A prepper’s cache, an aid during harsh times

Prepper's Will - A prepper's cache, a helping hand when things are badYou did everything you can to make sure you are prepared and ready for when disaster strikes. You probably have a good supply of food and water, guns and ammo, a good bug out bag and a reliable bug out vehicle. But the truth is that we can never be too prepared and we can’t know what the future will bring. What happens if you can’t reach your bug out bag or if you lose all your supplies? If that would happen, having a cache will save the day.

There is a solution that will help those who are left without their precious supplies or their reliable bug out bags, and it’s called caching. The caching concept is not new and until a few years ago it was just a matter of caching a firearm for protection. You would hide a gun on your property and use it in case of emergency.

Things have evolved since then and although many are reluctant of the idea of spending hard-earned money on a firearm just to hide it in a secure location, there are those who know better and have brought caching to another level.

In an article published a few days ago, I’ve also included my bug out timeline and there were some curious about what a caching point is and how would it serve a prepper.

I must first tell you that this is not something new, something invented by us, the ‘crazy preppers’. In fact, caching dates since the time of the cavemen and it was pretty simple back then: one would need to secretly hide provisions or supplies for use at a later time. Things were simple back then and they should be kept simple even today.

Caches can be as simple as two bottles of water, a few rations of pemmican and a handgun or they can occupy an entire warehouse (if you have that kind of money). The size of the cache depends entirely on its purpose, your ability to properly secure it and of course, on your budget. You can imagine that the concept of saving emergency supplies for later use does not work if those supplies are either stolen or eaten prior to their retrieval.

When planning to cache supplies for your bug out route or for any emergency situation, you have to consider the following aspects: preparation, security and accessibility.

Caching doesn’t work without preparation!

By now, you must know that preparation is key when it comes to emergency preparedness. Everything you cache must be carefully selected. For example, food items must be chosen based upon their ability to be stored for long periods of time. If you want to prepare a food cache, try adding foods that are designed to outlast long time disasters, foods such as MREs, commercial freeze-dried foods. Or if you want to save a buck or two, you can even prepare the foods yourself: making pemmican and hardtack at home is not hard and these are foods that can last for a long time.

Suggested reading: How to make pemmicanHow to make hardtack

Of course that you need to add as much food as needed to sustain a certain number of people. There are those who have large caches, designed to sustain several people for long periods of time. In these caches you will find anything from canned goods to water and water purifying tablets.

If you plan to cache food, you must pay close attention to how you package it. You need to carefully pack the food without compromising the integrity of the vacuum sealed package or containers. If the seals are damaged the food will spoil over time and it will affect your other emergency supplies as well. Having food cached somewhere safe will make life much easier when you travel light, without the proper gear to hunt or forage.

If you decide to include a firearm and ammunition in your cache, you need to take further precautions. It is true that ammunition is by definition self-contained, but it is also true that it will corrode if exposed to moisture over long periods of time. Corrosion will affect the integrity of the ammunition and it can cause misfires and in some cases, failure to properly chamber in your firearm. One solution would be to properly prepare your ammunition for long-term storage and another solution would be to use military surplus ammunition. Most ammunition produced for the military is required to be packaged for long-term storage. The military ammunition containers are great for caching supplies as well, besides you extra ammunition. They can be handled and carried easily and are designed with a rubber gasket to seal out moisture and dirt. These surplus military containers come in different shapes and sizes and due to their waterproofing; they can be turned into a cache container without any troubles. There are many available for purchase cheaply online.

Prepper's Will - The SAC, caching your supplies the right wayWhat I’m using for caching is the MTM Case Gard Survival Ammo Can (SAC). The sac is a clever invention, designed for being buried underground. It’s basically a three-piece storage container that uses a double O-ring sealed lit and protective cap to secure items inside. It’s an affordable bucket-shape container that can hold up to 500 rounds of ammunition. The best part is that the SAC comes with a vapor corrosion inhibitor plastic bag and desiccant pack, so basically you can store whatever fits into the container. It has a good vacuum seal, a feature that any container used for caching supplies should have. I bought two more yesterday because Amazon was ‘kind’ enough to put them on sale.

Keep in mind that the elimination of moisture is a necessary step when preparing firearms. The last thing you want to see when digging up your cached firearm is a rust-covered piece of junk that will not work. Think about adding silica gel packs in your cache container and as a precautionary measure, consider a moderate coating of grease on all exposed metal parts of the gun.

Secure your cache or say your goodbye…

When securing a cache, location is very important and is probably the second critical part of having a successful cache. Before you pick a location for your cache, you first need to think about its purpose. It is designed to fully resupply your provision or is just an emergency stop, on your way to safe heaven. As I’ve said to the ones who emailed me in regard to my previous article and my cache point, it is all up to you. Ask yourself if you need quick access to it or if there is time to retrieve it without constantly looking over your shoulder. Small caches that are designed for quick resupply may require less secure locations in exchange for quick access. However, if you need to have larger caches that contain a good percent of your supplies, the situation changes considerably. These types of caches require more effort to secure and you need to find a remote location, this will increase the time needed to access them.

Related article: How to pick good land for your bug out location

Once you figured out the purpose of your cache, you can move to the next step and choose a suitable location. The speed of access you need for your cache will determine how securely it is hidden. Quick access may require a shallow hole dug into the ground or sinking the watertight container with a cinderblock and a retrieval cord. Larger and more sustainable caches may require a larger, deeper hole or a buried container. When you plan your cache, you must secure it not only from humans, but also from four-legged creatures. If scent traces are left on the container or can escape from it, you will only be caching your supplies for animals. Wash the containers with water and soap before burying them, just to make sure you don’t leave any traces.

Bunker

Cache access denied, try again!

If you managed to plan and cover everything listed in the first two steps of the caching process, it’s time to take care of the last step. The final part of a successful cache is access. You will probably think about the best location for you cache, but if you can’t access it, it will do you no good. Many fail to consider how Mother Nature plays an important role when it comes to their cached supplies. You may think that a cache along a riverbank is a great hiding location, and it can be until the river floods and takes your supplies or your access road to the river is flooded. Even if you hide your cache at a base of a mountain, when winter comes in, snows will close the access roads. One thing that preppers should consider is who owns the land you selected for your cache. When society crumbles, will you still have access to it? I’m pretty sure that most people are not fond of strange people walking all over their land and digging for God knows what. Caching supplies on private property may seem a good idea until the owner blocks access to it, trying to protect his property or until the land is sold and a new residential complex sits now on your cache.

Cache containers that others are using

Since many of you will most probably write and ask for suggestions, I can tell you about what close friends are using for caching their supplies. Maybe their way of doing this will work for you as well.

One of the people that got me into prepping, that actually showed me how to cache supplies is using, besides the SAC containers, a Mossberg Just In Case shotgun package that he buried in his backyards. This kit features a pump action 12 gauge along with a waterproof “Survival Kit-In-A-Can” with all of the necessities for when an emergency strikes. The carrying tube is lightweight and resistant, waterproof and made from a floating material. You can find out more about it at www.mossberg.com. He considers it his backup plan if someone decides that he no longer needs guns.

Another respected prepper, an old-timer that knows a thing or two about self-sufficiency (the author of the Lost Ways book) is using MTM Ammo utility crates in conjunction with Mylar bags. Thanks for the tip Claude!

the-lost-ways-cover

These boxes can carry up to 85 pounds of gear, they have two strong side handles for easy handling and have a water-resistant O-ring seal. Not to mention that they are very affordable. You can use them as caching containers and store whatever provisions you might need.

If you have any other suggestions, please use the comment section so that our readers can benefit from your knowledge and experience.

Caching, a final conclusion.

The concept of caching provision and supplies can be seen as a reliable life insurance. It can become the best solution to the “what if I lose it all” question. If something happens and you are completely cut off form retrieving your home supplies, you know at least that out there, a cache is waiting for you. I can tell you that when facing the possibility of the type of crisis we are exposed to, caching firearms, supplies and provisions is no longer a theory. It is a necessity!

Stay safe and God Bless!

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3 thoughts on “A prepper’s cache, an aid during harsh times

  1. Unburying a conventional cache in the Frozen North can be near to impossible ….

    I cache using 6″ PVC pipe and permanently burying vertical – cap off using an eazy to remove Quik Cap and disguising everything under pea gravel layer and a patio paver ….

  2. Thanks for a great added tip, Illini Warrior. I imagine one could do similar using the larger containers so long as they were covered in pea gravel and a couple of pavers. After living 17 years in Iowa, I definitely appreciate this winter trick.

  3. Time of year also affects how easy it is to get the moisture out of your package. If the dew point is 30 degrees is much dryer than if the dew point is 60 degrees. So make your sealed package during dry time of the year even if it not the time of year to bury it.

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