If you have done any reading on preparedness and survival websites, you will have seen no end of articles telling you that you need to stock up on food and water supplies.
While that is certainly important, what happens if you are caught off guard and are not near your supplies when a disaster strikes?
This is where a survival cache comes in handy.
A survival cache is a hidden stockpile of emergency supplies for when you can’t get to your main supplies.
During this guide we are going to try and show you how to go about putting your own survival cache together, what to include, and how to hide it.
What Should be Included in a Survival Cache?
What you choose to store in your survival cache will depend entirely on what it is that you’re preparing for. This being said, there are a certain set of items that should be in every survival cache which we are going to look at here.
Before we look at what should be included in a survival cache, we must first think about the container that will be used to hold the supplies.
Your cache container needs to be able to withstand the natural environment as well as protect against the natural enemies of storage (moisture, rodents, insects, extreme cold, and heat).
If it is likely that your cache may be exposed to moisture, you will need something that is waterproof. Metal boxes can be used to protect against rodents.
So what should be included?
You are going to need some form of currency in your cache. The most obvious form of currency is cash but you need to think about what will be most valuable following a disaster and this will be your currency.
You will need a supply of both coins and paper currency which can be placed in a waterproof container.
You may also choose to store away precious metals such as silver coins but you must remember that following a crisis, these also may not be worth as much as they are right now.
Try to think outside of the box and choose valuable things that can be used to barter as a form of currency.
If you can’t get home to the rest of your supplies you are going to need some medical supplies. If things are this bad, there is a good chance that the hospitals are going to be overrun at which time you will need to be your own doctor.
Over-the-counter meds and wound care items are good, but higher value items like antibiotics and painkillers are better.
Make sure the cache is watertight and kept in a cool place if you’re storing any medications in it.
We are a little more limited over here in the UK when it comes to weapons but you are going to need something that can help to protect you and your family.
If you are in a country in which firearms are allowed, stock away guns in common calibers. This way it will be easier to find ammo if you run out.
If storing guns you are going to also need a good supply of ammo for your guns. Use proper storage techniques and packaging to keep your firearms from rusting or corroding, and be sure to keep the ammo away from moisture.
Don’t just stick to one method of water purification such as a filter, you need multiple methods. I personally really like the Sawyer Mini Filter but I would also stock away water purification tablets which due to size, won’t take up much space and are invaluable during a crisis.
Small Quantity of Food
You need to choose food items wisely as you don’t want them to take up much space but they must also be able to handle the conditions in which they will be kept.
Mainstay food rations are a good choice, as they have a 5-year storage life. Freeze-dried meals have a much longer shelf life when stored correctly. Carefully packaged white rice, jars of honey, and many other grocery items can fit the bill for nutrition and longevity, too.
You are going to need a supply of the following at a minimum:
- A couple of good quality knives
- 550 parcord
- Duct tape
- Steel pot for cooking
Lighting and Communication
You are going to need several flashlights with plenty of batteries to keep them going.
For even greater versatility, add a couple of two-way radios for communication and an emergency radio that can keep you up-to-date with the current situation, weather, news, and emergency information.
Don’t store your batteries in the flashlights as they can corrode the contacts in your flashlight, rendering it useless. I would also store at least one of the flashlights at the top of your cache to save you hunting through in the dark.
A couple of other items I would include would be some candles, matches, a lighter, and a little stove.
A hat, gloves, socks, and underwear are a must. Some people choose to skip these items but I consider them a must have but it comes down to personal choice and the environment.
How do I Hide My Cache?
So you have put plenty of time into putting your cache together, the last thing you need is to be unable to find it when you need it.
As you don’t want others to be able to find your survival cache, you need to disguise it so that it looks like something else entirely. If your cache is being kept at a storage locker for example, the box may be labeled “Christmas decorations” or something similar. If you are using a bin to store your items, it could be labeled “animal feed” or similar.
You should also consider creating a couple of decoys which will be what you ‘want‘ others to find instead of finding your actual cache. This is as simple as hiding a few fake caches that are easier to find.
Burial is the most common method of hiding a cache but if you choose to hide it above ground, concealment is everything. Try to camouflage your cache so that it blends in with the materials around where it will be hidden. If done correctly, it can only be found when you know exactly what you are looking for.
You should already have a bug out location (BOL) in mind where you will head once it becomes too dangerous to stay put. Your cache or caches should be strategically placed along the route from your home to the BOL.
When recovering your cache you must always do so as if somebody is watching you. As an example if somebody sees you go one way with an empty bag and come back with it full of supplies, when you’re gone, he will go and hunt out your cache.
Because of this, each time that you go to retrieve supplies from your cache, take a different route each time you go there and hide it back in a different place from where you took it. Use situational awareness to always be aware of your surroundings and watch out for anyone that may be following.
Create a map of where you decide to hide your caches so that you can easily find them again. Don’t just rely on memory.