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Friday, January 25, 2013

More on Survival Caches

I have been getting quite a few comments and e-mails with opinions and recommendations on caches. Survivalists would, of course, use caches for many diverse reasons.
  • To support Bug Out especially from an Urban area into a rural area for transit to your final Bug Out location or tentative rally point or assembly area.
  • To hide some material or equipment to safeguard it from people who want to take it away from you.
  • Cache emplaced to support an operation so travel to that operations in an area does not have to include bringing in so much material.
You have to have some way to record caches so over time they will not be forgotten, or you may be sending caches reports to other people for recovery.  The best way to record the cache information and location is a written record maybe backed up by a electronic file on your PDA, tablet or I phone.
Everyone is now thinking I am recommendating breaking OPSEC or otherwise having a record with anyone seeing it, being able to get the goods. Not so. You could use a password encypted file for your cache records and you can use a default numerical subtraction or addition code to the information vital for the actual cache location and recovery. See more of this below.
Here is what I think it a suitable elements of a Cache report are:
Cache name or designation - so you can keep track of recovery, especially if you have multiple caches in.
Cache contents. Be specific.
Other Information. How cache is emplaced. How items are weather proofed or not. Container(s) description(s) and dimension(s). How deep cache is buried if this is a burial cache (most common). What tools will be neded to recovery the cache.
General Area. This would be a general description of the area the cache is located. This should be a general direction, such as EAST and a distance in a common measurement,...meaning do not use leagues for a measurement unless you are a pirate.
Specific Area. This would be direction on how to get to the Immediate Reference Point (IRP) which is where you will usually need to measure a direction and distance from to locate the Final Reference Point (FRP) and from there the cache. The immediate reference point should be something that is not likely to move or disappear.
Final Reference Point (IRP). This will be a fairly easy marker like a large rock, distinct tree, bridge abutment or something along these lines where you will again measure a distance (tape measure is handy).
An Example Cache Report may look like this: 
Cache Report.
Cache B#14.
Cache Contents:
2 each Military style Green Ponchos
60 feet of tan colored 3/32 inch diameter string
2 each one gallon water containers, full, not disinfected nor treated
1 four ounce bottle of water purification drops
6 each Meals Ready to Eat,
complete 1 AR-7 surival rifle
2 each 50 round boxes of .22 LR CCI Stinger ammunition
1 each folding Buck knife with belt sheath
1 each 16 inch crosscut saw
1 each butane lighter
Other Information: All items wrapped in water proof plastic. All items in one wooden box, 30 inches long by 14 inches wide by 14 inches deep. Top of box buried approximately 18 inches from ground surface. Using metal prob to locate wooden box is recommended. Ground is dirt with grass, weeds and small scrubs. Cache site is visible from IRP so security upon recovery is a concern. Shovel will be necessary to recover emplaced cache.
General Area. West of Springerville, AZ. Travel 13.5 miles WEST on US Hwy 60.
Specific Area. From US 60, South on County Road 3123 for 8.2 miles to IRP.
Immediate Reference Point (IRP).  On WEST side of County Road 3123 there is a dirt road heading generally WEST. There is a Forest Service gate here.
Final Reference Point (FRP).  The FRP is located from the IRP (NORTH end of the gate) on a magentic azimith 032 degrees and at a distance of 62 feet is a large, oval granite rock approx 18 inches long and 12 inches wide. This is the FRP.
Cache Location. The cache is buried 18 inches below the ground from the FRP on a magnetic azimuth of 045 degrees and at a distance of 36 feet.
Notes on Caching.
When emplacing caches consider natural weather conditions such as run off or snow cover that would uncover or expose the cache or make recover difficult.  Or make location and recovery of the cache too difficult.
Using ponchos or tarps to separate the different layers of earth when emplacing the cache, then reversing the layers of dirt when covering the caching will greatly aid in the concealment of the cache.
Depicting a concealed route to the cache IRP and/or a good position from which to observe the IRP and FRP may help in the safe recovery.  
For additional security against the wrong person or people recovering your cache, you may have an internal procedure where you add a certain number, let's say 65 to your azimuth and distance measurements.  Therefore  the example azimuths and distances from the IRP to the FRP would be  097 degrees and 127 feet.  The cache location from the FRP would be 110 degrees and 101 feet.  Then when recovering  the cache the right recovering party would know to subtract 65 from each direction in magnetic degrees and distance in feet. 


  1. Excellent post on caching, most overlooked skillset me thinks...Don't forget that in a suburban setting, locations could be parks, golf courses,self-storage, and many other sites...Here is a link to SF Caching Techniques, courtesy the JFK...PSYOP Soldier

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