Shipping Containers for Survival Shelters

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Shipping Containers for Survival Shelters One of the more expensive aspects associated with developing a self-reliant lifestyle is the purchase, or construction, of a safe haven. As part of the survivalist/prepper community we discuss various types of shelters that can either be purchased from a manufacturer, or built through the blood, sweat and tears of our own trials. Using shipping containers for survival shelters is not a new concept per se. Several people in the past have purchased and repurposed shipping containers for survival shelters.

It never ceases to amaze me the financial expenditure some survivalists will go to in order to secure a safe haven. Millions of dollars invested in purchasing and retrofitting a decommissioned missile silo, to me at least, seems excessive for any prepper, even if you are financially fortunate enough to afford such a prepper palace. Using shipping containers for survival shelters is a cost effective approach to getting your bug out bunker in place. There are also some advantages to using shipping containers for survival shelters that are not possible, or easy to accomplish, with other prefabricated platforms.


Shipping containers are useful as bunkers for many reasons. They are inexpensive and easy to transport, air and water tight, and designed to withstand extremely heavy loads.

As they are made of steel, they can easily be modified with basic electric or hand tools. They can also be placed side to side or one on top of the other to allow for expansion of the shelter.”

Given that information, one could argue that using shipping containers for survival shelters covers most, if not all, of the concerns we as survivalists have regarding what a well-built bunker should encompass. Considering shipping containers for survival shelters allows the prepper in question the opportunity to configure their chambers according to their own needs and desires.


“The shipping container design proves efficient because it is inexpensive, can be constructed quickly, has massive structural strength, and can be constructed by an average person with basic equipment.”

Okay, so that is a little misleading. Obviously if you elect to use shipping containers for survival shelters they will need to be hauled to the site and a hole will need to be excavated to accommodate the size. Now I suppose you could dig the hole with ‘basic equipment,’ such as a shovel, but I would highly recommend using a backhoe for this part of the process.


“In today’s turbulent times of war, terror and natural disasters, bunkers are becoming more popular as people prepare for emergencies.

In the wake of the deadly tornado in Oklahoma, more and more people are preparing for the worst and are looking into ways to protect their families.”

It is not necessary to spend hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars designing a suitable safe haven. Another advantage associated with using shipping containers for survival shelters is their international availability. They are used worldwide and can be found listed for sale in a number of media publications and advertisements. I think we can all agree that using shipping containers for survival shelters will provide all of us with the opportunity to invest more of our hard earned income on other survival related gear. That million dollar missile silo isn’t going to serve much purpose if you spent all your pocket change acquiring it!

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7 Responses

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  1. author

    Ken2 years ago

    Great for general storage and as an above ground storm shelter….especailly if almost totally full of supplies.
    I have 4″ thick styrofoam that has sheat metal glued to each side on the top as insulation from the TX sun. Plus it is faily shaded. Stays about the same temp inside as the outside temp. Remember the movie “The Book of Eli”? Put in a hand pump well. Do your own with one like a Hydrodrill. Does not have to be registered with the county. Keep it covered up until needed.

  2. author

    Jim Stokes2 years ago

    I currently own two containers, a 20′ and a 40′. The smaller one will be a
    storm shelter. Ken has the right idea of using insulation and a shell on the
    outside, to utilize the heat mass of the steel properly. If left bare, the
    temperature inside probably goes over 150 degrees.
    I’m welding in a 3’steel door, opening inward, so that it can’t be blocked by debris. Am working on a ventilation system. Will anchor it with
    1 -1/4″ steel threaded rod into poured in ground concrete anchors.
    Containers aren’t designed to withstand direct burial. They have immense
    strength on the four corner pillars, and those are the best anchor points.

  3. author

    JJM2 years ago

    At less than $10 per square foot, a reasonable price even if only used as a durable secure shed.
    For those not aware: If you intend to bury it, you must consider reinforcement of top and sides. They are only stack-able due to the strength of the corners. And since metal rusts, appropriate waterproofing should be a concern.

  4. author

    Kevin2 years ago

    Thank-you all for the comments and additional information regarding using shipping containers as survival shelters!

  5. author

    Curtis Scott2 years ago

    They also make great “basements”, bug-out shelters, panic rooms and camps for when you want to get back to nature. I have an associate who does amazing things with shipping containers for people who love to think in these terms. It’s very practical & cost effective.

  6. author

    Kevin2 years ago

    Thank you Curtis, I could envision several different configurations that might come in handy and have even given some thought to using these myself!

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