A survival cache is a container, often buried, but sometimes just stashed away in a location away from one’s home. Its purpose is simple. It contains necessary items you will need if a disaster or crisis ever places you in a desperate enough situation to have to dig it up. This video will focus on a cache that is accessible to support you if you had to travel to a safer location, such as a bug-out location if you have one, or along a route you may frequent daily, traveling to and from your house, like when going to work. Think of it as a minimal bug-out bag but out there in the wild somewhere and not in your closet. In this video, we will look at the important considerations such as what type of container to use to store your items, where to store them, and what items to add, and what to avoid. So let’s jump in.
Survival Cache Options
Ideally, you will want to ensure that your survival cache only contains enough for just you to carry. The chances are you will merely be picking its contents and moving along to your next location. For this reason, some people bury more than one cache along a route they anticipate they will have to take after a crisis or disaster occurs. In my opinion, the ideal size is about the size of an ammo box, a short length of 8 to 10 inch PVC tube, something like a water brick, or even a 5-gallon bucket. The perfect survival cache is roughly the same size as a loaf of bread or two, but even a well-sealed 5-gallon bucket can be a highly effective container to store your survival items. I’ll use an ammo can in this video which you can pick up at Walmart or on Amazon for roughly $20. This smaller size limits what you can put in there. It is, however, easier to hide, more portable, and more likely to remain concealed. Be sure to use some vaseline to rub the seal on the inside to ensure the seal works well.
Hiding Your Survival Cache
I’ll do a more in-depth blog shortly about burying your cache, but let’s run over the basics.
Assuming you have a small survival cache that you plan on hiding on a property you do not own, understand that you may be breaking laws in doing so. If it is not land you own, it would be ill-advised to store in your cache any firearms or ammo of any kind, but that’s a decision you have to make. Also, I would not store any identification or documentation of any kind. As a general guideline, do not damage property and stay away from restricted areas. A fellow prepper in your Mutual Assistance Group may offer up an area where you can put your survival cache.
Your container should be marked as to what it is on the container’s exterior along with the date it was buried. Merely writing or etching on it “Emergency Kit” will prevent someone from thinking it is dangerous if it is discovered. Some may disagree with this, but an unopened container of unknown origin is likely to be treated as a potential ordinance. This can draw multiple law enforcement agencies’ attention and could result in further investigations that may eventually link you back to the cache.
Carefully think about where you want to place your survival cache. It should be along an emergency route you think you may have to take one day or one you frequent.
When it comes to hiding your survival cache, the most common method is to bury it. If you do this, place an identifiable rock directly over the spot or measure precisely from two different trees or points, so you will know right where it is. Make sure that you will be able to find it again, even if natural disasters have severely altered the landscape. While recording GPS coordinates may be ideal, if you don’t have a GPS device when attempting to recover the cache, you may find it hard to recover. Ensure there is at least a foot of dirt over it to be less susceptible to the elements. You can expect that the ground temperature around your survival cache may fluctuate from cool to freezing. Burying it, however, is just one method. I have known people to weigh it down and submerge it among rocks in creeks. Small survival caches can be affixed to tree limbs in high trees. Some people even put them under sidewalks near their houses. The rebar in the sidewalk thwarts metal detectors, and the sidewalk is not too difficult to lift or dig under. Also, if you’re worried about people using metal detectors, you may consider burying it next to a metal fence post or by adding bolts and nuts above it and bury your cache a foot or so under them. This way, after the person discovers these worthless decoys, they may not be incentivized to dig further.
Be creative with where you hide your survival cache, but make sure that your location will not be discovered. And, make sure that you will be able to find it again, even if natural disasters have severely altered the landscape. Finally, make sure your survival cache is both airtight and watertight which we’ll cover momentarily.
What to Include
Different survival caches may contain various items and it’s always hard to do these types of videos as everyone has different variables they will face in a potential bug-out scenario. I live in a very moderate climate that doesn’t fluctuate wildly like somewhere that may experience extreme cold or heat, so what I pack into my survival cache will be unique to my situation. Adjust according to your specific needs. Here, I will provide a framework that can guide you instead of a rigid list defining what exactly you should buy. I’ll follow Dave Canterbury’s 10 C’s I recently discussed in a video plus a few other items. I’ll post links in the description and comment section below to the items we cover.
If you’re concerned about animals smelling the food and digging up the cache, you might consider adding the food into a vacuum sealed bag or mylar bag, vacuuming it out, and then wiping or spraying it with bleach. This will also help to prevent your survival cache from becoming a petri dish for mold if any moisture should get in it. You may want to consider putting the different items that are sensitive to moisture in a vacuum sealed bag and adding a moisture absorbing silica gel pack. You can pick these packs up on Amazon for relatively cheap.
When deciding upon what to put in your survival cache, remember the acronym D.E.A.T.H. If one of your items becomes tainted, it can ruin your entire cache, and you will likely not survive if it was your only chance. DEATH. D for will the item deteriorate over time? E for will the item evaporate or leak moisture of any kind? Even canned goods have a shelf life, and one stored improperly could explode botulism soup all over your other items one day. A for anaerobic, in that, will your item give off-gasses over time? T for toxic. Will your item become toxic over time? Some medicines don’t just become less effective over time. They can become toxic. And H for heat. Will your item be susceptible to temperature extremes over an extended period? DEATH: Deteriorate, Evaporate, Anaerobic, Toxic, Heat. If you remember these things as you place the items into your survival cache, you will be more assured that they will be there, ready for you for many years into the future should you need them.
Survival caches come in many sizes and, as you can see, can contain a variety of items. I have given you the basics, the essentials, and items I don’t recommend. Your survival kit may be different, but if you follow the outline we detailed in this video, you can customize and scale up your own kit based on your own needs. In an upcoming video, we’ll go into more of a deep dive discussing where to bury it and how. I’ll have an exciting way for you to participate in that, so you will want to subscribe to this channel to know when that video is released.
If you found this video informative and helpful, please click that thumbs-up icon. It’s a little thing, but it helps us build our prepping community. I would love to hear if you have a survival cache out there somewhere and what you have in it.
As always, please stay safe out there.
Use an ammo can
There are two types of moisture packs. It is actually good to use both.
Note on flex seal. Buy it by the case. If you are real concerned about moisture getting in, close it up and seal it with the flex seal. In fact, you can spray an entire ammo can with flex seal. Be sure to clean surfaces well. Acetone works very well. If you use vaseline, even a small residue on your fingers can screw up the bonding. Acetone solves that.