Letter: Earthbag Shelter

Regarding the Odds ‘n Sods entry last month: Owen Geiger has several earthbag shelter designs that are inexpensive but labor intensive and that are an option for radiation protection. Examples Earthbag Survival Shelter September 20, 2010 by Owen Geiger [I would like to see this design in an above ground configuration.] Triple Dome Survival Shelter April 12, 2011 by Owen Geiger Mother Earth News Earthbag Dome July 15, 2009 by Owen Geiger Step-By-Step Earthbag Building [YouTube Video Play list] Earthbag Natural Building, Last updated on Jul 1, 2014 http://www.earthbagstructures.com/basics/basics.htm




The Mythical Group Retreat: Survival Preparations are Not Like Car Detailing

The mainstream media has recently featured many articles about multi-millionaires buying opulent shelter spaces marketed by companies like The Survival Condo Project and Terra Vivos Reportedly, these swank leased shelter spaces are being gobbled up by the rich and famous. (Important Caveat: Those are just two well-publicized examples among many similar ventures, and I’m not criticizing them, per se. I have serious doubts about the efficacy of all such leased retreat space ventures, if and when things fall apart.) Survival preparations are not like buying a service, such as car detailing or house painting. You can’t just “have it done” …




Letter Re: Sanitation Issues: Understanding Home Septic Systems

Dear SurvivalBlog Readers, Recently SurvivalBlog has presented several articles on sanitation issues. I’d like to add to those. Many homes are equipped with septic tanks to perform as a holding tank for waste allowing waste decomposition to occur. Reduction of solid waste through bacterial action works, but is a slow process and often incomplete; additionally, a large number of chemicals we regularly introduce into our septic tanks, such as common soap, dish washing and clothes detergents, bleach, commercial toilet cleaning solutions, etc., are toxic to the bacteria performing the job of decomposition. Septic tanks are one part of the equation, …




Letter Re: Hobbit Houses

Hugh, I looked at these houses you can bury. We found a few areas of concern. They are joined together in such a way that we were concerned about leakage. Also, you can only bury in about 6″ to 8″ of dirt, which doesn’t give much protection. We are planning to get InterShelter Domes. They come in 14′ diameter or 20′ diameter, and domes can be attached to each other to make bigger dwellings. InterShelter Domes withstand hurricane force winds, earthquakes, and require no maintenance. InterShelter Domes are made of aerospace fiberglass, and you would have to hold a blow …




How Two People Can Build A Fully Functional Bug Out Cabin For About $10,000 In Just Two Days, by S.T.

There are many builders of sheds that are available all over the U.S. I picked this builder as an example because their products are available in my area and I have seen their products in person. This builder also offers free delivery and setup in my area. Make sure that the exterior paint color and roof color you choose will blend in with the area where your cabin will be placed and will not stick out saying “I am here, so please come and get me”. First, pick your size of ***LINK to http://www.backyardoutfittersinc.com/products/treated-buildings/lofted-barn-cabin-playhouse/***shed. Some options are: 12′ X 28′ …




From Debt to Rural Independence, by R.T. in Georgia

You may read that the first thing you should do when prepping to prep is to get out of debt, but there is not much depth beyond that in the description of why you should get out of debt. My family has made a journey from debt to sustainability over the last seven years and absolutely the main thing that enabled that to happen was getting rid of our consumer debt. This is a quick description of one family’s fortune, what God allowed us to do and the opportunities that were made available to us when we took the challenge …




Constructing a Multi-Use Hoop House on a Budget, by O.M.

Many people are hard pressed to pay full price for a prefabricated building. These often cost several thousand dollars. A small chicken coop can cost several hundred, just to provide very minimal housing for a few birds. A good green house is also quite expensive. Instead of shelling out a bunch of money or, worse, going into debt, my solution is to do it yourself! This set of instructions requires no particular wood working, plumbing, or construction experience. A little common sense, simple tools, and materials allows for all of these structures on a shoe string budget. It is even …




An Essential Prep: The Outhouse, by KMH

A car I did not recognize drove up the long, bumpy, dirt driveway to the camper trailer that was our home. We had not been there a week yet, but we were gradually making things comfortable. My husband and I, with our four children and an old friend of ours, had decided to go off the grid. We bought five acres in rural Tennessee, purchased a camper trailer out of a farmer’s field for $100, and started living on our land. We had set up a table made of pallets under a tarp-style pavilion and cooked our meals on a …




Gravity Fed Water Systems, by J.S.

Gravity systems are simple but very complex at the same time. Having lived on spring water that was fed by gravity for over 50 years, I have some experience in making these systems work and easy to maintain. I hope that my simple overview will help you design, build, and enjoy a gravity-fed system, too. There are four basic elements to a gravity water system: source, intake, sediment removal, and storage. Of course, you may have to deal with some troubleshooting down the road as well. Source The source can be any supply of free water. Spring, creeks, lakes, rivers …




What to Expect When Planning A Hardened Shelter With A Professional Team of Engineers and Architects, by D.C.

I’m writing this article to persons considering developing their retreat with a fortified shelter. Here, I will thoroughly explain the expected preparation and process we went through on our shelter design and construction phases with our design professionals (engineers and architects) and other building industry professionals (general contractors, subcontractors, and product vendors). I am a licensed architect, with licenses in more than eight states and over 25 years of experience. Much of my career has been spent in highly technical commercial work (MRI suites, computer data centers, pharmaceutical labs, and so forth). For a mid-career alternative, in 2001, I also …




Letter Re: Use of the Title Architect

James, You have recently run two posts (my article and D.C.’s reply letter) and have dug into the ugly underbelly of the building design world. I think there needs to be some clarification of D.C.’s points.  I will dissect it to indicate that this is the type of person that I would describe as an “elitist” and they are why we are in the predicament that we are in right now in this country.  I mean simply stated: Why would using the term “architectural, Architect, or Architecture” be a misdemeanor?  Sounds like a little government overreach to me.  First things …




Letter Re: A Contractor’s Preps: Materiel Storage

Dear Mr. Rawles,  Thank you for the article by Paul W. about contractor’s preps.  Free building supplies can often be found at Freecycle.org, there are local groups in most cities.  Also, don’t forget Habitat for Humanity re-sale stores, which have very inexpensive supplies. Thank you, as always. – Carol D.




Letter Re: Use of the Title Architect

Letter Re: Use of the Title Architect James, In nearly every state I am aware of it is unlawful and may be a misdemeanor for any person to use a title, business name, or description of business services using the word “architect”, or “architectural” to refer to one’s self or business, unless the principal of the firm is a state licensed architect. Some states take this so seriously that I as a licensed architect on several states, am prohibited to use of “Architect” and/or “Architectural” in a state where I am not licensed, or in a state where I am …




A Contractor’s Preps: Materiel Storage, by Paul W.

I’d like to discuss my perspective on family preparedness, from the perspective of a architectural design and building contractor. There are four categories to this aspect of preparedness:  Materials, Tools, Knowledge and Usefulness I read a lot of articles about things to stock up on when TEOTWAWKI situations occur.  One thing I do not hear discussed as much is keeping a well stock material shed at your bug out location.  Now keep in mind this is not a Bug out bag list.  The is a Bug Out Destination or Home list. Coming from the world of Architectural Design and Contracting …




The Leader’s Recon: Planning the Homesteader’s Defensive Battle Space, by Tim R.

Today, I did a leader’s recon (reconnaissance) of my small homestead.  While I was in the infantry, I would plan my future ground defense by walking the terrain with my small unit infantry leaders.  Today, I did the same, minus the team leaders.  Twenty years in the infantry, and now several years retired, and now I look at how I am going to protect my family and defend my rural homestead.  I feel that the day may be coming soon.  President Obama stated that our nation’s deficit does not concern him.  This nation is on a mad printing spree, conjuring …