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The idea for underground shelters isn’t a new one, and in times of war and strife, humans have historically headed for the shelter of an underground hideaway, be it in the underground tube stations of London during WW2, the crypts of a cloister in medieval wars or the highly sophisticated modern control center nestled beneath the White House where the President can take shelter in dire circumstances.
The security offered by an underground shelter is among the best that can be achieved, as shelters below the ground are hard to find, hard to attack, and offer protection from all kinds of dangers such as explosives, natural phenomena, and other dangers which would level or significantly damage most modern homes and render them totally destroyed or ruined.
Indeed, most above-ground homes for average use are somewhat flimsy and are actually more dangerous than they appear, as furniture, broken glass, splintered wood, and flying bricks can turn your home into a deathtrap during bad weather or some other SHTF scenario.
Even the most basic underground structures can offer significant protection from such dangers, and if they are outfitted correctly, bunkers offer some of the best peace of mind and security for you, your loved ones, and your essential supplies if the world should eventually take a turn for the apocalyptic.
While most serious preppers will have several different plans depending on the type of scenario they are expecting to face, and many people will plan to bug out to a pre-planned shelter or hideaway, there are many strategies and options open to preppers today, and there are a host of excellent companies offering a range of bunkers and survival shelters.
These shelters come in various configurations and sizes, as well as various costs so there are options available to even the most humble prepper.
In this article, we’re going to look at some of the best survival shelters currently available and being made, from extremely sophisticated and sprawling complexes to simple, personal backyard shelters that almost anyone with some space can take advantage of.
There are naturally an array of different capabilities within each of these different designs, and not all of these bunkers will be equivalent in terms of their equipment or capabilities and are often outfitted with a particular scenario in mind, except in the case of the most sophisticated and high-end bunkers which are able to handle a wider range of scenarios.
This means that while there is a surprising amount of choice, it can be difficult to pin down what is the best option for you if you’re interested in preparing or aspire to one day organize your own survival shelter.
Even if you don’t have the means to purchase or maintain a bunker or survival shelter, the bunkers in this list can provide you with some great ideas and inspiration for your own future bunkers and survival plans, and will potentially help you plan your own survival should you need to shelter in place or hunker down somewhere if the SHTF.
But for now, let’s take a quick look at the shelters we’ve collated to give you a quick summary of the different brands, designs, and budgets we’re looking at.
A quick reference list of some of the best shelters available and how much they cost to give you a better idea of what you may be looking for.
Naturally, there is some considerable variety available, and the number of designs and companies offering these sorts of shelters and services is only increasing as people feel increasingly threatened and fearful both of the future and of the various geopolitical and environmental concerns that seem to endlessly stack up on the horizon.
|Vivos Europa One||Private/Group Bunkers||$2.4 Million/$43,000 pp|
|Vivos xPoint||Private/Group Bunkers||$25,000/$7500|
|Survive-A-Storm||Underground Tornado Bunker||Custom|
|Survive-A-Storm||Underground Storm Bunker||Custom|
|Atlas Survival Shelters||BombNado||$18,999|
|Trident Lakes||Resort Bunker||$500,000 – $1 million|
|US Military||Underground Bunker||$325,000|
|Private Sale||Bomb Shelter||$250,000|
|Private Sale||NBC Container||$23,000|
|Granger Plastics||Tornado Bunker||$19,000|
|Private Sale||Fallout Shelter||$695,995|
|Rising S Company||Silver Leaf Bunker||$122,500|
An In-depth Look at the Bunkers
In this section we’re going to take an in-depth look at each of the bunkers in this list and the brands offering them, to give you a comprehensive look at just what your money can get you and to provide you with some inspiration and ideas for your own designs or homemade shelters should you be unable to engage the services of companies such as these.
Even a simple shelter in the basement of your home, if organized and equipped correctly can offer a considerable amount of protection and improvement over simply hiding under your bed or locking yourself in the bathroom.
While some of these bunkers may seem humble, many of them are made by experts and are designed to offer as much protection as practically possible, and a combination of their design, location, and equipment make them superb shelters in times of crisis.
But without further introduction, let’s dive into the first shelter and see what it has to offer.
While a lot of people think of survival shelters as a ditch in the backyard, this couldn’t be further from the truth, particularly in the case of Vivos.
Vivos is the company that has turned survival planning into a massive community of like-minded preppers who buy space in massive bunker complexes and shelters built, refurbished, and maintained by Vivos, offering some of the most extensive and well-equipped prepper real estate on Earth.
Vivos itself was founded in California by Robert Vicino and has focused on building, acquiring, and equipping large, hardened underground shelters and bunkers designed to withstand various possible future disasters and extinction scenarios, from nuclear attacks to a host of other catastrophes.
While many people have come across backyard shelters, shipping containers, and improvised basement shelters, Vivos shelters are more like huge underground cities.
Europa One is the site and plan for Vivos to convert, refurbish and equip a surplus cold war underground bunker built by the Soviets in Rothenstein, Germany.
The complex is a 250,000 bunker that is planned to be refitted into a luxury shelter capable of housing some 1000 people, along with a small zoo, storage for valuable cultural treasures and artifacts, a gene bank for reviving plants and wildlife after an extinction event, as well as a host of other amazing additions and utilities.
This makes it the largest and one of the most well-equipped private shelters in the world.
This, truly, is prepping taken to the next level, and brings to mind science fiction entities and stories, as Vivos echoes a similar approach to fictional bunker manufacturers such as Vault-Tec from the famous Fallout franchise of video games.
While Vault-Tec’s goals and motivations were a little less than ideal for the survivors and patrons of those fictional bunkers, Vivos aims to ensure that those who are subscribed to their service have access to some of the most premiere survival real-estate available allowing members to ride out the apocalypse in relative comfort and luxury.
The facility is capable of handling around 1000 people should it need to and could conceivably handle more. It is capable of supporting these inhabitants for several years without needing to venture out into whatever chaos remains on the surface for supplies or equipment, making it a veritable Ark of human survival.
The bunker is hardened and made to withstand a close-range nuclear attack, a direct crash by a large plane, biological and chemical agents, shock waves, earthquakes, electromagnetic pulses (EMPs), flooding, and pretty much any direct armed assault.
In short, it’s a nearly impervious fortress for anyone seeking maximum safety and security from a range of threats.
Families are given a private area within the bunker and this is capable of being turned into a two-story home, with a potential space of 465 square meters, which is more space than a lot of people have in their non-disaster homes!
The price, however, is as gargantuan as the bunker itself. To secure a space in this citadel, a private apartment will cost around 2 million Euros, or 2.45 million dollars, while semi-private suits come in at around 35,000 euros per person, which is around 43,000 dollars per person.
The living quarters are fitted and finished like luxury yachts and the facility has its own power capabilities, water systems, and NBC filtration systems making it sort of like a panic room for multi-millionaires… or maybe a panic city for multi-millionaires.
2. Vivos xPoint
Another example of Terra Vivos’ ambitious large-scale survival projects is the Vivos xPoint facility, which adheres to Vivos’ strategy of acquiring massive military surplus bases and retrofitting them into enormous facilities capable of maintaining a huge community of preppers and survivalists in impressive safety and comfort.
xPoint was acquired in 2016, and the site was previously a US Army Base known as Black Hills Ordnance Depot, located in South Dakota. The facility comprises 575 concrete and steel underground bunkers that were originally constructed in 1942 by the Army Corps of Engineers as a military citadel capable of housing vast stores of explosives and other munitions.
The base was retired in 1967 and when this occurred, the land was used as a cattle ranch. It has since been repurposed by Terra Vivos into the largest private shelter community in the world, allowing as many as 5000 people to live through almost any disaster or catastrophic event and its resulting chaos.
The site is located just outside the city of Edgemont, and is truly ambitious, boasting vast tracts of land, and nuclear fallout bunkers capable of withstanding a 500,000 internal blast. The bunkers have access to off-grid water wells that pump water from deep in the artesian aquifer, and there is storage for this water in large underground tanks.
Each bunker has space to accommodate 10 to 24 people and the capability of feeding and supplying them for over a year, making this a great location for large families, groups, or an end of the world fiesta.
In terms of pricing, the bunkers are pretty competitive despite their excellent facilities and the level of protection they offer. When you consider that a location of this type offers private roads, landing strips, and a large community of like-minded survivors to ride out the apocalypse with, these bunkers make an excellent choice.
They are also managed and maintained by professionals in prepping and survival bunkers, so you’re getting premium space for your money.
The cost of a private bunker is a one-time upfront fee of $25,000 plus an annual preservation fee of $1000. When you consider that these bunkers can host up to 24 people, this makes the cost actually relatively reasonable for even the most humble prepper or survivalist.
If you can sell this deal to your friends as ‘end of the world insurance’ or an ‘everything must go apocalypse fire sale’ you may just be able to convince them that this is a sound investment in your own preservation and future.
It’s also possible to look for smaller spaces if you don’t have access to a group this large and for the price of $7500 per person and a monthly expense fee of $50 per person you can get access to a private space within a shared bunker. This is pretty reasonable, especially considering the cost of some of the more basic personalized and custom bunkers.
While sharing space with strangers may be a little weird at first, nothing will bond people like surviving the end of the world, so think of it sort of like an extended frat party or slumber party and a chance to make a lot of new, very close, friends!
3. Survive-A-Storm Off-Grid Bunker
Survive-A-Storm is a company that specializes in making shelters that can help you survive serious weather such as tornadoes and storms.
Their off-grid bunkers are a seriously good investment, offering great peace of mind and security especially as the world’s weather continues to become more extreme and violent.
The US has some of the most extreme weather in the world, making shelters like this a serious consideration for people in these areas of the country.
These shelters are 12 feet wide, and underground, with a length of between 20 feet to 40 feet for larger groups of people.
These shelters are very livable and fairly big, at a considerable but workable price of around $60000. They come equipped with a kitchen, bathrooms, recreational areas, and bunk beds making them a sort of second home you can rely on in desperate times.
They make a great shelter for bomb scares as they are also shockproof and have NCB filtration so you can survive a nuclear attack or fallout if you need to also.
Additional specs include:
- Stealth installation to keep your bunker concealed and private.
- 1/” Steel tank twice as thick as other bunker manufacturers.
- Cathodic anodes are buried with a bunker for extended life.
- 12 feet wider and 20% larger than square bunkers and 50% larger than pipe bunkers offered by other manufacturers.
- Triple Lock Door with Gasket system.
- Ergonomic entry system with staircase and double door entry for nuclear and ballistic protection.
- Secondary door with a gun port at the main entrance.
- Hidden emergency escape tunnel.
- Both entrances and ventilation are hidden beneath a resin rock nearby.
- NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) filtration system with various CFM and HEPA filters as well as hidden exhausts and intakes, overpressure valves, and blast valves which are lockable for
- waterproofing and air proofing.
- 250-gallon potable water tank.
- On-demand potable water pump.
- Composting toilet.
- Solar panels.
- Various batteries and electrical management systems.
- Water heater for showering.
- A FLIR camera system for security and monitoring notifies you of nearby threats to your shelter.
- The 12×40’ bunker can sleep 10 people, while the 12×20 can sleep four people.
4. Survive-A-Storm Tornado Bunker (Underground)
Another offering from Survive-A-Storm, this bunker is specialized for tornados and can house an incredible 16 occupants making it ideal for large families or businesses which want to offer peace of mind and security for everyone.
It can also be used by smaller families that value space and want the space to store a lot of additional supplies.
The shelter is 10’ by 6’ and can be buried in your yard in a matter of hours making it ideal for maintaining opsec and keeping your bunker a secret. It comes with powder-coating to protect it against rust and degradation, similar to how underground gas stores and pipes are treated for long-term durability.
The shelter has bench seating on three sides and a stairway that enters from the surface with a handrail and non-slip stairs.
The construction is of 10-gauge steel with a ¼ inch floor and reinforcements throughout.
It’s very strong and can resist a lot of pressure and is double welded to make it watertight and tested to ensure there are no leaks at all.
Triple locking door with gasket and spring loads for easy opening and closing, as well as electrical hookups and plumbing hookups for added utility.
While this bunker isn’t as plush as some of the dedicated survival shelters, in dire weather and difficult circumstances this solid and simple system offers you a place to regroup and shelter from the worst of a catastrophe.
Without a full interior setup however this shelter isn’t ideal for long-term sheltering in place and it lacks filtration and other advanced systems and comfort for a sustained stay, meaning it’s ideal for use during storms and tornadoes, but can’t sustain long-term survival, at least for comfortably.
5. Survive-A-Storm Storm Bunker (Underground)
This shelter is very similar to the tornado bunker offered by Survive-A-Storm but is even
simpler, smaller, and easy to install.
It uses a vertical ladder, unlike other systems which aren’t as convenient but does save space and make the bunker simpler and easier to hide.
Inside there is bench seating on every wall and measures 10’ by 6’ for ample space. There are electric and telephone connections inside so you can reach emergency services if you need to or call for help, as well as carpeting included for some added comfort, should you need to bed down for a while.
While sparse and again not particularly well equipped compared to some other bunkers, this is the perfect emergency shelter for storms and in a pinch, and benefits from years of Survive-A-Storm expertise and quality, meaning its robust, reliable, and can give immense peace of mind, while also providing additional hidden storage and safety to you and your family.
6. Atlas Survival Shelter BombNado
Atlas Survival Shelters has made an excellent name for itself and has risen quickly in the last few years due to its impressive selection of bunkers and survival shelters for the average American homeowner or household.
Atlas has been rolling out more than 1000 shelters a year recently, indicating not only the quality of their design and installation but the increasing demand for security and safety. More and more people seem to be realizing how vulnerable they are, and are investing heavily into a system that can protect them and their families.
BombNado uses filtration technology from Israel and Switzerland as both these countries require their buildings to have a fallout shelter and to include NBC filtration systems. As such, Atlas provides their shelters with hand crankable NBC filters so that even if the power goes out, you can be safe from these threats even without power.
Atlas has a range of designs to choose from with variations on space and size, but the BombNado is their most popular offering.
Unlike a lot of other manufacturers, Atlas actually encourages people to use their shelters as storage and workshops or sheds as they add significant extra space and value to your property, and as long as you keep it discreet from prying eyes, this is a valid use of your investment.
The beauty of these home systems is that they are right there in SHTF. No extraction, no risky bug-outs, just grab your people and whatever extra supplies you haven’t already set up and dive into your bunker in a matter of minutes.
The appeal is obvious, and the additional benefit and value of the extra space these bunkers add to your home make them incredibly attractive as storm shelters, tornado shelters, fallout shelters, or survival shelters regardless of the particular brand of disaster you’re prepping for.
7. US Military Underground Bunker, Missouri, US
A running theme among preppers is the use of surplus, and for the most ambitious, using surplus bases and bunkers isn’t out of the question!
This old DoD missile launch bunker has a shelter 35-feet below ground and more than 2000 square feet of space, making it a perfect place to set up shop when the SHTF.
It has huge blast doors and an escape hatch, and many of the features you’d expect in a military bunker, from air pumps to pumps for sewage and drainage. It is EMP-proof meaning your electronics will be as safe as you are, and above ground, there is a 4000 square foot property with five bedrooms and two bathrooms.
It has tons of features and all the mod cons, and a secure access room to nip to the bunker when the bomb finally drops.
The property comes with 9 acres of farmable land, with fencing and barbed wire perimeters and a helipad so you can head home in a hurry if you need to.
There are very few totally complete residences and bunkers with this much land and so many great features, so it’s unlikely that this one will be on the market for long in an increasingly fearful and dangerous world.
8. Private Bomb Shelter, Montana, US
This property is a 20-acre bunker that looks very nondescript, which is exactly what a serious prepper should be aiming for with their shelter.
The large multi million pound bunkers and communities may attract headlines and big investors, but these places have a huge footprint and it will be hard to not attract attention when SHTF.
A small and hidden hideaway is the best for preserving your new home, and this shelter seems to have that nailed.
Inside it is a fully functional underground shelter that was built in the ’80s and is still in good working order. There are also other shelters in the local area, as this is a popular place for preppers to set up shop long term.
The shelter can accommodate 100 people in an emergency configuration, which is impressive and means you’ll have plenty of space for the inlaws, so no excuses!
9. Private NBC Container, Arizona, US
This project is a little different and is a mobile nuclear and EMP-proof shelter that can be picked up and moved with a truck, meaning you can park it and move it if you’re someone who moves home a lot or isn’t sure they’re settled yet but want to be protected nonetheless.
Being able to move your shelter is a unique luxury that very few preppers can claim or take advantage of, so this is a unique project that is offering something totally different to other bunkers and shelters as well as the main manufacturers.
There is a livable area with beds and supply storage, as well as essential amenities. The interior plumbing is arranged and designed to make it self-contained and NBC proof, with a power source, various filters, and solar panels making it totally self-sustaining.
While it doesn’t hide as well as some other underground bunkers, if you can find a good place to hide it, this system offers something unique to the unsettled prepper!
10. Granger Plastics Tornado Bunker
If you’re looking for something even simpler and less difficult to implement, this offering from Granger Plastics has you covered.
It is a storm and tornado unit made of aluminum and plastic which can be ordered online and delivered to your door. They have become a popular choice in areas with very extreme weather, and they are affordable as well as surprisingly reassuring.
They are, however, quite small and made of lightweight materials which means that it isn’t up to the sort of long-stay most survival shelters will provide.
Really this shelter is not ideal for more than a short stay of a few hours to maybe a night or two at absolute max, as there isn’t enough space and there aren’t enough systems in place to reliably harbor you for much longer.
The shelter uses a polymer construction with an aluminum door, and there is an LED lighting system as well as a non-float design and a lifetime limited warranty.
The shelter is supposed to have a 500-year lifespan, meaning it’s something that can be passed down through generations if you want to give peace of mind to your children, and while it is very simple, it will protect you from particularly scary weather conditions quite effectively and can be a great way to add storage capacity to your home for supplies and other equipment.
11. Private Fallout Bunker, Kansas, US
This bunker in Kansas is on a 10-acre property and is an underground nuclear communications bunker that is hardened and can withstand almost anything.
Another example of military surplus being repurposed, the underground area is truly massive, coming in at 12000 square feet of space, as well as an on-site well, 10,000-gallon steel water storage, and dual sewage pumps which are functional along with a full bathroom.
The rooms are fairly spacious, and while the aesthetics aren’t exactly on par with some of the billionaire bunkers listed earlier, the key systems such as air filtration and the 225kw generator all work as intended, which creates a closed system of self-reliance and your own little bastion of civilization as the world is consumed by whatever disaster is going on way up above.
The entrance has 3000lb blast doors to prevent whatever is going on up there ever getting down to you too, but in the unlikely event something does go wrong, there’s an escape hatch, along with a decontamination shower to remove NBC particles you may be carrying on you when you arrive or if you venture out for a Sunday stroll.
This is one of the most well-equipped and secure bunkers on the list, is well located, well hidden, and packed with features and space for a large group or several families.
Another fast-growing home bunker manufacturer is Rising S Company, and are one of many companies struggling to keep up with the massive demand for at-home survival shelters and other prepper solutions.
The Silver Leaf is a standout design with a 10’ by 50’ footprint and is one of the most popular models as it is large enough to provide ample space but ideally sized to be placed in a large yard or other remote bug-out location.
The rooms are well separated inside, and it’s ideal for families or those who want privacy while they wait out the chaos outside.
This model comes complete with a kitchen, dining room, master bedroom, bunk room, and a common living area in between these rooms.
There are many amenities including a dining table, sink and work surfaces, composting toilet, NBC air filtration (complete with blast valves and overpressure valves), a Jack Knife Sofa, Bullet-resistant security door, shower, tankless water heater, water pressure pumps, and a greywater/evacuation pump.
It has the capacity for a decent-sized family in comfort, and space for additional guests as the sofa can convert into an additional double bed.
Overall this is a very well equipped home or bug-out bunker, and while it’s a little more expensive than some other offerings such as the BombNado, this is a very large shelter with space for a lot of supplies and survivors, and that extra footage and the complete list of amenities does come at a cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are shelters so expensive?
There are many reasons for this. Shelters are large and made of very tough materials, making them hard to work with and hard to transport. They are made incredibly strong and robust, tested extensively, and filled with all sorts of tools and amenities from filters to heavy-rated blast doors.
In short, shelters need a lot of specialist equipment, and this equipment, as well as the expertise to source, fit, and plan it all out, does not come cheap.
There are some more reasonably priced options available, but even a very simple storm shelter is quite an investment, however, it is possible that they will add value to your property (depending on the model, as well as where its located) so you can consider it an investment not only in your safety but financially in some cases.
How popular are survival shelters?
Increasingly so, as more and more people worry about the various issues plaguing society and the world at large, and the government’s increasingly futile efforts to maintain some semblance of control over things.
The weather, the climate, natural disasters, fires, war, and disease are all ever-present realities in the world, and they could come knocking at your door very quickly, often before you have a chance to even button your pants.
This is why prepping is so important and why more and more people are taking steps to take care of themselves and their families. Increased gun ownership statistics as well as the numbers of people purchasing survival shelters points to a high level of popularity and interest in survivalism and prepping, and this doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
Can underground bunkers protect from nuclear attacks?
Some can protect from nuclear blasts, but not all are capable of this, and it depends on various factors including how close the blast is.
Some larger and more elaborate ex-military installations can allegedly withstand direct or near direct hits, but this is naturally untested and would probably have dire consequences for anyone beneath either way.
Shelters with NBC filters and with adequate depth however should offer considerable protection from nuclear attacks as well as other disasters.
How many people can fit inside an underground bunker?
Again this depends on the size. Some installations such as Europa One can accommodate 1000 people, while a simple BombNado or Silver Leaf shelter can accommodate a smaller family-sized unit plus supplies.
Do you need special training to build a survival shelter?
Quite often a yes, as these projects are an engineering and construction endeavor and if mistakes are made there could be dire consequences. This isn’t like building a treehouse or stashing supplies in your basement!
Many of the designers and builders will have professional training, but it’s best to look into this if you’re concerned, as the more reputable companies will be happy to show you their credentials and verify that they know what they’re doing and explain how and why their designs are the way they are.
Building your own shelter may give you some peace of mind and if you have the knowledge it could save you money, but these are time-intensive tasks and you will need to weigh up if you want to spend all the time and money necessary to produce your own shelter, or whether its best to get in a professional who already has proved experience and designs with which to use for your shelter.
Bonus: Root Cellar That Can Be Used as a Bunker
Do you remember the old root cellars our great-grandparents used to have? In fact, they probably built it themselves, right in their back yard.
If you want to learn how to build a backyard bunker like your grandparents had, without breaking the bank, then you need Easy Cellar.
Easy Cellar will show you:
- How to choose the ideal site
- Cost-effective building methods
- How to protect your bunker from nuclear blast and fallout
- How to conceal your bunker
- Affordable basic life support options
Easy Cellar will also reveal how a veteran, with only $421, built a small nuclear bunker in his backyard.
- America's Natural Nuclear Bunkers: Find the Closest One to Your Home
- 56 Items to Stockpile in Your Easy Cellar