Packaging A Survival Cache

Packaging A Survival Cache

I remember my first caching operation like it was yesterday. I was just a kid, Slick Willy was President and the bloody aftermaths of Waco and Ruby Ridge were driving anti government sentiment through the roof. Sitting in my room reading the latest edition of American Survival Guide, I ran across an article on caching. All the ins and outs, how to pack your cache, how to bury it and recovery it when those UN Blue Helmets started rolling down Main Street.

Taking the article’s recommendations to heart, I immediately headed to the garage on the hunt for PVC pipe. A few days later, I had my cache sealed up and ready for burial. I can’t relate the contents of the cache except to say it included ammo, food and the most recent copy of Playboy and a mixtape my girlfriend made for me. Armed with my e-tool  and my German Shepherd by my side, I found a good spot in the woods and set off to digging. An hour or so later, the cache was buried and I headed back home.

Time passed and I forgot about the cache until one day when it was announced that Dad had gotten a new job and we were moving, not to another city, but to another state. After hearing this I headed off to find my cache. Except there was one problem. Thanks to my cocky attitude, I figured there was no need to make a map of the cache site. So after endless hours of searching and random digging, I gave up. Hopefully the cache was found and somebody got a great 90’s era mix tape and some other goodies.

Either way, it was good learning lesson, but time passed and the idea of caching was pushed back into my distant memory. I didn’t think about it again until I found myself living in the suburbs with a wife, two kids, a dog and enough gear, guns and ammo to make any Supply Sergeant proud. One day while I was doing my gear inventory, I realized something very important. What good is all this equipment if I have to evac from my house? I can only pack some much gear in the truck and then what if things get nasty enough where I don’t have the luxury of escape by vehicle? What if my only escape is on foot? How am I going to make it out of the city with the family? There has to be some way to resupply along the way.

Then the light bulb went off! Why not setup some caches on my egress route? Hell I spent nearly 6 months plotting and exploring this route, why not go the extra mile and fully ensure myself and my families survival? The caches don’t have to be huge or require a 4 man team to transport, they can be small, lightweight and spread out on the route.

With those thoughts in mind, I went back to the books and the internet to read up and figure how the best way to this caching operation done right. The steps I’m about to share are common sense enough, but in no way can ensure that your cache will there for you when you need it. What these steps will do however is show you how to define the purpose of your cache, how to package it and how to get it buried. What happens next is up to you and fate!

What Is A Cache?

A cache is an emergency supply of equipment. It’s the guns and ammo you cache for an uncertain future. It’s the supply of medical equipment and food stored at your fallback position. Successful recovery of your cache when the chips are down is entirely up to you and the techniques used to package and place your cache.

Initial Considerations

Before you can run off to the woods and bury your treasure, you have to answer some basic questions:

1. Is my cache long term or short term?
2. Will the cache be located at an urban site or in remote wilderness?
3. Is the cache a large redundancy or resupply?

Packaging The Cache

Once you determine the purpose of the cache, it’s time to prepare it for emplacement.  The first consideration is choosing a container that is waterproof and completely sealed once closed. One of the most airtight/waterproof containers is a PVC pipe.  Next up are ammo cans and then dry boxes used by boaters.  Stainless steel containers are also a good choice. Whatever you choose, be sure to take the necessary steps to ensure the container is truly airtight and waterproof.

Packaging A Survival Cache

An easy test is to simply fill up your bathtub or sink and submerse the container. If you see bubbles start to come up, then the container is not fully sealed. You can seal the lid better by using duct tape around the edges or candle wax.

The optimal container will possess the following qualities:

1. Waterproof/airtight/crushproof/lightweight
2. Small enough to fit into your pack if you are hiking to the site

Choosing A Site

Aside from packing your cache properly, it’s vital to find a secure location to hide it. Site selection is critical when it comes to ensuring you can successfully hide your cache and even more importantly, recovery it when the time comes.

Take the time to recon the area first, taking into account terrain features, soil, time of year, etc. Consider how you will access the site, determining a secure concealed entry and exit route. There’s no need to even bother with a caching operation if people in the area see you trekking around with a giant PVC pipe on your back.

In my experience I’ve found the best way to get started is to do a remote recon via Google Earth. From the comfort of your home, you can take note of buildings, terrain features and roads in the area. The next step is getting on the ground to conduct an in person recon, finalizing the site location, identifying reference points and making a survey map of the site complete with directions for recovery.

Placing The Cache

Finally comes the fun part, transporting your cache and placing it at the pre-selected site. I’ve found the best time to do the actual cache placement is in early or late hours of the day. Time on site conducting the burial or hiding of the cache should be quick and efficient. If you are doing a burial, it’s vital to conceal the evidence of digging. When I do conduct a burial operation, I take a few important items with me to the site:

1. E-tool: The military issue entrenching tool is perfect for cutting roots
2. Large 55 gallon bags: Use these to transport the dirt offsite
3. Flashlight/Headlamp: Ensure you have light for your operation
4. Probing rod for locating rocks or other obstacles.


In my recent caching operation, I decided to start off small, using a dry box filled with the basics. Items such as a knife, medical equipment, food, water purification, fire starters and more. All the gear I need for survival if I show up to the site with nothing but the clothes on my back.

Instead of burying my treasure in the middle of nowhere, I stayed practical and concealed the cache on my egress route out of the city. Considering the distance to travel from my house to my R.O.N (Remain Over Night), I figured it made perfect sense to place a mini redundancy cache on the route.

In the future, I’ll place another cache closer to my R.O.N and another one at that location. If you’ve ever done a cache before, you know it’s not exactly a cheap operation.

Check out the video below to get all the details on the contents, how I package it and then prepare it for burial.

If you want all the nitty, gritty details on caching, take some time to read this manual written by the experts:

Special Forces Caching Techniques TC-3129A:

You can also find this manual in paperback form, available on Amazon at this link:

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