My associates and I have recently been on the hunt for a quality acreage to be used as a survival retreat. Before we went looking around though we discussed a set of criteria that our potential retreat must cover. Some of you reading this right now might be thinking that this article is not for you since buying land is out of your budget, keep in mind though that the costs can be brought down if you pool cash in with a group (family/friends/like minded preppers). Also if you take a look around you’d be surprised by some of the great prices out there for undeveloped lots. The following is our list of must have features for any rural survival retreat. Keep these in mind when buying your next lot of land.
Adequate Distance from Large Population Centers: Cities require a tremendous amount of resources to feed/supply it’s population and so in the event that anything goes wrong with these supply lines (for even just a few days), and the resource flow is stopped, all hell will break loose. People will leave the cities en mass within days to find food in the surrounding areas (which are not equipped to feed them all) and they’ll slowly expand outward as far as their fuel will take them. To avoid the slaughterhouse of people fighting over scraps of food, you’ll need to be a good distance away from the center of any large metropolitan area. My colleagues and I all agree that an adequate distance will need to be however far a full tank and a half of gas will take you. Because gas stations will quickly run dry post collapse, you’ll need to either store fuel (and rotate it constantly) or have an unconventional/alternative mode of transportation that doesn’t require any of the common fuels. Your survival retreat will need to be outside of the range that the hordes of city dwellers will be able to drive to.
Multiple Shelters: Even though your survival retreat is further away from the city then city people will be able to get to, you’ll still very likely have invaders from either small nearby rural communities, or the few city people who’ve actually managed to get out that far. In either case, you’ll want multiple shelters/retreat shelters on your land in the event that your main shelter is at risk of being overrun. These secondary shelters could be underground bunkers, natural shelters that you’ve built prior, small shacks, or you could even rely on a supply cache that includes a tent (and weapons to take back your main shelter). Also keep in mind that the only way multiple shelters on a single property will work is if you have a variety of terrain and trees to hide in. Always have a contingency plan with redundancy.
Food Resources: This can encompass more than one type. You’ll want land that can be used to forage, farm or hunt for animals. The ideal survival retreat should contain a variety of ecosystems with many varieties of plants and animals (including insects) to help you survive. The soil should be healthy and adequate enough to grow the main food staples, and pastures for large animals will definitely be a bonus.
Water Resources: Ideally you will want your land attached to some form of fresh water. While sea water is great for fishing, it can’t be used for consumption. You will want to have access to a lake or fresh water river so you have something to drink. We’d also suggest having a well drilled (if that’s even an option on your property). Whether it’s the apocalypse or the power has simply gone out, access to water, will greatly increase your chances of survival.
Security features: By security, we’re not only referring to LP/OPs, defensive constructions, security patrols and etc, but also natural features that can be used for a tactical advantage such as ridge lines, rivers, and natural choke points. You should also consider your neighbors and surrounding community as a part of your security, do they have the adequate skills to assist you when you’re in trouble? Take all of these into consideration when purchasing a property.
Recreation (optional): whether it’s the end of the world, or a summer camping trip, the land can provide for great times. Hiking and camping is not only cheap it’s also better for the environment than flying to various destinations. If a SHTF scenario doesn’t occur, then you can at least use it for your own enjoyment and create some great memories. If the end of times does happen and you can survive off the land, you can use your spare time to hike and explore the land around you.
If purchasing a lot isn’t financially feasible, then don’t worry. Try exploring large national parks, or wooded areas. Determine where the best place would be for you to escape to if something were to happen. Is this a great spot to be in case of a flood? Earthquake? How about an exodus of people leaving the city? How far is the location? How many others will flee in this area?
You will also need to consider the distance to your property. Driving 12 hours to get there or using some form of special transportation (such as a plane or ferry) will have it’s challenges. We’ve read that a great distance gauge would be the distance your vehicle can get you with one tank and a half of gas. Realistically if SHTF, you wont have much of an opportunity to stop for fuel so you need to get there with the fuel you have stored prior. If this is possible, it is the perfect distance because this will limit your chances of being overrun by a horde of city people. Unfortunately for many of us, purchasing property within 150 miles radius is expensive and out of the question. This may pose a problem but for those of you reading our site, you will realize that there are many options for you to survive.
Besides the financial burden associated with land, there are issues with the survival land value. Most of us make purchases out of a need; the need to eat, the need to drink, the need for shelter, etc. When purchasing land, you need to consider similar needs. Does the land have a body of water (lake, river, ocean)? Is there a variety of vegetation or is it all just pine trees? Are there animals on your land that you can use for food? Is the soil fertile or is it all sand and shrubs? Are there protective land features or is it flat and you can spot someone from a mile away? Buying a piece of property is only as valuable as its ability to meet your survival needs.
Once you have found a good piece of land, make sure to consider the weather in your area. Do you live in Alaska where you have a very limited amount of time to grow fruits and vegetables or do you live in the desert? Our recommendation in this situation, is to study the weather patterns in your area and determine which course of action will best help you survive.
Remember this isn’t about predicting what will happen but rather be prepared for anything that will happen.