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Survival Cache – why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket

Today, we often hear talk of how important it is to stock up on food and water supplies in case of an emergency situation. Stocking up is important at home and at the bug out location. In fact, stocking up on supplies is mandatory for survival. But have you ever heard of a survival cache?

Coming from the French word for “hide”, a cache is a setup that allows you to hide some supplies in a separate location. There’s a lot of strategy that goes into choosing where to put a survival cache and what to put in it.

On the one hand, you want your survival cache to be difficult to find so it’s not discovered and stolen. On the other hand, your survival cache needs to be easily accessible, especially if you plan on accessing it during a bug out scenario.

Since most people can’t afford to fully stock multiple locations with duplicate supplies (although you should if you can afford to), the question of what goes into a survival cache becomes relevant as well.

Packing suggestions for your survival cache

What you put in your cache is a numbers game. A cache is meant to be used as either a back-up to your BOB or as a supplement. So what you put in your cache varies by the size of your container as well as the size of your budget.

  • Weapons and ammo: We are aware that there are legal issues around putting a registered gun in the ground. If it is accidentally found and used in a crime, you could be in for some serious trouble.  It is also tricky to bury a gun.  You can get some good advice on how to bury a gun underground from Backwoods Home. Make sure your weapon is well lubricated to prevent rusting.
  • Water: Digging can be thirsty work, plus you may have lost your BOB and don’t have a way to purify or carry water. You choose a bottle style filter that will take care of the container portion. Ready Hour makes canned water that is good for 30 years – so stashing a few 12oz cans can be a lifesaver.
  • Water filter: Water is crucial for survival, so you want a way to purify it. Do not put in a used filter, especially like those used in a pouch-style filer like a Swayer-Mini. The water residue inside them will expand and destroy the pores in the filter. So only bury an unused water filter of these types. You may want to consider a different type of water filter altogether and instead choose a bottle or straw style.
  • Fire starter: This could be matches, lighters, or a ferro rod. Or all of them. Remember “two is one, one is none.” And fire is vital!
  • Cordage: Cordage is one of the most useful items to have for survival for tasks such as setting up survival shelters, making fishing lines or setting up animal snares. Consider stashing both paracord and #36 bank-line.
  • Emergency food: You’ll want to bury foods like military MREs, Datrex bars and/or Survival Shot which is a nutrition supplement. These withstand the test of time well.
  • Cooking pot: You will want to include a least a stainless steel pot or container for boiling water and cooking food and possibly a grill for campfire cooking.
  • Clothing: Extra socks, a poncho, a warm jacket, hats, and gloves are good for your packing list.
  • Flashlight plus batteries: You might want to put a candle or two in there also. Do not store the batteries in the flashlight.
  • First aid kit:  Don’t forget that you need the skills to use your first-aid kit. You may also want to include copies of the books The Ultimate Survival Medicine Guide and The Complete Medicinal Herbal Guide.
  • Multi-tool:  Even if a leatherman isn’t an option, try to get something of better than average quality as you are relying on this for your survival.
  • Fishing kit: If you are near somewhere you can fish.
  • Knife: Something affordable, but reliable.  And don’t forget a sharpening stone too.
  • Folding saw: Something affordable and reliable that will fit the space.
  • Maps: Topographical maps (the kind with contour lines) and have your bug out route/location marked on them.
  • Emergency blankets: The metallic type. Bivvy bags are also good if you are making a larger survival cache.
  • Trash bags: At least two of the large heavy contractor bags. These have a variety of purposes and take up little space.
  • Hygiene items: Hand sanitizer, soap, toilet paper tablets etc…
  • The 10 C’s: If space is an issue, or you want to make a few mini caches then just be sure you include the 10 C’s of survival along with a firearm and ammo if you can afford it.

Containing your survival cache

You can use any container you want, as long as it’s waterproof (nothing made of wood, which will rot) and very durable (nothing made of cheap plastic, which will crack). It needs to withstand high heat, freezing temperatures, insects, and rodents.

Possible options for cache container:

  • Ammo can – heavy duty plastic type is likely to last longer, but it doesn’t have a much space.
  • 5-gallon bucket – this needs to be very heavy duty and you need to be able to seal it up tightly. It also provides quite of bit of space inside.
  • PVC tube – these can be made with a length of PVC pipe and a couple of end caps. Just sure to use a good sealant one only one end, You can further protect your cache by using what is called a test plug. This is a rubber gasket you can insert into the other end of the tube. As you tighten the wing nut on the gasket, the rubber will be pushed out to meet the inside wall of the tube. This will create a waterproof seal. You can then cap the gasket end with a cap.
  • 30 or 55-gallon barrels – heavy-duty plastic or metal. If using metal there is always the possibility of erosion, so make sure everything you pack in it is sealed in its own container.

Of course, there are many other options. Whatever you decided to use, consider sealing it inside one or more contractor bags just for good measure.

One advantage of doing this is you make it look like nothing more than a bag of garbage to anyone who discovers it. Add lots of crumpled up newspapers to the bag so it looks even more like garbage.

Hiding your survival cache

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