Your home is much more than a place to store your accumulated possessions. Its primary purpose is to provide shelter to protect you from the weather. While we use the home for many other purposes, the original reason that mankind started building homes was to provide themselves with shelter.
Shelter works by providing a barrier between you and the great outdoors. That barrier protects you from wind and rain; it also provides a barrier to hold heat in, so that you can create a warm environment to help your body maintain its core temperature. A well built shelter will include insulation, which improves its efficiency in holding in heat.
Your Primary Survival Shelter
Your home is your primary survival shelter. I know there are a lot of people talking about bugging out and living off the land, but that’s a lot harder to do than they think. Unless you absolutely have to leave home, you’re usually better off staying at home and surviving in place.
Even a damaged home can still provide shelter. Many natural disasters can damage a home, even severely, but that doesn’t necessarily eliminate the possibility of it serving as a survival shelter. As long as there is one room which is structurally sound, you can use it as a survival shelter. That makes scavenging through the wreckage for useable supplies easier, as well as being there to protect what’s left of your home.
Knowing how to make emergency repairs to your damaged home is a very useful skill. What if all the windows are broken, but the home is still intact? In that case, all you need to do is cover the windows somehow and it will still provide shelter. The same can be said for a number of other types of damage.
A Survival Retreat
Some people are fortunate enough to be able to buy or build a survival retreat. This type of survival shelter is the absolute best for those situations where you are forced to flee your home. Having a prepared survival shelter which is stocked with the equipment and supplies that you need greatly increases your chances of survival, if you are forced to flee your home.
Survival retreats can take on a number of forms. I’m constantly seeing articles where people build a survival shelter for a few hundred or a few thousand dollars. A lot depends upon how good you are at scavenging building materials, how nice a survival shelter you want and how big a survival shelter you want. The bigger it is, the more it will end up costing. On the other hand, it will also provide you with more space to use for your family.
For a survival retreat to be effective it needs to be in a remote location. One of the main reasons for using one is to get away from people and into an area where you have less security risks to worry about. At the same time, it can’t be so far from your home that you can’t get there within a reasonable amount of time.
Bunkers as a Survival Shelter
A popular style of survival shelter for building in a retreat location is a bunker. Basically, a bunker is an underground survival shelter, designed to protect your family from pretty much anything. They go back to the bomb shelters built on the east coast in World War II, to protect people from Axis bombing missions that never happened.
There are pros and cons to using a bunker as a survival shelter. These aren’t military style bunkers, which are designed to be fighting positions. They’re more like an underground hideaway, to protect you from nuclear fallout. Unfortunately, that makes them fairly easy to breach by people on foot. All they need to do is smoke you out.
Temporary Survival Shelters
If you’re forced to bug out, you’ll probably need some sort of temporary survival shelter while you are traveling; regardless of whether you’re traveling to a prepared survival retreat or to some other location. Unless you have a bug out location that is close to home and are fortunate enough to be able to beat the traffic, you’ll need to spend at least one night in a temporary shelters.
Tents are temporary shelters. If you have a lightweight tent, such as used for backpacking, you’ve got a shelter you can use. There are also a wide range of temporary survival shelters you can make from materials that you find in the wild. Knowing how to make those shelters could ultimately save your life, especially if you have no other shelter available.
A tent might be fine for camping out a few nights, but you don’t want to try and live in it for months at a time. Not only is it not big enough to allow you much space to move around in, but it will probably not survive several months of nature’s attacks. You’ll need some sort of long-term shelter.
While it is possible to make a long-term shelter and transport it to a bug-out location; that assumes that you’ll be able to drive the whole way. If you can’t drive the whole way, you’ll need to be able to build a shelter, wherever you end up. Fortunately for us, people have been making shelters out of all types of materials you can find in the wild, for centuries. Many of those methods are extremely valuable for creating a long-term survival shelter.
Shelter in Whatever Situation
Since shelter is such an important part of survival, you should have a number of different options that you can fall back on. Even if you have a prepared survival retreat, you should have other options as well. Something may happen where you can’t use that survival retreat; and if it does, you’ll need some other form of shelter to use.
One survival shelter that few people think of is a used travel trailer. You can find these for a very reasonable price. With a little elbow grease they can be turned into very nice shelters. Add some solar power and better ways of adding fresh water and eliminating waste water, and you could use it for both a short-term and a long-term shelter. The only drawback is that your shelter would have to be pulled behind your vehicle to wherever you are going to bug out.