When there is a societal breakdown, be it localized rioting or a nationwide crisis, looting becomes a major concern that we need to take seriously; while we can not always prevent looters from entering and looting our homes, we should always have a way to escape and disappear.
This is where an invisible shelter comes into play.
Goals of an Invisible Shelter
The goal is to construct a shelter hidden from view that is appropriate to spend a night or two inside while waiting for the unrest to end.
These shelters can be built in urban areas, the wilderness, or forested areas within the urban environment.
What Makes a Shelter Invisible?
Being hidden from view is only a small part of making a shelter invisible. There are several other factors essential to remaining undetected.
- Keep your shelter far enough from any trails, paths or roads so that you will be out of sight, and any smells or sounds from your shelter will be masked or muffled to people walking by.
- There should be some barrier or deterrent to prevent anyone from approaching the shelter location.
- Keep the shelter as low to the ground as possible.
- No fires or cooking.
- No talking. When you need to communicate, whisper into the other persons’ ear with cupped hands.
- No artificial lights.
- No unnecessary movement.
- Always have your bug-out bag packed and ready to go. Everything that you take out must be returned and secured when done using it.
- Always have at least one person on sentry. Their job is to watch but also to listen for approaching people.
Invisible Shelter On Your Property
When a band of looters wants to break into your home, the best option is to retreat and regroup. Hopefully, you have taken measures to conceal your preparations and have hidden caches so that any loss from the looting will not affect your overall survivability.
Having invisible shelters on your property will require an investment of time, energy and materials long before your front door is kicked in.
The first step is to walk around your property and locate areas that you could construct a shelter large enough to house your family for the duration of the looting.
Fortunately, gangs of thugs that roam around looting are likely to move on to other targets rather quickly, so there is little likelihood of spending more than a night in an invisible shelter on your property.
Some examples would be:
• If you have a large property, you could build a small shelter then disguise it as a debris pile.
Related: How To Build A Survival Debris Hut
• If you have the time and equipment, digging an underground shelter is a viable option but requires skill and engineering. Hide the entrance to such a shelter under common backyard items such as a doghouse.
The problem with shelters such as these is that they often do not have the escape route options that other shelter locations may offer.
Likewise, creating a hidden refuge within your home, such as a panic room, suffers from the same lack of escape routes.
Urban Shelter Options
Urban environments do not leave a lot of options for seeking shelter from looters. Suppose you are in a situation where you need to leave your home due to looting; it is best to have possible shelter sites located beforehand.
The main issue is that suitable locations may be occupied by either the homeless or others like yourself.
Abandoned buildings are an option to consider, and you should know which buildings in your area are vacant.
Likewise, if you are close to an industrial area, there is a good possibility that you will find many empty commercial buildings that you can use for temporary shelter.
This option is not legal and should only be used in a dire emergency, also if you do find yourself in a situation where you need to use an abandoned building, leave no trace that you were there and avoid causing any damage.
Tunnels, overpasses, or bridges can offer shelter but will be popular options for other people as well.
One of the best ways to plan for building an invisible shelter is to walk around your neighbourhood within a block or two radius, looking for spaces that you can access with minimal difficulty that can house you and your family for a short time.
Some examples are fenced-off mechanical areas, rooftops, etc.
Even the space between a hedgerow and a building can provide effective shelter; large trees can sometimes have places within them where you can hide.
Wilderness and Urban Forests
Establishing a shelter in a wilderness or urban forest is the most effective and easiest means of building an invisible shelter.
You should scout possible locations beforehand so that when you need to evacuate your home in the wee hours of the morning, you know exactly where you will go.
Look at areas of dense foliage that block the view of anyone passing by. As long as it is difficult to look over them, you can clear a place out of sight from passersby to pitch a simple low profile tarp shelter without anyone being able to observe you.
You can also cut entrance and escape routes through the thick brush and camouflage their entrances with brush rendering the shelter area invisible.
Each of your family members’ bug-out bags needs to have a shelter kit that should have a tarp, paracord, and tent stakes.
The location of your invisible shelter will be entirely dependant on your area and the environment in which you live. Regardless of where you live, you need to follow a few fundamental rules when constructing a shelter you intend to keep invisible.
• Your tarp needs to be earth-toned or camouflage to blend into the environment.
• When pitching the tarp, keep it very low to the ground. You should have enough room for yourself and maybe one other person along with your gear. Only leave enough headroom under the trap so that your body does not touch the tarp material.
• It may be difficult to use natural materials to camouflage a tarp without causing the material to sag, and this takes time that you may not have in abundance. It is better to keep your shelter out of view than to spend hours camouflaging it.
• You can dig down into the ground in dryer seasons and climates to create a depression to hide from view further.
While it is possible to construct a shelter that is effectively invisible without any prior preparation, it is far better to do a little work beforehand to make it easier to vanish from looters.
Remember that what makes you truly invisible is more to do with what you do in and around the shelter rather than the actual shelter itself.
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