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In case of emergency, storing some basic survival gear in a location away from your home can help to save time and effort when you evacuate. If you have non-perishables and equipment in multiple places, then you can ensure your safety and comfort even if you have to leave in a hurry. One of the best and most affordable ways to build these survival caches uses resealable 5-gallon buckets or PVC pipe in order to make an air-tight, waterproof, and long-lasting storage containers.

Both buckets and pipes are made of PVC plastic. This plastic, although an everyday item, has incredible properties that make it perfect for long-term storage. PVC won’t break down, even if buried for hundreds of years, so it can be buried without a second thought. It’s waterproof and can be made air-tight, so you can rest assured that anything you put in your cache will come out looking just as good as when it went in. When it comes to cheap, readily available containers, PVC plastic is the best choice around.

In order to turn a piece of PVC pipe into a survival cache you’ll need a few tools, some accessories, and standard off-the-shelf PVC adhesive. 4-inch or 6-inch PVC pipe is recommended, although smaller sizes work just as well for some applications. You’ll need the following materials, all available online or in any hardware store, in order to create a cache from PVC pipe.


* A length of PVC pipe

Survival Cache PVC Pipe

* 1x end cap for the bottom

Survival Cache End Cap

* 1x PVC to NPT threaded fitting

* 1x NPT threaded cap for the top

Survival Cache Top Cap

* Silicone or PVC glue

Survival Cache PVC Glue

* Teflon tape

Survival Cache Teflon Tape

* Hacksaw

Survival Cache Hacksaw

After cutting a length of pipe with the hacksaw, use glue or silicone to attach the end cap to your cut end. The threaded PVC to NPT adapter, which lets you screw the removable lid in place, should be attached to the other end. The threads of the NPT cap should be covered in teflon tape before screwing it securely in place. It’s important to only use teflon tape on the threads, and not glue or silicone, otherwise you’ll need a saw to get into your cache.

Buckets are a bit easier to assemble, since they don’t need any additional hardware as long as the lid fits tightly and snaps into place. If you’re considering burying your cache in an area with a lot of ground water, or even sinking it into a pond or stream, PVC pipe is a better choice since it can be sealed more securely. Plastic buckets, however, are an excellent choice if you’re burying your cache in most areas where water isn’t a concern.

Before you begin preparing your cache, spend some time thinking about what would be most helpful to you when you need to get to it. Depending on your individual survival plans, and what you already have handy in your bug out bag, you might consider storing a wide range of different things. A few of the more common ideas are listed below.

Cache Suggestions

* Canned, freeze-dried, or other non-perishable food

* Backup first-aid supplies like gauze and Ace bandages

* Weapons, ammunition, cleaning kits, and spare optics

* Fishing gear as well as tackle

* Inflatable raft and air pump

* Tarps, cordage, hatchet, and other camp utility items

* A small tent or bivvy

* Foldable camp chairs

With proper planning and a little bit of creativity it’s possible to store everything you need to camp in an area for long periods of time right on-site. Items like fishing poles and camp chairs fit surprisingly well into 4-inch PVC pipe, and an AR-15 can be cached if you separate the upper and lower receivers. When storing food and first-aid keep expiration dates in mind and replace any items as they get to be too old to be effective.

In order to make the most of your survival caches, keep detailed notes that include the GPS coordinates, local landmarks, and a dated inventory list of what’s buried where. If you do plan on keeping supplies cached make sure that you add a folding shovel, available online or in any surplus store, to your bug out bag or car kit. Survival caches are an excellent way to reduce evacuation times and make sure that nothing you need is left behind in the stress and chaos that comes with a true emergency.

Here’s a list of survival cache parts we suggest: