Survival Kwiki-Mart: Cache Basics

During a prolonged survival situation, the ability to replenish supplies is critical. For that reason, it is important to have the gear and the skills to collect water, gather food, build tools, and repair equipment. To help off-set the need to forage and hunt, however, it is wise to establish caches. By burying weapons, ammo, food, water, and other essential supplies, not only are supplies easier to replace but it is also possible to avoid the loss of all one’s survival items in one incident and, if the caches are placed along bug-out routes, it is much easier to stay stocked while on the run.

To properly cache supplies and equipment, there are three questions that must be answered: Where, what, and how.

Where: The location of caches is very important. If they are easy to find or stumble upon, the critical gear may disappear before it can be retrieved and leave one in a bad situation when hit with the sudden realization that much-needed supplies stocked another’s survival retreat. In addition to keeping supplies from getting lost, the location of a cache needs to be someplace that allows retrieval as needed.
If a location is for restocking a survival shelter, it needs to be close enough to be practical and efficient yet far enough away as to not be obvious should the shelter be raided and have its supplies looted or confiscated. The cache also needs to be disguised as to not call attention to it as well as provide no indication that there is a survival location in any given direction and lead looters to the shelter should the cache be discovered. It may also be prudent to have a cache site broken up into a few nearby drops to limit the possibility of total loss, should it be discovered.
If a drop location is to be used for resupply along a bug-out route, the placement needs to be far enough from the last that supplies on person are beginning to get low as to avoid over-burdening the survivalist, yet not so far away that supplies get critically low and cause problems before the next location can be reached. This is helped by hiking portions of the route and taking note of where it would be helpful to have a reduced travelling load, where supplies become exhausted, and where the injury is most likely to occur and then placing caches slightly closer than that along the route.
What: The items placed in the cache need to be worth the effort and are dependent upon what local resources are easily available and what needs the individual survivalists have. Shelf stable medicines that are critical should be included, along with extra ammo, parts to fix or replace weapons, food, water or water cleaning supplies, basic first aid items, and, if practical and necessary, fuel and car repair items.
In my location, natural sources of water are scarce and the caching of the liquid itself is practical. In wetter environments, it may not be difficult to find water and space can be saved by only stashing water cleansing supplies. Likewise, if gathering food and hunting is simple in an area, the caches would better serve their purpose if stocked with little food and several pieces of equipment used to gather and hunt the readily available supply of natural food sources.
Clothing is always a challenge to keep in good repair when in the field for extended periods of time. Replacement socks, shoes and cold weather gear are items that should be placed in at least a few locations. If foul weather is common in a location, addition shelter gear may come in handy, along with items to restock fire making kits.
In the end, what should be cached needs to be tailored to the individual, the location, and the foreseen threats.

How: Having the right items in the right locations is critical. With that said, how the items are stored is just as big of a question. The obvious answer is to bury some kind of container in the ground. For this to work, a shovel will be needed in a survival load-out, which adds weight, the container needs to be able to protect the contents for long periods of time underground, and the location needs to be marked without identifying it as something worth looking at and digging up.

Items can also be hidden in old vehicles (junk yard), old buildings (ghost town), in natural hollows in boulders and mountainsides, or in any other spot the imagination leads to. All of these options have the risk of being cleaned up, torn down, rained out, and/or spotted. The benefit of them, however, is that they avoid the need for shovels and can reduce the need for super sturdy containers.

Inside the container, moisture absorbent devices should be placed, such as desiccant packets, and the lids need to be well sealed. Critical items that are sensitive to moisture can be individually sealed inside the main container as well.

The container needs to keep from breaking down over time. Metal can rust over time and plastics can rot or be eaten by bugs and rodents. PVC piping is designed to be buried and may be the best option, though it is not as sturdy as metal. Some locations may require placing PVC inside a metal container, or vice-versa.

Develop a few ideas of where what, and how to cache survival items and test some out. Try different container types, go camping and resupply from a cache to see what isn’t needed and what would’ve been nice to have, and see how easy it is for unintended snoopers find. As always, practice makes perfect.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Seth Belt

Seth grew up in Southern Arizona before joining the U.S. Navy. While serving in the Navy, Seth was an anti-narcotics operator and an anti-submarine operator for 5 years. He was lucky enough to travel to many of the Central and South American countries, as well as visiting many South East Asian nations and islands. One of Seth’s greatest joys from his time in the Navy was teaching new Sailors firearms education and safety. After leaving the Navy in 2010, Seth returned to Arizona and had a rough time learning how to be a civilian again, often working jobs that could barely pay the bills. After going to school, Seth became an Emergency Medical Technician in the Phoenix Valley, where he now lives with his wife and son.His areas of knowledge cover military, firearms, and emergency medicine.
Seth Belt
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