Basic Self-Reliance Series: How to Choose a Survival Cache Location

This is Part 1 of several episodes in a series titled Basic Self-Reliance. The purpose of this series is to help you develop some confidence that you can be self-reliant in case you ever need to be. Accordingly, the focus is on developing a habit of experimenting with various skills you don’t normally exercise; not necessarily to become an expert in any of them, nor to show you the best way to accomplish a specific task, but rather to train yourself to happily tackle the unknown.

For instance, in a couple of segments I’ll show you how to make your own soap. Now, arguably, making soap is not an essential survival skill — I’ll grant that. But the process of collecting ingredients, measuring them accurately, understanding the chemistry by doing it, all coupled with the satisfaction of achieving a tangible result… it’s a hands-on experience that gets you away from the TV and the computer and reacquaints you with the physical world you’ll have to deal with much more intimately if the grid fails.

For this to work, though, you can’t just watch the videos. It is essential that you actually do the tasks I illustrate, or at least something similar.

The first video in this series is part 1 of 4 videos about survival caches. (For exhaustive coverage of this issue, please read How to Hide and Recover Your Survival Cache, which is the culmination of a long-term project in which I solicited much input from SNO readers, some of whom are experts in the field).

In the videos I will cover the subject in more topical fashion. This video discusses the basics of finding a good location for a survival cache and how to hide it. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of camouflage vs. concealment and how each is suitable for different purposes.

Part 2 will cover how to go about recovering your cache without giving away its location, with a brief discussion of the basics of ingress and egress.

In Part 3 you will learn what to put in your cache if it is an emergency evacuation cache.

In Part 4 we’ll discuss what to store in the cache if it is a waypoint cache.

Upcoming videos will address a wide variety of skills and activities that will help you develop a self-reliant attitude, including preserving meats, building an emergency shelter, and making your own soap.

In the end, you’ll probably come up with many more ideas for how you can practice self-reliant skills.

And that’s the point.


8 thoughts on “Basic Self-Reliance Series: How to Choose a Survival Cache Location”

  1. Relatively new to prepping, just starting to learn about caching.

    My question is one of “etiquette” (for lack of a better word): Before the SHTF, what do I do if I stumble across someone else’s cache? Ignore it? Hide it better? or claim it as the spoils of war? In a perfect world, we’d like to think we’d leave it alone and that the next guy would leave it alone, too, but…so, what do you think? Anyone? Bueller?

    1. If the land is yours, the cache is yours.
      I sincerely doubt you will find another person’s cache or stash, even after SHTF. Not saying it never happens, but I am sure it is an extremely rare occurrence. Or, if it is that poorly hidden, odds are someone else will find it too.

      1. Re: “I sincerely doubt you will find another person’s cache or stash”…you’re probably right, and I agree with the rest of what you say. Thanks very much for your input.

    2. The etiquette in this case is determined by basic principles of private property rights. It’s not yours, so leave it alone. Don’t take it, of course, and don’t hide it “better” because then the owner might not find it. If it’s a life and death situation, and not merely a matter of comfort or convenience, I consider it OK to take the goods, but you must then replace them when you’re able.

      1. Thanks, Manny, for this video and discussion, and for all you do. I appreciate the care you take in deliberately demonstrating how to “do it right”.

        Most of what you suggest in your reply feels right to me. Not 100% sure “private property rights” (in the legal sense) would apply if the cache were secreted and discovered anywhere other than on the owner’s land(?); regardless, personally I am inclined and willing to go along with that premise, assuming that were to occur “before SHTF”…afterwards, “WROL”, I don’t know…I might think and act differently. Realistically, “WROL”, once placed, I would expect any cache discovered to be deemed an “orphan” and fair (or un-fair) game for “whatever finds it”.

    1. There aren’t really any. It’s a matter of personal preference. You might live in a place that gets a lot of snow. If that’s the case, it’ll suck trying to recover something from frozen ground. Not impossible, but certainly not fun. Situating a cache in a tree well off the ground will keep it free from snow, and will make retrieval easier. The downside is that you have to worry about windy conditions bringing the cache down during a storm. It’s important to think of all the factors when siting a cache based upon your specific terrain and meteorological conditions.

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