How to Fortify Your Homebase

In any SHTF scenario, our first priority is a secure location, whether we’re bugging in or out. Before looking for water and food we must have our shelter ready – it’s our first and most important priority! Staying in one location longer than a couple of days will require some effort to fortify our security against any predators – animal or human.

In the following post we’ll learn how to fortify our location in order of priority, but first let’s talk about the difference between hard and soft covers:

  1. Soft covers – like camouflage nets, these are visual obstructions. They won’t stop projectiles or any other attacks, but in most cases, if the enemy can’t see you, they won’t know to attack you. Soft covers are very easy to construct and should be your first priority. For example: covering the windows with opaque drapes, cardboards or wood planks.
  2. Hard covers – like concrete walls, these won’t only obscure sight, but will also stop most attacks. Even though they take longer to construct, they are usually more permanent and give superior protection. One of the best makeshift hard covers are sandbags.

Click the image below to watch the video:
How to Fortify Your Homebase








What should we do first?
Here are our priorities if we’re bugging in or moved to our bugout location that is a house or an apartment (in order of priority):

    1. Solid door – if possible, it’s best to have a solid door, made of steel or thick wood. Reinforce the door with a horizontal bar, made of heavy wood or metal (this will secure your door from anything less than a battering ram or explosives).

    2. Window covers – make sure your windows are covered well so it’s not possible to see any light that’s coming from inside your bug-in location. You can use the following to block your windows:

      1. Opaque drapes
      2. Opaque shades
      3. Cardboard boxes
      4. Wood planks


  1. Escape route – in case our location is compromised:

    1. In case of an apartment – prepare a rope-ladder for a quick escape from a window that is as far as possible from the main door, and is preferably behind another internal door.

    2. In case of a house – setup a trap door in one of the inner rooms (preferably one without windows) leading under the house, to crawl out of. Make sure the tunnel is kept clean and lit in case you need to use it. You can plant bushes around the exit area of the escape tunnel for added soft cover.
      Advanced tip: this can also be used as an alternative entrance to the house in case of an emergency.


Now let’s see how we can upgrade our security even further up to military grade:

If you have a compound for you and your team, you need to upgrade your security to a higher level in order to defend it. Here’s how to do that:

    1. Sand bags – fill up any burlap or hemp sack with sand or earth, and you’ll have an excellent, portable hard cover. You can place them on windows or the ground, up to chest height, or even higher (make sure to leave shooting holes at chest height).

    2. Fence (from wire to stone) – anything that will impede the entrance of attackers from the outside can be considered an effective fence. The simplest fence you can construct is made from wooden poles, with a few metal wires running across them. An upgrade to that is a wall of long wooden poles with sharp edges, and better yet, a wall of spiked metal bars that are soldered together. The ultimate fence is a stone or concrete wall of at least 8 ft, with some sort of spikes at the top.

    3. Alarm system – tying a few empty tin cans together on a wire fence will create a quick makeshift alarm system. Anyone touching the wire fence will move the cans, creating a loud clunking sound. This will scare off any predator animals, and alert the people in the compound about potential intruders.

    4. Wooden Spike Barricades – sharpened wood logs in an X shape, with a central log, that are pointing forward and up to form a barricade, strong enough to stop a speeding vehicle. This technique has been used since the early days of fortification back in the early middle ages. They were originally used against charging horses, but they will work very well on anything up to armored vehicles.


  1. Guard posts and sniper overwatch – guard posts, towers and sniper overwatch are essential if you have the manpower to man them 24/7. Make sure that every guard post can visually sync with at least 2 other posts on the parameter. At the compound’s gate, setup 2 posts at the front and rear, so the rear post will cover the front post in case of an assault. You can place a large bell to act as an alarm in case the guards notice an intruder.

  2. Hedgehogs or large sand cubes – setup either metal hedgehogs or 5x5x5 ft sand cubes in a zigzag formation on the road leading to the compound gate. This will force any vehicle to slow down (even armored) and expose its sides when trying to enter the compound. Moreover, if a large force is trying to infiltrate the compound they will have to funnel through, making them easier to handle (similar to what the 300 Spartans did to the thousands of Persians in the hot gates of Thermopylae).
  3. Military ditch – this is the most secure measure, but also the most time consuming to construct. It is a ditch, at least 6 ft deep, with a small mound in front of it (use the same ground dug from the ditch to create the mound). This will stop any vehicle, including a tank! This technique was used successfully by the Roman empire, leading them to conquer the entire known world.


The last thing to do is set up traps for an extra level of security:
Traps will slow down or even disable any attackers, but keep in mind that they are illegal in most areas, so use them only in case of a WROL situation. Here are 3 simple traps that will slow down attackers both physically and psychologically (since after the first trap, they will immediately start scanning the ground for any other traps):

    1. Trip wire trap – stretch a wire at ankle level, which will trip intruders. You can place any spike traps in front of it to make it more effective.

    2. Cartridge mine trap – create a makeshift mine from a 12 gauge PVC pipe (or a piece of bamboo), that is about ⅓ inch shorter than a rifle round or a 12G buckshot shell, shut off at the bottom with a metal nail. Stepping on it will cause the nail to act as a hammer on the primer and fire the round, obliterating the leg almost up to the knee and rendering the attacker disabled.
      Important Note: place the round carefully ONLY AFTER you placed the nail, otherwise it might explode!


  1. Spike trap (Punji sticks) – Punji sticks is a primitive trap used to hunt or trap. It’s essentially a hole with sharp sticks at the bottom and can be 1 ft deep, used to disable, and up to 6 ft deep to completely trap. It’s concealed with some sort of a carpet or vegetation, causing the intruders to fall in, piercing their legs.

To Sum Up:
Shelter is our first priority in any survival situation, and fortifying it will ensure the safety of your team. With a few simple fortifications you can up the security and thus sleep better at night. From sandbags to disabling traps, anyone of the fortifications is great, but it all depends on the time and manpower you have, so construct them according to the order of priority (its better to have a completely constructed soft cover than a partially constructed anything else).

Have YOU ever setup fortifications on a homebase?
Tell us your story, we’d love to hear it!

Please leave a comment below – I love getting your feedback and I read each and every single comment!

Coming up:
The Israeli protocol to carry a sidearm states that you must not have a round in the chamber until you are ready to fire, while Americans load a round with the safety on, when holstering their pistol, with the justification that it will save valuable seconds when engaging a hostile target. In the next post we’ll put these techniques to the test and see which is better and why.

I can’t wait to share all of this with you,

So until then – Stay Safe!!

Your friend always,

Roy Shepard

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