People have been caching resources like dried meats, fruits and vegetables, tools, medical supplies and weapons for years. Caching resources was a ritualistic practice during the American Revolution and Civil War. Jump back further in time, Paleo Indians in North America would cache a variety stone tools for hunting and trading. Animals cache food resources during the long winter months to prevent starvation. Even insects like bees and ants cache food resources in their hives and nests.

Bottom-line is that humans, along with many animals, store resources for future use. It is a great idea. It is a smart idea and more people need to start doing it so when the SHTF type event takes place, all your eggs are not in one basket.

Pattern Of life

When people ask where should hidden resourses be placed, the response is always: What is your pattern of life (POL)? Pattern of life is simple the normal events in one’s life that happens routinely and consistently. For example, you may wake up at 6:00 am and take your dogs for a three-mile morning walk before going to work. This is the beginning of your pattern of life.

Those locations are so often and frequent in your day to day, that is likely that if a SHTF event took place, you would be nearby.


Like in real estate, location is everything. When it comes to location you must find the spot that affords you obstruction from direct view when loading or unloading gear at the cache site. Your primary  location can be called the objective cache or “OC.” You do not want your OC to be buried a foot underground in the middle of a field with houses around. That provides no screening and you, and eventually your resources will be compromised.

Every OC location must have 360 degrees of screening for optimal security. A good map reconnaissance is the first step in determining if your OC location is suitable. Next, get out and walk the terrain verifying what your learned from your map reconnaissance. Additionally, this is your time to observe the environment and gain valuable information, like frequency of people, security, lights, overall atmosphere, and most important the cover of the location. You must make a call a determine if the potential OC location works within your POL and offers the safety and security needed.

Ingress and egress routes leading to the OC must have at least two different paths, meaning that if one is blocked the second is an option.

Cache Container

The container contents really dictate the cache container. You should avoid storing ammunition in a plastic bag buried in the ground, and conversely, never store food above ground in a bucket. When it comes to the container, three simple rules apply; First the container itself must be all-terrain, which no weather, water, fire, air, sun, bacteria, animals, etc. cannot penetrate. Additionally, reinforce contents inside cache container with plastic bags, vacuum sealed bags, plastic containers, tape and anything else that can prevent rust, rot or damage.

Second rule, the cache container should be camouflaged to mirror and match the environment.

Thirdly, the size should make sense to what it is holding. You shouldn’t bury a cooler full of ammunition 10 miles into the mountains that is difficult to access. You should bury a capped, two-foot section of PVC piping, spray-painted black and reinforced with a spray bed truck liner, with boxes of .45 caliber rounds and three oxygen absorbers inside. This can be carried in a pack without drawing attention; as well, the weight is manageable and the tools you’ll need to open it can also be concealed in my pack during my movement.

Loading a Cache

The term loading here defines two actions: One is to place the container in its hiding place for the first time; while the second refers to placing items in the cache container itself. Reloading the cache to replenish it of items used can occur as frequently as needed. Either way stealth and secrecy are a must.

Loading or reloading cache is a deliberate act and must be planned, rehearsed and properly executed. A thorough analysis of time, screening, weather, people, animals and hazards must be considered when loading a cache. Never spend more than a few minutes at the OC, because more time spent at the OC can lead to a quicker compromise.

Unloading a Cache

Three types of situations exist when unloading a cache: positive, negative, and neutral. A positive situation is done of your own free will. You are not under duress. You are perhaps doing a cache inventory or changing seasonal items out or even. Either way, you are in control and all is okay.

A neutral setting falls into the realm that you need the cache materials, but it is not life or death. Ultimately, in a neutral setting, the cache and its contents will most likely improve the your situation.

The negative setting falls into a couple extremes but all real possibilities. Example one, someone knows that you have a cache with tradable valuables (precious metals, stones, ammo) and they force you to bring them to it. This could be through threats of violence or violent acts against you and your love ones. Second example is that the SHTF and it is time to “cache clear” specific caches with specific items. Bottom line the world as we know it has changed and it is time to go to work. The last negative example would be if a cache is determined lost, meaning that someone found it and looted the contents or a fire, flood, or some type of natural disaster has destroyed it.

When unloading a cache in a positive or even neutral situation stealth and secrecy is of the utmost importance. This should be a planned and rehearsed action. Time of day/night, weather, people, authorities, security cameras, route to cache, route away from cache, secondary parties associated with you, clothing, and your own personal security must be considered. Don’t forget, no spend more than a few minutes at the OC.

Urban Caches

In an urban environment, everything becomes more difficult. Everything from security, compromise, and people seem to increase. There is a simple rule to apply to any of my urban caches: smaller, more compact caches designed to help me get home or away from the urban area if situation was to occur.

Besides obvious points like the office and trunk of the car, what about caches in the streets in accordance to your POL? They are an option, but require through planning, execution and maintenance. The homeless population is one of the biggest compromises of urban caches, as they always seem to discover them.

Some of the easiest cache containers in an urban environment are pill containers. Pill containers can contain micro flash lights, knives, coins, cash, maps, fire starters or anything that can aid in your escape from a city when a SHTF event has occurred. However, in an urban setting you shouldn’t go much larger than a water bottle. In it can be loaded a knife, 3M masks, 550 cord, flash light, energy bars, first aid, bandana, etc.

Urban environments are tricky, but doable. Planning and preparation are a must. A good reconnaissance, uploading and routine inspection will keep your cache active.

Final Word

How you create, manage and safeguard your caches is entirely up to you. Be creative, but don’t overlook security, contents, ingress, egress, POL and managing your caches. In a SHTF scenario caches provide an excellent resource to leverage, if all other immediate resources are lost, seized or destroyed. Some caches are meant to get you home while others are planned and executed to help you thrive.

Top-Ten Cache Reminders

  1. If you think the location to your cache is easy to get to, then so will somebody else. Chance discoveries can happen. Keep it tricky, and somewhat difficult, but you should be able to walk the route to your OC at night with no light.
  2. Never spend more than 15 minutes on the OC. For example, if you dig your cache six feet underground it will require several hours of digging to remove it and that could lead to compromise.
  3. Caches should be spread out. Don’t keep them in the same area. Imagine a fire was to roll through a mountainside and you laced three caches there…well all three are destroyed or potentially damaged.
  4. Share the location of caches with people you trust. Have an inner circle, but only if they have a need to know.
  5. Good natural camouflage will help in the concealment of the cache during initial loading, reloading and possibly removal of cache.
  6. Cache in areas that are in accordance to your POL. It makes no sense to put a cache in a location if you will never get to it.
  7. If a cache becomes compromised and looted by people. Do not use that location again! I can guarantee that if the location is used a second time…it will be looted a second time.
  8. Spread the cache contents out as much as possible. It is a good idea to have caches with similar contents inside them based on personal need, safety and security.
  9. Keep it simple with cache containers, but make sure they can last through time and weather.
  10. Caches are a great “prep” and require detailed planning and execution. Never think a cache is a spur of the moment type practice.


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