For four seasons, fans of AMC's The Walking Dead have watched Rick, Daryl, Carol, and their not-so-merry band of survivors fight for their lives in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. While the show's first season was about finding a safe haven, and ideally a cure for the infection that has transformed so many of the group's loved ones into flesh-eating beings, the current season sees them settling into the Kübler-Ross model's final stage of grief: acceptance. Take away all the zombies and what you've got with The Walking Dead is a story of survival. If you stop to analyze some of the key tactics the group has employed over the past 45 episodes, you might just learn a thing or two on the off chance you need to survive in the woods (or the even further off chance you come face-to-face with a reanimated corpse). Which is why we asked the Boulder Outdoor Survival School's program director Steve Dessinger and director of program development Laurel Holding to weigh in on the lessons we've learned – and the likelihood of enduring – on The Walking Dead.
Shelter is Key
Throughout The Walking Dead, putting a roof over their heads has been a key priority for the survivors. But whether it's the comfy confines of the CDC, a rolling farm, or a seemingly well-secured prison, a permanent home has proven elusive. Still, the characters press on in the hopes of finding a place that they can finally call (a walker-free) "home. "After getting yourself calmed down and addressing immediate life threats (an arterial bleed, say, or being in the path of a flash flood, or zombie attack), shelter is your top priority," says Holding. "Shelter – whether that's appropriate clothing, a debris lean-to, or even a prison–represents protection from exposure. Mainly environmental exposure, but also emotional exposure. Hyperthermia? Kills you in three hours or sooner. Psychological refuge? Priceless."
Credit: Gene Page / AMC