The Perfect Prepper House? (Conclusion)

Grass Hut or Underground Bunker?

Guest article, by ‘NRP’

Final in a series I started back in December of 2015, I took a little break.

In past articles I tried to point out a few types/methods of construction, location, materials and so-on in building the “Perfect Prepper House”.

With the recent developments in Weather, Possible pending War, Social Unrest and just all out concern in regards to surviving the Apocalypse of your choice I’m going to hit more on what a Home should mean to the Owner.

First of all building or preparing a person’s ‘Castle’ is totally a matter of choice. Each and every one of us may have different ideas on what is needed, mainly because of what ‘Zombies’ we are trying to protect ourselves from.

Obviously if one lives in the extreme Southeast, Hurricanes/Flooding may certainly be on your mind. The Northwest probably Fires. California Earthquakes and Overpopulation come to mind. If you live 15 feet from a Nuclear Power Plant, than you may have different concerns than maybe someone that lives in the Four Corners with the Orange River (Thanks EPA).

So what is it that makes your particular House the “Perfect Prepper House”?

Well certainly a very well-constructed structure with an ideal layout is a start. A good Location with all of the special goodies; such as a good source of water, maybe Solar Power, HUGE Deep Pantry, and so-on could not hurt.

I believe what makes the “Perfect Prepper House” is the devotion and mindset of the person/people that occupy the Home.

My belief is one can live in a Grass Hut or the most sophisticated Underground Bunker.

But if you do not have the right attitude and willpower, knowledge and skills, abilities and faith, then no matter how simple or ultra-complex your ‘castle’ is, you have nothing more than a big pile of “stuff” with almost no hope of “making it” out the other side with any sense of worth.

Sure you may certainly be alive on the other side of the Apocalypse, but something you need to ask of yourself is, Why? What good are you if you suddenly find yourself standing among the ruins with no other goal than to say you “made it”?

Yes that Underground Bunker will help you live through a Zombie Attack, but if that’s your only goal maybe you have forgotten what life and living is all about.

The “Perfect Prepper House” is nothing without it being a Home, enjoying the ‘now’, and living the Lifestyle.

Do you live in a House, or do you have a Home?

-NRP

Perfect Prepper House Part-1
Perfect Prepper House Part-2
Perfect Prepper House Part-3
Perfect Prepper House Part-4
Perfect Prepper House Part-5

51 Comments

  1. Sure, the house itself, it’s location, the stuff inside, it all helps! However, no two of us on the planet are in identical situations and circumstances. It’s lots to do with how we live, our abilities, our ‘adaptabilities’, our attitude, our lifestyle.

    For me, I really do enjoy living the lifestyle to the extent that I can. I find that the more I separate myself from ‘the systems’ that most people rely on, the happier I am in my home and lifestyle. It’s simply liberating.’

    Even during the days of my life while living in a less than ideal ‘prepper’ location (actually almost the opposite!), I had the prepper mindset. I had acquired some ‘stuff’ and I would have been alright for a while after SHTF, however I had bugout plans too if I needed to, and I also had a longer-term plan… to permanently get out of my chains and move. I finally did.

  2. We live in a great place for preppers. Most people don’t even know they have gone through a town when they drive through ours. And we are way back on a dirt road on the side of a mountain. We bought 11 acres of raw land in 1995 and have built up a little compound with gardens, 2 studios (art and weaving), sheds, wood piles, a medium house with decks. Our view is for miles in all directions. We didn’t realize we were building a perfect prepper place. And now we are much older and pooped. It is becoming too much to maintain for just the 2 of us and our kids aren’t interested. So we plod along fixing the things that fall apart first!

    1. OL. I know EXACTLY how you feel! We did something similar and now spend most days just keeping up with the demands of the rural lifestyle. One day, maybe, the “kids” will miss it?

    2. You have two studios? Are you using both of them? Maybe it is time to convert one of those studios to an apartment. If you could find someone you really trust (hard to find (I know), you could rent out the studio for a nominal amount in exchange for a little help with some of the chores. Then if things go bad, you would have someone to help with defense, gardening, etc. There are a lot of things that could go bad besides just a societal collapse, such as one of you becoming seriously ill — or dying. It will be very hard to survive alone or with a disabled spouse if the government services aren’t there for any reason.

      1. Yes we have tried to think of a way to get help, but they would have to be willing to work for room and meals which we would be happy to provide. But there is no work out here if they wanted some income other than room and meals.

        1. Old Lady

          You need to look for someone on Social Security. He/she will have an income and not need to work and he/she will have a lifetime of skills.

          There are lots of seniors living in poverty, sometimes as little as $700/month and spending almost their entire monthly income on rent. They would be happy to have free room, board and utilities. Social Security or a pension would provide clothing, medications, pet food, car expenses, or whatever.

  3. I agree that separating ones self from the system is so comforting. We can go a month without going out to purchase things such as food, fuel, and other “wants”. I say “wants” because we have accumulated all of our needs, and frankly we could go much longer. I think we get out just to relieve the boredom of being home all the time. Electricity is our weakest link at this point. We can live without it, but life would become much harder to endure. Just look at Puerto Rico, 4 to 6 months before electricity with be fully restored. Now if that news doesn’t get people off their duffs to prepare they deserve what they get when it all comes falling down.

    I can’t believe all of the structures that have been totally destroyed. I believe that a good sound structure should be first. What good are all of your preps if a hurricane can destroy your home and spread all of your preps to the four winds. I don’t think most people really look at how sound their primary structure is in todays wild weather time.

    1. I think I go out just to remind myself why I am working towards being self sufficient and isolated. And every time I go out I get exactly the affirmation I need to let me know I’m heading in the right direction.

      1. @nailbanger
        Spot on. Last weekend I was at an outdoor fair. The grass was wet and so I put on my rubber boots. Two people commented on how wise that was and that they would now be standing in wet shoes and socks all day. The next day I returned and, sure enough, neither person had rubber boots with them! Some people just don’t learn.

    2. You’re right about the electricity aspect. My very first ‘big’ project after moving to my own prepper location was to design and install a off-grid solar power system to augment our existing feed from the grid. I designed it large enough to power the whole house during the sunny (summer) months while still enough to power all essential systems during the winter months.

      1. Our wish list includes a solar system just large enough to power the well pump. I still need to figure out the size I would need to do that. I really don’t care about all the extra’s, but water is essential.

        1. Peanut Gallery
          IF you do not find your paperwork on the wells depth, I can give you that information. Just let me know thought i would give you the other opposition should you require it.

      2. Ken have you looked up California Cooler? with a little thought you can use it for 7-8 months in NH as a sub for a fridge, a root cellar or a well house can do the rest. The fridge and the well are my heavy electric users.

        Thanks for a great site.

        NH Michael

  4. When we first moved to the mountain, we WATCHED the weather, winds, snow drifts etc for a year before deciding to give up some immediate window views for the safety of wind breaking hillside. Then, after speaking with insurers, decided to build with steel instead of cedar. Then, thinking of older years ahead decided to make it one story instead of two…….the lists of considerations goes on.
    Bottom line? we have a lovely, secure, HOME that is protected from worst winds, worst snow drifts, most invasive views from people, 4 miles off any well beaten path, 1 1/2 miles from nearest neighbors and lots of privacy. 40 miles to nearest “city” of a mere 10k people.
    Requires alot of shopping planning, a desire to be isolated (good thing I have DH as my best friend), and quite frankly alot of energy to maintain. You have to really want this.
    Be safe folks, keep living the lifestyle.

    1. @Pioneer Woman. When we built 30 years ago I took into consideration our health as we age. I insisted on building a one story ranch so we don’t have to deal with stairs. I had family members that had two story homes where they ended up moving their bedroom into the sitting room or living room as they could no longer handle stairs. Four years ago we replaced our roof with metal that will withstand cat 5 hurricane winds and fire. I just wish we had considered either brick, stone or metal for the shell of the house. We sit low on our land so winds never hit us as hard as the people around us.

  5. “Sure you may certainly be alive on the other side of the Apocalypse, but something you need to ask of yourself is, Why? ”

    Why indeed,,,

    Some stuff may not be worth living through

    1. That is a very true statement Nailbanger. I have often said that I don’t really prep to survive I prep because I am afraid that I will. As with some of the others I am getting a little up in the years though at 60 I still have quite a few a head of me. But living up in the mountains as I do would mean a lot of really hard work with snow,clearing enough land for gardens big enough to fully support me hauling water cutting wood ect. I was never afraid of hard work but I also understand that cutting wood by hand and things like that are fast becoming something that my body will just not tolerate and moving away from my mountains to anywhere else is something I won’t tolerate .

      1. I think we are all headed for a lot of really hard work like it or not, no matter where we live.
        Im the same way, was never afraid of hard work, and im right behind you age wise but years of dragging winch lines and heavy saws through tangled trees and building homes is catching up with me,
        The consolation though is when im working around the farm etc i feel good,
        I think for most of us, making do with what we have is going to be our biggest hurdle. Not that we are not able etc, but repurposing, repairing, etc is going to be the only option, that could be good though.

  6. I would not say our home is perfect and our location is doable. We are off the road and not many know there is a home here, we have lots of people coming up our driveway just to discover its not a road at all.
    Our home is a mobile home. We do have a concrete root cellar with a steel door. And if there is a bad storm we would use it as a storm shelter. Would love to have a complete under ground storm shelter but only big enough to let the storm pass. We are a out doorsy family (farmers) and couldn’t see any of us wanting to stay in it very long.
    There are some things you just cant prep for. We prep and plan, in case we come out of an event. But when it comes right down to it, its all Gods will.

  7. When we left our native state of California aka The Crush of Humanity, we felt very blessed to locate and purchase the property and home we now have. It’s been a long drawn out process, but, we are now implementing some off grid applications for the home and two outbuildings, which are built into the hillside. One is for storage, the other is for living if the house ever got red tagged or destroyed.
    Smallish garden,(which we and the deer herd share), and a natural small spring in property we are trying to tap into surreptiously, since we are on city water. (We have the water rings to all flowing water and springs in our property). We just don’t want the city knowing we’ve got it.
    Bugging in is what is in store for us, unless we are in a road trip when the Schumer Hits.

  8. Concerning Hurricane zones including my home which is made out of concrete, reasonably above sea level (15ft.) and inland by 4 miles. Most homes fared well against hurricane Erma. The homes that did not do well were the homes in low lying areas prone to flooding. Another interesting observation was all the New Homes in “Gated Communities” All of their sanitary sewer pumps failed (no power) and the residents had to wade through their own sewage to move about in their fancy communities. Too funny! 500K+++ homes and you get to swim in feces. LOL :)
    I did use sandbags for my home to deal with minor sheet flooding (1ft.). That is a bit of a concern but I can handle this issue for now. When I’m older we’ll need to find higher ground.

  9. After traveling in Europe and third world countries, I felt convinced that we do not need such large houses, so I’ve been downsizing ever since. The most recent house we built is a one-bedroom metal house with a loft. One thing I like the most about it is its passive solar construction. The south side has large windows and the eaves have a pretty good overhang, designed to allow the winter sun through the windows, but not the higher summer sun. I also have Natchez crape myrtles on the south side of the house for summer shade, but in winter, the leaves have fallen and the trees do not block the sun. When the sun shines in on the concrete floors, it’s pretty warm. Sometimes we have to close the curtains. Although we live in a warm climate, we get below freezing several times a year. We have a terrific little wood stove in the middle of the house, but don’t use it much because of the passive solar design. The north side of the house only has 2 small windows. We have central heat, but have only turned it on a few times. However I don’t have a solution to non-electrical air conditioning!

    1. I had read about wet sheets sometime this year, but never thought about misting the roof. Good idea! And our dog always cools off in the water troughs.

  10. Does anyone else feel the need to hire NRP to build their homes?
    Thanks for the series of articles! My wife and I are looking to relocate to ID in a couple of years and while we’re probably not going build our perfect prepper home, the points you made in these articles will be very helpful when looking for a small homestead to make ours. :)

    Thanks again!
    Rob

  11. I live in the deep south and just went thru Irma. Funny thing is that Maria is not supposed to hit us, yet people are buying all sorts of “Prepper” items like gas cans, bottled water, canned food, and Sterno still?
    I think that Harvey and Irma has woken up a lot of people.

    1. Seminole Wind

      “I think that Harvey and Irma has woken up a lot of people.”

      I sure hope so….. I got a feeling the Zombies are not done with us quite yet…

  12. Hi-all

    Been a busy day, thought I’d stop by; surprised to see Ken has done a FANTASTIC job of editing again, HAHAHAHA

    Thanks for the comments, I guess I wanted to put a finish on the articles from earlier; more of a ‘Why’ rather than the hard core building of a House.

    I really do feel that preparing has as much to do with the state of mind as anything else, again, as I seem to say a lot, Preppers, and Survivalist seem to me are getting ready for something to happen, Living the Lifestyle is surely a way of life that encompasses being prepared by its nature, living differently that most do these days, and certainly being more connected with our roots.

    I know this is a “Modern Survival Blog” and I appreciate the fact that Ken works his azz off to keep it going, a LOT of work. SO I’m hoping that articles like this are not to out of line with peoples thinking that visit and help Ken keep this site going.

    After all, this like many articles Ken is kind enough to publish is just the ramblings of an Old-Fart that’s been around the block a time or two; as most of the frequent commenters have been and have a GREAT amount of knowledge to share, even if we have to pry it from them . :-) :-)

  13. Just read through the whole series of articles. Thanks, NRP! DH and I have been discussing various options concerning our ideal home. We both love this community, but would like to have more land. When we bought this house, it was our first owned home instead of renting. If we ever decide to build, we will definitely use this series of articles as reference. Thanks!

    1. Skibun

      If/When ya do decide to get a hunk of dirt and build, please feel free to ask away with any and all questions ya have, I know the entire group here is very well versed in the needs for a GREAT place,

      Even that Ken dude. did ya happen to see that Garage he’s building, that sucker will withstand a Hurricane for sure.

      1. Thanks! Sometimes I wish I had gone into construction instead of food. I have been blessed with lots of knowledgeable friends who have helped me with all kinds of projects over the years. A few things have even sunk in. Building a house is another thing all together. I like your advice about the architect and general contractor.

  14. Nice job NRP. I’ll take the one on the Right !!! We have looked into bunkers etc. Live in an area it would be hard to hide the fact that one is being installed.

  15. Question- I hope it’s ok-
    I have a concrete porch and it is 5 8inch blocks high. Would or could it be made into a storm shelter? Its totally in closed. It is right up against house. Any intruders would never think it was anything else but a porch.

    1. @ Jan…..Depends on the type of storm your worries are for. 40” high should be ok provided they are sold bricks. The other big “if” is how it is footed/set to foundation and covered over. If it is very sound and you feel secure with it, go NRP and put in some redundant braces and reinforcements. Make sure you got a good ways in and out and some supplies in there and hope for the best.
      That’s all any of us can do….fall back on our plans and preps and hope for the best.

  16. Thanks for the great articles, NRP, wish I’d had some of them before building this current house 10 years ago. Don’t recommend trying to get a house built long distance. The list of things I want to re-do is growing by the day. If I could find a tornado to selectively blow only my roof off — with no other damage — fixing it would solve a lot of issues, lol!

    Like many of us, I’m working on becoming as energy independent as I can. Currently have a small solar system that handles several of my 110 circuits (freezer, fridge, some lights & outlets, etc.), and I’ve seen a noticeable reduction in my electric bill. Doesn’t cover well or heat (a/c) pump.

    Next priority is to find an off-grid solution for the existing 220v well pump (and someone to install it). Have considered swapping out the existing pump for a Grundfos SQFlex pump that can be run on 120v, solar, inverter, generator, battery, etc. Or…put the Grundfos into a new “garden well” I’ve had dug that could be attached to the house if needed in the future but will handle the garden and (future) greenhouse for now. Kinda pricey, tho’. Unfortunately, no one in my area is very solar knowledgeable, so it’s been like pulling teeth to get the well pump guy to commit to move on the project. May need to check out Ol’Homesteader’s 220v inverter solution mentioned above. Wish I had a better understanding of the concepts — and the strength/equipment to do it myself!

    1. I know what you mean about understanding the concepts. I do have an extended family member who is an electrician who just happened to start work this week on a solar farm. I figure I will give him a few weeks then give him a call. I am hoping he can help me with the logistics of a solar set-up for the well pump. Depending on the cost we will at that time get a larger generator to handle the draw on the well pump or go solar. Cost will be the deciding factor. After watching the aftermath of Harvey, Irma, and now Maria I think getting gas in the future can be problematic. A larger generator would also reduce the time that the gas would last and I don’t really want to store 200 gallons on-site. Plus the noise of a generator could make us a target.

  17. Thanks to NRP for an insightful series of articles on building your perfect pepper house. I still work in town and live in the suburbs. I bought a new stick construction house made with wood using asphalt shingles. For me, this will work. Besides, my wife made the purchase decision. I just signed the deed.

    In the past, I have put fourth my theories of urban camouflage in terms of: gun cases, ammo bags and my plain old truck. The exact same thing can be said of my home. We purchased on a lot the is mid-slope so we avoid being exposed to high winds of living on a summit yet we are high enough to avoid the flood plain. We live in a flat area so we are at. low/minimal risk of slide. (a real problem here in the PNW.) and the trees around me are still small enough at present time that a pruning saw is in order more than the Stihl with a 20″ bar.

    My weeds are a main constituent of our lawn and those things hanging in my trees and fence are not Christmas decorations. They are Wasp Traps. Our yard is chemical free and is very popular with the local bird population. We garden in raised beds in order to save our backs yet it also frustrates the moles. We have 3 of 4 sides of our house surrounded by lawns, raised beds or 1/2 whiskey barrels filled with potting soil.

    It is our happy spot and it is affordable compared to where we came from in our former state. In keeping with urban camouflage: We used local contractors and engaged the services of local plumbers, electricians and other local businesses. We are one of theJones and we do not appear to be one of the Doomsday Prepper types from an outside viewpoint..

  18. Good Moring all

    I see a lot of comments on Solar Power and the wishes/wants for a system to power this or that.
    So I figured I’d toss in my 2¢ worth on the subject.

    ‘Lights Out’ just hit, your running around trying to figure out what happened and making sure everyone in your family is “ok”. The next thing that hits is “OMG the Freezer and Refrigerator are not running”. What are ya going to do? Is this a long term power outage or will the ‘power’ come back on in 15 minutes? So you wait, and wait, the 15 minutes becomes an hour, than 8 hours. Now you start to worry, time to drag out the noisy generator and hope it starts and runs because you forgot to service it last year. What about fuel? Is the Battery on the 7000KW still good?

    Ok, let’s look at Solar for a minute. MONEY lots of MONEY, take a good look around the Net and you’ll see your talking a few/lot $K for a hole house system, even if you DIY. Yes it will pay for itself after 5-8 years, than you have ‘free’ power, till something fries. BUT, how much are you going to spend on a Generator or two? “One is none, Two is One” so now you just dumper $2-3K or more on a couple of Generators, right? AND I don’t care what anyone says, Generators are not always the most reliable hunk of scrap iron around at times. On the other hand, if it happens to be Night or a heavy layer of clouds, how well are those Solar Panels going to charge?

    My Point? Start moving away from Electricity as much as possible, Become less dependent on those 3 freezers in the Garage and learn how to preserve your foods/Deep-Pantry without Power. Find ways to heat and cool your home without electricity have a source of light without using electricity (Hint; Oil Lamps and Wood Stoves for heat).

    I for one am putting together a Solar Power System for a back up to the backup to the backup, for no matter how hard I work at it, there is always a need for Electricity it seems; Unfortunately.

    Seems we are hooked on the idea of needing ‘some’ electricity for this or that. Problem is I believe we have become very lazy having unlimited Electricity at our fingertips.

    1. This is why i havent gotten a freezer, it just doesnt make sense, i have a few friends with solar, grid tie, they still dont get it that their solar wont run if the utility goes down,,, the one guy i was shocked, he said it most certainly would run if power went out, then he checked with the installers and they informed him that in fact NO, it would disconnect and could not be energized without the grid being up, they then also informed him how much it would be to get his 120,000$ system to actually work if they wanted it to be a stand alone,,,
      Lets just say not good.
      I would like a solar setup, but just a small one, mostly for lighting, enough to run a 12v refer would be nice, but really not necessary,
      If the power goes out and looks long term ill can the small amounts of meats i do have, we really dont keep that much around, just no need for it.

    2. NRP
      The power dependency is way worse than your examples of power use – we are becoming more hooked on battery powered everything. Battery powered weed whackers, drills, saws, lights, phones, toys, security systems, computers, …… all need charging. Better add a few more panels to the array.

  19. To hermit us:

    Yes, you are right about more things becoming dependent upon battery usage. I would like to point out that many of the newer electronics are also becoming more efficient in that they do the same job with less power draw meaning you can operate things for longer periods of time.

    Examples include: LED flashlights and headlamps, modern cell phones, all computers and modern, flat screen televisions. There will be some things that will use a lot of power due to what you want the appliance to do. Examples of heavy power draw include toasters, ovens and other heating elements, poorly insulated refrigerators, and electric powered lawn equipment. ( you can also throw in incandescent light bulbs in there too.) It pays to do the research before you buy an appliance or make the switch from one power source to another. ( gas to electric etc.)

    In my new home I have gone with all electric lawn care machines. ( most of the gas up here in the PNW contains ethanol which is not good for gas/oil mix within a 2 cycle engine. ) My stove, oven and laundry drier are all gas burning and I have both a charcoal and propane grill for BBQ. My wife still likes incandescent bulbs and I am going to be switching from fluorescent bulbs to LED’s as they come down in price and offer soft light features that my wife loves so much when she reads.

    I was raised in the 1970’s and I remember when President Carter was wearing a sweater within the White House encouraging people to conserve energy while we sat in gas lines waiting to fill up our V-8 engines in Southern California. I began to think of energy efficiency while I saw this take place and I began to take note that: “in 1976 the typical stereo system could run for 1 hour for the same energy it take to toast 2 pieces of bread”. In later years, I obtained almost 90 hours of usable light from an LED headlamp on 1 set of batteries ( Desert climate: I walked my dog at night when temp dropped below 85 degrees.)

    Some modern appliances are pretty cool and the cost savings due to reduced energy draw and/or better efficiency could be worthwhile to get a new appliance. My wife calls it shopping. I call it: “conducting field research.”

    1. CaliRefugee

      1973 sitting in La Jolla Shores gas station inline for 2 hours driving a Chevy Crew-Cab, 454 3/4 ton…
      53 gallons of gas at a time in duel tanks….. UGH!

  20. To NRP:

    I do not know if you had a bunch of children back then. I remember you saying that you were working in construction then. Were you able to use fuel and maintenance costs for said truck as a tax write off/business expense at the time?

    I was the first child in my family to buy an economy car when I graduated school and was able to save enough for a car. The rest of my siblings bought themselves “fast cars”. ( mustangs, cameros, etc)

    1. CaliRefugee

      Naw; no children, Just a HUGE truck for all my ‘stuff’, was a Carpenter than a Supervisor for many years there.

      As far as fuel, would have written it off, but the company issued a Fuel Card to us that did the job to job to job stuff.

      Honestly I have not worried about driving a Gas Hog, I like the room of a Truck rather than a Tin-Can. And I guess the Truck life just grows on ya after 45 years????

      Now the “fast car” that was the late wife’s thing, GTO, Barracuda, did an AMX with a 390 in it for awhile, that finally settled down for a Bonneville hopped up with everything under the sun…. Talk about life in the fast lane, sheeeeesh HAHAHAHA. But what the heck, it got 8 miles per gallon…. UGH!

  21. Old Lady, maybe you could check out having a military retiree that wants to live the lifestyle. He/she would have a small income and still be young and strong enough to really help.

  22. enjoyed your article very much. was raised a hillbilly, from poor mountain folk. in fact my 1/2 native grandmother never left the mountain her whole life until she was sent to a nursing home.
    i was so poor i had to build/rebuild my own cars, trucks, motorcycles etc… from junk. im on social security now and get less than $350 a month from social security.
    my wife is 30 years younger than me, from Philippines so she fits in just fine with the survivalist lifestyle. she has a BS degree in nursing and works on the medical floor at local hospital, brings in good income, but bull crap 12 hour shifts! washed clothes by hand her entire life until 2019. cooked on home made charcoal etc…
    she is not too keen on killing zombies but can patch me up when needed i chose to look for a wife in the Philippines because of their being raised the way i prefer to live. she did NOT know about canning etc… but learns very fast! we lived in a camper for 3 years when we first came to America, totally off grid with satelite internet (hughes net) and 1 prepaid flip phone cell service so she can talk to parents via snitchbook messenger! getting tired of south dakota winters so going to sell out here and head south and dig myself into the side of a mountain.

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