Prepping tips and tricks: Outdoor caches that don’t require any digging

As important as bug-out bags (BOBs) are to any prepper, having a well-hidden stockpile of survival supplies is just as crucial. There may be some situations wherein you might not be able to get to your BOB in time. For these cases, a survival cache ensures that you always have a backup.

Most preppers are told to bury their survival caches in a secret location. This prevents theft and offers a level of safety from the weather. That said, there are ways for you to have and keep a survival cache without having to dig out a hidey hole. Here are a few suggestions. (h/t to

  • Use posts — Fence posts and posts meant for our backyard lights do have some girth restrictions, but they can be used and hollowed out like tree stumps to hold long cylinders or small packages. You can even use short posts to serve as a cap for something you’ve recessed in the surface soil.
  • Optimize sub-irrigated planters — Garden planters that need storage buckets inside each other normally need a sturdy spacer. This gives you a lot of room to play with. We recommend that you get a little creative when it comes to this, but with a little tweaking, you’d have a pretty decent reservoir capacity.
  • Look at your birdhouses — Birdhouses are one of the most versatile options for your survival cache. One way you can really optimize these is to custom-build your own birdhouse, so that there are bare recesses instead of actual holes to deny unwanted critters. Standard bluebird houses typically can hold a peanut butter tab, pasta jar, or even an ammo can (you may have to squeeze this one in though). You can also get a little creative and arrange smaller houses that can contain various tiny items necessary for your survival.
  • Use the space behind safety equipment — This may not be enough for larger items, but it is good enough for a few essentials.
  • Make a fake spout or gutter — If you’re good with your hands, you can create a fake gutter that adds additional outdoor storage space. Do take note that whether you’re doing this on your own or are paying a professional to do it, your fake gutter should be customized correctly to fit your roof. A lot of damage can occur if a gutter or spout is incorrectly built — more so if it contains items that may keep you alive when SHTF. (Related: Prepper 101: How to find the perfect stash spot on your property.)
  • Use your imagination — The possibilities are endless, from using abandoned yards and houses to using storage lockers. One great suggestion is to use old window AC units. You would just need to gut them out, but these contain a decent amount of space.

Some disclaimers

  • Many good cache locations are also good hiding holes for critters. Do your research correctly and choose a spot that won’t be infested. We also recommend that you regularly check your cache or have it cleaned to ensure that it is still safe.
  • Surface caches are vulnerable to temperature and weather fluctuations. This limits what you may want to store in them.
  • Any physical location that you do not personally own is vulnerable. This is especially true if you are considering using an abandoned house as the location of your survival cache. These locations can be demolished anytime, or visited by strangers.

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