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What Would You Pack for the Zombie Apocalypse?

Photographer Allison Stewart shoots the contents of people’s “bug-out bags.”

Photographs by Allison Stewart

Photographer Allison Stewart has been documenting the contents of “bug-out bags,” the stuff their owners deem necessary to deal with various types of emergencies. The bags’ contents project what people fear—war, martial law, natural disaster—and how they intend to cope. For some buggers it’s as simple as pills and a bottle of tequila; for others, a carefully planned pack of food and supplies to last a few days. They range from off-the-shelf and Homeland Security kits to off-grid survivalist bags and pet emergency packs.


Max’s bag has clean clothes, a gun and ammo, first aid and hygiene supplies, spare glasses, a transistor radio, tools, and a survival manual.


The SNR bag ($59.99) includes some short-term basics for up to three people, including MREs, water, a transistor radio, a whistle, emergency ponchos and blankets, and tissues.


Curtis, who lives in earthquake country, packed a kit that included a portable water-filtering system; tools, lightsticks; and an orange plastic bag that functions as a shelter, a raincoat, or a “flag” to draw the attention of airborne rescue teams.


The cat Pet Pac ($90) contains, food, bowls, water, a collar with bells, a portable litter box and trowel, a pet first-aid kit, and toys.


Jane’s keeps her earthquake kit right by her door. It contains baby wipes, toothbrushes and dental floss, flashlights & batteries, and a transistor radio.


Jeff’s “go bag” includes a bulletproof vest and helmet, and a gas mask. It was intended to get him to his car, where he stored guns, knives, an axe, camping gear, water, and food. He also had off-grid property where he would bug out to when SHTF (shit hit the fan).


MM’s bag (not the author) includes various weapons and tools, shoes and socks, waterproof paper and pens, an extra phone, marijuana, a beer, and a cigar.


PB&J are an Atlanta couple whose bag includes maps, a trap for catching food and/or bait, a compass, a multi-tool and knife, tampons, bandages, fishing gear, and a first aid kit.


PB’s “bug in” kit consists solely of a conversion valve that allows a gas-powered generator to run on propane or natural gas instead.


Phil is a Civil War reenactor. His bag contains supplies a civilian in 1964 would carry to bug out. It includes hardtack and an apple for food, cooking gear, wool blankets, and lye soap.


Simon was given this Homeland Security-issue bag at at a disaster preparedness seminar in New York City in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. It includes safety goggles, duct tape, a whistle, MREs and water, and a first aid kit.


Sam’s bag includes food, walkie talkies and a radio for communication, playing cards, and wine—which Sam heard counteracts the effects of radiation poisoning.


Mike’s bag: Tequila and phenobarbital. ‘Nuff said.

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