The popularity of survival-prepping measures has soared in recent years. What was once a fringe movement has now grown in the mainstream media as a way of protecting your family from a worst-case scenario.
For many years, people couldn’t fathom a situation where society broke down, buildings were burned, store shelves emptied, and other dire events unfolded. But now, we serve as witnesses to daily events that are alarming and give us much consideration about where we stand with preparedness.
While some families are merely stocking up on supplies at home, others are going one step further and preparing a separate survival homestead property that they can bug out to in the event of a local emergency.
This might be due to a significant weather event, civil unrest, war, or some other catastrophe. There are times when you may find that your home is unsafe, your supplies have been ransacked, and it is safer to leave than to stay.
If you can afford it, it’s always wise to purchase a separate property for survival purposes, and then create a homestead that allows you to live off the grid whenever the need arises.
Get Away from the City Where Chaos Can Ensue
You never want to spend a formidable survival situation in the city. While it currently meets your needs for convenience in terms of being able to access grocery stores, schools, and more, it’s not a safe place to be in many survival events.
Instead of building a second property in the city limits, try to find something just outside of the city limits, in the country – where you have more control over your property and fewer prying eyes.
If food resources grow thin, you can almost guarantee that unsavory characters will be going door to door in the city to take what isn’t theirs. You want a property that is far removed from the rest of society so that your loved ones and supplies are safe.
If you are outside of the city limits, you will be able to monitor your property for anyone who shouldn’t be there easier than if a flood of city dwellers descended on your street, ready to steal from you.
Keep in mind, whenever you are looking for a property outside of the city, you may want to find a path that isn’t the same one everyone else will be following when they leave. Learn which back roads you can take to get to your property, instead of taking a major highway that may be shut down.
Stay Close to Your Current Residence
You don’t want to go too far away from your current residence. While it might be a wonderful idea to have a beautiful piece of property in Montana, if you are in Texas, it will make it hard for you to frequently visit your second residence, stock it, and maintain it.
Besides that, you don’t want to have a long drive to get to a safe place in the event of a survival situation. If you build a homestead and are not able to visit it regularly, you may return one day to find squatters, an overgrown property, and other things that are out of sorts.
If everything has spiraled out of control, you may not be able to get gas to get very far. Or, you could encounter dangerous civilians in your path. The shortest distance possible will be your best bet, as long as it is just outside of the city.
Another reason it is good to stay near your permanent residence is because you will be able to be more prepared for life off the grid in that area. You don’t want to go from a warm climate to an extremely cold one.
You don’t want to have to learn about a new location in terms of foraging for food, hunting, or protecting yourself from wildlife, or other changes. You want it to be as normal and as similar to your current life as possible.
What Your Land Should Look Like
Whenever you start shopping for properties, make sure you purchase a plot of land that will serve you well for a number of years. Keep in mind that you may need enough room to house animals, grow a garden, and even build additional home space for your family.
The property that you purchase may be dependent on your budget but don’t purchase a small plot of land just so you can rush the process if it’s possible for you to buy a slightly larger plot that gives you more room a few months down the road.
You don’t want to buy property where they are currently building many houses in the area. Preferably, you will own several acres to put between yourself and your neighbors.
You don’t want all of the land around you to be cleared, which will often drive small animals out of the location. If it comes down to it, you will want to be able to hunt or trap small prey for food survival purposes.
You do, however, want to select a property that is somewhat easy for you to navigate. If your property is in rough shape, you’ll want to invest in some machines or services to clear certain areas for your homestead, barn, garden, etc.
How Much Space Do You Need to Build for Shelter?
Before you buy a property, you have to know how much house you will be building on it. This may depend on how big your family is, or how much room you want in general. Always keep in mind that the survival situation may go on for years, so having children share a room may not be as difficult when they are toddlers compared to when they are teens.
Your budget may allow or prevent you from building a modern homestead. This doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. It just has to be enough of a shelter that you can fit your family in, along with supplies that will last.
Some people build second homesteads for temporary events, not expecting to live there long term. You can take this route, or you can plan for it to be an eventual permanent residence, which will require more space.
Considerations for a Safe and Secure Homestead
When you are building your home on the property, you want to take certain measures into consideration that will allow you to hide supplies, defend your family, and withstand severe events.
Not only should you be able to defend your property from inside the homestead, but you want to have strategic defense measures set up for outside of your property. You might have hidden storage rooms and other areas to protect your valuables, supplies, and family.
One of the things you might want to include for safety purposes is a tornado shelter. Depending on where you are located, you can build a reinforced room that will protect you in the event of a bad weather situation.
Some people purchase a property and take the do-it-yourself route for building their actual homestead. This is fine if you know what you are doing. But if you don’t, you will want to hire someone to help you build a safe residence.
Keep in mind that the materials you choose to build with can not only help you maintain the property longer, but it can protect you from weather events and also in keeping invaders out of your home.
Familiarize Yourself with Your Surroundings
Once you have purchased a property to build on, make sure that you and your family members become highly familiar with your surroundings. You want to make sure that everyone knows the property inside and out but also knows the lay of the land nearby.
For example, locate water sources for the family to access in the area. Make sure everyone knows any dangers or benefits to living in the area that you chose. If there are certain animals they should be concerned about when outdoors, teach them what to look for and how to react if they encounter them.
You may or may not want to introduce yourself to your new neighbors if you have any at that time. In certain survival situations, it benefits you to team up with other individuals to protect properties.
Just make sure you aren’t speaking freely about the purpose of your new home. You don’t want to announce to everyone that you are stocking supplies and building a survival homestead that they may someday want to invade.
Once your home is built, you want to teach your children and spouse everything about the house that they need to know. Start with teaching those who can drive how to get to the homestead from your current residence, such as taking back roads.
With every entrance to the house, such as a front and back door, windows, etc., make sure your loved ones know how to secure it from any intruders. If you have certain things hidden, such as valuables or ways to defend yourself, show them how to access these for security.
Figuring Out How Much to Stock in Your Second Residence
One of the primary reasons that you will be building a second homestead, besides having a safe place out of the city to go to, is to stock supplies. Your current residence probably has many odds and ends that are for comfort and show only.
If it came right down to it, you could probably get rid of a lot of things in your house and replace them with survival supplies, which is exactly what you will be doing in a second homestead property.
Depending on your space and budget, you may also have the comfort amenities that you are used to in your current residence. But for most people, it will be a place to stock up on supplies that are needed for a long-term situation.
If you do have to bug out of your current residents and head to the homestead property, make sure you have an easy way to quickly gather up sentimental items and valuables that you don’t want to lose.
You never know if your residence in the city will be burned or ransacked, and you may lose those items forever. It’s good to keep them in an area where they can be quickly grabbed on your way out the door.
You never want to leave your valuables at the second, new homestead, either if you aren’t living there. Because you will not be on that property at all times, it will also be vulnerable to thieves or intruders at any time.
What you can do is stock up on supplies that will come in handy for your family, such as water, food, first aid items, and other gear – such as a generator, flashlights, batteries, etc.
If you are stocking food on your homestead property, you want to make sure that it frequently gets rotated out and doesn’t end up spoiling. You may want to make a schedule for you to go out to the second property and rotate supplies when you bring new ones.
Make sure that you are not creating an easy target with your homestead property. For instance, if you openly have things like rain barrels, tools, and equipment outside where they can easily be seen, then they might get stolen.
Make sure that you have clothing for the family on hand, toiletries, and other necessary items, such as defense gear, like firearms, ammunition, and knives. You’ll also want some comfort items that will keep the family happy, such as board games.
Maintain the Property and Buildings
Once you own your property and have built your homestead on it, you want to make sure that it doesn’t go to ruin. Whether you are there frequently or not, make sure you take care of both the outside and inside of the property.
You can hire a lawn care service to take care of the grass. You don’t want to let the property become overgrown and attract squatters or even rodents that will inevitably invade your home and compromise your food storage.
Not all survival situations will mean that the grid goes down. Until it does, you want to have the utilities functional in your new property. Keep an eye on the electricity and water to ensure it is in working order.
Owning a second property for survival prepper purposes is a wise move for everyone to make. You don’t want to be stranded with no shelter to go to in an emergency situation, and when staying in place poses a danger to yourself and your family.
Make sure that when you’re planning your property, you take into consideration both short and long-term plans. For example, if you have young, college-aged adults still living in your home, and the event is expected to last years, they may want to build a separate home on the property for them to raise their own family in, so you’ll want room and supplies for that.