While there are more important things to consider when it comes to prepping and survival before we think about caches, having a survival cache or 2 set up is just another insurance policy we can create for ourselves in the event that an unexpected disaster strikes.
I’ll admit, I have been on the fence with caches because the idea of buying something just to bury it just doesn’t sit well with me.
The more I think about it, the more it makes sense though. These can be set up for fairly cheap by using what we have or going to second hand stores, so why not have a couple just in case?
I will go through the what, why and how of building a survival cache in this article, and I also have a video at the end showing the cache I made, and am going to bury in my backyard. I am also going to dig the cache up at the end of the summer and see how everything held up.
What is a Survival Cache?
When we think of “cache” we think of something we bury underground just in case we need it later. But if you think about it, a cache is anything we hide that will help our situation if we find ourselves with nothing.
A cache is not necessarily buried under ground, if you have canned food in a bin labeled “old blankets” this could be considered a cache as well. Here is an article from SHTFPlan goes into great detail about the Principles of Hiding a Cache.
Why We Need Cache’s
A survival cache is like an insurance policy, if we find ourselves in a bug in, or bug out situation having a little something stashed away might come in useful if it’s in the right place at the right time.
Bugging In: If you need to bug in from work and you weren’t able to get to your bug in bag it would be incredibly helpful to have some supplies stashed along your route home.
Bugging Out: If you are bugging out it might be wise to have a couple of caches set up along your route (or routes) just in case you lose your supplies or they don’t last as long as you expected.
At Home: Caches can also be set up around your home. As the saying goes “don’t keep all your eggs in one basket” If someone or some alphabet agency were to come into our home and take everything we have, it will help to have supplies in different areas and hidden.
Hopefully they will see the obvious food and water storage, and not think about checking anywhere else and finding your Legacy food buckets behind the pots and pans.
In Vehicles: It might seem a little strange, and I would think twice about this because the police might wonder why you have a hidden compartment in your car, but most vehicles have quite a few areas we could set up a hidden cache.
I’ve never had a police officer look under the hood of my car, but I’ve never given them a reason too either. As long as you’re not doing (or carrying) anything illegal there’s not a whole lot they can do about it. I wouldn’t suggest crossing the border though, or you might be in for an unpleasant start to your vacation.
Different Types of Caches
PVC Tube: This is probably one of the most popular types of survival caches because it is easy to make and fairly cheap to construct. This is the type of cache I put together in the video below.
Waterproof Box: These come in various sizes and materials and most are not made for underground storage. You can however extend the “life expectancy” of these by adding a protective layer around them, or even vacuum sealing them.
The Survivor Ammo Can is only about a foot tall, but it is pre made and guaranteed to be waterproof.
Water Bottle: A plastic water bottle has an even lower life span underground, but they are waterproof and can hold medical supplies, fire starting kits or water filtering supplies.
Storage Bins: If you’re looking into storing something on a larger scale on your property this might be a good option, it would take quite a few PVC pipes to store a large amount of supplies.
Make sure these are 100% waterproof, and are strong enough to withstand a long period of time underground. Do your research, the last thing you want is to think you’re covered only to find out you’re not.
Hidden Areas: There are all sorts of places around the house that can be cache spots, think outside the box with this one. We have all seen the secret compartments under beds and inside walls, but what about outside as well? A fake heater vent on the roof, a fake flower box or even in your vehicle.
Survival Cache Items
Deciding on what to put into your survival cache really depends on your Individual needs and what you plan to use it for. Everyone’s situation is different so what we store will be different.
As you make a list of items, think about where this cache will be and why you are putting it there. If you are bugging in you might need extra food or clothing, if you are bugging out you might need shelter or supplies.
Thrift Store Supplies: putting a cache together doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, and you don’t need to put your best supplies underground. Read this article about Thrift stores and garage sales, they are a great place to find extra supplies.
5 Areas of Preparedness: Always think about food, water, shelter, security and sanitation in mind. You might not be able to add much, but this will help you think about things you might have forgotten.
Here are a few general ideas…
- Stainless Steel water bottle
- Freeze dried food, canned food or food with a long shelf life. I also made this video about how to make Homemade MRE’s with this Portable Food Saver.
- First aid and medical supplies.
- Cordage and more cordage.
- Tools such as knives and utensils.
- Maps of the area… and a compass
- A pocket survival manual
- Water purification supplies.
- Tarps for shelter… did I say cordage?
- And whatever supplies that might pertain to your situation.
Look around the house and in the garage, you probably have some supplies laying around that are extras.
Making the Cache
Here is the video of the survival cache I am making right now. I will post the video of what I am putting in the can when I get it done, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here so you know when I get it published.
I will bury this cache, and dig it up at the end of 2015 and see how well (or not) it worked.
The most important things to consider when you are setting up a survival cache are why you are setting it up, and how you are setting it up.
What: It’s not going to do you any good to have a fishing kit or a water filter in your cache if there is no water source around where you bury it. Think about what you need and get those supplies together first, after that you will have a better idea about what size cache you need.
How: Just as important as what you are caching is what you are caching it in. Air and water can creep into the smallest areas and wreak havoc on your supplies in a short period of time.
Some plastics like PVC are made to be buried underground, plastic water bottles are not. Something like a plastic water bottle might last a little while underground, but it will breakdown quicker. If the cache is not 100% waterproof and made from the right materials you might be disappointed when you open it up in a few years.
Extra Protection: You can also add extra protection to your cache. If you use something like a water bottle think about vacuum sealing it in a Mylar bag. If you use a 4” PVC tube you can put that tube inside a 6” tube to keep the inside tube separated from the dirt and moisture.
Hiding the Cache
Possibly even more important than how you set up your cache is being able to find it when you need to. It would be frustrating to need supplies and not have them, but it would be even more frustrating to know you have the supplies and not be able to find them.
Make a Treasure Map: The simplest way to find your secret survival cache in the future is make an old school treasure map. You could use a fence post and an old tree as landmarks and bury the cache halfway between the two.
If you use this method you need to make sure that the map is hidden as well, or at least make the map difficult if not impossible for someone else to read.
Use a GPS: If you have a GPS device that will allow you to set a way point you can use this method also. Remember though just like any other technology it’s great if it works, and an expensive rock without power.
Just like everything we do with prepping and survival we need to have a backup for our backup. Make copies of your map, and even if you use the GPS have the map on hand as well.
List: You will also want a list of items that are in your cache for future reference. I know how I am, and if the cache was buried for a long period of time I would forget what is in it, or even worse, think I had something that I didn’t.
Ideas or Tips?
Have you set up a survival cache? Who did you do it? Leave a comment below and let everyone know…