Introduction: Underground Seacan Emergency Quarters

About: Semi-retired 90 yo twice widowed farmer. Fair weather biker. Authored 3 books available on Amazon by Floyd Ells. Working on 4th book, The Ultimate Triage, dealing with survival after global economic and poli…

I buried a 20 foot long steel seagoing container to be used as a combination root cellar, cool summer sleeping quarters and emergency shelter. It's excavated into a side hill so that the door end is exposed for entry. It's furnished with a single bed, wood stove, table & chairs and storage shelving. Here in central Alberta, Canada winter temperatures often drop to minus 40F. My Cave has been in use for 4 years now and even on the coldest days it stays above freezing with one small (3 sticks of wood) fire per day. Potatoes keep very well from one harvest to the next.

Step 1: The Excavation

The excavation was made with our small farm cat and backhoe. The far end was dug about 3 feet below ground surface and the bottom was then graded level from back to front. The width was about 4 feet wider than the container to provide working space.

Step 2: Finished Excavation

The finished hole was then back-bladed to a smooth uniform bed.

Step 3: Moving Seacan Into Excavation

Next the container was pulled into the excavation with a chain.

Step 4: Partial Backfill

After placing 2 inch foam insulation board along both sides and the back, the hole was partially backfilled to provide access to work on the roof insulation.

Step 5: Looking Inside the Container

Partially backfilled container with roof insulation piled inside.

Step 6: Insulating and Reinforcing the Roof.

As each panel of insulation was laid in place, railroad ties were placed tightly together to support the weight of the earth backfill.

Step 7: Entrance Retaining Walls.

Railroad ties were also piled on each side at the front end to serve as retaining walls for the backfill.

Step 8: Finishing Up.

View of roof insulation and rail tie reinforcement. Unfortunately I did not take a picture of the completed project, however it is crowned with approx 3 feet of earth which is now grassed over providing good drainage and protection from erosion.