Survival Cache Ideas


Cached items as far as this article is concerned will refer to emergency survival supplies, tools and materials. A cache by definition is a secret hiding place for items to be used in the future. For example, you cached some money and jewelry in the basement, or you buried some treasure in the backyard. 

There are various reasons for caching emergency supplies. If your home is damaged or even destroyed during any type of disaster, you may very well lose any supplies you had stockpiled. You would need a means to resupply. You would also need supplies if you had to evacuate because you may not be able to carry enough or you may not even have time to pack any, in particular if you had to leave on foot. Imagine for a moment you are in the middle of a crisis and after coming back from inspecting your property, you find your home has been taken over or ransacked. Do you have a cache of supplies you can go to, a cache of weapons, food and other essentials?

Cache Locations

Underground caches are the hardest to detect thus, are more secure. Some experts recommended using commercial storage facilities because of the space provided and protection from the elements. However, you do not control your cache once inside the storage locker. When disaster strikes, commercial storage facilities will be prime targets for looters and others. You may not be able to get to your cache because of damaged roads and bridges. What happens if you do get there and the facility is burnt to the ground?

Your cache must be in an area you have unlimited access to and it must be a secret location. It is never a good idea to share a cache or “partner up” with others. Once disaster does strike, you may find there is nothing left in your cache if anyone but you knows the location.

Ideal locations are secluded and slightly elevated woodland areas. Pick a high spot to prevent flood damage. Obviously, you do not want to cache supplies and then find out a developer is now building homes or a strip mall over your supplies. Consider remote areas inside state or national parks. Building and development is not allowed of course and all you have to make sure is that it is well hidden and accessible. Caching on your own property is also ideal for grabbing supplies if you have to evacuate or if your home becomes damaged.

Use a map and

Mock up survival cache location

Mock up survival cache location

a compass to plot your location and it is recommended you use a topographical/contour map that shows prominent landmarks and elevation lines. GPS systems m

ay not be available during a disaster and if you used one to cache your supplies you may not be able to find them again. Keep in mind your supplies can be cached for years, and you may not remember, so it is important you have plotted locations on a map and keep the map in a secure place. Using obvious signs and markers in and around your buried cache will only draw attention to it.

Map showing grid squares and coordinates.

Use the Internet and satellite imagining software (Goggle Earth free version) to find remote locations. The images will show how remote the area is, population density and possible infrastructure in place that you may be able to use during a crisis.

Ideally, you already have a safe location picked out that you would evacuate to so you should have supplies cached nearby and along the route.

What to Bury Your Survival Supplies In

PVC is good for a survival cache

PVC is good for a survival cache

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) tubing can be used for smaller items such as coins, paper money and other valuables and even ammunition. The piece depicted in the photograph has been painted Olive Drab (OD) g

reen. Keep in mind the tubing will be buried in the ground so camouflaging it is not needed. The paint does not add any value as far as waterproofing or making the cylinder airtight.

PVC is an ideal material because it simply will not deteriorate. Use silicone caulking around the cap treads to ensure it is waterproof/airtight.

Waterproof and air tight when the lid is properly attached

You can of course build wooden boxes and bury them but they are difficult to make watertight, which means you would need to put your supplies inside of something that is waterproof then place inside the box. It is recommended for large caches, you use food grade plastic water barrels. They come in any number of sizes, are airtight, and waterproof.

You simply bury the barrel upright and to add or remove items you only need to remove the lid. If you are burying items that cannot be frozen then you must bury your ca

Option is to put valuables into PVC

Option is to put valuables into PVC


he below the frost line. In some areas of the country, this can be as much as three feet. This means the top of the barrel would need to be at three feet or below in some areas.

Ammunition boxes in some cases will have a rubber seal making them airtight and waterproof. You can store weapons and ammunition in them if the seal is in place. It is recommended that you store weapons and ammunition in a separate container away from food and clothing. Use Cosmoline or some other protection for your firearms. Do not wrap weapons or ammunition in an absorbent material because it will wick the oil from the firearm, which will allow moisture to collect if your containers are not completely airtight.  

To find the frost line in your area please visit

What Can You Can Put In Your Survival Cache

You can cache anything but before you do make sure, you know all the expiration dates. Medical supplies, canned or dry foods and certain other items will have an expiration date. There is no point in putting items in there that will expire in a few weeks or even months because once in the ground you do not want to be going back and forth that often.

You location must be secret and if you are known as one that is prepared your cache may be a target. People will assume there are weapons and other valuables in your cache so once again do not collaborate and share a cache or allow someone else to use it in the event of an emergency. You simply do not know how some people may react when under extreme stress. You have to look to your family and your own survival first.

You can visit it every three to six months to make sure it is still there because you do not want to find out your supplies are missing during a crisis. Look for signs people have been around and if needed move your cache if it looks like people have been searching. People today use metal detectors to find hidden treasures so make sure they do not find yours.