The last major part of creating a useful survival stash is keeping your cache protected. Since you’re meant to bury your survival cache and leave it by itself for a rainy day, there’s no active defense against it being found or damaged, so after you’re sure it’s buried somewhere secure, you have to take steps to keep it safe and sound until you need it.
*Prepping Like a Pirate is a 3-part series on creating and hiding your own survival cache. Each part will cover a specific topic about survival caches to get you started with building your own cache.
Protecting Your Survival Cache
Now that you have the contents laid out and have a great place to hide your stash, how do you keep the contents of your cache and the cache itself safe? It’s best to start with how your cache is stored. Even if it can be perfectly hidden from people, it’ll be just as useless as a stolen cache if your container leaks and the contents inside break down.
Waterproofing – If you want the contents of your cache to stay safe, focus on waterproofing as much as possible. Every item in your cache should be in its own sealed plastic bag to make sure a failure in one bag doesn’t affect other items. These then should be stored in some form or watertight container.
Anything that’s made of metal should be heavily oiled or greased and packed away fully disassembled, including guns. Pack items that must remain dry with desiccant packets as well to absorb any remaining moisture.
Safety from Discovery – Once you have your cache waterproofed and sealed up, you need to make sure nobody discovers it. While this is mostly done by choosing a great hiding spot, you need to give it good offensive measures, too.
You have to try to think of all the ways someone might come across your cache and be proactive in stopping them from finding it. For example, how do you keep someone with a metal detector from finding your cache? This may not even be someone trying to loot your cache, but just a kid having fun looking for coins that finds something they weren’t expecting.
Avoiding Metal Detectors – This is a fairly common means of discovery, and thankfully it’s easy to avoid. Bury your cache at least four feet deep, then find a piece of metal like a license plate and bury it above your cache about two feet from the surface. This way, anyone that hits on that spot will dig down two feet and find the junk metal, put the dirt back, and move on to the next spot.
OpSec – As with any other part of prepping, you want to practice operational security as much as possible when hiding your cache. What you don’t want is for someone to see you walking into the woods with a large sealed tube and a shovel and leaving with only the shovel.
It’s best to hide your cache at night if you’re heading into the woods or an urban building, making sure to keep your light dim and down as much as possible to avoid attention. If you’re hiding a cache in your backyard, it gets a little trickier. Neighbors love to snoop, and as such, they’d probably notice you digging a hole at 2 a.m.
Try finding another reason to dig the hole to cover your tracks, like planting a new bush or flower bed. Nobody should notice you digging the hole extra deep or a little wider than normal. Leave the hole till dark, carry your cache out, and you’re all set.
As for the specifics of how to build your survival cache, that’s a topic deserving of its own article. There are a variety of specific options for choosing just the right gun, knife, food, water, and especially the container for your cache; that’s just too much to cover here.
Hopefully you now have the basics of what a survival cache is and how to get started with your own. You could definitely start your own cache with this information and be far better off.
A great point to end on is that water is your enemy. Somehow, some way, you’ll always have some moisture to deal with in your cache, but the goal is to minimize it as much as possible. By packing your cache correctly and using a non-metal, waterproof container to store it in, your own version of pirate treasure will be waiting for you when you need it the most.