April 2, 2018

Book Review: Prepper's Survival Retreats

When Dan and I started looking for a place to homestead, we had a list of things we were looking for. Our goal was self-sufficiency, but we were somewhat limited, simply because we were wanting to do something we hadn't done before. Thinking back on that now, I realize we would have benefited greatly if we had been able to talk to someone with experience. Prepper's Survival Retreats: Your Strategic Relocation Plan for an Uncertain Future by Charley Hogwood would have been the perfect book for us.

Why would a book on survival retreats be helpful for two folks looking for self-sufficiency? Because as a homesteader, many of our motives and goals are the same. We don't have confidence in the current cultural and economic system, and are looking for a safe haven in the event of system failures, whether that means a permanent home or a bug-out retreat.

This book offers a step-by-step method of analyzing one's goals and what will be needed to reach those goals. The first several chapters discuss why a survival retreat is an excellent idea and what you need to consider for success.
  • Chapter 1 gives two real life collapse scenarios and why they are relevant today.
  • Chapter 2 discusses what you need to survive and explains the eight main areas of survival. 
  • Chapter 3 is "The Big Questions:" why, how, who, when, and where. As you work your way through this chapter you will develop your big picture, i.e. everything you need to consider in your planning stages.

The next two chapters discuss all aspects of evaluating and purchasing property.
  • Chapter 4 focuses on purchasing an existing home. It begins with a discussion of realtors, credit, types of loans, and types of sales including some nontraditional ones. It discusses house size versus land size and tips on how to broaden your search terms for homes. It tells you what to look for when you go to evaluate a specific property, plus an inspection checklist with tips on how to spot potential problems. 
  • Chapter 5 is entitled, "Can you make it here?" and tells you how to evaluate the area in which the property exists: community resources, community culture, regional land features, and location realities. It also give you some tips on how to read the trees, soil, evaluate potential water sources, and the location's potential for being off-grid.

Want to build your own home or retreat?
  • Chapter 6 contains lots of good information on building from a prepper perspective. Includes things you need to know if you're working with a builder or doing it yourself. Discusses design considerations, aboveground houses, subterranean and earthen berm houses, and underground bunkers. Includes home fortifications, appearance, and the best ways to deal with neighbors.

What about a prepper community?
  • Chapter 7 discusses everything you need to consider about working with a group of like-minded folks to create a community survival retreat. Discusses the basics, compounds and multiple structures, land needed, group site planning, and the pitfalls of group purchases of property, including liability.

Lastly, how do you choose the best of several good possibilities?
  • Chapter 8 helps you whittle down your short list of properties. It gives you checklists by which to compare properties, and comparison tables for you to lay out your important qualifiers side by side. 

I have to say that all in all, this is the most comprehensive book I have seen on this subject. Some books give you some good advice in looking for property, but this one includes things that most of us wouldn't even think about. An excellent resource for homesteaders and preppers alike. And - the book is affordably priced and available at Amazon!


Unknown said...

Sounds like a good book! One thing I seldom see in books, blogs, etc. is good discussion on the amount of time it takes to complete work. Everything took a lot more time than I expected and planned for, especially in the beginning when I was still learning homesteading skills. Plan for twice the amount of time you think you'll need. If it takes longer you won't be quite as far behind. If it takes less time you'll have "bonus" time to spend on something else.

Mike Yukon said...

I found this book thanks to Sandy at http://oklahomatransient.blogspot.com/ and now reading it. So far I agree with your review. It's an up to date fresh look at retreats and answers the many questions new and old Preppers have. Worth the money!

Leigh said...

Robin, good to hear from you! I so agree with you about time. That has been a tough realization for Dan and I to come to, and we've finally learned not to put time frames on most things. I think a book like this can help because it helps you analyze what needs to be done. We've found that having a plan saves us from having to redo things later.

Mike, good feedback! Charley Hogwood is truly well-qualified and points out things most of us wouldn't even think to consider. Definitely worth the money and currently $5 off at Amazon. Not sure how long that deal will last but it's a good one!

Ien in the Kootenays said...

You might be interested in the gloomy but humorous work of Dmitri Orlov. I frequently butt heads with him, as he has a bee in his bonnet against feminists. But he always makes me both laugh and think, rare qualities. I first came across him in a TED talk, then started following his blog and reading his books. “Communities that abide” does not make for cheerful reading, especially if one is fond of the social progress made in the last half century. The upshot is that in case of social collapse our perfect little homesteads are likely to be overrun by armed gangs.....My bottom line is I have lived this life for the joy of it, not out of fear.

Leigh said...

Ien, thanks for the recommendation. Always appreciated. I agree with you that in the event of a major societal collapse there would be extensive chaos from civil unrest and likely a lot of us would be killed for the little we have. I think Charley's book does a good job of things that should be considered to avoid that possibility.