Shipping containers as storage

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by melbo, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

  2. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

  3. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    Pretty good prices. There are several companies around here that sell them.

    I have seen them from $1400 delivered for a 20 footer to $2400 delivered for a 40'.

    They have new condition and used. The used ones may have a little rust or a dent or two in them but they put brand new door seals on them and they are completely water, sand, and rodent proof. They sell for about $500- $700 less than the "new" ones.

    I have used them for years and they are very versatile. We used them in Saudi Arabia for storage and even stacked some up and used the lowest ones on bottom for bomb shelters during Desert Storm.

    We had several in our yard and put them together and made living quarters out of them. Styrafoam insulation and paneling on the walls, linoleum on the floor and a window AC and you can't tell that you are not inside a pre-fabbed living quarters.

    Also make excellent hunting cabins, and many people bury them and make bomb/fallout shelters out of them.

    I am buying a 20' and making it into a walk-in gun safe. There is a company that sales Safe doors that you build into any frame.

    These things are Legos for grownups!!!
    Lot's of possibilities.
    I have actually toyed with the idea of starting a company building modular cabins for remote locations. I have a design for a cabin or home that would be ideal for a huinting or retreat location. When you aren't there they can be locked up tight and are much more vandal proof than a conventional structure.
  4. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    There is at least one outfit that builds houses with them. I've forgotten the name, but I googled it up as "shipping container house" some time back. Still thinking about that for next year.
  5. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    I just recently bought some ammunition grade one from an army depot that were used one time for delivery. I got the 20' containers for $1000.00 each and bought six of them. They are a little heavier duty and a lot more weather proof than the typical ISO containers. These came from cape Fear, NC.
  6. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I have thought about it for some time and when I can get a few other priorities taken care of I plan to buy at least 2 or 3 of them. I plan to burry one as a cellar for storing food stuff and such in as well as for a storm shelter then will most likely get at least 1 or 2 as ready built storage sheds. I figure for $1-1.5K its better than I could build for the price and semi portable to boot.
  7. poacher

    poacher Monkey+++ Founding Member

    How well do they stand up to the weight of dirt? My understanding is that the corners, top and bottom are the only thing thats designed to carry alot of weight. That makes sense since when you stack them the corners are pretty much the only thing that touches, at least the ones around here anyway. Most of the ones here have about a 4" gap between the top rail and the bottom with only the corners resting on the one below.
    Wouldn't you have to put some type of cross member system in place to reinforce the roof? Lastly around here the small ones go for about 2K and it's another 2-300 to get it delivered. My thought until I found out the price was to buy one or two of the 40' ones and have a buddy of mine that does basement waterproofing come over and spray them so there's a barrier between the moisture and the metal. Furthermore if you get them sprayed then it will seal any cracks or small holes that might otherwise give you a nasty suprise.

    Take care Be safe Poacher.
  8. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    I need one of those.
    They deliver or did you have to pick them up?
  9. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    At least from what I understand they do fine with a couple feet of dirt over them. You probably wouldnt want to bury them under 15' of dirt or someplace where you would drive over them with cars and such but as a basic cellar where theres just 2-3' of dirt on them my understanding at least is that they handle it ok, still probably wouldnt hurt to have a couple of the screw jacks like some folks put in their basements holding 4x4s up to the ceiling as added support though.
  10. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    I have used them for years. We had alomost all of our supplies overseas shipped to us in them.

    The middle, especially on the 40 footers, is the weakest point. I even had one crumple in the middle because the load wasn't loaded right and the crane was lifting it on the four corners.

    If I were to bury one I would brace the very middle with either the method MM spoke of or by welding an I-Beam cross beam and uprights in.

    I also had thought about using roofing tar to coat the outside for rust protection. The underside and corners are so thick that it would take a hundred years to rust out but the sides and the top are the thinnest areas.
  11. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    I think I'd be careful of underground. Have a look at the top for low spots that could pool water and promote corrosion. I've certainly seen them up close and personal, had an office in one for a while, but never thought to look at the roof.
  12. sheen_estevez

    sheen_estevez Monkey+++

    You would also want to think about how much work you have to do to dig one up, in a situation where you need the stuff it may put you in a tougher situation
  13. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    There are a number of plans available for ISO container houses, some are actually pretty cool. I have a piece of land up in Tennessee that is about to get some variation of an ISO domicile.
  14. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Sheen, the idea wasnt to use it as a buried catche, it would have steps leading down to a door at the end of it, like a normal root/storm cellar. Basicly just to use it as a prefabed cellar that you would just burry shallow and use for storage and such. though if you really wanted to the door could be concealed and it could be sort of a catche and easier to rotate than actualy being fully buried.
  15. BAT1

    BAT1 Cowboys know no fear

    Go to
    adam-kalkin for great ideas on these units. For underground shelter, I would use one or two concrete septic tanks and pull in cool air into the tanks underneath from out side and blow into the main room. Access under the coffee table. You can stack them and make a strong stucture out of these. The trading companies just leave them behind. Cut and put two together, or four and stack.
  16. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member


    I'd be REAL interested in those got a website or contact info for them ?

    On the containers, I'd think you have to bury them if you were gonna store anything temperature sensitive like food......and from the prices I've gotten quoted here, I could get a real start on a block building with a concrete top under ground, and waterproof it nice.....but the doors were the weak point, so I'd be interested in them.

    thanks !
  17. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    The build in safe doors can be found here;

    They have an ad in Shotgun News

    As for the heat. The walls and roof get extremely hot if direct sunshine gets on it. The ones we used for living quarters we built like this.

    We insulated the interior walls with sheets of styrafoam. Glued on to the walls with silicone. DONT use construction adhesive, it melts the styrafoam. We then covered that with paneling. Walls and cieling.

    On the outside walls we covered with weatherproof siding. A small roof over the top to shade it from the sun.

    We had electricity in them and had air conditioners. I plan to install a solar powered exhaust fan on the roof of mine. You can get them at RV stores. They are set to open the cover and turn on the fan when the inside temperature reaches a certain level. It sucks out the hot air.

    A turbine like you see on some houses roofs would work but I don't know how weathertight that would be. I guess they don't let rain into peoples attics so they must be fairly weathertight. But they would let rodents and wasps, etc in.

    I plan to inset the safe door 5' into the container. Using the first 5' for ammo storage then the other 15' for the walk-in gun safe. Then a thief would have to get the containers doors, with cut proof loocks, open and then be confronted by the safe door.

    The only risk I could envision was a thief with a winch truck just backing in and stealing the whole thing. To counter this I will weld a 3' long piece of pipe onto the corners and set them into a post hole and cement them in.

    Should be a pretty secure safe.
  18. Bear

    Bear Monkey+++ Founding Member Iron Monkey

    There's a series going on right now on Jim Rawles Survival Blog site on using these containers.... you may want to check it out...[winkthumb]
  19. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

  20. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Might be a whole lot easier to hide it in a berm used on a private range. Takes a dozer that way instead of a hoe (and maybe a blaster.) No need for a sump pump, either.
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