Home Survival 101 Where to Find Shelter in the City

Where to Find Shelter in the City

by Survival Dispatch Staff

Violent riots, mobs, or even calamities may occur at any moment and in any location, which is a terrifying reality for all visitors. Highways may be barricaded during a breakdown of civility, and driving away from the area of unrest in your own car may not be viable. One might be able to weave your way between abandoned automobiles on a motorbike, but going through manned roadblocks may not be the greatest choice.

Your potential to survive a prolonged crisis in a city by utilizing the necessary skills and tactics is known as urban survival. It is the capacity to survive on your own in a heavily populated metropolitan area without the assistance of the authorities. 

Surviving in an urban and crowded setting may be more difficult than surviving alone in the wild. Finding shelter within the city, no matter how unconventional, may be the biggest factor for your survival.

Here are several places in a city that may be utilized as a makeshift shelter for your consideration:

  • Abandoned Buildings
  • Dumpsters
  • Abandoned Vehicles

Abandoned Buildings

While abandoned buildings generally have underlying issues that led to their abandonment in the first place, they might be useful for providing emergency refuge in a secure, warm location. 

It is always a good idea to check for structural soundness before entering abandoned buildings. It is also advisable to avoid a building that seems to be shaky or poorly constructed and seek other alternatives.

One can look for abandoned houses, trailers, and warehouses to use as a hideout for the night. Keep a keen eye out for easy-to-fortify or out-of-the-way locations. Consider that other people may notice and take refuge in abandoned buildings, prompting the need to ensure that they are structurally stable. 

You would have a roof over your head and plenty of doors and windows in an old warehouse or industrial structure, but you’d most likely be joined by other people also seeking shelter. An office within a larger structure will provide you with greater protection from the weather, but it may also put you in a tough situation.

While it may be enticing to choose the largest area or room available within an abandoned structure, try to choose the smallest one that suits your needs. The advantage of small rooms is that they are simple to heat and seal. You might be able to find refuge in an attic or a cellar, for example.

Benefits of using abandoned buildings as survival shelters:

  • They do not need much alterations before they’re ready for survival usage
  • Snow, storms, and rainfall are no match for concrete protection
  • One of the most effective ways for preserving and trapping heat
  • It is possible to use it for long-term survival

Drawbacks of using abandoned buildings as survival shelters:

  • Most individuals find it appealing, which may cause congestion or security concerns
  • It is possible that it’s structurally unstable, putting it at risk of collapsing
  • Could be home to bugs or other animals, especially in rooms with a lot of wood and other building materials
  • The majority of abandoned buildings have damaged windows and no doors, making it impossible to maintain a comfortable temperature


Dumpsters are usually built of thick metal, so you’ll be protected from the environmental conditions like rain, snow, and high winds when inside.

Keep in mind that dumpsters should only be used as the last resort, if you don’t have any other alternatives. Because of the health risks connected with waste, rats, and flies, no one should live in a dumpster. But if you do not have anywhere else to go, you’ll have no choice but to stay in one.

However, before seeking refuge in a dumpster, attempt to find one that is clean or contains as little waste as possible. Emptying the trash includes effectively getting rid of the organic waste while leaving the more pleasant rubbish, such as boxes and garments.

Benefits of using dumpsters as survival shelters:

  • Dumpsters are generally sturdy and large enough to accommodate several individuals
  • Great for rain, high winds, and snow coverage
  • Because it is not the most popular choice, there is less possibility of congestion

Drawbacks of using dumpsters as survival shelters:

  • It is unsanitary and may result in health issues
  • Rodents and other pests, such as cockroaches and flies, have made their homes here
  • Long-term use is not recommended
  • Due to the pungent smell, it makes for an unpleasant shelter

Abandoned Vehicles

In an emergency, any huge and secure structure such as an abandoned vehicle, may be used as a survival shelter. However, it is a good idea to check things out first before considering an empty vehicle as a hideout. This includes searching for used matchsticks, clothing, food waste, and other indicators of an occupant within.

The last thing you want to do is take up residence in someone else’s home. A thorough inspection will help to uncover the occurrence of pests, as well as other insects, in addition to checking for human occupancy. Examine the vehicle for big spider webs or animal waste.

When you’ve made sure that the car is safe to use, the next step is to prepare it for use. The condition of a car when it comes to emergency shelter preparation is typically a factor. It will be more difficult to insulate a car that has been extensively damaged than one that has all of its windows intact.

To make it more comfortable, dust the seats to eliminate any debris and clean the inside. Use cartons, bedding, and even plastic bags to seal all uncovered points of entry. Your primary goal is to establish a comfortable sleeping environment.

And, if possible, choose a vehicle that does not appear to contain anything important as an urban camouflage.

Benefits of using abandoned vehicles as survival shelters:

  • Due to its enclosed nature, it is usually warm enough for a small number of occupants
  • Secure since doors and windows may be closed (improvised) to prevent attackers from entering 
  • Ideal for both short and long-term use

Drawbacks of using abandoned vehicles as survival shelters:

  • It may be difficult to come across an uninhabited abandoned car
  • In abandoned cars, there is an increased chance of encountering insects, spiders, and snakes
  • For a large group of individuals, this may not be the best option for a shelter

Key points to remember

Surviving all comes down to how quickly you react in an urban emergency. With a quick response, you’ll be able to locate the safest shelters to keep you and your family safe while you wait for everything to quiet down. The survival shelters mentioned in this article are only a handful of the many choices. As a result, if one isn’t feasible for you because of your location, try another until you discover one that suits your needs.

The goal is to create a small shelter that holds as much heat as possible. One should also consider their alternatives in terms of the amount of resources they have on hand. Whatever method you choose, make sure to examine for human habitation, dangerous pests, spiders, snakes, and other potential hazards.

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