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.
There wasn’t much weather tracking prior to the late 19th century. Certainly, some individuals kept track of the weather as best they could locally, but it wasn’t organized into a regional or national scale perhaps until the mid 20th century. I am reading about the great desolation of the 1930s in the Eastern Colorado, Western Kansas, Oklahoma panhandle, North Texas area and even in the 1930s weather tracking was at best primitive. Dust storms came as big a surprise to the weather bureaus of the region as it did to the farmer on the ground.

Then you would need water, food, composting toilet. There would likely be an EMP, so you’d need a radio protected in mylar bag, and that bag has to be protected from the blast. The radio may be a source of info about how your area was hit. The government would do a survey about the affected area. If you are on your own, you’d need a radiation detector and knowledge to do your own survey. You’d likely need to leave an area eventually, but EMP likely would’ve disabled your car.


as a contractor that provided service for another contractor that constructed in-ground pools the first thing I would do is drill some shallow wells in the area and see what your water level underground is. I ran into a few of these underground shelters built in the cold war period that were filled within a few feet of the top. a death trap for any child who finds its entrance. good clue if your home has a sump pump the water table may be high enough to think twice of the underground shelter.
30. Paper goods, plates, cups, utensils – In addition to the above, having a nice stock of paper plates, cups, and utensils will be extra convenient. Next time you see a super sale on these items at Costco’s or Sam’s try to shoot for a 1 month supply. These can always be used in a short-term crisis, as well as for the first month in a long term to eliminate washing while other critical things needs to be done.
Zombie apocalypse: Used by some preppers as a tongue-in-cheek metaphor[77] for any natural or man-made disaster[78] and "a clever way of drawing people’s attention to disaster preparedness".[77] The premise of the Zombie Squad is that "if you are prepared for a scenario where the walking corpses of your family and neighbors are trying to eat you alive, you will be prepared for almost anything."[79] Though "there are some... who are seriously preparing for a zombie attack".[80]

Just because we are all gonna die does not mean we need to eat junk …. ditch that high carb and super processed junk food. There are many choices of decent food out there … particularly the foods packed by Mormon canneries. Do a google search for where to find the best deals. Really, get rid of the raman noodles, progresso soups, spagetti-o and other junk … you’ll have enough problems living through SHTF without killing you gut microbio ….

Mountain House, Wise Food, My Patriot Supply, and Ready Store need to get better in this regard. In some cases, we had to call a company and dig deeper than reasonable in order to find out calorie content — or we had to look at individual nutritional labels to reverse engineer the math. In other cases they called something a “1-month bucket” but that was based on silly calorie numbers.


5.  20 cans of Meat.  Chicken, tuna, shrimp, salmon, Vienna sausages, beef stew and yes, even the ubiquitous Spam will satisfy this requirement.  Did you know that you can even purchase canned roast beef? Again, let your taste and budget guide you – there is lots to choose from. UPDATE: If you are looking for some long lasting but all natural, non-GMO canned meats, check out Wertz’s meats here. You can also read our recent hands-on review.

I found the buckets at Wal Mart on an end cap. They are near the hardware and paint sections. You may also check the online Wal Mart. I am not sure if they have them there, but I was told that they will order things and have it sent to the store for pick up. Worth checking out. I have been buying a couple of buckets every few weeks… and my store of buckets is increasing.
Edible landscaping provides another potentially important supplement to your storage foods. Instead of planting ornamental trees, plant fruit trees. Instead of ordinary shrubs, plant blueberry bushes. Fruiting vines, blackberries, and things of this nature are great to have around in the best of times, they can be life savers in the worst of times.
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.
Water is the source of life, and is an essential part of survival. In general, it is best to allot 1 gallon of water per person per day. This is including cooking, cleaning and drinking. Now, this is just an approximate amount since different locations and temperatures require different amounts of water. It would be a good idea to have enough water for each person in your family to last you at least 3 days. So, depending on your family size, it could be a lot. For a family of 4 people, it would be a minimum of 12 gallons of water for a 3-day supply.
Perhaps the most unusual thing about the female prepper lifestyle is that it suggests a counterintuitive movement through time: a return to a slower, more elemental way of life, one that eschews the conveniences of modern consumer society in favor of the empowerment that comes from doing things yourself. Some of the women I spoke to said being a prepper helped them carry on the same old-fashioned life skills — like gardening, canning, and smart budgeting — that helped their mothers and grandmothers during the Great Depression. Others harkened back to the homesteaders of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, whose pioneering settlement and cultivation of the Great Plains form the backbone of the American myth of self-reliance.

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.
I think there are stages to prepping. The first stage is awareness. Maybe you experience a major hurricane and have to drive around town freaking out because you don’t have enough bottled water. You think, “Never again.” So you purchase realistic items for your area. The second stage is when you come to realize how much stuff you will actually need and you go out and purchase those items. The third stage is when you realize that no matter how much stuff you have stocked up, it will eventually run out in a grid down situation. That leads to the fourth stage–skills. Do you know how to garden when your life and the lives of your family depend on it? Do you know how to trap and hunt? Can you tell the difference between edible plants and poisonous plants? Do you have a trade like carpentry, plumbing, engineering, canning, bushcraft, herbal medicine? The sixth and final stage (and I am just making this up off the top of my head) is when you realize that no matter how many skills you have, you can’t make it alone. You begin to look for a community.

The Emergency Essentials Premier bucket is the best short term emergency food product for most people. The $380 three-bucket option covers two people for 15-18 days at a very healthy 2,700-2,275 calories per day. One person can cover two weeks for only a single $130 bucket if you stretch the 27,330 total calories an extra day or two at 1,900 calories per day.


Resources abound.  With a modest amount of computer knowledge, you can Google around the internet to find all sorts of emergency food and food storage advice.  Be an informed consumer.  Learn about the foods that store well and also about pre-packaged meals that only require a bit of hot water to create a good-tasting and satisfying food experience.
Durable packaging: Can it hold up to abuse, floods from storms, etc. For example, the biggest danger during an earthquake is things falling. Since it’s easy to imagine storing supplies like this on the bottom shelf in a garage, consider how it would hold up to stuff falling on top of the container or flood water coming in. Or zombies… those sneaky zombies.
Other newsletters and books followed in the wake of Ruff's first publication. In 1975, Kurt Saxon began publishing a monthly tabloid-size newsletter called The Survivor, which combined Saxon's editorials with reprints of 19th century and early 20th century writings on various pioneer skills and old technologies. Kurt Saxon used the term survivalist to describe the movement, and he claims to have coined the term.[9]
I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with you there. NT Wright, one of today’s most respected theologians, wrote in his book Luke for Everyone, about the Last Supper and how frustrated Jesus was when he tried to explain about the things that we’re going to happen. The apostles, Knuckleheads that they were, we’re just not getting anything he was trying to convey. Just before the statement about the swords, Jesus had pointed out that he had sent them out without purse or bags or sandals and that they were not short of anything. And then he said that in the future anyone who has a purse should take it and the same with the bag. And anyone who doesn’t have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one. As NT Wright put it, when Jesus says “That’s enough!”, he isn’t suggesting that two swords would be sufficient for the job in hand. What could that possibly mean? What he is doing is wearily putting a stop to the entire conversation, in which at every point they seem determined to misunderstand him. This discussion can be on pages 264 through 267 of the aforementioned book. NT Wright is not known as a gun rights person but rather as a theologian of high rank.
If it’s at all below the level of the water table, it will flood, concrete, steel, or other materials be damned. Sure, there is some top-notch engineering you can do to keep the water out, but it’s expensive. One solution is to put the bunker at ground level and then pile dirt on top of it, but you need very large amount of dirt to protect it from impact.
One item you must have is jug or two of plain, unscented, regular bleach and an eye-dropper for precise measurement. Adding one part bleach to nine parts water makes a great disinfectant, but more importantly you can add 16 drops of bleach to a gallon of water to kill germs in an emergency. It has other obvious uses for hygiene, and is too cheap to not have handy for such an occasion. Just keep in mind that bleach has a short shelf life, not the first thing you’d want to stockpile. Get more than one water filter, such as the ones made by Sawyer or Berkey.

But there are more and more like-minded people out there in communities around the country: engineers, nurses, doctors, dentists, people with different skills and mindsets and ways of contributing. We’re harmonious. We offer each other support and keep ourselves to ourselves. We see prepping as a way to increase our chances of survival if something happens. And we’re all ready to get out of the way when it does.
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.”
The way I think of it is, it depends on the food. How long will it last once you open it? Will it last long enough once opened for your family to consume it before it goes bad. Also, only buy foods you know how to use and that you will actually like to eat. No point in buying wheat berries if you dont have the manual grinder to process it and if you don’t know how to cook with it. I have a family of 4 including 2 small children. If I store rice in a 5 gallon mylar, will we use it before it goes bad once it’s opened? Possibly not. So i put it in 1 lb mylar bags. We can pull out smaller amounts at a time.

Purchase some thermometers from local home repair stores like Lowe’s, Menard’s, Home Depot, etc. I use one outside to see the outside temperature year round, one in the garage just to see where we stand year round and one in my storage area in the lower level (basement)of the house. Check them on a regular basis. Last winter was so cold and hubby wanted the temperature raised a little more in the house (he is a little older than me and I am going thru the change)but I was worried my food supplies might get too warm or there would be too much up and down changes of temperature. So every day I would go to the lower level (basement), open the door to the storage area and see what the thermometer was reading, if it was too cold I would leave the doors opened a bit and close them back when my readings stayed consistent. There is no heat pumped into this area only what may drift in under the door from the outer area that is heated or air conditioned. I try to keep my food supplies stable around 58 to 62 degrees year round.So far this temperature range is working, the canned food is still maintaining flavor, color and passes the smell test. No signs of critters either. Next step will be to add gallon buckets of food items and I will take into consideration all that I have read from all of you on things that did not go according to plan. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Keep on prepping.
Shelter: You can make basic shelters with cordage and a tarp. Tarps are very useful in a range of situations. Try this Ozark Trail 8’x10’ camo and green tarp. We need to do more research before determining whether hammocks or tents are better for most people, so sign up for our email newsletter to stay updated if you’re interested in a more dedicated BOB shelter. In the meantime, we love these Kammock Roo hammocks that are about the size of a melon.

Further interest in the survivalist movement peaked in the early 1980s, with Howard Ruff's book How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years and the publication in 1980 of Life After Doomsday by Bruce D. Clayton. Clayton's book, coinciding with a renewed arms race between the United States and Soviet Union, marked a shift in emphasis in preparations made by survivalists away from economic collapse, famine, and energy shortages—which were concerns in the 1970s—to nuclear war. In the early 1980s, science fiction writer Jerry Pournelle was an editor and columnist for Survive, a survivalist magazine, and was influential in the survivalist movement.[17] Ragnar Benson's 1982 book Live Off The Land In The City And Country suggested rural survival retreats as both a preparedness measure and conscious lifestyle change.
Gerald Celente, founder of the Trends Research Institute, noted how many modern survivalists deviate from the classic archetype, terming this new style "neo-survivalism"; "you know, the caricature, the guy with the AK-47 heading to the hills with enough ammunition and pork and beans to ride out the storm. This [neo-survivalist] is a very different one from that".[27]
Interesting article but do not Prep because of fear. Prep because things happen and you need to protect yourself from disruption. For example, the food supply chain is getting tighter, there used to be 3 days worth of food in grocery stores but now major grocery chains like Whole Foods no longer have stock in the back of the store (inventory is delivered straight to the shelves). With less than one days worth of food in grocery stores, you must already have food storage or go hungry. So, be prepared instead of fearing disruption.
Anyway, another thought runnin’ round my brain as of late is a mistake Gaye’s friend did, “Yes, you can use oxygenators and all that stuff. I tried that and I ended up throwing out all the food. It was rancid. I processed $1,200.00 of food at a local church facility in Salt Lake City, Utah. I threw it out one year later. It was a volunteer church group that did not know how many oxygenators to put in each #10 can.” – //foodstoragemoms.com/2015/11/dehydrating-food-for-long-term/
I know that in my own case and also with the majority of the readers on Backdoor Survival, hunkering down and bugging in will always be preferred to taking off into the unknown with our stuff.  For many, the choice to bug in has to do with family, health concerns or financial considerations.  That, plus the availability of stored supplies makes bugging in – or staying at home – the choice when a disaster strikes.
The secrecy thing, a must. If you notice I haven’t said how many years of food we have stocked up, or how much ammo to defend it. The ammo is mute though. 1 against 1, great. 1 against 100, not so much. And there will still be laws. So perhaps if you are like us, when the dates get close to the end, donate it to people or churches in need. Perhaps the Daily Bread type thing feeding the homeless. That excess is a tool you have to use now for the future later. Just don’t drop it all off at the same spot or the same time. We don’t grow everything we need and have to buy food too.
Land Navigation and Escape Routes- Learn how to navigate and orient yourself using just a map and compass, either over road or raw land. GPS is a great tool, and should not be ignored, but you should not bet the farm on it. Before you do anything, though, you should take the time to establish at least two secondary shelters or fallback points (bug-out locations) and pre-drive or hike a few different approaches to them.

To start, I suggest purchasing a basic 3 month supply of your everyday foods! Then add a little each time you shop. I have a mix of freeze dried, dehydrated, LDS, Thrive Life, 5 gallon buckets with Gamma Seal lids. It really depends on the item. I actually eat what I store. Be realistic. I buy boxes of red beans and rice, Zatarians, use a freeze dried beans, It cooks super fast and is nutritious. Same with scalloped potatoes. These are easy to cook comfort meals that are good for emergencies. Add a can of Costco chicken and you have a great meal.

I can’t agree with your solution for water purification. If the argument is to “also” include scenarios where boiling isn’t practical, there are other options that fit the bill. For us, we’ve been using a Berkey filter system in our home instead of something that needs water pressure or power to serve in both bug out and Flint, MI like scenarios. We use it day to day today. Not cheap upfront but the cost per litre/gallon over time is a fraction of what you’ve proposed – with all due respect.


Not to mention the “year without a summer” that happened after the eruption of Mt. Tambora in the Dutch East Indies in 1815. The resulting ash and smoke plume blocked the sun enough to lower the average temperatures only by a few degrees. It was enough to trigger famines in North America and Europe for several years until temperatures gradually normalized. If the Yellowstone caldera erupts the smoke and ash would block the sun much as would a nuclear winter and would trigger even worse famines and suffering from people trying to cope with minimum if any infrastructure for heat, water, medical, etc. just for the simple reason that we’ve got way more people now and more of us live in urban areas.
Freeze-dried food is nothing new. As early as the 13th century, the ancient Quechua and Aymara people of Bolivia and Peru pioneered a form of the process by exposing potatoes to the freezing temperatures of the Andes overnight, then drying them in the sun. In 1937, Nestlé used industrial technology to create the world’s first freeze-dried coffee, and in the 60s and 70s, the US military shipped freeze-dried food rations to the troops in Vietnam.
×