Survival of the Kitted: Zombie Apocalypse Gear by Personality Type

Kyle 1 year ago 25 comments

16Personalities isn’t just about uncovering the serious truths of personality types – sometimes we get silly. This Halloween, we bring you a lighthearted, faux-research article along a popular theme: a zombie apocalypse. Specifically, how might personality type influence (or explain) the gear people would choose to survive The Dead, Walking? (Wink, wink.)

Well, our members’ community is full of clever people of all personality types, so we gave them some less-than-ideal lists to choose from and asked what they’d pick. (You can see those lists here.) They also wanted a few unique items of their own.

Note: This poll and article do not reflect our normal research standards – they’re just for fun. Tongue-in-cheek artistic license has been applied, so don’t take anything seriously.

Statistically, the top overall choices – from all the personality types combined – were:

  • Weapon: Bow and arrows
  • Item: Water filter
  • Shelter: Military camo bivy bag
  • Footwear: High-end hiking shoes
  • Transport: Mountain bike with cargo rack
  • Clothing: Cargo pants and leather jacket
  • Headgear: Helmet and safety goggles
  • Personal Item: Favorite book

These are solid options, and it’s no great surprise that they were the most chosen items. But let’s look closer at where each personality type’s choices differed from this overall majority.

Perhaps the discovered journal notes of a survivors’ camp leader can give us some insight into the zombie apocalypse survival gear choices of each personality type…


Wow. Trying to lead these people has been difficult, but personality type theory has been a big help. With all these strangers thrown together by a horrific fate, understanding each other deeply is more important than ever. Using our strengths to overcome our weaknesses – both individually and collectively – will help us survive.

But that’s easier said than done, especially since some of us have different ideas on what works best. Take, for instance, the equipment that some types seem to prefer. Though individual choices among each personality type vary as much as the people themselves, I’ve noticed some interesting trends emerge and can’t help but muse about them.

Architect Notable Differences

  • Top Weapon: Samurai sword
  • A large minority favored combat boots
  • About a third preferred a lifted 4x4 pickup truck
  • Top Personal Item: Hand-wind pocket watch

Ah, Architects. They’re not big on tact, but they occasionally accomplish big things for the camp. Mostly they like to argue about every little detail or run off and do things their own way, but I love it when they pitch in.

For example, they’re always happy to slice up zombies with those samurai swords many of them prefer. One said they like to make clean cuts to “keep the gore off them.” Another scoffed at the difficulty of making headshots with a bow and arrow. Personally, I think it reflects their individualistic mind-set – these personalities want something that works well in solo combat.

They have cute little sword-care parties where they bicker about katana blade quality and ideal sharpening methods. They’re pretty ritualistic: they’ve organized a pocket-watch club that meets every day at the same time to wind their watches. I think the regularity and social contact helps them cope, though they’d never admit it.

Architect item highlight: I’ll always remember the day one Architect first appeared with a bag of potatoes slung over their shoulder. The combination of absurdity and practicality brought instant levity into the camp. Now, we all half-jokingly evaluate every plan, idea, action, and object against some aspect of a bag of potatoes.

Logician Notable Differences

  • Top Weapon: Pistol
  • A large minority favored combat boots
  • A strong minority preferred a lifted 4x4 pickup truck
  • Top Personal Item: Chessboard and pieces

Logicians are pretty individualistic as well, bucking the group trend and carrying pistols. But they’re not obsessive about their choice – it seems more like they just want something easy and effective. They’re not wedded to a single “ideal” and are willing to explore options openly.

They’ve put themselves in charge of procuring pistol ammo for the camp, which is nice since they aren’t the best at sticking to mundane chores…or a schedule. It’s like they crave constantly changing intellectual engagement. Maybe that’s why they like to play chess.

They’re among the harder personality types for me to organize and manage as camp leader, but the ideas they come up with are great – if they’re carried to completion.

Logician item highlight: One of them showed up with – I kid you not – a functional garden planted on a flatbed trailer. It even has a little stream in it, with a solar-powered pump.

Commander Notable Differences

  • Top Footwear: Combat boots
  • Top Transport: Lifted 4x4 pickup truck
  • Top Personal Item: Hand-wind pocket watch

Commanders are among the most decisive and cohesive personality types, but this doesn’t mean that they integrate easily among other types in the camp. They’re pretty blunt about what they think. For example, lots of Logicians and Architects prefer combat boots, but Commanders go an extra step and confront others on their footwear choices.

They’ll suggest that people return their fancy, name-brand hiking shoes and “get some real boots.” Or they’ll make jokes about lapsed warranty periods. But their big, powerful trucks have been a boon to the camp. Let’s just say that Commanders don’t tread lightly, whether it’s talking, walking, or driving over zombies.

Though they like pocket watches, they don’t seem too impressed with the Architects’ watch club. As one Commander put it: “I’ll wind my watch whenever and wherever I want to.”

Commander item highlight: One Commander never goes anywhere without a lighter. I can’t say how many times that’s come in handy.

Debater Notable Differences

  • Top Weapon: Tie between bow and arrows and staff
  • Top Shelter: Tie between hammock and random buildings containing zombies
  • Top Transport: Lifted 4x4 pickup truck
  • Top Headgear: Cowboy hat
  • Top Personal Item: Polaroid camera

Debaters are wild. They might be the most contrarian members of our group, but they keep things interesting. Whether it’s arguing with Commanders about 4x4s or challenging someone to spar with staffs, they always seem to kick up dust. No wonder so many of them like cowboy hats.

I wish I could get them to stop snapping pictures of people unexpectedly with their Polaroid cameras. The more it annoys someone, the funnier they think it is. Sigh. Luckily, they enjoy bashing zombies a lot, even to the point that when they’re away from camp, they’ll spend nights in buildings that have zombies in them. (Or they’ll just stick a hammock any old place like they haven’t a care in the world.)

It actually makes sense, if you’re not a risk-averse personality type. And that pretty much sums up Debaters. It’s like they seek out trouble. I’m glad they’re with us, not against us. I just wish they’d pipe down at camp meetings. Not everything needs to be debated.

Debater item highlight: Um… One Debater showed up with a machine gun mounted on their truck. We’ve made them promise not to use it except when absolutely necessary.

Advocate Notable Differences

  • A minority of about a third favored a dome tent
  • A minority of about a third favored combat boots
  • A minority of about a third favored a Polaroid camera

Even among themselves, Advocates have differences, but they don’t tend to quibble about them much. They’re pretty individualistic but also very aware of the social, human side of every situation. I suspect that some of them prefer dome tents just so they can have the occasional sleepover/reading party.

These personalities like to do things a certain way, and that often means acting by themselves, but they seem to really appreciate their friends. Some of them use their Polaroid cameras to document new friendships – and unlike Debaters, they ask permission before taking a pic.

But they can be a little stubborn too. I suspect that some of them like combat boots because they’re ready to apply them to the backside of anyone who pushes them too far. I personally haven’t had trouble with them – they take a lot of convincing, but when I explain how a decision or idea is good for the camp, they seem receptive.

Advocate item highlight: Not sure what they’re writing, but one Advocate has writing materials, saying they’re going to make big money once the world is back to normal.

Mediator Notable Differences

  • A sizable minority favored a pistol
  • Perfect 50/50 split between medical kit and water filter
  • A minority of about a third favored combat boots
  • A minority of about a third favored a lifted 4x4 pickup truck

Mediators can be pretty random, but one thing I can count on is that they’re acting with good intentions. Lots of them have medical kits, and they always seem to be helping someone with something or other.

They work best when left to their own devices, so I remind them of our goals and try not to steer them too much. As camp leader, I’ve learned to pick my battles, and trying to organize and coordinate a bunch of Mediators… Well, let’s just say I accept their virtues for what they are.

If anything, a lot of them seem to give too much to others. For example, many Mediators love their trucks but always seem to be helping other personality types fix something instead of focusing on their own repairs. Oh well.

Mediator item highlight: One of them has a pea shooter, “in case all else fails.” I can’t tell if it’s a joke or genuine optimism, but either way, I’m in.

Protagonist Notable Differences

  • Top Weapon: Tie between samurai sword and shotgun
  • Top Clothing: Tie between dark trench coat, and jeans and a thin shirt
  • Agreed unanimously on a photo of a loved one as a personal item

It’s odd to think that a personality type could be equally enthused with hacking up zombies at close range and blowing them to smithereens from a distance. My take is that Protagonists find a certain satisfaction in killing zombies because they see it as protecting those they care about.

Every one of them seems to have a photo of a loved one, but they fight as if those distant people are still by their side. Their willful determination is a huge asset to the camp.

That said, they’re right up there with Commanders when it comes to voicing strong opinions. Whenever the group has to decide something important, I find myself having to convince Protagonists. But once I get them on board, they move mountains.

Protagonist item highlight: One of them has a boomerang. It’s oddly entertaining…when it comes back.

Campaigner Notable Differences

  • Top Weapon: Tie between samurai sword and bow and arrows
  • Agreed unanimously on high-end hiking shoes for footwear
  • A large minority preferred camo fatigues
  • Top Headgear: Tie between helmet and safety goggles, and trapper hat with fur earflaps
  • Top Personal Item: Photo of a loved one

If anyone can make camo fatigues work with high-end hiking shoes, it’s Campaigners. They seem far more concerned with what works than what’s proper. They like to argue group decisions as well, but I’ve learned a neat trick: I get the Protagonists on my side and then ask them to convince the Campaigners.

Many of them like those trapper hats, and though I personally think it looks a bit funny when they have the earflaps down, it’s not my place to question their fashion sense. Most of the time, Campaigners are the life of the party. They’re high energy, but it’s good energy.

They make funny jokes around the campfire, happily lead patrols, and tend to jump right into combat whenever they’re needed. And when it comes to fighting zombies, they’re a powerhouse. They don’t take swords as seriously as the Architects, so if anything, they use them with even more abandon.

Campaigner item highlight: A high-end acoustic guitar. The music helps us all stay sane.

Logistician Notable Differences

  • Top Weapon: Shotgun
  • Top Clothing: Dark trench coat
  • Top Personal Item: Cozy hoodie or sweater

I asked one Logistician about their preference for a shotgun as their weapon, and they answered simply, “So I don’t miss.” These personalities seem straightforward on the surface. But just as they like to hide their shotguns under their trench coats, there’s much substance underneath their exterior.

I have to say they’ve been a huge help. They don’t seem to need to experiment much to come up with a good approach, and their pragmatism and reliability have helped keep important things on track. Some people think they’re a bit on the cool and detached side, but I just see them as honest.

And for what it’s worth, they seem to like cozy, fuzzy garments. Who said Thinking Introverts couldn’t be cuddly?

Logistician item highlight: A good knife. Probably the most sensible tool anyone could have. Very “Logistician.”

Defender Notable Differences

  • Top Weapon: Tie between bow and arrows and staff
  • Top Item: Medical kit
  • Top Shelter: Tie between military camo bivy bag and minimalist shelter with hiking poles
  • Agreed unanimously on high-end hiking shoes for footwear
  • Top Headgear: Tie between helmet and safety goggles, and trapper hat with fur earflaps
  • Top Personal Item: Tie between cozy hoodie or sweater and a photo of a loved one

These Defenders have made a big difference to the camp, with their medical kits and archery alike. They keep to themselves but are usually friendly with anyone who is nice to them.

They don’t seem to appreciate sharp humor, though, and get very irritated when Commanders tease them about their fancy, high-end hiking shoes. But they don’t respond in kind, always trying to make the best of things. At worst, they retreat into the privacy of their backpacking tents and bivy bags.

Maybe that’s why some of them like bows and arrows – they can fight from a distance. Personally, I think the ones who favor the staff as a weapon do so because of those terrible times when we have to fight other humans. They’d rather not shed blood when a simple thrashing can suffice, and I admire that.

Defender item highlight: A notebook and pencil. They like to leave coded messages for other survivors and have helped good people find their way to join us.

Executive Notable Differences

  • Top Weapon: Tie between shotgun and bow and arrows
  • Agreed unanimously on a medical kit as their item of choice
  • Top Shelter: Tie between dome tent and hammock
  • Top Headgear: Tie between helmet and safety goggles, and trapper hat with fur earflaps
  • Top Personal Item: Tie between a Polaroid camera and a photo of a loved one

Executives are an energetic source of support for the whole camp. They speak directly, keep a cool head, and are decisive. They might ruffle a few feathers with their occasional bossiness, but with so many confused, traumatized people around, a powerful manner can be valuable.

Whether it’s with a bow and arrows or a shotgun, their willfulness also comes in handy when the zombies attack. Firm and bold, Executives get right down to business, splattering zombie heads one minute – and the next, fixing someone’s wound with their medical kits.

And they like photos. I think it’s their way of keeping people close, even though they’re not the most openly warm personality type. But from what I can tell, they express their care through action, and that’s a big help to the whole camp.

Executive item highlight: A ring. When I asked about it, this Executive just said their partner gave it to them. I didn’t want to ask more

Consul Notable Differences

  • Top Footwear: Combat boots
  • Top Transport: RV
  • Top Headgear: Cowboy hat

Do I need to say how Consuls’ preference for RVs is awesome? Being able to kick back with a drink and watch a movie can feel like heaven amid these difficult, dangerous times. Who’d have thought that cold beer, cowboy hats, and an RV would become the height of civilization? (Not complaining, though a dry Riesling would be nice once in a while.)

And Consuls are all about organizing camp events, whether for recreation or for tackling the ever-present chores and labor. They bring the energy up and help keep people focused when a fence needs to be built or a defensive trench dug, and they’re just as willing to work as to plan.

For this personality type, combat boots make sense because they’re always on the march, in some sense. They aren’t as concerned with idealistic theories as they are with simply moving forward together.

Consul item highlight: Nothing. They agreed to donate everything to the group’s needs.

Virtuoso Notable Differences

  • Top Weapon: Samurai sword
  • Perfect 50/50 split between medical kit and water filter
  • A minority of about a third favored sheltering in random buildings containing zombies
  • Top Footwear: Combat boots
  • Agreed unanimously on cargo pants and a leather jacket for clothing
  • A minority of about a third favored a chunky knitted hat
  • Top Personal Item: Cozy hoodie or sweater

I’m not sure there’s a personality type that’s enjoying the zombie apocalypse more than Virtuosos. Most of them were already wearing cargo pants and sturdy jackets when the dead rose, and I’m pretty sure most of them already owned samurai swords. Whether it’s a wilderness survival situation or sheltering in buildings full of zombies, they seem cut out for this stuff.

But they have a softer side too, as evidenced by their occasional chunky knitted hat and cozy hoodie or sweater. They’re as adaptable as they are unmanageable. Seriously, I don’t even try to tell them what to do. I’m just happy that they like killing zombies.

And it’s funny: While a lot of them ride bikes, they are good at fixing trucks – or pretty much anything. They might be the least social type, but they’re also the most self-sufficient.

Virtuoso item highlight: Birth control. Enough said.

Adventurer Notable Differences

  • Top Weapon: Pistol
  • Top Transport: Lifted 4x4 pickup truck
  • Top Headgear: Tie between helmet and safety goggles, and long, greasy hair
  • Top Personal Item: Chessboard and pieces

I’ve noticed that while these Adventurers seem gentle, they’re also pretty game to try things. Like, they’re quiet, but not always timid. In fact, their curiosity can get them into odd situations. If I recall correctly, it was one of them who first sampled those wild mushrooms they found in the woods. That was an interesting night.

They certainly “forage” their own path. Whether it’s driving their big trucks or challenging others to a game of chess, you just can’t predict Adventurers. Some wear practical, secure helmets and safety goggles, while others just let their hair grow long and blow in the wind.

Maybe their preference for a pistol reflects this versatility  it’s not a challenging weapon to carry and lets them keep their freedom of movement.

Adventurer item highlight: One of them has a firearm silencer. It sure makes target practice a lot less disruptive for the camp.

Entrepreneur Notable Differences

  • Top Weapon: Tie between samurai sword and shotgun
  • Top Item: Tie between booze and chocolate, and a smartphone with solar charger
  • Agreed unanimously on high-end hiking shoes for footwear
  • Top Headgear: Tie between chunky knitted hat and long, greasy hair
  • Top Personal Item: Tie between hand-wind pocket watch and cozy hoodie or sweater

The Entrepreneurs have certainly beenentrepreneurial. They stockpile booze and chocolate and also trade glimpses of the saved content on their solar-charged smartphones with those who are craving a reminder of the old world. I see nothing wrong with a little commerce in the camp.

Besides, it’s not like those deals are being made over essentials. Entrepreneurs want to be well regarded and don’t hoard critical supplies, so who can blame them for keeping a few nice things? Like how they universally chose high-end hiking shoes. Was it for comfort or brand prestige? Maybe both.

What I can say is that their material practicality comes in handy when we need to fight. It’s hard to argue with a shotgun, especially when two zombies get close enough that an Entrepreneur can take out both with one shot.

Entrepreneur item highlight: Raided grocery store goods. Useful things, and they share what they bring back, so that’s nice.

Entertainer Notable Differences

  • Top Shelter: Tie between military camo bivy bag and sheltering in random buildings containing zombies
  • Top Transport: Tie between mountain bike with cargo rack and RV
  • Top Headgear: Tie between cowboy hat and trapper hat with fur earflaps
  • Agreed unanimously on a photo of a loved one as a personal item

More than most personality types, Entertainers bring a kind of energy into the group that keeps things fresh. What I think makes them special is that they’re not uptight – they’ll gladly do almost anything that sounds fun and don’t hesitate to include anyone else.

But their idea of fun can seem a little risky. Not only do they think nothing of spending the night in random buildings that still have zombies in them, but they also sometimes do downhill mountain biking just for fun. I admire their free-spiritedness at a time when many are hopeless.

In fact, I’ve done what I can to support their fun, hoping it might draw others away from this dark time, if only for a while. One memorable example was the “Great RV Grill-Out,” as the Entertainers called it. They parked four RVs bumper-to-bumper to create a protected square courtyard, then fired up the barbecue and the music.

The noise drew zombies around us, but we just kept partying – and ended the night by using the Debaters’ machine gun to waste them all. Good times.

Entertainer item highlight: A metal baseball bat. I asked, “Oh, are you into baseball?” But the Entertainer just shook their head slowly, a little smile spreading across their face


We hope you’ve had a few chuckles as you’ve read through this article. The 16 personality types have certainly shown us some interesting variations from each other, especially when mixed with our facetious interpretations. (Many thanks to all who participated in our members’ poll!)

But the question remains: In each category of gear, which option is best? Who’s right? We’re sure you’ll let us know in the comments below. Or maybe that anonymous, Riesling-craving camp leader has it right:

As the days go by and I try to keep this group together, I can’t help but think how fortunate it is that we’re not all the same. Every time we seem to face an insurmountable challenge, someone comes up with a unique approach or idea. Every time I see someone struggling with something they’re personally not good at, someone else lends their particular strength.

It could be archers shooting from a distance to save a swordsperson surrounded by one too many zombies. Or sword-wielders wading in to rescue an archer who’s run out of arrows. A truck to crush a barrier or a bicycle to stealthily recon a key location. A cell phone recording to remind us of a past time or a cuddly garment to help us feel better about the here and now.

I’m not sure our choices are right or wrong by some universal standard – but rather, maybe they’re simply as individual as we are. As the leader, I am thankful for the differences everyone brings to the camp. We need the strength of our shared individuality.

Further Reading

A Halloween Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

No One Knows the Pumpkin King

Invasion of the People People: An Introvert’s Halloween Horror – Stories from the Real World

NERIS Type Explorer® L2 Test

“Issues and Challenges” Survey

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