It’s strange to even think of writing a piece about creating prepper hideouts in “The Land of the Free.” Sadly, that freedom has long ago died a bloody death. I think we’re getting much closer to an America akin to the late 1930s Germany. Other countries throughout the world (Australia comes to mind) are already there.
For those who are thinking a “we need to hide our Jewish neighbors” type scenario could quickly unfold again, I’d like to take a moment to give some of my thoughts on how to create a prepper hideout. We need only look at the venom and animosity that is being directed at the unvaccinated to see that this might actually become a necessity in our lifetime.
A hideout is different than a bug-out location, a survival cache, or a safe room. It’s meant to house a person or group of people secretly in the event they are targeted for some reason. Where you will locate this space will vary based on your home, your geography, and other factors.
Let’s talk about what a prepper hideout requires, and what we can glean from history.
The first things a prepper hideout requires are food and water
Without a doubt, this needs to be your #1 priority. Read through any of the diaries of those trapped in Nazi-occupied territory throughout World War II. You’ll see just how large of a presence hunger played in their daily lives. You have to have ample food stores for these environments. Without food, you cannot stay in a hideout for long.
Water is even more critical. Although a person can technically survive three days without water, your motor skills and mental capacity will diminish on the first day. Here’s an article on calculating how much water to store.
In addition to food, you need to consider a way to open cans and a hidden means of cooking food. Can-openers easily solve the first problem. A plug-in stovetop is liable to be the best means of providing the second. Another option is storing food that doesn’t have to be cooked at all.
Plug-in stove units aren’t going to have the massive energy draw of a real stove. If an energy allotment is in place and people are punished for breaking electricity rationing rules, you may want to consider one of these. Plug-in stoves genuinely don’t take up much space and can quickly heat a pot full of chili. I usually use mine to heat a water pot to scald chickens before plucking. A plug-in stove will permit you to enjoy a hot meal. You’d be amazed how much this can help morale.
Adequate nutrition is vital
As far as adequate nutrition goes, it may be wise to consider stocking some vitamins and Metamucil. Vitamins will help offset any micronutrient deficiencies encountered when living off of food stockpiles. At the same time, Meta-mucil will help eliminate constipation worries. While that may sound laughable, consider that many long-term storage food items out there are very low in fiber (MREs come to mind). If that’s what you will be regularly eating, life will quickly grow even more miserable.
The hideout will need to be somewhat self-sufficient
You may assume that it will be easy to keep the hideout resupplied. From a historical standpoint, I don’t think that solely relying on runners has proven to be a fool-proof method. Runners often fall upon their own set of troubles, whether that be fear of surveillance, illness (this happened to one of Anne Frank’s resupply men), weather, or a multitude of other reasons.
To think that you can act as a runner for a hideout daily is naïve. There must be adequate supplies for at least a week stored at the location in case the runner becomes unavailable.
You need to figure out the bathroom situation
If you don’t get this figured out, people are going to die from lack of hygiene. Simultaneously, people will be alerted by the smell. You need to take care of the bathroom situation.
We’re currently living in a world where AI is monitoring sewage in some cities. I don’t think it’s too hard to conclude that AI could detect if there’s an abnormal increase in the amount of sewage from a particular neighborhood. If you aren’t attached to city sewers, you need to consider how extra butts will affect your septic tank. Will it be able to handle the increased volume?
I believe a composting toilet is a worthy option. A compost toilet won’t trigger any sewer AI, will eliminate a smell problem (many tiny homes use these), and serves as a hygienic means of waste disposal. Keep in mind you will need to empty a compost toilet regularly. You’re going to want to do so well before the waste matter gets close to the brim. If you choose to utilize this method, consider stowing extra composting material and ‘waste containers’ for the toilet at the hideout as well.
You will need a way to remove the waste from the hideout discretely. A garden compost pile would be an ideal dumping ground (no pun intended). However, you will have to figure out how to get the poop to the pile without being noticed.
Another option that Daisy has written about is a kitty litter toilet. This same procedure will work in a luggable loo. This will produce more waste that will not decompose, so you need to think about how long you’d be there.
What about light inside the prepper hideout?
You cannot subject a human being to long periods of darkness and expect them to be mentally ok. If anything, the depression rates for those living in the Arctic reflect this. Natural light is ideal, but that means you’re going to have to have light security at night. The windows need to be covered up at night so no one can see a candle or flashlight within the hideout from the outside.
If the hideout is in an area where there is no natural light source, you’re going to need plenty of flashlights, batteries, and lightbulbs stowed away within the hideout. Here’s an article about the importance of light, along with some suggestions. Should there be no electricity within the prepper hideout (e.g., the center of a large basement somewhere), I recommend purchasing a copy of Yago’s Lights On. You will learn how to hook up a power system from golf cart batteries or something similar with the details given by the author.
Loose lips sink ships
You’ll need to keep the prepper hideout as secret as possible. Ideally, while the hideout is being built, you are the only one who needs to know about it. (No contractors, no blueprints, no trail – simply a hidden retreat unknown to the world at large.)
Nobody needs to see construction material going in or out of your house if you live in a neighborhood. As well, nobody needs to see you heading to the dump with a truck full of broken drywall. If you have friends over, they don’t need to see the section of your house where you are building the hideout. Furthermore, build the site as quickly as possible, clean up as soon as possible, and then shut up.
The world is in a strange place
There is undoubtedly more I could add to the conversation here. Hopefully, this will serve as a foundation for you to build off of as you think through this process, should you determine a prepper hideout is well worth your time and effort.
Study the accounts of past efforts. Learn from history. And be careful with the information you’re willing to volunteer.
If you were going to build a prepper hideout, what considerations would you take into account? What tips might you have learned that we should know? Share your thoughts on having a prepper hideout in the comments.
About the Author
Jeff Thompson is an avid fisherman who likes to spend time sailing on his boat and reading while at sea.
“For those who are thinking a “we need to hide our Jewish neighbors” type scenario could quickly unfold again, I’d like to take a moment to give some of my thoughts on how to create a prepper hideout.“
It’s insane that this was written. And sad also. Because this is exactly my thoughts. In a couple weeks my wife and I are doing a 5 day farm immersion course covering small animal husbandry, repurposed greenhouse construction and use, meat preservation, wild harvest preservation, and this subject in the article for a group of Hasidic Jews who I know and do business with.
The article subject was of great importance to them. I plan on using this article now for reference.
If it gets that bad it is time to bug out and join the Resistance.
Most of those trying to hide from the Nazi’s like this, were caught anyway.
The same applied to the Underground Railroad during the US Civil War era.
This generally only works for a very short time, like 2 or 3 day stay.
Although a few cases exist where they went undiscovered for a much longer time, it is the exception and NOT the rule.
Considering the increase in Technology and surveilence capability of the Governments, it is highly unlikely that any one could “hide” someone, a family or a group for very long.
So it is also best, if it is connected to an Escape or Relocation Network of some sort.
One which will guide and protect them on their way to some safe nation or Resistance location.
Otherwise the refugees will be caught, tortured and will give up, who harbored them.
Good intentions seldom turn out well in the real world, especially when dealing with Tolitarian Regimes.
“If it gets that bad it is time to bug out and join the Resistance.”
By 1850, it is estimated 100,000 slaves escaped via the Underground Rail Road.
During the Civil War, it went above ground.
The Taliban insurgents did quite well evading our technology and surveillance capability. For that matter they used our dependency on technology against us.
My experience is the same.
I believe the term “underground” referred to it being secretive- not actually under the ground, though some hiding places were under the ground.
This article is not “fear porn”, but good sound advice. The Communist among us refer to many of us as
” Domestic Terrorist and/or American Taliban”. Now if that doesn’t tell you a whole lot about where this Cold Civil War is heading, who knows what is coming next?
Saw where Smoe Bite’m is cutting off some of the medication needed to treat COVID for my home State of Florida. I guess he and his puppet masters are taking a swing at Ron DeSantis . My DW, when she heard about this said that she considered it an act of war upon our state.
A storm is coming-prepare for ugly
I have been thinking about this very subject a lot lately. So sad that we have to, but it is better to have and not need than to need and not have. Really like the saying “loose lips sink ships” Stay safe every one
The main question with any sort of hideout is going to be: what or who are you hiding from? The police? (That’s a tough one! How badly do you think the police are after you? Because if they’re really seriously after you, your chances are pretty slim.) Violent people in your neighbourhood? Or do you want to run away in case your area becomes dangerous? (Say, frequent power cuts or natural disasters). The requirements of a hideout are different, depending on the scenario.
Ideally, you shouldn’t need to be thinking of any hideouts. You should have a plan to go to a safe place where you wouldn’t need to hide at all. But you can’t always have what you ideally want. If you have a clear idea of what sort of scenario may happen to you that needs a hideout, plan accordingly. If not, probably the best thing to do is to think about places in your area where you may hide temporarily, should you need to. Check them out, think about how you could make them more comfortable, and you may even make some small changes to them to improve their suitability as a hideout. Chances are, you’ll never need them. And if you ever do, having flexibility and a number of options is probably going to be more useful than a fully-stocked hideout that is useless for the event that actually happens.
Good question, re: what or who are you hiding from.
After the recent Israel/Hamas exchange of ordnance, we saw a number of protests both pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. Some got pretty ugly. I have a few Jewish friends who feel fearful. One even said he fears this government. Something he has never felt before.
Could it be The Great Unvaxx Hunt? Sound crazy? Just the other day CNN’s Don Lemon stated,
““We have to stop coddling people,” Lemon said, saying “like Trump voters,” they are “stupid.” “It’s time to start shaming them, or leave them behind. Because they’re keeping the majority of Americans behind.”
Guess what, some yahoo wearing a mask with a ‘Vaccinated’ button did exactly that in a Target at a woman without a mask.
Those who are un-Woke? Or un-Woke enough?
Anyone who voted for Trump?
Anyone who is pro-1stA?
Anyone pro-Nicki Minaj?
Heck, in this political climate, I could see it being if you are whole milk vs skim milk.
Things have gotten that absurd.
Oh my gosh! Bring it on, weird guy. My vaccination status is my private medical information. I’m afraid I might not have been as nice as that lady was if some yahoo was walking around, anointing himself the Target Police and POINTING at me.
Again, well said Marine.
Right on target. Battery five rounds FFE.
My thoughts on a prepper hideout
Since I live in an apartment, there is not much I can do to create a hideout here in the apartment. So, any hideout I would create would have to be off-site. However, I believe the basics would be the same, except for the actual physical location.
First, though, some thoughts about how I would accomplish it if I did live in a house I owned and did not want to do an external hide-out. Or, in addition to an external hideout.
Some possible locations include a crawlspace, with the hideout area deepened to provide at least five feet of headroom. If it is only for me, it can be pretty small as I am experienced in living in tight quarters.
Another option, if there is a basement is to add an internal wall to enclose space for the hideout. It would need to be camouflaged itself by having things placed or built against it, so it is not obvious that the area has been sectioned off.
It would be more difficult to do inside a house, but it might be possible to section of a large walk-in closet, if it is large enough. Or, do the same thing in a large bedroom, creating a smaller bedroom, with the hideout behind the false wall.
There are lots of other options, all situation specific.
Now, to how I would set up a hide-out, if I had one.
As I mentioned, I am used to living in tight quarters, so I can do okay in a fairly small space. I do need enough space to be able to move around at least some so I can get some exercise, and just stretch my legs and whole body.
I am only five eight tall, so I do not need a lot of height in the hideout, and can even get by with slightly under five feet high, as long as I can stretch out horizontally.
To me, air is the first priority. That means having both air intakes and exhausts that will not be obvious and will be hard to find, even if suspected. These can be incorporated into the existing structure by routing ducts, several small ones if larger ones are not doable, to various places in the house or outside. Into the house duct work, to a crawlspace, to the gutter down spouts, to decrative columns, to the attic, and many other places. Be creative.
The intake should come into the hideout low, and the exhaust out high to get as much natural airflow as possible. There may be a need to run a small fan at times.
One of the things that can give away a person in hiding is odors. So, odor control will be extremely important. Cooking, sanitation, and plain old BO can all be picked up by a good nose, especially a search dog, especially if everything is going out at one point in the exhaust duct. Another reason to have distributed air inlets and outlets.
Simply trying to control odor production may not be enough. To be sure, especially if I need a fan anyway, I would attach an air carbon filter to the outlet duct. Which is also probably where I would mount the fan. Though designed for greenhouses, I believe these would take care of just about any odors created in the hideout.
Any small enclosed space is going to get very warm simply from body heat, as well as humid from the body’s evaporative cooling system. There needs to be enough airflow to move both out of the hideout. If there is enough power available a tabletop swamp cooler such as an Arctic Air can be used to get some chilled air on you. It does take water, too, however.
Water is going to be critical, as well. Even if bathing is done using bathing wipes, there will still be a need for substantial water storage, unless water can be piped in clandestintly. And the water stays on. If being hunted, the home will probably have all utilities shut off.
Extensive water storage capacity is called for. Either one container with a pump that can be refilled from other containers or a container on a stand that can gravity feed into the containers that will be used for drinking and cooking.
You do not want to get dehydrated, as mental function rapidly decreases as dehydration sets in. The gallon per day, just for drinking is simply not adequate for more than a couple of days. Probably the largest part of the storage space will be for water. Use good containers, of a size that can be handled without straining.
Have a purifier in the hideout so the water can be purified again, even if it was purified when it went into the containers, just to be sure.
Food is also critical for a stay longer than a few hours. Due to the complications of a hideout environment, foods not needing preparation to eat should be the majority of what is kept in the hideout.
Having a hot meal can be a major morale booster, so being able to fix a hot meal is important. Easiest is just-add-hot-water freeze-dried meals are the easiest, after MREs with a heater included.
A few MREs that you have tried and like are a good choice, but should not be the only choice. Camping freeze-dried meals or your own home freeze-dried meals should round out the hot meal solution.
There is one other option that I will have, and that is a canned food pouch heater. This uses a packet of material that reacts with water to heat it similar to the MRE heater, but with a large multi-layer zip-lock bag to hold the packet, the water, and an unopened can of food to be heated. It does not get hot enough to burst a can, but if it is a regual size can, it will heat through.
Keeping the body clean is important for health as well as morale and psychological health. Keep yourself clean. There are several camping type options to do so. Try a few and stock what works best for you.
There will be human waste as well as trash of several types. Both need to be dealt with in ways to prevent health issues as well as odor issues.
For trash, use Heavy-Duty Contractor clean-up bags. Do not try to fill them full. You will want them compact enough to handle easily and to transport easily. More of them, less full, is better. If possible, have a container into which they can be placed to hold until they are removed.
Human waste is a two part problem. It is best to collect urine separately. This cannot always be done, especially by women. When it can, store the urine in containers with tight fitting lids and place them where they cannot be damaged.
The more solid waste, without as much urine, is easier to handle than will there is the full amount of urine with it. A chemical toilet, with one or more black-water waste totes into which it can be emptied will work.
A small DIY composting toilet is an option if you are handy. And now, with the options available that were not around years ago, a bucket toilet from the very simplest to fairly sophisticated can be set up. Do a few internet searches to check the options and decide which one you want to use.
The chemical toilet will use the black-water-totes or buckets to hold its contents. However, the bags from the composting or bucket toilets will also need to be contained. And they need to be inside a stout container. You do not want them damaged and leaking. Wooden boxes or buckets or heavy trashcans with tight lids are some options. Again, do not let the bags get too full so they become difficult to handle. And the same goes for the container in which you place them.
Light will be required. A few crank-up flashlights will work, or there all the various types of battery powered LED lights. The fewer things that need batteries the better, I believe.
I will want to know what is going on, so some form of communications gear will be necessary. An emergency NOAA S.A.M.E. All Hazards Alert radio with multiple ways to power it should be first.
A public service band scanner appropriate for the area I would want next to keep track of police and other emergency services communications.
Either an HF Amateur Radio Transceiver or a quality HF Shortwave radio to hear international broadcasts would be a good idea.
I have an Amateur Radio General License, so I have UHF, VHF, and HF radios that I can run on a small 12vDC battery system. If I use them sparingly, on low power settings, they will operate for a long time.
Clandestine antennas for all the radios will be needed, but are easily available and installed so they will not be noticed without a detailed, specific search by people that know what they are looking for.
I would probably have some hidden cameras with microphones around, to keep an eye on what is happening outside the hideout.
I need my sleep, so some type of bedding will be required. Since I have sleep apnea, I sleep on a recliner. I use a camping type version that folds up compactly. However, I usually just leave it open and it is my living room chair as well as bed. It does not take up much space at all, and eliminates the need for another chair.
A small table for eating and the communications gear, plus a side table by the recliner and that is it for furniture.
The entry/exit is often the giveaway to a hideout. Most simply use some type of door, or hatch, camoflauged or hidden in some way. People know what these look like, even some pretty well hidden. They know what to look for. So, using an unconventional method of entery/exit to the hideout is critical to help keeping it un-found.
One method I have used for other things is the horizontal over-up-over-down entry. An opening, long enough for the person’s heigt is at floor level. It can have a flap on it or open, depending on what is around it.
It is just high enough for a person to slide through it sideways.
A bit over a body width inside is a vertical wall a bit taller than the entry slot. The person lifts themselves up and over the wall, and then they can stand.
Anyone looking will see either the flap door, or if the slot is open, they get down and look, they see the inner wall. If they probe rather than look, the probe will hit the inner wall and go no further. Unless they have a flex camera to run in, they will not be able to see any further.
There are many other ways and methods and options to setup and equip a hideout. Think outside the box, push the envelope, and consider all the local factors and a person can probably come up with many that are more sorted than those above.
And when looking at products, shop around and look at shipping costs. Sometimes shipping can be more than the product.
Just my opinion.
If one is dealing with a riot, which is predominantly a blue city issue…OK. If one is dealing with an organized tyranny, mobility is the key. Stay in a hole and you will die. An old Dodge Power Wagon or Ford Hiboy without computer chips and an 8′ camper well supplied, lots of carbohydrates and vegetables. Alcohol for mental stress. Extra fuel. Night vision for driving without lights. Hunting and fishing gear. A good medical kit. Means of communication (this is a tough one). Proper weapons and body armor for defense. An escape route that does not include paved roads. A destination that the aggressors do not want or need.
I find this an interesting article. I remember doing a book report on Anne Frank’s diary in high school. I was fascinated and horrified that it could have actually have happened. Yes I’m from Australia and it’s an interesting place to live at the moment and has been for a while. I was invited to be part of a prepper group online of American patriots, and I remember one lady getting upset with me as she thought I was always trying to get one up on her, honestly every situation she mentioned I had already lived. I didn’t stay long in the group our differences were huge between what was going on in each country and sometimes seemed unrelatable . I felt alone. But as my nan said I pulled up my socks and got on with it. I stopped listening to those all around me and went with my gut. I hung in there putting up with things I never thought I’d see until I got us to a safer place which I brought . Criticism about hiding out in the country and moving to the middle of nowhere was ribe. It’s easy to say join a resistance but when you have young children with medical issues that depend on therapy and medicine and routine. And the elderly who need the same . It’s not so easy. For me having survival skills , some extra of the kids favourite foods on hand and sticking to a budget to live the best life we can with what we have.
Hmm…hide in a storage locker? Go camp in the woods? Hightail it to a more friendly state?
There’s a lot I want to say but it’s be best if I don’t on this.
Nothing wrong with the article nor topic BTW.
You can hide bullets, money and people in a secret room, or behind a wall, but if the people doing the searching have dogs, then a good sniffer dog can find everything you hide. If I was going to hide something, I’d build a dog cage, or a chicken coop, or something that will throw the smell of dogs off, and I’m not even sure that is possible. You need distance, hundreds of feet.
I’ve read that certain essential oils are toxic to animals esp dogs
Peppermint essential oil in diffuser would probably be overpowering to their nose
And readily explained as pest deterrent since mice do not like the smell
If it gets anywhere near the point of having to hide someone I’ll be bugging out, more like already bugged out.
Fortunately my destinstion is a farm with a number of buildings already on site. There are also several deer stands on the property, including some thag are in the 8×8 foot size range. The larger, 8×8 foot ones, are enclosed and could be insulated quickly with insulation we already have on site.
With multiple large buildings on farms it is easy enough to pile all the things that collect in those buildings while leaving an area for someone to hide in. Plus in rural areas that see little traffic people coming in vehicles can be seen quite aways off providing time for people to get to their hiding spots.
How many people should be on a farm? How big is the family? How many workers are there? I know of quite a few people who work on farms for cash and aren’t on any employee list.
“That’s Bob, he does odd jobs around the farm when we need them done.”
“That’s Jim, he cuts up some of our downed trees for firewood.”
I’ll bet that as things get bad economically, as people lose their jobs and houses that that those with a family member or friend who has a farm will make their way there. There is always at least one building that can be made livable or a place to pitch a tent or park an RV or trailer. And those extra hands will be needed around the farm.
It can be easy to justify an extra person or three on a farm.
My friend was giving away the produce from his garden last week. Everyone had already gotten what they wanted from it, what was left went to whoever needed it.
The thing we’re all forgetting is infrared. It is not science fiction anymore to have heat seeking drones (think the movie Terminator’s HKs). They are the new “sniffing dogs”. How do you hide your body heat? You would have to be at a certain depth with a few feet of earth above you as an insulator, I’m guessing. Body heat will give you away long before odor.
Can anyone tell me how to make my own rainwater collection with filtration system? DIY projects I found were small systems.
@Beverly…….Do you have a garage or carport? If so you can run an inexpensive gutter. And have the downspout hooked on a rain barrel to catch your rain water.
One thing that today’s Nazis have that they didn’t back in the thirties is infrared technology, heat sensors, and the like.
How do we insulate our hidden room so body heat signatures, etc. are invisible to the electronic eye?