You’ve done a great job! You loaded up your backpack(s) with at least enough prepper gear and supplies to provide for the basic survival needs of your family. You packed up some water filters (or even better – a water distiller). You added a reliable fire piston(s) and replacement parts to provide heat, and fire for cooking. You also packed-up all-weather sleeping bags/bivouacs, and possibly a tent. Then you topped-off your bugout bags with some basic survival tools, hunting gear and loaded up with as much dehydrated food as you could carry. This light-weight setup allows you to escape a disaster area on foot/bike if necessary, and could keep you and your family alive indefinitely. With this survival setup in place, you may next want to consider the permanence of a survival bunker!
What’s the best location for your survival bunker? Your first priority should be to find the least populated area you can possibly find, with a reliable water source and plenty of small game running around. And luckily land in remote areas tends to be extremely affordable. I do not agree with that school of thought that people will just happily band together after a mega-disaster, spontaneously become selfless and start giving away their survival supplies to others. Maybe immediately after disasters we see some of that occurring, but longer term as people become hungry, thirsty, cold, wet, etc. things quickly turn to dog-eat-dog. The world after a major catastrophe could be much more like Somalia is today – warlords and the powerful taking whatever they want. You absolutely want to avoid high population centers (like Mogadishu in Somalia) where chances are much greater someone will try and take your survival stuff. And should there be an infectious pandemic, you really want to avoid being around others.
The next priority for a safe underground survival shelter is to find a building location high up in the hills or mountains. Depending on how near the coast you live, your region could be susceptible to floods or even mega-tsunamis. You want to be able to rely on your survival bunker being there when you arrive, and all your stored prepper supplies usable. Building your underground shelter at a location prone to going underwater is adding unnecessary risk to your survival preparations.
The last very important factor for deciding where you build your underground shelter is obviously distance. If you can’t actually reach your survival bunker it’s not going to do you any good. 300 miles away from your home would be the outside range for your bunker location. “If” the roads are open, you could drive there on one tank of gas. If the roads aren’t open, you should easily be able make it there on bicycle in a week or so. On foot, you could travel 300 miles in a few weeks. These travel times may seem low, but if you’re traveling with small children they’re just not going to be moving as fast as an adult can.
Finally, don’t forget to ensure that you can actually make it to your survival bunker with the gear in your bugout bag. Look for the weak-links in your plans to travel to your bugout sites. For example, your water filter will be totally useless, unless there are water sources along the way. You may also want to consider creating multiple caches of prepper supplies along your expected route.
Going a step further, remember to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. Instead of spending a lot of time and money on one shelter; you may be better served with a network of smaller bugout bunkers. A situation could arise where that survival shelter you’ve built is not going to be reachable, or viable. If your survival shelter is up in the mountains of Montana and Yellowstone goes super-volcano, your immaculately stocked doomsday bunker will be under 10s of feet of heavy, volcanic ash – not to mention the onset of a “volcanic winter” where you’ll probably want to head south of the equator. Or an asteroid/comet could be headed your way in a few weeks, and you need to be at least 1000 miles away. As preppers we should be taking into account all the possible life-changing doomsday scenarios that could occur, and making plans accordingly.