tending to be significantly quieter than both motorcycles and comparable cars/trucks. Most hybrids utilize their powerful electric motors to start their on-board gasoline motors. They also utilize smaller gasoline motors and more restrictive exhaust systems that in turn result in a barely audible vehicle. Many Hybrid vehicles are also capable of running on electricity alone for finite distances. Their battery packs generally take up a negligible amount of trunk space, and variants are common, such as hatchbacks, CUV's, and sedans.
Some hybrids can also easily double as quiet mobile generators. Their auxiliary battery packs, regenerative brakes, and electric motors are capable of producing and storing more electricity than most conventional vehicles. They can do this without the use of an inverter. A hybrid's unique powertrain can also prove disadvantageous in certain situations though.
For example, some con's that most Hybrids face are the complexity of their dual drive systems. In the event of a breakdown or mechanical/ electrical issue, repairing the electrical components will be near impossible without a specially trained technician/ mechanic and specialty designed tools for the job. It will be tough to find a suitable Hybrid if it has been disused for some time. A hybrid's auxiliary battery pack will degrade and fall out of balance with time. Hybrids are commonly fitted with Continually Variable Transmissions (CVT), which are inherently weaker than traditional Automatic and Manual Transmissions. Hybrids in turn can be very sensitive to adverse conditions and driving habits, which can hamper MPG. Hybrids also are generally delivered with lower ground clearance than comparable non-hybrid vehicles to maximize aerodynamics and fuel economy, which can be troublesome when it comes to rougher road conditions. They also generally (there are exceptions) not to be used as tow vehicles, as the electrical system both adds weight to the vehicle (lowering the tow rating) and the electrical components use up far more electricity than normal, meaning you'd get better mileage from a gas/ diesel version of the same vehicle. Not all Hybrids are created equal though.
Firstly, there are several different types of Hybrids on the road today.
1) There are Parallel Hybrid systems which is your standard hybrid vehicle, where the gasoline motor and regenerative braking system charges on-board batteries so that the vehicle can, at times, run on full electricity. These include the Toyota Prius and Camry hybrid, Chevy Malibu hybrid, VW Jetta hybrid, along with a host of others, pretty much everything from Lexus to Porsche. This is the most common modern-day hybrid system.
2) There is the plug-in electric and gas (PHEV) hybrid. This system has batteries that are powered via plugging them in to a power source beforehand so to charge them. Vehicles with this system have a gas powered engine as well, but are not connected together. The vehicle simply runs on electricity until the power runs out and then switches to gas. Examples of this are the Chrysler Pacifica, Hyundia Sonata PHEV, Toyota Prius prime, etc.
3) Range Extender Hybrid is the closes one can get to a full electric vehicle while still being a hybrid. Vehicles with this system have a gas powered motor that acts as a 'range extender'. The gas motor acts as a generator to power the batteries and extend the driving range of the vehicle. The Chevy Volt, Hyundia Ioniq, and BMW i8 are examples of this, though the BMW i3 can also fall into this category as it can be equipped with an optional range extender.
It should be noted that in the Zombie Apocolypse, one of the best hybrid vehicles one could use is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. It is one of the only vehicles today that has the best of both worlds concerning hybrid technology. It is a plug-in hybrid that can also regenerate electricity via the gas engine. You can chose the hybrid settings you want, such as gas only power, gas recharging the battery packs, or full electric. All are equipped with S-AWC, Mitsubishi's AWD system that is one of the few that performs exemplary in off-road conditions. The best argument for this vehicle though is that the driver has the ability to turn off all the driver safety systems such as pedestrian avoidance and automatic braking. Most other hybrids are equipped with these systems and can be hugely detrimental to ones survival. The Outlander will not screech to halt the first time you are forced to run over a zombie in order to escape death.
4) There are also older, less sophisticated hybrids. First Generation Civic and Insight hybrids can run with their battery packs removed, yielding a lighter Civic Sedan with a smaller motor at the expense of quiet starting and 13 horsepower. Early Honda Hybrids mainly rely on use of a smaller displacement engine and cylinder idling systems to achieve their outstanding fuel economy. Their auxiliary electric drive really just gives the car extra power when needed and helps start the engine quickly and quietly. Several Honda Hybrids have been offered with manual transmissions yielding them some added durability and towing capacity. When driven properly these manual transmission equipped hybrids can run over 70 miles on a gallon of gasoline. They can even yield 30-40 miles per gallon with a smaller enclosed trailer attached. Since these vehicles are largely based on the regular Civic and Fit/Jazz models, parts are more readily available than one would think.
Please note that one inherent risk that Hybrid (as well as electric) vehicles have is that in an accident, the case containing the Lithium Ion battery packs can break or be damaged, causing the occupants of the vehicle to be electrocuted. They also can burst in flames and can keep burning for up to 24 hours in some cases.
BEV's (Battery Electric Vehicles), are vehicles that are fully electric, gaining their power from an outside power source (plugged into a wall socket, etc,). Electric vehicles are usually good for a one time use, but other than that, forget about them. They do have a couple upsides. They get exceptionally good mileage (over 100 mpgE in most cases) while being virtually silent on the road (no engine noise), which mean you can get a good distance while being unnoticed by zombies. Despite these upsides, they are pretty much going to be better off as scrap once the apocalypse hits. Most take over five hours to fully charge (time varies per vehicle), and that's if you have the electricity to spare, or any at all. Unlike gasoline, which can last up to two years (91-94 octane) unattended in gas stations and car gas tanks and still be usable, once electricity is gone, it's gone. Some of them also need a specialized plug in order to charge them, which might not be available, and thanks to the fact that they are battery powered, they have less passenger and cargo room than conventional gasoline or diesel vehicles. Parts are also a major concern, because if you break down in one of those, good luck finding a replacement part, or something even rarer, somebody who actually knows how to repair an electric car (there are specialists, and they are few and far between even before the apocalypse). Unless you happen to have one on hand and charged fully when the apocalypse hits, then don't even bother. Examples include the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, plug-in Toyota Prius, Kia Niro and Hyundia Iconiq plug-in's, and any vehicle made by Tesla .
Vans are vehicles built primarily for the purpose of moving people and cargo. They are about as wide as mid-size or full-size cars, but are much longer and taller. Like station wagons, the interior cabin stretches to the back of the vehicle. The increased size, lessened maneuverability, and slightly lower fuel economy of vans limits their utility for lone survivors or small groups of less than four, who won't need to carry as much. It is with larger groups of people (five or more) that vans come into their own. For fortified groups, vans can make for very efficient supply vehicles, and for traveling groups, the increased cargo and passenger room may be necessary to carry all of the survivors and their gear.
As the name suggests, minivans (also known as MPVs and people-movers) are the smallest types of vans around. In America, most minivans are quite large, although some, particularly those originally made for European and Japanese markets, are much smaller. With the smaller size (compared to full-sized vans) comes better fuel economy (often in the 25+ mpg range) and greater maneuverability. Minivans have some of the best cargo space available for 7/8 seater vehicles (far greater than any car and more or less matching full sized SUV's). Examples include the Dodge Grand Caravan/ Chrylser Town and Country (18/26), the Honda Odyssey (19/ 28), the Kia Sedona (17-18/ 22-25 depending on trim levels), the
Toyota Sienna (18/ 25 FWD, 16/ 23 AWD), the Nissan Quest(19/ 25), the Ford Galaxy (European), the Mercedes-Benz Metris (20/23) and the Mazda5 (22/ 28). Minivans are some of the worst choices
concerning speed, not that we are aiming for very high speeds.
However, minivans have very ample storage and seating. The obvious problems with minivans are that they aren't very durable due to their FWD, unibody chassis and that they aren't meant for going off road (maybe down a graded dirt or gravel road at best). Any muddy, loose or rocky terrain, or unplowed snowy roads could spell disaster for a minivan due to their lack of torque, low ground clearance, and unibody construction. AWD versions are better, but still considered poor when driven off of pavement. Only the Toyota Sienna has an optional AWD system, although htere is some confusion if the the 3500 lb tow package is availible when equipped with it. Also, just to note, the Kia, Nissan, and Honda all have a 3500 lb tow rating, on average with most crossovers, but worse than almost any SUV. The Dodge has a 3600 lb tow rating while the Mazda and 2WD Toyota are NRFT (Not Recommended For Towing -- A.K.A can't tow at all). The Mercedes-Benz Metris is the odd one of the bunch, as it is RWD, and has a much higher towing capcity of 5000 lb.
Many different types of vans fall into this category -- cargo vans, commuter vans, conversion vans, short
buses, delivery vans etc. Since they are all built on the same platforms, they will be described together. Full-size vans are larger than minivans, and are often built on truck platforms (minivans, meanwhile, are
car-based). They are usually more bare-bones than their smaller counterparts, although some vans, known as conversion (camper) vans, have been customized with myriad luxuries. Two major problems come up with full-size vans. The first is poor fuel economy, which is typically in the mid-teens to low twenties. Another big issue with these vehicles is their tendency to roll over easily, owing to their increased height as opposed to the pickup trucks whose platforms they are built on. A tight turn taken too fast with a full load, or even a large enough zombie swarm on one side of the van, could cause a nasty rollover. With these problems in mind, it may be a better idea to use a pickup truck for transporting large amounts of supplies, or an SUV for people that can't be moved with a minivan. The advantages of these vans are that, due to the truck platform they are based on, they have a high amount of durability, as well as, the passenger versions can safely hold (an average of) double the amount of people compared to your standard minivan or SUV (about 12-15 max). Also, any cargo would definitely be safer, securer, and generally kept in better condition inside a cargo van than exposed to the elements via the bed of a pickup truck. Older examples that can still be found by the millions on North American roadways are the Ford E-Series, also known as the Club Wagon and Econoline (Production ended 2014, avg mpg 10-13/ 13-16, 10,000 lb tow capacity), The Dodge Ram Van (Production ended 2002, 7600-8600 tow capacity) and the old VW Microbus (production for North America ended mid 90's). There are two vans that fall in between the category's of full-sized and minivan. The Chevy Astro/ GMC Safari (ended 2005, 5000 lb tow capacity) and the Ford Aerostar (ended 1997, 4500 tow capacity) are basically full-sized minivans. They have a unibody frame (like a minivan) with a front subframe (Like a full sized van/ truck). They get around the same gas mileage as other full size vans, but won't flip near as easily and can hold the same amount of people as a minivan while still retaining most of the off road and towing ability's as full sized vans. Due to the fact that full sized vans are based off of their truck counterparts, they also have the ground clearance and durability to drive off road if needed.
Recently, much newer and redesigned vans have come into play, and are based off of both older RWD, fullsized vans and smaller, FWD compact passenger vans. These vans can come in a variety of lengths (short, standard, and extended) and heights (low roof, mid roof, and high roof) which can be mixed and matched, so there are lots of varieties to consider. Examples include the Ford Transit Connect (compact, FWD cargo or 7 person passenger van, 22/30 mpg, 2000 lb tow capacity), the Ford Transit (full sized, RWD, cargo or 8-15 person passenger van, 14/19 mpg gas, 18/25 diesel, 7500 lb tow rating), Ram Promaster (full sized, FWD, cargo, gas mpg not rated, 18/26 diesel, 5100 lb towing capacity), Ram Promaster City (compact, FWD, cargo or 5 person
passenger van, 21/ 29 mpg, 1800 lb tow rating), the Nissan NV200 (compact, FWD, cargo or 5 person passenger van, 24/ 25 mpg), Nissan NV Cargo (full sized, RWD, mpg not rated, 7000 lb (V6)/ 9500 lb (V8) towing capacity), the Nissan NV Passenger (full sized, RWD, 12 person capacity, 13/16 mpg 6200 lb (V6)/ 8700 lb (V8) tow capacity), the Mercedes Benz Sprinter (full sized, RWD w/ opt. 4X4 system, cargo, crew, or 12 person passenger van, gas mpg not rated, 18/26 diesel, 5000 lb standard tow capacity, 7500 lb for 3500 models), Chevrolet City Express (compact, FWD, cargo, 24/26 mpg). Finally, Chevrolet is still producing it's dependable Chevrolet Express/ GMC Savana vans, the last of the full sized old style vans still in production. (full sized, RWD w/ opt. AWD, cargo or 12-15 person passenger van, 11/ 17 mpg gas, diesel mpg not rated, 6200-10,000 lb towing capacity depending on engine and body options). Please note that the AWD system is only available on the standard body 1500 passenger van, which has been discontinued as of June 2014, although you can still get the bodystyle in 2500/ 3/4 ton and 3500/ 1 ton configurations. Also to note, the Express/ Savannah vans are now available with a 2.8 litre diesel V6, which although not mpg rated, has reports of getting over 30 mpg highway.
Also, all makes (Ford, Nissan, etc) of full sized vans come in 1500, 2500, and 3500 versions, which stands for 1/2 ton, 3/4 ton, and 1 ton. The higher the tonnage, the more payload (supplies, people, etc) and towing capacity the vehicle will have, along with heaver duty suspension and brakes. Keep in mind that most of these vehicles are not just for pavement, but not complete off roaders as well. AWD (All Wheel Drive) or 4x4 (Can change from 2 wheel drive to 4 wheel drive) is recommended (only the Mercedes Benz sprinter van and the older 1500/ 1/2 ton Chevy Express have those options). Another advantage is that these full sized vans also (depending on the engine and tonnage) have close to, if not the same towing ability/ capacity of their truck counterparts, making them extremely suitable for trailer hauling. As well as, if you are in a survival group of 8-15 people, then it would be much more efficient, fuel wise, to use one passenger van to transport everybody than two or three separate vehicles.
Light trucks (pickups and SUVs)
The definition of a light truck, according to federal regulations, is a vehicle weighing less than 8500 pounds that is designed for the purpose of transporting large amounts of cargo (or is derived from such a vehicle), is built for transporting people and has a passenger capacity less than twelve, and/or is built with off-road use in mind. SUVs, pickup trucks, and vans are all considered light trucks under American regulations. Since vans have already been discussed, this section will cover pickups and SUVs of various types. Pickup trucks are identified by the open bed that they have in the back. SUVs, meanwhile, replace this bed with an interior space, and often resemble very large station wagons. Both are often built on body-on-frame platforms resembling miniature versions of heavy trucks, although recently, there have been a growing number of exceptions in the SUV category. The three main advantages of a pickup or SUV are its high cargo capacity, its towing capacities, and its off-road capability when compared to other civilian vehicles. This latter point gives these vehicles a significant advantage over minivans for the purpose of moving large groups of people or bringing supplies back to base. They also come with the same disadvantages as full sized vans, namely the limited maneuverability and the poor fuel economy, which limits their use for groups of pairs or lone survivors. These are very common in small towns and suburbs and developments, but can also be found in cities.
Compact and mid-size pickups
These are the smallest types of pickup trucks around, and a with four- or six-cylinder engines (some mid-sizes have V8s). They have been lumped into the same category due to the high number of similarities between them. These smaller trucks benefit from increased maneuverability and better fuel economy (in the 20-29 mpg range for compacts, while most mid-sizes get around 17-25 mpg), but can carry less cargo than their full-size brethren. For a supply vehicle, a smaller truck should be one of your first choices. Unfortunately, there are no new light trucks being sold in the US. The old Ford Ranger and the Mazda B-Series, which are built on the same platform, were both discontinued in 2012. North American mid-size trucks include the Toyota Tacoma, Dodge Dakota, Nissan Frontier, the Chevrolet Colorado/ GMC Canyon, new Ford Ranger, and Honda Ridgeline. Most, if not all of these vehicles come with engine choices (I4, V6, and V8) and automatic and manual transmissions, as well as 4WD. The newer Colorado/ Canyon pickups also have the option (in N. America) of a 2.8 litre diesel engine, which can push fuel consumption into the low thirties if driven carefully. Outside of North America, it is possible to find highly fuel efficient 4 cylinder compact and mid-sized trucks like the Mitsubishi L200, Toyota Hilux, and Nissan Navarra among others. However, in areas such as Western Europe, pickup trucks of exceptional reliability can be found, the most impressive of these being the Toyota Hilux being (arguably) indestructible. Please note however, pickup trucks in any area carries a large risk from open carry compartments and can be vulnerable to both the weather and raiders. One thing to note is you can install a topper/ canopy for added protection, or camper to turn your truck into a small mobile base/ home.
Full-size pickup trucks represent the ultimate in utility, being able to tow five tons, haul several thousand pounds of supplies, and conquer almost any terrain. However, this incredible utility comes at a steep cost: they are extremely bulky, and the fuel economy, usually in the mid to late teens, is appalling. Some exceptions to this are full sized pickups that are equipped with V6 or diesel engines. Examples of this are (All these are 2WD models- 4WD models get approx 1 mpg less for both city and hwy) the Ford F-150 3.5 litre Eco-Boost V6 (16 city/ 22 hwy MPG), the Ford F-150 2.7 litre Eco-boost V6 (19/26 MPG), the Chevy Silverado/ GMC Sierra 4.3 litre EcoTec3 V6 (18 city/ 24 hwy MPG) and the Dodge Ram 3.0 EcoDiesel (20 city/ 29 hwy MPG). for the most part, unless you need to move a lot of stuff or want even better gas mileage (always a plus), stick to the smaller trucks. Examples include the Ford F-150/250/ 350/450 and Super Duty Series, the Dodge Ram 1500/2500/ 3500/ Heavy Duty, the Chevrolet Silverado/ GMC Sierra 1500/2500/ 3500/ HD, the Toyota Tundra, and the Nissan Titan/ Titan XD.
Compact SUVs are body-on-frame vehicles that are built the same way and have the same capabilities as full sized SUV's (towing, off-road, durability, etc) except that they are smaller, so they have limited cargo space (usually a little more than a large crossover), but make up for this with superior fuel economy (often the same as a large crossover) and maneuverability that full sized SUV's and large crossovers lack. Some compact SUV's, due to the fact that they are smaller, might have a lower ride height which in turn could affect their off-road capability. However, as long as they are equipped with a 4x4/ 4WD drive system, this should not be too much of a problem. Most Compact SUV's, particulary any Jeeps, are extensively made for rough/
off road conditions (coming at the expense of fuel economy, which depends on the model). With their small size, respectable fuel economy, decent off-road capabilities, and large cargo capacity when compared to cars, compact SUVs are perhaps the only trucks that can really be viewed as really useful for lone survivors or small, traveling groups, filling a niche similar to station wagons. Examples include the Nissan Xterra ([15-16/ 20-22] mpg), the Toyota 4Runner (17/ 22), the Toyota FJ Cruiser (17/ 20 4WD, 17/22 RWD) and the Jeep Wrangler (16-17/ 21) and Grand Cherokee (17/ 24 V6, 14/ 20 V8, 21/ 30 V6 diesel). If you can find any older/ discontinued compact SUVs such as the Chevrolet Blazer/ Trailblazer, GMC Jimmy/ Envoy, Dodge Nitro, and the Mercury Mountaineer, these should work just as well. Also, just a note, the Grand Cherokee, despite being the only unibody compact SUV, comes in an SRT8 version. Avoid this; it is a sports version, meaning that has AWD instead of 4WD/ 4X4, gets terrible mileage, is lowered to almost half it's original ride height, and only runs on premium fuel. If you can, get the diesel version; it has great mileage, is reliable, and still very capable of handling any rough roads one may come across.
Mid-size and full-size SUVs
The only reason that these vehicles ever became popular was because they held more people than their pickup brethren and gas used to be cheap. Thanks to the spike in prices over the years, few people are buying them anymore, although there has been a resurgence with today's lower gas prices. This should tell you something about the gas mileage of these things. Fuel economy is more or less the same as their pickup truck counterparts, possibly worse due to the weight of the extended roof and interior. Most of these vehicles are absolutely gargantuan (same as the pickups). Finally, some of the larger examples, even those sold under entry-level marquees like Ford and Chevrolet, can be filled with the same kind of high-maintenance electronics that luxury cars have. On the upside, they can usually do everything that their pick-up counterparts can do, and hold more people while doing it. Still though, the bottom line is: If you're going to use one of these, make sure you choose very, very wisely. Don't go for luxury like big engines or low profile tire tread. Looks for utility such as 4X4 systems, interior space, towing, ground clearance, etc. A suggestion would be a Jeep Commander or Z71 (A.K.A offroad) edition Chevrolet Tahoe. Examples include the Chevrolet Suburban/ GMC Yukon XL (15/ 22 RWD, 15/21 4WD), the Ford Excursion and Expedition (13/ 18 4X4, 14/ 20 RWD), the Lincon Navigator (13/18 AWD, 14/20 RWD) the Hummer H2 (12/17) and H3 (14/ 18), the Cadillac Escalade (15/ 21, AWD), the Nissan Armada (12/ 18), The Infiniti QX80 (14/20, 4X4), the GMC Yukon/ Chevrolet Tahoe (16/23,RWD, 16/ 22 4WD), the GMC Yukon Denali (15/21), the Toyota Landcruiser (13/ 17) and perhaps the Dodge Durango (V6-17/ 24 AWD, 18/25 RWD, V8-14/ 23 AWD, 17/ 24 RWD), even though it is more of a "sports" SUV. The best to use in Europe is the Landrover Defender due to it's simplicity and ease of maintenance, while also achieveing a decent gas millage (the Defender TD5 can do 26-28mpg and can even come as a pick-up version). The Landrover Defender or Toyota Landcruiser are your best choice in Africa. Both are diesel, and will run on virtually any oily fuel source. An engine oil/ kerosine mixture will even keep it running for a while, and vegetable oils can also be used for long periods. The Landrover Defender with the 300Tdi engine is arguably the easiest Landrover to maintain and repair, and spares are available all over the continent. Look for tires with an aggressive tread pattern because these will give the best performance on surfaces that might be covered in slippery zombie blood and gore, or body parts.
When it comes to reliability and ease of repair, a one option would probably be a Suburban with a carbureted engine (pre-1991) as these are the simplest to repair. Strip away the back seats, put in plexi glass for windows and the windshield and use the space from the second row as your storage. The third row seat could be used as a bed and you can still have storage behind the third row. you can also put things on like roof baskets, roof lights, and even plows so if you are in a place that can get snow you could use it to plow the roads.
The label "crossover" covers such a broad spectrum of vehicles that it cannot be lumped into either the car or light truck category. In general, crossovers are FWD vehicles that can have I4 and v6 engines, optional AWD systems (4X4 in any Jeep's case), and are marketed as having the cargo capacity of sport-utility vehicles, but in a smaller, more fuel-efficient package. Also, they are generally much less off-road capable and durable than their larger SUV counterparts. After that, however, all sorts of vehicles can be found lumped into this category.Whether or not you use a crossover vehicle as a survival vehicle depends on what you are looking at.
Probably some of the most common type of crossover. This includes the Toyota Venza, the Honda Crosstour, the Mazda Cx-5, the Jeep Cherokee, the Hyundai Tuscon, the Subaru Forester, the Kia Rondo, the Ford Edge, Nissan Murando/ Rouge, the Acura RDX and the Chevrolet Equinox. They bear more resemblance to tall station wagons and small minivans than traditional sport-utility vehicles. Due to their size, the midsized crossovers offer a great deal of versatility when compared to the mid-sized cars that they are based on, while providing comparable fuel economy (20-28) mpg, depending on make and model) and maneuverability, and should definitely be considered, especially any Jeeps or Subaru's, as, despite being crossovers, they come with exceptionally good and sophisticated AWD (Subaru) or 4x4 (Jeep) systems. They also have reasonable amounts of room,(more than the cars that they are based on, but less than a minivan/ SUV) and can usually only seat five, but aren't nearly as good for any towing or rough road excursions compared to other SUV's/ Crossovers. (Still a bit better than cars due to their slightly raised ride heights). On a personal note, I (a registered Wikia user) would highly recommend either a Jeep Cherokee, a Subaru Forester, or a Mitsubishi Outlander for a Crossover primary vehicle in a zombie apocalypse. All three were built for rough road conditions in mind, both seat five people comfortably and still have a decent amount of interior space (the Outlander can seat 7, though this deteriorates cargo space), All three get very good fuel mileage (For a midsized crossover)-Jeep, anywhere from 19-21/ 26-31 mpg depending on engine and 4x4 system choice, Subaru-21-24/ 28-32 mpg depending on engine and transmission choice, and Mitsubishi-20-24/ 27-29 mpg depending on engine choice. The Cherokee can also come with a 5000 lb towing capacity, and the Outlander can come with a 3500 lb towing capacity.
Larger Crossovers, such as the Nissan Pathfinder, the Honda Pilot, the Dodge Journey, the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Chevrolet Traverse, the Toyota Highlander, the Buick Enclave, the Mazda CX-9, the Subaru Tribeca, the Ford Explorer, and the Acura MDX resemble larger SUVs. Many compact SUVs such as the Nissian Xterra, the Toyota 4Runner, and Jeep Wrangler/ Grand Cherokee are also lumped in on occasion, although these are true RWD/ 4X4, body-on frame (Grand Cherokee excluded) compact SUV's and not FWD/ AWD unibody Crossovers. Larger crossovers however, are trickier and much less versitile when compared to other vehicles, and should largely be avoided because of this. Because they are a unibody car platform that has been made the size of an SUV, they lack much, if not all of the off-road capability as well as most of the towing ability of the SUVs (average towing ability of a larger crossover is 0-3500 lb, although there are definitely some crossovers with higher tow ratings). They can seat up to 5-7 people, but sacrifice most of, if not all their usable storage space to achieve this. They have slightly superior fuel economy (typically in the 20-25 mpg range) when compared to body-on-frame compact and full-sized SUV's. However, you will get more space, seats, and usually better gas mileage from a minivan.
Example 1: A Dodge Journey (Crossover) seats 5 people (7 optional with loss of cargo space), has either a 3.6 litre V6 or 2.4 Inline 4 engine, a max cargo capacity of 67.6 ft, an optional pavement oriented AWD system, 17/ 25 FWD, 16/24 AWD, and 19/26 FWD I4 mpg figures, and a max towing capacity of either 2500 (V6) or 1000 (I4) lb. A Dodge Grand Caravan (Minivan) seats 7-8 people, has a 3.6 litre V6 engine, a max cargo capacity of 143.8 ft, is FWD, gets 17/25 mpg, and has a max tow rating of 3600 lb. The Grand Caravan has more seats, more room, more towing ability, and has all this while getting the same gas mileage as Journey when equipped with the same engine. The Journey does have better gas mileage when equipped with the I4 engine, as well as, due to it's 7.2 inches of ground clearance and optional AWD system, can probably handle rough roads better than the Minivan. Having said that, the cons still outweigh the pros.
Example 2: A Chevrolet Traverse (Crossover) seats 6-8 people, has a 3.6 litre V6 engine, a max cargo capacity of 116.3 ft, an optional pavement oriented AWD system, 16/23 AWD mpg, 17/24 FWD mpg, and can tow a max of 5200 lb. A Chevy Tahoe (SUV) can seat 7-9 people, has a 5.3 litre V8 engine,optional 4X4, a max cargo capacity of 120.8 ft, and can perform decently well off-road even when not equipped with 4X4 due to a 10.5 inch ride height and a heavy duty locking differential rear end, gets 16/23 RWD mpg and 16/22 4WD mpg, and can tow a max of 8500 lb. The Tahoe has more seats, more room, more towing capacity, and thanks to to the inheirant nature of a body-on-frame SUV (high ride height, good durability, locking diff rear end for increased towing and off road prowlness), it can still perform reasonably well off road even when not equipped with a 4X4 transfer case. The Traverse exceeds the Tahoe is in fuel mileage, although only by 1-2 mpg, and only has 7.2 inches of ground clearance to deal with rough roads.
In this sense, larger crossovers can be viewed as car sized minivans with less space and some very light off-road capability ( provided they have a decent AWD/ 4X4 system), but sacrifice space, gas mileage, towing ability, and more. Best to avoid larger crossovers except for parts and gas scavenging. There are, however a few extremely rare exceptions to this. The (V6 diesel version) Volkswagon Touareg, the (4 cylinder version) Mitsubishi Outlander, and the Acura MDX have amazing AWD systems that make them commendable off-roaders, get decent gas mileage,are well built, and have half decent towing capabilities. The VW has a 7700 lb tow rating and the Acura has 5000 lb tow rating (please note that the Mitsubishi only has a 1500 pound tow rating).
Small crossovers are harder to come across that midsized or full-sized crossovers, and even if you do come across one, you might not want it. These crossovers, in a zombie apocalypse at least, have a desirability that's in between midsized (desirable) and full-sized (not desirable) crossovers. This can include the Toyota Rav4, the Chevy Capivia, the Buick Encore, the Nissian Cube/ Juke, the Honda CR-V, the Ford Edge, the Jeep Compass/ Patriot, and the Subaru Crosstrek. The good/ bad news is that these are 95% of the time basically just smaller crossovers that are based on smaller cars. They have more space than the compact cars that they are based off of, but this also adds on weight, meaning that their fuel economy is about the same as a midsized crossover, which has more cargo space. They usually have the same ride height, towing and off road ability as compact cars (so practically zero, excluding Jeeps and Subaru's), as well as, due to their size, they tend to be less maneuverable that a midsized car, which not only has more space, but better fuel economy. (Check Compact/ Midsized cars section). .
In the midst of a crisis, one is bound to find a number of police cars, ambulances, and other emergency vehicles scattered about. For the most part, emergency vehicles are not well-suited for use as zombie survival vehicles, for various reasons. Also, the very nature of emergency services means that these vehicles are most likely to be found near large numbers of zombies. However, they can be great sources of supplies, be they weapons, medicine, or other important items. They are good loot items and some, mobile bases, i.e swat van/truck.
Police cars are basically large sedans as Europeans like to call them (although they can also be "sub-compact cars" as Americans like to call them), with all of the benefits and drawbacks that this entails. However, they have some critical advantages over their civilian brethren. They are very rugged, they're fast, and they can hold their own in the dirt and on rough roads. Broken-down cop cars can also make for wonderful sources of high-quality
spare parts. Finally, nothing screams "badass" like taking the lights from the top of a police car and sticking them on your car. Leave the siren behind, unless it's your plan to act like the Pied Piper of the Living Dead. In the UK though it is different. The cars are normally just hatchbacks with a new paint job and a siren, however some unmarked UK police cars have turbochargers in them for catching speeders and they are usually painted black or silver/grey, also be on the lookout for armed police cars as they'll have ammo in them and they are usually a Subaru Impreza. One other thing to note about UK police cars is that there are a variety of them for different situations, so depending on where you are you may even find a 4x4. However, if you live in Dubai, avoid the police cars as they tend to be high end supercars such as a Bugatti Veyron, while they may be lightning fast their speed won't do you much good if you have to navigate through traffic jams and spare parts are not exactly easy to come by. In South-American countries, precisely in Brazil for instance, you'll find many Renault sedans, older VW models as police cars and they may be inferior to traditional private customer vehicles because it's common place to change parts with inferior ones and sell them for cash when the car was on duty.
If you encounter an abandoned police car, always investigate the interior. Even if you can't drive it due to a lack of a key, etc., basic interceptors carry such valuable equipment as radios, portable and otherwise, the latter useful in the event that police signals are still being broadcasted, as well as firearms and ammunition. Most police cars in the United States have some form of mount for a shotgun or rifle. Look for the mount: if it's empty, forget it. If it's full, take it, and collect any extra ammunition you can find. Odds are you'll have found either a shotgun or an assault rifle, both of which are probably superior to whatever you might've had access to already.
SWAT vans have many of the same problems as regular full-size vans: they are difficult to drive in tight areas, they guzzle gas, and they are top-heavy. They are, however, filled with valuable civilian inaccessible weaponry, tactical equipment, anti-personnel riot gear, and since they are heavily armored, they can make for very effective road blocks. Also, these can be used as a mobile base, as several people can fit inside, and you can store supplies in the back. While the gas mileage may be low, you can siphon any gas you need from the packed highways. Keep in mind, though, that riot gear is intended to inflict nonlethal damage to subdue targets. Tear gas and riot-truncheons are woefully useless, and riot gear tends to be quite heavy and, again, designed to protect against things like thrown rocks, punches, melee weapons, etc. SWAT gear is significantly different from riot gear in function: be able to tell the difference between the useful former and the largely useless latter. These, however, can be difficult to find if you live in rural areas and small towns. You can run one on almost anything that can burn however. SWAT has updated a lot, now they have MRAPs, Casspirs, and Oshkosh vehicles.
Ambulances are more trouble then they are worth. They are very large and cumbersome; the only reason that they can make it through traffic is because people know to get out of the way when they hear a siren. Wrecked cars and zombies don't have that ability. Also, despite their size, ambulances have little room
inside for passengers or cargo, what with most of that room being taken up by medical equipment and cabinets. Finally, ambulances are most likely to be found in and around places that are filled with zombies -- namely, hospitals and other hotspots. An abandoned ambulance may even be filled with the walking corpses of the paramedic team that picked up the infected victim. However, while they are not useful for driving, ambulances can act as invaluable sources of medical supplies. Also, since modern ambulances are designed to act as mobile hospitals, a fortified group may keep an ambulance within its walls to use as an emergency room. The only upside to driving an ambulance is that it is basically a tiny mobile hospital, as well as they are heavy and durable, and the newer ones run on diesel engines, which increases fuel mileage.
Exercise caution, however. While you and your companions may be overjoyed to find the plethora of medical supplies within an ambulance, keep in mind that unless one of you has some sort of professional medical experience (an EMT or Paramedic, if you're lucky), quite a few of those could prove more dangerous than helpful. Syringes are worse than useless if you can't find suitable veins or keep them clean, defibrulators do not revive the dead, and tying off limbs with tourniquet might stop bleeding...and dramatically speed up a much more life-threatening infection, just to name a few examples.
A fire truck is probably the worst choice for a zombie survival vehicle. It's the size of a bus, with the kind of fuel economy and maneuverability you'd expect from a vehicle that big. Buses at least make up for it with an outstanding cargo capacity, but in a fire truck, this space is taken up by pumps and other firefighting
equipment that can't be easily removed, leaving precious little room for passengers or supplies. Loot it for fire axes, hooligan bars, battering rams, other weapons and extinguishers, and whatever medical supplies it can and will carry, assuming it's not already picked clean, then use it to block off a road.
Emphasis on large. 18-wheelers, buses, and other such vehicles can carry several times the cargo or passengers that the largest trucks and SUVs can hold. Also, unlike most smaller vehicles, these can easily run over zombies without suffering any serious or lasting damage. And when they do... well, have you ever seen a deer carcass on the side of the highway, missing a leg and with its innards hanging out? That was probably a semi truck. Zombies weigh about as much as deer, and if anything, will actually wander toward an oncoming semi. On top of these abilities, large vehicles are usually tall enough for passengers to climb on the roof in case they get swarmed by zombies. Unfortunately, this power and capability comes at a huge price. Vehicles this big take massive hits in terms of fuel economy and maneuverability, often getting in the low teens or single digits and struggling to get through city streets even on a normal day. Needless to say, most of these vehicles are for use either on the open road, or for when the situation has gone beyond the "survival" stage and entered the "kick zombie ass" stage.
Farming equipment can be an effective zombie killing transport. A wheat thresher or a combine, for example, can tear through a small zombie horde like there’s no tomorrow. However farming equipment can require a lot of fuel, they are high maintenance, and are very slow moving. This equipment also needs a good deal of training to use, if you happen to have a vehicle like a wheat thresher and someone qualified to drive this (maybe you should join 4H just in case) have the rest of your team stand on top of the vehicle picking off zombies while your driver quite literally mows through them. Unfortunately, there is little to no protection for the exposed driver if the tractor breaks down or stalls. The wheat thresher will also cause a huge amount of infected body matter to go flying all over the place, so you’ll not only need to wear some sort of protective suit, you’ll also need to burn down any and all areas you’ve driven through to sanitize it. These vehicles are not recommended for a survival situation but are very useful for a makeshift offensive against zombies. Also make certain that the vehicle you choose is sufficiently unsafe. This may sound (and rightfully so) quite contradictory to regular decision making regarding vehicles during an undead apocalypse, but many modern farm machines are designed to prevent, or at least reduce the number of, things such as brutal mutilations in the whirling blades of a combine harvester. Make sure that your harvester is free of these pesky safeguards; you're out to turn Zach into a few flying limbs and a spray from the rear-port of your harvester, and you probably won't be running the risk of hitting any friendly farmers in the process.
They are slow, fuel intensive and have high maintenance. Although they can smash zombies with their tracks and the large front blade that gives these monster tractors their name, they generally have even less protection than the farming tractors (no windshield for example) meaning that a zombie can climb in and bite you. They have an unmatched ability of cleaning a path of rubble (debris, wrecked cars, etc.), so if you aren't planning to clear up a road it is better just to forget it. However, if you are a badass jew survivor in your homeland of Israel look for a IDF Caterpillar D9, an armored bulldozer used by Israel Defense Forces. Some of them are fitted with machine guns, smoke projectors, or grenade launchers.
Call them what you want -- tractor-trailers, semi-trailer trucks, articulated lorries -- these things have one purpose, and one purpose only. Moving massive amounts of cargo. For that purpose, they are unmatched. However, they exemplify the most important rule of large vehicles: do not use them in any areas that other, smaller vehicles cannot maneuver through. Also, 18-wheelers have a number of problems that severely limit their usage in a survival situation. First, the trailers are not well-suited for carrying passengers. Flatbeds are too vulnerable, tankers are meant for carrying liquids and powders, and box trailers, while offering protection, don't have easy escape routes for those inside (one door in the back, and it's tough to get out through the roof). Also, 18-wheelers require a great deal of skill to use, or else one runs the risk of jackknifing, which can be deadly.
A good semi gets about ten miles per gallon (4 kpl) when not burdened with a trailer, and, though this is rather low compared to other forms of transport, it's got the strengths to make it worth its while: it's sturdier structurally, it has the ability to haul heavy loads if need be, it's stable, slightly elevated, and you are able to make your own fuel. Most have remarkably spacious interiors for long-distance truckers who practically live out of their cabs while working, and, possibly most importantly, it's hardy. Semis are designed to perform at near optimal levels even in poor conditions like rain and snow, and have countermeasures to prevent damage from dust, sand, and other particles. It might run out of fuel well before even larger SUVs, but it'll easily outperform virtually any non-military competition when it comes to maintaining its ability even in harsh conditions. Plus it makes a great battering-ram! Examples include almost anything made by Mack, Peterbilt, Freightliner, Western Star, Sterling, Kenworth, and International.
For large fortified groups, buses may make adequate emergency escape vehicles in case the fort is about to be overrun. They can also make a temporary fort in the case that yours has been compromised. For one, they can carry dozens of passengers and a very large amount of cargo. A school bus is built for impact; because it carries children, it is engineered to be one of the safest vehicles on the road. They may or may not have the power to push through a zombie horde that could easily overwhelm a smaller truck, and if they do get overwhelmed, most buses have easy-to-use emergency exits that lead up to the roof. Finally, although the fuel economy is admittedly unacceptable, in dire situations, using one bus is still more efficient than using five to ten cars or trucks to move survivors and their gear. If you can find the fuel, you may be able to fortify the bus and make it an efficient method of transport for your team and yourself.
One may want to consider taking an alternative mode of transportation depending on the type of bus. For example, city buses do not have off-road capabilities and have a very poor gas mileage and speed. Also, due to their extremely low ground clearance, all zombies they hit will have a very good chance of going through the front windshield, and any run over could easily make the bus stuck. School buses have some off road capabilities due to their tall ride height, and can be used for both short city spurts and long distance travel, and are very durable. Greyhounds are the ultimate in long distance hauling of large amounts of people and supplies, and due to their massive fuel tanks, it's poor gas mileage won't impede the range of distance it can travel. Again though, it is very un-maneuverable, can't handle rough road conditions, and the gas it is using might be better spent on other vehicles. It is wise to avoid buses at all costs in a zombie apocalypse. If need be, use a passenger van instead.
Recreational vehicles, or RVs, are like fire trucks -- they are basically buses with most of the good parts stripped away. Most of the cargo and passenger room is taken up by all of the luxury items that have been installed, which, depending on the manufacturer, will assuredly break after a few months of strenuous usage, depending on how new the RV is to begin with. RVs are less appealing as a transportation option, and better as an addition to a large base or camp, or as a target to scavenge supplies from. Many come equipped with sources of electricity, water, beds, or propane.
Used by U-Haul, Ryder, UPS, FedEx, and other delivery and moving companies to move lots of goods. They're like smaller versions of 18-wheelers, with most of the same advantages and disadvantages. Roof access is difficult, limiting their use as vehicles for moving survivors. They don't jackknife, but they can roll over easily. They're more maneuverable and fuel-efficient than 18-wheelers, but they can't haul as many supplies. Bottom line: delivery trucks don't really fit into any niche. 18-wheelers beat them for moving very large amounts of stuff over the open road, while pickup trucks beat them in areas where maneuverability and fuel economy are important. Raid these for supplies and scrap, then use them to make road blocks.
Although they may seem like a good long term vehicle due their capacity, filling the truck will majorly decrease gas mileage and possibly make the truck unstable at high speeds (although more stable at low speeds). Also, due to their limited off-road capabilities and high center of gravity, they have a better chance of crashing, especially in rough road conditions. A swath of ice or dead bodies could make the truck lose control, or worse. Its best to avoid these vehicles entirely.
Military transport trucks
These vehicles are quite capable off-road, owing that to the fact that they were made for the military. They are best used for moving supplies, as they provide no serious protection for those riding in the back -- zombies can easily tear their tarp weather coverings to pieces.However, in both the old (M923, M925) and new (M1083) 5-ton trucks, the bed of the truck is usually quite a jump to get up to, this being the case, offers additional protection. Fuel consumption is a downside, although, with the over 80 gallon tanks, you still have the ability to drive longer distances. The newer version (Stewart Stevenson) is recommended over the older version, because they have a far better turning radius then the older 5-tons. The new 5-tons have a removable gunners area in the roof, when removed, adds to the possible firepower of your vehicle. The older 5-tons have a large steel bumper that is about chest to head level, that could be useful in ramming vehicles or zombies out of the way. Neither of these vehicles have air conditioning in them, but they have heaters. This can be a downside, as environmental factors will be against you.If you must use these trucks for moving survivors, try to modify them so that zombies can't easily get into the back, while at the same time, allowing an easy route for the survivors to escape through.
One of the most highly prized vehicles would be the M44A2 series (M35A2, M35A2C, etc) trucks. Also known as the Deuce, these trucks are multi-fuel and can run on just about any fuel, are (relatively) easy to maintain and can go about anywhere. The downside is the last ones were produced in 1988 and are no longer used by the US military. Those still around tend to be in private industry, forestry, fire fighting and a sizable number in private hands as hobby vehicles. No diesel, no problem. Drain the crankcase from those cars sitting dead on the highway. Run out of that, try anything that burns from moonshine to electrical transformer oil to whale oil. Mileage on diesel is about 8-10 mpg. They are loud unless they have a good muffler added. No A/C and only some have heaters. Modifications are easy to perform on this truck and adding multiple weapons in a reinforced cargo area would significantly improve survivability.
See also: Armored Vehicles
Chances are, if you have access to one of these, then you've already moved past the survival stage of the zombie apocalypse, and are working to re-establish human society. These vehicles generally aren't all that useful for zombie survival, due to their size and fuel economy plus they are difficult to start without the proper training. However, when taking the fight to the zombies, they do have their uses.
The Military Humvee was made for the military's of the world from 1984 onwards. It is a very diversely made vehicle, with over 30+ variations made, including your standard body (four people), pick ups, ambulances, missile carriers, portable radio dish, etc. They can ford 30 inches of water by themselves, or 60 inches with a fording kit (air snorkel, sealed components, etc). They have a 6000 lb/ 2700 kg payload capacity, and they operate like a regular vehicle, (all are equipped with automatic transmissions). Early ones (1983/84-1993) are equipped with 6.2 litre GM diesel engines, then in 1994 the engine was changed to a 6.5 litre diesel, and most of these were turbocharged, although even today there are still some naturally aspirated Humvee's made (no turbo or supercharging). These vehicles were designed and built to survive and operate is some of the most hostile terrain imaginable. They have a full time 4WD system with a center locking differential to get you in and out of wherever you need to go, and you are protected by a fully enclosed metal cabin (made out of rust resistant aluminum) that will have no problem keeping zombies at bay. They can come with light or heavy duty armour, (750-1500 lb weight add on), gun and rocket/ grenade launcher mounts. With all the upsides of the Humvee (durable and proven to go anywhere in any weather military vehicle that requires no special training other than knowing how to drive), there are some drawbacks. First off, Humvee's have custom tires, both in size and the way that they are mounted (they also have the option of being runflat/ self sealing tires). In a zombie apocalypse, finding replacement tires might be difficult. they also limit the top speed of a Humvee to 50 mph, although 70 mph is the top speed of the truck itself. Fuel mileage is dismal as well, with an average of 13-14 mpg for non-armoured heavy duty Humvees, and 15-16 with non-armoured standard Humvees. With armour, Humvee mpg can drop into single digits. Tow ratings are also weak compared to most civilian SUV's and pick-ups. Standard Humvees have a 3500 lb towing capacity, while heavy duty Humvees have a 4500 lb towing capacity. (This is for both on and off road. Reports of 8000 lb trailers being towed have been seen, but only on road)
Tanks in a zombie outbreak will largely be used by the military and in a Class 1 or 2 outbreak you will likely be unable to obtain one. In Class 3 or 4, tanks will likely be surrounded or occupied by zombies of the former crew or those who fought the tank. If obtainable, tanks provide firepower, mobility and protection. Tanks also have a psychological effect and you will likely have peace from raiders and bandits with one in possession. However, tanks are loud, which will attract zombies and their weight increases fuel consumption, they also tend to be designed for ranged combat and you will need people to keep your sides clear as the majority of tanks are unable to fire at anything closer than 5 -10 feet. Tanks have multifuel capability so they will be able to use more than one type of fuel.One main disadvantage is that while they can keep you safe from Zombies, you'll be surrounded at all times, thus your escape options are very limited or non existent at all, and if there's no fuel or ammo, your out of luck.
Tanks are divided into 2 categories:
MBT (Main Battle Tank)
An MBT is slower-moving (though some can reach speeds in excess of 40mph), but less vulnerable and with larger weapons. An average MBT will have a large cannon (probably 105mm or 120mm). HEAT and/or kinetic armor piercing shells that is frequently loaded within will not do much damage when fired upon swarm of zombies, but certainly will scare off bandits.To deal with zombies, anti-personal rounds is required. Coaxial machine guns are also likely finds, and a group of four humans can operate all weapons on the vehicle, though ammunition will be burnt through fast. However, tanks are cramped and unpleasant, so spending too long in one can result in cabin fever. Examples include the M1 Abrams, and the M60 Patton.
Tank drivers and gunners typically receive a few months of training, but the electronics are harder to master. Viewing is generally through periscopes. Modern tanks usually have laser targeting and infrared cameras. The best view is still achieved by actually sticking your head out of the cupola (the top bit), however. They are designed to maximize the survival chances of crew in case of a hit, which is typically an instant mobility kill despite the tank's thick armor. If the zombies can climb, they can completely block your escape from the hatches, however.
It would be easy to assume that MBT's are low-economy, but typically they have very high ranges. Most also have affixed diesel tanks on the turret or sides. Diesel is better in some circumstances as it is started with spark plugs, meaning that cold nights pose no hazard. Caterpillar tracks allow great versatility and are low-maintenance (though land-mines are a big threat, as always).
Light tanks are faster, sometimes reaching 60mph, less massive and with lighter armament (probably 85mm or a 90mm cannon). They are more maneuverable, can batter most obstactes out of the way, have lower fuel consumption than MBTs and can be crewed by less people. They have less storage space and lower ranges than MBTs however. Unless in an area of human vs. human fighting, a light tank will able to fit most purposes.
While it's not exactly a type of vehicle, a mine flail is an attachment used on a few armored vehicles for quickly clearing landmines. A mine flail consists of a many flails made of heavy chains with fist sized steel balls on the ends attached to a wide and fast spinning rotor that makes the flails violently strike the ground to detonate buried landmines, just as easily the flails could mutilate zombies in front of the vehicle. A working vehicle equipped with a mine flail and with enough fuel for use will most likely be extremely rare to come by, but the potential carnage it could create makes it worth mentioning. However, mine flailing vehicles are less likely to be deployed during a zombie apocalypse since all fuels will be diverted to vehicles with firepower capability.
Similar to SWAT vans, in that they have many of the same problems with fuel economy, bulk, and rollovers. They also tend to carry fewer weapons and supplies than SWAT vans -- most armored cars are used for transporting money, gold, diamonds, and other things that are of little use in a post-apocalyptic world. Like SWAT vans, the only purpose for these vehicles is to raid them for whatever useful supplies they have (fuel and guns, usually), and then to set them up as roadblocks.
The US M1117 is nearly the perfect vehicle if fuel and ammunition is available. It's is like the intent of the old battlecruiser warships; anything that you cannot outfight, you can outrun. The combination of a 40mm automatic grenade launcher, 50 caliber machine gun and then outfit the crew with a mix of M4 carbines, shotguns, sniper rifles, M203 grenade launchers and pistols. A set of 4 of these, a fuel truck, and a few cargo trucks should be perfect if you have the posse to crew them. Don't forget to bring a mortar. There's nothing like indirect fire to dissuade the living aggressors.
APC's (armoured personel carriers) are probably the best millitary vehicle to use. They are usually designed to deflect .50 cal firearms giving them the protection of a tank and many come with their own weaponry (gennerally at least one 50 caliber machine gun and occaisionally a 20-30mm canon or 40mm grenade launcher). They are also a good source of supplies as they are meant to be able to support teams of 6-12 soldiers in the field for up to 48 hours.
While steam locomotives were once commonplace all across the world, barely a handful of countries still use them in mainline service. In most Western countries, you are more likely to find them on a Heritage Railway. If you do obtain one the operation of a steam locomotive is complicated, requiring regular maintenance and refuelling. The basic fuel ingredients are coal (or wood) and water. Steam locomotives require intensive maintenance, lubrication and cleaning before, during and after use. Preparing a steam locomotive for use can take many hours, especially if the locomotive is being fired from cold. At least two people are required to operate one, with at least a basic understanding of pressure, water levels, etc. Being exempt from the electronic failures and protocols of some diesels and electric engines, are one of the few advantages of using steam.
Diesel locomotives offer significant operating advantages over steam locomotives. They can safely be operated by one person, they have a fully enclosed cab enabling the operator to be shielded from the environments and zombies, plus they can be shut down and started in a short amount of time. A diesel engine can be left idling unattended for hours or even days, especially since practically every diesel engine used in locomotives has systems that automatically shut the engine down if a problem such as a loss of oil pressure or coolant loss occur. A steam locomotive, by comparison, may be kept in readiness between uses with a small fire to maintain a slight heat in the boiler, but requires regular and frequent attention to maintain the fire and the level of water in the boiler. Some diesels can also use the same power sources as Electric Locomotives.
An electric locomotive is a locomotive powered by electricity from an external source. Sources include overhead lines, third rail, or an on-board electricity storage device such as a battery. These should be avoided during an invasion because electrical supplies would be limited greatly and could quickly become out-o
f-control speeding coffins if you were unlucky enough to be caught during a black-out.
All in all, rapid transportation is probably one of the worst types of vehicle to pick. Incapable of movement once an electric current is off, susceptible to default safety protocols and with a low capacity backup generator; it isn't an overreaction to say that trying to commandeer a subway or elevated train means a death sentence. Zombiewise, the large number of people using a rapid transit system can spread a possible infection quickly. There is normally just a flimsy plastic door protecting the driver from any passengers; or worse.
Trains as semi-mobile fortresses
Do not write off the defense-capability of many locomotives, whether they be city-specific transport lines or cross-country railroads. Assuming (should be consulted before attempting) that the train in question has an internal power source, shutting down a well-stocked subway atop an elevated track in a city can often present a strong defensive position, already being on a difficult-to-access area, and being able to move if absolutely necessary. Similarly, "parking" a long-distance train in a nonpopulated area can quite often provide passengers/survivors with a safe zone largely free of zombies. Supplies are an issue, but either stockpiling beforehand or maintaining the ability to move between (preferably instead of cities) towns to resupply can make this strategy work if the tracks stay clear and intact. That being said, that's a big "if". The possibility also exists that a stationary train may be hit by another train on the same line as signalling systems are unlikely to remain functional during an outbreak.
In the event of a zombie outbreak, one of the safest places to flee is open water. Although zombies don't need to breathe, they lack the coordination to swim, which will leave them stranded at the bottom. So long as your boat is even a few feet out of a zombie's reach, you'll be perfectly safe. However, you still have to take into account the conventional dangers of water travel first, and take into account that most watercraft you might find were never built for travel for anywhere besides the specific harbor or marina for which they were designed.
Although they completely negate the need for fuel, the major problem is that humans will eventually tire. Also, most of these cannot travel in moving bodies of water due to their low rate of speed.
This is how mankind used to travel on water before the advent of fossil fuels. Why not just let the wind do all the work for you? They make no noise, which is good if you want to go ashore without drawing attention. However, although using sails completely negates the need for fuel, sailing is generally more dangerous and takes far more skill; it takes years of experience in order to operate a sailboat, and even experienced sailors wind up dead all the time from the conventional hazards of life at sea. What if there is no wind? What if there is a storm and the sail is torn? Or the mast breaks? Do you even know how to navigate without using GPS and radar? Should sailing be your choice, better start learning now.
These are generally more recommended than the previous two, but there are problems, the primary being fuel. Where are you going to find gas in the middle of the ocean when your tank runs dry? Even at ports that aren't infested, will their pumps have any? And if the engine breaks down in open water, do you have an alternate way to move the boat if you can't repair it?
Essentially any improvised raft falls under this category. Not the highest recommendation. Low storage, fragile, offers little protection, the list goes on. Should not be your first choice.
A catamaran is a medium-large ship consisting of two empty hulls that are used for bouyency. These are held together with main netting or a cabin of some sort. Often power by both a sail and outboard motor, these offer the best of both worlds in propulsion. While traveling near land you can use the sails to avoid detection from Zombies by being almost silent. And while at sea you can use the outboard motor for quick transit. As for storage, these ships often have a semi-large store for equipment and while being a two hulled ship, if one gets a puncture, you can shift major supplies to the other and break away from the wreckage.
As a rule of thumb, use these for medium length trip in either time or distance, you can usually carry two to five people depending on the type, so it is recommended for peaceful gathering and not for raiding and transport. A trimaran is another option, being similar but with three hulls. Many modern designs are considered unsinkable as even if two hulls are punctured, the third often has the bouyency to allow the ship to remain afloat. They are also more maneuverable and faster than single hull ships as they have less friction from contact with the water and heel less in strong winds.
Can carry up to eight people depending on the size of the boat and power of the engine and a considerable amount of cargo. Its engine is loud so it will attract zombies near the shoreline whenever you try to land. These craft are also fuel dependent but can be paddled or rowed (slowly). If the boat is small then the engine can be shut off as it approaches the shore; out of earshot of any zombies and then the boat can be paddled to shore. This would only work in a lake or slow moving body of water though.
Even worse than motorboats, speedboats are designed for racing, not for toughing it out on the high seas.
Great getaway from your mobile boat fortress.
A small rowboat, sometimes with a low horsepower outboard engine. For obvious reasons, not recommended for long trips. Sometimes inflatable with a motor. Still not recommended.
Too small to hold any cargo beyond a backpack, are loud and can only hold two people, not the best choice. Usually used by raiders as a fast attack system, be wary of loud noises while at sea. This could be a good choice for island hopping if you are located on a string of islands.
Many of these are built for spending an ungodly amount of time out in some of the worst conditions Mother Nature can dish out. With a fuel tank that can hold six months worth of fuel, advanced fish-tracking sonar, massive cargo space, full quarters for fishing crews, desalinizers for fresh water, and the fact that they can catch far more food at sea than you could possibly consume, commercial fishing trawlers are a prime choice for evacuating to the great blue.
These are essentially luxury boats. Ranging from a normal size to the mega-yachts (essentially a small cruise liner) of today's rich and famous, these boats are not a good choice. They are meant as land dependent party barges and pleasure vehicles. Some may stock their boats for a good amount of time, but these things are only good for raiding. You may use it as a shelter while keeping it docked, and use a bit of fuel to move it about. However, if it is a sailing yacht, you need not worry about fuel, though there will still probably be a small engine at the back to move it through a marina. However, an engine-powered yacht has more defense capabilities, with infinitely larger structures and stronger mainframes. However, an engine will need maintenance, an activation mechanism (a key or the code to the onboard computer, which will need a battery recharge in time), and knowledge of sailing to use effectively. Use these things for temporary transportation hops when you need to move large amounts of people, then strip it down and leave. It should have nautical survival gear, some food, and a variety of navigational and radio/communications equipment that you may be able to scavenge.
Cruise ships can be either terrible or excellent places of refuge, depending upon several factors, such as the intended population, the supplies aboard, and the physical location of the initial docking. With the crew and passengers either meeting or being less than the recommended encumbrance, a fully-stocked cruise ship can set out to waters relatively close to the shoreline and drift, safe from the possibility anchor-climbing zombies from the deep water or their land-based brethren, and be self-sustaining for months before even needing to consider needing to refuel or restock. Like with all larger-than-average ships, sufficient countermeasures are necessary to avoid piracy (which can be avoided in part geographically, with, for example, the Pacific Ocean just west of the US being safer than the Ivory Coast), whether it be displaying enough force or other means to dissuade potential attackers, or simply possessing the firepower to repel those that do attack.
Please note that as with all ships of any size, unless you have a trained chief engineer and a few sailors you are unlikely to be able to move the vessel. Although you will end up looking rather silly (and dead) if you attempt it.
Black Gold. If you find one, first check the ship for zombies, then drain it of as much oil as you can take. Afterwards, leave and use almost anything else as transport. If you have this at sea or at dock, pirates will specifically come after you and take all the oil from you. If the tanker was coming to/from a dangerous country, the tanker may be armed.
If you know about the Somali pirates, you may think this is a quick way to supplies. After checking the entire ship for zombies, check ALL of the cargo. It is possible that there are zombies in the cargo containers, and it has happened before. There could be anything in the cargo, from zombies, to tanks, to clothes, to poorly-made knick-knacks from China. However, these ships are huge and can't defend themselves at sea against pirates, or outrun them. Either arm yourself heavily to fend off attacks, or make a great enough show of force to ward off potential pirates. A bad choice as they may be hard to find depending on your wherabouts. and they are top heavy; if the freighter is not full of shipping containers. You will have to fill it with water to keep it from tipping.
Depending on the vehicle, you could have anything from a patrol boat with a .50 caliber machine gun, to a battleship with nine 406mm rifled guns, to a Nimitz-class super carrier. These can be useful at sea, and even as homes. An aircraft-carrier can be loaded with tents and used as a sea hotel, and a battleship could level entire cities if necessary. They will most likley clog the coasts, water ways and rivers to prevent civilian vessels with infected on board from leaving and spreading the infection or they could also be in a river lake or on the coast following orders. Either way they are worth picking clean as they have powerful and valuable equipment.
A hydrofoil is a boat with wing-like foils mounted on struts below the hull. As the craft increases its speed the hydrofoils develop enough lift for the boat to become foilborne -- i.e. to raise the hull up and out of the water. This results in a great reduction in drag and a corresponding increase in speed. This may seem cool, but you're not going for speed, remember? They also need jet fuel, so forget this one.
A hovercraft, or air-cushion vehicle (ACV), is a craft, designed to travel over any smooth surface supported by a cushion of slowly moving, high-pressure air, ejected downwards against the surface below, and contained within a "skirt." Hovercraft are used throughout the world as a method of specialized transport where ever there is the need to travel over multiple types of surfaces. Because they are supported by a cushion of air, hovercraft are unique among all forms of transportation in their ability to travel equally well over land, ice, and water. Small hovercraft are often used for sport or passenger service, while giant hovercraft have been built for civilian and military applications to transport cars, tanks, and large equipment into difficult or hostile environments and terrain. Since they hover above the water, submerged ghouls can't knock you over. You can also make limited travel over land. Unfortunately, they are loud, complex to operate and repair.
Airboats are essentially flat-bottomed vessels propelled in a forward direction by an aircraft-type propeller and powered by either an aircraft or automotive engine. Airboats are a very popular means of transportation in the Florida Everglades, and Louisiana Bayou, where they are used for fishing, bow fishing, hunting and eco-tourism. The operator/pilot/driver and in most instances the passengers, are seated in elevated seats that allow visibility over swamp vegetation. The improved visibility permits the operator and passengers to observe floating objects, stumps animals, and even partially submerged ghouls in the airboat's path. The characteristic flat-bottomed design of the airboat, in conjunction with the fact that there are no operating parts below the waterline, permit the vessel to be easily navigated through shallow swamps and marshes, in canals, rivers and lakes as well as on frozen lakes. This also means that you won’t have to worry about damaging a propeller on underwater zombies. The wide, flat bottom also means that an airboat is going to be very difficult for zombies to capsize. Steering the airboat is accomplished by swiveling vertical rudders positioned at the rear (stern) of the vessel. The propeller produces a column of air that produces forward momentum. That column of air passes across the rudders, which are directed through the forward and backward movement of a vertical "stick”, located on the operator's left side. The "stick" is attached to the rudders via Teleflex cable or linked rods. Overall steering and control is a function of water current, wind, water depth and propeller thrust.There are several downsides that need to be considered, and knowledge of operational safety is a must when operating an airboat. There must be a forceful airflow in order for the vessel to be steered. Airboats do not have brakes and are incapable of traveling in reverse. Stopping and reversing direction are dependent upon good operator/pilot/driver skills. The average airboat produces a 150-mile-per-hour (241 km/h) prop wash behind it and if a tree branch gets into a propeller the spray of material could be devastating, causing damage to the vessel and injury to the boat's occupants. The deck is low to the water, so and zombies in shallow water will be able to drag themselves aboard. Anyone who has ever taken a swamp tour will tell you that the biggest problem with airboats is the noise: even with modern noise-reducers like mufflers, the noise produced by the propeller blades will practically deafen anyone sitting next to it without some form of hearing protection. This means that not only will you alert the undead for miles around; you won’t be able to hear them approach. And airboats are not suited for sea travel or travel on especially choppy water, due to the flat bottom.That said, airboats are generally recommended for travel in zombie-infested waters. If you do use one, try to aim for one powered by an automotive engine block instead of an aircraft engine; although you sacrifice some speed and maneuverability, car engines are easier to repair, replacement parts and automotive fuel will be infinitely easier to find in a zombie outbreak than aircraft parts and fuel, and the automotive engine will have an easier time powering it’s way over tall saw grasses.
Ferries are large ships meant to transport cars and trucks between islands and in cities. The large capacity make it good for homes, however, it wasn't meant to go out to sea, so you'll have to keep it close to the shore. The capacity to hold other vehicles means you can drive a land vehicle onto without having to abandon it on shore. Also, it means you can store a lot of food in the bottom hold. Make sure to check ALL the floors of the ferry for zombies, including crew cabins. Ferries are large and an easy target, so make sure to be heavily fortified when using one.
Houseboats are a type of boat that come in all different sizes ranging from the smaller 15 foot boats if you choose to travel alone or with less than 5 or 6 people and they get about as big as 80 feet and can be as high as about 3 or even 4 floors high. Maneuverability and popularity of these vessels vary. A 20 foot will definitely be more maneuverable in small slow rivers and lakes and popularity of all houseboats varies on your location when you choose to get a houseboat. They are definetley NOT for toughing out the high seas and are more recommended for a string of islands or a large chunk of area that has many rivers and lakes. They also have larger engines like a small V12 to even a V48 at the absolute largest or custom. But with that size engine comes the fuel.
The decision to use a flying vehicle in a zombie apocalypse is a very significant one. If you are planning on flying, then you must have not only a knowledge of how to fly a plane or helicopter (or somebody with you who has such knowledge), but as with any vehicle you must also have a very good idea of where the hell you are going. If you take off without having a destination, or if your destination is in a condition that makes it impossible to land there, you will quickly find yourself up a creek without a paddle. On top of that, aircraft are very complicated pieces of equipment, and it's likely that they will be in no condition to be used. Unless you are planning something big, and know exactly what you are doing, it would be wise to avoid these.
Commercial jets, cargo planes, heavy bombers, and other aircraft of similar size. These usually require a very large, flat, clear area to take off and land in (think airport runways), which will be something of a rarity in a zombie apocalypse, due to the fact that most of these areas will be filled with debris. It's best to steer clear of these. The only exceptions would be the C-130 Hercules and Antonov An-12 series, cargo transport planes which are known for their ruggedness and ability to take off and land on short, unprepared runways, be they dirt or tarmac. The Hercules only needs 3000 feet (914.4 meters) to take off, and the Antonov even less, a little under 2300 feet (700 meters). Both of their track records in the military's of dozens of nations all over the world speaks for itself, as well as the civilian usage . Even then, however, you have to know how to fly it. Aircraft like these could be flown to far, rural areas where there is little chance of zombie presence in the area. They are good for getting supplies, and if you manage to get into one of the two Air Force One airplanes... well, they are meant to stay live in case of nuclear war, so fuel that sucker up and get rolling. All you need is a runway. And a significantly expanded ground crew and parts catalog over a comparable model. And a flight crew. And a flight engineer familiar with the flight and cargo loading characteristics of the VC-25A aircraft.
As an alternative use, larger aircraft can often be used as fortresses in themselves. They have their entrances elevated above ground-level, small windows, power supplies, and, perhaps best of all, the ability to take off if need be. Landing gear presents a security problem, as their deployment usually means open (and accessible) wheel-wells that can allow tenacious zombies passage into the bowels of the ship, and the plane's ability to take off is entirely dependent on the landing gear's functionality.
Their smaller size means that they can take off and land on shorter runways. However, they are still not very rugged, and the landing areas still have to be flat, clear and long. Don't bother.
General aviation aircraft
Planes like crop dusters and Cessnas fall into this category. These are probably some of the most useful aircraft in that they are simple to fly and can easily take off and land on just about any flat surface. A plane like this that was used to fly from Helsinki to Moscow, so that should give some idea of their range. Probably the best choice for a fixed-wing aircraft. Some piston engine powered aircraft (as opposed to turbine powered craft) can be fueled by high octane gasoline which further increases these aircraft's versatlity. They can be used for air-to-ground support as well, be it rescue, surveillance, scouting, bombing using improvised bombs, or just plain old shooting out of the back window. Refer to WWI airplane tactics in this case.
Perhaps the most usable type of aircraft are ultralight planes. These can range from powered gliders like the Air Creation Racer to more robust machines such as the Remos GX.
As the name implies, these aircraft are very light and compact. Their primary advantage is the small size (most can fit in a standard garage) and the relative ease of maintenance. Ultralight aircraft also have very short takeoff and landing distances due to their light weight and most can use simple grass fields for these operations. Many are purchased as kits that are designed to be built by a prospecting pilot, meaning that they can be assembled if a kit is found with the proper tools.
While ultralight aircraft are arguably some of the easiest to fly (they don't even require a formal license in the United States), they still require some practice and training to operate safely. Ultralight aircraft also offer very little protection, and it takes very little effort to break through the light fuselage skin (assuming it has any). They are comparatively slow when compared to larger aircraft like Cessnas and Pipers, and it's probable you or your aircraft will not survive unharmed if someone on the ground decides to take shots at you. Finally, ultralights seldom have more than one seat, let alone room for cargo.
If you have the luxury of choice, consider your environment when picking an ultralight. For example, if your location has frequent winds, it may be best to avoid powered gliders, as these can be pushed around by a strong enough wind. Alternatively, if you or someone in your party has the know-how, materials, and tools, building an ultralight aircraft from a manual or designing one from scratch could be another option (many aviation enthusiasts do this), though a homemade aircraft can be extremely dangerous to operate if not designed and built properly.
These seaplanes, are the same as any other small aircraft, with the exception that these can only land on water. These are generally only good for island hopping between bases, and making mainland raiding trips. As with any plane you will need to make sure you have an adequate knowledge of aviation before attempting to fly these. These need special attention when they are out at sea, they are subject to the elements much more than a regular plane. If your plane is docked at sea it will also need to be kept in a special sea-hangar to prevent them from being washed out to sea during storms.
As a rule of thumb, only keep these planes if you are a solitary island base user. And even then, you will need to be willing to put in extra effort to keep these planes well maintained and running.
These aircraft are like a cross between floatplanes and normal light aircraft. These incredibly versatile aircraft can land on both land and water. They range in size from small Cessna's equipped with pontoon-like floats to jet powered aircraft the size of a small airliner. Smaller amphibious aircraft can be used to land in a myriad of locations and can assume the roles of both a floatplane and light aircraft
Unless you are engaging other survivors with air travel capability, fighter planes will be largely useless in a zombie apocalypse. They are difficult to learn to use, unless you already know how, have large fuel consumption, require a runway to land, have little passenger carrying capability and their ammunition is designed for use in rapid firing, high caliber weapons, which has less value in a zombie apocalypse, although one aircraft equipped with some bomb like explosives (means air to land) can be good at fighting a massive amount of zombies. If it crashed, it likely ran out of fuel or the crew became infected so should be avoided. If you have the knowledge to fly one of these then they can be used for incredibly rapid transportation, you could simply activate the ejector seat once you reach your intended destination, though the aircraft will crash and explode, becoming unusable. Most likely they will be in use of governments for bombing overrun cities, gathering surveillance and tracking zombie movement and/or presence of survivors.
If you are a trained helicopter pilot, then these will probably be the easiest aircraft to take off and land with, as they don't require as large an area as an aircraft does. They are very loud and will attract all zombies from far around if you land in or even fly low over an area. They can land on almost any flat surface. However, you must know how to fly them, attempting to fly one without any training would almost certainly result in you crashing. Helicopters are also much more complex and prone to failures than their fixed wing brethren. Piston powered helicopters can run on high octane gasoline further increasing their versatility
Although, they can be used to rescue someone trapped or injured, or deploy infantry to clear an are that has been infested by the undead, be on the look of crashed or wrecked military helicopters as they might have gear, weapons or ammunition that you could want or need. Some PJ crews can carry medical equipment or medical supplies.
This is basically the mixture of a helicopter and plane in which the pilot uses a runway to take of and fly. This vehicle is very easy to find and can actually be made from scratch with the right parts. However, most versions of this vehicle have little to no armor. But this can be useful for bombing runs with grenades, dynamite, pipebombs, etc.
Hot air balloon
While balloons require far less fuel and are much quieter than any other aircraft, they have little to no directional control, and are at the mercy of the winds. Unless your outbreak is highly localized and you don't care where you go, as long as it's away, don't use a balloon. In fact, they are better off used for surveillance of any imminent threat in the area.
Airship, Dirigible, or Blimp
Thanks to the Hindenburg disaster and advances in airplane technology, chances are that the only one you will ever see will have the words "GOODYEAR" or "FUJIFILM" on the side. However, if you do manage to find a working one that hasn’t already been taken, then you have an excellent anti-zombie air platform. While they require fuel for propulsion, the usage is dramatically reduced thanks to the lighter-than-air gases sustaining level flight. As an added bonus, they can sustain flight for much longer than helicopters, and sustain simple floatation for much longer than helicopters. Be wary, though, that attempting to use an airship the same way as one would use a helicopter can end disastrously. Save for very low-mounted rooftop helipads, winds increase significantly the higher up you go, and leaving a blimp with inadequate (or even normally adequate) moorings on a mid to high level building's helipad can lead to it being taken by the wind. Their size, too, is substantial, and especially so when one considers how few people they can carry, and require professional crew members to pilot, navigate, and maintain.
As with a regular helicopter, You must have an understanding of the controls before you attempt to use one of these. However there is a major difference between a civilian and military helicopter. While the civilian helicopter can land and fly for a time, the army helicopter was developed to be used for medium-distance troop transport or firing exercises. You will have to use each for its intended purpose, you cannot carry large number on a fighter helicopter, but you can on a troop transport helicopter. Another danger with an armed helicopter is of a weapon failure, trained personnel will know how to handle a problem in the air, while a civilian will not. So as a basic rule of thumb, if you are trained you use one, by all means take it, if not, strip it for usable resources and leave it for some other soul to tinker with.
Largely useless at best, and a liability at worst. The only time you ought to be using a parachute is for bailing from an otherwise fatal plane crash, and even then, the chute renders you a slow moving and brightly colored target that could drift for quite a distance before finally settling down, attracting the attention of dozens, if not hundreds of zombies. Even then, the possibility of snagging in trees and other ecological features can prove fatal either by outright impalement, or death by subsequent assault by zombies on what has become a fleshy piñata. Only keep them as safety equipment in case you have to ditch your aircraft.
Also included in this section are Powered Paragliders which are portable and offer a great means of escape if there is an open field near by. Although has many of the hazards of the parachute and can only be flown in light to medium winds.
Improvised vehicles consist of civilian cars, trucks and buses fitted with added protection and mounted weapons. Such ad hoc conversions can be made on the road, in a vehicle garage or by using scraps of material found en route. Note that many require welding, cutting, bolting or other such tools to ensure actual effectiveness of materials found, and any additional weight added to a vehicle can and will reduce its gas mileage.
The battle bus can be a converted bus, van, or truck fitted with armored plating, barbed wire, and hardpoints for firing weapons from. The size of such a vehicle can allow onboard large amounts of people and supplies, providing added protection from threats. These make excellent escape vehicles, since they are easily constructed inside large buildings and are capable of smashing through roadblocks, obstructions, and zombies. If constructed durable enough, they can even be used to escape from gun-wielding raiders and bandits. However, they are generally not a good choice for any long trips. Buses have poor gas mileage and maneuverability, make a lot of noise, and are prone to rollovers. Adding armor plating, cow-catchers, and other features are only going to make these drawbacks worse. One can alleviate these problems by removing non-vital components such as rear seating and air-conditioning. When driving a battle bus, be aware of its size, and avoid risky maneuvers or quick turns so as not to cause a rollover or crash. In addition, beware of running over too many zombies or obstacles, since even a large and powerful vehicle is not immune to getting stuck. A disabled battle bus is a sitting duck.
Technicals are typically a civilian or military non-combat vehicle, normally an SUV modified to provide an offensive capability. This can be done by adding a mounted machine, light anti-aircraft guns or any other support weapon. The term "Technical" is thought to have originated in Somalia, from the Red Cross. "Gunwagons" and "Battlewagons" are other nicknames for such a vehicle. The size and maneuverability of a technical greatly depends on the vehicle it was constructed from. When constructing a technical, the most important thing to keep in mind is fields of fire. The ideal turret rotates a full 360 degrees, and is placed at the highest point of the vehicle, allowing it to cover all angles. If the turret does not rotate a full 360 degrees, you may want to consider adding additional turrets, or have armed passengers riding in the technical to assist in combat.
Modifed vehicles are usually civilian, non combat military, or government vehicles that have been modified to further protect against the zombie threat. This applies to any vehicle, big or small, car or truck, powerful or not. some can be simple and usual, such as lift kits or working on the engine. Others, not so much. Usual modifications include fencing or louvers (slats) over the windows of the vehicle. This could be anything from cut-out fencing and chicken wire to the rear window louvers of a classic 69' Mustang. This allows people to see clearly, but with added protection. Also, as almost all new(and newish) vehicles are made out of plastic, fiberglass, and/ or very thin metal, frontal modifications are almost mandatory in a zombie apocalypse. This could be anything from a push bar from a police car, a
grill guard/ bush bar from an off road truck or SUV (if you're lucky a winch might be attached to it), or a snowplow. Anything to stop the zombie from hitting the front fascia (and headlights) of your vehicle while you run them down, Exceptions to this are older vehicles from the 80's and back. These vehicles still had full metal/ steel bumpers which were designed for the occupents safety, and not the people getting hit by the vehicle, although modifications will undoubtably favour these
vehicles as well. Another modification is welding plates of metal over the wheel wells to further protect the tires, although this is not recommended completely. Unless they are removable, a flat tire will almost certainly mean death or abandonment of said vehicle. For SUV's/ Trucks, skid plate installations will do wonders, as they protect the vulnerable undercarrage of your vehicle from damage. Please note that some vehicles come from the factory with skid plates already installed. Finally, engine modifications are one of the best things that you can do, if you have the ability/ know-how to do so. Installing a computer chip, or doing hands on modifications such as aftermarket headers are well worth it. Remember that the goal is no longer power, but fuel mileage. If you can squeeze an extra mile or three out of each gallon for your thirsty truck or SUV, then go for it. same said for smaller, more efficient vehicles. Also, If you want an idea for an extremely modified vehicle, watch Mad Max: Fury Road- all of the vehicles in that movie were actually built, and most should have little to no problem in a Zombie Apocalypse.