Imagine a very likely scenario, of civil order collapsing and a martial law being imposed over the entire nation. As a survivalist, you cherish your personal freedom. Therefore, you should be concerned regarding what the safest place during martial law is.
In this article, I will list the safest places during martial law, as well as the best spots to hide your survival supplies. But first, a few words about martial law and what it means. Let us begin, shall we?
The article is also summarized in the following video:
Table of Contents
- What Is Martial Law?
- Top 10 Safest Places During Martial Law
- Top 15 Safest Places to Hide Your Survival Supplies
- Additional Resources
What Is Martial Law?
Martial law takes place when a government suspend everyday civil laws and rights. In some instances, a military is the one that imposes its control over the civilians. Martial law is declared during nation-wide or region-wide emergencies, such as war, natural disasters, civil unrest, and so forth.
According to the established U.S. legislations, a country-wide martial law can be declared by either the Congress or the President. In addition, any State Governor can declare martial law in their state. Similar laws can apply to almost any country, with varying levels of strictness of the said law.
Martial law is not a rare phenomenon by far. In the USA alone it was declared almost 70 times, while only 2 of these times are related to a war against a foreign nation. A large portion of these instances is, in fact, related to riots, civil unrest, or even labor disputes.
The situation can be even more harrowing outside the United States, especially in the countries where democracy and personal freedom are completely unheard of.
As you understand by now, martial law, even if it’s seemingly necessary, can hinder your rights, privacy, and independence. We will now take a look at what measures can be taken during martial law. Please keep in mind that I do not support physically resisting governmental or military forces. The post focuses only on what you should do in order to stay safe and survive.
Top 10 Safest Places During Martial Law
1. An Off-Grid Cabin or Tiny House
A small and remote house is the ideal location during martial law. This could be a cabin, a tiny house, or some sort of a secret retreat. It should be off the grid for two reasons:
- An off-the-grid house does not depend on external power sources, such as the national powerlines. You can produce your own energy by using solar panels, hydropower, or wind power. You can read more about these natural electricity sources from the linked articles. If you produce your own electricity independently, no one can control you by turning the power off.
- Every house and apartment usually have an address. Eventually this makes the things easier for the military and the government, as they go from door to door, checking on everyone. An off-grid house does not need to have an official address. You can remain almost anonymous and disappear off the grid, as you wait out whatever caused the martial law to be deployed.
2. A Bunker
A classic location: your bug out shelter or any other bunker can definitely function as a safe haven. You will need to ensure that it’s appropriate stocked with such supplies and items as:
- Canned and unperishable food
- Fuel for the generator. Alternatively, you can use a portable power station, it’s much more reliable and quieter.
- Spare clothes
- First aid kit – see the guidelines for choosing the best first aid kit
- Self-defense weapons
- Flashlights – read the guide on choosing the most reliable flashlights
Once you have the place prepared, never disclose its location to anyone outside your small group. If the martial law is imposed, choose the most inconspicuous route to get to your bunker. Listen to the radio to stay updated when the things have cooled down and you can go back home. You will need a radio that does not require batteries and can last for a long time. I recommend getting American Red Cross Emergency Radio. It can be powered by hand crank or solar panel. This radio also includes a smart phone charger, flashlight, flashing beacon, and an alarm clock.
3. Away From Most of the Civilization
Unlike the specific places on this list, this one is a general recommendation. Staying away from other people and the cities could be the solution you’re looking for. As history proved time and time again, it’s not just the military or the invading forces that you should be concerned about. It’s also the people next door.
When the supplies run low, the unprepared people will start looting their neighbors. The civilized ones will quickly become uncivilized. The urban streets will be unsafe, with riots and looting everywhere. It’s understandable on some level, since everyone wants to survive. But it’s also a good reason to look for a shelter elsewhere, as far from the urban centers as possible.
4. Your Own House
That’s right, your house can be more than enough during the martial law period. Think about it, you already have all the supplies and comfort, why look for it in remote places? As long as you do not confront the authorities, you might do just fine by staying in your house.
The trick to staying home is laying low. Continue your life as if nothing happened. This might go against your beliefs, but your survival should be the priority. Stock your house with extra food and water, and simply behave “normally”. Going outside could be dangerous because of two major reasons: the military presence, and whatever disaster or disorder that forced the military presence to appear. Staying home could be the wisest thing to do.
For more information on staying home during civil unrest and emergencies, please see my article on urban survival.
5. An Abandoned Location
If you don’t have a bunker, tiny house or cabin, any abandoned building might do. You still need to ensure that its location is as removed as possible from the military and governmental presence. If it’s outside the city, then it’s even better. This can be an abandoned factory, farm, barn, warehouse, and so forth.
Scout this location before deciding whether or not this will be your shelter. Ensure that it’s not visited by other people throughout the day. Check its general state and structure. Rotting or infested buildings are too unsafe to stay in.
Once you decide on a building, stash essential supplies there. This way, whenever you need to relocate, the supplies will already be there, waiting for you.
In some countries, you can even find forgotten bunkers that were abandoned after the Cold War, like in this video:
6. The Mountains
The mountains are a very secluded and inaccessible location. No law representative will bother climbing a cliff just to reprimand you for leaving the city.
Retreating to the mountains can also feel like going back to the roots, to your true self. While the martial law limits you as individual, the mountains free you. The air is fresh up there, and no law is enforced on you.
Of course, you need to be completely prepared to spend some time in that challenging environment, especially during the winter. The supplies might get very low and scarce. The weather makes it even more difficult, and you need to know how to treat frost injuries. If you wish to learn more, please see my guide on how to survive cold weather.
7. Any Prepper Community
Why facing a country-wide crisis alone, when you can rely on a large group of like-minded preppers, survivalists and off-gridders? Sometimes a group of people has better chances of survival, especially during a large crisis.
As a group or community, you can pool your resources together. Different people can have different skills that are useful to others. One is a medic, while another one is a hunter or an experienced cook. Together, your skills and expertise complement each other and strengthen your community.
While prepper communities are not wildly advertised, I do have a list of known off-grid communities. If some of them are nearby, consider joining them during trying times.
8. A Neighboring Country
While seemingly abandoning your country may look like an unpatriotic action, it’s actually quite the opposite. When the government imposes its regime and strips away basic human rights, the most patriotic action can be crossing the border into a more “relaxed” country. There, you can recuperate, regroup, and then return when the circumstances allow it.
For example, if you live in the United States and the martial law is declared, you can relocate to Mexico, Canada, or a nearby island country or territory. The government won’t pursue you there, since they will probably have much bigger objectives on their hands.
Make sure you’re familiar enough with the local language and customs. They will come handy should you seek a temporary employment and a place to stay.
Keep in mind that in some cases, you might need to leave for a much farther country, such as the safest country in case of nuclear war.
9. The Armed Forces
This might be a surprising suggestion, but the military is probably the most secure and well-supplied environment to be in. I’m not encouraging you to enlist just for the sake of surviving a particular scenario. I’m just saying that if you’re already in the military, or a civilian working at a military base, then you don’t have to hide elsewhere during the martial law.
The military’s obvious advantage is that it received supplies and working equipment before the rest of the population. Also, the military bases are well-fortified and guarded. The downsize, of course, is that during an international conflict or a civil war, the bases are the first ones to be attacked.
10. The Great Outdoors
Mountains and cabins are specific places in the wild, where you can stay safe during the martial law. But they are not the only ones. In fact, the entire wilderness is at your disposal. In almost every country, the inhabited areas are much smaller in comparison to the uninhabited outdoors. You can literally pitch a tent in the woods and weather the national crisis.
Naturally, this requires a few skills, which are listed in my article on basic survival skills. In addition, you will need a lot of knowledge and information on such topics as making tools, identifying plants, foraging, hunting, fishing, building a shelter, defending against animals, and so on. The most recommended book in the world that covers all these topics is Bushcraft 101 by Dave Canterbury on Amazon.
Top 15 Safest Places to Hide Your Survival Supplies
1. In the Crawl Space
One of the most obvious and common places is under the floor. If there is a crawl space under the floorboards, this can be a good place to hide your survival supplies. Add a trap door, and you have a spacious hiding spot.
The crawl space’s obvious advantage is that it’s nearby and immediately accessible. The disadvantage is its obviousness. This could be one of the first places where the authorities would search. However, a well-built trap door can seamlessly blend in with the rest of the floor, thus avoiding any attention.
2. Near an Air Vent
Hiding your supplies inside the vents is not a good idea, since this is one of the most frequently searched spots. However, you can try hiding some unperishable food and other supplies behind a vent. No one will look behind an air vent.
To create even more space, you can remove some of the screws that attach the vent to the wall or to the ceiling. A word of caution – if this is a functioning air conditioning vent, the hot air may damage some of the stashed food. As a solution, you can try attaching a fake vent, which is not actually connected to an AC.
3. Beneath the Cabinet
Everyone has cabinets. Cabinets usually don’t stand flat on the floor, but have some space beneath them, as they stand on short legs. If there is a front panel that covers this place, you can detach it, stash your supplies under the cabinet, and return the panel to its place.
Some cabinets do not have such a panel. This can be somewhat more challenging, since you will have to find wood of the same color and design as the cabinet. Then you need to measure the height of the floor space and cut the panels from the wood. Make sure you surround the cabinet’s legs with panels from all directions, otherwise this might look too suspicious.
4. Within Drawers
Other parts of the furniture can be used as hiding spot. Drawers are classic hiding spaces. Naturally, you don’t place your supplies in a drawer. Instead, you either create a false bottom, or a hidden drawer.
If you make a false, or a double-bottom drawer, don’t forget to fill it with ordinary items, to distract from the fact that there are more items beneath them.
If you use a hidden drawer, don’t give it a front panel or a handle that can be seen from the outside. Only you should know how to access the hidden drawer.
Amazon has a great selection of concealment furniture, which looks both classy and completely innocent. No one will even figure out that it has hidden spaces. You can view this covert furniture by clicking here.
5. Inside Cushions
Cushions are another spot that can work, as long as they don’t look too suspicious. Gently make an opening in the fabric, remove a little bit of the stuffing, and then expertly sew the cushion back together.
Make sure it still looks like a regular cushion, with no angles sticking out under the fabric. Couch cushions and throw cushions are better suited for this purpose. Don’t use the cushions you actually sleep on. This can’t be good, neither for your sleep, nor for the hidden supplies.
6. Inside Couches
Besides cushions, the very base of the couch can serve as another useful hiding spot. You can even stash your valuables in it, this is probably the last place that burglars and looters will check.
The couches base is usually very spacious, and you won’t need to rearrange anything inside of it, or damage the couch. Just make a small opening, place your items there, and reattach the fabric. It’s like having a secret safe in your living room.
7. In a Mattress or a Box-Spring
If your bed has a box-spring and/or a mattress, these can also be used to hide your survival supplies inside. This way the supplies are near you during the night, yet they will be deep enough and won’t trouble your sleep. Remember to sew the fabric back without leaving too many attention-drawing seams.
8. Among Stored Items
You probably have an attic, garage, or utility closet, where a lot of regular items are stored in boxes without being well-organized. If you don’t have anything like this, just create this chaos of things. Get several cardboard boxes and fill them with items you barely use. Make it look as if these are boxes you planned to unpack after moving in, but never got to it.
Then, place whatever you need to hide between those items. No one will ever try going through this mess of yours, looking for ammo and survival food among heaps of toys, old yearbooks, clothes, and tools.
9. In the Walls
This is another classic and hard-to-find location. No one will attempt tearing through the walls of the entire house. Which is why a hidden safe or just a dug-out hole can be an ideal spot. You can cover the opening with false outlets or a painting.
If you’re storing paper money or important documents inside the wall, wrap them in any waterproof material. Water can seep within a wall and damage whatever you’re trying to hide inside.
Here is a great video that shows how to make a hidden safe by yourself:
10. In Old Bottles
You can reuse non-transparent plastic bottles, like those that had a fabric softener, detergent, shampoo or hair conditioner in them. No g-man will ever think of going through used bottles placed under the sink.
Completely rinse and dry the bottle before using it. You can insert foldable or small supplies, and then screw the cap back. If the items you wish to conceal are too large, cut off one side of the bottle, place the items, and then carefully glue it back.
11. Under Potted Plants
Wrap your valuables and your supplies in a water-resistant plastic bag. Remove the plant and the soil entirely from the pot, put your stash inside and then put the plant back. Now you have a naturally looking hiding spot, under everyone’s noses.
Remember not to water the plant too much. Instead, you should just spray it. Or better yet, hide your stuff under a cactus. A cactus does not require too much water, and no one will think to mess with this prickly plant while looking for hidden survival supplies.
12. Under Cat’s Sand
This might sound like a gross solution, but as long as your items are thoroughly wrapped, they will not be damaged or disturbed. Place the wrapped supplies at the very bottom of the cat’s litter box and cover them with sand. No person in their sound mind would want to dig there while looking for your belongings.
13. In Your Ground
Another classic spot is simply burying your stash in your own backyard. Make sure the earth looks undisturbed afterwards.
The main issue is that this is a commonly used location. In almost every documentary and fictional movie, you can see the authorities digging up the backyard. What would help is having a nice garden out there. You can use something like a PVC pipe or a metal box, and bury it between a tree’s roots. No one will start uprooting the trees while they search for the ammo.
14. Far Away From Your House
If the supplies are not in your house, they simply can’t be found. You can make a survival cache and place it where no one will expect it. This can be an abandoned building, forest, public park, or just a spot near the road.
If you plan to move to another location (as long as the martial law allows this), placing a cache along your escape route can actually be a very good idea. You can leave after your house was searched (and nothing was found), and then just pick the supplies up on your way to the shelter.
15. At Your Bug Out Location
If everything else fails, you simply need to stash the supplies at your bug out location. This should be a place that no one but you and your family know about. Simply place the self-defense weapons, ammo, food, water, first aid kit, etc. in your personal shelter and head there while avoiding any confrontation with the authorities.
If you’re interested to learn about every survival item you need to take to your bug out place, please read my article about what should be in a survival backpack.
So there you have it, the complete list of how to hide yourself and your supplies whenever martial law is imposed on your country or state. Remember to always stay safe and avoid unnecessary conflicts. Whatever takes place at this very moment, think about the future, and strive to survive.
My survivalist blog has a few more resources that you might be interested in. We discussed survival supplies and gear earlier. Did you know that you don’t have to spend a fortune on survival gear? Check out my article dedicated to survival on a budget.
Do you have enough information on survival in any situation and environment? I strongly suggest you see my posts on surviving in the wilderness with nothing and surviving extreme weather. They will enrich your knowledge and prepare you for a wide variety of circumstances.
And finally, see my list of most recommended survival books. You definitely need one or two of them in your bug out bag!
Be safe, my friends!