Author Topic: Ideal outbuilding for preps  (Read 9884 times)

Offline zackandjen2004

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Ideal outbuilding for preps
« on: March 05, 2010, 08:55:49 PM »
Have you created the perfect outbuilding for your preps?  Designed one, but haven't built it yet?   I'm trying to imagine a dark, dry, temp-stable outbuilding that "blends" into my rural southern Appalachian landscape... There must be rusty sheet metal involved, if only for camoflague.  Any building in my county that is less than 144 sq ft does not need a permit, so 12x12 would be my interior dimension.

Got ideas or pictures?  Design considerations?  I'm thinking super-insulated roof, walls and floor on a pole foundation.  Sort of like a giant cooler, but with a door! 

Thoughts please!

Offline nafterize

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2010, 10:15:49 PM »
You could always airbrush some "rust" on for camouflage.

Offline bartsdad

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2010, 01:36:18 AM »
It would be really hard to beat anything from Safe Castle.

I finally got permission from the missus to start digging for the bunker out back.

Offline The Infidel

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2010, 03:47:16 AM »
How about a shipping container? Go as big as you want without a permit. Can be insulated to suit, you could put your rusty sheet metal on exterior if you felt the need.

Offline bartsdad

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2010, 12:08:25 PM »

Offline zackandjen2004

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2010, 06:50:04 PM »
Thanks for the ideas!  I hadn't considered a shipping container.  Anyone ever bought one?  How are they working out for you?

Offline archer

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2010, 07:48:52 PM »
How about a concrete eco-shell/dome?
http://www.monolithic.com/stories/ecoshell-i

You could have a rusty door...

Offline mobilus

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2010, 07:58:43 PM »
How about a refridgerated (reefer) semi-trailer?  Cut the wheels out from under it and sit it on some dunnage.  Or a reefer box from a delivery truck?

Offline CyborgX

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2010, 08:15:38 PM »
My house sort of came with an outbuilding. It's really just a small house that has no plumbing that's built on cinder-blocks instead of a cement foundation. It's shaded and stays reasonably cool in the summer. Nothing you'd wanna live in, but it's going to be a good place to build my greenhouse onto in the future. It'll also offer a lot of surface area with which to collect rainwater once I get some gutters onto it.

I think I'd like to see what I could do with one of those shipping containers, though. They could easily be converted into a variety of different things, from shelters to greenhouses, depending how handy you were with cutting metal. I'd imagine there's a lot that could be done with them..

Offline bartsdad

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Offline Dan Forrester

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2010, 06:06:05 PM »
I’m putting up a 10 X 15 shed with a standard size security door on one of the 10 foot sides.  Walking down the length will be like walking down a hall with shelves on each side.  On one side will be larger shelves for 5 gallon buckets and on the other for smaller cans and jars.  I’m building the shelves right into the walls so that they can be built as strong as possible for heavy items.  At the very end will be a power outlet for a small refrigerator for my stash of antibiotics and olive oil.  I figure even if the power goes out the olive oil will be good for a good two years and the antibiotics for at least a couple more after that. 

The shed it’s self will be constructed out of concrete block with a poured foundation and roof strapes placed in a poured concrete cap on the blocks.  Roof will be metal and it will have aluminum soffits for good ventilation.  It’s so humid where I am in Florida that I’m not even trying to keep it dehumidified.  I just make sure whatever I’m putting in there can take it. 

I have the plans on a PDF flile.  If someone can show me how to post an attachment I will.  I already have the money set aside for this and it should be built in the next couple months so I will post pictures for everyone. 

I really don’t like to have all my stuff in one place so I will spread it around to some extent but this will be the bulk of my preps.

Let me know how I can attach a PDF.  I would like feedback.

Thanks, Dan

Offline m6996j23

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2010, 06:23:53 PM »
people here set up saw mills to cut up saw logs right from the hills.  this raw unfinished lumber is great.  once it weathers it looks just like everything else around here in apalachia. it is cheap too.   build the frame then nail vertical rough planks on the sides and nail 2-1\2" wide vertical boards over the cracks between the planks. ....... love and peace hillbilly mik

Offline patrat

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2010, 12:51:34 PM »
My family got past building permits, with the advice of the local lumber yard (who also sold us the plans and lumber). Around here, if a building is placed on lumber skids it is temporary or portable. So, we built our 12x20 sheds each on two 8"x8"x20' beams of pressure treated lumber. In fact, it was portable. We pushed it back about 2 feet with our tractor.

As an aside, I came up on my own with the same techniques listed as "advanced framing" on the DOE website, just by going with what looked better than the plans called for. This really makes a better building with less material, I suggest looking it up.

Offline zackandjen2004

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2010, 05:57:09 AM »
Yes, patrat, I've heard of advanced framing.  When we were planning our new house it came up a lot in my research.  But we ended up buying and remodeling instead of building from scratch.  Anyway, the advanced framing advantages include saving of materials and a bit of labor, but the big one is reduced thermal bridging.  That's happens at studs and corners where you can't insulate.  We also considered SIPs, sturctural insulated panels, which are basically like building with thin ice cream sandwiches.

Another possibility would be to somehow utilize old singlewide frames...the actual metal ibeams to which the wheels are attached (and then removed).  I have seen them around.  A shed could be built on one of those.  I will check with our county building department to see what is considered a movable building.  It would not require plumbing or even grid-tie electricity. 

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2010, 05:40:58 PM »
what if you go with your small out building but before you build it or use one of those skid building, dig out and wall up a basement so to speak as big as you want. Roof over it with a concrete roof like a lot of houses have under their front porches. just leave a nice size access whole to get down into it and to get your gear in and out. Use block and tackle to lower down in any super heavy items. Not sure if you live somewhere where you could build something like this without to much notice.

This would give you a root cellar of sorts. Of course a lot would depend on your property, how much ground water you get, etc. other wise you get into a very large project. You could put a small 8x10 or 10 x12 over it and have an access door to get down into your larger "bunker", though I hate to use that word. 

I saw some vid clips somewhere a few weeks ago where people bought an insulated container and converted it to a house. Was nice as the inside was lined to make sterilizing the container possible so gave nice finished inside walls and protected he insulation. Might be something to try? Not sure if you could bury one and cut in a roof hole. Some say yes, I've seen others say the container walls would collapse.

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2010, 06:10:47 PM »
It seems that you want your shelter to blend in so that others won’t try to evict you and take your stuff.  The best solution is also the simplest solution.

Dig a hole and build an completely underground bunker any size you like.  Make the roof reinforced concrete, with two entrances.  Cover the entire thing over with dirt.  Then build (or move in) a small, rickety old shack over one entrance.  That entrance would be accessible through a camouflaged trap door in the shack.  The other entrance can be camouflaged under a large old (rootless) tree stump.  That would be the emergency entrance/exit.

The shelter itself would be undetectable.
The entrance to the shelter would be hidden by the shack.
The shelter would be relatively warm in winter and cool in summer.
The shelter will never need repair.
The shelter would also withstand almost any disaster, including tornado, volcanic ash, nuclear winter etc.
Underground water tank would not need a pump.
The toilet could use a regular septic system and leach field.

Mental Avenger

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2010, 06:12:11 PM »
It seems that you want your shelter to blend in so that others won’t try to evict you and take your stuff.  The best solution is also the simplest solution.

Dig a hole and build an completely underground concrete bunker any size you like.  Make the roof reinforced concrete, with two entrances.  Cover the entire thing over with dirt.  Then build (or move in) a small, rickety old shack over one entrance.  That entrance would be accessible through a camouflaged trap door in the shack.  The other entrance can be camouflaged under a large old (rootless) tree stump.  That would be the emergency entrance/exit.

The shelter itself would be undetectable.
The entrance to the shelter would be hidden by the shack.
The shelter would be relatively warm in winter and cool in summer.
The shelter will never need repair.
The shelter would also withstand almost any disaster, including tornado, volcanic ash, nuclear winter etc.
Underground water tank would not need a pump.
The toilet could use a regular septic system and leach field.


Offline Rorschach

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2010, 06:19:57 PM »
Plastics_guy

My wife and I were thinking of doing something a little like that.  We live on an acreage out in the country and have a friend we trust that could build something and keep it secret; not much or our activities are ever noticed.  We were thinking of building a new detached garage with a hidden basement (hidden doors, no windows).  Our house is very old and has a small, dirty cellar underneath it.  We would like a better space or tornado season to take our 2 young children.  Having it detached would spead our preps out a little also.  I would also consider putting solar panels on it's roof to have more functionality in the future, since another roof is more space that can be utilized. 

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2010, 06:43:27 PM »
We live on a small 16 acre hobby farm.  I found an old bread truck (one of the larger ones) and bought it.  Then rented a backhoe and dug a hole in the side of a small hill and buried the truck, only leaving the back doors visable.  Made a fantastic root cellar and place to store our survival items.  We put it a good distance from the house and it's camoflauged real well.  Then I got a monitor and handheld radio from MURS Radios and set up security for it.  The motion monitor sends a verbal message to the radio if anything moves within 80 feet of the root cellar and sends a message of "Alert Zone One" to the radio.  We've been using it for about 8 months now and it's worked out great. 

Offline zackandjen2004

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2010, 09:25:24 PM »
Cool, hillbilly!  Could you post a picture?  I seem to recall something in Root Cellaring about burying insulated trucks, but with the door-end popping out of the ground.

Another thing that just came to mind is an old ICE freezer, like the ones in front of the convenience stores.  Cavernous, well-insulated, but with small doors.  That could be buried.  But it seems a bit cumbersome with the small doors.

Offline Lunk

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2010, 01:04:46 AM »
I’m putting up a 10 X 15 shed with a standard size security door on one of the 10 foot sides.  Walking down the length will be like walking down a hall with shelves on each side.  On one side will be larger shelves for 5 gallon buckets and on the other for smaller cans and jars.  I’m building the shelves right into the walls so that they can be built as strong as possible for heavy items.  At the very end will be a power outlet for a small refrigerator for my stash of antibiotics and olive oil.  I figure even if the power goes out the olive oil will be good for a good two years and the antibiotics for at least a couple more after that. 

The shed it’s self will be constructed out of concrete block with a poured foundation and roof strapes placed in a poured concrete cap on the blocks.  Roof will be metal and it will have aluminum soffits for good ventilation.  It’s so humid where I am in Florida that I’m not even trying to keep it dehumidified.  I just make sure whatever I’m putting in there can take it. 

I have the plans on a PDF flile.  If someone can show me how to post an attachment I will.  I already have the money set aside for this and it should be built in the next couple months so I will post pictures for everyone. 

I really don’t like to have all my stuff in one place so I will spread it around to some extent but this will be the bulk of my preps.

Let me know how I can attach a PDF.  I would like feedback.

Thanks, Dan


Dan, if you havent bought the freezer yet I would like to throw this your way. It is something I would very much like to buy for myself but I'm still a couple years away from affording it.  :(  http://sunelec.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=11&products_id=383 It's a DC powered fridge/freezer. There are a number of places online that carry them. They also make just strait freezers.  The upside is that even here in Washington state you can run one of these freezers with 2 180 watt panels and 2 golf cart batteries. They pull something like 175 watts.

Just thought I'd throw that out there for you.  ;D

Offline Cryptozoic

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2010, 10:35:25 AM »
Dig hole or modify existing terrain by heaping up rock/dirt.  Drop in shipping container (after doing whatever is necessary to 'hole' for drainage).  Cover hole.  On top of your new "basement" put old house trailer.  Carefully conceal trap door, stairs, however you gain entry.    For back door I've considered large concrete pipe, the kind with rubber gaskets built in.  This could be installed with septic system, maybe nobody will notice with all that digging going on.  Pipe exits in outbuilding or other seemingly innocent setting. 

I have seen shipping containers (they come as large as 53') delivered using an ingenious 5th wheel flatbed trailer which hinges just behind the kingpin (where the 5th wheel trailer hitch thingie attaches it to truck).  With this double-jointed ability to get everything facing where you want it and by lowering the back of the trailer so the container can be winched forward/backward on the trailer, they can deliver a container into the tightest places.  Your hole may need a ramp for this.  If ordering one, think about the road leading in.  Does it have wide curves and are the tree branches at least 13.5' above the road?  Big trucks don't make tight turns and are tall.

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Offline Ultio1

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2010, 12:30:03 PM »



Its a work in progress but it pretty bomb proof.  I am trying to build a deck that covers it plus 16 feet out the back this fall so the solar panels are grounded till thats finished.

Offline Perfesser

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2010, 10:22:30 AM »
I would do it the same way I'm planning our next house.
Dig down a couple of feet.
Pour concrete slab.
Build walls from dry stacked concrete blocks.  Surface bond blocks with fiber-reinforced cement. (this is quick and easy but walls of concrete and plastic bottles, beer cans work too, earth packed tires are a LOT of work)
Roof with beams and roof decking(steel), plastic sheet and a layer of styrofoam.
Backfill with drainage in mind.
Take the dirt you dug out and cover the structure. Plant grass or ground cover.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2010, 10:31:09 AM by Perfesser »

Offline Citizen Zero

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2010, 10:06:23 PM »
It seems that a root cellar would be your best option. There are also still plenty of laws on the books that allow for the construction of shelters without permits (cold war leftover), as long as they are not 'habitable' structures.

From the sound of what you are looking for, the traditional root cellar sounds like it will meet you needs the best.

Just my $.02, YMMV ;)

Offline Bradbn4

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Re: Ideal outbuilding for preps
« Reply #26 on: October 08, 2010, 10:14:43 PM »
Very neat info - my friend in Texas picked up one of the drop off over built sheds.  They needed
a temp place to live until they could pickup a used trailer.  Worked out well - the shed is on skids,
did not take much work to put in a real breaker box, it was framed by 2x6" so it was easy to insulate and
put sheet rock on.  No bathroom, but it was more than usable as a hunting shack, and now provides good
storage of "stuff" that won't fit in the trailer.    A window A/C unit cooled in the Summer / and I am not sure what
they used for heat in the winter.

I have also heard of folks using drop off trash containers tucked into a hill / dug in at an angle as emergency tornado shelters.

I think I rather use a good quality shipping container vs having to weld up two drop off's for the same use.

Brad - In Colorado