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One possible alternate between survival without a base and having one is a mobile base. Mobile bases can be made out of many vehicles with and sometimes without modification. It provides the bonus of being able to take the whole base with you when needing to evacuate from zombies or other causes. If some people would decide to survive as nomads they would probably use mobile bases. Still there are very large drawbacks. Fuel is not easily found in undead world after a period of time. Because of that, driving the base should be kept minimal. Other drawback is that engines can break down and proper replacement parts may be rare and far away.
Choices of Mobile Base
Buses are designed to transport people daily, giving them high durability. They are powerful enough to batter through minor obstructions, such as cars, crudely constructed barricades, and debris. However, a bus does not have the speed or power to break through barriers such as thick concrete, steel, iron, etc., so think twice before trying to ram through a wall. You might just corner yourself and wreck your vehicle. Buses can be easily armored, which is known as a Battle Bus. Unfortunately, buses have high fuel consumption and are moslty found in a city with more than 3,000 people. With this in mind, a bus will not be able to easily maneuver through a car-littered road flooded with zombies. Buses also make extremely loud noises compared to walking or riding a bike and are noticeably louder than cars or trucks. Every ghoul in the area will quickly swarm around your steel rectangle of death and will make canned meat out of you if you get stuck.
Camping trailers, also called caravans, are unique in the fact that they are so versatile in their sizes, weights, and usages, which come in handy during a zombie apocalypse. All camping trailers are easily modified for attack, defense, or both (see modifying bases and modifying vehicles, the same more or less applies to camper trailers), and usually are tall enough to keep your feet out of reach from zombie hands should you get surrounded. The lightest camping trailer is a 1-2 person teardrop trailer or the slightly larger 2-4 person pop-up camping trailer. Due to their small size, lightweight, and compactness, they can be towed by almost any vehicle, including a motorcycle. These are great for loners or pairs on the move, and because they are the size of the average compact hatchback (or smaller), they are very mobile in an urban environment. You can even get off-road versions.
Please note however, that these are not built with strength in mind. fortifications are almost always necessary. The next size up would be your standard 15-25 ft camper that can hold 7-10 people and still have room for supplies such as refrigerated food, medicine, ammo, etc. mostly open road for this one, although wherever the vehicle towing it can go, the camper can go as well, provided that height isn't a concern. These bases are fairly sturdy, but could definitely benefit from some modifications. In between these two are `sliders`, campers that `slide` into the bed of pickups. These hold anywhere from 3-6 people, and are preferred by constantly on-the-move survivors as their vehicle and base are one and the same. Maneuverable in urban, country, or desolate environments, as they are not being towed, but hauled by the vehicle (such as, they are part of the vehicle). The largest campers that are available are 30-40 ft long, have high roofs, and can still hold up to only 10 people, however, they have much more storage space than the smaller campers, including space for ATV`s, dirtbikes, etc. Pretty durable and might not even need modifications, although they can flip over at high speeds. Can handle moderate off roading, although are primarily highway bases. with little to no use in a city or suburb environment except as deathtraps. They increase gas consumption by quite a bit, which is bad for already inefficient trucks and SUVs, although a diesel vehicle will help that problem. Please note that for any and all of these mobile bases described, one of the main factors will be what vehicle is towing it. for example, if a Dodge Ram is towing a teardrop trailer, then little to no fuel economy will be lost due to the trailer`s weight (1500 to less than 500 pounds) and the fact that the Dodge Ram is designed to tow. If you slap a towbar onto a Honda CRV crossover or a sedan like the Toyota Pruis and hook up a 23 foot Airstream, then you will suffer from extremely slow going, terrible gas mileage, and extreme premature drivetrain failure. ( which in turn will lead to to be devoured by zombies). Point being: camper bases are only as mobile as the vehicles that are able to tow them.
An easily defendable base, as long as the ship is zombie-free already. Zombies will find it impossible to climb in. With plenty of room on-board, many radios and computers, practical and essential cargo, and an endless ocean to supply food and- boiled- water, freighters and other large ships can become a safe haven for you and your crew for many months or even years. However it has drawbacks. They spend a lot of fuel and the ocean can be a dangerous place. Storms will force ships to stay docked and even there they can damage and sink the ship. Harsh weather will be hard to dodge without modern weather services available. Although unlikely, sea mines can be a very serious threat if encountered. With all these downfalls aside, once adequate amounts of supplies and food are expended, you will inevitably have to return to land. Without a modern-day GPS or guiding program, finding land will be impossible without a sense of direction. Once you find land, you may be hundreds or thousands of miles away from your native land and dock right in the middle of a zombie or bandit overrun region.
Due to the ultra-low fuel requirements and the lack of necessity to land at all, the Zeppelin could be claimed to have all the advantages of an inviolable seaborne fortress with none of the problems of finding enough food as one could supposedly set up a temporary tether above any town, village or city and pick up as much loot as those on board were able to carry before moving on again, unharmed by zombies below. Sadly, this almost-ideal setup is limited by the fact that the number of operational zeppelins in the world that are large enough to be used as an actual base can be easily counted on the fingers of one hand. Also they leak gas and without replacing it the blimp would only hold for weeks or maybe even days.
Trains can be one of the best potential mobile bases that exist, if only semi-mobile. Assuming that the train in question has an internal power source (this should be consulted before attempting to operate any vehicle), shutting down a well-stocked subway atop an elevated track in a city can often present a strong defensive position, already being on a difficult-to-access area, and being able to move if absolutely necessary. Similarly, 'parking' a long-distance train in a non-populated area can quite often provide passengers/survivors with a safe zone largely free of zombies. Supplies are an issue, but either stockpiling beforehand or maintaining the ability to move between (preferably instead of cities) towns to resupply can make this strategy work if the tracks stay clear and intact. That being said, that's a big 'if.' Because they travel on rails, equipment, supplies and knowledge to repair them should be at hand. It can also be a good idea to have a vehicle somewhere in your train in case you need to make a quick escape. Be wary of disembarking off your rolling fortress, because zombies will no doubt be in a feeding frenzy from miles around. Trains are incredibly loud, and are possibly the loudest vehicles that run on the ground. Be prepared to face large, formidable hordes of ghouls the second your engines stop. Old fashioned trains should be used rather than modern electric ones, but keep in mind that any behemoth of transportation is going to require a hefty supply of fuel, be that gasoline, electricity, or even coal; That may be fuel you won't have. So before embarking on a journey by train, determine how far you can get with the amount of fuel you have, potential refuel points, train yards, abandoned or destroyed rail lines, city and town locations, and plenty of places to stop in case of emergencies or just to investigate an area.
With the proper knowledge and crew, a modern nuclear submarine could be a good base. Having power supplies for years and being able to dodge storms by going underwater, submarines are the ultimate mobile base. However if an accident or breakdown happens, it can be catastrophic. If something breaks at critical places, the base should be evacuated, although this is most likely impossible. Before even thinking of packing up your gear into one of these steel tubes, contemplate long and hard about the dangers of a sub-surface ocean voyage.