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Thread: Shipping Containers For Underground Bunkers: Read This First!

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    GuncoHolic Black Blade's Avatar
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    Default Shipping Containers For Underground Bunkers: Read This First!

    Shipping Containers For Underground Bunkers: Read This First!



    Anyone who watches Doomsday Preppers on TV, will be forgiven for thinking that you just purchase an old shipping container, dig a hole, throw it in the ground, cover it over, and there’s your bunker. True enough, purchasing a shipping container to use as a bunker can be a good be a good way to build a bunker; they cost around $2000-$5000. Some come already insulated and some are ready wired for electricity with lights, sockets and switches etc.

    The problem is that shipping containers were not meant to be put in hole in the ground and covered with tons of soil… Shipping containers are designed to carry weight across the floor and across their four corners, the sides and roof themselves are not designed to carry weight or resist pressure. There are ways around this problem, such as building a Gabion Basket, but it is above the scope of this post to cover that, so Google is your friend here.

    There are also several logistical issues with shipping containers; sure the company selling the container will likely deliver it to your site, but firstly, if you are building your bunker at a remote bug-out location, can a large flat-bed truck even access the site? Secondly, how are you going to get your shipping container into the hole that has been dug for it (actually how are you going to dig the hole, can you get an excavator on site?) Most shipping containers are delivered on roll-off flat-bed trucks… There will be no facility to drop the shipping container in place, into the hole dug for it, so how are you going to achieve this? You will likely need to hire a fork-lift or a crane and once again, get it to the site. Also is the site ground safe for a fork-lift or crane to operate? A muddy, rocky and uneven site is going to cause further problems here.

    To summarise – shipping containers can make excellent under ground bunkers, but there are some serious logistical considerations; how to ensure the shipping container can handle the pressure of being buried under tons and tons of soil, and also planning the location of your underground bunker, so the shipping container can be safely delivered to site and manoeuvred into its final resting place (hole).

    This post is not in anyway supposed to cover ALL the pros and cons of using a shipping container for an underground bunker; there are many considerations. The purpose of this article is to get you thinking about the logistics should you be considering purchasing a shipping container to use for an underground bunker. I hope it gives you food for thought and encourages you to do further research and planning before committing to purchase a bug-out location, or possibly buying a container which will end up sitting on site, unused for several years because the project was not thought out properly.
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    GuncoHolic twa2471's Avatar
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    Buy the time you're through reinforcing a container and the logistics of placement,there not cost effective from what I've read.

    Awhile back someone posted about inflatable cement impregnated material structures that only needed to be set on a level cleared area, inflated, wet down with a hose, let-um dry a couple days, and bingo instant structure. There available in several sizes and types , some, pretty damn big too!!!

    I was thinking one of those might just be the cats ass for a camp on a piece of land I was considering in NY, but I couldn't get a line on any in this country at that time. What a nice maintenance free ,secure camp, done quickly and with minimal impact. Very cool!!! They showed them used both as bunkers in the heavier thickness ones you could bury and other models being used as hospitals/emergency facility's and housing in 3rd world countries above ground. The video I saw of them said in arid areas they could be in use in as little as 24 hours and set up by a half dozen guys in like an hour or something like that then just inflate them,,wet them down,let-um dry and done,,amassing,, how sweat is that???? Oh you can get just about any window door combo you can think of too, pre-made openings where you want them then just cut the inner bladder out and hang standard doors or windows.

    Shipping containers would be good for folks in tornado areas to have though. A small container backed into a trench in a bank, back fill lightly and you've got a dandy storm cellar that could hold quite a few folks if need be. You can cover a container without reinforcing from what I've read, but just 3-4 "max and sides and top will need some cross pieces, weight is only carried in the corners on containers nowhere else on the sides or top. But those reinforcements are way less to do than a bunker set up. Ran into plans for those while researching those cement buildings. Be a great place to keep all you're survival/storm supplies in also, that would protect them more from storms in tornado prone areas, and free up space in you're house for living. Plus you preps are protected from storms when you're away and you're house gets blown away. At least you have something left and a place to live for a bit.

    Those small ones are only 1800 delivered around here, that and a bud with a dozier or a backhoe that owes ya a favor and you're in business. Hell you could have one hell of a storm shelter for 3k or less, depending what you already got on hand and how many buds owe you a favor. To me if I was in a area where storms like tornado's were common,,,that's a damn cheap insurance policy on you're family's lives if you ask me. I lost one of my sons many years ago to a tornado in Mo. and many years after my first X and I had split up, where they were, something like that would have saved him.

    Before I go looking all over hell again to find them, does anyone have a link on those cement structures handy or seen them before?? I'm wondering if there more available in this country by now???

    Those are a great idea IMO!!!

  3. #3
    Gunco Member ronsii's Avatar
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    Here is the inflatable tents ---> http://www.concretecanvas.co.uk/Conc..._Shelters.html


    Then there are these guys ---> http://www.monolithic.com/

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    Gunco Addicted for life j427x's Avatar
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    i can see scrap metal thiefs going ape after "finding" a remote hideout--LOL!

    there is a fly in every ointment. LOL!

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    Gunco Regular jfreakofkorn's Avatar
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    plus dumping loads of dirty on top of it doesnt help either ....

    rust would be a factor over time ....

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    GuncoHolic twa2471's Avatar
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    The first ones are the ones I was referring to ronsii, thanks for the link. Still looks like there only available in European countries though.
    The ones in Texas would be better constructed on site for the camp I had in mind sense it's common spray on concrete methods being used. Most any really good concrete contractor can do that application sense it's a common method currently in use.

    I hadn't seen the rolls before,, that looks promising for many applications. I'd run into the buildings a couple years ago and thought they were a neat idea, the rolls just make it more versatile even if used in conjunction with more standard construction techniques, I can see many applications for that stuff.

    I have something to do that it could be used for right here on my own property for taking care of some drainage issues I have currently. I'm going to investigate that stuff more ,,for sure!

    That stuff could be just what I've been looking for, to line my drainage ditch's with so I don't have to constantly weed whack and keep them cleaned out,,,now to find a local supplier for it and price it out. That just might do what I need it to do, sense other ways I've investigated will just leave to much impact on my lawns or cost big bucks to accomplish. Drain pipe hasn't worked well sense there is so much silt that comes off the hill above,they always get plugged up. Open drains are best for me here. Keeping mine cleaned out as they are ,,is a pain.

    Hell that just may be an economical way to strengthen the storage containers to bypass the reinforcement requirements of them for underground structures too. I've got to do some more research on that stuff. I don't need a bunker or a "storm cellar" in my part of the country,,but part of my foundation is a rubble wall and that stuff in rolls just might be the perfect way for me to seal that up better. I can see lots of good uses for that stuff.

    I'm thinking it might be just the answer for both my foundation and drainage issues.

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    Happy Camper hcpookie's Avatar
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    "... buried under tons and tons of soil"

    A bit alarmist... how deep are you going to bury the damn thing?

    My parents are looking at a shipping container in their post-tornado planning and were quoted $800 from the local place. That was in OKC so I'm just sayin' for comparison.

    They also found this little gem - regional only, so you must be in their shipping area to get one, but not a bad deal. $2500-ish for the package deal, including getting the hole dug:

    https://tornadotoughshelters.com/

    Dad is thinking about getting a mid-sized shipping container, and putting entrances on both ends so that if one gets buried the other side will be accessible.
    Last edited by 7.62x39; 08-08-2014 at 08:59 AM. Reason: fixed link
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    If I had the money and the property, I would dig a huge hole, and make an entire underground complex with 4-6 conexes. place them on concrete footings with large springs just like the cubicle buildings inside Cheyenne Mountain. That way they can shake and sway during an earthquake or bomb blast. Gravel all around the bases other than the footings for drainage. Place several gravel filled "sumps" to help shed water from the area. Then put rebar reinforced concrete walls around the complex about 4-6 feet away from the conexes. fill the gaps with huge amounts of expanding foam for cushioning, sound deadening, insulation, etc.. Then place steel girders over the top of the hole (with appropriate upright supports of course) going from outer concrete wall to the other side concrete wall. Then do the same as they do bridges. Place corrugated sheet steel between the girders, and top with concrete. Pump more expanding foam into the space between the top of the conexes and the underside of your "floor" structure to fill the gap. Then cover the top of the "bridge" with gravel and topsoil. Then figure out how the hell to get in because you just closed it up without creating any entrance/exit. LOL. Just kidding. Of course during the process some type of appropriate entrance/exit, and emergency egress systems would need to be fabricated and installed. Plus some type of waste water system, as well as filtered air inlet and airflow system. It's probably not worth the money to do it, because you could probably build an underground concrete structure cheaper, (and it wouldn't be prone to rust,) but sometimes when I can't sleep I design crap like that in my head. LOL.
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    Gunco Addicted for life j427x's Avatar
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    a neighbor of mine got the idea he would make a tornado shelter from a 12,000 gasoline tank.

    he buried it on top of a hill.

    makes a pretty good shelter from tornado's and it don't flood when the torrents of rain fall after the big one goes over.

    and it is like getting on board a WW1 U-boat.

    if a tornado is coming you have to know well ahead of time to go through all the BS just to get into the shelter, open a hatch , climb down a ladder --way down a ladder--

    and the inside -- i wonder where all that toxic lead went?--LOL

    had he just half buried the thing and cut a door on the side where you could walk in --it would have been so much better.

  10. #10
    aka: SDK1968 dutigaf's Avatar
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    we use conex's for this all the time around here.....

    its not like your burying them under a mountain... of course some people might try that. around here people are getting the smaller ones and having them stuck in their basements during new construction as a safe room/vault.. just a little beefing up on the door area and your good to go.
    say what you mean & mean what you say


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