‘Twas the Night After SHTF- Part 2, by H.C.

The intent of my article is to first, bring to view the reluctance issues we have that keep us from securing our stuff, and also to think ahead when actually doing it. The only thing worse than not hiding your preps, is hiding them poorly!

Common Arguments About Caching (continued)

In part 1, we began listing and addressing some of the common arguments against caching. Let’s continue with this.

I Will Defend My Stuff If Necessary

Will you defend your stuff? Have you thought all of that through? If you are caught off guard with a couple of nasty people or a group pointing assault weapons at your spouse and children, are you going to start pulling that trigger? Probably not.

It is far safer to have all your stuff far away and give up what you have to “fight” another day. I brought up points in my poem from part 1 that point to the forefront too. Everyone knows your best laid plans are rarely how you envisioned them. Also, chances are you will never have a heads-up that someone is about to loot your goodies. You must be prepared enough to walk away and know you still have supplies. Besides, if you did decide to get shot for the cause and your family was spared, where does that leave your family? It probably leaves a dead husband with a pissed off wife because you died for “stuff” or footing it to the FEMA camps alone, hoping for scraps of foods and praying they are not forced to stay there. Think it through.

Nobody Will Know I Have Stuff

There is a fine chance that others do know you have stuff. If you have ever bought prepper stuff on Amazon, bought with a credit card online, talked to neighbors, or if they saw you working on a prepper project, you posted guns and stuff on Facebook Garage Sale Pages, or had stuff shipped to your door, it wouldn’t take much for anyone to know you do have “stuff”. Ever talk about it with your buddies in public? Who is overhearing that and can spread this information?

There are also thieves that patrol prepper sites and Facebook sites looking for people that have lots of stuff. They may follow you home, case your place, or just jot down your address in case SHTF.

What To Do If a Marauder Shows Up At Your Door

If you look like a prepper, act like a prepper, and the perp has done any homework, they are going to know you have stuff. So if they can’t find any stuff, it is easy to deduct you are hiding it. Therefore, you must plan to have “stuff” to give up. Call it “burner storage”. What a horrible thought it is to plan to willingly give up a percentage of your stuff. However, if you think about it, that is what you are doing now with all of your stuff. All you can do, intelligently, is prioritize the stuff that you want to hide and have “throw aways” that can be sacrificed to thieves.

Where To Hide Your Valuables

Whether you have lots of cash, food, or ammo, the most secure way is to bury them away from your property. Public land is the best place to bury it, preferable on a route to a planned bugout location. This is especially true if you deduct that someone could search you on the Internet and find evidence that you prep, own guns, store food, or post pictures and jokes about such things. If you have always been well under the radar, you might get away with burying it on your property. Keep in mind that if they think you have stuff, they will be swarming your property looking for evidence that you have hidden or buried a cache or two.

Hide Many Caches

Many small caches (buried or hidden supplies) are much better than big ones. This adage applies, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” If a cache is found, your encasement breaks, or weather gets to it, you will still have plenty elsewhere.

Hitting the Road To Hide Your Stuff

If you hide your stuff on public land, remember that the public is on those roads too. Never park near the entrance of the trail to your cache, and never walk a straight line to your cache. Also, do not ever walk the same way each time to your cache, because it beats down a trail you can see. Don’t hide your stuff off a main forest road. Make your cache at least 100 feet off of a less traveled forest road.

Keep Out of Water

Don’t bury anything in a dip, where water will sit, or in a ravine, where large amounts of water will flow. Bury it deep enough to beat the frost line and keep animals out of it.

Use Natural Markers

Never mark your trail with man-made markers, like tree flags. These are way too obvious. Markers have to look completely natural. Look for major natural markers for easier finding, like boulders or trees that will not be moved in the future.

Bring everything in backpacks and look like you are hiking. If you do walk in with tubes or 5-gallon buckets and someone drives by, go find a new spot!

Use Tarp For Dirt To Leave No Trace of Digging

Dig onto a tarp so that you can replace the dirt without leaving a trace of digging. Look at your area after you hide your cache. You must return it completely to its natural state. Leave no trace! Cover your cache with a tarp before it is buried, or use a heavy trashbag if the stuff will fit inside, no matter how well you think you have sealed it.

Take a GPS With You

Lastly, take a GPS with you, not a traceable smartphone device. Use a handheld. You might get away with a car GPS, if it is an aftermarket portable, but you will not get the coordinates on top of your cache. You’ll just have the location off the road.

Resist Checking On It Frequently

Resist checking on it frequently, and limit a check to once or twice a year, usually after a heavy seasonal change. In the first year, you might want to check it a few extra times until you feel it is a successful location.

Develop a Simple Code For How To Get There

If your cache is hidden well, you very well may lose it too! Take a GPS reading of your cache location. GPS numbers are easy for coding. Making a map may seem tempting, but the risk of someone finding the map is especially dangerous. Instead, make a code from something you already know, so that it is burned in your memory without needing a written code breaker.

Example For Making a Simple Code

Here is an example of making a simple code. Say that you want to remember the following:

GPS Coordinates: 46.732127, -117.001055

Convert to basic alphabetic equivalents (a=1, b-2, etc.): DFGCBABG AAGOOAOEE (Since this code has no two digit number translations, you can use J-Z to designate a zero; I used O since it is so similar to zero.) Don’t worry about the minus. You should know your area well enough to know that automatically.

If you have a small library of books, pick your favorite book or passage. Something you will not forget. The Bible is a favorite, since most people do have favorite passages and the text is so vast that it would be virtually impossible for someone to find the one you picked. Lay a 4×6 piece of plastic wrap or trace paper on that passage, and using a marker mark letters in reading rows that correspond to your coordinates. Make sure the beginning of your passage starts (in this example) with a D, for your first punch. That way it will line up correctly. Transfer this onto an index card and punch holes in it. Check that it all still matches. Store it in a different book. A hand punch is recommended, because punching with something like a skewer will leave raggy edges that will close when you store it in a book, and this makes it difficult to use.

Alternately, if you keep a recipe file, you can write your own code in disguise of a recipe. This is an easy way to write your own code. Keep the punch card in a random book in your library. It is always preferable to make more than one copy, especially if you have family.

Make a Portable Version of Code For Your Go Bag

If you want a portable code that you can take in your go bag, you can make a mini version using your SAS book or a portable New Testament, assuming you carry either one of those in your pack. You will have to buy a 1/8″ punch, as the normal hand punch tools will reveal two letters in a tiny book like these.

Spouses and Children

If you have a spouse, make sure he or she also knows how to use it. Physically show them where the caches are too. Decide whether your children are old enough to know as well.

Hiding a good chunk of your supplies will allow you to thrive in a survival situation should you lose everything. If you live in a nuclear family home situation, you are at even greater risk of losing your things if SHTF. With less people there is less security and a bigger target.

If you do nothing else, at least bury a couple caches that might allow you to survive. This would be the equivalent of the supplies in an I.N.C.H. (I’m Never Coming Home) bag. Include the pack as well. You can find tons of articles and videos if you would like to know what is in an I.N.C.H. bag.

Whether you decide to cache a lot of things or a few things, in the end, you’re left with the heavy hearted decision on whether you want to thrive, or just survive, if SHTF. The most important thing to take away this holiday is… “So Bury Your Goods For Goodness Sake!”

Have a Merry Christmas! God Bless!

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been part two of a two part entry for Round 79 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
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  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
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  6. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
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  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances.

Round 79 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


    1. I NEVER allow my UPS deliveries delivered. After I get the tracking number I always go to the UPS distribution center which will receive my items and have them hold them. They’ll call me when it is in and I go pick then up. I NEVER have anything delivered to where I actually live..NEVER… You gotta be invisible… Also always use a passport for ID purposes, never a drivers license….. Via Con Dios…..

        1. No, my phone is a pay as you go (throw away), with the local area code but the 1st 3 numbers of the phone number are to a different area of the state. They can triangulate my phone when it is on, but I’m not that “high profile” yet.

          1. A burner cell phone will have the area code from the location in which it is activated. If you have a *trusted* friend who travels give him/her your burners with instructions to activate them in various states and remove the battery after each is activated. If/when you travel, activate his/her phones. A travel history can be assembled from area codes and activation dates, so a good “prepper group” project is exchanging phones after activation; a “wide area” project could be mailing phones to trusted people around the country foir activation.

            Never have the battery in any burner when it’s in proximity to your “real” cell phone or at your base location.

      1. I have all packages delivered to my office address. My office receives tons of UPS/FedEx deliveries, and no one has any idea whether or not what I am getting is for business purposes or personal. Then I just take the boxes home.

  1. @ the “Nobody will know I have stuff” section. I personally value community building efforts more so than being a gray-man or the lone wolf approach. Many people in today’s world all have concerns about society, so what benefit does it have to keep all of those feelings to ourselves and not contribute to a resilient community? Perhaps a happy medium is to be mindful of what you say to others? If you start dropping “MUH FEMA CAMPS!” in a casual conversation, yeah…I could see how that would not go over so well.

  2. Don’t get me wrong, I have 5 long guns very hidden, I’ll die and no one will ever find them, my wife doesn’t even know about 2 of them. But in my safe and house are the bulk of my weapons.
    If bad guys surprise you, GAMES UP. They will kill you. They will not leave witnesses. And if it’s a few months into it, the might eat you. Really don’t fool yourself bad guys kill.
    Also I had a friend who buried a ar in a tube with some mags and ammo, he dug it up after 6 months and the humidity had turned to rust on the steel of the rifle and the bolt was rusted to the barrel. He had sprayed oil before hand and the tube was sealed good. The ammo was all green. He now hides his catches above ground.

    1. WW
      Tell your friend to pop a couple of desiccant packs in those pieces of 6″ pvc pipe before he permanently seals them and they’ll be dry. Don’t use threaded caps, you should have to cut your way into them with a hacksaw.

      1. You’re right about threaded caps, they don’t work. But I have found from experience that a rubber cap with a stainless hose clamp is fool proof. Water cannot get in even if you throw the tube under the water and leave it. I’ve done that with complete success.

  3. Caching has its place in the prepping realm, and it should be a part of the overall plan if it is feasible. It isn’t always the case, so you must also plan to defend your “stuff” in case you may never be able to cache anything, or never be able to get to it later. I am not so eager to walk away from what I have on the prospect that I may be able to resupply at a later date. The point is, if you are going to prep, you best include a good, proactive defense plan for your primary locus first. I can’t cache my daughters or my wife, and if I can’t defend them, and I don’t prep them properly to defend themselves, they are just another commodity that marauders will want to take. If any of you think for one moment that desperate men will stop at just getting your food and ammo, and leave your women alone once you’ve been incapacitated or run off, you better wake up to reality pretty quick. You better be able to stand your ground or retreat in force, or the supplies you lose won’t mean much. Bad guys are not going to stop at grabbing a bar of soap if there are other more desirable “targets” of opportunity to be had once you’ve been subdued. For that matter, whether your children are male or female really won’t make much difference. Once desperate men have crossed the line, they don’t really care how far.

    So go ahead and cache those beans and rice. Plant a few ammo cans out in the sticks. Just keep in mind that if you can’t defend a fortified position well enough to prevent being purloined, what hope have you once you have vacated it and are now out in the open and way more exposed? I hope your SERE training is recent. If you get down to the point where you are relying on cached items and evasion to keep you going, you are in a sorry state.

    Before you go start digging holes out in the forest, maybe you should consider reaching out to your neighborhood and getting a community going. From my experience in Baghdad, those who lived in neighborhoods where they watched out for each other survived. Those who didn’t ended up corpses in burned out buildings, regardless of how much they may have cached somewhere else. The bad guys learned real quick which ones to avoid, and which ones were easy pickings.

  4. Sorry, not giving away my stuff to people too lazy to prepare. And if you let them take your stuff how do you know they wont kill you anyway? Anyone on my property uninvited will be escorted out

    1. It’s okay to be in good with your neighbors, the more people talk together the better informed you all are. My neighbors know I’m armed, they do not know to what extent. I know they’re armed, or they could just be bluffing, but probably not since I’ve been invited to the range a few times . I’m sure they’re feeling me out as much as I am getting a feel for them. I don’t tell anyone I’m stockpiling food. But they know I keep a little gas on hand for emergencies. My neighbors and I swap heirloom seeds for our gardens, tank about what worked or didn’t. I also (as a christian) would not turn my neighbor away if he knocked on my door after things went Tango Uniform. That is the secure community I’m trying to establish.

  5. I’m old, busted up and cranky. Got all my stuff in a pile at home and that’s where it’s staying. If anybody wants it they have to go through me first and more power to them if they can get it. If I get kilt keeping what’s mine then that’s just what happens. Nobody lives forever.

  6. “It is far safer to have all your stuff far away and give up what you have to “fight” another day.”

    You sure the criminal will let you live to fight another day, after you just gave him what you had?

  7. Living in NW Montana we get cold weather and snow each winter. Sometimes Lots of snow. That would make finding and getting into a burried cache very difficult. Also I m not sure counting on GPS is a great idea. With a EMP situation it may be useless. Having goods in multiple places would seem like a wise idea.

    1. Sis,
      I’m with you on the fact that if there was an EMP strike for real, I believe it would be just like global thermal nuclear war. No more satellites, including the international space station, and no more GPS. At the height of the Roman empire the Romans had running water, heated public baths, and flushing toilets. after the fall of Rome it was a thousand years before there was a flushing toilet inside a house. And after the fall humanity was cast into 500 years of darkness. No, the sun didn’t fall from the sky, but it brought forward a global pandemic (The Black Plague), and the printed text almost completely disappeared until the printing of the Gutenberg Bible. Taking a lesson fro the pages of human history, somebody better learn how to read a map.

  8. It is hard to find alternate locations for a lot of stuff. A rented storage facility, a shed at a friend or relative’s house, or space in the barn, all might work but they all have problems. We usually think of caches as relatively small stashes of “emergency” stuff. Because the quantities are small it is more important to economize by having a specific goal for each cache. The purpose of the cache will determine its location. Here are some examples. You come home one evening and find strangers occupying your home; a cache of things useful for retaking your home that is close to the home but not within site of the home might be very useful. In another situation you and your family have abandoned your house and it is not prudent to return. In that case caches would be situated along the route to your secondary location. If you don’t have a Bug Out Retreat you should at least have selected a spot where you intend to rally, camp out, or try to live for a while. If you are driving the Caches to this location might contain fuel and be farther apart. If you are walking they would be closer together and might contain things like hiking boots and camping gear. Some Caches might contain food & water others might not. Each Cache should contain different things that you expect you will need at that point in your situation to best assist with your specific goal at that time and place.

  9. Good food for thought and gets the “what ifs” pumping.

    I have a wife and small children, so this approach is not going to work for me. Far better for me and those like me to form strong relationships with neighbors. If was still a single twentysomething, the author’s approach would have more merit for me.

  10. “Therefore, you must plan to have ‘stuff’ to give up.”

    won’t work. if you have anything, they’ll send all their friends and family to you, and being rewarded by walking away with “stuff” they’ll all keep coming back and rooting through your entire property and you yourself until they are convinced you have no more “stuff”.

  11. “the most secure way is to bury them away from your property.”

    a proven fact. throughout europe diggers still find buried caches of roman coins even after a thousand years. can’t get any more secure than that ….

    1. gman,

      Some of the things I am trying to keep for the turn around of societal collapse is ammo. This is very hard to use for protection if they’re buried. I’m willing to use them to protect my stuff. That requires a measure of judgement. So, maybe a gun, some ammo and a few silver and gold coins go in the ground for an edge. But nobody can go it alone. At some point we’ll all have to depend on a network of like minded people just to get along. Trading with my neighbors, whether it is knowledge or magic beans, is so vitally important to building trust within a group it can’t be overlooked. Take a little time to sow the seeds of community with our neighbors will return tenfold when we’re trying to stand against the mob. Who will be at my side if not my neighbor.

  12. “the most secure way is to bury them”

    when all the electricity is out and all the entertainment is gone and the night is quiet and desperate people pay attention to the slightest clue – the sound of digging can be heard from a LONG distance ….

  13. If they know you have “stuff” or think you have “stuff” they will not quit/leave until they think they have everything! If you are armed and surrender your weapons you are turning you and your family into Slaves for them!
    You have a choice you can let them make Slaves out you and your family or you can fight! Yes if you fight you or yours can be wounded or killed. Yes if you do not fight you or yours can be wounded or killed.
    Knowing the choices you make may cause either of the above means that you should have already made up your mind on what you are going to do. And be prepared to act on your decision.
    This decision is not yours alone. It is a decision that must be made by you and your Wife.

  14. A SHTF situation is not likely to come overnight, bolt out of the blue without warning. N’er-do-wells are unlikely to form rag tag pillage patrols instantly when the stock market crashes or the North Korean Boy King fires off an EMP weapon . A truely desperate situation with starving bubbas is more likely to develop over days, weeks or months.
    Having said that, in normal times, you should be able to safely stockpile small caches of food, water, ammo, weapons in rental storage facilities as an emergency back-up in case you can’t go home, or need to travel. Supplies packed in anonymous unmarked cardboard moving boxes look like any other junk people store in public storage buildings. If I ever have to move guns in the open, I never use gun cases, instead I put them in cardboard boxes which are not obviously rifle sized. For handguns I might use a gym bag. To some casual observer, it looks like I just have uninteresting random “stuff.” I NEVER use anything that looks like a “cool” tactical black assault rifle case. There’s nobody I need to impress. I want them to think my wife made me store the old curtain rods or rolls of carpet.
    Its true you aren’t going to want to store your expensive weapons in a rental shed. So get a small safe, weigh it down enough that 2 bubbas couldn’t carry it off without a forklift, and put an SKS and a bolt action .22 in there (things that wouldn’t make your head explode if it was stolen). If someone steals rice and beans and canned food before the SHTF (unlikely), I’d be irritated but wouldn’t lose sleep over it.

  15. i’m not going to bury my stuff over by the park! Place it around your own yard maybe. If things go downhill maybe move some stuff around but going to get your stuff could be dangerous and while your out digging up you’re stash, if it still there and in good shape some other person breaks in your house and steals your good stuff.

  16. If you are planning on burying a cache in snow country, you will want to include a sand or gravel component. Dig below the frost line, place your cache, cover with gravel, then the top six inches with soil, bark, and leaves. Where I live there is no such thing as digging in the ground in winter, short of using a backhoe. But gravel can be dug out, even by hand if that is all you have.

  17. Here the frost line is 18 inches or more. I was at a construction site and the back-ho hit permafrost. The operator would slam the bucket teeth straight down lifting the front tracks of the back-ho off of the ground. After 15 minutes of this the teeth finally chipped through it but could not break it up to lift out. After much slamming a hole was eventually made but they still had to dig a trench for a water line. Since it was next to my property I got a chair and several beers and a cigar and watched the show. It was entertaining and educational.

  18. Will you defend your stuff? Have you thought all of that through? If you are caught off guard with a couple of nasty people or a group pointing assault weapons at your spouse and children, are you going to start pulling that trigger? Probably not.

    It is far safer to have all your stuff far away and give up what you have to “fight” another day.

    THIS is a dangerous mentality, IT could get you ALL killed! When met with deadly force you must respond in kind . Yes have a backup plan if caught off guard but one meant to create an opening , not surrender. Appeasement to criminals is what brought us to where we are in this world. We have opposing philosophies.

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