Perfect Survival Shelter

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For survival to have safe shelter was of course a priority once SHTF.

But these shelters do not always look like you maybe imagine.

At the beginning of everything, when all the shelling and shooting started most of the folks wanted a secure basement. Those who had one, often moved there permanently, to avoid hell outside.

Other folks started with all kinds of ideas how to create their own little fortresses. First thing was to secure any kind of openings of houses. Think about those scenes when people flee from hurricane and nail their windows with wood planks, just in case of SHTF you have to protect all openings not only from wind but from bullets, shrapnel and people who want to get in.

In most of the cases people used sand bags, dirt bags or any kinds of junk piles combined with plywood over that. Then they added a small hole for something like an exhaust pipe or chimney and attached some kind of improvised or real wood stove etc.

I remember story that if you used two pieces of plywood, and put pillow between that you made perfect device for stopping smaller caliber bullets, and smaller pieces of explosive devices. The cushioning did the trick. People used that a lot.

After some time when people started to learn from bad experiences and stories they heard about things changed. Folks realized that being in the basement is not a good option, because they can be easily trapped inside.

I am talking about situation when you and your family are hidden inside basement, even if you have enough food, water, even if you are pretty good with weapons and have enough ammo, it can be tricky if you do not have few more exits from the basement, you could be easily get caught there and killed (or like in some cases burned or smoked out).

In some parts of the town, depending on situation and if they were under heavy shelling or not, people chose to stay sometimes on top floors of higher buildings of partially destroyed houses. They used these places as their base, and moved through destroyed apartments to other houses.

Over the time when you get to know enough that building with all holes and passages between apartments you could easily be something like a „king“ of the place.
I mean it would be nightmare for someone, or even a group of people to attack you there, especially because the whole building was changing almost every day when things broke down or new shells hit. I mean new holes and passages would open, old ones would closed etc.

If you saw the video in the course area in which I visit one house at frontline with Jay, these houses also have many small holes just big enough to push rifle through and shoot people. Now imagine not knowing this building and having to go through at night in complete darkness…

I had a relative who had an apartment in building of 10 floors. Due to heavy shelling building was partially burned, some floors completely destroyed, from the outside building looked like it is gonna fall apart at any moment, actually it looks like it started to collapse in the middle of the building and suddenly stop. Most of the folks run from the building, he stayed, for months, and survived.

He told me that even with all horrible things going on he had some kind of feelings that he was a rich man, he had all the building for himself, all of the normal entrances and exits were shut down, buried under rubble, mostly because of the destruction, but he also moved a lot of dirt and garbage to some in order to shut them down.

While others were in their small little rooms, whole families huddled together, he had a whole apartment complex for himself. He inspected his “kingdom” every day during daytime to look for changes and check his traps.

He made primitive traps and few explosive traps, most of the time he was left alone by anyone. He never had problems with gangs. Only few desperate people wanted to enter a ruin that looked like breaking down anytime.

When someone entered building in order to check if there is anything useful inside he just used holes between apartments and floors to move away from them. Nobody tried to come up to higher floors.

It was impossible to move trough the building and especially higher up for others without knowing it and probably because people constantly feared it would collapse nobody took time to find out my relatives secret ways.

After everything ended and we get in contact, he gets me to that building and took me on some kind of tour.

He had his own whole new system how he can get from first floor to 8th floor where he had some kind of base. Normal entrance was buried, we used one balcony, then covered hole to another apartment, then disguised hole and rope to second floor etc. like a big adventure playground, just that all dangers were very real.

To get up to his base it took us some two hours of crawling, uncovering holes, climbing, he said it was so long because he watched me so I would not run into the traps that he made, mostly peaces of big rocks that he put so if someone walks or crawls or puts hand on some place and they get buried under junk.

It was smart idea, because whenever someone ran in one of his traps it just looked like accident and if that person was with small group they left quickly in fear this can happen to more of them.

He said for him it took some 20 minutes for him from base floor to his base on 8 floor.
On the roof of the building he had something like playground, I guess, because he said that whenever he felt down he goes there at night and ride bike that he took from some apartment. Creepy and a bit crazy.

He would not go out so often, he said, I suspect that had something to do with fact that he had a lot of opportunity to trap people when they came to check the building and collect their supplies. He never spoke about how he got his supplies to survive but he was alone and that is only way I see.

Funny thing is that building did not collapse due to damage and shelling, but after everything ended authorities leveled it with explosive and built mall there.

I lost contact with my relative, I heard that he became weirder and weirder. I guess that has something with waiting for months every day that building gonna collapse on your head.

Point of everything in this story is that perfect shelter does not need to look like perfect shelter.

Sometimes perfect shelter does not need to look like shelter at all, and still it is just perfect shelter. It can be a place where nobody else can and wants to be except you.

Perfect shelter can be a place where in all of the chaos you make the rules.

20 replies
  1. Chris C says:

    The ‘perfect’ shelter, in my belief, looks like no shelter at all. Looks like nothing. So no one will want to check it out. :-) Just a pile of crap or debris.

    Reply
  2. Sandy Taylor says:

    Outstanding post Selco.

    Mental note: Think outside the “box”. Take a second look at buildings you wouldn’t take a second look at, like those that are about to collapse. Also noted is that it might be worth climbing to higher floors – if scavengers take the easy route, there might be uncollected supplies higher up. Also noted is that booby traps should be expected, and sometimes disguised as accidental rubble.

    Valuable, very valuable.

    Like others, I’d like to think that I wouldn’t need to be out and about scavenging for supplies. And hopefully like others, I understand that despite my best laid plans, I probably will be.

    Thanks Selco, and I’m sorry about your relative.

    ~ Sandy Taylor

    Reply
  3. Manny says:

    Great post Selco. Once again you have provided me with food for thought. If the SHTF where we live I have planned to put garbage and debris around the property to give the impression that it have been gone through. I would also control the lighting at night so as to not give away that the house is occupied. That is on top of bracing and reinforcing windows and doorways. Thanks again for taking the time to share your experiences and knowledge with us.

    Reply
  4. Mari Owen says:

    This is very valuable information, Selco. I have often thought about how to find the perfect shelter and what it should be and where it should be. I go back and forth about whether it is best to hide out in plain sight or hide out of sight. It all depends on what your circumstances are and what you are hiding from. If money were no object, your choices would be different than if you are trying to hide without means of money or property. Lots of variables make it interesting.

    Reply
  5. Higerview says:

    I realize you were in the city. But are you familiar with how others, perhaps relatives, got along in the county or suburbs (if you have them there)? I would be interested to know.

    Reply
    • Selco
      Selco says:

      Yes. I wrote about that in few posts, but in short it was much better outside city, of course still with some kind of organization in small community.Smaller places, where people know each other, with more resources outside.

      Reply
  6. Chester
    Chester says:

    Hi Selco – more ideas to help stimulate plans. Thank you. We always keep couple of high quality ponchos-shelters (Sea-to-Summit) on hand in daily go-bags (they work well in harsh conditions). As you point out one needs to think outside the box in shelter building. The military was a big eye opener for me on what folks do for shelter around the world. The ‘Sea-to-Summit’ poncho would make for a good go-bag item. Thanks again Selco. Chester

    http://www.seatosummit.com/products/display/6
    “”"”The original all-in-one raincoat/tarp/pack cover/groundsheet. A super light weight solution for fast packing without a tent. Ideal for use as a rain poncho with an ergonomic 3-panel hood with functional and generous brim. Now made with our super lightweight and waterproof Ultra-Sil fabric, so all seams are factory taped. Designed to fully cover you and your pack in a downpour. It’s also ideal for temperate climates when a waterproof jacket would be too sweaty. Makes a great emergency shelter to have along for day trips. Our Ultra-Sil Tarp Poncho was just named in the March 2007 Backpacker Gear Guide as the “Lightest Solo Tarp”.

    Now made with Ultra-Sil Siliconized Cordura®
    Waterproof seams, double stitched and tape seam sealed
    Guy attachment points on corners to convert to a shelter
    Sides snap together for additional rain protection
    Contoured draw cord hood with generous brim
    Packs down to 3″ diameter x 5″ (8cm x 13cm) in its UltraSil Cordura® stuff sack
    Available in Grey or Green”"”"”"”

    Reply
  7. Ron G says:

    Great post Selco. Your incite is very helpful. I can see how something that looks
    awful can be a safe haven. Thanks for sharing your experiences they are very helpful especially since you lived it.

    Reply
  8. dogbite says:

    I live in the hot dusty desert of AZ, I am am amused by the number of people that ask me
    if I have been at mine,wash or water hole. They have been observing the tracks from by jeep at these places. I never tell them the truth ! As they want confirmation that it is me when they see the tracks of the super swamper tires I use.
    I drive around in a circular fashion be for I turn off the main road, then I use a sag brush to some what cover my tracks. Most are to lazy or not motivated to get out and check,this will
    change in time.
    It is a more difficult process to get to some of my stashes with out leaving traces. I have used
    different trails and used dragging sage behind me. There always seems to be the appearance of a trail or pathway,at least to my eye.

    How do you cover your trail or path, it seems to take only a few trips to get sign of your path.

    I always treat every one I meet as the enemy and you will have that status for a long time, until
    I prove different and that will probably be never. “Behavior will always Betray ” I don’t forget
    and you should not. Listen to what a person says he will always tell on him self if you can shut up long enough for him to tell you. I will write more about this at a later time.

    I am 68 years old and have learned to be more private in all of my dealings ,security in all of your operations is vital “SECOP”. At this time you may not know who is watching you !

    Don’t let the dogbite you…..

    Reply
    • Gravlore says:

      Try a book called “Wilderness Evasion: A guide to hiding out and eluding pursuit in remote areas, Author is Michael Chesbro”.

      Reply
  9. Tom says:

    Great article and I just wanted to share a quick story about how to git er done. My wife and I and two oldest children, one young man and one young woman were involved with a start up Venturing Crew with the Boy Scouts. Well we had a “Primitive” Campout one cold wet miserable weekend. My Daughter and Wife and I(I am disabled) had a Tree house Condo and were nice and toasty and comfortable.

    My Son, upon arriving at the site asked me if he had to put up his tent. Knowing what he had in mind, I said to “have at it” meaning that he could go and indeed Git er Done. Within in a couple hours he had scavenged enough materials to build himself a wonderful Wikiup in the fashion and style of our people. He built himself a small fire and settled in for the first night. It poured rain all night long. The Scout Leader’s tent collapsed under the weight of the rain, the “Expert” Scout who knew everything about everything had his tent fall in and by daylight he was gone. But, my Son’s little home away from home kept him dry and warm all night.

    The next day he set about building him another Wikiup and decided to just add on to his first one. He enlarged it enough to accommodate two or three adults. He again got himself a nice little fire and just as soon as it quit raining, he was out and foraging for food. He came back in a just a short time with some nice roots and berries and various leaves of Plantain, chickweed and leeks. He set out some snares and within just a bit over an hour he had himself a nice rabbit. He ate and slept in total comfort for the entire weekend. He even found himself a nice natural basin where he cleaned it out and collected rainwater and then after cleaning it out again, he channeled a creek that was flowing near by so that some of it’s water would fill the basin and would naturally clean it out as it rolled along. The next day he had a cleaned bathtub in the which afterward he cleared the water and again let the creek do it’s thing of scrubbing it the night away. The next morning, he collected himself a bit of creek water and brought it back and had himself a nice cup of hot tea, 100% nature provided. He had even fashioned himself a cup out of Cattail leaves.

    Now that is what I call a survival shelter……….Incidentally that was two years ago when he constructed that shelter. It still stands today and has been added upon by Mother nature with enough leaves that now it is not only insulated but it is totally water tight and looks like a mound of leaves at the edge of a forest.

    Our Campsite was on a friends property where we had 500 acres of nothing but Virgin timber to work with and a creek that sprang from underneath a gigantic Granite basin on the property. It doesn’t get any better than that.

    Reply
  10. SurvivAllExpert says:

    It seems that it would make sense to make your way to the safety of the county side or family rather than continue to struggle day after day. What is the “trigger” that finally pushes someone to seek safety rather than continued danger?

    Reply
  11. john says:

    Wow. Your cousin had great self control. Most people would be unable to stay put all alone like that for extended periods of time. They would eventually wander outside and talk to someone and end up giving away their secrets.

    Reply
  12. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    That was a good post on ‘sheltering in place’ after a catastrophe occurs. I’ve thought about building a small earth filled sandbag ‘igloo’ (reference Nadir Khalili Hesperia web site for ideas), nothing but a permanent tent sized place to stay. Color the stucco to match the colors / patterns of trees around you. Build in cattle panel supported ‘ramada’ porch for shade. Can you tell we live in the desert scrub ? 8^)

    Round shapes are natural in backwoods and do not catch the attention the straight horizontal / vertical surfaces of the majority of our structures do. If sited correctly, I think you could blend in just fine. As stated above though – hiding out like that will have an effect on your mind.

    Attention on hiding your travel routes to and around your shelter are well advised.

    Reply
  13. Robin Warren
    Robin Warren says:

    John, JR,
    Your mind is what you want it to be. You have control over your mind and your feelings.
    If by yourself that is not a bad thing. You only have yourself to consider. In a group then you must look out for yourself and the group. The other members in the group must do the same. If someone does not want this type of group show them the door!

    Your mind and feelings must not be the “tail that wags the dog!”

    You can learn many things but the most important is that you control yourself, if you so choose.

    Robin
    Ivanhoe

    Reply
  14. alc says:

    There was a book, called “Fax From Serajevo”, about some people in a publisher’s office, and all comms had been cut off, but strangely, they had this one fax machine that they could communicate with. And they were bullet-proofing their cars using stacks and stacks of COMIC BOOKS.

    Think all those stacks of National Geographics that everyone has.

    A ham radio guy I knew said, someone would have a generator and a radio, and if you brought a wine bottle of gasoline, you could make a call. He also pointed to a dandelion plant and said, if someone found one of those plants, it was a great thing.

    Reply
  15. PMZ says:

    Thanks for these ideas!

    I had been wondering along these lines.

    You say it was easier for people outside the city, do you think that is because the enemy army(s) were focused on taking the city, or more because the people in the countryside/small towns/villages had the benefit of fresh water and food and fuel sources and cooperation?
    PMZ

    Reply
    • Selco
      Selco says:

      You welcome.
      In my situation it was booth. But yes, in general people had much better time in villages because many things, resources, security, easier organization etc.

      Reply

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