What’s the Right Survival Shelter?

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When thinking about your emergency plans and survival kits you’ll want to attempt to consider most everything when thinking ahead. There’s more to survival than storing water and food. You should also consider what it might take to survive ‘outside’ for any length of time.

Shelters can be as different as the people that build them. Some shelters can be so very simple that you could carry everything you need to build one in one bag. Other’s might be more complicated, or even huge underground homes. Whatever type of shelter your considering you might want to think about these things.

How Many of You are There?

Creating/planning a survival shelter for a small family of three is a lot less complicated than creating one for a big or extended family. How many people do you plan to shelter with?

tent woods
tent woods

What’s Your Time Frame?

How long are you planning on staying outdoors? Most preparedness experts will tell you to plan for a minimum of 72 hours to two weeks after a disaster. You may desire to build something a little more permanent, something you can stay in for an extended period of time. Simple tarps and tents may not hold up to extended weather.

tent covered
tent covered

Portable or Built In

More temperate climates might even consider a yurt style, or geodesic dome structure. Choice really just boils down to whether you’re looking for something stationary, long-term or something you can move around with.

geodesic dome
geodesic dome


Whether you’re considering building a stationary shelter or launching a tent you may be able to build it right on your own property. Do you have a secluded, out of sight location? You’ll obviously prefer to be away from a potential danger or people wandering up.


What can you and your family do without? Would you family be ok with just basic necessities? Will a one-room shelter work for you? Some folks may want to go all out with individual rooms as well as storage space for food, etc.

Types of Survival Shelters

Real basic would be a tarp. You can build a very simple cover with just a tarp and some rope. Easy to disassemble and move. A tent would be the next step up. They too can be disassembled and moved rather quickly as well as being realatively easy to carry. (Tents have come a long way since my Scouts days. They’re much more lightweight.)

Intermediate options might include a storm shelter. Lots of folks, particularly here in the south have ‘mostly’ in-ground storm shelters. They aren’t very big usually and can be installed just about anywhere on your property. They could work as a base or for storage. Another option would be a small bunker. Folks sometimes build these into the side of a hill and sometimes use old railcars for this. They can be fancied up too.

Vacation Home

Some folks consider their vacation home, or lake lot, to be their home away from home. There’s something to be said about a spot on a lake, even if it’s an old trailer. You’ll have access to water and fishing. Or you can build your own ‘cabin in the woods’, rammed earth or Earthship type home, or an ‘Earth-shelter’

EarthShelter House Spring
EarthShelter House Spring

Whatever you choose, no matter the budget, a tarp and a rope is better than nothing. Being prepared doesn’t necessarily mean going all out and buying a floor in a missile silo, it could be having a tent in the trunk, a tarp and rope in the garage, a small trailer at the lake or even a cabin in the woods. Even if your choices are made because of time or budget know that making a choice is still a choice. Cover as many bases as you can with what time and budget you have available.
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