The Survival Retreat is the first step in making a wilderness area into a place you can survive and thrive.
Often these begin as a hunting-camp with tents, campfire areas and simple structures. These can be improved over time to the point where a survival retreat becomes a homestead as well.
What you want on a Survival Retreat
Take your time, don't rush into things. Making a self-sufficient area for you and your family will take a lot of work. If you do most of the work yourself you will save thousands of dollars. If you spend thousands of dollars the work will be completed a lot more quickly. Ideally your Survival Retreat will have a series of resources in place from the moment you set foot on the property.
A water supply is essential unless you want to constantly haul water from elsewhere. It should be from a well, a fresh-water spring, creek or river. The well is often required when no spring, river or creek is nearby. These can be expensive to dig as depths of beyond 500 feet are sometimes required.
Plenty of firewood from nearby trees is handy. Green wood takes time to dry out but will burn if a fire is hot enough. Having a forest or well treed property often encourages wildlife to be present, allows privacy and is good for the spirit too.
Having a wild-game population not only can put food on the table, but it can mean a year-round food supply. In Alaska a Salmon-Run river is also excellent for providing this.
Some people make survival retreats a business, they take people from the city and urban areas and use the location to teach outdoor skills.
Unless the TSHTF or you want to go into hermit mode survival retreats don't typically make for comfortable, year-round locations. In winter you will want to have buildings, food storage and security. Living out of tents and primitive shelters is fun in the summer, digging snow-caves in the winter can be a novel approach. Yet for long-term living the area will need to be developed ideally. At a minimum a good Survival Retreat will have a cabin, root-cellar and water storage. Outbuildings and sheds are a very good idea also for tools and equipment storage
For families a retreat can be a challenge. Unless they are well used to living in rough conditions the first year or two can be a steep curve. In the past where we've been in the wilderness at Survival Retreats some females cannot tolerate even a primitive outhouse, let alone the wildlife that may be in the area.
Depending on your retreat you may have additional considerations to take care of. Food storage at areas where grizzly bears are can be a problem. Also smaller creatures like chipmunks, deer mice and squirrels can chew through plastic storage containers.
Helpful things like a cat and / or a dog can keep the vermin at bay though. The bark of a dog is discouraging to wild animals as much as a prowling barn cat is to keep the rats and mice at bay.