survival cache | Ultimate Prepping Guide
Survival & Bug Out

4 Tips to Making a Survival Cache and What to Put in It

There you are, lying back in your hammock one sunny afternoon, listening to a ballgame on the radio when boom. A radio announcer interrupts the broadcast, telling you there’s an imminent nuclear attack about to happen near your city. Your first thoughts are “Where is my survival cache?”

Ok, so that might not be your very first thought, but if you prepare one or two now, they might cross your mind as more of a “thank God” kind of thought. Unless of course you’re wondering just what a survival cache is.

A survival cache could potentially be a couple of different things. It all depends on what plans you have in place for when a disaster eventually strikes. Because of the complete unpredictability of major events, they could happen at any moment and that’s the hard part. How do you plan ahead?

Text area which says "4 Tips to Making a Survival Cache and What to Put in It ," followed by a photo of a dark grey container

What Exactly is a Survival Cache?

I remember watching an old movie back in my younger days. I don’t remember the name of it, but what I do remember is that there was a plane that crashed in the dessert. The people waited for rescue but none came. So, they began to head out each day, travelling out in the morning and returning at night.

But because of the limited amount of water they could carry, they couldn’t venture more than a few miles. So, what they did was venture out and bury a small supply of water. Each day they were able to head out further and further, replenishing the water with more, but also increasing the distance they could travel.

That is essentially what a survival cache is. It is a minimal amount of emergency supplies that you store along a predetermined route. This reduces the amount you need to carry initially, the cache helping you out during the journey. The contents of the cache can be anything you wish, but there are a few suggestions for you below.

Tips to Making a Survival Cache

Tip #1: Where to Put It

The contents of a survival cache will depend on you, your family, your planned bug out route and individual requirements you might need. But before I go into what should be inside your cache, let’s consider where you’re going to put it.

Are you someone that already has a pre-determined bug out location or will you choose that when disaster actually strikes? If you have a bug out location chosen, then you’ll already have a fair idea on where you’ll place your cache. It will be somewhere along the path between home and the bug out. You might even choose to drop more than one cache along the way.

But also consider the possibility that your bug out location won’t be accessible. What if the event cuts the road off? Or what if it destroys your bug out location? For this reason, you might consider placing a couple of them along different paths.

I also think placing a few different caches around your home isn’t such a bad idea. If intruders ransack your home who steal all of your normal supplies, the backup emergency caches will help immensely.

Tip #2: What to Use to Hold Your Survival Cache

Survival caches should be held in containers that are waterproof, damage-proof, rust-proof and detection-proof. Sounds impossible, yes, but with a few minor tweaks, you’ll be creating caches to last forever.

There are a vast number of ideas people have for the best way to store caches. Everything from burying plastic bags, cardboard boxes, old metal drums or storage chests and more. But almost all of these have more cons than pros and that makes them unsuitable.

Metal drums have a tendency to rust, cardboard deteriorates and plastic bags? I doubt they’ll see more than a couple of months intact. For me, I always prefer plastic myself. The reason is that these days, it’s built super-strong, doesn’t rust, is waterproof and won’t become brittle any time soon.

Canoe Barrels are a great option, already designed for surviving harsh elements. I also think plastic storage buckets are great for this purpose, as are these Life Latch buckets. All of these options come in a variety of sizes and are designed to withstand the elements.

Remember that your cache is only to hold minimum supplies, emergency supplies as such. You’re not building a major food and water storage center. They are more for a limited supply drop to keep you going for another day or two.

Tip #3: Where to Hide Your Survival Cache

The key word with any emergency supply is stealth. They aren’t supplies that you’ll want known to anybody. Keep them well hidden, isolated and in locations no-one would ever suspect to find them.

If you consider hiding it in an empty field and there is a single tree standing in it, the last place you’d want to hide your cache would be near that tree. Solitary objects like that have a way of attracting those seeking shelter or a place to rest. That makes your cache easily discover-able.

If you intend to bury your cache, don’t leave it next to a track, road or path. Bury it well away from such places, preferably in an inconspicuous location. Think ’100 paces left from the fork’ kind of location. And never hide your cache within line of sight of said tracks or paths.

Don’t dig too deep of a hole if you intend to bury it. The last thing you want is to try and reach a spot six foot down with nothing but a knife and stick with which to dig.

Tip #4: What to Put Inside Your Survival Cache

There really should only be 4 things that need to be hidden in a survival cache. They are the only things needed in an emergency situation and should be light enough to easily pick up and stow in your bag.

Item #1: Emergency water rations

It is the number one item on any survivalist’s emergency supply list. Remember the shelf life of the water rations. If you plan to use plastic bottles, make sure you sterilize them first, then add a sterilization tablet for good measure.

Item #2: Emergency food rations

Long-life emergency food has a shelf life of around 20+ years so is perfect for hiding away in a cache. There are also plenty of ready-to-eat meals that are suitable for long-term storage. Consider the purpose of the cache before loading it too full of these types of meals.

Item #3: First Aid supplies and Medication

If you had to bug out quickly, or the disaster was quite local and injured you, you might be running low on band-aids or first aid bandages. If you have a significant illness or are medically dependent such as a diabetic, consider storing some medicinal supplies.

Item #4: Ammunition

You might be low because you fled or didn’t have enough time to grab your bug out bag. In any case, spare ammo is always good to have. It’s not something that will ever go to waste.

Final Thoughts

Survival caches are a great way to plan for a disaster. They serve as positional resupply depots that will reduce the amount of things you’ll need to carry in your bug out bag. As long as you hide them well, ensure they are safely stored and contain items that won’t deteriorate in quality, they will serve you well.