In the event that you run out of supplies or you need to bug out and leave your main stash of supplies behind, you might find yourself in a tough situation. But what if your supplies aren’t all in the same place? That will definitely raise your morale. Are you familiar with a survival cache? It’s a great idea and will give you a second (or third, or fourth) place to stash some essential survival goods.
In this post, we will cover everything you need to know about a survival cache, including the things you should put in it, the container you should use, and the place where you should hide it. We will also give you a quick rundown on how to make a DIY survival cache.
What is a Survival Cache and Why Should You Have One?
A survival cache holds certain valuable supplies in a secret hiding place, often used as a last resort in order to survive. The primary goal of a survival cache is to keep you supplied when there is no available source for food, first aid kits, or even weapons. A survival cache can improve your emergency preparedness and survival odds a great deal. In case you need to leave home, a survival cache will allow you to have the things you need the most at the moment to survive when SHTF.
In a survival scenario, supplies are going to be limited for the general population, and folks will start to run out of food and essential supplies. When that happens, people will start to get worried as to how they will be able to survive the next following days without food on their tables. You can guess what happens next, when everyone is hungry.
Now you should be supplied with everything you need to Bug In and hunker down at home if at all possible. But you do not want all your eggs in one basket in case you need to leave home. You want to spread out your supplies—remember that your survival skills can take you far, but help is always welcome. Additionally, having a survival cache is a wise decision just in case you get robbed of your Bug Out Bag or INCH bag, or you just simply run out of supplies.
Things You Should Put in a Survival Cache
You must first consider the items you will be planning to put inside your survival cache before you decide on the container you are going to be using. It is crucial to understand the size of every item, so that you can come up with the appropriate size of the container to fit them all together.
You should also take into consideration your personal needs and the survival setting in which you are located. Are you in a town, rural area, or a city? What are your survival skills? The contents of your survival cache will vary depending on these factors.
But no matter what, there are some things that are simply essential to have. Here are the specific things you should prioritize putting in your survival cache:
Food – Whether you are in urban or wilderness survival, you should think realistically that your food supplies will run out eventually or possibly get stolen. Loading an extensive amount of food supply will not only help you survive, but also buys you time until you find another available food source. Be sure to stock up on foods that are capable of lasting for a long period of time, so that they will not spoil before you are ready to consume them.
Water – The one thing that’s more important than food, water. We are all aware that humans can last several days more without food than without water. Similar to food, load up an extensive amount of water supply and a compact water filter bottle or water filter straw. This will not only help you quench your thirst but also buys time until you find another available water source. Be sure the bottles or whatever water container you use is not prone to leakage or spillage.
Shelter – In the event you have to leave home for several days, you will need a shelter to survive in your bug out location— so consider the different weather conditions in your area. And remember, we cannot avoid the possibility that your home and your bug out location may be occupied by people you don’t want to meet. Therefore, it would be practical to put tents and tarps in your survival cache as a backup, just in case things like this happen.
First Aid Kits – Here is another must-have to keep you and your companions going. Make sure to include basic first aid tools such as adhesive bandages, gauze pads and more. You should also keep in mind that some medications can be kept at certain temperatures to remain viable for many years. Therefore, always check their printed expiration dates first before consuming, or else you will just put your own life at risk.
Weapons – Whether it would be survival knives or guns, storing weapons in your survival cache is a wise thing to do—especially in a situation in which your survival cache will get exposed to strangers intentionally or accidentally. Knives would seem to be a practical option to save space and offer utility for carving wood and skinning animals.
Firestarter – It’s always a good idea to have more than one source of fire, so keep a couple firestarters in your survival cache, whether it’s a Ferro Rod or a lighter. You’ll need fire for a whole host of things: for warmth, cooking meals, scaring wild animals away, signaling, and more. Make sure you store these easy fire starters such as lighters, matches or ferro rods safely in your survival cache.
Communication – Having a portable radio can be quite handy even when your surroundings seem uncontrollable or in total disarray. Being able to get in touch with like-minded people could end up being the key to survival. You should be able to at least listen to some chatter and get a rough idea of what’s going on around you if there are other folks around.
Here are a few other things that are worth putting in your cache as well:
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Spare clothes
- Sleeping bags
What You Should Use as a Survival Cache
Honestly, you can use whatever container you want just as long as it is not made of wood or cheap plastic. You will want to invest in something that is durable enough to last for at least a considerable period of time—something that can withstand changing weather temperatures and pests, such as insects or rodents.
Here are a few suggestions for your survival cache:
Pelican Case – Even though they are quite expensive, these are designed to be durable and can withstand the test of time. They also come in different shapes and sizes, so you can choose which is best suited for the supplies you are going to be putting in.
Dry Box – Here’s a much cheaper option, although they are not tested to last for a long period of time like a pelican case. Some reviews claim that it is waterproof and durable enough, but you can’t always trust reviews. It’s best to try it out first.
Ammo Cans or Storage – They are available in plastic and metal materials while in different shapes and sizes. They are usually designed to be waterproof and for heavy-duty purposes. One thing you might have to worry about is corrosion.
Helpful: Vacuum Sealed Storage Bags – These may come in handy if you’re planning to put a change of clothes in your cache. These can also be used for small hygiene tools or even bulky things such as sleeping bags and blankets. They are available in different shapes and sizes depending what you are going to be putting in.
NOTE: You just have to consider that the container you will be opting for is at least waterproof, corrosion-proof and animal-proof, so that your supplies will not go to waste.
Where You Should Hide Your Survival Cache
Once you’ve gathered all the necessary items in your survival cache, next you have to carefully think about where to hide it. First thing, you do not want your survival cache to be discovered that easily by wandering strangers. Therefore, you would want it to be hidden someplace where no one else can easily find out except yourself. At the same time, you would also want that designated place to be accessible on your part.
You must take into consideration that your hiding place largely depends on your setting, but here are a few ideas:
Abandoned Buildings – This choice applies to urban preppers since the city is their survival setting. Even though it is not the safest choice to hide your survival cache, it can still be doable. You cannot be too complacent with this hiding choice because in a situation where everyone is desperate trying to find their next meal, abandoned buildings are likely to be their target. They will be combing through every area or building in the city just to relieve their hunger.
Buried in the Ground – Keeping your survival cache underground would seem like the safest choice, although it clearly requires some effort. You have to look out for strangers, since you don’t want anyone watching you hide something in the ground.. Make sure to settle in an area where crowds are unlikely to gather or walk by. You would want to avoid passersby or bystanders in your hiding area as much as possible since you can draw a lot of attention and raise suspicion especially when they see you holding a shovel. Lastly, do not go burying it too deep, and always remember the nearest landmark where it is buried, so it doesn’t take too much effort to find it.
Camouflaged in Accessible Areas – Hiding your survival cache in open areas would seem like a bold move but it is quite a reasonable hiding choice. People will most likely search in difficult places since they anticipate others would hide their valuable goods there. You can choose a partially obscured place that’s above ground if you are confident that nobody will find your survival cache there. You just have to make sure that it is well camouflaged or disguised, so it won’t catch anyone’s eye.
Along Your Bug Out Route– Here’s another hiding choice that is not too complicated. You can hide your survival cache somewhere along your bug out route since it is sensible that you may have to leave home for several days and survive in the wilderness. You just have to find a reliable and safe hiding spot along your bug out route to prevent your survival cache from getting stolen by wandering strangers.
Just like everything else in prepping, in order to successfully operate a survival cache, it involves a lot of planning. Planning ahead will definitely help things to go smoothly as you expected. You just have to take into account the setting, possible circumstances and your personal needs. From there you can gather up all the necessary supplies or materials you may need for future emergency use. Then you can successfully build and hide your survival cache. We recommend having at least one survival cache to make sure that you have at least one source for supplies if SHTF and you are nowhere near your various bags or your home.