Survival Caches: All You Need to Know

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 to use when you’re in dire need.

Let’s dig in a bit more on what survival caches are and how you can use them to your advantage:

Why Go for Survival Caches?

survival caches allow you to spread out your supplies and ensure you have extra food and water in case something happens

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:

  1. You get to spread out your supplies: Avoid having a single location holding all your precious supplies. One wrong move and all that can disappear. Spread them out in different survival caches so that you won’t lose it all if one place is compromised.
  1. It supports a bug out bag: As much as possible, you want your bug out bag to hold every bit of supplies that can help you 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 these along your bug out route will allow you to replenish your supplies.

What’s In It: The Contents of Your Supply Cache

Now that you have a pretty solid idea of what survival caches care, planning out what goes into one is the next step and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

It’s precisely like figuring 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 caches, having food stashed 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.

You’ll want to store non-perishable survival food in your cache. Canned goods and jerky will do fine. Make sure you store them properly and waterproof them so they won’t get spoiled.


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. Pack some bottled water instead if a nearby water source is out of the question. 

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 your survival caches have fire-starters like lighters, ferro rods, 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 survival cache. But keep in mind that if you’re planning to store one, you’re going to need some fuel for it. Candles and matches are also great additional measures.

Utility Tools

Having tools on hand is particularly useful in any aspect of life. A few multipurpose items and a roll of paracord that you can use for several projects in your survival caches will be extremely helpful when SHTF.

You can also look into getting collapsible shovels. These are usually compact and multifunctional, making them great for digging trenches, making shelter, or shoveling coals for cooking.

Medical Supplies

You don’t have to store a fully 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 painkillers 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.


You can’t go wrong with a hand-cranked radio or a few walkie-talkies in your survival cache. With a radio, you can receive broadcasts about the situation. In contrast, a walkie-talkie will help you get in contact with loved ones over a few miles. Radio comms are a big yes.

Self-Defense Weapons

We’re all for a peaceful bug out, but let’s be realistic. Defending yourself and your family is something to consider and prep for. From baseball bats to multifunctional shovels, there are a lot of options out there for your survival cache.

The best way to narrow down your selection is to take some self-defense classes. This way, you won’t be entirely dependent on self-defense weapons and will use them only when 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, what can you store them in?

Your choice for a container will depend heavily on where you plan to hide your cache and the surrounding environment. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want a waterproof and durable container, and then play it by ear from there.

Here are what you can use as containers:

PVC Tubes

Inexpensive and available in almost all hardware stores, PVC tubes make the perfect survival caches since they’re designed to be buried underground and withstand wear and tear.

Making a PVC cache is an excellent DIY project that doesn’t require much. Just make sure it’s 100% waterproof by sealing it up well.

Garbage Cans

Some people will opt to use a garbage can or barrel as a survival cache. It seems like an obvious choice, but it can present a lot of challenges, too. First, you have to figure out how to seal it up tight to make it waterproof.

You might also hit a snag if you choose an overly large garbage can, as it can be challenging to bury. Go for a medium-sized garbage bin or one you can tightly seal.

Protective and Storage Containers/Cases

On the market, you can purchase storage cases that are waterproof and have protective properties. These are usually used to store expensive cameras. Hence, you get the assurance that these cases can stand the harsh elements.

Plastic Buckets

A plastic bucket is 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 screw-on lids.

Again, the bucket’s size might pose a problem when you bury it, but if it’s the perfect fit for your needs, go for it.

Hiding Your Cache

person locking their survival 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 survival caches:

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 will 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?

Building Basements

If the building burns down or collapses when disaster strikes, 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 gutted-out and non-functional appliances.

The key to a good hiding place is making sure they have the following characteristics:

The 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 remote locations or places only known to you.

It’s accessible

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 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 it’s hidden as well and known to only you and your family.

Final Thoughts

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, check out the other awesome article we have here!

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