OK, I have a small piece of land with a building on it…now what? That is a good question and one that one of my readers asked recently. What exactly makes a building in the middle of nowhere a Retreat? In today’s post, we are going to look at just that question, what is needed and how to go about making that building and land into a survival retreat.
I guess we should start by defining what a Survival Retreat is. While I’m sure many people have different ideas of exactly what is required to make it a good Retreat, I will use what I consider as requirements for the purposes of this post. Here is my list of required criteria:
Water – Access to water is the primary, and the single most important requirement for any survival retreat. You must have access to it whether you have power or not. Remember that you can only live 3 days without water. This could be in the form of a hand pumped water well, a river or stream and a lake. All of these would make good sources as long as they are close enough to your retreat that you have safe access to them. If you are going to be using a lake or stream for your water, then don’t forget to have a good water filter system and a way to boil it to make it safe for drinking. Drinking unsafe water will make you very sick and can even kill you in some cases. Water should be first and foremost your primary requirement for your retreat.
Food – You will need room to plant a garden and raise livestock if you are going to survive. Fruit trees are a great thing to have as well. Remember that while you can always plant them, they usually take several years to produce large amount of fruit. You will need room for livestock to graze and in a place where you can keep an eye on them to be sure they are not stolen. You will need plenty of room to grow a large garden so you will also have food for the winter and for bartering. You can only go three long painful weeks without food, so be sure that your retreat has plenty of room for growing it. Herbs are another thing that you will need room to grow for both seasoning meat and for medical needs as well. These don’t usually require much room, but you should be sure that you have the room anyway. An abundance of wild edible plants in the area is always a plus!
Defendable – If the place you have chosen cannot be defended then it is useless. When SHTF hits, you will only have what you can successfully defend. If you cannot, then you will lose it. Think of it as probable location of your last stand if you fail to defend it. Do you have adequate cover and concealment? Would anyone attacking it be forced to fight in the open? Can you see far enough around your retreat to know if someone is coming? If these qualities do not exist, do you have the ability to add them? These are questions that you should ask yourself when you selecting your location. Just remember that you only have what you can keep from being stolen.
These three things are what I call the Trinity of survival retreat requirements. Something else you may want to consider is the local weather conditions. If there are cold winters, then you will need an abundance of firewood available at your retreat. Personally I would avoid areas with high mosquito’s populations as they can spread sickness and disease. There is not much worse than having a burning fever on a hot sweltering nights. It can quickly make your life miserable and even kill you. I am sure that there are other things that should be required; we will go with these for now.
OK, let’s say you have a location that meets all of this criteria; what next? I would suggest that you start with fortifying your main buildings by adding sand bags and a cellar if you don’t already have one. This is where you will want to store most of your preps until you need them. Be sure your cellar can be tightly locked up so no one can get to your food and supplies while you are away. Adding shutters with gun ports in them would be a good addition to the security of your retreat. If you don’t already have them, you will want to build out buildings like a Barn and a workshop for building things you may need later on. A building to store thins like gas and diesel in would another good investment. Keeping these with your other preps could be disastrous if something were to happen. If you don’t have a root cellar, then you may want to consider adding one, under your barn is a good place to put one. You want a cool dark place to keep your canned food and fresh vegetables year round. The cellars in most homes do not usually stay cool enough for this and with people coming down all the time to get other items, they don’t stay dark all the time either. Another out building that you will want to add is a Smoke house for smoking meats to preserve them and make them taste better. Last but not least, don’t forget the outhouse! This will be a necessity after SHTF, just be sure to put it far enough from your water source to avoid contamination. 200 feet is the recommended distance and on a downward slope away from any water source.
If you don’t already have them then you will want to start putting up fences around your property to keep out unwanted guest of all kinds. This includes any fences you may need for your livestock as well. There is no substitute for a good barbed wire of chain-link fence. If you do go with a chain-link fence, I would add the precaution on putting barbwire on the top or it to discourage others from climbing it. A good defensive fence is a necessity for a secure retreat. You will also want to put up some type of perimeter alarms whether you use security system, motion sensors or trip wires or even all three is completely up to you. Just remember that anyone trying to slip up on you will do it when you are the most vulnerable and least expects it. Good security is your greatest weapon, take advantage of it, or you may wind up wishing you had. One last thing that many people seem to forget is a tower for radio antennas. Somehow many people overlook these and think they will just climb a tree and stick it in the top. While this may work, the tower can be used for other things as well, like mounting a weather station to help forecast the weather in your area. These are great places to mount your security cameras as well. The height will help them cover a larger area and increase your security. You could also place a wind turbine on the top for generating electricity when the sun is not out. Whatever you use them for, they are well worth the investment and energy it takes to put them up.
Well, that’s about it for today. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please add them to the comments below. As always, your comments are greatly appreciated. I hope I may have given you a few ideas on what to do next when it comes to your retreat, and maybe even a few new ideas. Until next time, keep on prepping!