This is Part 2 of the Basic Self Reliance series. In Part 1 we discussed how to select a survival cache location and how to hide it. In this article we’ll highlight the most important aspects of cache recovery. This is a basic approach to cache recovery; for a more advanced discussion, read this post, which includes input from survival experts and loyal SNO readers.
Finding the Cache Again
If you can rely on your memory, you won’t have maps sitting around giving away your cache locations. However, a map does have advantages. Memory can fail, and terrain can change with the seasons and with big weather events. Changing scenery makes it difficult to reconstruct the path to a cache from memory. Another advantage is that you can hand it off to someone else to fetch the goods in the cache.
Of course, you can describe a location using latitude and longitude, or by distances and bearings using a compass, but both these methods require technical knowledge and devices that may not be accessible to the person needing to find the cache. A simpler way to draw a map is to use the ancient method of metes and bounds, still used today in property boundary descriptions.
Here’s an example: “From the old pin oak by the pond, go 100 steps uphill to a spring, then turn right (3 o’clock) and go 30 steps to a beech tree. Turn left (10 o’clock) and go 50 steps to a stand of cedars. The cache is hidden under a pile of leaves and branches on the ground.”
While not as accurate as the technical methods, this kind of description can be followed without instruments.
Tips for Recovering the Cache
It’s good to know the basics of ingress and egress. You don’t want to give away the cache when you go to it.
- Don’t go to the cache and return by the same route.
- Don’t go directly to the cache; instead, take a circuitous or zig-zag path, doubling back or taking random spurs.
- Don’t use lights if you go at night.
- If your cache is in the woods, you should favor going on a sunny day. An overcast sky offers low-contrast lighting that makes it easier to spot you in the woods from a distance.
- Don’t leave empty-handed and return with a load of goods. Instead, take a gun and a backpack, as if you were hunting, or some tools, as if you were working on the spring.
- Leave your base camp with a partner or two, and split up. A spy will then have to choose whom to follow.
- Stop, look, and listen frequently.
Following these rules will help keep you from giving away your cache location.