17Oct

4 Tips for Using a Shipping Container as a Survival Shelter

Do shipping containers make good survival shelters?Are you planning on purchasing a shipping container to use as a survival shelter? Before you make any alterations or decide on a location for the shelter, there are a few things you need to know. Here are four tips for using a shipping container as a survival shelter.

1. Don’t bury it.

Many survivalists and preppers buy shipping containers with plans to use it as an underground shelter. It’s a bad idea. While a shipping container can be an affordable and practical above-ground bug-out shelter, it’s not made to be buried. Yes, the steel is strong, but the containers are made to be stacked. When shipping containers are buried, they are exposed to pressure not only on the tops and bottoms, but from soil pushing on the sides as well. The soil on top alone causes considerable pressure because one cubic yard of topsoil can weigh 2,000 pounds or more. Factor in time and exposure to the elements, and you’ll find that burying the container is a recipe for disaster.

2. Put it on a foundation.

Some of the same dangers that put your shipping container at risk underground can also affect it if it’s left on the surface—namely, contact with the soil and moisture. To prevent this contact, it’s essential that you create a foundation to rest the container on. The most affordable option is wood, but that will decay in time. If it’s in your budget and practical at your bug-out location, concrete footings or a concrete pad will offer the best protection against corrosion from the soil.

3. Add an extra door.

Most shipping containers have a  standard out-swinging two-door setup or roll up door on one end to bring cargo in and out. These doors should not be your only point of exit. If you are ever in a true survival scenario and fear that someone will attack or take your supplies, having only one point of exit makes it easier for the attackers. All they have to do is wait you out—and you do have to come out at some point. Not only will adding an extra door allow you to escape an attack, if needed, it’s also a practical means of escape in case of a fire or a blockage of your primary exit.

Here are some tips for adding a door without compromising security:

  • Use an industrial steel door. It’s more secure than a wooden door against force or impact.
  • Add extra support around the door to avoid damaging the frame.
  • Plant some trees or shrubs near one of the exits to help shield it from view.

4. Set up the interior for extended occupation.

Shipping containers are often smaller than most rooms in your home. In a survival situation where you have to get to your bug-out location, you and your entire family may have to live in the container for a few days, weeks or even months. It’s important that you have a strategy for maximizing the small living area to avoid cabin fever.

The following tips can help you make the most of your tiny space:

  • Build bunks that fold in on the bottom and are fixed on top to maximize both the sleeping space during the night and the floor space during the day.
  • Install a secure closet for nonperishable food items. Keep this locked when you’re away from your container.
  • Bring some entertainment. It may sound frivolous when you’re trying to prepare for surviving a disaster, but taking your mind off of a bad situation can help keep everyone’s spirits up. Keep on hand a few board games, books, puzzles and other activities. Use a storage bench to double as seating and storage for these items.

Be diligent,

James

Photo credit: Steve Gibson via Flickr under the Creative Commons License 2.0

02Sep

Labor Day Flea Market Finds

flea market finds for prepping on a budget

Last year, I wrote a couple of posts about finding great prepping gear at flea markets. You can read those posts here and here. For years I have heard that the best flea market in the region is located in Hillsville, Virginia on Labor Day weekend.  So, a buddy and I decided to check it out on Friday. I had never seen this many people selling in a single location.  The entire town became one large flea market!Read More

19Aug

Survival Dogs: The Pros and Cons of Having a Dog When SHTF

dogs in a survival situationWe have a 90-pound large, female German shepherd. We adopted her from the animal shelter when she was a pup, and she’s a part of the family in every sense of the word. She’s a watchful eye over our son and a protector of our home. I feel that, in a survival situation, she’ll be more of an asset to us than a liability, but let’s face it – dogs are a little bit of both. Here are the pros and cons of having a dog in a survival situation.Read More

14Jun

Cheap Survival Whistle

 cheap survival whistleWhile I was cruising the Walmart sporting goods aisle a few weeks ago, I came across a cool little contraption that was priced so right that I had to pick one up. You’ve probably seen some Coghlans brand products in their camping section. I found a nice little 4 in 1 tool that is compact, hardly weighs anything and, most importantly, is CHEAP!  It is a survival whistle/thermometer/compass/magnifier combo. I know what you’re thinking, “You get what you pay for,” but this item was so cheap, if it turned out to be a complete piece of crap, it wouldn’t even matter.Read More

01Jun

Lightening the Burden of Thru-Hikers on the Appalachian Trail

Appalachian TrailI’m going to share a story about something that happened to me earlier this week.  In my jurisdiction, flea markets are a pretty big deal on Mondays. When a holiday falls on a Monday, the crowd can be five times as large as usual. I had to work on Memorial Day, and part of the job was to stop in and patrol the grounds. On the last time through the grounds that day, I saw one of my off-duty coworkers who frequently sells at these events.  I noticed that he had approximately 100 MRE entrees that he was selling for about a dollar a piece.  I asked how many he had sold, and he told me that he hadn’t had much luck with them. I asked him to talk to me later in the week if he could cut me a deal on them if they didn’t sell.Read More

25Feb

Candle Cooking Part 2

candle cookingSince I purchased the Sterno Portable Folding Stove a week or so ago, I have been wondering if I could cook a piece of meat on it indoors via candle cooking.  I know it can be done outdoors with a few pieces of kindling, coals or perhaps a charcoal briquette.  Of course, when outside, the Sterno fuel canisters could be used.

So why would someone want to cook inside on a portable folding stoveRead More

20Feb

How to Use Epsom Salts When SHTF

How to Use Epsom Salts in a Survival SituationEpsom salts, a natural mineral (magnesium sulfate), has been used for years as a safe and effective means for many ailments. Epsom salts are great for external problems like sprains, aches, boils, sore feet and ingrown toenails. If you don’t have any stored, you may want to purchase a box or twenty. At 88 cents per 2 lb box at Walmart, why not? It has a shelf life of several years (as long as it doesn’t come into contact with moisture), and few things are as multipurpose as these salts are. Here are a few ways you can use them.Read More

16Feb

Five Dollar Finds: Portable Folding Stove

cheap folding stove for preppingWhile killing time at Wal-mart tonight, I came across a Sterno portable folding stove.  What really piqued my curiosity about this little stove is that it was under $6 dollars.  I know, I know, that’s more than $5, but it’s close.  Recently a friend of mine purchased the Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove for a little under $50.00.  Now that is a really nice little stove but it is a little pricey.  The quality of the Vargo portable stove is second to none.  For the price, though, I think this Sterno Portable Folding Stove will work just fine for now.Read More

13Feb

Firearms on Facebook: Where to Get Hard-to-Find Guns

As you know, ever since December, we have been facing a gun and ammo scare here in America.  I have seen my local shops go from having shelves full of all types of guns and tactical gear to not being able to keep much in stock because it flies off the shelves.  I was recently given the opportunity to acquire a Beretta Cx4 carbine when my agency decided to surplus all the rifles that the detective division carried in the cars.  My agency was willing to trade one of the many Cx4′s for my back up AR-15, which is basically brand new.  In the end, I let my Sgt talk  me into passing on the Cx4, keeping my AR-15, and buying a cheaper carbine.  He introduced me to the Kel Tec Sub 2000 because it will accept the Beretta 92 or M9 magazines.  This option allows me to get a carbine that will accept one of the 40 Beretta magazines that I own at an affordable price that doesn’t require me to sell or trade one of my AR-15s.  I like the idea of having a rifle that uses the same magazines that my two sidearm use.Read More

11Feb

How to Find Cheap or Free Food Storage Buckets

cheap or free food storage bucketsObtaining food storage buckets was the next step in my storage project. As you guys know from my last article on Mylar bags, I am starting a small project of storing and additional 10 five gallon buckets of dried food. This is a project that I am doing with “Marine Pal”, whom I haven’t mentioned in a while. We are doing this as cheaply as possible due to the fact that we both have families, meaning there’s not a lot income to invest in projects. So, we do what we can when we can.Read More