I have to admit it, I LOVE wilderness survival. I first began learning wilderness survival out of a deep, primal need to feel in my bones that I could provide for my most basic human needs directly from nature. It seemed crazy to me that my life was totally dependent on a complex system of grocery stores, polluted highways, telecommunication systems, electric grids, modern structures, water treatment plants, and more. I mean, shouldn't we all be able to be in direct relationship with our most primary needs? Perhaps idealistic, but that is what inspired me to begin my journey to become a wilderness survival guide over a decade ago.
Find a way to generate your own electricity. Taking car batteries and daisy chaining them will act as an energy storage device, but you're going to need to generate power. A generator running on wood, gas or a diesel engine where you can make your own fuel is good, but the real payoff is using renewable energy by making your own wind turbine out of PVC pipes and a car alternator or scavenging some solar panels near a highway. When the events do take a turn for the worst, at least you'll be able to be productive at night and have some of the luxuries of your former life.
In terms of the wilderness itself, avoid any foliage that has a chalky white appearance as this is a mold that could spread through your shelter and impact your health. Also, if a tree contains a lot of ‘lacey’ leaves, that indicates it is probably infested with insects and best to be avoided.
Imagine for a minute that you work downtown in a large city, maybe you ride the subway or take a bus to work everyday. You are in a large office building with many floors, thousands of people, and you are on the fifteen or twentieth story. If a disaster strikes how are you going to get out? I mean literally. If there is an earthquake, or a catastrophic man made event how are you going to get out of your building? How are you going to get down the street? How are you going to get home? Do you want to be one of the people covered in dust wandering around in shock? I sure don’t.
If it's legal to do so where you live, it might be a good idea to purchase a gun ahead of time and become proficient at using it. Be sure to exercise gun safety at all times. For starters, always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, unload the gun when not in use, always treat a gun as though it is loaded (even when you know it isn't), keep the gun where children cannot access it, be sure of your target and what lies beyond it, and regularly have the gun serviced by a firearms professional.
For a longer-term shelter, substantial planning and effort will be required. A long-term subterranean survival shelter is something you would build in preparation for when SHTF, as opposed to building in the aftermath while bugging out. Those who choose to build a long-term subterranean survival shelter either build one on their property or an offsite location. Designs can range from simple cellar-style rooms to complex homes that are fully outfitted with a power supply, furnished with necessities and comfort items, and have functioning defense systems.
A company called Intershelter sells igloo-shape pleasure domes that call to mind Luke Skywalker’s old pad on Tatooine, but cost only $12,000 for one big enough to include a kitchen; it can be thrown together in a few hours, to make an instant hunting or fishing lodge. But in the worst of times, this dome, “built to sustain hurricane strength winds or earthquakes,” makes great relief housing for disaster victims and, in theory, would make great bug-out bunkers for urbanites looking to build a survivalist compound on the fly.