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Imagine this: A nuclear meltdown has hit your town hard, with residents sealing off their vents using duct tape, scrambling to ration the case of bottled water they have stashed in the pantry, and unsure of where to find safe cans of food for nourishment.

But you have no worries—because you’re safely underground in your Spartan Survival Systems shelter with a neatly organized stockpile of food and water to keep you and your family safe for months.


Spartan Survival Systems was born following a novel idea devised by two survivalist preppers who have years of experience with elite military units, combat operations, law enforcement, SWAT, security, welding, fabrication and construction experience.

The hatch and stairway of a shelter that’s being constructed.

The hatch and stairway of a shelter that’s being constructed.

“With this knowledge, we sat down and tried to think of ways to survive should one or more of the hundreds of ‘doomsday’ scenarios play out,” says Todd Stump, Spartan’s president, who with his partner came up with a clever solution. “What better way to survive any one of these scenarios than to sit it out in a hidden underground survival shelter? While everyone else is sitting around trying to figure out how to get food or water or shelter, we wanted to be sitting in a safe place that has all of those things already in it through years of preparation—and we wanted other preppers to be able to have the same confidence that they would be able to survive should some terrible unforeseen event happen in their lives.”

Combining their construction and fabrication experience, Stump and his partner spent thousands of hours creating CAD drawings, planning budgets and sitting in business meetings before they took the final step toward shelter bliss. “Spartan Survival Systems was created and we haven’t looked back since,” he says.


If you are interested in creating your own underground survival haven, the first step is to reach out to Spartan and share your project goals. Spartan will then begin customizing a shelter to meet your needs.

“Each individual lets us know what type of budget they are trying to meet and what type of situation they want their shelter system to be for—storms, civil unrest, safe room, etc.,” Stump says. “Once those details are ironed out, we prepare computer models with dimensions and measurements that provide a good idea of the type of space they will have in their shelter, and if we need to upsize or downsize.” If you need room for 10, for example, Spartan can tweak the air filtration system to ensure that it can handle that size.

An inside look at a Spartan Survival Systems shelter during construction.

An inside look at a Spartan Survival Systems shelter during construction.


Just like no two homes are exactly the same, neither are Spartan Survival Systems shelters, and therefore, the prices can vary depending on the customization specs.

The company’s Series-1 shelters, which are all 10 feet in diameter and between 20 and 35 feet in length, have a base model ($20,000 to $35,000), standard model ($28,000 to $43,000), and deluxe model ($46,000 to $65,000) available.

Spartan’s Series-2 shelters are all eight feet in diameter and between 10 and 35 feet in length.  “There is no differentiation in models of the Series-2’s and the price ranges between $13,000 for the shorter lengths and $28,000 for the larger models,” Stump says. “The difference between Series-1 and 2 is pipe diameter, which really equates to amount of head room you will have once inside.  The larger diameter pipe, the more head room and more under floor storage you will have.”

Spartan can also customize a pipe to serve as a food or supply cache with security doors. “These are a lot smaller in size than our shelters and allow you to keep your supplies separate from your main shelter or your home,” Stump says.


Model and size decided upon, the next step is to research shipping and excavating companies to deliver and install the shelter, a process with which Spartan provides assistance but for which the owner is ultimately responsible. Once shipping and excavation are established, Spartan begins work on the shelter. Completion times vary based on Spartan’s workload, and a busy summer building season can delay installation by the excavators as well.

Once the shelter has been completed, Spartan coordinates with the shipper while the customer contacts the excavating company to ensure that the site is prepped in time for the shelter’s arrival. Spartan provides the excavators with detailed installation instructions to maximize the chances for a smooth installation.


Once you’ve begun creating your customized Spartan Survival shelter, you’ll contact shipping companies and let them know the size shelter you need transported to your location, and how far you need it to travel. It’s best to get price quotes from multiple vendors before deciding on a shipper.

Your next step will be to get in touch with excavation contractors to let them know the size shelter you’re ordering and how deep you want it to be buried. “The excavator will generally come out and do a site check to determine the soil conditions and the site conditions before they give a price quote,” Stump says. “Once these steps have been accomplished, you will have a very good idea on how much the different steps in this process will cost.”


Although you may think of a survival shelter as something you need for a weekend getaway in the face of a storm, the reality is that you can stay longer if you need to.

“Our shelters are fully customizable depending on the situation you see happening,” Stump says. “If you live in tornado alley and you want something you can hunker down in during a tornado, we can provide a smaller survival system.  On the other end of the spectrum, if you see yourself trying to survive the total collapse of society and you want something you can stay in for extended periods of time, we can do that too.”


Spartan Survival Systems makes its shelters with preppers in mind, so the structures have several distinctive qualities that allow them to be ideal for survivalists.

Underground location

“The fact that the shelter is underground is probably the most important factor for any of the situations or scenarios you can think of,” he says. “Being underground allows you to remain hidden and concealed from both a storm and roaming bands of people who want to take your supplies. Being underground allows for a constant temperature range much like a basement has.”


“Our shelters have air filters which can function as regular air pumps to bring in breathable air from outside as well as NBC filters should there be war gasses or fallout in your area,” Stump says. “We design the air filter system based on how many individuals are expected to occupy the shelter.”

Customized bedrooms

“If you have children, we can build the number of bunks required,” Stump says. “If the shelter is just for you and your spouse, we can make the living quarters into a single room rather than a room with several bunks. If you have dogs, we can customize the entrance with stairs instead of a ladder.”

Pick your extras

“The entrance door can be fortified should someone stumble across your hidden surface entrance,” Stump says. “We can customize a bathroom so that it can have a shower in it with external or internal water tanks depending on how you want to store water. Your toilet can be an internal chemical toilet or we can plumb it out to an external tank. There are countless combinations and setups depending on what you want your shelter system to have.”

Yes, you can get clean, running water in your underground shelter.

Yes, you can get clean, running water in your underground shelter.

To find out more about Spartan Survival Systems and determine how to customize your shelter, visit the company’s website.


Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the November 2014 print issue of American Survival Guide.


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