Week 46 of 52: Survival Caches

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With the assistance of Daisy Luther, editor of The Organic Prepper, we set out  to add even more information to the original web series, organize and transform it into a book that encompassed all forms of disasters – both big and small. With all of the additional information added, the title even changed toThe Prepper’s Blueprint to help readers understand that preparedness isn’t just about having a plan, it requires drawing out a blueprint to set a preparedness foundation you can build upon and rely on when the time comes.

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About the Prepper's Blueprint

The Prepper's BlueprintAcross the ages, in every survival story, a disaster of some sort plays a prominent role. Sometimes the part is played by the government, sometimes it is played by Mother Nature, and other times, the role is taken on by a random mishap. If we have learned one thing studying the history of disasters, it is this: those who are prepared have a better chance at survival than those who are not.

A crisis rarely stops with a triggering event. The aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. Because of this, it's important to have a well-rounded approach to our preparedness efforts. Due to the overwhelming nature of preparedness, we have created the Prepper's Blueprint to help get you and your family ready for life's unexpected emergencies. To make a more comprehensive, easy-to-follow program, The Prepper's Blueprint has been simplified and divided up in a way to help you make sense of all the preparedness concepts and supply lists provided. We have divided the chapters into layers of preparedness.

  • Layer 1: Chapters 1-14, prepares you for those everyday disasters that have shorter-term effects: power outages, storms, injuries, and evacuations 
  • Layer 2: Chapters 15-31 help you to get ready for disasters that turn out to be much longer-lasting: economic collapse, long term power outages, and pandemics, to name a few 
  • Layer 3: Chapters 32-56 prepares you for the long haul and a complete change of lifestyle, the end of the world as we know it: providing food and water once supplies run out, security, retreat properties, and long-term plans
  • The goal of The Prepper's Blueprint is to help you find freedom through self-reliance, and ultimately, to get you and your family to a point where you can not only survive, but thrive, in a world that may be permanently altered.


    The following chapter is part of the free 52 Weeks to Preparedness web series

    Week 46 of 52: Survival Caches

    Archaic food caches have been found all over the world.  The fact that our ancestors planned for the unexpected gives us a clear picture into their unpredictable lifestyle.  Foods such as nuts and dry goods as well as foraging tools were put away for a time when they needed them the most (Source). Today, we face the same uncertainties in life; and preparing for this sudden upheaval is the best way we can secure our odds at survival.

    Survival caches are the ultimate back up plan. If you are going for your survival cache, that means, Plan A and Plan B went awry. In this case, you may be left to survive with only the contents in your cache. Therefore, you must plan out the contents accordingly.

    Given the seriousness of this preparedness issue, many preppers see the value in having multiple caches spread out geographically to fall back on in order to lessen the risk of losing everything. Survival caches can be buried or hidden in secure areas around the property to ensure you have extra survival items to fall back on. Keep in mind that before you hide a cache, you need to have chosen a good location preferably within the parameters of your evacuation route. You also want to keep in mind that the best evacuation route would be one that does not require use of highways or frequently used roads.

    Ideally, you want some of your cache(s) to be away from your retreat. One prepper in particular I read about has multiple caches along his bug out route and has even gone to great lengths of planting edible native plants he can use as an emergency source of food.

    A GPS would be ideal as you can program the location of the cache as a way-point in the navigation system. Special markings at the location can also be used as a way to identify the location. For instance, spraying yellow paint on two trees to mark that the cache is in between them. Ensure that you keep good track of where you hide your survival cache and also remember to keep the location of your cache quiet. The more people who know about your survival cache, the more vulnerable the cache is to being found and used by someone else. Source

    Many preppers have chosen to hide or bury their caches in different locations and in an assortment of containers ranging from enclosed PVC pipes, water proof ammunition containers, 50-gallon drums and even small water bottles. To waterproof the edges of a pvc pipe use an extra bead of silicone sealant as a fail-safe. Whichever container you choose, ensure to keep the following suggestions in mind:

    1. Keep your storage space in mind. The best storage space for survival supplies will be in a cool, dry location that features elevated shelving and is sealed against rodents.
    2. Disaster caches should stock enough water to last a set number of people for several days. Normally, a person needs 2-liters of water per day. If your cache is for an isolated cabin with a reliable water source, a distiller or carbon filtration system and boiler are more important than a large supply of bottled water.
    3. Select and purchase a wide variety of canned goods. Most vegetables, many fruits and all meats are best stored in canned form, and the typical canned food product has a shelf life measured in years. Note: ensure that you have a means of opening your canned goods or purchase canned goods that are of the “pop top” variety.
    4. Supplement the canned goods with a multi-vitamin.
    5. Stock coffee and tea. Or, if you have small children, consider storing some packages of kool-aid or powdered drink mixes. These treats will boost morale, and they have a long shelf life.
    6. Stock cooking oil and extra cooking fuel. These are critical for cooking in the long haul.
    7. Store dried grains, such as flour, rice and corn or corn meal. Beans are also a good idea. These items will last almost as long as the canned goods.
    8. Consider growing mushrooms. If you have a cool, dark space (such as the cellar of an old cabin) you can set up a mushroom farm and let it take care of itself for months at a time. This is the only food that can be put into a survival cache that will partially replenish itself.


    So, what items would you stash away? Would they be day-to-day essentials like canned goods, freeze-dried foods or would you stash hunting gear so that you can hunt for wild game? Depending on the size of the container, you could also include other necessary supplies that will benefit your basic survival needs. For example, if you were burying a 50-gallon drum or a large water-proof ammunition container, you could bury a fully packed bug-out bag. Here are some ideas from a previous newsletter on evacuation readiness. How great would it be to have everything you need for survival, just in case? Here are some other thoughts on what to store in a survival cache would be:

    • First aid kit
    • MRE’s
    • Small fire starting kit (matches/lighters)
    • Knife
    • Water filter
    • Duct tape
    • Handgun
    • Ammo
    • Spare clothes, wool socks and hiking boots
    • Emergency shelter – tent or tarp
    • Rain and cold weather gear

    Choose the best survival cache container that fits your needs. Remember, you may need to solely rely on the contents in this container one day so be thorough when stocking it and keep track of where you hide it.

    Preps to Buy:

    • PVC
    • Silicone sealant
    • 50-gallon drum, or water-proof container
    • First aid kit
    • MRE’s, freeze-dried food, canned goods
    • Small fire starting kit (matches/lighters)
    • Knife
    • Duct tape
    • Handgun
    • Ammo
    • Fishing kit with collapsible fishing rod
    • Spare clothes, wool socks and hiking boots
    • Emergency shelter – tent or tarp
    • Rain and cold weather gear
    • Hand-crank radio
    • Flashlight and extra batteries

    Action Items:

    1. Have multiple evacuation routes planned in the instance that Plan A and Plan B do not work.
    2. Make list of what items you want to have in your survival cache.
    3. Find a good location, along the planned evacuation routes and bury or hide your survival cache.
    4. Practice getting to the survival cache using different modes of transportation to see how long it will take to get there.
    5. Create multiple caches if necessary.

    The Prepper's Blueprint

    Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

    Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

    Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Originally published June 7th, 2012
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