When it comes to survival, the more prepared you are the better. But there's one problem I see too many survivalists make, over and over again. They're so focused on building up their cache of supplies, they forget to think about a back-up plan.
If all of your survival gear is in one place, you're risking everything.
What happens if you're cut-off from your home? Or if you're forced to evacuate in the face of a storm? Or if the bad guys decide they want what you've got, and take it by force.
Keeping everything in one place, is a recipe for disaster.
Today I'm going to cover a concept I've been embracing these last couple of years. I got caught up in a bad situation and I wasn't able to get to my home. And this was my problem. I found myself stuck, without the gear I needed when it really mattered. So I started setting up caches, just in case.
A survival cache is as simply as it seems. It's a stockpile of supplies you need to survive, stored in a separate location to your home. Now here's the trick. It's got to be a little difficult to find so that others don't stumble across it. But it can't be too difficult that it takes hours to locate if you're evacuating to your bug-out location.
This is where it starts getting tricky. Buying supplies is expensive, and if you're planning on setting up multiple caches, it can get costly fast. So you've got to be smart with your purchases. Here's what I recommend putting into each cache.
What my survival cache contains
I followed a pretty simply concept when it came to packing my survival caches. I simply set up what's essentially a "bug-out" kit in each location. Of course, the specifics will depend on what you need to survive in your local area, but here's a rough outline of what's in mine.
- Firearm and ammunition. Within each kit is a small handgun, as well as a couple of boxes of ammunition. I get the risks of storing a gun offsite, but my caches are so well hidden I'm confident these will never fall into the wrong hands.
- Food. I've stored about 72 hours of food within each cache, which is plenty to keep me going while I'm heading out to my main bug out location. Think MREs, and any items that have a long shelf life so that you're not needing to replace these every few months.
- Water filters. Having access to water is important, and while there is plenty of natural sources in my area, I needed to ensure I've got an easy way to purify what I'm drinking, so I don't get sick.
- Firestarting kit. Again, a common feature in many bug-out kits, and I agree. Being able to start a fire adds comfort, warmth, and can help you to cook your meals and purify your water.
- Basic first aid kit. Throw in some general wound care items, painkillers, antibiotics, and perhaps some immodium, just in case.
- Multitool. A really good multi-tool. These always come in handy.
- Outdoor clothing. This doesn't always get mentioned, but I've got a comfortable pair of shoes, as well as a full set of "outdoor clothes" that I can change into if I really am caught unawares. The last thing I want to be doing is bugging out in dress shoes and a suit.
- A backpack. Pretty self-explanatory, but don't forget you will need a way to actually carry all the gear in your cache with you.
How to protect your survival cache
The biggest risk to your survival cache is the elements. Heat from the sun, water from the rain, and time all combine to ruin basically anything that is unprotected. Animals may come looking in search of food, and if insects or even mold gets in, your cache is ruined.
Personally, I use PVC pipe. I bought a bunch of tubes that are about 3 feet long, and about 10 inches in diameter. Sturdy and durable, once you add the caps to either end, and seal it up with some outdoor sealant and it's good to go.
I've heard of people using old ammo cases, and even five-gallon buckets, but I've found it's much easier to hide a bit of pipe, than anything else. Which is critical if you want your caches to still be there when you need them most.
How to hide your survival cache
Of course, there's only so much advice I can give in an article, and the best place to hide your cache is going to be highly dependent on your individual circumstances.
I like to bury mine. But that's because I've got plenty of open space around my area. I've got a cache that's secured just on the edge of my property, another that's about a half mile down the trail that leads to my bug-out location, and a few more that are strategically placed in areas where I spend a significant amount of time. There's one near my parent's property, and another on the outskirts of town near my office.
The idea, is that no matter what happens, I've got a cache of gear that I can have in my hands, in under an hour.
Now, if you're in the city, burying may not be an option. Instead, I'd think about places that you can keep it without raising suspicion. Perhaps there's somewhere in your office building you could hide it, like in a crawlspace, or down in the boiler room. You could also rent out a storage space, or put it in an abandoned building in your neighborhood. Just keep an eye on it, and if anything changes, like the building gets sold or starts being renovated, get your cache out of there.
Having backup plans for your backup plans is what being a smart survivalist is all about. And when it comes to the gear and supplies you're collecting, it's common sense to split these up into different caches, just in case. When a disaster hits, you'll be in a bad spot if you're suddenly cut off from your home, and that's the only place you've stockpiled your gear.