Do Buried Shipping Containers Work Well as Bunkers? NO, and Here’s the Reason Why!

Initially using a shipping container as a shelter may seem like a great idea. After all, it's a very resourceful way to use something, re-purpose it, and use it for a SHTF situation.

Preppers are all for the idea of multi-purposing tools and ordinary everyday items and transforming them into whatever else they need them for.

However, you may want to think twice before turning a shipping container into a bunker for yourself and your family. Why?

It turns out a shipment container may not be as stable as you may think; it is not designed well for bunker purposes. There are other issues that you should be aware of prior to SHTF as well.

On the next page, check out the alarming reasons why a shipping container may not be the best idea for your bug out emergency home. 

We promise we're not overly skeptical — there are important things everyone should know!

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  1. Stephen Carter said:

    Why does this article keep being reshared? We have read it and more than once real people who have used these have attested to the fact that with some small modifications you can in fact bury these. No problem.

  2. Jason Cory Nizer said:

    Joseph, I work at a trailer yard and prior to that the port. I’m extremely familiar with what trailers do under open environments. They are built for open environments, when buried they suffer from a number of fatigue and decay issues. So before you say something is false, make sure you’re not talking to someone who deals with them for a living okay kiddo. Lol

  3. Ryan Miranda Jr. said:

    Those are best for bug out shelters not bomb shelters. To make it safe for a bomb attack you need to reinforce the frame of the container, put molds around it and use reinforced concrete.

  4. James Allen said:

    Paul Sellars, all you have to do is turn it up side down and cove the bottom side with steel , the floor is designed to hold the wait of what you put inside, run a small amount of extra support down the sides to keep it from Bowing in , the down force support is in the corners so they can be stacked on to of with other container’s, seen a video of a guy doing it this way and then drove a semi on it after buried

  5. Caleb Floyd said:

    Y’all close minded what you do is lay concrete foundation of walls then lay a shipping container in there snug. And shipping containers are not soft and flexible , they are almost bullet proof and can take a lot of wait and see pretty weather resistant. They get stacked , banged around, and shipped across the ocean on the regular . This article isn’t that bright . Just saying .

  6. Caleb Floyd said:

    Dude , they are built to take extreme weight on the top and I’ve seen them stacked like 6 high, and they get shipped across the ocean all the time , they are weather resistant . No one is that fucking dumb to build a metal box to sent across salt water (one of the most corrosive things) and not make it resistant to weather . And I’ve seen them last year’s and years . They are stronger then you think and can take most bullets . The best bunker would to be lays concrete foundation that they would fit snugly in . And you don’t put a$#%&!@*load of dirt on the too and just bury them enough where you can’t really see them . XD close minded people .

  7. Caleb Floyd said:

    Paul Sellars , your wrong cause the beams are not just in the corners , I’ve worked in and on plenty of them . The beams are on the sides too and no they do not collapse that easy, people bury them all the time , and the article explains that there built to take extreme weight on the top(which is true) but not from the sides (which is true) . There talking about it collapsing front he sides, so you just lay a few inches of concrete , then snugly fit your container in it , and if you want , reinforce the sides. Problem solved XD

  8. Russ Sands said:

    You guys really know nothing about structural integrity do you? Paul sellars and matt powers are correct. Just like the article is correct about the structural issues and the chemical issues. These things are treated to be able to withstand months in open sea in slat water environment

  9. Russ Sands said:

    RIGHT, they get stacked with the weight on the ends where it is supposed to be. Far from bullet proof. Article is pretty much spot on

  10. Caleb Floyd said:

    No dude , I’ve seen videos of people shooting them , and most guns slightly make little dents and bounce off. The article is not spot on and all you have to do is reinforce the sides and there fine , I’ve worked on around plenty of them and watched plenty of videos .

  11. Larry Newsom said:

    I’ve shot at one in real life. 55gr 5.56 punched through it no problem, and that’s a pretty light bullet. We even had some embed in the far wall, meaning heavier rounds (pretty much anything in the .30 cal range) is gonna be dangerous at minimum to anyone inside. Concealment, yes. Cover, they are not.

  12. Caleb Floyd said:

    And close range , your dumb cause all the bullet had to do was catch the container right and you would have had a bullet in you

  13. Larry Newsom said:

    Yeah, 5.56 is a super light round. And no obviously I wasn’t shooting it up close or without proper protection. But hey, if you Wanna stand in a metal box as it gets turned into Swiss cheese, it’s your funeral.

  14. Caleb Floyd said:

    Dude ,5.56 may not what a whole lot but it’s built for penetration and velocity XD

  15. Caleb Floyd said:

    Military’s and police us it for a reason . In a survival situation most people are not gonna just use 5.56 in a survival situation just cause they have it. That is something you use Sven you got too XD and again reinforce the walls and put them in concrete Lol trust me I got this . I’m saying I’ve seen twelves gauge his bounce of , and most pistol rounds. They sent the container but that’s it XD

  16. Jacob Allen said:

    Just did. 5.56/.223 is an extremely common and light round. If the 55gr version (which was not designed for penetration) can 0unch through something, you better believe that practically any deer round or other rifle round will go right on through. Shotgun pellets and pistols won’t? That’s cool, but be aware those are some of the worst penetrators on the market, and a horrible guideline.

  17. Joseph Allen said:

    Chemical issues they are correct and wrong. The interior wood flooring is the only thing that is truly soaked in chemicals. Sorry but they are completely wrong about structural integrity. As far as burring them goes, well like I said if you know what your doing and how to reinforce the sides, it is good to go….and it will still be way cheaper then reinforced concrete. Put a layer of tar on the thing and it will never rust. Metal square tubing for reinforcing the interior. You can argue all you want but like I said I’ve done it plenty of times. Never seen one collapse…but go ahead and pay a couple hundred thousand dollars for a concert bunker.

  18. Caleb Floyd said:

    Some pistols will, but you common pistol like regular nines and$#%&!@*won’t , a dog will go threw on side that’s it .

  19. Caleb Floyd said:

    And all 5.56 are built for velocity period and velocity equals more force which equals penetration

  20. Paul Sellars said:

    Caleb Floyd, please show me exactly where the beams are on the inside to reinforce the container. I work in an intermodal yard and am around them every day and know all about their limitations. By the time you pour the concrete in the hole to protect the container from the weight of the soil collapsing it, haven’t you already built a concrete bunker? What would be the point to adding the cost of the container to the project at that point? Just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. In case you doubt what I’m telling you, here’s a picture of the inside of a container just to help make my point.

  21. Paul Sellars said:

    James Allen, I work in intermodal yard and I am around these containers every day and am intimately familiar with their limitations. You can’t just dig a hole, set it in the ground upside down and cover the bottom, now the top, with steel and hope to get by. You’re going to need a foundation to set it on, allow for drainage to keep ground water away from it, and some type of exterior structure to protect the walls from hydrostatic pressure and the weight of the earth pressing against it laterally. Plus you have to worry about corrosion from the acids in the soil and breathing in all of the toxic crap from the treated wood floor inside the container, not to mention what might have been spilled in it while it was being used to transport cargo.

  22. Paul Sellars said:

    Here’s another picture of a buried container where the top collapsed from the weight of just 18 inches of soil. That’s not enough soil to provide adequate shielding from radiation.

  23. Larry Newsom said:

    Then literally every heavier bullet will have more force and still prove my point…

  24. Caleb Floyd said:

    Actually no not every heavier bullet has more force XD dude science

  25. Caleb Floyd said:

    Your point is not proven , trust me all I do all at is look into this$#%&!@*. There are big bullets with less penetration then smaller bullets all the time XD

  26. Caleb Floyd said:

    A .45 is bigger then a fn 5.7 , matter fact so is a 9 slightly but the 5.7 has way more velocity giving it a better penetration XD the equation for force is mass time velocity . But velocity has the higher effect .

  27. Caleb Floyd said:

    A 12 gauge slug is way happier then a 5.56 but has way less penetration

  28. Caleb Floyd said:

    Yes but reinforce it from the inside and your fine and that picture shows it denting not collapsed. Collapsed is the top is on the floor . Common now .

  29. Caleb Floyd said:

    And I never said the beams are on the inside . Learn to fucking read dude .

  30. Caleb Floyd said:

    A shipping container has 4 beams on each corner then each corner is connected by a beam on the bottom and side. XD ignorance man

  31. Caleb Floyd said:

    All together there are twelve metal beams in a shopping container XD

  32. Caleb Floyd said:

    And a full concrete bunker is really expensive , I’m talking about a 2inches or so on each side , so no you haven’t created a bunker . Think outside the box then get back to me . I know what I’m talking about and you can argue it all you want but I see what your saying but with a little work there perfect .