Welcome back to part 2 of our series on the survival lessons we can learn from The Last of Us. In the first part, we discussed the importance of stockpiling supplies, learning various survival skills, and having a reason to survive. In this part, we will delve into more life-saving tips that Joel and Ellie’s journey has taught us. From knowing the importance of communication to learning different skills, there are plenty of life-saving lessons you can pick up from the post-apocalyptic world of The Last of Us. But, as a warning, spoilers are ahead, so make sure you’ve watched the show before reading on. And if you haven’t read the first installment of this two-part series yet, check out the first 15 of 30 The Last of Us survival lessons we’ve shared here. Grab your gear and let’s dive in!
16. Take cover
When raiders tried to enter Bill and Frank’s property in Episode 3, Bill fought them off by engaging them in a gunfight while he was right in the middle of the street. He didn’t have any cover at all so it wasn’t surprising that he was hit by a bullet.
While Bill was right to reinforce his property with an electric fence, motion sensor flame throwers, and other traps, he should still have prepared strategic covers to safely defend their home from trespassers. He could’ve placed sandbags or concrete barriers where he can take cover if he was under fire.
He could’ve also asked Joel to find them a couple of bulletproof vests. With Joel’s skills, he could’ve found one to trade with the couple. At the very least, Bill could’ve stayed inside where it’s a lot safer than being out in the open. From the top floor, they could’ve shot at the intruders that manage to infiltrate their property. But as Bill told Frank was tending to him, the electric fence will kill the rest of the raiders as long as they left the gas on.
Oh, and turning your back on people shooting at you is kind of dumb. For someone who’s a serious survivalist, Bill should have known better than to do that. But this proves that even the most careful ones can make mistakes so it’s important to know how to quickly adapt to what’s happening and work through such errors in judgment.
17. Learn how to siphon gas
In Episode 4, Joel siphons gas from abandoned vehicles so they can keep driving to their destination in the truck Bill left him. If he didn’t know how, the truck would be useless and they’d probably be walking the rest of the way hoping to find a working car along the way.
To siphon fuel, you need a long enough hose and a jerry can or any container that can store fuel. First, remove the lid of your container and place it nearby. You need it ready for filling so you won’t waste any of the precious fuel. Feed one end of the hose into the tank of the other car then suck on the other end like a straw. It’s better to use a clear hose so you can see the fuel flowing through.
As soon as you feel fuel on your tongue, quickly move the hose end from your mouth to the container. Spit it out immediately and rinse your mouth with clean water. To keep siphoning, make sure to place the container below the fuel tank’s level.
18. Gas breaks down over time
Joel and Ellie had to stop every hour to siphon fuel from abandoned vehicles since the truck is running on gas that was “almost water.” In reality, fuel degrades really fast. It stays fresh for three to six months depending on the type of fuel. For example, gasoline starts to break down faster than diesel. But fuel stored properly and treated with fuel stabilizer can last for years.
Assuming the vehicles Joel was siphoning from were abandoned 20 years ago, he’s not entirely right when he said that the gasoline is almost useless. The fuel would be of no use to them since it has completely lost its combustibility by that time. By using degraded fuel, he’s risking damage to the truck, particularly the engine.
So if you’re planning to stock up on fuel, make sure it’s fresh and stored in well-sealed containers that won’t let water or oxygen get in. Regularly treat the fuel with a stabilizer to slow down oxidation and degradation. Finally, rotate your supply every three to six months so you don’t get stuck with spoiled fuel.
19. You need to entertain yourself
Surviving in a post-apocalyptic world is hard enough with the lack of resources and threats all around. You need some kind of hobby or release to keep your mind off the darkness and horror around you. If you dwell too much on the bad stuff, your mental health will suffer, which can lead to depression and other issues.
While an occasional drink will provide wonders (and a hangover), it’s not for everyone. That’s where No Pun Intended: Volume Too comes in. The joke book by Will Livingston put some smiles on Joel and Ellie’s faces during their dark journey. Ellie also had a thing for comic books, particularly Savage Starlight, which she shared an affinity for with Sam (Keivonn Woodard).
Speaking of Sam, his older brother Henry (Lamar Johnson) made sure he had things to do to keep his mind off their dire situation. Sam, who is deaf, enjoyed drawing and painting so Henry got him some crayons and paint. He also had a Magic Slate Paper Saver to draw and communicate.
Bill played the piano and enjoyed his wine. He also had a collection of magazines in his bunker and one under the seat of his truck. Frank kept himself sane by painting, which he’s very good at. And don’t forget music! Playing Linda Ronstadt on a grand piano or blasting some Hank Williams on the car radio is also a nice way to while away the time.
So, if you want to make the best out of a bad situation, find something that makes you laugh or brings you joy. Not only will these help you cope, but they are also a great way to learn new skills and pass the time while waiting out bad weather or trying to make it through a difficult situation.
20. Stay out of sight
While Joel and Ellie were driving to Wyoming in Episode 4, Joel drove off the road to find a safer place to stop for the night. He knew that it was safer to camp deep in the woods since there were fewer infected around. It’s also too far for other people to see them. Plus, the trees provided a good cover.
Joel also refused to start a campfire even when Ellie said she was freezing. Fire can easily be seen especially if it’s dark. In fact, a candle flame can be seen as far as 2.76 km by the naked eye. Smoke meanwhile, is visible from 5 to 10 miles away.
In Episode 5, Joel, Ellie, Henry, and Sam escaped the Kansas City QZ through a tunnel and managed to reach the residential area nearby. It was already dark but they didn’t use their flashlights so they won’t draw attention.
If you’re in dangerous territory, you should consider staying out of sight as much as possible. If you’re on the move, try to go off the road or take a path less traveled. This will help minimize the chances of encountering dangerous people. As mentioned earlier, if you’re dealing with an active shooter, you should get away as fast as possible. If that’s not an option, you should hide and stay out of sight until it’s safe.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Fire is vital to survival. In fact, you should always have different firestarters like matches and lighters in your possession, especially when you’re in the great outdoors. However, in situations where you need to stay out of sight, you should avoid starting a fire or risk getting detected.
To stay warm without fire, you should wear the right clothing for the weather and make sure to stay dry. You should also always pack a tent and know how to build an emergency shelter if necessary. In some cases, huddling up with others in one sleeping bag is enough to keep warm as body heat can help you survive cold temperatures. Thermal blankets, wool blankets, and sleeping pads will come in handy, too.
21. Secure the perimeter
Setting up traps, reinforcing a fence, and installing video cameras are fine examples of securing one’s perimeter. We also see this in the QZs and the Jackson community with guards stationed in strategic spots and patrolling their areas.
In Episode 4, while Ellie slept soundly, Joel stayed up to be on the lookout for danger. While he told Ellie that it was safe to sleep in the woods, he didn’t seem convinced himself so he kept his guard up. Later in the episode, Joel scattered shards of broken glass between them and the door so he could hear if someone was approaching. Unfortunately, Henry and Sam managed to sneak in and surprise the sleeping pair but Joel’s instincts were right.
Securing the perimeter is an important step to protecting your family and property from threats such as thieves, intruders, rioters, and even wild animals. Fortify your home by installing a home security system and making sure your doors and windows are always locked.
Thanks to Bill’s portable stove, Joel got to make coffee and heat the 20-year-old Chef Boyardee ravioli they had the night before. A warm meal does wonders for a hungry stomach but a hot cup of coffee is one of the best ways to jump-start your day.
Many preppers stock up on coffee beans knowing that they can provide a boost of energy to help them go through the day. That’s necessary in a post-apocalyptic world. For those who can’t or won’t have coffee, there are other options. You can have tea, an energy drink, or make your own drink with ingredients like honey and ginger. A piece of chocolate can also help boost your energy when the going gets tough.
23. Put your seatbelt on
This survival lesson is pretty obvious. Whenever you’re in a vehicle, you should always put your seatbelt on. The two weren’t wearing their seatbelts for most of their journey and they were lucky they didn’t get into any accidents during that time.
When they reached Kansas City and encountered a man asking for help, Joel commanded Ellie to wear her seatbelt while putting his on. That saved them from getting badly hurt when they crashed their truck after being attacked.
24. Learn to ration your supplies
Since the start of the mission, Joel and Tess rationed the food they had as they only ate small portions of their meat jerky. Later on, we see Henry counting the food they managed to carry while fleeing from the rebels that took over Kansas City QZ. The brothers had “twenty cans and six pounds of jerky” to share with fellow FEDRA collaborator Dr. Edelstein (John Getz), which should last about 11 days if they “stick to the minimum.”
You should always remember the Rule of Threes: A normal human being can survive for only three minutes without oxygen, three hours in extreme weather without shelter, three days without water, and up to three weeks without food.
When faced with a situation where food is scarce and you don’t know when the next meal will come, it’s important to learn how to ration. Doing so will help you stay alive until the next meal.
25. Deal with a problem before it gets out of hand
While Kathleen Coghlan (Melanie Lynskey) and Perry (Jeffrey Pierce) were checking out the cracked floor in one of the buildings when it suddenly moved. Knowing that the infected were driven underground 15 years prior, they were scared to death.
Still, Kathleen chose to continue their pursuit of Henry, who she blames for her brother’s death, instead of dealing with the growing problem under their feet. Her desire to seek vengeance on Henry, who gave up her brother to FEDRA in exchange for Sam’s medicines, clouded her judgment and she paid dearly in the end.
When faced with a problem, it’s important to deal with it before it gets out of hand. Don’t wait until you’re knee-deep in trouble because that might be too late. You need to act quickly or you’ll find yourself as the victim of your own procrastination. Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
26. Know your weaknesses
Stubbornness has no place in a life-and-death situation. Joel knew he was hard of hearing on one side because of a gunshot incident before. Yet he insisted he would hear it if someone stepped on the broken glass. Ellie called him out saying she noticed that he couldn’t hear well from the right side but grumpy ol’ Joel just brushed her aside.
In the next scene, we can see Joel sleeping on his left side so his good ear was covered. That’s likely why Henry and Sam managed to sneak in on them. In this case, his reluctance to admit his weakness didn’t do them any favors.
What they could’ve done was take turns sleeping. While one was asleep, the other would be on alert and they could switch every few hours. That way, they can maximize their chances of being safe from unexpected visitors.
Later on, Joel finally admitted that he wasn’t fit enough to protect Ellie. Aside from his poor hearing and old knees, he was suffering from panic attacks as the trauma of losing his daughter continue to haunt him. This is why he asked Tommy to take her instead.
27. Duct tape solves everything!
Joel’s boot is falling apart. What did he do? Wrap it up in duct tape. Duct tape is a versatile material that has been used for decades to fix, mend, and repair all sorts of things on Earth and even in space. NASA astronauts have long relied on duct tape for repairs during their missions.
28. Stop the bleeding
After Joel was stabbed by a piece of a broken baseball bat, they tried to get away from the attackers so there was no time to fix him up properly to stop the bleeding. Some may even argue that taking out the bat was a bad idea as it was actually keeping him from bleeding out. However, he did have to get on the horse so it was necessary to take it out to prevent more damage to his body, particularly the organs.
Ellie managed to bring Joel inside an abandoned structure where she tried to stop the bleeding. She ripped off a piece of cloth and used it to apply pressure to the wound. Ideally, you should use a clean cloth to prevent infection.
Ellie also found a needle and some thread, which she used to suture the wound. She had the right idea but it would’ve been better if there was a way to sterilize them first. Under the circumstances, she did well.
The duct tape could’ve helped, too. Duct tape could be used like a butterfly bandage to close a wound and keep it from bleeding. You just have to make sure the sticky part is not directly applied to the wound as removing it will be one hell of an experience.
29. Do anything to survive
Episode 8 may be the most disturbing of all as we find out that the men that attacked Joel belonged to a hungry group of people led by their pastor David (Scott Shepherd). We later learn that the creepy pastor has taste for human flesh, which he was also feeding his flock without their knowledge.
Throughout history, there have been cases where people were forced to eat fellow humans in order to survive. In 1846, the Donner Party were stranded in harsh weather while passing through the Sierra Nevada Mountains on their way to California. Some were forced to eat the remains of those who didn’t make it.
If you’ve seen the film Alive, it describes the ordeal of a Uruguayan rugby team and other survivors of the 1972 plane crash in the Andes Mountains. The survivors had no choice but to eat the flesh of their fallen friends to survive long enough until they were rescued.
When faced with extreme hunger and desperation, people are capable of doing the unthinkable. The takeaway here is that you should do whatever it takes to survive no matter how abhorrent it may be as long as your humanity stays intact.
30. People can do horrifying things
The sooner you realize the cruel world you’re in, the better your chances will be of surviving it. People are capable of extreme cruelty with their desire for power and control often taking precedence over everything else.
And it’s not just them – sometimes we have to do awful things to protect our loved ones and get what we need. Joel said it himself. He’s been on both sides. He’s done some unimaginable things in the past so he knows what evil deeds people are capable of doing.
This is what he warned Ellie about while they were in the woods. He didn’t want to start a fire so no one can find them and do worse than just rob them. Later on, Ellie fully understood what he meant as she came face to face with the brutality of the world they live in.
They encountered people who attacked them without provocation and had to shoot someone in self-defense. She witnessed Sam turning and Henry killing himself after shooting his infected little brother. Ellie almost lost Joel. Then she had to protect herself from a cannibal that tried to rape her.
Something in him wanted to protect Ellie’s innocence. He didn’t want her to have a gun and when she used one on the boy, Joel was sorry that she had to do it, especially at her age. But after their ordeal with the psychopathic David and his group of cannibalistic survivors, Ellie seemed to have lost whatever was left of her innocence.
That concludes our two-part series on the survival lessons we can learn from The Last of Us. The hit HBO series provides us not only with great entertainment but also with numerous lessons on how to survive in a world that has been ravaged by a deadly outbreak. The same life-saving tips can also be useful in other emergency situations that are more likely to happen in our version of reality.
By applying these survival tips to our own lives, we can be better prepared for any unforeseen circumstances that may come our way. So, let’s take these lessons to heart and remember that in the end, it’s our resilience and determination that will help us survive.
And if you’re interested in exploring more topics related to survival and adventure, be sure to check out Gentleman Pirate Club for more engaging content and useful resources. Stay safe, and keep learning!
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