In a couple of thread discussions over at Commander Zero's blog (which should be a regular 'net stop for anyone), the recourse to a cache has come up.
First of all, the obligatory caveat:
It's pronounced CASH. Not cashay.
Cash is what you carry in your wallet.
A cache is where you hide things to recover later.
Cachet is a perfume. We are not talking about burying perfume.
When you pronounce it wrong, you sound every bit as retarded as did Prez Dubbya every time he said "nukular weapons". Don't be a retard.
There are many ways to go about hiding things, but the universally applicable one is ground burial. (Watching some jackass Dumbass Doomsday Prepper burying steel pipes in saltwater in Alaska was so full of retarded moron double-facepalm I can't even.)
In the ground means rust, via water, is your biggest enemy. That means metal, any metal, is right out. "Stainless" is relative. Bury a "stainless" piece of dinnerware in the yard for a couple of years, and get back to us. File under "Doh!"
So that means all those ammo cans with pot metal hinge pins? Total POS garbage for any use that's not above ground, and bone-dry. (MTM, I'm looking at you.)
Anything with a "stainless" wing nut? More boob bait for the bubbas.
As the header pic illustrates, you want nothing but pure, non-bio-degradable PVC for small things.*
3" holds small items, or long skinny ones. 4" will accommodate many pistols. 6" would hold ammo cans, battle rifles, and anything smaller, depending on length.
(I'm not going to describe how to make one. There are only about a gajillion YouTube videos laying it out, down to the 4th grade level. If you could work with PlayDoh in kindergarten, you can make a waterproof PVC tube. 'nuff said.)
Before we get to "What?", let's talk about "Why?"
1) Because you don't want all your eggs in one basket, and you've got enough to scatter a bit around, just in case.
2) Because bad people in ski masks (with or without badges) may want to take your stuff from you.
If you ain't got it, they can't get it. Period.
3) Because you don't trust it to leaving it in the bank.
One of the discussions at Zero's was a guy talking about "trying to see how much he could sock away in the bank" before financially tough times.
Even in normal times, the last place I want a pile of money is in the bank.
You should have a bank account, sure, to deposit and cash checks.
And you should probably take your cash out the same day it hits the accounts, except to cover checks and debit card usage.
In the Depression, banks simply closed. No money for you. That, alone, should have wised the whole world up. They also gleefully let the .GOV riffle through "safe deposit boxes" (two lies for one) and take contraband gold specie at the government-set price. How white of them. If your grandfather had buried an ounce of gold in 1932, it'd be worth upwards of $1700 now. The government paid $20 and change per ounce then. $20 then went farther, but even invested, it wouldn't be likely worth $1700 now. Get a clue.
Keep a cash float on hand, sure, because ATMs don't work in a power outage, computer glitch, or natural disaster. I'd suggest aiming for 3 months' expenses, minimum. Anything lasting longer than that is a bit bigger than a small crisis, whether general, or personal. The rest should be in more tangible things: gold, silver, weapons, ammo, tools, or non-perishable trading commodities Let alone land. If your 401K or mutual fund is what it is, I get it. But in a crunch, like the hiccup of 1929, it's gone in a flash. Digital assets even quicker than paper ones, btw. So you need a place to keep things that isn't a bank, nor under the mattress.
And that's what a cache is for.
*(Got a decent sized back yard, let alone the back forty? Precast reinforced concrete pieces are the ticket. You can buy square bathroom-sized cable vault, cistern, etc. pieces, including a manhole access top, for what you could rent a medium safe deposit box for over a few years. Buried, with a fiberglass manhole cover, and a piece of pond liner, and you have a storage vault more secure than most banks, that you can access when you want, or keep hidden indefinitely, and put in one helluva lot more than what you can fit in a handy government-accessible "safe deposit box". Look into it, if you have the space. Why wouldn't you? BTW, don't put it anywhere near any plumbing/sewer/septic system, for obvious reasons. Unless you have gills, and want your cache to smell like sewage. You could even only half-bury it, mound over the rest above ground, and make it a backyard waterfall and garden feature. Only you know what's under the lump. ;) )
Ideally, your cache should be located on land you control.
At a minimum, on land you have access to, undisturbed. Not on government land, for instance.
Location, Location, Location
Land you don't control is subject to closure. At the bottom of a flood plain is a bad idea, always. Someplace that's going to slide away, and/or get a landslide or mudslide on is similarly poor forethought. In a heavily populated area brings yet another complication.
You want somewhere you can get to, and dig it in, or out, unbothered and unnoticed.
GPS co-ordinates should be recorded. Also Map references, with triangulated points noted. (Make a further note of magnetic declination, which changes annually, so you can find it in 3, 5, or 20 years, cold approach, first try, at night.)
If you can't find it next time, you don't have it. Period.
You're also going to want up-close marking. If, for example you put down four stone cairns (piles), say 10 feet apart per pair, any which way, and had a tent stake spike, and a length of paracord, the following is true:
Whether you put your rocks or stone piles at cardinal points (NESW i.e 12/3/6/9 o'clock), or randomly around a circle (say, at 12,1, 5, and 8 o'clock positions) if you stretch your paracord between given pairs, the line will make an "X" over the same spot every time. Which piles in which pairs is your decision. If you make the rock or rock piles look random, so much the better. Just remember how you did it, so you have a point you can locate again.
|Looks random. Center is off-center. |
Only provides a starting point, and only you know to where.
For ease, let's say you went for cardinal points at 12,3,6, and 9 o'clock.
Put your tent spike in the intersection.
"X" marks the spot, right?
Too easy. Even pirates could figure that out, and they were mostly illiterate boobs. But we'll get back to that in a minute.
Take a measured length of that paracord. Suppose you picked 37'. Shoot an azimuth with your compass (you brought one, right?) and lay out your paracord to that spot. That is where you're going to put your cache. You have 360°, or 6400 mills, depending on your compass, and the distance can be anything you choose. Unless they're watching you dig, no one will ever know the spot you picked.
Depending on your level of OPSEC and/or paranoia, put a tent up on the spot. One with no floor. Or just a low tarp. Dig your hole, and put your cache tube in. Vertical is simplest, except for the digging the hole part, for longer tubes. I'd go for at least a foot below grade, to the top, when sealed.
Load the cache
Operable weapons, knives, tools, fishing reels, etc., should all be generously lubed with Break Free CLP or Collector, unless you want to dick around with cosmoline or equivalent, then sealed in multiple layers of air- and water-tight wrapping, including dessicant packs. Your toys, your choice. Ammunition I'd put in mil-spec ammo cans, in a PVC tube big enough to accommodate them. 50/50 I'd coat the sealed cans in roofing tar or bed liner over a plastic wrapping layer too.
Anything you can reach lying on the ground, and touch the bottom of the tub, is fine, as is.
Anything longer than your arm is deep, should have a piece of PVC plastic, with a paracorded pull handle, so you can grab a loop at the open upper end, and pull the entire contents up to you. Put that in the tube first of all.
Anything else should be sealed and protected as you see fit, but err on the side of caution. I would not, for example, put an acidic can of tomato paste above a pistol, and hope the can never rotted through over time. Dry items, OTOH, are much easier.
But even gold and silver coins will start to fuse, even if it's other materials around them, given enough time. Dry and separate solves a lot of problems down the road, and you want everything to come out virtually the same as the day you packed it.
Seal the cache
Screw in the threaded top. Some waterproof grease on the threads can't hurt.
Bury the cache
If you put pea gravel around the tube, water will travel to the bottom on the outside, and hopefully continue onwards. Some sand or fine dirt on top to level it.
Then, I'd get a square of pond liner (heavy duty vinyl/rubber) and cover the top of the tube as a rain deflector. Make it big enough to go well past the tube edges. That means the hole must do so, too. Don't get stupid. You don't want to put down a 3' x 3' cover, and have to dig up a square yard of soil just to open the thing. But a 12" round or square cover on a 6" pipe isn't bad. I'd put some more sand or dirt on that. Between that and the surface, some OC spray will deter predators from digging or sniffing around for some time. (Don't hit yourself with the backblast. But if you do gas yourself, send a link to the YouTube video of that.) Then a rock, mostly buried. Somewhere around head-sized. It will keep water pressure from popping your cache up, and also serve as a very unobtrusive marker when you check on it. And people generally don't futz around with rocks they don't have to.
About the original "X"
Put a current-issue quarter there, down about a foot. Or a handful of big nuts and bolts, to rust together. That's bait. If you check on your cache (and you should, from time to time), and that's been dug up, you'll know someone's been prospecting your turf. Or, if undisturbed, you'll know that no one has. Both pieces of information are good to have.
The actual cache being a randomly-determined distance and direction cuts the odds of it being found except by you, markedly.
No one's digging up an entire grid square to find...something.
Double- and triple-check your location info, cover all traces (if you know how to hook a sprinkler can shower head to a water bottle, you know how to make it rain anywhere, don't you?), and de-camp. Go on about your business. Maybe do a spiralling expanding sweep on departure, to check your area before you leave.
You also have the option of making multiple caches. Maybe the 12 o'clock position is where you buried a small tube with a premium expedition-grade water filter, a few empty rolled up water bladders, a few bottles of water purification tablets, and a well-sealed plastic container of dry pool shock, to make bleach. That's your Water cache. 2 o'clock has snare wire, fishing line, a couple of reels, hooks, weights, lures, and a coupe of nets, plus a spare survival knife and a military survival book in a ziplok. That's your Trapping and Fishing cache. 3 o'clock has a solid-tone poncho, pair of spare boots, socks, underwear, and a wool sweater, shirt, pants, and cap, in drab colors. That's your Clothing cache. 4 o'clock has a brick of .22LR, a couple boxes of buck and birdshot, some slugs, and a basic load of pistol and rifle ammo. That's your Ammo cache. 5 o'clock has some actual cash, junk silver, and a few gold coins, along with maps, important papers, etc. Your Cash cache. And so on, around the circle.
You only need open the one or ones you need, and leave the rest for another day. Limited only by desire, supplies, and imagination. And someone might find one of them. But they aren't liable to unearth the whole collection.
Got a small, relatively worthless, possibly land-locked parcel somewhere? 1/2 to 1 acre or so?
Take your time.
Pack in T-posts, chicken wire, landscaping cloth, etc. (Or, if you have vehicle access, have cinder block or pre-cast vault trucked in and dropped off). Dig in a hidey-hole. Underground. Big enough to sleep inside of. Provide a vent or three, to draw in fresh air and let body heat escape. Possibly a small fire for warmth, and water boiling and ration cooking. (Not while you're asleep. Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning.) Put the access hole in the center of a clump of brush. You find it, dig in, and disappear for a few days, literally underground. It's just a GI foxhole with overhead cover and a sleeping bunk, on steroids. Damned near invisible, and big enough to put in a month's food and other necessities.
When you move on, a few minutes' work with a GI e-tool, and it's gone again. Until the next time you need it.
Tell nobody nothing.
Encode your cache list and directions in a way only you can decode.
If you tell anybody, unless it's on your deathbed, or in a secret sealed codocil to your will, assume that cache is gone. Because it will be, when you need it.
If you scatter a few charity caches around, you can give those up, as necessary. Having one or two of those (some staple food items, a bargain multitool, and a couple of MREs, e.g.), even if only as decoys, is probably a good idea as well.
Plan for rainy days.
If nothing happens, it's peace of mind. And good practice.
The way things look now, there's a storm coming.
And never bury all your guns.
If it's time to bury them, it's probably past time to dig them up and load them.