I am a geek, and love my toys, but watching some of the recent flood of Zombie / Apocalypse media I started wondering….

What Tech would really work if civilization collapsed?

That starts a whole tree of questions that I’m only going to be able to scratch the surface of here, but I just added a roman numeral 1 to the post title so I’ll have some room for expansion on these topics later.

Lets start with the top of the pyramid – My big 3 categories of Z-Tech

1. IMMEDIATE FAILURE – Quits working, junk, don’t put in your Bug-out-bag.  These things/services will be gone as soon as the infrastructure starts to break down and people quit showing up for work.  It my not be immediately, but their days are numbered from the start.  Things like.
A. Telephones, Cellular and land lines — couple poles get knocked over in the riots and it’s bye-bye Ma Bell.
B. Running Water, sanitation – Those pumps don’t run themselves, pressure will build up and pretty soon there will be an explosion of….well….crap and the end of the line.
C. The Internet – See A.
D. GPS – The satellites will be there but without constant adjustment for their imperfect orbits the coordinators will start to drift and inside a week it could be miles off…so don’t bury your weapons cache in a field and expect the Garmin to lead you right to it.
E. is for Electric Service – The plug in your house will be worthless unless you take measures to prolong it.  We’ll get into that later… Also watch out for your friendly neighborhood nuclear reactor to go critical and blow up without supervision – best to have all of those marked on your atlas as areas to avoid.
F. Television – again the human factor, without people showing up to turn on the transmitter and press play, you will get some pretty snow.
G. Radio – a little lower tech, might make it a couple weeks, but you better have a iPod & charger for you car if you want post-apocalyptic music.

2. FINITE RESOURCES – Count on them to get you out of town, but these Tech bits will run out.
A. Gasoline, fuel, petrol, what ever you wanna call it, production of it takes an army of refinery workers.  Stock up early, know your MPG, and keep enough to get you to safety.  There might be opportunities to scavenge, so find a siphon tube and keep it handy.  If storing, use air-tight containers in cool storage places (basements) and add a fuel stabilizer.  But after about 2 years most of the gas will be spoiled and eventually we’ll have to fall back on something else – read up on steam engines.
B. Batteries – eventually the supply will be looted out of existence.  Unless you live by the Duracell factory in Cleveland, and can hold off the hordes to become the power tycoon, these items should be rechargeable at the least and be transitional items and not you should not be dependent on their use.  This too will be food for further discussion – what will be worth powering, and how to do it – can you say auto power inverter.
C. Ammunition – your best bet is to write down a good recipe and stock up on black powder supplies if you want to keep shooting.  A good reloading press will help out for a while but brass is only good for a handful of uses, and components are going to get harder to find the longer uncle Zed is roaming the planet.
D. Electricity – Touched on in Section I – you will be able to use generators until fuel runs out, but they are noisy and are reliant on #2A – gas.  Again with the steam power.
E. Paper – There are only so many legal pads and paper mate pens, she better be hot if you use some of this precious stash to jot down her frequency.
F. Adhesives – Duct tape and superglue are handy to help you get there, but you’ll need to know how to make Paste, mortar, and  and anything else sticky on your own after the first wave.

That totally wasn’t what I was thinking when I started out on this post.  I wanted to list the things that are not reliant on human maintenance to provide a service.  Things you can operate and maintain in a isolated camp – type environment.   Exactly how long can you scavenge fuel, or raid Wal-Marts for Ammo, no one can really tell, but what will still work and is worth acquiring in the early stages.  I am not goioing to go into simple tools, (find a way to carry a shovel), but more complex machines that might be worth picking up at t junkyard and tossing under a tarp out at your middle of nowhere safe house.

3. LONG-LASTING TECH – Provided you can overcome the power hurdles in #1&2, these items will work regardless of the state of the union.
A. CB / HAM Radio / FRS — self contained transmitters, if powered, will be very helpful for recon and long range communication.  Learn how to use theses before the crap starts flying at the fan.
B. xBOX / DVD / VHS / Cassette / Vinyl– Stock up on movies, games, and CD’s to entertain the kiddos, if you can spare the power.   Recording/playback devices can still entertain long after CBS, ABC, HBO, MTV and the rest of the networks are off the air.  Modern Warfare II is a much better way to learn fundamentals of aim and driving than risking real ammo and vehicles on teenagers.  And a wind-up Victrola will be gold if you can get & keep it running.
C. Books — I know they are heavy, but they will be needed to rebuild – And you might want to power up a kindle if you find one too, but be sure to have some of that precious paper around if you want to take notes.
D. Air rifles — That .22 cal pellet gun is your best bet for varmint hunting on the long haul, find a stout one, and keep it well maintained.  A bullet mold is a good idea too – lead tire weights will make great melting stock and should be plentiful on abandoned vehicles.
E. Welding truck — every successfully survival community really needs the ability to fabricate, a truck with a generator, welder and bonus plasma cutter will be vital to continued defense and survival.
F. The Bicycle — in the long term, short of riding an animal a couple bikes will be excellent scout/patrol vehicles.  And the mechanics of even a broken bike can be put to use for power generation, defense, or construction.
G.  The old-fashioned Push-it-yourself Reel Mower  — you’ll have to keep camp habitable, that means keeping the 5 foot sunflowers cut down.  Hooray again for human power.
H. Compass — a good compass will be a absolute must, along with your road atlas.

That’s all the time I have now folks, Please let me know your thoughts and ideas on what to grab on your way out of town.  I have feeling I have just started a project bigger than I anticipated.