This is a response to @Alex516 who asked the fol­low­ing ques­tion, which made me think a lit­tle deep­er on the sub­ject, and I thought it would make a good post:

@Alex516 asked: “I’d be curi­ous about your thoughts for using a stor­age unit as a lay­over. I’m think­ing about caching some sup­plies in one on the far out­skirts of town as the more I think about it, the less like­ly it is I’ll be able to defend my home. If I have to high-tail it out of here in front of a hun­gry mob, being able to grab sup­plies from a stor­age loca­tion on my way out would give me one more option.   I’ve also be think­ing about look­ing at the more indus­tri­al areas to hide out in as there will like­ly be plen­ty of emp­ty build­ings with few­er loot­ers at least ini­tial­ly. A small stor­age unit on the edge of an indus­tri­al park may be a path to explore. I also may keep an eye on build­ings that are for lease because many of them are emp­ty for years. If I know before­hand that these X build­ings are emp­ty, it may give me a few places that will be safer to hole up. You can eas­i­ly find build­ings for lease on the inter­net and an after­noon dri­ving around will tell you what’s emp­ty. Most of the web sites will also tell you how long it’s been list­ed so you’ll have an idea if it might be a long-term vacan­cy. Even if you can’t get in them, many have cov­ered areas out­side that will make decent shel­ters. I’m most­ly just try­ing to fig­ure out how to get away from peo­ple.”

Good thoughts, Alex. Here is what I think. And keep in mind it is only an opin­ion. 😉

My thoughts on Stor­age Units as Shel­ters:  I “sort of” like the stor­age unit as a shel­ter for a very short term time­frame depend­ing on the sit­u­a­tion at hand. Con­sid­er­a­tions you will need to make:

  • Cook­ing: You prob­a­bly will not be able to cook any­thing but ready­made meals to keep the smell, smoke, etc. to a min­i­mum.  Think MRE’s and Dehy­drat­ed foods that can be recon­sti­tut­ed with water and eat­en with lit­tle prepa­ra­tion.
  • Light: You will have to block any con­ceiv­able area where light can escape. — Noise — Doors on stor­age units are not sound­proof, unless you plan on sound­proof­ing and insu­lat­ing the door on the back­side, you will have to be qui­et or at a whis­per. And even
  • Hygiene: If you have nowhere to dump a por­ta pot­ty, then you have a lim­it­ed time­frame to use the facil­i­ty. Even for a cou­ple of peo­ple you are good for only a few days with one of them, unless you have mul­ti­ple units.  I am talk­ing strict­ly about the ones you might take camp­ing with you.
  • Defen­si­bil­i­ty: I have a the­o­ry believe that stor­age facil­i­ties will be pil­fered for resources, whether it’s for old din­ing and kitchen chairs to start a fire with, or for a search for per­ceived valu­ables and resources that the loot­ers are try­ing to pro­cure for trade or oth­er com­merce and use. In addi­tion, you will not have the OPSEC to see out­side the unit with the door closed, unless you can put a solar charg­er on the roof, con­nect it to a cou­ple of deep cycle bat­ter­ies and set up a small mon­i­tor and a cou­ple 12 volt cam­eras out­side in incon­spic­u­ous loca­tions…
  • Vehi­cles:  If you plan on dri­ving to your stor­age unit or fall­back loca­tion then you will need a place to hide your vehi­cle unless you come by motor­cy­cle and can bring it inside with you or unless you have mul­ti­ple stor­age units and can park it inside.
  • Water:  Of course you will need ample water depend­ing on the time of year.  I have to imag­ine it gets hot as hell in those units in the sum­mer.  Assume more than nor­mal if it is 80 — 100 degrees out­side…
  • Weath­er:  Heat in the win­ter if you have to bug out to your unit in the win­ter.  You will need ade­quate ven­ti­la­tion depend­ing on the type of heat source you will be using.  This could be a post of it’s own alto­geth­er dis­cussing heat sources that will not emit enough CO to kill you and who you are with.
  • Com­fort:  The upside is a stor­age unit is large enough to blow up an air mat­tress or to have a few cots that can keep your com­fort lev­el high and give you a good night sleep.
  • Com­mu­ni­ca­tions:  Inside the unless you have com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the out­side world via han­dled radio, you will be cut off from the rest of the world.  See defen­si­bil­i­ty above…

There­fore, I think that depend­ing on the type of dis­as­ter sit­u­a­tion (SHTF) and how far into it you / we may be, stor­age units may offer tem­po­rary solace ear­ly on, but as a SHTF gets worse or as it is pro­longed, then they will be more at risk for loot­ers.   Your time there should be lim­it­ed, in my hum­ble opin­ion…

Please feel free to com­ment and let me know what you think

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