Bug-Out House

Did you know that September 2010 is National Preparedness Month? Yeah no kidding… our government has actually deemed the month of September as a time for raising awareness for disaster preparedness. While I like to poke fun at the powers-that-be, I also think it’s not a bad idea to be thinking about preparedness from time to time.

You may have heard of a bug-out bag, a backpack containing the things you might need in case of a quick evacuation, but how about a bug-out house?

I’ve never heard of a bug-out house either so I thought I’d draw one just for fun. The design is still in an early stage, but the concept is simple enough. Imagine a tiny house with a low vardo-style roof for better aerodynamics and portability that can provide a family of four a safe place to live for extended periods of time. It could also be a nice camping cabin while also serving as a portable handmade Katrina Cottage.

Under the queen size bed in the back would be a storage compartment large enough to store away 35 5-gallon buckets of dry food, a six month supply for four people. This food storage estimate was inspired by a calculation worked-up by Big Bear at the Bear Ridge Project. Here’s an example of what this kind menu might include:

  • 10 buckets rice
  • 10 buckets beans
  • 10 buckets flour + yeast
  • 5 buckets of misc items like spices, sugar, honey, powdered milk, powdered eggs, multi-vitamins, and instant potatoes.

Also located in the back bedroom are some built-in cabinets for storing clothes and personal items. Under the front room bunks are some additional storage bins for personal items, tools, alcohol (for fuel), solar oven, and other necessities.

The wet bath would provide indoor facilities like a composting toilet and shower. The kitchen would provide a little food storage space but would be mostly a place for preparing meals. Since electricity and fossil fuels are often short on supply during a disaster, a simple alcohol camp stove and 12VDC cooler would round-out the kitchen appliances.

While the inspiration of this design is focused on an off-the-grid home away from home I can also see it being a great camping trailer, especially if it were built from lightweight materials. The vardo-style roof doesn’t allow enough headroom for a loft, but the lower overall height would help it clear many more obstacles like low hanging branches and building overhangs.

I’ll be adding some better water storage solutions into this design, as well as rainwater collection ideas for the roof, and an off-grid solar system. So be on the lookout for more of this design in the coming months.

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