By December 12, 2013 Read More →

Survival Caches: The Preppers 3rd Most Important Tool Pt.1

survival_cache4This is the first of a series of articles about caching. Some consider it as the third mostimportant tool a Survivalist or Prepper has. The first being knowledge of how to survive under any circumstance, the second is being in good enough physical condition to survive under any circumstance.

We’ll start with the Home Cache. The Home Cache is a supply of food and tools in the house (or other home) that would permit you to exist in your home for a determined amount of time if all outside support ends. If the grid goes down, communications are jammed or dead, the water is cut off, and fuel sources are gone. When would such an event happen? Surprisingly enough our standard of living is built on a thin egg shell, it could happen at any time by many different means.

To prepare for a storm or other disruption of living norms we need to lay in a supply of food, water, fuel, in the home that we (all those in our group or family) can survive for at least one month. We can not continue to rely on the government to provide for us in48 hours. We should also consider protective gear which would include firearms and ammo.

OK, where? This is a common concern. Well, don’t laugh, but it has proven to be best to make the bathrooms a safe haven. Bathrooms, partly because of their smaller size, partly because of the fact many do not have windows are considered the strongest room in any house not constructed with a “safe room” where the walls are especially constructed for the survivalist’s needs.

Empty the cabinets and stock them with water, water purification tablets, a camping stove and a brand new can of fuel for the stove (brand new because they are sealed for placement on store shelves and usually don’t leak unless punctured), food, flashlights and batteries (in drawers not the cabinet), your family first aid kit, a couple of changes of “roughing it” clothes, and a battery powered A.M./F.M. (and CB or ham ) radio.

You do not need to purchase special “backpacking” foods for this cache, just your ordinary canned foods, stews, soups, etc. Just consider it a pantry in a strange place.

You will notice I did not mention firearms. IF you are going to keep a supply of self defense firearms in the house you must be sure that small hands (if you have children, grandchildren, or friends and neighbors that drop by) can’t find or get them. But then again you don’t want them locked up where you can’t get to them yourself, especially if you wind up running in there in the middle of the night with your key ring on the dresser or in your pants pocket.

gun_safeI have seen some interesting installations of medicine cabinets. I saw a house that had a medicine cabinet in each bathroom that were originally built into the wall, high enough that little folks would have trouble reaching them. The owner had made a few changes though. He purchased a medicine chest that mounted flush on the wall that was bigger than the original and removed the originals leaving a nice hole in the wall. He custom made some shelves and placed his weaponry in the “cache” on the shelves and then hung the new medicine cabinet over it. He used a drill to drill a hole large enough for the head of the mounting screws to fit through just below and touching the smaller mounting holes, making “slotted” holes. By leaving the screws just shy of being tight he could grab the medicine chest and lift it about 1/4″ and pull it off the wall.

I’m not going to pretend to be an arms expert and tell you what you need in your cache for protection. My personal caches have 22 long rifle rifles and handguns for protection against the four legged varmints. After Hurricane Andrew the rats got big enough to use as target practice (some as big as cats) if you were not inclined to eat them. But then again,that is a different survival topic.
I also have several 9mm semi auto pistols for protection from the 2 legged varmints. Each of us have our own personal choices when to come to weaponry. These are choices you will have to make on your own. You will also have to make the decision whether or not to have firearms around if you have children. These are moral topics I do not care to go into.

Water is one of the most important needs in emergency situations. Under normal circumstances I would have a gallon per day per person on hand. If there are reasons you might be exerting physical energy I would recommend twice or four times this amount. If you are going to be on the move, the size and weight of such preparations might be prohibitive. So, you can substitute water purification products for a large quantity of the water. If you’re preparing a bug out route make sure there are water sources along the way to allow for you to process and restore your on hand supply of water. Water availability needs to be a major concern in bug out trail layout. If you live in an area that has access to a pond, lake, stream, or canal then you may substitute water treatment equipment for the major portion of the water supply.

I would recommend the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. They will fit perfectly in most BOB (Bug Out Bags) and can be use directly by inserting them into a water source like a river, stream, or lake.

lifestrawYour next concern should be for shelter or protection from the elements. If you are expecting to still have the house or other building as a shelter then you need to take into consideration the need for insect repellent as you can not always expect the windows to still be intact. If they are you can help the insect problem if there are screens. Also, if in a Northern climate sleeping bags and cold weather protection is advisable. In the case of storms or other natural phenomena the building may be nothing more than a shell, some standing walls, or just a slab. So, you should also have tents available for setting up inside what is left of your home.

This brings about a point we need to cover. The home cache in areas such as a hurricane zone need to take into consideration the possibility of the home being destroyed. So, your first (in closeness to the home) external cache should be right there in your yard. If you examine pictures of disaster stuck areas (hurricane and tornado) one thing you will notice is that usually the lawn is still there. Trees may
be broken off or bent over but from the grass down is still intact. So, I suggest that you have a duplicate cache in terms of time of survival on the supplies at hand. In other words, if you are keeping a months supply of food and water in the house you should have a months supply of food and water (purification) in the external underground caches in the yard.

Food in the external caches should be of more compact and even portable foods like backpacking meals. The caches in your yard are right there where you can keep an eye on them so the care of a remote location is not necessary. I suggest placing the tubular caches in the ground and placing a pot with a hole in it the size of the caching tube, and then a shrub or flower bush in the same size pot can be placed in the pot in the ground. I came to this idea while standing in line at a bank, all of their plants were set up like this (except for the hole and tube) so that they can come through every week or so and swap outdoor plants with indoor plants to aid in their access to light. It was totally unnoticeable until you grabbed the plant and pulled up. So, the idea of an entire garden of potted plants in the front yard in such pots with caches underneath each came to mind. You can tell your neighbors (if you have any that can see your yard easily) that you are keeping the plants movable in order to assure that none are starved for light.

Of course, you should become active “puttering” in your garden in spare time so the neighbors would not think it’s unusual to see you rolling a wheelbarrow and shovels and garden equipment around in your yard. After they are use to this you can start placing your caches, a few at a time. Remember these hidden Garden caches are applicable in your backyard as well.

Besides the tubes I expect to have some ammo cans buried under square oblong planters done similarly to hold items that the tubes are not suitable for. A pistol and ammunition come to mind first for such a cache. Possibly a larger than backpack able water purification system in another. Remember that this cache will be dual purpose. Not only will it be a backup for your home cache (in case it is blown away or destroyed) but should also contain everything you need to make it to your first bug out trail cache should the necessity be to remove your group from the home location.

Discussion of the home caches will continue with my next installment. Until then, start puttering in your yard, I’ll fill you in on tube construction next.

Posted in: Preparedness

About the Author:

Troy Brooks Managing Director for Heirloom Seed Company. He together with his family have been homesteading, raising livestock and living Off-Grid on their Ranch in West Texas. He is also a Certified Master Herbalist and enjoys living a Self-Sufficient lifestyle for more than 20 years.

5 Comments on "Survival Caches: The Preppers 3rd Most Important Tool Pt.1"

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  1. Greetings: Thanks for the information. I tried to print it out to put it in my book of information that I am keeping and sharing with my husband; however, I was unable to print it. Since he is over 70 and I am nearly 70, we need to print out information and keep it where we can refer to it, otherwise, there is no way that I can remember the valuable information that you have put in this article. Please tell me how I can print this out for my own information; I do not intend to distribute or sell it; this is just because we are very new at this and trying to gather all information that we can to help us when the disaster strikes. Thanks so much for your help with this. Maryellen Storms

    • Troy Brooks says:

      Hello Maryellen,

      Thank you so much for reading my article and I hope that it will be of benefit for you and your family. If you would like a copy of the article I can email it directly to you so that you can print it out for your records. Simply send me a email at: I will get it out to as soon as possible.


  2. Bobby says:

    I understand most folks will build small caches. I learned from experience in Iraq/Afghanistan that a convenient way to build a larger watertight cache is to use larger water tanks ie 300-500 gal size. It takes more effort to bury but can and will hold so much more and if need be with a bit of work actually serve as a underground lay in for a person if need be. Just food for thought if someone wanted to build a larger cache site.

    • Troy Brooks says:

      Howdy Bobby, First as a fellow Veteran (USMC Desert Storm/Desert Shield) thank you for your service. I appreciate your valuable input regarding building large caches. I will be discussing this issue in my follow-up articles series as well. Be on the look out for it, as I will be covering various caches in detail including water storage. Again this subject is a series of 4+ articles or more.

      Be Safe
      Troy B

  3. Pete H. says:

    Thanks for a good article. I must beg to differ with you on one point though; liquid stove/lantern fuel is gasoline, and should NEVER be stored in the house, regardless of whether it’s in a factory sealed container or not. These containers can and will vent if heated sufficiently. They should not be stored anywhere that venting fumes can’t disperse to outside air.