Rehab A SHTF Prep Shack

When I was a kid growing up in Southeast Missouri, my dad bought a lot at Kentucky Lake outside of Murray, Ky.   We started camping there in a big tent then later dad traded an airplane for a house trailer and boat from a manufacturer in Elkhart, Indiana.  That’s another whole story for another day.  The boat riding, skiing and fishing was great.  Anyway on the drives over to the lake in the back seat of the old sedan we would always pass by numerous old ramshackle shacks falling in to the point of total disrepair.


Dad would always say, “Hey, now there is a fixer-upper if I ever saw one.”   We would then begin a long discussion of what we could do to the old house to make it livable.  It sure did pass the time on the long, hot drives to our lake campout site.  This got me to thinking recently when I passed by an old rundown shack like the ones we used to spot on our way to the lake.   Maybe preppers could acquire such a property for an escape bug out location.  What would it take to get such an old place back in decent shape to create an alternative site to outlast a SHTF situation?

Conduct a Bug Out Shack Search

For many preppers around the country finding a good “fix it up” house, barn or other structure on a piece of land might be easier said than done.  It is certainly going to take some dedicated research to locate just the right place for just the right deal.

Those living in more rural small towns or mid-sized cities can often escape to the country easier than those living in huge metro complexes.  Still finding a little piece of land with an existing structure can be done.  Start by studying the web sites of real estate agents in prospective targeted areas.  Eventually plan to visit these areas for a firsthand inspection.  If there are farm or rural newspapers available in your region, these often list such properties for sale or even rent/lease or lease to buy.   You just have to start the process and be prepared to make your move when the offer is right.

Points of Access


Wherever you buy or locate a potential bug out spot, determine your own comfort levels with how easy, difficult, open, or hidden the access points are to the property.  Where are neighbors located, essential services, supply outlets availability, utilities, water service, and other critical issues to consider for a secondary SHTF residence?   There are many factors to take into consideration when selecting a potential bug out shack.


Also Read: Campground Bug Out Location

Even with a prepper bug out shack the bottom line is still location, location, location.  What that means for preppers is the degree of relative security for the area.  A bug out shack does not have to be at the end of a long gravel road lost out in the country somewhere.  It just has to have potential for some elements of security, isolation, and protection considerations.  Avoid buying something that sits right on a highway or even a rural road in plain view of the public passing by.  It would be best to have a house out of sight down a driveway where a sturdy locked gate could be erected.  Again, ideally the lot would be wooded.  This could not only be a source of firewood for the house for heat or cooking but also a habitat for game that could be harvested for food.

Related: 4 Types of Bug Out Camps

A prime property would have established trails or ones easy to make as well as observation points to the outside.  If things really go down the tube, then marauders will be out searching for anything they can steal (heck, they do that now).  Don’t make it easy for them to simply drive up to the front door and bust it down.  Seclusion and security will be paramount.

The Austere Approach


Your SHTF bug out shack need not have all the elements of refinement like your primary residence probably has.  You might be lucky to get electrical power, good water, and sewer or a septic tank.  If not, then preppers can certainly improvise what they perceive as their most necessary needs.  Power can be supplied via gasoline generators, water wells can be created, and an old fashioned outhouse can be built as well.  During a SHTF event, prepper-survivalists may have to live by wood heat, candle lights, and other very basic living conditions.  These are just circumstances that preppers need to be prepared for whether bugging out or in.

Fix Up Skills

I can do a lot of damage with a hammer.  If you do decide to buy a self-fix it up place, you’ll need carpentry or home repair skills for sure or a team member that has them.  You might have to do roofing work, inside flooring or walls, plumbing repairs or many other repair tasks.


Remember to have the proper tools purchased, too.  Besides buying or leasing an existing structure do a pre-deal assessment of the work needed to make any potential shack inhabitable and as comfortable as possible.  This expense may be more than an RV or a large camping trailer.

Read more: The Ultimate Prepper Bug Out Home

Keep all your options open.  If you do not possess the skills necessary to rehab a place, then don’t take on more than you can handle or afford.  Dreams are dreams, but don’t be foolish in the face of reality.


So, this is just one more option to consider for a suitable bug out domicile.  It does not have to be a castle, but it has to be sound, secure, and livable.  It may not have or ever have all the ideal amenities, but then improvements and enhancements can be done along the way, too.  If you are definitely leaning toward a bug out to an alternative site then consider the search for a SHTF prep shack.  It may just be the option you are looking for.

By Dr. John J. Woods

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