Disaster Prepping: Build a Bunker from a Second Hand Shipping Container
TV shows like The Walking Dead and National Geographic’s “Doomsday Preppers” have created an increased interest in disaster prepping, survivalism and building underground bunkers. The internet is full of videos and articles discussing how to build an underground bunker out of a second hand shipping container. Once its constructed you can hide out in the event of a natural disaster, civil war, zombie apocalypse or perhaps just store your wine collection in a really unique way!
Shipping containers are the ideal for secret lairs for super villains, conspiracy theorists bunkers, disaster prepper’s shelters, or places for cults to hold out to the end times, or the previously mentioned underground bunker for housing your precious wine! Second hand shipping containers make a great starting point for an underground bunker project, as they are cheap, easy to find, easy to transport and easy to modify.
This isn’t just crazy talk of some conspiracy theorists though. These shelters are being used in Australia and have saved lives. As recently as 2009, one Australian family used a modified second hand shipping container to survive deadly bush fires during “Black Saturday” while everything else was destroyed around them.
“If we didn’t have it, I don’t doubt that we’d be dead”
– Bevan Gobbett, discussing the shipping container shelter that saved his life.
The video clip below is an example of a shipping container bunker built by a company in the United States including a gun room, accommodation, food storage, electricity, water and enough supplies to survive for at least a year!
Steps to Build a Second Hand Shipping Container Shelter
While shipping containers have the potential to make a great underground bunker, they also have the potential to turn into a death trap if not constructed properly. This is due to the way shipping containers are constructed. They are built to transport products and to be stacked, with the ability to hold large amounts of weight if stacked vertically. This strength, however, does not apply to the sides of the containers. If buried without sufficient reinforcement, these second hand shipping containers can collapse due to the weight of the earth. Always have an engineer look over your plans before construction to ensure that these are safe, and also that you meet any local government requirements for building on your property.
So, with this in mind, how does one build a zombie-proofed shipping container shelter safely and effectively?
Purchase a high quality second hand shipping container. Work out what size you require, as containers are available in sizes from 10 to 40 feet long. Work out what interior modifications are required (Gateway Container Sales can literally construct almost anything in our containers, from kitchens, bathrooms and accommodation, right thought to firearms storage in case of zombie outbreak!). It is wise to add additional reinforcing to the interior and exterior of the container to ensure that it can handle the weight of earth on the tops and side of it.
Repaint and waterproof the ISO shipping container to ensure that it is resistant to corrosion. Believe it or not but there is even paint available that can shield your underground bunker from radiation, radar and cell phone signals.
Entry and exit to your bunker is important, especially when it is underground. If your bunker is set into a hillside you may be able to use the original corten steel doors that open outwards, but these will not work if the container is buried underground. Modify the doors so that they can be easily opened from below ground and can open inwards. Generally this is done by sealing the doors, and creating a new door on the other end that can open internally.
Dig a large hole where you are planning to install the shelter, this will need to be deeper than the container. Lay a concrete foundation at the base of your hole. This will stop the shelter from sinking into the ground. Use a crane or ISO shipping container transporter to lower the container bunker into the hole.
Build concrete steps to allow access to the modified door in the container. Reinforce the sides of the container, this will require lots of rebar (steel poles), cinder/concrete blocks and concrete around the sides of the container. Many “how to” videos on youtube ignore this vital step, without this the walls will eventually cave in under the weight of the surrounding earth. Lay sandbags around the entrance to your bunker so that you have a defensive position.
Install air vents or a container ventilator to ensure that you have some form of air circulating in the shelter. Make sure that these are hidden from view otherwise they will give away the location of your secret bunker. Also include piping for utilities (power and water) which will be linked to underground storage tanks and where ever your electrical generator is located. Link plumbing to an external septic tank and plumbing.
Reinforce the roof with more rebar, then lay six inches concrete on top. Lay topsoil on top of the reinforced concrete and plant grass and local plants to camouflage your second hand shipping container shelter against the surrounding natural landscape.
Modifying Your Second Hand Shipping Container
Once the actual structure is constructed using a second hand shipping container you are going to want to modify it. Think of what you’ll need in your shipping container bunker. If it’s a wine bunker, you’ll need shelving for all your bottles and perhaps something to keep the humidity at the correct level. If its something aimed at more serious survivalism you might want to include power from a portable generator, an independent water supply, shelving, reinforcing beams and structural strengthening, ventilation so you can breathe properly, accommodation modifications, bathroom, maybe even a secure armoury!
Ready To Construct Your Underground Lair?
Are you ready to take the next step in becoming an evil super villain, ready to store your wine, or just need somewhere to hide our during the Zombie apocalypse? Contact our team of second hand shipping container experts at Gateway Container Sales and Hire.