I recently read a news paper article about how construction crews found a cache while digging along 66 in Arlington, VA. Specifically they found a PVC tube with supplies and gun parts. I don’t recall if there was an actual gun inside. This got me thinking about caches, cache placement, contents and opsec.
For those of you who haven’t spent much time in Northern Virginia or “NOVA” as the locals refer to it as, 66 is a major commuting route that runs East/West. There is heavy commute traffic during commute hours and I don’t doubt that whoever put the cache there was going to be making their way West to WV.
When selecting the placement of your cache, first consider your route. If you are on a major highway or freeway, you’re wrong. Period. Do a google image search for hurricane katrina traffic or in this case DC commute traffic. Look at all those vehicles stuck sitting there. Is that where you want to be? Think about how bad traffic is just for commuters not to mention if EVERYONE is trying to leave. Realistically, if you’re on a major route and your stuck in traffic you will never get out because someone in front of you will run out of gas from sitting there so long.
These days google maps and mapquest make finding alternate routes easy. Pick a route that excludes highways and freeways and if possible does not go through densly populated areas. If you’re in a city avoiding people is impossible but that doesn’t mean you have no options. In fact, in some cases you may have the most options because of how many streets and alley ways there are in most cities. Plan your route, practice your route then fine tune your route.
Never bury your supplies on the side of the road. Yes, its convenient but road work is something that is always being done and your cache is highly likely to be found by road crews. I suggest parks, forests or other recreational lands that will likely not be in use during emergencies. Remember, if you bury it deep you have to dig deep to get it. Also, avoid digging on hills. Rain can corrode the hillside and cause your cache to migrate. You can tie a rope from your cache to a tree and bury the rope, this way your cache will always be within a specified distance of the tree.
USING CACHES AS B.O.B. BUILDING BLOCKS.
When planning your supplies, I recommend doubling whatever you want to put in there. For instance, if you want a days worth of food, put two days worth of food. The reason is you may have to double back if your intended route is impassible for some reason. You will need the extra supplies to get you to your secondary route. Also, you may find yourself with an unexpected companion or an expected but unprepared companion (many of us have these). There is a youtube user called Analyticalsurvival he has posted a great video on how to plan your route. I highly suggest it searching for his page.
Your first caches should be your largest, from there they should get progressively smaller because you will have or have accumulated your necessities. In my first caches I place a backpack, food, water, small flashlight, rain pancho, money, toiletries, socks, underwear and some other odds and ends. (I wont go too in depth because there are many resources available for you to tailor your caches to your needs.) This first cache is in case I don’t have my B.O.B. or my EDC. This will get me through until I can make it to my next cache where I will have more supplies and ultimately my backpack will almost mirror my B.O.B. if I have my B.O.B. but I’m travelling with someone unprepared, now they have a B.O.B. and won’t deplete my supplies. For food I ordered several mainstay ration pack and MRE main courses from http://www.theepicenter.com. They have good prices, fresh producs and fast shipping. Freeze dried food is an option but for the firt 72 hours I do not want to have to make a fire if I don’t have to. Who know if the area and local situation will be hostile. If it is, I want to make sure that I don’t have to break light discipline at night.
Practice your route. I practiced mine and found that an area on the map that looked passible, wasn’t. Good thing I found out before the shtf. Also, if you have loved ones practice with them, set rally points. If you’re separated you will know what route to take to go look for them if you have to. You will also have an idea of how long it should take them to get there which will prevent uneccessary panic. I recently set caches near a lake that is within walking distance of my house. The cons are that it is frequented by many people and Park Police but the pros are that I have a virtually unlimited supply of water. While placing the caches I look like any ordinary hiker with a large backpack and during times of emergency I dont expect to find anyone out fishing or enjoying water recreation, but if they are, I always have back ups and secondary routes.
Lastly, don’t put guns or anything illegal in your cache unless its on your property. The last thing you want is to get hooked before the shtf and be stuck in prison when you should be protecting your family.
Stay safe, Stay free.