Concealment Strategies Against Social Unrest, Theft, or Confiscation

By Joel Skousen

It does little good to spend a lot of time and money in preparing for difficult times if you don’t also plan on securing those supplies  against the very threats you are preparing for.   Severe social dislocations caused by war, economic problems, or widespread natural disasters are almost always accompanied by looting, theft, and increased criminal behavior—sometimes in large mobs that even police cannot control.  We need to plan ahead on how to deal with those threats without resorting to violent confrontations, which should be a last resort.

We also have to consider government’s propensity to confiscate stored supplies when in short supply.  There is still a 1950’s law on the books that gives the government the power to declare anything in short supply as “hoarding.”   In the March 3, 2012 edition of my World Affairs Brief,  I covered the relevant sections with the Defense Production Act of 1950 that affect personal storage:


In order to prevent hoarding , no person shall accumulate (1) in excess of the reasonable demands of business, personal, or home consumption, or (2) for the purpose of resale at prices in excess of prevailing market prices, materials which have been designated by the President as scarce materials or materials the supply of which would be threatened by such accumulation.”

The wording implies that the government is taking action against those that start to hoard for profit once something gets scarce in a crises, but notice that there is no provision for acknowledging or exempting stockpiles that were accumulated before something was declared scare.  That’s what is dangerous about this wording. And there are severe penalties for getting caught “hoarding,” regardless of when your supplies were purchased:

“Sec. 103. PENALTIES [50 U.S.C. App. § 2073] Any person who willfully performs any act prohibited, or willfully fails to perform any act required, by the provisions of this title or any rule, regulation, or order thereunder, shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.”  

As you can see, it is wise to prepare to conceal your supplies from government as well as from desperate people who may turn to looting and theft in order to survive.

In this article, I’m going to talk about strategies for concealment rather than specific designs—which have to be customized to each specific situation, and shouldn’t be published anyway, lest they become compromised.

Remember too that you must be prepared to secure people as well as your supplies.  Social unrest and even government may be a threat to your person as well, and your supplies won’t do you any good if you are dead.   A well designed safe room can provide for both protection of people and your essential supplies if they have temporary living facilities included for an emergency where you may need to get out of harm’s way.

Principle 1: Select the space for a secret room where that space isn’t obvious without detailed measurements.   I’m not talking about concealing the entrance here, but rather picking a space within a cluster of rooms where one can’t tell easily that there is unaccounted space somewhere in the middle.  Large homes are more amenable to hiding a room in a complex of other rooms, where in the presence of several twists and turns of hallways, it’s impossible to keep track of where you are, let alone the size of rooms around you.

For smaller homes, let’s suppose you have two rooms of equal size along a common wall, and the doorway to each room opens from a common hallway.  You want to create a secret narrow room within one or both rooms.  If you shorten the back wall of one room and not the other, someone opening the door of each room and looking in at the back wall can easily tell that the wall of one room is closer than the other.  But if you put the secret narrow room between the two rooms (shortening both rooms equally), no one can tell that there is extra space between the adjoining walls of both rooms without measuring.

It’s even easier to conceal a secret room in a basement if you carve out space under the garage or an outside deck since no one expects there to be basement space under these two structures.   This is easier and less labor intensive if done during initial construction of the home, but the down side is that the space shows up on the building plans on file with the county or city.  If you do it as a remodeling, shoring up and excavating by hand, the better your chances are of doing this in total privacy.

Principle 2: Make sure you can get to your secret room quickly and privately.   It does little good to have a secret room (for either storage or personal safety), if you can’t get to it easily and in private, both for loading in supplies and to access in a crisis when others may be watching.  This is one of my main objections to backyard buried shelters, with a hatch type door in the ground in the back yard that is your only entrance. People can observe not only the burial of the shelter during construction, but your many trips back and forth loading it with supplies.  When you need to get inside during a crisis, don’t be surprised if the entrance is surrounded by people wanting inside too.

Even if designed inside of a house (which I prefer), I like to design the home in such a way as to get to the safe room or concealed storage room without transiting open rooms, front hallways or main staircases. In an intrusion, your access to those public areas may be compromised, so you need to provide alternate access.  If you have a home without a basement, try to carve out space near your master bedroom so you can gain access easily without venturing outside the safety of your room.

In two-story homes, I also like to design ladder wells where kids can get down to the parent’s master bedroom without using the stairs, and from there to the shelter.  Building codes don’t like penetrations through floors, so sometimes you have to do this after the home is finished, as a minor remodel.

If your secure room is in the basement, try to devise a trap door entrance from your bedroom closet that gets you directly down to the basement without using the stairs.  That requires some sort of ladder, but my preferred way is to design a trap door from a master bedroom closet that comes down over a set of basement shelves where I can use the beefed up shelf edges as a ladder.  I simply design the front reinforced edge of the shelf as a 1” x 2” board that protrudes above the shelf rather than below, giving me a handhold as I climb up or down.

Principle 3:  Use double concealed entrances where possible:  Whenever possible in my design of high security homes, I like to have a concealed storage room or closet in front of any safe room.  Both rooms have concealed entrances.  The would-be intruder has to find not just one secret entrance, but two, and the latter is unlikely because once the first room is found the person thinks, “I’ve found it.”

This is especially effective if you do keep some “throwaway” valuables in the first room to give some sense of satisfaction.  Naturally, you shouldn’t use the same type of concealed entrance scheme for the first room as with the second one.

Principle 4:  Think outside the normal:  The previous idea is an example of designing concealed entrances that fool people.  So is placing a basement below a garage where people don’t usually expect to find one.  But you can get even more sneaky by providing the entrance to a concealed room on the floor above or below.  Now, that’s hard for people to conceive of, let alone discover.

Principle 5:  Keep the number of persons involved small:   Constructing secure rooms is difficult to accomplish with any privacy if you have to hire it done.  The more you can do yourself, the better in terms of keeping them from being known to others.  It’s even worth learning new skills than taking the easy way out and hiring it done.  Now, I realize that is not possible with many people, so if you need to hire something down, use an older handyman rather than a big contractor who is going to bring in hired labor—which are mostly young guys who talk about any new they are doing.

If you are doing something with new construction that involves building permits and a contractor, design the basic structure of the rooms, but label them as storage.  Finish out the rooms and build the concealed entrances after the occupancy permit is issued when you can remodel  or finish in privacy.  During the building process, you may observe one or more workers that are a cut above the others, who you may be able to hire on the side to do addition work later.

You also have to be careful about talking to your own children about secret rooms.  Kids love the idea of secrecy and will run around telling all their friends about the secret room in their home.  It’s better to not tell them or show them these things until they get older and you can trust them to not tell others.

Building Concealed entrances:   While I don’t have the space to get into specific designs, here are a few hints:

  1. Hinges are the most difficult things to conceal in swinging cabinets.  I prefer pivoting pin-type hinges embedded into the top and bottom of a cabinet, which are completely invisible. I show these types of designs in my books (see Bio)
  2. Avoid putting castors or rollers on the swinging side of concealed cabinets to support the weight. They will make marks on the floor that can reveal that the cabinet or shelf swings out.
  3. Pins or latches to open the secret door or cabinet can often be concealed behind the edge of an adjustable shelf. Just lift up one side of the shelf to withdraw a locking pin for opening.
  4. Make sure you provide a second locking mechanism on the inside of the concealed entrance so that once inside, you lock yourself in and disallow anyone else from opening the concealed door even if they find it.
  5. Use a steel door in a steel jamb (14 gauge steel ) for the actual door into the safe room. This way, if someone finds the concealed entrance, they still can’t easy breach the room itself.   Usually, the concealed cabinet must swing out, and the second steel door swings inward to avoid conflict.

Be wary of using published designs on concealment such as books like “How to Hide Anything.”  Once published, others will know about them.  It’s ok to read about what others have done, but try and design your own variation. If you study the idea behind the concealment technique, it is easy to think of ways to modify or change them to suit your needs.

Bio: Joel Skousen is the publisher of the World Affairs Brief, and weekly news analysis service, and a designer of high security homes and retreats.  He has published three books on the subject:  The Secure Home, and The High Security Shelter.  He is also the author of Strategic Relocation—North American Guide to Safe Places.


  1. Underground in waterproof buckets or schedule 40 pvc is the one and only place preps will be safe. All else is a waste of time and money and will be defeated by any determined enemy with very little effort. That is that and that will not change. In fact all of the hiding places you mentioned are so prohibitively costly to the average prepper that they can’t even be considered as part of the solution.

    • Calico,

      It’s realistically impossible to store enough food and gear for a family, group or even and individual underground in buckets or PVC cache tubes to last through an extended collapse. This idea is good for “backups” and for hiding along a bug out route to help with resupply along the way until you reach your main location and supplies, but it’s not a feasible idea for your main storage, mainly because of space limitations but also because of the need to rotate certain items on a continuing basis…

      As for cost, prepping costs money, that’s a fact we can not avoid. Learning skills is very important and can be done without spending any or very little money, but stockpiling weapons, ammo, food, tools, medical supplies, spare parts, grain mills, water storage, getting your home set up to grow your own food, etc costs money. The key is to get by as cheaply as possible while not limiting your chances by cutting corners.

      • Wow. How bad do you think it will get?
        Do you think it will get as bad as the movie “The Road”?
        Do you think it will get as bad as Syria is now?

        • Potato Cacher,

          No one knows “how bad it’s going to get” that will mostly depend if the grid stays up or goes down and for how long. But I can tell with 100% certainty, you that you will need more than the FEMA recommendations of a 3 -7 days supply.

          • If it gets really bad, you need to be part of a group. Get together with some close neighbors and talk about it now. It will be hard to find people you can trust after the SHTF.
            The collapse is coming soon. I can feel it in my bones.
            I am as prepared as I can be. I hope it is enough.

            • Potato Cacher.

              I already have a group (I’m the elected head of the group) of over 35 that’s made up of family, and friends we are as ready as anyone can realistically be…

            • Too many people interpret ‘survival group’ as ‘commune’. You can never completely trust anybody in such a situation. Betrayal will be the norm (it practically is, even now). At best, most of us will be forced into uneasy alliances.

              • This is of course, true. But there are only 2 choices. 1. Go it alone as a lone wolf.
                2. Trust somebody and form a group. I think once the trouble starts all the members of your group will be stuck. All of us will be better off with our group. The trick is to be selective before the SHTF and choose good people. The neighbors who are good reliable, trustworthy people before the trouble starts will likely stay that way. Worthless lazy people are also unlikely to change.

        • As MD says, no one knows. With that in mind, my philosophy is, “Plan for things to get so bad that I pray the mountains fall on me, but pray it’s just a return to 1866.”

        • Who knows how bad it will get. But, just imagine what would happen if the lights went out right now and never came back on. At first, people would think its just another power outage, but as time moved on they would start getting nervous. Within a few days, when it really sank that the power was not coming back, people would be out trying to take anything they could get. Look at the crime today in most big cities and try to imagine what it would come to if criminals realized that the power was gone for good. One good EMP could take out most, if not all of our substations and power plants.

          • Looting would be serious business, but it’s hard to keep from laughing as you get a mental image of all the stolen flat screen TVs being carried around and fought over.

            • Katrina didn’t stop the looting of flat screens or anything else for that matter.

            • Now that has me rolling on the floor holding my gut laffin’!

            • This just gave me a good idea…I might just scoop up a few old flat screens to help conceal the safe room. Think of post SHTF, a smarter than your average bear scavenger kicks open the front door & sees 15 flat screens piled in the living room, they might just laugh and walk away. “Nothing to see here folks”.

          • Yeah: I am quite sure life in the big cities will get real bad. I also think it will be hard to move around. The Federal and State government forces will surely get and keep control of the road system. Check points at all the bottlenecks. Food distribution will be the first to go then auto gas.
            I have friends and family in large cities. I feel for them and there is little I can do to help them.

          • Jas: some of us live in parts of the country that would be hell on earth in the summer without air cond. and if the grid stays down some may migrate elsewhere to live. The newer houses built today are insulated unlike older houses and it would be like an oven.

            • The high ceilings in older homes were not for looks. They allowed summer heat to rise above head level. Do a Google search. Florida was sparsely populated before air conditioning was widely available. In a grid down situation, all of the snowbirds and seniors would feel like they were living in a Crock Pot.

              • I planned for this 12 years ago when I bought my house in Florida. I planted Drake Elms on the South side of home so I get some shade. If you’ve got shade and mosquito control, Florida is livable without AC even in August.

              • j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

                Much the same was seen in deep south Texas before A/C was available. Crawl spaces were 48″ and higher, lumber on piers in the ground so that air would circulate underneath the structure. Transom windows (openings above the top (head) of the door) were also very common to allow heat to flow from room to room. Outside windows were casement design, which with a lever hinge outside which allow the full window height and width to allow air flow. And of course summer kitchens, where the cooking was done outside under a porch.

        • While no one knows how bad it can get, having enough long term storage food to make it till the next growing season will cover most problems.

      • Realistically impossible to store enough food to last a family a long time…that is your observation! Well, here are some numbers…One thousand, five gallon buckets, with rubber grommet water proof lids from Home Depot will run you about $5000.00. Those buckets filled with food and buried in twenty different locations will feed a family of normal size for a long, long time. Five grand is only a down payment on a lot of the things listed in your article. Construction is expensive, even for minor projects. I will say again, “Long term storage, not hidden underground is a wasted investment.” Also, someone asked, “Will it get as bad as in the movie, “The Road”? Yes, it will, especially for Americans. People are coming for our blood in copious amounts. If anyone has beguiled themselves into believing they can survive in their homes, regardless the fortifications thereof, will find themselves dead very soon after the lights go out. Everyone should watch “The Road”. Let us not find ourselves down to one bullet, no food, and running from cannibals because we did not put forth the intestinal fortitude to bury our stashes.

        • Calico,

          Thank you for your comment – “Realistically impossible to store enough food to last a family a long time” that was not what I said – I said in five gallon buckets and PVC cache tubes hidden out in the woods (where you’ll probably be followed and shot in the back by someone that will then take your stuff), and it’s not just food you need, and how do you keep up with 1,000 buckets buried underground in the woods, how do you use and rotate that food to make sure you always have a fresh supply? I guess you could go dig it all up every year or two and open them up and rotate the perishables. But that’s another issue.

          As I’ve said for years, having this type of cache is a good idea, but don’t make it your total survival plan. But my advice to you is to go for it, get those one thousand five gallon buckets and start filling and digging.

          • I would worry about the seal in the lids from Home Depot. I think anything underground would have to be sealed in mylar and then placed in a bucket.

        • Calico…

          I love it when little boys write comments like this lol. “I watched a movie and base my survival plans on what happened in a movie.” When they have really done nothing but watch movies, masturbate and leave stupid comments like the one above. Bury 1000 five gallon buckets of food and then go live in the woods lol. This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Making yourself a vulnerable refugee wondering around in the woods eating from plastic buckets, how long will you last before you walk by some hunter and he shoots you in the head or someone sees you digging then waits until you leave and takes your nice shiny bucket lol. Or a hunter sees your trail and or freshly turned dirt… stupid ass.

          • The troll is back.

            • Encourager says:

              Yep, Izzy, changed his name AGAIN. But I will respond – once.

              Hey, Mikey! Watch your words. We have children who visit this site. We do not need your attacks on another wolf pack member. If you cannot carry on a discussion without putting someone down, find another site. Grow up.

          • Thomas The Tinker says:

            Jezzopete Mikey ….. did we miss a meal? What contribution to the question at hand has your rant made? Shame Sir.

          • Isn’t that why you’re burying a thousand buckets–anticipating loss of some due to various unanticipated events? You sir, are a turd…

        • Calico; I have not seen “The Road” so I can’t comment on it. But, I do know, after burying quite a few buckets. burying 1,000 would be a near impossible feat for 1 or 2 people. Why would anyone spend $5k on just buckets?

          Depending on what you are constructing, those expenses can be kept down if you are willing to do a lot of the work yourself.

          “People are coming for our blood in copious amounts. ”

          On this I agree. I believe it is 100% by design too.

          However, this country has a few things that no other country has….hillbillies, rednecks and cowboys. Trust me, they know when a foreigner (including Americans) is coming into THEIR turf. They will shoot first and not even bother with a name. And it is not just the southern area of this country, that these people exist.

          We all better get use to the idea we may have to start shooting people IF it really goes south.

          ” If anyone has beguiled themselves into believing they can survive in their homes, regardless the fortifications thereof, will find themselves dead very soon ”

          I don’t agree with that. A lot of preppers that cannot bug out have seriously prepared their dwellings for an onslaught. I have and good luck thugs. But, I may very well die, but at least I will have given it my best shot….literally.

          • Izzy,
            A hardened retreat is far safer than being a refugee trying to hide in the woods with thousands of other refugees who had the same idea…

            • As time goes on fewer and fewer people will left standing. I think getting past the first initial chaos will be the most dangerous time. When nobody can get auto gas, and everybody is on foot things will settle down a bit. Then there won’t be many looters out and about on foot.

            • Your ‘retreat’ or ‘BOL’ just has to be a harder target than the one closest to it. Even starving people don’t want to get shot. Even a minor wound can end up being fatal. Looting is a high risk occupation, and the retirement plan really blows.

        • Calico,

          I just checked your IP address and you’re the same person that was recently posting under the name Hunkerdown, as well as downanddirtyprepping, not2brightobviously, taxn2poverty, messenger, moowoo, porkybeans, plowboy, pantsupdontloot, towtruck, and about 25 other “names” with 90% or more of your comments being trollish, negative or insulting to others on this site.

          Why post under so many different “names”? Why the attacks on others? You’re also the same person who has went to other sites posting attack comments about me and readers here. I have to ask if you dislike me and the other readers and commenters here so much why keep coming back day after day. I don’t get it.

          • Well that sucks M.D.

            M.D.; Near as I can tell, you have a pretty loyal following. I suspect the person is just jealous.

            Remember that guy that came on about a month ago taunting you and the members who said he was a survivalist trainer? He wrote some fairly long posts and was insulting.

            Well, the blowhard gave out enough info. I called….yes landline, called 2 different sheriff’s depts., Chamber of Commerce, local P.D and several motels in the area. You would think someone in 2 different sheriff’s offices would have even a smattering of knowledge. Not ONE ever heard of the guy. Never heard of any survivalist training site either. He was just another wannab-be. Maybe it is him harassing you.

            Pardon my French, but I wouldn’t give 2 sh**s what this clown thought of me. Seriously, I believe he is just envious that you have your ‘stuff’ together. Trying to kick out the competition and not succeeding. 🙂

            • Izzy,

              This person is in Texas. It’s not difficult to file criminal charges for harassment or to sue for damages in cases like this. Just saying, you never know what’s in the works.

              • Well, that leaves the other miscreant out. He was in VA. Or so his website says. Just curious, can the IP be blocked? None the less, a pain in the butt.

                • Chuck Findlay says:

                  At least when I post comments many here don’t like (like mounting lights on guns, or MGTOW) I do it under the same name. I don’t do it to push buttons like a troll (or not too much button-pushing!) I do it because that’s what I actually think. I’ve never been a pack animal that goes with the flow because it’s easier or politically correct.

              • This person is probably 12.

          • Sounds to me like the guy is one of those government guys that are tasked with creating havoc and disorder, and to probe for any info they can get, or to see if they can get treats shot at them so then they can label said website hostle and shut it down. Maybe he’s just a douche.?

          • M. Creekmore: Many nasty trolls on other websites like Michael Snyder’s and SHTF, which is why me and friends never join any sites or sign up for any emails. Some of these freaks use slurs against women like the B word, and troll by tearing any post/comment person down that suits them at the moment. Why they go to these sites (most trolls are ultra left promoting Marxism and open borders, etc) I cannot figure out, unless they have so much time on their hands and live in their parent’s spare room or on welfare , etc.

          • Calico–Feel free to slam me all you want. A personal attack on a blog and $.50 will get you a senior coffee at McDonald’s.

            BTW, I am the best looking, smartest, Toughest, richest, most experienced survival who has ever, or will ever existed.

        • That’s a lot of digging, even with a backhoe. I can’t picture how one would hide the evidence of that much digging. At any rate, a plastic bucket with a lid would probably end up leaking in short order.

          • Am I the only one here that has seen what a rat can do with a plastic bucket? They can chew thru it rather quickly.
            There’s a lot of things we can bury out by those trees over there, but I wouldn’t bury food.

            • Mice can do the same thing. I can’t burry anything in the ground here–the water level is only five feet below the surface.

            • I had seeds in a shed and forgot about them but didn’t realize the were next to rat poison. Saw something got into the sunflower seeds and then saw something ate through the rat poison box and started to laugh. Ironic!!! Then a mouse was in the house, I had a bird and it would through sunflower seeds out of its cage. Mice really love them. One night I vacuumed up some seeds and then went to sleep. I was awoken by a noise and then saw something moving in my room. It was the vacuum cleaner, a mouse was inside of it to get the seeds. I chased it through the house and found in a built-in drawer in the closet it chewed through brand new sheets. I pulled out the top drawer and thought it got in the wall. I had a pellet pistol in my hand, it stuck its head above the drawer and I shot from the hip on reflex right between the eyes. Amazing I laughed so hard. Poor mouse. Lol.

          • That much digging you might as well have a root celler.

  2. If you have access to hilly country you can bury a 55 gallon drum in a hillside, and then pack things in it that are also packed individually for long term storage. You could even find a place where you don’t have to dig that much, a natural dip in the land, and then fill in on top of it. You will need about a year for the area to look “normal” again and you want to check and make sure the dirt over it doesn’t settle in the shape of the container. Naturally you want the door to the drum to be close to a surface so you can check your stuff and then put the dirt/leaves back on it.

    I was also thinking that not a lot of people look UP when they are looking for hidden things, so small caches like pistols, electronic equipment, or a few hundred rounds of ammo could be hid in a tree, say in a bat house or something like that that had an extra compartment. You might have to work around the bats that move in, but they are part of the disguise.

    After that, you’d be well to learn edible weeds and cultivate patches of them. Jerusalem artichoke, cattails, etc. also plant some turnips and taters. The deer might get some but you’d have living caches.

    • It could also be used as a root cellar if the grid is down.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      A catche barrel can be used to store all kinds of vegs, if you know what can be stored together for the best result… I will avoid planting cattails, because that opens you up to being a marshland and in danger of land being taken over by “water control ppl.”

    • Babycatcher says:

      The Bears in our area think nothing of digging a couple feet down to find goodies,and their teeth and claws are sharp enough to punch a hole in a 55 gal drum. They would play with it before eating the contents…..

    • The other thing you could do as far as learning natural edibles goes is devote part of a property to teraforming a permaculture “food forest.” Trees, herbs, honey, roots and tubers, wild fruit and berries (hence, jellies and jams), and legumes, seedlings, and nuts. The trees will take a good while to show anything (years, not months), but it’s a very doable thing in most climates.

  3. M.D. is right about being underground with cost and space, I built a 6 by 10 space about 7′ deep with a backhoe and put a storage shed over top of the hole without getting into all the specs it’s a good 5grand into just materials (not equipment rental) it’s not easy to get into, so my supplies are long shelf life stuff and extra “needed” in case of emergency things. To be ideal the space would need to at minimum double the size with stairs instead of ladder access, and that would only bring me to maybe a years supply of food. Sure wish I would have burned the money and energy on other things.

  4. This is great and timely advise. It would be nice if we could get them to amend the law to say that hording starts once the shortage is declared.
    It is a shame when the laws allows “reverse reasoning”, in other words, declaring something done legally in the past to now be illegal.

    I did notice something that “might” be useful as a loophole. That is “(2)”, for resale, but it does say “or”.

    • What’s really a shame, JP, is that the government tells us what we are allowed to store and how much. Even God says to have seven years stored for your household and workers, though He didn’t make it a law.

    • Do you actually think the US government (at any level) will worry about laws if the empire is threatened ? Rule #1 for them is to PRESERVE THE EMPIRE at any cost.

      Keep in mind that governments are mostly comprised of people who are otherwise useless.

      • Absolutely correct. It is known by it’s official title “Continuity of Government”. All else is surplus. Stocked bunkers, secure data storage, etc, these dotgov folks just aren’t going to disappear. I actually give them a longer survival life than that of the cockroach, (may even be the same family?? LOL)

      • Hildegard:

        I can’t argue with you.

        As things get “worse” I don’t expect to truly have any “discussions” with government “enforcers”. I did bring it up as a topic for consideration.

        • Well having some throw away supplies with extra hemlock in them to be stolen might help even the odds.

        • I doubt that many posting here would be up for a discussion on ‘local laws and zoning regulations’.

          Whatever you do, NEVER use empty vodka bottles to store rubbing alcohol. Such a practice could endanger a ‘code enforcement officer’.

  5. Seasoned_Citizen says:

    All fine and dandy, BUT
    whatchagonna do when they kidnap or hold hostage ONE of your family ro group and the demand is:


    Moral: OPSEC and individual security counts. Weakest link will bust the iron chain of preparation.

    • So whatchya gonna do when you don’t have any stockpiles and they tell you the same thing?

      • Anonamo Also says:

        pick them some sorrel, plaintain and dandelion, and say “this is what we were having for supper”..

        • Actually JSW, you should make it horse nettle, hemlock, and henbane sprinkled liberally with diced apple seeds, sour almonds, and diced apricot seedlings. Offer these “preps” as their supper. Then use their corpses as fertilizer!

    • Kill them all, duh!

  6. Before I start on the article, I would like to mention adding bamboo to the list of edibles. I haven’t seen it mentioned on this blog.

    I have about 50 ft on one side of my yard and maybe 20 on the other. I use mine as a barrier between yards, but I have also cooked it. You HAVE to cook it. Do not eat raw. It has a bit of cyanide in it. Bamboo is a healthy food and grows amazingly fast…..2-3 ft a day. Bamboo has many other uses, weapons, roof repair, temporary dwelling/cover, fences, etc. It is tough and will take very cold temps. Cooking….

    So, for people who have a little land or decent size yard, bamboo would be a great addition.

    Trivia: Only known plant that survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      For those that do not know, it is very is wise to have some kind of barrier to prevent it from gettin out of the area you want to designate,.. Also if you break it off, the tender shoots that put up taste a bit like corn on the cob…good with butter.salt.

      • Anonqmo; You NEED to check the variety. There is at least 200 varieties and not all are edible. Most, if not all, have a cyanide in them and it WILL make you very sick. Breaking off the “tender shoots” is very risky if not cooked.

        As far as growing out of area, again, it depends on variety…..clumper or runner Bamboo has a root system that looks like a elongated “U”. Some become self contained. They just get thicker. I’ve been growing it for 20 years and other than thinning it out, I’ve never had a problem with it randomly spreading.

        • Anonamo Also says:

          Izzy, You did well to point out many varieties. I was not speaking of NOT cooking it, but my neighbors property has been overcome by the stuff, contained tho it be on his 2 acres, It has to be completely cut every few months for him to have any use of his property…I don’t know what variety it is, but it is aggressive!…and it taste good, cooked with butter and salt, when less than 2 ft tall.

          • My mistake on the ‘cooking’ Anonamo, sorry about that.

            I have to thin mine out otherwise it chokes itself out. Yes, the new shoots are the best.

            Your neighbor can sink some corrugated tin to stop spread. He most likely has the runner type of bamboo. All bamboo tends to be aggressive. That is one of the good things about it if a person is going to use it.

  7. Joel has some great suggestions- some of which are too complicated for the average person….it’s good to consider his ideas and use to spin off to what will work in your own situation. Have to make a couple of comments because we have built many underground and hidden structures for this purpose: if there is any size to them, manpower is a necessity so there goes a great deal of opsec. Concrete trucks are hard to miss. Wow, the average person cannot afford a steel door/jamb then consider the install process due to weight (crane!) If one is “handy”, making some changes to an existing structure is a smart way to go. Building new needs to be carefully thought out and then make changes after CO is issued and inspections are done.
    For what it’s worth: Read to weigh and consider but do your own thinking!

    • Hipplains; My very dear fried built a massive underground structure including a place for his horses. He won’t tell anyone what it cost, but I betting millions. Anyway, he had a similar, but much smaller setup in IL When he built his place in his mountain state, he hired the same crew and payed for them to stay out west. Most were buddies of his. He did not pull a permit for the room or horse area. Only about 5 people plus me know it is there. He is in a remote location where hardly any traffic passes.

  8. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    Thank you Mr. Skousen for writing this article – a lot of good thought was put into this. Building built-in furnishings (desks – bunk beds) assemblies with hidden storage compartments would add some more space. Trickier to design quick access to it though.

  9. I have a VERY good food supply buried in my yard. Granted, I may only have 2 people IF my daughter were to come, but I know I can survive minimum 18 months to maybe even 2 years eating moderately. It isn’t hard to do as long as you are careful about when you dig the holes. I dug mine at night, but some I dug during daylight and had small plants to put on top. My neighbors thought I was simply growing azaleas.

    I have a goodly amount stored offsite as well. In fact non freezable items are stored in my “ice castle”. I spent a great deal of time scouting for a place where I could make something akin to the old ice houses, but would not to be noticed. I found an abandoned cave and went to work. A dear friend of mine actually helped me to shore up the inside. It’s still undisturbed and still working after several years. Yeah, it is a pain in the patoot, but it is worth it.

    Guns and ammo have been my biggest worry. But, I have managed to hide a fair amount.

    People need to be creative. There are all manner of hiding places in a house. None of which cost much money. Buy a few building supplies here and there just like you do food.

    • Dogs will be used if there is some type of confiscation attempt. I fully believe that would trigger a civil war. People will not surrender their rights because they say so our founding Fathers sacrificed way too much so we could be free. What would be needed in this case would be booby traps to slow them down and make them think twice about rushing in somewhere they are not wanted. Just a thought.

      • Something to consider.

        We start talking about confiscation and imply that it will be regular federal, state, and local employees. Think about this (along the lines of the 299 Days series):

        “Working” with local gangs to “control” certain areas, especially in major, but non-vital, urban area’s. They allow them freedom from prosecution and a portion of what they “recover”. These people are already known for violence, some are very well organized. They “cost” the government nothing, relieve regular forces for what the politicians deem important, and will “help” them keep the civil population “under control”; at least they think it will.

        Out here a yellow helmet might look blue.

      • Thor; I doubt ANY sniffer dog will be able to find my buried food. Sealed buried food isn’t going to give off any odor. Inside I believe the same to be true. Not to mention, who is going to have that many trained dogs? They take a good year to train to be fully working anyway. I think any use of trained dogs will be used to intimidate people. Dogs will be shot the same as people.

        ” What would be needed in this case would be booby traps to slow them down and make them think twice about rushing in somewhere they are not wanted.”

        I totally agree. But, I don’t have a lot of confidence in local cops in a SHTF.

        • I’ve worked with guard/drug dogs and you would be amazed at what they can do,a dot of c4 on an aircraft and that dog will find it. If the firearm was ever fired the dog will find it and just because you can’t smell the food doesn’t me he can’t. They find people buried in avalanches, bones underground. Drugs and explosives anywhere. You could dump gunpowder around your house to confuse them but then they may blowup your house or tear it down to find them. If they are gangs they may torture you or a loved one to get it out of you so I would just rather die in a firefight. Better to die standing up than licking boots before the bullet in the head. Then the booby traps would give you a good thought before during knowing they will get theirs too. Thanks for agreeing! Just a thought.

          • Thor; I am well aware of all the working dogs. I’ve had to call out a cadaver dog and missing person tracker more than once. Never had to call out a bomb sniffer though. I had my own Schutzhund for 2 years, but she got so she wasn’t effective and had to be retired. I was able to keep her until she crossed the rainbow. (:

            I know enough about explosives to be cautious, but not near enough to mess with them. THAT kind of booby trap is out for me. Guess I would have to stick with punjabi sticks since I have an abundance of bamboo. 🙂

            • It doesn’t have to be explosives,mechanical, shotguns, crossbow ect. Although a firework with a mousetrap for a switch a Christmas light for an igniter and a 9 volt batter is simple. Just make sure your not the mouse!!! Remove battery before opening. Why do you think they are switching to led lighting and other mercury style lamp lights??? In a SHTF scenario I would do anything to protect my family and thinking outside the box is one of those things. Think and plan,survive. Just a thought.

              • “Although a firework with a mousetrap for a switch a Christmas light for an igniter and a 9 volt batter is simple.”

                Looks like English. Reads like English. Thor, you sure left me at the gate.

                • Izzy, knowledge is survival. Learn everything you can about everything.

                  • Well I know that Thor. Somehow I can just see the headlines, “old lady blows self up while attempting to make prepper bomb”. There are some things in life that require hands on instructions. At least for me. 🙂

                    • I get you but force multipliers are a great thing especially if they are all legal to own. Check out TM 31-210. I like the bamboo thing though:)

                    • Even a booby trap that pops, but doesn’t harm anybody will slow the machine to a crawl. After the first pop, everybody would worry about what could be next.

                  • Thor; Thanks for the info. I put 2 books on my Amazon wish list. 🙂

              • Model rocket igniters
                Great for fireworks, pyrotechnics, emergency fire starter, substitute for copper igniters in larger model rockets
                Works on any DC current, from button cells to car batteries.

                Oh so many uses and one should look down the page for other goodies

                • Patriot Dave says:

                  It is advertised for fireworks. BUT, would purchasing such a product put a person on yet another list? Do they sell this sort of stuff at a brick and mortar store?

          • I have a “friend ” who dotted one of his cache areas with concrete chunks that have rebar sticking out. He saw this in a book back in the 90’s and replicated it. Let the bastards work for a change when they break out the metal detectors.

      • I don’t know if it is fool proof, but when I was in the Air Force back in the 70s, guys would sprinkle black pepper all around their barracks room floors to throw off the dogs during a drug check. They claimed it would mess up their smell for a while and they could not smell the drugs. May be worth keeping a bunch of extra black pepper, or hot pepper around to sprinkle on the house, if you think they may be coming in with dogs. Anything to our advantage.

        • There is some truth in that JAS. Sniffer dogs can only work for short stretches and if they get a nose full of pepper, all they can do is sneeze. It is also part of their training to encounter such deterrents and back away. Cayenne pepper is a great deterrent. Get it on membranes and OUCH. Urine is also a good deterrent.

        • Metal detectors will also be used. I would if looking for arms so put metal throughout your house and bait them to a trap. Make them afraid of searching and they will stop.

          • I have put sheet metal throughout my house. It not only acts as a barrier, it helps keep my house a tad warmer. A fire chief told me that trick.

  10. Diana Smith says:

    One of the lesson my parents taught me was that not even some family can be trusted with knowing what you have, or even that you have.
    Story goes like this. It was WWII. An older gentleman, 80 years old, had been like many others in sharing whatever they had to go to the troops and help win the war. During those times, much food like sugar, butter, flour, etc was rationed. One day, he made the mistake of asking his daughter to fetch a small, 5lb bag of sugar from its storage place in the attic. This was sugar he had stored before the war even began–or at least before rationing had started.

    She got it down for him, but when she left, she reported him to the authorities for hoarding. Her own father. They came and took all of his sugar, plus other items from his cupboards. He just sat and cried. Don’t know if he ever spoke to the daughter again. Enough other folks felt for him to share some of their rations, but even family can turn.

    So, lately, whenever someone asks, it’s “Sorry, Running low ourselves. Don’t have any extra.” Or a simple. “I’m out.” Very slowly, they are leaving us alone, and we are culling away those who would be leeches. If people actually need something, we’ve taken to secretly leaving it on their doorstep or something.

    This article had great advice.

  11. Interesting article with several solutions. Money is always an issue in our prepping.

    I think a lot depends on ones personal philosophy. Everyone has different approaches to surviving and protecting what is theirs. I feel that they (who ever “they” ends up being) will only be able to take our supplies over the top of our dead bodies. That’s simply our philosophy for survival. To meekly surrender to anyone or any groups demands we give up our supplies just isn’t in our makeup! We’d rather go down fighting for what we’ve managed to accumulate than to capitulate and give up our stores. May sound kind of radical but that’s just the way we plan to respond to an abusive government, gangs, or slackers that think they are owed something.

  12. I don’t think you can let it go as far as a Gestapo/3rd Reich type totalitarian government. I think you have to call a halt to normal society before it gets to that. How exactly you do that, I don’t know, but I guess it will get figured out if the need arises. It would be important then to have rapid communications so that “the jig is up” happens relatively smoothly across large segements of the nation. Hopefully this never happens.

    • I *think* your city/town/county would be in very deep do-do before there would be any attempt by the local authorities to begin confiscating food. I believe long before you got that desparate, your group of friends would have assembled, and neighborhoods would have coalesced (or broken apart). Basically at that point, you would gently communicate (by various methods) to the authorities that their presence is appreciated when needed, but not when not needed, and that people are ready to survive. IF the authorities were even still fully staffed in such desparate times, well – organized groups would likely be left alone. Stragglers might be at siginficant risks. These are all very theoretical comments about a disintegrating societal time.

      • Chuck Findlay says:

        (Communicate to the authorities that their presence is appreciated when needed, but not when not needed.)

        Governments are not all that good at getting messages from the people at large. But they do get messages from lobbyist.

        I don’t think the (any) government will back of easily on over controlling people.

        It would be nice if I were wrong, but our present government actions supports the fact that they don’t listen.

  13. Also consider “sacrifice supplies”, especially as an addition to Principle 3. When they find what they are looking for they will most likely take it and leave. They will probably be assigned an area each day to search, and if they are anything like the army I was in it will be 2-3 times as large as could be searched in a day.

    • Anonamo Also says:

      And my “sacrifice supplies” will be less than stellar, the rice with the bugs…any old food that was not properly stored before I learned better…and all will have some kind of additional protein or substance to help clean out the plumbing…chocolate candy can be made out of ex-lax …and similar results can be made from carob and saccharine.If they want to steal, something can be made available. It worked for those stealing lunchs out of the break-room and has other applications as well. Think,… what you can do with what you have on hand…

      • Or better yet add in some wild morning glory seeds, poke berries, or poison hemlock. They all grow wild on some part or another of my place. It’s also one reason why we keep angel trumpets as well. It’s sure not for the cloying scent when they bloom.

        Stealing from me will be a very risky business even after I lose the gunfight. Or my memory goes and I forget what not to use from, which come to think of it is a lot more likely as time goes on…lol.

        • Nazi Werwolves (guerillas) after WWII left bottles of liquor made with methyl alcohol where soldiers would steal them. The symptoms look like simple drunkenness. Very effective against an occupying force bent on hedonism.

      • Babycatcher says:

        I’ve actually done that, brought some special brownies to work, and the thief was out for two days! But he never stole lunches again, either….

      • I am learning so much from this post! I’ve never had my lunch stollen but if the issue ever comes up I am so making the thief sick.

  14. TY 4 posting this article MD. I enjoy Skousen’s input into this area. For a good lesson into how resourceful we need be in concealment, anyone having a copy of ‘The Black Book of Communism’ can see how resourceful the looters can be….1 photo therein shows looters taking a seed stash, concealed underground-these looters were govt agents, acting under govt edict, now reread the above article’s govt laws…. a direct parallel; by design or coincidence? How is it govt has the WORST record of human rights abuse down through history? Inflicted on its own peeps! Vultures in bureaucratic garb!?

  15. Hildegard, my only issue w/your statement/issue….. I would substitute your statement ‘Preserve THE Empire’ w/: ‘Preserve THEIR Empire’ ….. a pox (or worse) on the rank & file…..

  16. just wondering on this one folks….. I’ve been donating blood for years to local bloodbank….. I’m lately getting regular/numerous/many requests from same blood bank to give, give , give….. NP w/me, but I’m wondering about reasons behind the increased requests…. illegals getting free care, nat’l hlth care in general, our elites stockpiling for their bunkers…. any thoughts?

    • TAXES!!!

      • I don’t grasp your reply. Sorry.

        • Stand up. I don’t see what you’re saying!

        • Its just like taxes. They take your money and give it to who knows who. Soon it will be like a bad movie about the Antichrist . RFID chips, no money transactions so they can raid your bank accounts. Knowing our present government I wouldn’t be surprised if they are giving it to ISIL fighters. Your blood and tax money.

          • Ah, now I got ya. TY! I figure a nefarious agenda. Appreciate any other input. Made appt yesterday but rejected due to use of an external antibiotic used periodically for an ear infection. No wonder blood banks inventories are so low, the questionaire is both lengthy & exhaustive. Most of the donors are seasoned citizens. Good to see a willingness to serve amongst them!

  17. We are all spouting a lot of conjecture…MUCH of it is correct I’m sure. How big?,when? how much? etc……..We all have our own personal beliefs, and plan accordingly. While it is great to “compare notes”…..we all learn from each other, and we do hear some really….shall we say….”less-than fully-developed-ideas”. Can we,though….offer some ABSOLUTES?? Meaning…things that are virtually guaranteed to occur……here are MY personal ABSOLUTE beliefs(assuming limited(or no) functioning grid,martial law(or “national emergency”,same same), and a pandemic of epic proportions, and/or absolute financial collapse…….1). EVERYTHING will be restricted/rationed,etc.2.)NO INTERSTATE hwy will be accessable EXCEPT BY PERMISSION3)YOU will NEVER have enough fuel(gas,diesel,etc)4)DUSK-TO-DAWN curfews will be in place5)SEARCH and siezeure will be commonplace,as well as “troublemakers never being seen again6)RAMBO wannabe’s will end up in medical schools(as a cadaver).7)WATER and ELECTRICITY,GARBAGE will be used as a weapon if necessary for population control8) CITIZENS will be “rewarded” for turning-in “rulebreakers9)WEAPONS wil NOT be allowed in public places/streets/stores/gathering places,etc,but OK @ your domicile. 10) I will get MUCH better with my compound bow……………….waddayathink?????

    • Idahobob, prepare, be ready for everything and anything it is all coming only a matter of time. We will defeat the evil but it will take time. No one will stop America from being a free land.

    • Some of your ‘absolutes’ are a foregone conclusion. But, to what degree is anyone’s guess.

      I don’t think too many medical schools will be open for cadavers. If the grid is down, there won’t be any teaching.

    • Thomas The Tinker says:

      Idaho….. I love your turn of phrase! Making a point in a conversational tone… with just a morsel of humor. Compound huaaa. Pull Weight? Do you believe a 50lb. is enough when combined with the speed and accuracy of the compound……?? My Left shoulder is beginning to dislike me each time I strap on my release for a lil practice……

  18. It is nice when others share their methods but if you have a really good idea maybe you should keep it to yourself. I had a great one and then somebody else had it and included it an article on where to hide your jewelry. It’s not like the bad guys read those magazines right? Unless the cover on the rack by the checkout at the grocery sore has it in bold print ” how to hide things so the burglars can’t find them”. You can kind of figure that there is probably a manual being put together for government personnel to find the stuff you don’t want them to find.

  19. Md, haven’t posted in awhile. Just wanted to say thank you for your efforts for riding hard on the pack. Still here. Still prepping. Sustainable now.

  20. Encourager says:

    A few ‘different’ secret storage ideas:

    Behind a china cabinet, remove the drywall, install shelves to store canned goods. Yes, hard to move but that is the point.

    Do not toss old water heaters, softeners, or pressure tanks. Use them to store stuff in them. Even if you put the worn out one out in the shed on its side so it looks like junk, you can use it to store stuff in. Just make sure the end (with added false bottom) is faced away from where someone would look.

    Add a few sewage lines (large PVC pipes) in ceiling of basement and make them look as if they attach to the main line. Have a clean out that you can remove to reach into and get your supplies.

    Storage space behind fixed items, such as medicine cabinets, especially if the other side of the wall is a closet.

    With a basement, many areas under a porch are not dug out. Dig them out after removing the cement block, use more cement block to build a storage place under the porch. Stack back the cement block, leave out the mortar. Put shelving unit in front with secret hinges that swing out so you can access under the porch. Or would also make a great root cellar with a false wall in back that you access for secret storage.

    Enclose the area under the stairs with drywall. Have a small door for access to part of it (which would be looked into). Have a shallow closet under the tallest part of the stairs. False back of closet and secret storage space.

    Build false walls in closets or pantry and store behind them.

    These ideas can be used in a house, a garage, a shed.

    • I like the way you think Encourager. 🙂 It takes work, but it is amazing how much one can hide when they get creative.

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