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.
Use the buddy system
Daryl and Carol. Glenn and Maggie. Rick and Carl. Traveling in groups, or at least in twos, has been one of the most strictly adhered to practices throughout the series. Which seems logical, but it may always not be the smartest move. "In a wilderness situation in territory that everyone in the group is not intimately familiar with, I avoid splitting up unless it is absolutely necessary," says Dessinger. "The inefficiencies and problems that come about from splitting up are rarely worth it. One thing that often happens is that a group doesn't show up at a rendezvous point at the appointed time. Do we send people looking for them? Do we wait? What happens if the search party doesn't come back on time? It can just snowball.
Something most people have experienced is going to the store with someone and at some point splitting up, then having to spend 10 to 15 minutes searching for the other person," says Dessinger. "It would have been faster to have both gone though the store together than to spend the time afterward searching for the other person. Now put a whole bunch of trees, canyons, streams, bad weather moving in, and a few more miles between you."
Credit: Gene Page / AMC