It took a pandemic, but everyone's finally focusing on prepping and survival. People are stocking up on food, survival supplies, outfitting their bug out location (BOL). But what if you find yourself caught in the in-between or worse yet, forced to leave your safe haven unexpectedly?
Two words: survival cache— a secret spot where you store valuable emergency supplies and food when you’re in dire need.
Let’s dig in a bit more on what survival caches are and how you can use it to your advantage:
Why Go For A Survival Cache?
A smart prepper never puts all their eggs in one basket.
You always have to have options when it comes to your supplies and survival gear. That’s why almost all survivalists and preppers recommend storing survival caches in strategic areas located either along your bug out route or in places that you can easily reach.
There are two significant reasons why you should look into getting a survival cache:
- You get to spread out your supplies
Avoid having a single location holding all your precious supply. One wrong move and all that can disappear. Spread them out in various supply caches so that you won’t lose it all if one place is compromised.
- It supports a bug out bag
As much as possible, we want our bug out bags to hold every bit of supply that can help us survive. But on the off chance that it can’t or that you’re packing a bit lighter, survival caches come in handy. Strategically placing a survival cache along your bug out route will let you replenish your supplies.
What’s In It: The Contents of Your Supply Cache
Now that you have a pretty solid idea of what a survival cache is, planning out what goes into it is the next step and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
It’s precisely like planning out what goes into a bug out bag. The minor difference is that the items you put in it vary depending on where you store your cache and what you need.
Though you’re free to put whatever you want to into it, here are the more common items to put in a survival cache:
The obvious first choice for your survival cache, having food stashed elsewhere is a must. It's good to have a supply that you can access, but being cautious and having an extra secure food source is something everyone should have.
Like beer and perfectly cooked BBQ ribs, you can't store food without water. If your survival cache is close to a natural water source, you can save space by storing water filters.
If a nearby water source is out of the question, pack some bottled water instead.
Fire Starting Tools
Starting a fire from scratch? Easy. But with the help of some sort of fire-starting tool? Faster and much more efficient. Make sure you have a firestarter in your cache like lighters, strikers, and waterproof matches.
Unlike light from a fire, artificial light is more comfortable to handle. It comes in handy when electrical grids go down. Remember, when SHTF, you can’t expect electricity to always be up and running, so a high-quality flashlight is non-negotiable.
Just to be sure, you can even store a gas lantern in your cache. But keep in mind that if you’re planning to store a gas lantern, you’re going to need some fuel for it as well. Candles and matches are also great additional measures.
Having tools on hand is particularly useful in any aspect of life. A few multitools in the survival cache and a roll of paracord that you can use for several projects will be extremely helpful when SHTF.
You can also look into getting collapsible shovels. They are usually compact and multifunctional, making them a great for digging trenches, making shelter, or shoveling coals for cooking.
You don't have to store a full-fledged medical kit in your cache; a duffel bag chock full of medical supplies is a bit over the top. At best, you should go with the bare minimum. A suture kit, disinfectants, bandages, and some pain-killers can sustain you long enough to get to your bug out location.
Remember, a survival cache is meant to supplement your existing supply and not act as your only survival supply source.
A hand-cranked radio in your cache or a few walkie talkies can help. With a radio, you can receive broadcasts about the situation. In contrast, a walkie talkie will help keep in contact with loved ones over a few miles. Radio comms are a big "yes."
We're all for a peaceful bug out, but let's be realistic. Defending yourself and your family is something to take into consideration and prep for. From baseball bats to multifunctional shovels, there are a lot of options out there.
The best way to go about this is to take up some self-defense classes and have your chosen self-defense weapons support you only when truly needed.
Fun and Entertainment
Ever gone on a camping trip, rummaged around your bag, and felt disappointed when you couldn't find that pack of cards you thought you had? Same.
A lot of people overlook this but keeping yourself sane when SHTF will help a lot. As mentioned, storing a deck of cards in your survival cache might come in handy. A survival book or two might be useful, too.
What to Use For a Survival Cache
After figuring out your survival cache's contents, the next question is, where can you store it in?
Your choice for a container will depend heavily on where you are planning to hide your cache and the surrounding environment. As a rule of thumb, you'd want a waterproof and durable container then play it by ear from there.
Here are what you can use as containers:
Inexpensive and available in almost all hardware stores, PVC tubes make for the perfect survival cache, since they’re designed to be buried underground and withstand wear and tear.
It's an excellent DIY project that doesn't require much. Just make sure it's 100% waterproof by sealing it up good.
Some people will opt to use a garbage can or barrel as a survival cache. It's an obvious choice, but it can present a lot of challenges, too. First, you'd have to figure out how to seal it up tight to make it 100% waterproof.
You might also hit a snag if you choose an overly large garbage can as it can be challenging to bury. Go for something medium-sized or a garbage bin that can be tightly sealed.
Protective and Storage Containers/Cases
On the market, you can purchase storage cases that are waterproof and have protective properties. It's usually used to store precious cameras. Hence, you get the assurance that these cases can stand the harsh elements.
Plastic buckets are great for holding a lot of items. Paired with a waterproof lid, you've got an excellent survival cache on hand--- and one that's reasonably cheap, too. You can also look into using food-grade plastic buckets with the screw-on lids.
Again, the buckets' size might pose a problem when you bury it, but if it's the perfect fit for your needs, then go for it.
Hiding Your Cache
What's a survival cache that's not hidden? A free-for-all stash, ripe for the picking.
In hindsight, that's probably not a survival cache. Remember, caches should be hidden. But you can't just hide it anywhere.
Here are some places where you SHOULDN'T hide your supply cache:
Commercial Storage Houses and Warehouses
When SHTF, a commercial storage unit as a location to hold your survival cache will be a big NO. Storage houses are going to be one of the first places to be raided.
Lands Potential for Future Development
Imagine happily burying your survival cache on a land plot overgrown with shrubbery and then coming back to it a year and a half later to find a parking area. Worse yet, a mall. How's that cache looking?
If the building burns down or collapses when a disaster happens, you can blow your supply cache a kiss goodbye. Imagine, all your hard work disappearing beneath rubble and wreckage.
So Where Do You Hide Them?
Of course, hiding your survival cache 2 feet underground would be the best thing, but it isn't the only choice. You can get creative and hide your caches in abandoned wells, hollow stumps, and even in gutted out and non-functional appliances.
The key to a good hiding place is making sure they have the following characteristics:
Your location is well-hidden
Away from the public, away from prying eyes and hands, and invisible to the naked eyes. You want it to feel like your cache's location doesn't exist.
It is a remote location
The last thing you'd want is a large group stumbling across your cache. It's best to go for locations that are remote or only known to you.
Accessible to you, and above all, available during a crisis. Make sure it's located near your bug out route or along that path of travel.
REMEMBER: Mark your hidden survival caches with markers that only you know about, so you don't forget their locations. Your markers shouldn't be easily removed or altered. You can create a cache map, but make sure that's hidden as well and known to only you and your family.
You've taken a step forward to becoming a better prepper and survivalist. Now you've got all the right information you need to start planning and creating your survival cache!
We're all for an excellent prep plan, and we're hoping this one solidifies your existing one and adds value. If you want to read more on prepping, make sure you check out the other awesome article we have on here!