Shelter, and how to choose it.

The MOST important thing for your survival is shelter, both short term and long term.  The right shelter could keep you not only alive, but content and successful. The wrong shelter could leave you diseased, injured or dead.

I thought that a list of shelter types, with pros and cons would be the most helpful.

Short Term shelter:

Short term shelter is simply a place to sleep and rest for a few days or weeks. It’ll give you a base to keep yourself safe and rested, but shouldn’t be used long term.


Houses:  a house, duh.

Yeah. This looks completely safe.


  • Easy to find
  • Fairly easy to barricade


  • Usually in fairly occupied areas. Hostiles will find you far too easily
  • Environmental hazards. Whatever causes the apocalypse will likely leave behind some damage





Theres no way this could be dangerous.



  • Easy access to medical facilities
  • Hospitals are usually fairly well secured, especially in inner city areas


  • Panicked crowds. Everyone heads to places like hospitals (and police stations) in disasters.
  • There are ill people in hospitals. Disease will quickly spread.
  • If the apocalypse is a disease or infection apocalypse- YOU WILL DIE.



This looks defensible.

Malls/shopping centres


  • Supplies


  • Your inevitable and well-deserved death.





Subway stations


  • Underground- safe from most radiation and random threats
  • easy access to other parts of the country/city
  • Easily barricaded


  • Too many people
  • Minimal access to supplies
  • Unholy monstrosities from beyond time and space.


Long Term shelter- this is where you’ll want to live. This will need to be carefully considered for safety,  defensibility and rebuilding possibilites. Large, fortified buildings are best.




  • Heavily fortified
  • Plenty of space for other survivors
  • Exercise space that can be turned into farming possibilties


  • Possibly already controlled by potentially dangerous criminals.
  • Very large; hard to check every corner for enemies/entrance points.
  • Every other bugger survivor will be trying it- if you aren’t harsh you could run out of space.

A little work, and this could be ideal.



  • Built to be fortified against dangerous enemies
  • Frequently a large amount of land to turn into farming land
  • Frequently built on high ground- good vantage point.
  • Often have wells that will clean out with a few pulls of the bucket


  • Sometimes in ruins;  it’s quite hard to fortify a ruin
  • Obvious locations for survivors, putting you at risk from roaming gangs and cleverer enemies.


Ultimately, you have to weigh the pros and cons yourself, based on the type of apocalypse and the skills of yourself and your group. Your environment plays a part as well. I suggest starting with the safest temporary shelter you can find, with scouting missions to find likely long term shelter. Don’t get too settled in any short-term shelter- you need to feel able to leave at the absolute last minute. Regardless of where you are staying, keep your entrances and exits in mind at all times- and never rely on just one exit. DON’T TRUST ANYONE who hasn’t been previously vetted by you.

And if you opt to stay in a glass-walled, massive, sprawling constuct with no available food or water and a million unsecured entrances- you deserve everything you get.

4 thoughts on “Shelter, and how to choose it.

  1. What are your thoughts on farms? Being that we’re in Norfolk, there’s an abundance of them. Usually they come with animals which could be used to provide an early warning system, but also keep rats down. Depending on what the farm is specialised in, there could be animals to slaughter (I’m sure some of the older Delia type books give you an idea of how to section an animal), or vegetables to eat. Also, farm vehicles and a supply of diesel to run them with. And don’t forget – shotguns.

    Admittedly most of them are in the middle of nowhere with poor defensible aspects, but that’s what DIY is for…. right?

    1. Farms are good, but we shouldn’t rely on them. Depending on the type of apocalypse they could be completely destroyed or overrun. Also, defensibility is poor. Around here our land is very fertile regardelss of where you settle, so I would actually discount farms at least in the early days of rebuilding.

      Once rebuildings reached a certain point you can adjust your barricades to include farmland.

    2. In Survivors they had a nice farm house with a long driveway and some chickens.

      I think the main drawback there was just that they didn’t fortify well enough. Just moved in like squatters and were shocked when folks came ’round with ill intentions and bigger guns.

      No matter where you shelter, fortify that space like you’re sure someone’s going to come banging.

      Also, I’d like a castle with secret tunnels. Normally I’d just want to live in such a place. But in the Post world, I’d just move into the tunnels and rig up some surveillance.

  2. How about a warehouse? They’re usually full of crates, for reinforcing doors or building “Forts” inside for extra protection. Sometimes, the stuff in the crates is actually useful. If you can get on the roof, there’s plenty of room for a rooftop garden, and mounted artillery. In the industrial parks I’m familiar with, there’s a water source, and sometimes even fish.

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