My Other Car is a Zombie Defense Vehicle


Well, now I can say that is true. Sure, the zombie thing is fun, but we’re all about being prepared for other scenarios.

In any case I recently purchased @deviantollam’s 1999 GMC Yukon for a “BOV” or Bug Out Vehicle. While we are intending to bug out in place, we still need something we can bounce around on rough roads, clear cars from roads, or use in various tactical or “farm work” situations.


Originally I was looking for a 1995-1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee locally on Craigslist, because they are EVERYWHERE that you look here in the Northeast, and that’s important for spare parts when things go wrong – a full rolling stock on folk’ driveways or out of gas on the highway.

Unfortunately, I spent 18 months looking within our budget, only had one good deal which was sold out from under me 10 minutes before I arrived. When the deal from Deviant came up, I was all over it.

Now, Larry, aren’t you compromising your rolling spare parts? No. Here’s where doing your research ahead of time on a vehicle can come in handy. Turns out that the GMC Yukon for this year shares tons of parts with other GMC and Chevy models (across several model years), including the 1500 Sierra and Suburban. Knowing that, I look out the front door across the street in the neighbors driveway and see spare parts parked there as their “boat tower”. SCORE.

Now I see spare rolling donor vehicles all over the road.


So, what’s the plan? Well, @deviantollam left me with a great platform. He had already installed some oversized tires and rough terrain shocks – and kept impeccable maintenance records. So, we’ve got a few things to do (in no particular) order:


  • Brakes
  • Oil leak (looks like oil pan gasket)
  • Tie Rod/Idler arm (a little steering slop)
  • Tune up, etc.


  • Solar battery trickle charger (on hand, needs install)
  • Buy/Build full roof safari rack (plan in mind, just need time)
  • Buy/Build steel front push bar
  • Buy/Build steel front bumper, with plow push plates
  • Buy/Build steel rear bumper, with storage for Jerry cans
  • Install adjustable rear air shocks (we’ll be adding lots of weight in gear and add-ons)
  • Install appropriately sized winch (on the hunt…)
  • Install floodlights on safari rack (purchase in progress, bought one store out already…)
  • “Emergency” light bypass for tail lights, backup lights, headlights, interior (don’t want them on on an all dark mission! – Plan in place, parts being acquired)
  • Remote controlled roof mounted turretwith remote and nighttime video aiming (for either lethal or non-lethal ordinance – have a plan, but needs construction and parts replacement time)
  • Glass/Human protection with Expanded steel over windows (have a plan, and can even discharge weapon/pay tolls from within vehicle. Windshield a problem.)
  • Second battery (need to acquire proper sized deep cycle marine battery, and possible high output alternator upgrade)
  • Car hacking (home brew car computer, Miles to Empty, fuel consumption, etc.)
  • Interior gear storage solution, including EMP for comms gear


  • Ham Radio (HF and VHF radio on hand, needs install, and both antennas. Research in progress)
  • CB Radio (On hand, needs repair and antenna)
  • WiFi Mesh networking (On hand, needs install and antenna and mount)
  • Wiring upgrade (extra battery, extension for comms gear)

The Future

– As time and budget allow:

  • Acquisition of spare parts
  • Engine swap (either carbeurator/points Chevy or diesel, diesel preferred)
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Recent Presentations

In the last few weeks we have had the opportunity to present at some computer security and computer security/prepper conferences. We wanted to make sure that the presentations and videos were available here.

First up, DerbyCon with Darren and Larry: “So you want to compute post apocalypse? Rebuilding the internet at the end of the world”

Presentation (PDF)
Video (YouTube, embedded at – Thanks @irongeek_adc

Lastly, Hack3rcon^3 for Larry’s Keynote of the same title/subject matter, with added demos: “Hacking Survival: So you want to compute post apocalypse? Rebuilding the internet at the end of the world”

Presentation (PDF)
Video (YouTube, embedded at – Thanks @irongeek_adc


– Larry

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Want to guest post?

Yes, we need help. We even put out a call to action in our talk at Derbycon2 asking for help. Great, but how do you contribute?

Plain and simple, we wont be giving you post rights to the blog. But, we WILL post for you, with credit where credit is due (however you want to be credited).

Ok, here are the guidelines:

Send your entries to: contactsurvivalnerds -at- Please include the following:

  • Blog Entry Title
  • Attribution: (Names, e-mail, twitter handles, you name it. If you prefer to be anonymous to not blow any OPSEC, we can do that; make up a handle and we can forward any correspondence preserving your anonymity). Feel free to include a picture for a byline, or not.
  • Blog content: This should be well written, in the theme of hacking survival, electronics or gadgets that can be used for survival, and the true hacking spirit – using something how it was not intended. It you think you have something that might not fit, feel free to drop us a note and we’ll be happy to review the concept (before you write the whole thing!). These entries should be well written and “edited”. We will provide minor edits and spelling corrections, but that is about it.
  • Any pictures you would like to use, and about where in the posting you would like them to appear. Please be sure that we can identify them as to where they go.
  • Any links, projects, etc you would like to promote. We don’t want to make this a big commercial, but certainly feel free to promote yourself or projects for taking the time to contribute.

What we can do for you:

  • Post your article as soon as humanly possible. We check the e-mail almost daily. Keep in mind, we have jobs, family, tons of projects, prepping, etc.
  • Promote your postings to the best of our ability
  • Attribute them however you like
  • Let you retain all rights to your work. Re-publish it where ever you would like. We release everything under Creative Commons and do not retain any rights to your work. Thanks for sharing for us all to benefit.

Any other questions? Feel free to drop us a note at the e-mail listed above.


– Larry & Darren

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The hacker spirit…and vegetables!

So, here is a little project that we started to help us grow some vegetables. Now I know you are saying it, Larry, this blog is about technology, how are vegetables related.

In short, they aren’t. In fact this posting is more about the hacker spirit in using something in a manner in which it was not intended. Ultimately, that’s how a lot of things are going to need to be done when the SHTF, so why not practice now.

Here is the problem with our garden. Sure it is a raised bed, but the soil still tends to be rather hard and not an ideal situation for growing root vegetables such as carrots, beets and potatoes. Also, in New England, it gets cold and we have a relatively late planting date. How can we solve both of those problems?

With some hackery of course!

So, we were familiar with the concept of a greenhouse, or on a smaller scale, a cold frame. So we looked around our stores of junk and found the perfect stuff for building them. Many years ago we removed all of the single pane window sashes from our old house and replaced them with vinyl replacement windows. We kept the old sashes almost 10 years ago to use for the stained glass paint on stuff and never got to it, and those were perfect for the lid of a cold frame. We also had some 2×6 lumber and furring strips that we had used for a ramp when moving out of the old house laying around and those would make a perfect frame.

First off, we laid out all of the sashes to find those of similar size. We found 8 sashes that were identical, and decided to make two frames each with 4 windows in a 2×2 configuration. We got them both laid out, cut a furring strip across the middle (the long ways) and one on each side (with an overlap to the inside to act as a lid lip). A bunch of drywall screws later and we hat two lids.

Now that I knew the dimensions of the windows, I could begin constructing for the frames. I cut four sections of 2×6 for the rear, and two of the same length for the front. The sides got six pieces cut as two were held together and cut diagonally, one for each side. Some lengths of furring strip scraps and some drywall screws held them all together. One note, when cutting our lengths, me mindful os which parts go on the inside of the box ends, and shorten the appropriate pieces!

I laid them parts out where we were going to build ght cold frame and they cold frame parts were loosely used for measurement…


Of course there is lawn there, and I had to dig all of that out and remove all the grass. I want to spend as little time as possible weeding them. Also, turing the dirt underneath will help provide even more loose soil. Once dug we assembled the cold frames with some 3″ drywall screws.

Next up, the lid was placed on top, adjusted for square. We had to add a scrap of 2×4 at the top (due to the angle cut being longer than the actual lid, and I’m bad at math), which provided a perfect place to fasten some recycled door hinges for the lid, and now it opens up and can be supported by some side supports.


Yes, add some support. Whey I first started adding some dirt a gust of wind came and blew the lid closed right on my head, shattering one of the panes! Ouch. No lacerations or any cuts. but I had a headache for a few days. I ended up using some scrap cut down to about 1″ x 1 1/4″ and about 7′ tall and pounded in about 2 feet into the ground behind the cold frame to hold the lid up with a loop of string. This also has the aded benefit of keeping the lid fully up to be able to use rainwater and to keep the beds cool in warm weather.

Oh yeah, that dirt stuff? Well, less important to the post, but we used a whole bag of peat moss and some composted soil in about a 50/50 mix with the intent if keeping the soil loose. No idea if it will work, be we will find out…

Here’s a pic of the final result of the first prior to number 2 assembly and before the lid-holder-openers, complete with busted out window from my head.


See? used a bunch of stuff we had laying around that could have ended up in the landfill, and used not as originally intended that will help provide food. I call that hacking survival if you ask me.

– L

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Start building a library

As the saying goes ‘Knowledge is power’ so it would be a good idea to maintain a library so that you can have the information on hand should you need it.  I found a nice collection of PDF documents that contain all sorts of handy information.

Remember its a good idea to print these out for quick access.  You may not have the ability to open PDF documents should something happen.  It also would not hurt to print out an extra copy to share with your neighbor.  Also put information like this on CD or other media as it will be a lot lighter to travel with if you find you need to change your location.  Just hope that you come across the ability to open electronic files.

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So why prepare?  Everyone knows the story of the grass hopper that spent the summer playing and died in the winter.  Right now its summer so lets all play right?  well some of us, an ever growing number have decided we choose to prepare for what we feel is the coming winter.  Some would argue there is no end to the summer that it will continue forever.  Their computers start up in the morning, the lights come on all of life’s modern conveniences are right there at your fingertips.  Well for a lot of the worlds population that is true… for a lot it is not.  Either way people who prepare for some world altering event have been characterized as crazy out there.  This is not helped when certain cable channels profile us on TV and get us to say they are preparing for cataclysmic events like the Myan myth, Terrorist attack, or WW3.  If you do some Google searches for people that appear on said shows even say it themselves that ‘prepping’ is boring and makes for poor TV.  So they are encouraged to say sensationalist things like Super Volcano, Nuclear attack, and Zombies.  That is what makes for good TV and also makes for good ridicule by ‘normal’ people.  That is fine as you noticed we are Survival Nerds thus we are already socially awkward.  So the snicker of normal people is nothing new.  What ever our true reason is for ‘prepping’ it doesn’t matter.  We feel its something we should do as not doing it would be irresponsible to our friends and family.  Maybe we just don’t like being dependent on our government or the belief  that our society has nothing to fear.  Things change and you probably will not be consulted if that is okay with you or given a vote.  For me I feel its just a good idea in case of some natural disaster you are not dependent on search and rescue to survive.  See thats not that exciting nor is it something to be on TV for.  Its simply don’t spend your resources on me I have taken care of my self.  Tell rescue to move on and help someone else that needs it more than me.  Sure the thought of a economic collapse is sexy and sounds probable with out of control debt and widening partisanship in Washington is scary and TV / Movie worthy but has a lower probability of happening.  and if most of these world wide cataclysmic events were to happen you may soon wish you were at ground zero no matter how prepared you are.  A extinction level event is just that, and no preparing will help you.

That being said we do acknowledge that society is tied at the hip to their technology.  I do remember a time that I didn’t have a cell phone, GPS, or a watch even.  I survived I read a analog map recognized land marks and developed a sense of direction.  Today my 13 year old cousin has an iPhone 4s  I didn’t have my first cell phone until I was out of college.  Society today would be hard pressed to get by with out their Angry Birds.  We hope that, here at this site, to help you survive catastrophic events with as much of that technology as you can.  Whether we show you how to charge up that iPhone after the power has gone out or how you can download your porn if the Internet dies.  We want to come out of disaster with our technology intact so should you.  So follow us on Twitter (@razmus21 and @haxorthematrix) book mark this page.  Send us suggestions or corrections we don’t mind being wrong.  It’s rare but has been known to happen.

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