> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Primitive Retreats



Primitive Retreats

Modern survival/prepper theory generally has a well-stock retreat towards the top of the preparedness pyramid. A good chunk of land and basically a fortified, off-grid capable home. Of course, this requires a huge investment of time and resources ($$$) and puts a lot of eggs ($$$) into one basket.

If you're able to live full-time at your retreat, then it's your home and time and investment makes better sense. But many aren't able retreat full-time and look to build a retreat as a second home to flee to in a time of need. This is something beyond the reach of many of us and a huge additional expense even if it is within your financial reach.

So, if you can't afford an expensive modern survival home, are you out of options? Nope!

For thousands of years, man lived in a variety of huts, cabins, shacks, tents and other simple shelters they made themselves. In poorer parts of the world, many still live in these primitive kinds of structures. With some basic tools, time and energy, these kinds of primitive shelters can be made from natural resource, available at your desired location.

On the battlefield, fighting positions are often similarly very simple--sandbags, trenches and foxholes. Packed earth is a free, plentiful and effective means of stopping incoming fire. These fortifications can be made using the natural resources available on-site and require only basic hand tools.

A retreat made from these materials is also intrinsically better camouflaged than a typical modern building--it's made from the surrounding natural resources. Increasing the camo of a say a small cabin or sand bag structure is also much easier than trying to camo - up a typical home.

The point is, you do not necessarily need a big, modern house for your retreat. We're talking about survival here, and survival does not require wood floors, granite counters and even indoor plumbing. If you had the skills, time and need you could build a your own basic retreat just about anywhere. It may not be the Ritz Carlton, but certainly enough to keep you alive and warm. People have built and lived in simple structures like this this since the dawn of man, and we have the advantage of modern tools and learning on our side.

This kind of knowledge opens up your options and gives you great flexibility. You're not tied to one area and one retreat -- you just need a suitable patch of uninhabited land, tools, time and energy. With a well-stocked bug out vehicle, trailer of gear and potentially some pre-positioned supplies, you could get set up decently fairly quickly. The biggest challenge would be sustainable food - you may not be able to count on huntin' and fishin' to keep you fed and alive.

I would think more along the lines of a concealed fighting position than homey cabin in the woods. Semi-excavated, with sandbag parapets, a good roof and good concealment would be a pretty decent place to hunker down and survive. I have a copy of the FM-5-15, Fortifications from 1944, which details several good military designs that could be leveraged for building this kind of structure.

Anyways, I am looking at picking up some knowledge in primitive building techniques - beyond the basic survival lean-to's and a-frames. Shelters, shacks and shanties comes well recommended and the Homestead Builder looks pretty good, too.