Stockpiling supplies is the defining act of the prepper. Some of us start stockpiling before we even decide to become preppers, while others start stockpiling because they decide to become preppers. Either way, like the squirrel storing up nuts in the hollow tree, we’re busily working away, making sure we’ll have food to eat, when there is no more food to be had.
Stockpiling food is good and something we should all strive to do. But from what I’ve seen, most of us keep all that food in one place. That’s fine, just as long as whatever disasters we face follow our script; but I’ve noticed that they rarely do. Chances are, having all that food in one place won’t end up good.
I don’t know if there were any preppers in the city of Paradise, California. But if they had their entire stockpile in their home when the Camp Fire burned down the 1,200 buildings of the town, their stockpile was lost, along with everything else. It couldn’t help them at all. Likewise for the preppers living in Southwest Houston when Hurricane Harvey stalled over their city. Forced to evacuate by more than four feet of flooding, they couldn’t take anything but a single suitcase per person.
Regardless of your personal situation, there’s always a risk that you won’t be able to stay in your home, bugging in, when a disaster strikes. While bugging in is usually the best answer in a large number of survival situations, there’s always a chance you’ll have to bug out. In that case, you’re going to need supplies.
There are two basic types of caches we need to concern ourselves with. The first is a cache to be used at our chosen survival retreat. Ideally, this should be about as big as the stockpile of supplies we have at home. For those whose primary disaster plan is to bug out to their survival retreat, this cache should be larger than what they have at home.
If you don’t have an actual survival retreat that you’re going to be going to, like most of us, you can still set up this sort of cache in a rented storage space somewhere. If you’re going to bug out to a rural town or near a rural town, then renting such a space and filling it with supplies only makes sense. Those supplies will be secure, easily accessible and hopefully somewhat close to where you’re going to be going to survive.
Then there’s the cache for use while bugging out. One of the problems with the average bug out bag is that it only has three days worth of food. That’s fine if you can get to your survival retreat and the supplies you have there within those three days. But what if you can’t? What if the roads turn into a parking lot and you end up traveling there on foot? How many miles can you make a day? How long will that walk take?
In that case, it makes sense to set up caches of food and other essential supplies along the way, preferably no farther apart than the food in your bug out bag will last you. So, how do you do that?
In most cases, that means a buried cache. Unless you have a friend along the way, who you can leave a box of food with and know it will be there when you go back for it, there really aren’t many options. Using a five gallon plastic bucket as a container, you can bury food in an out of the way place, where you will be able to find it when you need to.
Just make sure that you pick good landmarks, which won’t disappear for your cache. A big tree could burn down, but a large bolder probably won’t. Have at least two separate sets of landmarks, so that you can still find the cache if one set fails. Bury it deep enough so that you can put something metallic a foot or more above it, just to foil the guys with the metal detectors.