This is COMPLETELY a theoretical concept. I have NOT tried it myself. Just food
for thought. Think about it and come up with new ideas. Let me know if I have my
Last evening, I watched the “Mars Mission” episode of the NatGeo Channel program
“Rocket City Rednecks” (yes, while sipping a beer), where they built a “Mars Shelter”
and I thought: “That could make a great camouflaged storage cache for about a
hundred bucks and a few days labor” This also assumes your location is not
dead-flat, or it becomes a bit obvious. Make the shape fit the surroundings.
I also assume that you are within a few hours of a suburb, and are willing
to do a bit of nocturnal dumpster-diving behind a carpet store to salvage a
bunch of discarded indoor-outdoor carpeting. The price goes up if you have to buy it.
1) Dig a hole. “the RCR-boys” went for as close to an 8-ft round inverted dome as
possible, but I suspect a slightly more organic shape could work, too. Keep
the inner dome shape. Go for at least a couple feet deep . Use a tarp for what
you dig out, so you don’t leave trace evidence covering the surrounding vegetation.
2) Line the hole with aluminum foil. Overlap the strips. It is cheapest and easiest
to get this from somebody who sells wide rolls to restaurants/food service places.
(Costco, Sam’s Club, your local restaurant-supply store)
3) Spray the inside of the foil-lined hole with spray-foam – They used spray cans,
there are larger insulation kits that sell for <$40. Go for 2-3 inches thick.
4) The presenters used what appeared to be wide mesh ‘drywall tape fabric’ to reinforce
the foam before it set. I suspect that a couple rolls of plastic ‘fruit tree net’
would work very well. Push it into the expanding foam. bent re-bar or maybe
split bamboo (a pest species in my area) bent to your curve and tied could make
it even tougher. I said, this is all theoretical.
5) When the foam sets and cools, carefully pop the dome out of the hole.
6) Clear a foot or so around your hole, about 6 inches deep. If you dig in some
big rocks, or concrete blocks, or fenceposts or bamboo as a foundation, it will
last longer. It AIN’T going to last forever, but I’d bet on at least 5-10 years.
Digging out the hole to more vertical walls and a flatter floor might not hurt,
either. Depending on your soil and site, drain-tile or perforated-pipe could be
a good idea to keep the contents dry.
7) Line the hole with 4-6 mil plastic tarp – taping the overlapping
seams is a very good idea, if you can. Cover it with your salvaged carpeting.
The carpeting protects the palsti barrier, and adds insulation value.
8) Flip over the foam dome, and cover your hole with it. Cut an access opening
with a serrated-blade knife. Making a GOOD door will take a LOT more thought. I’d
rather not encounter a nest of copperheads while reaching in for a can of beans,
or have it really an obvious door.
9) Cover the whole shootin’-match with more of the plastic sheeting. Taping the
edges sounds like a good idea. Make sure the covering sheets are outside the inner
liner, so you don’t build a swimming pool instead of a storage stash. If you
have more of the tree-netting, cover the plastic sheet wit it for ‘grip’.
10) Backfill dirt over plastic all around and tamp down. Use the rest to cover
over the dome a couple inches thick. Seed heavily with grass, local plants, etc.
Not the easiest thing to conceal, but a “2-liter lightbulb” in the roof might be
a good idea for interior light, at least when the sun is out.
These are all stolen ideas, remixed a bit. The floor/liner idea is taken from Mike
Oehler’s “$50 and Up Underground House Book” http://www.undergroundhousing.com/
The Foam Dome comes from “Rocket City Rednecks” on the National Geographic Channel.
If it works, it ought to provide a reasonably-well-insulated, mostly-concealed
storage area or a cramped and not very comfortable place to hide. I’d like to
give it a try, sometime.