A Day in the Life of a Texas Man Camp

The barren plains of West Texas might look dry and desolate, but beneath the surface they’re rich with oil. The Permian Basin (the geological term for this area) is one example of many oil-rich sedimentary basins in the state of Texas. Whenever there’s a boom in “black gold,” oil companies send hundreds of workers to the remotest part of the state to drill. But the options for room, board, food, and civilization in general are minimal out there. The West Texas region covers about 39,800 square miles, yet it accounts for just 2% of the state’s entire population, or 650,000 people. Talk about isolated.

So, how do oil companies house their temporary workforce in such a remote area? They build man camps. 

What Is a Man Camp?

A man camp is a temporary housing encampment that’s set up near a resource extraction site, like an oil field. Because of the transient nature of man camps in Texas, the structures are usually trailers or prefabricated buildings, like mobile homes. Since many sites only operate when extraction is profitable, companies might occupy these buildings for just a few months at a time. After that, the structures are typically relocated and reused at the next site.

In this blog post, we’ll break down a day in the life of a man camp in Texas - but with the added bonus of how modified shipping containers can improve upon industry standards. 

5 am - Head to Jobsite

The location of your man camp might be remote, but where you’ll actually work is probably more remote. Depending on your role, you could drive an hour away from the man camp to perform maintenance on a drill or scout new locations for a well pad. You’d take your lunch with you, since it’s too far to return to the camp’s small mess hall. 

All you see around you is flat, reddish dust and a few tumbleweeds. What’s that? You need to use the bathroom? There are one or two porta potties on the edge of the site. If you’d rather not step into the hot, smelly plastic box, you can always do your business behind one of the company trucks. 

It’s the middle of summer, so the temperature is in the triple digits. Your company sends lots of water out with your crew each day, but the only way you can truly cool off during your breaks is by sitting in one of the truck cabs with the air conditioning cranked as high as it’ll go. 

How can modified shipping containers improve the man camp?

Mobile Oil Field Container Restroom

Even in the remotest and harshest areas, shipping container bathrooms offer oil field workers much-needed comfort and convenience. 

  • Easily transportable
  • Powered via generator
  • Active ventilation and cooling PTAC unit
  • Running water and flushable toilets

man camp bathroom

Shipping Container Office

Give workers a real reprieve during their long shifts in extreme surroundings. A modified shipping container office, breakroom, or combination of the two can improve morale and efficiency.

  • Cooling PTAC unit
  • Window modifications for site visibility
  • Multi-unit structures for extra space
  • Secure from vandalism or theft
  • Relocatable to different sites

man camp office

6 pm - Shower Before Dinner

Your 12-hour shift is finally over, but you’re covered in sweat and grime. Before you grab dinner or even think about laying in your small bed, you need to take a shower. The only option is a communal shower trailer, where all of the stalls are currently in use by the other day workers who just finished their shift. You wait until one opens up before you wash the day away. 

Dinner is served buffet style in a pop-up tent. There are some rusty grills around the site in case other workers decide to grill food. They’re next to concrete pads with metal awnings, but you’ve been outside in the heat all day and want to relax in a cool area. 

How can modified shipping containers improve the man camp?

Shipping Container Locker Rooms

Shipping containers can be modified into full-functioning locker rooms. They’re growing in popularity in the industry thanks to their durability and transportability.

  • Private showers
  • Toilets and urinals
  • Active ventilation and cooling PTAC unit
  • Relocatable

man camp shower

Shipping Container Break Room

Workers can find it hard to unwind during down time at a man camp. Multiple containers can be modified to create an open and communal space with TVs, comfortable seating, games, and more.

  • Double or triple-wide container structure for extra space
  • PTAC or Bard unit for cooling
  • Modification options like kitchenettes and toilets
  • Relocatable

man camp break room

9 pm - Head to Bed

Your next shift starts in eight hours, and you need to get to sleep. You walk back to your bunk, which is in a prefabricated unit that you share with three other workers. The exterior siding is scratched and dented from frequent relocation. There is one toilet and sink to share between the four of you, so you must wait again to brush your teeth and use the facilities. Once you finally crawl into your twin-sized bed, you kick the covers off because the small window AC unit isn’t powerful enough to cool the entire room down. 

How can modified shipping containers improve the man camp?

Shipping Container Living Spaces

Modified shipping containers are an excellent alternative to the flimsy prefabricated housing found in most man camps. Not only are they more durable during frequent relocation, but they can also be outfitted with creature comforts your workforce will appreciate. 

  • Modifiable living container floor plans
  • Private shower and bathroom
  • Stackable for small footprint
  • Insulation and full climate control
  • 25+ year lifespan, even with frequent relocation

man camp housing

Man camps are a vital component of the oil industry. With the adoption of modified shipping container structures, these temporary encampments can be upgraded in durability, relocatability, and comfort for the hardworking personnel occupying them. 

Interested in implementing modified shipping container structures at your company’s man camp or remote work area? We can help! Reach out to our team at 877-704-0177 or email us at Sales@FalconStructures.com.

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