It’s no secret that underground bunkers and survival shelters are hot commodities right now. Companies that manufacture them for personal use like Rising S, The Vivos Group, and Atlas, can barely keep up with demand; large-scale condo-like projects with amenities are also selling out their spaces.
So what makes a survival shelter worth investing in?
There are a myriad of options available, ranging from tiny storm shelters in your backyard, to converted shipping containers that can be sat on your property, to discreet underground bunkers in the mountains. It can be confusing and overwhelming to hone in on the qualities to look for in your bunker, so we’ve pared it down to the essentials.
Underground Bunker Essentials
1. Air Ventilation & Filtration System
You can only survive for about 3 minutes without oxygen, so access to clean air is top priority.
You’ll want a system that can work for months and filter out the effects of things like a nuclear bomb going off. An “NBC” (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) air filtration system will do just that, blocking out harmful gases and radioactive dust and ash.
2. Concrete and Steel Construction
Your shelter needs to be strong enough to protect you from severe weather and bombs going off, so fiberglass and corrugated metal really aren’t enough.
You’ll want concrete and steel construction, especially on the doors.
3. Access to Water
After air, water becomes the next biggest concern. At a minimum, you’ll want a large supply of bottled water, especially if you plan to house a few people in your shelter.
At best, you’ll want access to a freshwater well that stores water in stainless steel tanks.
4. Off-Grid Energy Source
A long-term survival shelter (not just one for weather events) will require an underground generator with a hefty supply of fuel. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself relying on utilities to keep running, or an abundance of batteries.
You will want some way to remove waste and clean yourself. At a minimum, a toilet, shower, and sink are all items you will want in your bunker.
6. Food Supply
Keep your bunker stocked with canned and freeze-dried options to last you for the long haul. Better to be over-stocked than under-stocked. MREs are also a great long-term option.
7. A Secure Location
It’s tempting to dig your shelter right into your backyard, where you can store supplies regularly, and jump in at a moment’s notice. But unless you live on a few remote acres high above sea level, you’ll want to consider a subtler and lesser-known location.
Secret and underground are both best when it comes to bunkers, and stay away from areas that could become targets, like major cities or military bases.
Maintenance will arise in your bunker just like it does in your home, except it’s even more important that you tend to issues right away. Keep a small but complete tool set readily accessible.
9. Warm, Practical Clothes
Life underground is not nearly as warm as life in the bright sunlight, so pack extra layers into your shelter. Fashion doesn’t really matter when the world as we know it is ending, so choose practical fabrics and designs.
10. First Aid Kit
You won’t have easy access to a doctor or medical professional, so you’ll want to be fully prepared to deal with the ailments you may suffer from. You don’t want to deal with infections or unnecessary pain, so be prepared for all manner of cuts, allergies, headaches, upset stomach, and other aches and pains.
Keep in mind that prior to dentistry, toothaches were the number one cause of suicides.
11. Important Documents
Make sure you have a safe in your bunker to store your identification, birth certificates, deeds, insurance documents, and maybe even copies of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
It may sound like a tall order, but there is no shortage of companies who will build you your dream survival shelter. You can choose from pre-fabricated designs that set you back a few thousand dollars, or have a custom shelter designed that can comfortably house your entire family.
Do your research and look for plenty of storage to ensure you have the supplies to survive anything.