Survival Cache Part 1 — Packing List

This is Part 1 of a series.

Read Part 2 — 7 Survival Cache Containers.

A survival cache (pronounced “cash”) is a supply of goods hidden away for emergencies. When preparing a survival cache, you need to consider the following factors:

  1. What to store
  2. What to store it in
  3. Where and how to hide it

In this multi-part series of articles we’ll discuss these factors.

The purpose of this article is just to give you a starting point for packing your cache. There’s much more information in a thread I started at Zombie Hunters. By all means, learn more, but don’t wait until you know everything before you do something.

What’s the difference between a survival cache and a survival kit? In prepper parlance, a survival kit is a small container, often pocket-sized, with a very few items to help you in emergencies. Examples include a lighter, some twine, a signal mirror, a whistle, an adhesive bandage, and a blade of some sort. A survival cache, on the other hand, is a stash of food, water, tools, clothing, and other supplies that will assist your survival in a more comprehensive way. Think of the survival kit as something you carry with you, and the survival cache as something you go to and uncover in a Doomsday situation.

Top Ten Items to Stockpile for Emergencies

Video: What You Should Have in Your Survival Kit

What to Pack in Your Survival Cache

What you store depends on what you’re preparing for. If you’re preparing for a lack of food, you store food. If you’re preparing for a lack of water, you store water. If you’re preparing for cold weather, you store warm clothes and things to make a shelter and fire.

In this video, I demonstrate a survival cache that was stocked for cold weather and lack of food.


Suggested Survival Cache Packing List

While no single packing list will cover every possibility, a few basic items will cover most needs, and you can adjust the contents to suit your needs.

  1. Gun and ammo. My go-to survival cache gun is a Ruger 1022. It’s light, and since I’ll have to carry it, that’s a primary consideration. I also packed about 300 rounds of .22 LR and a total of three 10-round magazines.
  2. Water filter bottle. My primary bugout location is in an area that has plenty of surface water, so a water stash is not my main concern here — but decontamination is. So my cache contains a Sport Berkey bottle with a built-in filter. Here’s a video demonstrating its use.
  3. Food. An active adult needs up to 5000 Calories (!!) per day just to maintain peak performance. My strategy is to overload with high-energy foods so I can keep everyone in good health to do all the things that have to be done on a daily basis just to remain alive in difficult environments. I recommend canned goods to be consumed on-location, and dry goods like hardtack for consumption on the trail. Don’t forget the can opener!
  4. Warm clothes. A hat, gloves, socks, and underwear are a must. Having said that, I keep a wool had and gloves with me at all times in my everyday carry bag, so I don’t have those items in the survival cache demonstrated here. However, I do have those items in another cache in case I get separated from my EDC bag for some reason.
  5. First aid kit. At a minimum, you need some wound-closure strips, a few pain-killers, a few anti-inflammatories, some disinfectant, a suture kit, and some bandages.
  6. Flashlight, batteries, candles, and fire-starter. Don’t store the batteries in the flashlight — if they go dead, they can corrode the contacts in your flashlight, rendering it useless. Store the flashlight at the top of the your stuff in case you uncover the cache in the dark. A few candles will really come in handy in your shelter. You’ll also need matches, a lighter, and I’ve also packed an esbit stove.
  7. Paracord. I always have some paracord on me, but I never run out of reasons to stash it. I have a hank of it in every cache except the ones dedicated to water.
  8. Swiss Army knife or other multitool. You should always have a knife anyway, but a Swiss Army knife has a can opener. If you have canned goods in a cache, you should have a can opener too. Here’s a video demonstrating one of the very best Swiss Army knives available — the Victorinox Rescue Tool.

A good strategy is to stash away a number of caches with various contents. For example, I tend to stock my water in a tube by itself in case the water containers burst — that way it doesn’t damage the contents.

In the next article we’ll discuss the types of containers you can use for a survival cache. Read Part 2 — 7 Survival Cache Containers.


20 thoughts on “Survival Cache Part 1 — Packing List”

  1. I have been searching for this type of blog post Preparing a Survival Cache with the longest time,Thanks for excellent blog post,

  2. Great list! Thanks for sharing. If I may make a few suggestions: 1) Add S&W Governor Pistol (.45LC/.45ACP/.410 GA) and some .45 (either LC or ACP) bullets and mixed .410 shotgun shells. Or use a Rossi Circuit Judge (.45LC/.410GA) rifle / shotgun and a .22LR pistol. Either way, your versatility for hunting and defense increases greatly. 3) SOS or DATREX food bars are high calorie and last for years. 6) Waterproof matches & disposable lighters. 7) Poncho, Space / Sport Blankets or SOL Bivy. 8) Both Swiss Army Knife & multi-tool! Or, Kobalt makes a handy combo set with pliers-tool (with saw) and folding knife. Gerber makes machetes with a saw on the opposite side of the blade. I researched this material for months. I like your list the most!

  3. I believe I would also add a small mylar pouch with small electronics
    with solar powered light, radio, tiny disposable phone, FRS radios etc.

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  15. You might want to think about connecting all your items together with cordage. this helps you pull all items out from a vertical barried tube.

  16. also think about a cheap bag to carry it out in a gym bag or a school type back pack to blend in with and put it on top so as things come out it goes in the bag and you move as soon as it is full. if things are bad enough to use your cache you need to be able to move fast and a breaker end of pvc cap to knock out instead of carrying a tool

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