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Pros and Cons of Using Storage Units for Survival

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Last year, thousands of residents across the country were forced to evacuate their homes due to various natural disasters — from hurricanes to wildfires.

One of the largest evacuations in U.S. history took place in Florida. As Hurricane Irma barreled toward the state, the governor declared a state of emergency and issued mandatory evacuations for nearly 7 million people. Unfortunately, many people lacked a safe place to go.

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Every time authorities tell people to evacuate, there are always those who refuse to leave their homes. There are all sorts of reasons these people don’t want to flee — many times it’s because they don’t have transportation or a safe place to bug out.

If you’re one of those people who wouldn’t be able to evacuate, here’s an idea to consider: using a storage unit as a bug-out location. Obviously, this option is much cheaper than having a cabin in the mountains or another home in a different location.

The location of your storage unit should be a safe distance from your house in case of a widespread evacuation. A storage unit one mile from your home probably won’t do you any good during an emergency because it won’t be safe either.

If utilizing a storage unit as a bug-out location seems like a viable alternative for your family, here are some other pros and cons to think about.


A storage unit is a great way to make sure you don’t keep all your survival eggs in one basket. Stock your storage unit with the same emergency supplies you have at home in case something happens to it.

For example, if a wildfire wiped out your home before you were able to grab your gear, you would have still had the basic supplies you’d need to survive. But remember, don’t rent a storage unit close to your home. If the danger is far-reaching, both structures would be at risk.

When it comes to what you keep in your storage unit, you need to take the specific unit accommodations into consideration:

  • Is the unit temperature controlled?
  • Are there any signs of bugs or pests in the area?
  • Can the unit be accessed even if the electricity is out?

These are important questions to ask when selecting your storage unit location. It might be worth spending a little more each month to have a nicer unit with more amenities.

Inside your unit, be sure to stock plenty of nonperishable food and water along with other basic emergency supplies such as flashlights and batteries, a survival radio, sleeping bags and a first-aid kit.

I also recommend having a few bug-out bags packed and ready to go in case your storage unit is compromised. Lastly, you should store guns and ammunition in your unit as well so you can defend yourself.

Having a safe location to go where you know you have the necessary supplies to sustain your family would be a lifesaver in the event of a mandatory evacuation. Even if you don’t plan on staying in your storage unit, you could at least stop by on your way out of town to grab more gear for the road.


As convenient as it would be to have a storage unit full of survival gear, it is by no means the best or perfect place to bug out.

First, storage units are not meant to be lived in — they lack many basic necessities. Most likely, you won’t have running water, toilets and lights inside the unit. Cooking food inside storage units would also be a challenge because they lack adequate ventilation.

The other thing about staying in a storage unit is they aren’t the easiest locations to defend. There may be other people staying there and you won’t have any idea who they are or where they came from.

Plus, criminals may take advantage of the emergency situation and try to rob storage facilities. It would be difficult to separate friend from foe when patrolling the area.

The bottom line is a storage unit is an ideal place to store extra survival gear — even if it’s not somewhere you want to stay overnight. I suggest investing in a storage unit and stocking it with emergency supplies. That way you can at least swing by and load up on lifesaving gear on the way to a safer location.

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