We’ve made it our business to talk about building your own underground bunker on a couple of occasions before, and we’re going to do it again, because I, for one, am more than a little fascinated by the idea. Now, just because some lunatic goes ahead and kills his family, holes up in his own home made bunker and then offs himself when the cops have some questioning to do, that doesn’t mean only crazies build their own bunkers. In fact a lot of people have done it, and are doing it, and they haven’t hurt a fly in the process. Well, maybe some earth worms and beetles have paid with their lives, but that’s to be expected. You have to crack some beetles to get your bunker, that’s what my momma always said.

So, going about building a bunker, eh? We’re certainly going to help you. You’ll have to do the digging, but we’ll try to point you in the right direction.

Survivalists have been doing this sort of thing for a long time, and there’s really not much stopping you from following their example, whether you’re trying to prepare for nuclear war, a terrorist attack, a natural disaster or the zombie apocalypse that will break out soon, since there surely can’t be much room left in hell, a bunker will help you get over the worst of the mayhem, since that usually happens in the first week or so. That’s what we’ve been told, in any case.

Things You Need to Have and Do.

Nukes - Not Your Friends.

– A place to put your bunker. The last guy whose bunker we heard about put his in the middle of the woods. Which is fine… but you should probably own the woods, seeing as if you don’t, some bastard might actually decide to log down said forest, and dump some heavy machinery down into your hole. You generally don’t want that to happen. A better choice for most people will be to make it an extension (downward…) of your basement, or build it in your back yard or that pasture your’e not using anyway, if you’re a Cartwright.

Once you’ve found the perfect spot for your very own bunker, you will need some equipment that can be used for digging. This is essential, since digging a bunker hole with your bare hands will get you nowhere. Actually, it will get you somewhere, but not anywhere near where you want to be. Some people have actually built bunkers with nothing but a pick and a shovel, but a better choice would probably be an excavator, one of these or some form of machinery. Either buy a used one or hire some guys to dig you a great big hole in the ground. Tell’em you’re putting in a weird swimming pool (wouldn’t want them knowing you have a bunker – they’ll be pounding on your door when the zombies get here). The deeper, the better. Watch out for pipes, sewage lines, power lines, fiber cables and such… you’ll need those. Also, don’t let anyone cart away the soil. You’ll have to fill in up top later (and plant pretty flowers).

– A plan. We do go on about planning, don’t we? Yes we do.

What, exactly, do you want your bunker to protect you from? A nuclear winter? Then you’ll need an EMP shield (a Faraday Cage), you’ll need to be as deep as you can get, reinforced concrete (probably a good idea no matter what, and lead lining to protect you from the radiation coming in with the fall-out. If you’re just worried about terrorists or zombies, reinforced concrete and some steel lining is great stuff. If a nuke should happen to fall out of the sky, it’s going to have to be a ways furter off for you to be safe, but steel and concrete will protect you from a lot of the radiation as well. Flooding, fires and natural disaster? You should be fine. Make sure your bunker is water tight! You can do that by providing enough drainage underneath and on the sides, as well as sealing any cracks in the concrete (you’ll use slabs, since that’s much, much easier than pouring reinforced concrete on your own) with rubber compounds. They’re grrrreat!

Figure out what you want it for, and act accordingly. Other than this, it’s simply a shopping list. Here’s a suggestion:

Excavator. Buy or rent, it’s all the same to us. Save the crap you dig up. You’ll need it later.
Gravel. You’ll need this for your drainage system. Dig your hole about two feet wider than you need, and fill that space with gravel. This will lead any moisture from above or the sides away from your structure.
Concrete slabs. Obviously.
Faraday Cage. This will protect you from the EMP (SEMP, HEMP, NEMP or whatever you choose to call it) of a nuke. Check out our page on how to make one!
Piping and Wiring. For this, you will need a licensed contractor or two. Do not work with electricity on your own. Just don’t.
–  Flooring, roofs, interior furnishing and supplies.

That is actually just about all you need. Build your bunker by placing the reinforced concrete slabs so that they form walls, roof and ceiling for your bunker. Remember that depending on the size of your bunker, you’re likely to need either supporting walls or pillars to make sure that your bunker doesn’t collapse in on you, which, we hear, is a bad thing. Bear in mind that the bunker roof also has to support the weight of the soil you’re going to place on top of it.

Most Important Checklist of All Time

That may or may not be an exaggeration, but there are a few things you must remember when you’re drawing up the plans for your bunker. And we’re not talking about about getting enough beef jerky to last you into the next millennium. Nope. None of that. So here are the Most Important Things you need to think of when you’re planning and building your bunker.

Niiiice!

Air. 
A surprising number of people forget to think their ventilation system through, and they choke on their own fumes. Literally.

Water.
People can go a long time without food, but only a tiny little while without water. Some people will stock up on bottled water, which is fine, but it you can, do this: Drill a small hole down outside your bunker, in the trench you’re using for drainage, for example. Drill till you hit a water table, set down a pipe and a hand pump. Poof, you have water forever.

Sewage.
This is a tough one. You’ll have to choose between hooking your bunker up to a public system, digging a hole for a tank, or go with a chemical toilet in a dedicated room. Either one will work, but the first two need water!

Electricity.
Don’t need it, you say? Fine. But it might make some things both better and easier for you. Choose between a number of methods, but you should go with either batteries and a generator, or one of the two. How you charge the batteries will be up to you…

So… what are you waiting for? Go build yourself a bunker, dude! The zombies will be here any minute now.

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