Survival Retreat – Build Your Own Shelter

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Is survival retreat a crime in 2023? What is population density, and how can this knowledge help me survive? Where is the safest place in the country? Boston? Alaska? Nevada? Montana? North Dakota? Where are the crops high and the tax low? How to manage your survival retreat and what to grab with you. To learn the brutal truth, keep on reading.

Having a retreat in the forest where you are left to your own without modern devices, electricity, and cellular communication – perfect conditions to relax. Maybe you or your family want to hide from people not with the purpose of having a rest but because of some problems in the city. For example, loss of the constant place of living, problems with police officers and authorities, or conflicts with criminals. The retreat will be useful in any situation when you need to leave a city – danger or a scenario of “sh*t-hits-the-fan.”

Furthermore, what will give you so much more pleasure than the building of a small house in a hidden location? Planning and designing of survival retreat is a large-scale DIY project which can be joyful not only for you but for your friends or children.

Despite your personal satisfaction, it will be a part of your survival plan – the place where you will be secured. People usually make storage spaces and stash food and water for several months.

Make sure you have such a place as it could be beneficial for you for many reasons!

Protect shelter for you and your family may become a “bug-out-location” – meeting point in cases when there are serious problems. Location in the center of nature, rich flora, and wildlife – all these aspects are necessary for people living in the city’s hustle.

This review will give you an algorithm for building your own survival homestead, which will become your lovely place for recreational activity. Get yourself a poncho shelter for safety.

The building process will take a lot of time, money, and nerves as you will need to contact the government and sign documents. Be confident. It will be the greatest thing you have ever done by yourself – it’s worth it! Explore the article to get inspiration on having property and building your own survival retreat.

The Best Locations for Survival Retreat


The creation of survival retreats requires the collection of a huge amount of information. There are plenty of sources on the creation of a retreat – spend some time to deepen your knowledge in this. You also need to explore the map and get to know the landscape of the location where you want to build a shelter. If you want to get luxury underground bunker for sale – review some decent options. Besides, you need to examine the nearest water sources and characteristics of soil in these places. The time you will spend on the building process depends only on your planning skills.

Budget planning:

Except for time, you need to reduce your budget for the land purchase. The more land you have, the better conditions you will have during your survival process. However, the same association is with the price of the land. Your ability to spend money is the crucial criterion of the choice of land size. However, survival will be possible even in the square of one acre.

Do not be stingy – it is your long-term investment in your secure life. Here are some more criteria for the choice of the land:

Access to Water:

Water sources are a necessary condition for every camp or survival trip. As you plan to make a not only survival retreat but your additional home and spend here more than one month, you definitely will need to obtain water. Remember, running water and water from stores are not alternatives. You want to hide the location of your retreat from other people, don’t you? For these reasons, go round the location, find some water springs or rivers. There will be fishes, and wild animals as natural sources of water are the ones they have. Water source could also be based on well water, but you should have at least one opportunity to quench your thirst near your survival house.

Fertile Soil:

The long-term perspective assumes that your storage space will become empty after a while. The only source of livelihood will be the soil. Yes, you will need to grow food to save you and your family members’ lives. It is not reasonable to buy land in the desert, and you already understand the reasons. Some places in the forest are rich in the harvest year-round. Clarify this point before you will make a purchase.

Solid cover:

You may think, why do you need to find a cover if you have a survival retreat covering you? Not exactly. Survival homestead is an appropriate shelter from people, some animals, and poor environmental conditions. However, your home can not save you from disaster strikes. Cover your retreat behind trees, bushes, or rocks to be confident you will survive in a dramatic event.

Types of Survival Homesteads

Types Of Survival Homesteads

There are plenty of options for the design, location, and functionality of survival retreat property, and we will introduce the three most popular and easy ways of their construction.



Earth Covered Retreat

In my opinion, it is the most self-sufficient category of survival retreats. It provides a natural shelter as it is built in small caves. Its location is difficult to identify for outsiders as it is covered with grass and land. Also, coverage made from the grass provides isolation from the heat in the summer and from the cold in winter.

An earth-covered retreat is a safe place as it is not susceptible to disaster strikes such as tornadoes or wildfires. Building retreats in such areas provides people the most stable shelter they could have.

Of course, there are some issues with the home under the ground. Firstly, you will not have natural light full time. This type of survival retreat property usually has only one place of access to the outside – the front door. So, you may feel like moles living in such areas. Secondly, it is quite difficult to build a retreat under the ground if you want to make it spacious. People usually build small retreats, but some of them dig deeper into the cave to expand the living room and have an opportunity to locate all friends and family members.

Anyway, building a shelter covered by ground gives people a safe place for the long term as it is self-protected.

Watch the video to understand the process of the earth covered the retreat.

Log Cabin

You may be surprised, but survival cabins are easy to plan and affordable to build. Cabins match the criteria of durability and invisibility and make them perfect constructions for survival homestead.

Let’s go deeper into its pros and cons to make a well-reasoned decision on the type of retreat you will build.

Construction of the cabin does not require special architecture skills. Usually, it is a square build from the logs. If you chose an appropriate approach to its design, it will serve you for years. The log cabin is made of a stout membrane, and it will save you from high winds. It is also possible to make it waterproof.

What is also cool in this type of survival retreat is the availability of its prototypes in the market. You can easily search for cabin kits, and some companies will provide you all materials necessary for its creation with delivery to a chosen place.

Learn about the companies specialized in the production of kits for log cabins:

However, there is an opportunity to build such a shelter yourself, and this alternative is more beneficial than prepared cabins for several reasons. There is a belief that ready-made kits are more exposed to “settling.” You can not notice for years that your retreat was settled, but at some moments, it will bring you some issues. Settling means the emergence of deformations provoked by environmental conditions. The floor and wallboard may become split because of the poor quality of logs and other materials. That is why we strongly recommend you to spend more time to construct your perfect survival retreat with your own hands, especially if you are an experienced prepper.

So, we prepared several steps you need to follow to build a log cabin.

  • The first thing you need to choose is the type of wood you will use. You can read a useful guide on the selection of wood species. You may decide to employ wood growing in the area of survival home but explore the characteristics and processing methods preliminary to construct a cabin that will be credible in the long-term. To prevent early settling and rot of your home, make sure you understand the process and use the appropriate method for the seasoning process and debarking.
  • The second equally important movement is to choose an interlocking and stacking approach. Remember that all of the methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Your choice should be based on several factors – environment conditions, wood species, and your capabilities to reproduce them.

Here is a useful link to learn the differences between stacking approaches given below.

  • Swedish Cope Saddle notch
  • Variable Stack Height Butt & Pass
  • Square Vertical Post
  • Full-Round Butt & Pass
  • Traditional Butt & Pass
  • D-Log Dovetail
  • Hand-Scribed Saddle notch
  • Handcrafted Saddle notch
  • Round Vertical Post
  • Timber Dovetail

The most convenient to apply is “notch” and “Butt & Pass” methods, but, again, make a choice relying on the factors we described.

Watch the video about one of the interlocking methods.

The next essential step is to protect your survival retreat from undesirable rodents and bugs. You should make high-quality chinking to shorten gaps between logs and to improve isolation. It will also preserve you from cold and draughts.

Final recommendation on log cabin construction.

You can reduce expenditures for survival retreat of this type by using your own timber. Explore your properties and implement materials you already have, and construction costs can be equal to only 500$ (some preppers shared such experience with us).

Also, investigate additional sources on the types of interlocking to select the most suitable for you.

Survival Adobe Huts

This type is one of the best if the SHTF scenario happens when you are in a desert. Why? Adobe hut can be built from the mud and ground around its location. It was one of the favorite types of shelters for Native Americans.

Adobe is one of the oldest raw materials used for the building of a prepper retreat nowadays as it has unique abilities in providing security for survivalists. Such a retreat supports the temperature inside due to the retention of warm and cold air in the hut. Also, it is easy to construct as it can be made from materials located in chosen areas.

However, you should understand that adobe hunts are not suitable for areas with a high amount of rainfall and snow. Such climate occasions may destruct your survival retreat by water leakages as its roof is usually flat.

As we said, this type of retreat is appropriate only for some climate conditions, for example, deserts.

Watch the video and learn how you can build it using primitive equipment.

Protection from Unwelcome Guests


As these constructions’ main goal is to provide you and your family with security and safety, you need to think about protective devices in advance.

First of all, you will need to defend survival homestead from people. Read our list of useful techniques carefully, and make sure you can spend uninterrupted time in your prepper retreat. These techniques will help you to avoid the theft of all supplies from storage and even from the occupation of your retreat by strangers.

  • Put locks and grid on your windows.
  • Set bolts and locks to doors and make them sturdy.
  • Enhance the quality of doorframes.
  • Store all precious items hidden inside the homestead. If someone notices costly things in your retreat, he or she will attack your house and steal every needed for surviving item.
  • Create an illusion of an abandoned building – people do not want to visit strange and dangerous locations.
  • Think about several snares across the area of retreat to frighten people who want to assault the house.
  • Make your place flashy when you are in it. If you want to make this location recreational, make sure your retreat looks abundant. People do not want to draw a lot of attention to the committing of the crimes – they will not distract you and your family.

Finally, the more you invest in a survival homestead, the more protective and secure it will be.

You probably thought about the invasion of natural inhabitants. Insects and rodents will often visit your retreat if you do not observe several rules:

  • Put sticky traps and snap snares near the storage and doors to prevent rats and insects’ incursion into survival retreat.
  • You must tightly close all gaps in walls and windows to secure your house.
  • Do not allow birds to infest your roof and escape high rafters.

Fighting with animals will become your routine, but you know, it is nature. It will be more convenient to use all tips we gave than suffer from more often undesired guests.

Organization of Storage Space

Water Storaged

The surviving process requires reserves of food and water to keep you energetic and healthy. As we already said, you need to store supplies in a hidden place so that strangers will not know the location of food and water in your retreat. We will offer you 2 perfect locations for your supply. You will not need to visit a butcher shop or other stores if you keep all reserves in the proper conditions.

Basement near survival retreat

This type of storage is appropriate for prepper retreat for several reasons. You can conceal it and keep it invisible as it can be covered by ground and grass. You can also set a strong lock on it, so people could not steal your food and water. Conditions in storage cellars are relevant to perishable food as the temperature inside it is low for a full year. Organize everything accurately, divide foodstuff by categories to be sure that products will not spoil.

You need to dig a hole under your home, decorate walls and floor with stones, and cover it with floorboards and be confident that your products will be fresh and secure for the long-term.

Smaller versions of prepper retreat

Building a copy of your home in a smaller size can be an alternative for the basement. Construct it in the same way you built the main retreat, and it will serve you for as long as your main house. Make sure you protect the storage from strangers and animals with all equipment we discussed earlier to be confident you do have food and water sources for the process of survival.

Let’s talk about the main items you need to keep in the storage for successful survival.

  • Non-perishable items. Deliver this type of food every time you visit the survival retreat to collect as much food supply as possible. It can be dehydrated and packaged items, canned food, and other non-putrescible goods. You never know the duration of your departure from cities. Make your storage capacity to nourish you and your family for the long-term.
  • Water. Except for food, you will always need to quench your thirst, and for the first time, you will not be able to collect water from natural sources or have access to running water or well water. Make water reserves, including bottled water and filtration systems, such as purification tablets or filters. Your main goal is to provide water for the full time of your survival process. Also, you can buy several drums to collect rainfall water. It will be useful when your water reserves will run out.
  • Equipment. Do not forget to provide self-sufficiency for your stay in the survival retreat. You must have all the important tools to fix something or to grow a portion of food. These tools may include hatches, shovels, hammers, pots, plates – everything that can transform survival retreat into a home.
  • Guns and armament. Store everything you think will be essential in the self-defense process. No one knows what will happen during your stay in a survival retreat.
  • Seeds for food growing. Remember that all your supplies will not be enough for long-term survival. It is good to buy fruits and vegetable seeds to grow fruit trees on your own land and preserve vegetables for the whole family.
  • Fishing and hunting tools. You would need to learn hunting and fishing as you will not have an opportunity to visit a butcher shop.
  • Medication. There could be accidental injuries or harm from strangers and animals – you need to prepare many medical tools for first aid. You may keep a kit small or make it a self-sufficient medical supply. Be confident you have pills and tools for all diseases, from common flu to bleeding. But be attentive to the expiration period of medical supplies. Probably, you will need to refresh it after a while. Lucky for you, such tools as bandages, band-aids, and splits will never spoil. Here you can see the best way to pack your medical kit.
  • Entertainment. To save your mental health, you will need to distract from self-defense and storage filling. Keep a book, some board and card games, or puzzles to relax during the stay at survival retreat.

Fill your storage with all items we recommend to make a full time residing at survival retreat delighting.

Legal Aspects of a Retreat Building


Nowadays, it is not easy to build a retreat in some areas of the United States and other countries. You could have some issues if you do not legalize your property on the territory of the state. Wherever you want to buy land, it is better to call the government and get to know all the paperwork needed. The absence of permission for the building will impose a heavy fine on you.

Furthermore, some states make it legalized for owners of properties to shoot in squatters. However, in most cases, squatters will just shoot at you and occupy your retreat.

Several years ago, hunters and miners had the right to locate their huts in any location they want, but now it is not the case. We recommend you to spend a few minutes searching for information about the governmental requirements in your area to provide security for your survival retreat.

Budget planning

One Dollar

To prepare you for all obstacles you will face during the construction of the survival retreat we need to discuss expenditures. The more you will invest in your property, the safer it will be.

Be ready that the minimum cost of a survival retreat will be equal to approximately 1750 dollars. The maximum limit can be determined only by yourself. Evaluate your abilities before you start the creation of your additional home to avoid unexpected costs.

If you have budget cuts, we recommend you divide expenditures and labor with friends or family and construct a place you can always relax together.

You also could explore financing alternatives and make monthly payments. It will also help you to enhance your abilities in the creation of your additional home.

It’s a pity that you cannot just occupy the area you want without any payments due to the laws we considered earlier.


We hope you wish to have your own property far away from cities after reading this article. You may create it for emergencies or go here to relax on common weekends. Make it as convenient as you can to be satisfied with your own work and have the ability to live here year-round.

You can even live full-time in a survival shelter if you want. It is a great opportunity to have an alternative home for the unpredictable event.

Make it a real homestead, and you will never regret your decision.

Here are some links to expand your knowledge about retreat construction. Explore more sources to make a proper decision about all aspects of building a retreat.

Do you have a survival retreat? Will you create it again in the design you had? Which design is more attractive for you?


How to choose an ideal survival retreat?

Evaluate your financial abilities to create a retreat. There are plenty of alternatives to a retreat design. You can choose any design we suggested or search for information about more extraordinary basing on your budget and access to material resources. Be confident you took into account all considerations about the location, laws, protection of a retreat, and you will be satisfied with your own place for retreat.

How to estimate budget abilities for retreat creation?

As it was stated in the article, you need to make a financial plan. Building a survival retreat is not the cheapest investment. You must calculate costs for having a property, purchasing materials, creating the building, constructing the additional living room, protecting survival retreat, and deciding whether you want to build it yourself or divide expenditures with family. The quality of your house will depend on the level of your preparedness to spend money.

What are the essential items for retreats?

Firstly, think about the security of a retreat. You need to provide all protective devices to avoid the invasion of animals or other people. Secondly, be sure you have an appropriate amount of supply in your storage, and you have the ability to grow food near the survival retreat. All other things which will make your retreat more cozy and convenient for you are your option.



A former USA Army sergeant and a highly educated survivalist and prepper with a degree and interest in Engineering and Electronics, Mike Millerson applies his extensive expertise in survivalism, homesteading, backpacking, hiking and hunting, spreading his deep knowledge about handling emergencies and prepping for them reasonably and effectively.




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