Editor’s Note: This article was generously contributed by Clarence Mason and in it he compares and contrasts two different survival bunker designs. Each have their advantages, but if you are considering building your own survival retreat option in the future, it makes sense to consider what is the best bunker design before you get too far down the planning road.
Laura B. "You have no privacy on the internet, and probably never have."You got that almost rite, all except the word "probably." You have never had any privacy on the internet, and very little anywhere in this country for a lot longer than the internet has been around. Your credit cards track you and your perches. Your drivers license tracks you. Your phone, both cell and home, tracks you. Everything you buy, car, home, property, even the groceries you buy are tracked. Every bill you pay tracks you. The only way to not be tracked is to not have a birth certificate, a social security card, a credit/debit card, never own anything taxable and never pay for anything with anything but gold, silver, or barter. Even the government currency called the dollar has a # on it so it can be tracked. All the things I've listed were put in place for 1 reason, and that is to track. Privacy hasn't been a part of American life for over 100 yrs.
I originally had the same idea until I did some research on Google. I found that overseas containers are NOT suitable for underground placement. Besides the metal being prone to rust over time, the units are built for strength in the corners to support lifting. The sides have very little strength to withstand inward pressure created by backfilling. Depending on size, location and delivery, the containers will cost $2000 and up. I bought 17.5 cu yards of redimix, fiber reinforced concrete for $2100. Just a thought.
I see myself as a modern man (born in 1980) and novice prepper, but dammed if I know anyone who hasn’t got a manual can opener, also storing soda bottles of water behind baseboards in kitchen units is also fairly common amongst people i know. If you have meat in large cuts and steaks in a freezer even once they defrost they keep a lot longer if preserved by smoking or drying, even ground meats can be made into patties and smoked to last longer, vegetables and fruits stored in a freezer can also have their useful lives extended by preserving as pickles and jam’s.
If you've been looking for a book on being prepared this one can't be beat. It's a short read so you don't need to have tons of time to try to understand it but it has all the checklists and informative detail that will take you days to hunt down elsewhere. It has checklists for each area of preparedness, lists of things to acquire and the best way to go about doing all of it--all broken down into manageable chunks. This book is thorough, organized, and detailed without being long! I love it! If you follow the steps in the book you will be prepared for just about anything!!!
Ed, I was thinking about the box culverts as I reasd the article. As a Civil Engineer, I have used them in numerous applications as a cost effetive alternative to poured in place concrete. I would expect a bunker design would be an easy adaptation of the typical box culvert instalation. The ends can be precast solid or with openings for addition of steel or aluminum doors. Openings can also be cast in the sides or tops for hatch or vent installation with some size limitations. 12′ x 12′ x 4′ running length is as big as you can truck… Read more »
Both the air rifle and crossbow are on my wish list as I have qualms about having a firearm although I recognize they are useful. My personal weapons consist of a large machete, surival knifes, a SPAX axe, hatchet, several fighting knives, and a slingshot for now. Yes, I know I might need a rifle, shotgun, and pistol. I’m ex miItitary, and have used all three. I’m just hesitant for safety and personal reasons.
We tried the $85 Instant Loaded Potato & Cheesy Broccoli Soup from Simpli Prepare because soup might be an easy way to supplement the main survival meals. Packaged the same way as the shakes, with shaker bottle and algae oil, and with the same directions. Vendor confirmed this is meant to be a “just add water” product, not a simmer and serve hot sort of thing, and suggests using hot water from the tap if possible.

19. Coconut Oil – What substitutes for cooking oil, butter, & health salve? Coconut oil! Most cooking oils will go rancid in a very short time. However, extra virgin coconut oil can last 2-4 years if stored properly. It has many uses including cooking, dry skin, energy boost, reduces inflammation, and even heals diaper rash, but my favorite is to use it for popping popcorn. Gives it a nice buttery flavor.
If you managed to get lard and salt, you need to get some cornmeal as well because it is better to keep on hand than flour. Corneal requires fewer ingredients to make bread, and it has a longer shelf life. A few 5lb bags of cornmeal should last until the emergency situation ends. You can make a skillet cake using just lard, salt, and cornmeal and I had the pleasure of eating such food on various occasions during my camping trips.
Peanut oil AND peanuts go rancid fairly quickly. I found out the hard way one year trying to store it in bulk. I had to throw all I stored (in white buckets with oxygen absorbers) out. The only way I found it keeps is if I buy peanut butter in jars – and then the shelf life is still limited. Even among freeze dried companies they recommend using up the PB powder within five years while everything else is rated at 20. If you want an oil with a proven shelf life get either coconut oil or olive oil. All the rest will go bad and ultimately make you sick.

When it burns, EPS produces heavy, acrid and toxic smoke. This obviously presents another serious problem when you are in a confined space, from which there is no escape. Even a small event in which this material merely smoldered with no open flame can/would have dire consequences for the occupants. Exposure to the heavy smoke generated, even if only for a few minutes, has been shown to be lethal.
One thing younger preppers may want to consider too is babies. Assuming prescription birth control will not be available, it will be important to have other methods on hand to ensure that you can prevent pregnancy (if you want to). Additionally, some people may want to network with local midwives and doulas (or even become one yourself!). This is an invaluable skill to have in an emergency SHTF scenario. Every family is different, but as a currently pregnant woman, it’s something that I’m thinking about right now. 🙂
HBCD has been classified as a category 2 for reproductive toxicity.[6] Since August 2010 Hexabromocyclododecanes are included in the EPA‘s List of Chemicals of Concern.[7] On May 2013 the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) decided to include HBCD in the Convention’s Annex A for elimination, with specific exemptions for expanded and extruded polystyrene in buildings needed to give countries time to phase-in safer substitutes. HBCD is listed for elimination, but with a specific exemption for expanded polystyrene (EPS) and extruded polystyrene (XPS) in buildings.
Like I said, way up there on my #goals wishlist. Seriously need to make sure if I get this, it goes into a forever home, as it’d be a complete waste to get it or something like it before, but boy is a wood burning stove like this an amazing thing to have. I don’t even cook, but I do eat, and have always found food is tastier when you cook it the “old fashioned way.” Yum.
It was a bit paralyzing, knowing I couldn’t do much in this situation to keep my kids safe. I’m grateful it was a false alarm.At home we have supplies and plenty of food, but here on vacation, not so much. We did just go to the grocery store last night, so we have several days worth of food, but only an electric stove to cook with if we couldn’t go outside. Otherwise, no preps here, and very little with us.”
More than 800 bunkers were used to store weapons and ammunition for the military, and in the 1950’s it was listed as one of the largest cities in the state. Fort Igloo was closed during the summer of 1967 when the government shut it down. It has been over 50 years and the ghost town of Fort Igloo will now be transformed by Vivos and its founder Robert Vicino into the xPoint Survival Community.
Hi Lisa, there’s lots of debate about this and the honest answer is – nobody knows for sure. It depends on the type of EMP, the frequency, how far away from the initial blast you are etc etc. We have an extremely in-depth post which goes into all of this if you want to dig deep on this subject – https://www.primalsurvivor.net/emp-protection-preparation/
He continues, "My entire world, from the surrounding arid hills to the uniforms and vehicles, was khaki brown or olive green - except for some strangers confined to a stockade on the edge of Igloo, who wore bright orange uniforms and spoke a strange language in rapid-fire fashion. They were Italian prisoners who had been shipped a long way from the front lines of southern Europe to sit out the war in South Dakota.”
I would contend that most (if not all) “long shelf life” dehydrated/freeze dried food products fail to deliver the calorie and protein count that is required to survive. It is far more likely that you would have to double the quantity and cost to actually achieve any specified duration. If you don’t believe me, just examine the details in their advertising.
I think the FaceBook comment, “the electric company knew days in advance the ice was coming and THEY did not prepare.” perfectly demonstrates Mr. Martenson’s approach…..”the ‘Crash Course’ was the problem definition….but, “the book, Prosper, is the solution space.” Some saw the ice storm coming, but seemingly did not prepare (mentally, physically or spiritually); expecting the electric company to make it somehow disappear…..(normalcy bias?)
Some products are no different than a normal box of mac and cheese: you boil water in a pot, mix the packaged product into the pot, turn the heat to a simmer, cook, and serve. Others are as simple as pouring boiling water in the pouch and waiting a few minutes. In some cases, the water doesn’t even need to be hot (although flavor and texture is better if it is).
The next things to add are powdered milk, rolled oats and cooking oil. Add some bulk herbs and spices – in an emergency you can use what’s already in the kitchen, but it’s good to have a proper reserve too. Don’t forget the most important seasoning – salt. Get at least five pounds of that. As you move forward you can add pasta, dried vegetables (this is a great excuse to get a dehydrator and vacuum sealer) and of course more rice and beans.
Lastly, this list is primarily for Sheltering in Place and the requirements/resources the average person would be able to lay their hands on. This doesn’t take more extreme climates into consideration but should still provide a base regardless of where you live. For other lists you can check out our Resources page. For something more specific to the Bug Out Bag checklist, click here. Also this list is going to be missing the specifics of the amounts because each family or individual is different. So without further ado, here we go.
First up? No matter the emergency, be ready with a disaster supplies kit like that detailed on ready.gov, Martin says. That should include water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days — and don't forget about your pets), at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food, and things like manual can openers, flashlights and extra batteries (including for your cell phone).

At the bottom level, you can access the deep silo measuring 185 feet where the Atlas F missile used to stay during the cold war. Although the living areas look normal, its window views are just a mimic of outdoor lighting. The Silo Home also provides luxurious amenities such as an enormous master suite, a marble-tiled jacuzzi, and a gourmet kitchen.
Google has always been a reliable source for information. With Google Public Alerts, not only do you have access to weather warnings but also current events going on around the world. The program is still growing and perfecting but it’s an awesome addition to preppers repertoire. The system also provides information on where emergency responders should go.
But this is a situation where we can achieve a lot through a simple ranking system. If we prepare for the far most likely disaster to strike us (for me it’s a tornado or extended power outage during winter time since I live in Alabama in the infamous “Dixie Alley”), we will find a pleasing truth…we will generally be prepared for many of the other types of disasters on our list by default, already.

I’ve written in a previous article about beans as survival food. No matter how you look at it, the bottom line is that beans are a superfood. They are high in protein and fiber and other nutrients that can help keep you healthy during an extended crisis. They are excellent foods to feed more than one person since one cup of dry beans makes 2-3 cups of cooked beans (depending on the variety). Once you get to the store, make sure you pick three large bags of beans. To diversify your meals feel free to choose your favorite. One thing to mention is that beans are also proper survival seeds. In case you need to start a garden, you already have some of the seeds waiting for you.

There’s going to be a fire risk in your bunker, and it could even be in the walls. Many professional companies use Expanded Polystyrme (EPS) foam blocks which, according to Clarence Mason of Tempest Building Systems, are highly flammable and full of toxic chemicals in an attempt to make it less flammable. They should, ideally, be encased with something that is not flammable, but because they’re used in part to reduce costs, you might be tempted not to.


Each of us has personal fears. It might be poor health. It might be a precarious job situation. There are a great number of individual calamities that can befall us, however, the fact that you have just been fired from your job, while I am concerned as I would be for anybody who has lost employment through no fault of his own, it doesn’t affect me. It doesn’t affect my neighborhood. It doesn’t affect the distribution of food and utilities.

My two cents worth here. Go with 5 gallon buckets. Many purchased from the local donut shop at $1.25. My variation on Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers — a chunk of dry ice, about 3×4 inches. With this on the bottom of the bucket and little piece of paper towel over it, pour in rice or beans or wheat or corn or a mixture of things. Put the lid on, but do not snap it tight. Wait a few minutes until the bottom of the bucket is not real cold and snap the lid on. Dry ice, which is CO2, forces out the air in the bucket. I recently opened rice and a mixed container which had been sealed five years ago. Everything was fine. Obviously we did eight or 10 of these buckets at once. Got dry ice from the local grocery store. Be sure to wear gloves when handling it.
Buckets are great, but rats can chew through them. Store them where you think you can protect them from rodents. Also, plastic is somewhat air permeable, so mylar bag inserts are a really good idea. For basics, the LDS site is the best. You can get flour, wheat, beans, rice, sugar and some pasta already processed in #10 cans and boxed by the 6 can case. All my beds are on these case lot boxes so they take up zero extra room in my house. The prices are extremely reasonable since the church only covers its cost. I wouldn’t store anything in garbage cans just because the sheer weight of the thing will be prohibitive…unless you have a forklift lying around!
I love my bread machine and hope to use it as well although I do know how to bake traditional bread too. I just baked my first loaf of bread using home-milled flour. I made a 100% whole wheat bread and used a powdered egg plus some vital gluten. It was a bit more dense than normal – I should have added more water to account for the extra gluten (4 TBL). Still, it was quite delicious 🙂
Freeze dried food is the other specialty food option when it comes to prepping for survival. These are regular foods that are placed in a special unit in which the moisture is literally frozen out of the food, then it is heated slightly so that the water becomes a gas and can be removed from the food. The food is then vacuum sealed in a moisture- and oxygen-proof bag. These foods are easy to rehydrate, simply by adding water, and they can generally be eaten right out of the bag. There are many different brands of freeze dried foods available, such as:
Regarding the general category of water purification, you have essentially combined reverse osmosis with UV disinfection PLUS the necessity for solar and/or gas generated power. Take away the essential electrical power and you still have to boil your water. If you do the math, you could invest up to $2500 for your version of water purification. That’s a “big ticket” indeed. Once again, there are abundant information sources that provide instruction for long term water purification that cost far less.
I just read your article, its great your helping folks out like this sharing your knowledge and experience. Ive been prepping now for about 5 years slowly growing our preps for our family but I noticed a couple of items I really think you should add to your list if you dont mind my suggestions. Not that I know anything you dont but if we all share ideas we can help each other. which is my first point. If you have a couple of friends you can trust, work with them and each work on specific lists to grow your… Read more »

Gale, you’re right about the bug eggs. I know it’s a little skeevy to think about but *nearly all* grain products (whole wheat berries, biscuit mix, pasta, cornmeal, anything) already have bug eggs in them. That’s what the dry ice is for; it helps stave off rancidity and it also prevents (ew) hatching! Or you can freeze the items for a week and then store long-term, but that’s a lot more trouble than it sounds like and doesn’t help prolong shelf life.


In a Saturday, May 13, 2017 photo, Kenneth Young, left, and Mark Bowman walk into on the bunkers Vivos is trying to lease in Igloo, S.D. at xFest, a three-day gathering for people who want to convert the site's bunkers, which formerly housed bombs, into shelters for protection against tyranny, anarchy, nuclear war, the end times or any other calamity that might befall civilization. The project is the brainchild of Robert Vicino, a California entrepreneur who has an agreement with a local ranching company to offer 575 of the site's estimated 830 bunkers for lease. (Chris Huber/Rapid City Journal via AP) Chris Huber / Rapid City Journal
“If you’re using it for emergency survival, the fact is you’re going to buy it once, and hopefully you’re not going to use it,” Shields said. “But it’s there as a safety net for you and your family.” That’s what intrigued me about freeze-dried food: You can wait up to a quarter-century to use it, but in an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to eat it at all.
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