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Ideas on caching survival supplies

April 2, 2014

Hi, welcome to another Surviving Urban Crisis posting.

Today I’ll share my ideas on caching items for your survival gear, those secret stashes of goodies to keep you and yours alive during whatever SHTF situations you may be planning for.

Like any other long term survival idea, planning is the basis of the entire idea. You set up your scenario, map out how to get to where your Bug Out Location is, plan at least 3 ways to get there and along each possible route you stash these goodie safes to resupply food, gear and ammo as you get along towards your BOL (bug out location). Or (or additionally) at your BOL, you stash goodies in various places on the site, because since you can’t be there if you don’t actually live at your BOL, the security of your goods and gear must constantly be questioned. If you have built a place, put a travel trailer there, or plan to take a travel trailer to the location, the amount of gear and supplies you can stash there is crucial to how long you’ll be able to hang on at your BOL. No matter how well you build a place, given enough time, which will be aplenty since you don’t live there, a criminal looter or just plain thief will have all the time in the world to break in and steal whatever you may have placed there. Unless (or maybe even if) it’s an underground bunker with a theft proof, impenetrable outside door, someone can get into your BOL building and take your stuff, or even set up a squatters camp right in your BOL. Which is why you MUST approach your BOL as if there are hostiles there ahead of you when you’re bugging out during a SHTF situation. It would really suck to finally make it through all the dangers of the road getting to your BOL just to wind up shot by squatters in your own place. If there is a building that can be occupied on your BOL, you should assume it’s full of moochers who are eating your food, and will be using whatever weapons you may have stashed there against you along with whatever arms they had with them when they broke in. Which is why having the vacant location set up for a travel trailer to hook up to makes sense to me. That would be a well water source with a hand operated pump and a septic tank that you can hook up to for your sewer. Electricity may be nice, if you use your BOL for vacation or weekend trips in your travel trailer. That makes a nice cover story for your BOL activities.  Of course power will more than likely not be available in most SHTF bug out scenarios. You can have a dozen buried caches all around your property, but nowhere for squatters to occupy a building. And if they should bring their own trailer and squat there, well that’s pretty obvious when you cautiously drive up to your place, right?

OK, on to some details. To construct a cache tube or pipe, see this video page.  The side bar on the right also shows a bunch of other ideas and methods. I mentioned in a couple other posts how useful a FoodSaver machine is when you’re preparing items to go into your cache. As the videos point out, there’s several methods to constructing a cache pipe, but the key is to make it absolutely your best shot at waterproof. Then, you must consider how you plan to open the pipe at the point you need to access the contents. There are at least 3 different caps or ends that are common on DIY cache tubes, so consider that during your construction time. There’s the square nub on the end cap, which can be accessed with large channel-locks or a wrench.

end piece and cap

Shown here with the required end piece.

Then there’s a flush type, that would need sort of a giant screwdriver to open.


Which screws in where the square plug cap would fit.

Then there’s a rubber cap end, which would only need a good survival knife to cut it open.

rubber pipe cap

To avoid having to dig up the entire tube, I suggest you attach either wires or pull strings to packages or items in your cache, especially if the tube is smaller in diameter than your hand or longer than you can reach to the bottom of when the thing is buried and on end. Most people tend to bury their cache pipes vertically as it’s a smaller diameter, but much deeper, hole to dig rather than laying the pipe down in a long trench type idea. That also makes it a little harder to find with a metal detector if someone was searching for hidden goodies with that device.

Of course if you can’t remember exactly where you buried your cache, you’ll be rather frustrated if you need to dig it up, I’ll bet. So, if you don’t have family members with you to help bury the things and recall those details, you need some ‘memory joggers’ to help you recall the details of the location. A method that came to mind, and has other value as well, is to find a one ounce silver bullion bar with a smooth, non detailed backside to use as a “map”.

Cache map

On the back side of this silver bar, you could engrave, or have engraved, a cryptic little map of where a cache is located. In this fictitious example, I’m pretending this stash is buried at a Georgia state park, site #36, with the stash at 30 degrees north northeast of the corner of the concrete parking pad, 48 heel to toe ‘paces’ from the indicated corner along that compass heading. Unless a state park is virtually deserted, you’ll probably never be able to bury a cache pipe without someone noticing what you’re up to, so in reality this most likely wouldn’t be such a great place to try a cache. “X” marks the spot, matey, thar be the treasure. You don’t need anything but the very basics for clues to jog your own memory of this location, and drilling a small hole in the silver bar will allow you to hang it from a sturdy necklace chain and keep it around your neck like a military dogtag. And, bonus, after you’ve dug up the cache, you now have an ounce of silver you can barter or trade for goods. Another idea to help with fewer details to remember about your cache locations is to try to use the same compass headings and distance from the landmark (like the concrete pad) in each stash location. You can use any kind of memory jogging numbers for the compass heading and number of paces, like the year you were married and the month of your birthday times 2 or something.

When you’re digging your hole, save the plug of grass that comes up with the first shovel full to place back over the stash. Also the displaced earth should either be hauled away in a bag or widely scattered to hide the fact that someone’s been digging here.

So to sum up, I suggest vacuum bagging everything going into the cache tube, with silica gel desiccant packets and /or oxygen absorbers placed in the bags with the items before they’re vacuumed. Attach thin, stiff wires with ring handles formed at the end to the bags to aid in extracting the items when retrieving the cache. Make the tube as waterproof as possible with good glue joints, Teflon taped screw threads snugly (but not excessively) tightened because you may not have the proper tool to remove the cap when you truly need this cache, and add more silica gel packets in the pipe among the items placed. Make sure you’re unobserved when burying your cache. Make a map for retrieval with only just enough info to jog your memory as to the location. When you’re retrieving your goods, keep a guard up because if things have gone bad, you must take no chances. And when you get to your BOL, assume squatters are there until you prove otherwise.

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