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Survival retreat considerations
The more I think on it, the more that I tend to favor the semi-nomadic survival retreat strategy. The hardened and well defended shelter approach, to me, seems largely impractical and unobtainable for the average survivalist. Of course, as I’ve stated many times before in the comments here, only those that go remote will have a shot at survival. However, the possibility of discovery still exists, and should this happen, you are compromised in the worst way possible. Better to have the flexibility to move on in the case of this unfortunate event. You will lose your husbanded labors, but better this than your life. Of course this strategy heavily relies on an effective cache system. It would also be ideal to own the land, as opposed to public land, in order to reduce the chances of your cached supplies being compromised.
I feel that post collapse desert dwellers will have a better shot at it than their wilderness brethren. The desert, being the inhospitable place that it is, will not be the first choice for many looking for easy pickens. Charles Manson, nuttier than squirrel feces in an almond orchard, though he was, knew a thing or two about a thing or two, and was said to embrace the concept of survivalism. As such, ole Chuck chose an area with the rather inhospitable name of Death Valley for his hideout retreat.
The desert dweller would do well to learn the concepts of Air Wells, Fog Fences, Dew Ponds, solar stills, solar distillation, and the reading of topographical maps. Know the location of the caves, as well as water sources in your chosen area. If your area permits successful foraging, then you’re ahead of the game. Otherwise, learning the art of stealth planting would extend your food supplies. Try to pick edible plants that are native to the area, which in all likelihood, are what you will be limited to growing. Keep it small, though in the desert, you likely won’t have a choice in the matter, and small it will be.
For shelter, this leaves limited options, since whatever you decide on must be crappy enough that you can abandon it at will, yet be good enough to protect you from the elements. Immediately, the wickiup comes to mind. There’s also its much simpler cousin, the debris shelter, that resembles a cocoon, and is small enough that it relies mostly on body heat for warmth. Some of the debris shelters that I saw, actually looked pretty cozy:
Having a few high quality tarps on hand can extend your shelter options. Caves of course are wonderful when you can find them. In cold weather, be careful about lighting fires in caves or under rock overhangs though. I’ve heard a few horror stories about the heat from the fire fracturing the rock, and burying the unfortunate resident under a few tons of stone. A cold weather sleeping bag would be a very nice item to have for the mobile survivalist. This would enable you to forgo the all telling fire for warmth. Though you still need a fire to cook and purify water at times. This is where the Dakota fire pit is advantageous.