Shelter Comfort

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Devildog3531, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. Devildog3531

    Devildog3531 Monkey+++

    For those of you with Tornado/Hurricane/Air Raid/Bomb/Fallout/War/Fire/Zombie shelters, I have a couple questions as I'll be building one with my income from 7 months in Iraq. I'm also looking for any advice besides subjects pertaining to the following questions, so feel free to add more...

    1. If I decide to go with a cement structure for an underground shelter, is there a good way minimize moisture? I'm guessing less mold and better smell would be a good perk with this??? Or will I have to do more for mold and odor.

    2. What would be good, comfortable, square footage for four adults and one child, who is currently 11 months old?

    3. I'm thinking about using hammocks instead of bunks for the sake of storage space. Do you think it would be better or worse than some old rack? Is this even a good idea?

    4. I heard Canadian MREs are a good way to go. Is this true as in they keep your body going, or is this something an idiot said cause they "taste good?" Anyone know an easy to find brand of cheap, long lasting, canned goods?
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    I'll take number 1.
    Make sure the footings are adequately drained, and it would not hurt to have a sump pump. Also, you'll want a dehumidifier. If electricity goes out, you'll just have to live with it, unless you spend large money on chemical absorbents, most of which are pretty hazardous with kids around.
  3. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

  4. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    just realized, one of those links has the PDF file of the above mentioned book... Print it out.

    JC Refuge on this site is a shelter guy as well and might be able to give you some other pointers
  5. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Well, I havent gotten mine built yet but have been planning it for some time so will offer what thoughts I have on it.

    1-As Ghrit mentioned the construction of it and drainage will be your biggest thing on this and a dehumidifier would be good but I know you can also get the absorbing stuff like is in the desicant packs and fill a cloth bag with it to hang over a bucket and make a dehumidifier that dosent need electric and will also cool a bit through evaporation.

    2-This one would be tough since first it is pretty subjective then also depends a LOT on exactly what you expect to use it for. If it would be a tornado shelter and a bit of storage (kind of like a root cellar) then 20 square foot of open floor space would be plenty since that would allow room to set up 4 chairs and sit or move around just a bit and since for this use it would be rare for you to be in there for an hour let alone more that should be plenty. OTOH if you are talking about a fallout shelter where you plan to be there 24/7 for 2-3 weeks then you need room for sleeping, toilet facilities (and a bit of privacy for this helps a lot for comfort) a kitchen area, considerable storage, etc. So for that I would say at least 300 square foot to be reasonably comfortable. More infor on intended purpose could help on advice for size/floor plans to make smaller space (less breaking the bank) work better for that purpose.

    3-My thoughts on this would be to go with beds. If you are going to be there long enouph to need sleeping places (in a stressful situation this would likely mean a couple days or more to lay down to sleep) so storage as well as being able to seperate a bit (privacy) would be helpful for comfort and nerves. So with hammocks the main up side would be they could be taken down easily and the space used as a kitchen or 'living room' but then te ones sleeping there cant lay down if the space is being used. If you have bunk beds then stuff can be stored under them and a space about 7'x10' with panneling or even blankets for walls would provide a bedroom for the 2 kids to share where they could go and not have to right with every one every minute, insulation board or foam matress covers makes it kind of sound proof for their own space and more privacy, and so makes it less like being stacked on top of each other ALL the time. A double bed for mom and dad would allow a bit more normality there and if its hinged to the wall then pullies and counter weights (could be buckets of rice) make it lift easier and the space below can be storage so its not wasted space. Most of this is based on the idea of being there for several days to a few weeks and haveing a minimum space of 10'x30' to hae 2 bedrooms (7'x 10' each) a toilet area (3'x5' at eand of 'hall' along rear bedroom) then a 10'x10' space to be kitchen, living room and storage (stored goods in buckets as chairs and box tables and such).

    4-I might think about Mountian house stuff if was going for stuff just for storage. If you go that way you might look up JCrefugee around here, he has some good deals.

    Ok sorry to have babbled, but maybe it gives some different ideas.
  6. FalconDance

    FalconDance Neighborhood Witch

    Beds-wise, if you have the room, why not something like they do aboard ship? In the Navy, we had bunks 3 high with ample storage built in under each bunk (lift up the bed and voila, your entire life could just about fit in!). Obviously, your shelter won't have that kind of headspace but you could stack two high and use curtains for privacy.

    We also do not have a shelter built. I like the idea of a de-commisioned underground military installation, myself ;). A small community could fit in some of them.

    Going off to view those links now for more realistic and doable ideas ;)

  7. ripsnort

    ripsnort Monkey+++

    DD, The main question is are you going to build it on a dry,well drained site or are you restricted to an existing location that has moisture problems? Either will be expensive projects, but if you can choose a dry, well drained site it will be simpler and cheaper. There are numerous new ways and technologies to seal and drain your structure, or any basement. Too many to try to start listing here, but again the most important thing is location, location, location. If at all possible, avoid a site with moisture problems.
    I really like hammocks, especially the new ones that allow you to sleep flat. They can be stored against a wall and not take up any space.
  8. Devildog3531

    Devildog3531 Monkey+++

    Thanks a lot everyone; I will surely put a lot of the advice you gave me to use. For those who asked what type: This will probably be a fallout shelter, as I'm sure it will be sufficient for any other disaster with the exception of a massive Florida flood. (If Katrina hit FL it probably would have been MUCH WORSE)

    Florida is the capital of humidity in the US. So moisture will be my biggest problem. Not to mention the more rural you get in Florida, the more swampy everything gets. I already know with Florida's soft sand, construction will suck.

    Right now I'm in the suburbs, trying to convience my wife to move somewhere more rural (Eustis or Ocala). To put it simply I'm a reclusive hermit who married a social butterfly. I'd much rather relocate near some family in TN or NC; however, 3 hours away from where we are right now is hard enough with her, lol.

    As far as hammock vs. bunk. I may do half and half and alternate with the other couple on a nightly basis. This would probably be easier on storage and avoid a huge clutter, not to mention if one does not sleep well in the hammocks, they're not completely limited to it. My biggest nitpick will be cluttering everything up.

    I was not considering "privacy" until now, but I imagine with 300 square feet (10' by 30') I may have the ability to put a divider up somewhere... maybe a curtin or something that can be pulled back during the day.

    You guys really gave my brain a jump start, if you have any more advice keep it coming.

    BTW: Great read, thanks Melbo! The stuff I currently have is my dad's Vietnam era "Guidebook for Marines." My brother's Desert Storm "Basic Skills for Marines," and my "Green Monster." Seems the nuclear survival topic gets smaller as time goes on for the military, wonder why? Either way, this guide is working out much better than what I had.
  9. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

    If you want a permanent hurrican proof home, consider building one of these out in the orlando countryside. I am fascinated by this structure.
  10. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Even in FL, you can do a concrete house, slab on grade and berm it up so it's mostly covered and protected. Takes some attention to detail to keep it dry, but not a difficult task.
  11. Blackjack

    Blackjack Monkey+++

    Just checked it out and.... impressive. If it's only half as good as they claim, it's still very cool. I'd be curious to see one in person though.
  12. Devildog3531

    Devildog3531 Monkey+++

    Yeah the bermed houses are nice, I have a rough idea of what I'm doing already. I should have one hell of a survivalist paradise at least started by next year. Not to mention all the information you guys are giving me is either a solution to one of my problems, or another option...
  13. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Something that you also might consider would be a shipping container like they stack on the ships/trains/and haul with semis. From what I understand some of them can be had for as little as $1-2K. If you took one and maybe use something like the rhino lineing stuff for pickup beds to coat it to prevent rusting through, set it in place then mound dirt over it with an entry way open you could have a space about 8'x40' (think some other sizes also) already made and just have to seal and burry it.
  14. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    I also thought about the container idea.... my understanding is that while they would seem to be very structurally sound... they are constructed for stacking specifically one on top of the other... not necessarily for the pressures on all sides and possibly the top.... depends I guess on how you bury or construct it.... check this one out, do some searches and talk to a few people before you opt for the container idea.... it may be a great idea.... or not
  15. Devildog3531

    Devildog3531 Monkey+++

    I actually thought about that first; maybe you guys can debunk my conclusion: Florida being swampy, would that mean it would get rusty at a faster than normal pace? Possibly rusted to shit and/or hazardous by the time I actually need the shelter?
  16. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Dd, containers won't last forever, even if above ground. But with a bit of proper coatings (after you get it, the factory coatings are pretty good when new and undamaged) they will hold up quite a while. Might not be too bad for us old farts, but folks with young children should go for something a bit more permanent. If buried, they will take some earth pressure, but I'm not so sure about it if the ground is saturated (meaning below the water table.) Might do alright on grade and bermed.

    NIGHTSTALKER Monkey+++

    Look up ferro cement, if you are set on the shipping containers. Think roofing tar and roofing felt. Bury in rock then sand cover with 6 mil ground cover plastic. should be good to hook for many years.
  18. duanet

    duanet Monkey+++

    One of our customers does concrete septic tanks etc. Precast and waterproof, and has the big trucks needed to deliver them. He has done some precast pump houses for wells. I don't know how big. They dig a hole and put the concrete box down over the well and connect the well pump and such below the frost line, It is covered with dirt with a door like a cellar bulkhead. The town bought one for a well and saved a good chunk of change over doing it from scratch. The one the town bought is about 8 feet wide, 8 feet high, and 16 feet long with a manhole over the well so they can remove the pump and pipe, and a door on the end with a double door. One below ground and one above. They built it so you could go from the small building with the emergency generator and go down into the well area. The generator area is unheated. I haven't looked into it but it looks like it would make a good root storage, safe room area in places where flooding wouldn't be a problem.
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