5
$\begingroup$

In my world the „apocalypse“ dates back several decades and most people have settled down, the scavenging is left to professional adventurers who roam the less accessible and more dangerous ruins of a destroyed metropolis.

I want to equip those adventurers with useful tools for scavenging while limiting the the equipment to the most important things to keep it as lightweight as possible and enable a character to work with the things he can actually carry on his body (walking back to one's vehicle several times just to produce everything he needs doesn't work for a film or game).

(Some of) the tools should enable the user to defend themselves without carrying additional weapons against attacks from wild animals or primitive tribes (in fact many weapons originated from tools).

Advantage:
Compared to present-day burglars the scavengers don't have to be as careful - instead of carrying tools for lock picking one could simply knock down the front door.

Consider:
Fuel, gas (actual gas) and electricity are quite rare although who could rather come into possession of fuel and gas than the very people who scavenge the old world's remains...


The very question is:

What are indispensable tools for professional scavenging?

(Such as climbing walls, roping, prying doors or safes or walls and making ones way throught the debris.)

Please additionally state, which other tools your suggestion would render redundand
(e. g. carrying a crowbar there is no need for an additional welding torch or sledgehammer)
and if it could be used (or modified) as a weapon.



My ideas so far:

  • My main scavenger character carries a decorated crowbar, upside down, like a gentleman's cane. He is obsessed with ancient civilization he encounters on his raids every day. It can be used in battle like a crow's beak/warhammer, hooking hostile's legs to make them fall and as a pickaxe for climbing.
  • a small welding torch (that can be turned into a flamethrower by turning a switch to bypass the gas into an additional cartridge for inflammable liquids to spray those instead of burning the gas directly).
  • a grappling hook (for climbing/roping and swung as weapon to get a hold of enemies during battle)
$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Harvey's answer is similar to what mine would have been, but I would suggest a full size axe. That is easier to cut holes into buildings and better range for combat. Standard axe with a flat section behind the head which can be used like a hammer. Make the end of the handle into a crowbar-like end. Embed a file/rasp or saw into top of blade for cutting parts, & wrench-hole in side. That axe, with rope, heavy-duty tarp, and a fire-starter will go a very long way. If you want longer range combat, use a bow. Scaling walls would be safer using the rope and branches to make a crude ladder. $\endgroup$ – Loduwijk Sep 11 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Loduwijk One of my main protagonists uses the bow as weapon of choice (assasin) so, to distinguish them more from another, my main scavenger character is a lousy shooter, relying on close combat (and maybe a flame thrower or sawed shotgun, things that don't require precise aiming and distract and scare more than actually kill). I didn't put this explicitly in my question because I got to equip more than that one scavenger so that works well for other characters $\endgroup$ – Cee Mon Sep 11 at 22:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Fuel, gas (actual gas) and electricity are quite rare although who could rather come into possession of fuel and gas than the very people who scavenge the old world's remains..." I generally disagree, although it depends on your exact setting. One can get those things easily. This video explains the issues a classical post-apocolyptic setting has quite well. $\endgroup$ – TheDyingOfLight Sep 12 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ @TheDyingOfLight Thumbs up for the "there was an apocalypse so we have to put spikes on our vehicles, wear SM clothes and succumb to cannibalism", I totally agree with it and think that especially Mad Max and Waterworld etc. are to eager to have a possibility to include punky, barbaric and gritty ideas (although many who watch those movies or are cosplayers in that scene love just that way of escapism from our civilized world that is managed by Amazon Echo and Google). $\endgroup$ – Cee Mon Sep 12 at 14:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You may want to look up a device called a halligan tool it was created by firefighter and police so they could carry one tool to get in nearly anywhere. it is even designed to fit tightly around an ax for ease of carry. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halligan_bar $\endgroup$ – John Sep 13 at 3:44
5
$\begingroup$

Clockwork hacksaw.

From a postapocalyptic character I dreamed up for this question, who sabotages a helicopter.

Primitive tribe fighting back against advanced military force?

I was thinking about Hack's homemade hacksaw. It has a clockspring at the base she can wind up. On triggering it moves the blade back and forth a couple of mm, very fast.

Her hacksaw converges on a bone saw. A good metal scavenging tool which is why she carries it. Vibration amplitude can be adjusted depending on what she is cutting. For metal or bone minimal amplitude and maximum vibrations. For flesh, the opposite.


Bow.

Not too creative, but lightweight and versatile. You can shoot a light line and use it to pull up a heavy line that you can climb. You can launch flame arrows into dark spaces to light them up without going in and getting bitten. You can hunt. You can fight. You can make your own ammo. You can retrieve and reuse your ammo.


Lobos.

This is from World War Z - Lobo is short for "lobotomizer" and was a tool/weapon made (actually mass produced - 23 million of them) from the frames of cars. For a postapocalyptic fiction I like a thing that shows its provenance. I picture the lobos as being recognizably pieces of car frame, modified in a standard way. For your characters I imagine them as hybrid quarterstaff / crowbars. And they can be thrown like a javelin.


Blast bottles.

These are plastic bottles full of homemade gunpowder. Gunpowder can be made with primitive tech and plastic bottles would be great for keeping it dry and contained. Your demolitions character only uses Mountain Dew bottles, for her own reasons. Blast bottles can be used to open doors and dislodge things. Or you can wrap one with a chain, light it and throw it as a grenade.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I really like how you think (the details e.g. the Mountain Dew thing) and your writing style in the linked scene $\endgroup$ – Cee Mon Sep 2 at 18:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The clockwork saw sounds quite practical for postapocalyptic times although I am not sure if I haven't still too much old energy sources left in my world: We are using fossil energy gasoline (in our present-day world) until it either threatens to run short or pollutes our environment up to a critical state - because it's more obvious to use the old, more effective, non-renewable energy as long as it's at hand. As those scavengers are the very people to track old technology and precious resources down why not make use of them themselves. On the other hand this guy has some serious mechanical $\endgroup$ – Cee Mon Sep 2 at 18:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Cee Mon - thanks! I appreciate the change to show off Hack. Re your guy - have the saw be his passion. It breaks all the time and he is always fiddling with it, fixing, improving. The other characters tease him. But when it really works, they shut their mouths. $\endgroup$ – Willk Sep 2 at 19:02
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ In dependence of Wild Bill Hickock, who was both an adventurer and a dandy, and because those scavengers get in touch with the old, more civilized times more than the average postie peasant, I also thought about him having an elaborately ornate, engraved and brass covered crowbar which he holds with the short, folded part upward as his cane, a real post apocalyptic gent. This would enable the spear aspect, except for the throwing part. $\endgroup$ – Cee Mon Sep 2 at 19:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Nice! Someone else could throw it as a spear; effective, but Bill takes umbrage and carefully retrieves and cleans it off, talking to it reassuringly. Your demolitions lady murmurs something about "phallic symbol..." $\endgroup$ – Willk Sep 2 at 19:11
2
$\begingroup$

Tomahawks

A proper tomahawk has a hatchet blade counter-balanced by a small hammer surface on the back of the head. A steel tomahawk whose axe blade has a pointed beard (the part sticking down from the main axe blade) can also be used for prying.

In one tool, you have a weapon, a hammer, an axe, a prybar, a skinning blade (hold the hawk by the hammer surface to scrape skin from a kill and then to scrape clinging meat from the hide), and a climbing aid (can dig the axe into wood to make the handle a hand-hold or use the beard to hook a ledge too high for you to reach.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I have one of those, it's fantastic. $\endgroup$ – Morris The Cat Sep 12 at 13:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ downside the short size means you don't have enough leverage to get much use out of these features, not for the relevant entry stuff. $\endgroup$ – John Sep 13 at 4:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @John not for prying open reinforced steel doors, or well-built safes, but a typical house door can have the hinges or locks pried/hacked away in relatively short amounts of time. Similarly, one can pry their way into a lockbox like the utility box on a truck, and the hammer can make short work of most padlocks. For a general survival/scavenging equipment, a knife and a tomahawk are indispensable. $\endgroup$ – HA Harvey Sep 13 at 8:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Or well build door, such as those on the typical business. compare the effectiveness to a halligan tool, a tool designed ot break locks and doors. $\endgroup$ – John Sep 13 at 12:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Even a well-built wooden door like some businesses and high-end homes would not hold up long if you knew what you were doing. Now, a halligan bar would also make a great scavenging tool. However, few buildings (home or business) are built to be fortresses. Tomahawk or halligan bar, a window is always a quicker and easier option for entry than a locked door. $\endgroup$ – HA Harvey Sep 13 at 21:34
1
$\begingroup$

Crowbar and Axe

are the best frends of any scavenger. You can wear them both and they both are not bad weapons and have a lot of different usages. + knife - you shuold always have a knife of some sort with you in any kind of hiking even now.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ look up a halligan bar, designed to be carried with an axe and better than any crowbar. $\endgroup$ – John Sep 13 at 3:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Actually any metal bar about 1 meter lenght would go. And we are in postapocalipsis - we take what we got. We are not in the position to choose carerfully. $\endgroup$ – ksbes Sep 13 at 6:48
  • $\begingroup$ Especially as a combination - the crowbar or halligan bar is not that effective without any hammer or axe to hammer it into the gap $\endgroup$ – Cee Mon Sep 14 at 13:47
1
$\begingroup$

A War Pick and Rope

A War pick is essentially 1 side of a Pickaxe and 1 side of a hammer/axe.

The pick side combines the advantages of a standard pick and crow bar. You can use it to help climb buildings, by stabbing the pick side into the wall. You can use it to destroy stones, rocks or metal contractions in your way. The metal pick will provide much greater penetration that a crow bar or axe and doubles up as an excellent weapon. You can also jam it into all sorts of cracks and use the war pick to leverage something out just as you would with a crow bar.

The other side can basically be a hammer or axe, depending on your needs. An axe would be good for cutting things, a hammer would be good for building things. Either way, I would say this part is more of a style/situation choice for you to make.

The next part is the rope. Rope is pretty damn important when spelunking or scavenging. Due to the war picks shape, you can use it as a grappling hook, by tying the rope to it,swinging it then throwing it. You would also use your pick as a ranged weapon, swinging and throwing it at opponents then pulling it back. Finally, you could use the rope to allow multiple people to apply force to the pick, so if you have a particularly stuck door, jam the pick in there, tie the rope to the pick and have your friends help you pull away.

Bonus features

  • The head of the War pick could be detachable like some styles of hammers or axes. This means you can change the shaft length to make it easier to apply more force or use as a grappling hook.

  • It can double up as a cane if the shaft is long enough

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Forget the crowbar, get a halligan bar.

Scavengers are less like burglars and more like firefighters they just want entry as easily as possible, so look at what fire fighters and other rescue units use.

enter image description here

halligan bars are far more versatile than a crowbar and way better for getting through doors and walls. They were designed by firefighters to get into buildings fast without carrying a lot of gear. the metal cutting claw variety (see below) will break padlocks and tear open steel doors. So for entry with the minimum of additional tools it is perfect. It is the standard tool for forced entry, even the military often uses them. It does everything a crowbar does and a lot more. There is nearly nothing it can't be used to enter, especially if you have time. Since a wide variety of them exist, there is even believable a real ornate one actually exists your character could have found, firefighters sometimes give ornate axes as awards/memorabilia after all.

enter image description here

The other thing you need is a good backpack, you have to carry whatever you find afterall.

A light source because abandoned places are dark, especially the areas in which anything is likely to still be valuable, head mounted for preference.

but the best thing they could have is a partner, anyone who does demolition, fire, or rescue can tell you a compromised building is very dangerous. spend too much time in them by yourself and your luck will run out. Without aid you are just another corpse in the rubble.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ With just a crowbar they are going to need a back pack full of other tools to get in most buildings, if anything a halligan tool looks more like a cane than a crow bar does. just use the spike as a handle. Also character interpretation is not a given if anything killing someone up close is more cold blooded, you are going to watch the persons face as they die. who do you think of when you think of a bow and arrow robin hood, a heroic character. $\endgroup$ – John Sep 14 at 14:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm kinda curious what you mean by upside down, crowbars don't have a top or bottom? if anything a halligan tool looks more like a cane than a crowbar does, works better as one too. just use the spike as a handle, the fork is actually in line with the shaft so you don't have to cock it at an angle to actually use it as a cane. you can make in ornate, an ornate halligan tool makes no less sense than an ornate crowbar. in fact since halligan tools are sometimes used as awards for firefighter he might actually be able to find an ornate halligan tool. $\endgroup$ – John Sep 14 at 14:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @CeeMon crowbar is the right term, straitening the solid end is a good idea. but the forked nail puller end is not going to do you much good. the curve is too strong for much use beyond pulling nails. they do make halligans with narrowers forks, just look at hte one with the metal cutting claw above, it will open a metal door like a can opener wit that end. they do make halligans without the duckbill, they even make halligan tools with interchangeable heads, so you can switch out the "handle" end of your cane. $\endgroup$ – John Sep 14 at 14:33
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ the duckbill (solid blade) more than the fork, Just a hand held hammer is enough, in fact a rock hammer will work well and give you that archeologist feel although a small one handed sledge hammer would work better. The hammer would also be helpful for hammering pitons,you characteris going to do a lot of climbing. And I have found halligans with foldable duckbills (I wouldn't trust such a thing but the do make them) so it can fold out of the way in "cane mode" $\endgroup$ – John Sep 14 at 14:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The duckbill needs the hammer more than the fork, becasue the fork relies less on precisions you can swing the tool to give it force behind the fork, kinda like swinging a spade shovel to get it to go in the ground. a hammer also makes it easier to get into a metal door. youtube.com/watch?v=uOPw94LYsgM $\endgroup$ – John Sep 14 at 14:52
0
$\begingroup$

If you are going to scavenge, you don't know what you may find that is valuable. So you must be ready for a lot of different situations. You would probably need enough tools that carrying them in a backpack would not be viable.

I can think of:

Tool box

Men's toys

Because it would absolutely suck that you can't get to the treasure inside the vault for want of a 1/8" phillips screwdriver.

Swiss Army Knife

Swiss army knife

Opening and closing the toolbox all the time sucks. With this you can pick your teeth, cut a rope and open a can in a very practical way.

Survival Shotgun

Survival shotgun

This guy carries a mini-tent, food and water in the butt of his shotgun. He also carries condoms and a blanket there (seriously, go check).

Cart

They see me trolleying, they hating...

You will want to bring that bounty home, right? Also helps carrying tools.

Doggo

Pet doggo

A hunting companion that is also a friend and living alarm. Can also be trained to pull the cart and to find specific kinds of goods in the wastelands. Doubles as food when you run out of other edibles.

Teddy bear

TED

Isolation can drive you mad. It's always nice to have someone to talk to, and the bear is more articulate than the dog when you eat the right pills. Also you've probably already eaten the dog.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Love the idea with the teddy bear ❤ I played with the thought of my main scavenger character running into some feral mutated animal dam with her pups on the first raid the audience witnesses. She attacks him, defending her territory, and when he manages to escape one especially fierce pup has alredy sunk its teeth into his cloak and gets dragged with him... He could raise that. I was a little afraid having an animal companion could appear a bit "Barbie - The Movie" like... so thanks for encouraging me with that. $\endgroup$ – Cee Mon Sep 12 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ Some multitool sounds practical. $\endgroup$ – Cee Mon Sep 12 at 13:40
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ A full toolbox is extremely heavy - nobody is carrying that (along with everything else they need) while walking around the wasteland. An adjustable wrench, a small multitool, and a collapsible hacksaw would be good, but more than that isn't worth the weight. Improvise and use destructive disassembly when needed - you're not trying to do a pretty job so the homeowner is happy with the aesthetics when you are done. $\endgroup$ – pluckedkiwi Sep 12 at 13:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @CeeMon About "The question about a shotgun or a signal pistol is how easy is it to refill/reproduce amo (especially for the latter one) with primitive post apocalyptic needs?", please see Production of ammo in post-apocalypse - problems and solutions. $\endgroup$ – Renan Sep 12 at 13:56
  • $\begingroup$ The shotgun link is quite fruitful, especially his last point shouldn't be underestimated: Motivation. Being all alone out in the remains of a world that is lost to mankind... carrying some post cards or something that reminds you of your own goals... (but that is not only useful for scavengers but survival in general). $\endgroup$ – Cee Mon Sep 12 at 13:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.