Bug Out Shelter From Shipping Containers?

by Joe

Ever considered a shipping container as a great bug out shelter?

I’m on a limited budget, and working out the ideal bug out shelter has been a real challenge. Don’t want to blow the savings account, but want something that will meet a BOL’s needs.

Someone suggested metal shipping containers.

They’re steel, strong enough to support tons of weight stacked above and below them, and look pretty secure. And they’re relatively cheap.

Sounds good, right?

The good folks over at the survivalistboards.com forum have been discussing the use of shipping containers for bug out shelters, too.

Someone offered up this link to a Popular Mechanic’s article about shipping container homes. These homes look pretty awesome!

But before you start calling your local shipping yard to buy a container, here’s a list collected from the forum members you may want to consider:

  • Shipping containers appear strong but are actually only strong at the corners where they support the stacking of other containers. The sides are easily dented in, and the roof will flex under only a moderate (200 lbs) weight. So not as secure for a bug out shelter as they appear.
  • Because of this, burying a container underground will not work. You’ll have structural failure and a cave-in pretty quickly.
  • Although the container itself is cheap, without insulation they’re not survivable — much too hot in the summer, and in the winter or humid weather will collect lots of condensation. And condensation leads to mold. Not good.
  • Climate control requires BIG (read: expensive) modifications.
  • Local zoning laws also come into play, and must be checked before placing on your land.
  • The doors can be locked from the outside, requiring some modification of an escape hatch.
  • The ground beneath the container would need a concrete slab, crushed stone, or some other stable base ($)
  • Very expensive to transport/probably can’t move it if the SHTF.

In the end, many forum members suggested surviving post-shtf life in a 30′ travel trailer. The advantages:

    • Built with climate control
    • Can build a concrete block or sandbag barricade surrounding it cheaply and easily
    • Can be hooked into utilities
    • Can be easily hooked up to a truck and transported

The only downside to “living the simple life” in the travel trailer that was mentioned in the forum was living in it for longer than 2 years wouldn’t work. Not sure why, but after 2 years in a shipping container, I’d be D-O-N-E anyways. 😄

And when a container is made as inhabitable as a travel trailer bug out shelter, the cost works out to being similar.

When you put it all together, an RV or even a small-footprint cabin are probably better choices.

Has anyone tried using a shipping container as a bug out location?

Share your experiences in the comments below!

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