7 key ring tools for surviving the zombie apocalypse

Most people won’t survive the zombie apocalypse. Fortunately there are items you can assemble today to greatly increase your chances of being one of the few survivors, and they’re all small enough to fit on your key ring. Most will be useful even before the apocalypse.

Key ring with fun toys
Yes, this is really what I carry on my key ring, plus keys.

This is important. You don’t know where you’ll be when the zombie apocalypse breaks out, so survival gear sitting under your bed may do you no good at all. Keep them on your key ring, and always carry it with you.

1. Expandable pen

Telescoping pen
It’s a telescoping pen and it writes (though probably not in space).

It’s a pen. It telescopes out so you can actually use it to write quite adequately, and compresses so you’d hardly notice you’re carrying it around. It also writes very well and almost never blobs or sticks. It probably won’t work in space.

Use in the zombie apocalypse

When you’re separated from your friends and forced to flee, you can leave them a note to say where you’ve gone without having to open a vein and write in blood. Hygiene in the zombie apocalypse is very important.

Everyday use

Writing, when you’ve forgotten to bring a pen. Duh. For some reason this happens to me a lot.

2. Knife

Knife, not for use on zombies
It’s a knife and a bottle opener.

It folds out and locks open. It has a sharp cutting edge. It’s a knife, used for cutting things.

Use in the zombie apocalypse

Cutting things. I don’t recommend using a knife of this size on zombies because you’ll have to let them get awfully close. It can be used for trimming fingernails, cutting twine or duct tape to make makeshift armour or a shelter, opening the box when your book “How to survive the zombie apocalypse” arrives (though good luck with that, because I expect the postal service in the zombie apocalypse will be even worse than normal), cutting yourself for blood to use as ink (but see point 1), and many other things.

This knife doubles as a bottle opener, for those times you want to stop running from zombies for a while and kick back with a beer.

Everyday use

Opening packages that arrive from Amazon. Also good for boring meetings, where you can click it open and closed incessantly and drive everyone crazy while also making them a little worried. Just don’t forget it’s on your key ring and try to take it through airport security. It doesn’t make them happy.

3. Small levery thing

Crowbar for mice
I have no idea what this is supposed to be, I just hope the U.S. government doesn’t want it back.

I have no idea what this is supposed to be for, but anything you would use a key for if you didn’t have this, use this instead and then you won’t damage your keys. Also good for opening Amazon boxes, retrieving things that have slipped down narrow spaces, and it can be used as a screwdriver in a pinch (I’ve used it to fix my bike).

Use in the zombie apocalypse = everyday use

Anything you can think of, including chipping off paint and removing staples.

4. Torch

LED torch
Look, bright!

It’s small, the batteries last forever (almost, not literally – it’s not magic), and when you press the side it makes light. Also waterproof (or so they claim, though I never tested this).

Call it a flashlight if you prefer, here it’s called a torch. Comes in different colours. Mine’s white. I used to have one that flashed different colours, which was good for impromptu parties.

Use in the zombie apocalypse

Locating and avoiding the zombies when moving through abandoned buildings or bushland at night. Locating your friends when you’ve misplaced them somewhere dark. Identifying and avoiding stepping on pieces of dead people. Communicating over long distances by Morse code when separated from your party by a sudden zombie onslaught. Note this requires at least two people in your party know Morse code, and for them to end up separated.

Everyday use

Seeing in the dark. Finding the keyhole when you arrive home in the dark. Walking down dark staircases without falling. Seeing into small dark spaces. Light to eat by in a power cut. Are you sensing the pattern here?

5. Whistle

It will scare the cat.

For blowing into and making noise.

Use in the zombie apocalypse

Making a horrible noise to frighten off zombies. But check it doesn’t attract them first. Attracting other members of your party after you become separated. Again, check it doesn’t attract zombies first.

Everyday use

Making a horrible noise to frighten off undesirables. Making a horrible noise to attract searchers who are looking for you when you get lost in the bush on the way home from work. Making a horrible noise to irritate obnoxious neighbours or the cat. (Don’t do this. It’s mean.)

6. Flint

Flint unscrews
Look at all the pieces!
Flint, ready to make fire
… which screw neatly together and make fire.

Apart from looking super cool, this nifty gadget will help you make fire long after your lighter runs out of fuel. This particular model has a built-in striker. It unscrews into three pieces and you have to screw two of them back together before you can use it to make fire. This is great for keeping the size down, but can be inconvenient if your hands are cold or otherwise shaking (potentially from your fear of zombies). It should keep working even after you’ve dropped it in a puddle or in zombie intestines. (I haven’t tried either of these, so I can’t say for sure.)

Use in the zombie apocalypse

Ultimate usefulness will depend on the extent to which the particular type of zombies you face are a) afraid of fire and b) flammable. Even if your zombies like a good barbeque and can lurch through a bushfire without damage, you might get cold at some point or need to burn down a barn to keep the bodies inside from turning. Flint will help you with both these.

Everyday use

Showing off by making showers of sparks for your friends at Friday night drinks, while trying not to burn the office down. Making a survival fire in the bush when you somehow get lost on your way home from Friday night drinks.

In case you’re wondering, yes, they will let you take this in a plane. Hence, also great if you plan for your plane to crash in the mountains.

7. Pill tube

Pill tube with pills
For your secret stash.

A very small tube for carrying stuff. At one point it had a rubber seal to make it waterproof, but that didn’t last as well as the tube. It comes in different colours, which, as you can see, also could last better.

Use in the zombie apocalypse

Always have ibuprofen with you. The last thing you want when you’re fleeing ravenous zombies is a headache. Can also be used to conceal a single note if you’re very good at folding, though cash is unlikely to be very useful after the collapse of civilisation.

Everyday use

Ibuprofen for headaches. Or cash, which is actually useful when you’ve lost or forgotten your wallet, though people will give you funny looks when you pull out a note that’s been folded and rolled that small.

For legal purposes, let me state there are no affiliate links in this post. There are several reasons for this. First, there are no links in this post. Second, I don’t know how to do affiliate links. Third, I don’t care if you buy any of these things. Fourth, that would require me actually figuring out where I bought these things, and that would be hard (but if you really want something, ask and I will try to find it for you).

And look–they all fit neatly in the palm of your hand!

key ring
They all fit in the palm of your hand! (sort of)

This is what I carry on my key ring (apart from the knife, which I sometimes forget to replace after I fly places). Did I miss any important uses? Does anyone know what the small levery thing is supposed to be for? What do you carry or what else do you think would be useful to have on your key ring in a zombie apocalypse?


You can get more like this, with absolutely no zombies, guaranteed.

Author: A.S. Akkalon

By day, A.S. Akkalon works in an office where the computers outnumber the suits of armour more than two-to-one. By night, she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

14 thoughts on “7 key ring tools for surviving the zombie apocalypse”

    1. I’m very well equipped… except on the days when my only pockets are the pathetically small ones in my jeans and I leave my keys behind. It’ll be one of those days that the zombie apocalypse starts, I just know it.

  1. Love this! When I was a kid I ALWAYS carried a pocketknife, small first aid kit, compass, notebook and pen. In case of adventures, obviously. I’m feeling it wouldn’t be a bad time to start doing that again…

    1. That’s a cool set of stuff to carry! You were very well-prepared for adventures (and to record the details so you could write about them later). I especially like the idea of a compass – if nothing else, it would help you find Canada. I miss pants with big pockets. 🙁

  2. LOL, you’re packed with gadgets! 😀 Why don’t I have a pen like that? Every author should have an emergency pen on their key ring (and a little flashlight in case the electricity is out and you have to write in the dark). The only gadget I have in my key ring is a whistle and even that was my sister’s idea. I’m shockingly badly prepared. Clearly in case of a zombie apocalypse, I would be zombie fodder.

    I have no idea what that US Army gadget of yours is. A can opener? A mini crowbar? Maybe it’s a charm that wards off US American zombies. Lucky you!

    1. Omg, you made me realise I missed the most important use of a torch – writing when the power’s out. How could I have over looked that one?

      A helpful Twitter friend tells me the US Army gadget is for removing nails, but it might ward off zombies as well. He didn’t mention that.

  3. I can’t believe this is your actual key ring. At first it made me chuckle but now I want one. Of everything. I seriously want your key ring. I’m going to search for all these things. We’ll be last women standing. Or zombie-slayers. I’m good either way.

    1. Yay! I’d love to spend my zombie apocalypse with you. 🙂

      If it helps your search, the pen seems to be called a TelePen, and it also says True Utility Pocket Tools on the packaging. (Yes, when I found these I loved them so much I bought four, just in case they stopped making them.) The LED is from PhotonLight.com, and the flint is from Exotac.com. Happy shopping!

  4. This is hilarious! I LOVED this post and now I secretly want the key ring I think you ought to do your own line ?? you’d make a killing… a zombie killing. Oh wow that was poor… I blame my lack of coffee!

  5. Love it. I have spent far too long playing a zombie apocalypse survival (when I could have been drawing or writing) and these all sound like excellent tools to have. And have you tried using that US gov tool to pull nails? I think if you put the nail head through the teardrop shaped hole you could lever up the nail. Maybe? Cool tools tho.

    1. With real zombies? Well, I’m glad you’re okay and not shambling around groaning. You seem like the perfect person to know what will be useful when the end of the world comes.

      It was pointed out to me that that little device can pull nails, but all my nails are doing important things like holding up the house, so I haven’t tried it. Maybe when the apocalypse comes I’ll want the house to fall down and crush the zombies inside, so it will definitely be useful then.

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