Alternatives to Buried Survival Caches

Practical Alternatives for Buried Survival Caches
By Matthew Dermody

One can hardly go far into the prepper and survivalist culture of self-reliance without running into the subject of gear survival caches and doomsday stockpiles. Having a survival cache and having access to the critical supplies contained within it is essential. As more and more people choose to lose their ability to take care of themselves, the need to keep your supplies from the prying eyes of the desperately unprepared grows even more. The most commonly discussed survival cache is the improvised burial tube. Buried tubes and survival caches main mantra is ‘out of sight; out of mind’ with good reason. If people cannot see it or find it, they cannot raid it. Personally, I am not a fan of large burial tubes, although they are necessary for larger gear such as firearms, cookware, and larger shelter items.

Larger buried survival caches have their place and are fine for your final bug-out destination. Until you arrive at your final bug-out location, you may not want or be able to carry all of the gear you originally put in a large en route cache. There are alternatives to large and buried caches, all having legitimate advantages and drawbacks. Two such alternatives are aerial concealment and exposed/ground level concealment. The key word to remember here is practical. The type of cache you decide to use depends on some important factors based upon your age, your physical condition, and your environment. Here are some points to consider in selecting your cache method.

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1. What kind of equipment do you need to hide or retrieve the cache? A spade equates to digging. Digging equates to work. Work expends needed calories and energy. Even with a perfect hide location, digging requires the disposal of the excess soil and make the surrounding area look undisturbed. This is especially true if there is a chance of someone walking through your proposed survival cache site. With all the effort put in to hide the cache, you end up removing it to get to your supplies.

2. Time is not always on your side. Just as digging equates to work, work equates to time. When the time comes to retrieve the tube, are you really going to want to spend the time digging for items when you could be having a jump start to your bug-out location? Will you have enough time to sit around and wait for the cover of darkness or ideal weather conditions to retrieve your cache? Carrying an adequate spade or shovel to your hide location is going to look somewhat suspicious. If you are planning to use an easier concealed camp shovel to unearth your treasure, then you are adding even more time to the retrieval process. What if someone follows you, waiting until you are distracted or exhausted from the retrieval process, and decides to attack or arrest you? This could also happen in other cache retrieval methods, but your situational awareness is not going to be at its peak if you are concentrating on digging. For some people, climbing a tree to retrieve a cache can be unsafe and potentially dangerous. Continually scanning the area is an important consideration to the type of cache used. Certain cache types require more vigilance because your attention is divided between the retrieval process and maintaining situational awareness. Too much time spent in an area, no matter how secure you deem it to be, can put you at risk for discovery. In a SERE scenario, stopping to hide or retrieve something in the ground is going to use up time that needs to be spent putting distance between you and your pursuers.

3. Mother Nature will not cooperate during a SHTF event. Regardless of whatever causes a SHTF event requiring a bug-out to a more secure location, Mother Nature and Murphy’s Law will persist in their usual defiance of human endeavor. If things can go wrong, they will and they will do so at the most inconvenient time and season. Inclement weather is one thing, but combine the first two reasons with the addition of snow and several inches of frozen ground and you have now increased the amount of time and hard digging required. Moreover, freezing conditions can reduce manual dexterity, adding more time digging or climbing and exposes your body to the elements for longer periods. Climbing with gloves or mittens is difficult in cold weather, making tree scaling far less successful for most people.

4. Some survival cache methods and sizes may require an accomplice. Trust is a big factor when you start obligating friends to swear an oath of secrecy. The old expression, “Two can keep a secret if one is dead,” is something to keep in mind. Anyone who knows or associates with you who encounters unfriendly forces are a potential risk for compromise. These forces threaten or intimidate people into turning on you and revealing your secrets. Having a cache location that only you know about and only you can access/retrieve your goods without assistance is the safest policy. If one man walks into the woods with a shovel or rope looks suspicious, then two men with shovels and ropes screams of a conspiracy.

5. Larger survival caches are difficult to hide. If you choose to have a larger cache site, you run the greater risk of its discovery. The best advice I can give is to resist the temptation to store all your essential supplies in a single large cache. Making several, smaller caches along your travel route are a wiser choice. First, your cache locations are more scattered and random. Second, if one cache is raided, discovered, or destroyed, you lose some assets instead of all of them. An event such as this is frustrating, but you continue on to your next location, knowing that you did not lose everything.
6. How remote is the cache location? Location and remoteness also determine what type of cache is best for your situation. The more traffic, whether human or animal, will require more effort to conceal it. The more difficult it is to reach your cache in terms of remoteness and terrain, the better your chances will be keeping it hidden. While you want to make it difficult for everyone else to discover and reach, you do not want to put yourself in peril in order to conceal or retrieve your cache.

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So what are the alternatives? There are a few concealment options, and like burial tubes, they are not without their own unique drawbacks. However, these cache options eliminate or reduce some of the labor drawbacks associated with burial tubes. When the full use of technology and camouflaging techniques are applied, the appeal of the alternatives will overcome most of the negative aspects. It is important to understand that there are no 100% foolproof methods to conceal caches.

Go aerial, not burial. When discussing aerial concealment, it is important to realize that you do not want your cache swinging from branches. The first option is suspending the tube within the canopy of a deciduous tree giving you the ability to retrieve the tube by lowering with an attached rope. The option of nestling the tube in one of the higher crotches of the tree is the best. The most important thing to remember with an ‘aerial’ tube is to secure it tightly so that it cannot be dislodged by high winds or strike other portions of the tree and thereby bringing attention to it. Humans are not tree climbers by nature. Without some sort of assistance like ropes or ladders, the desire and ability to climb trees decreases with age for most people. Therefore, most individuals do not give tree canopies a second thought while looking for hidden objects.

Keep it on the down low. Meaning, ground level low; leave it out in the open. This concept is more prevalent with the popularity of geo caching. Geo caches are small, man made objects hidden within a natural setting. They contain little log books to record who finds the object and when. Because of this, the camouflage MUST be exceptional for this to work, but with some ingenuity and creativity, this is easily accomplished.
Incidentally, with these methods, you are not restricted to tubes. Food-grade five-gallon buckets with gamma seal lids hidden under rock piles, large tree stumps, etc. also work well. Large fake rocks made of plastic often used to disguise well housings and residential utilities work well as concealment, too. However, I strongly recommend adding additional textured spray paint along with gluing preserved moss on the surface to give the appearance of realism.

Two very important things to remember with ground concealment techniques:

1.) Look like it belongs in that location.

2.) Look like it has been at the location for several year, decades preferably. You also need to ensure and implement the best waterproofing methods you have at your disposal, as surface hides are much more susceptible to water seepage. Sealing every possible point where water can seep into your cache with a silicone sealant is a prudent decision. Even if your cache never is exposed to direct rainfall, dew and condensation can still creep into unsealed caches. As an added measure, make sure to use desiccant packs to absorb any moisture.

Most importantly, keep your mouth shut. This should go without mention, but do not discuss the location of any cache you have with anybody. Social media is a good place to discover people with like minded ideas, but that does not make them immediately trustworthy. Survival culture, content, and concepts are always okay to discuss, but never survival coordinates, campsites, and caches.

Matthew Dermody is a self-published author and owner of Hidden Success Tactical. He specializes in camouflage and concealment training for professional, recreational and survival applications.

Photo Credits: http://preparedforthat.com/survival-caching-part-1-mindset-need-protect/;http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2013/08/13/embrace-your-inner-pirate-5-important-considerations-for-your-survival-cache/

 

NEW & IMPROVED SERE Training Course

BIG CHANGES! The Urban SERE and Wilderness SERE course are now one 7 day hardcore course!

We have been running our SERE training program for civilians for years and we have always had two components to the course. Urban and Wilderness SERE training courses were each 5 day courses. Now they are one 7 day course that is more exciting than before! The wilderness SERE training module covers survival tactics in the woods, when security and stealth is your biggest priority. All the survival tactics taught have an emphasis on stealth. Our urban component covers more about kidnapping and urban escape and evasion, surveillance and counter surveillance, comms and travel plans, and much more.

Both programs are equally good and have very little overlap between the two. But because so many people are on a time crunch for training with their busy lives, we decided to roll both programs together to give you one comprehensive course that covers it all.  Most civilians don’t realize just how important this training is for them. Americans are the #1 target worldwide for the kidnapping industry. Just because your American, people in other countries think you are rich and before you know it you could be getting rolled up by some kidnap team. Statistically a civilian is far more likely to be kidnapped than a military member!

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Many people are scared by the SERE training program, but that fear is totally unjustified. If your scared, your over thinking it! Most of the program is actually fun and exciting, not as hardcore as you might think. The interrogation phase is what most people stress about, and that phase is totally optional and you don’t have to do it to participate in it to attend the course. It is only about 2 hours out of 7 days of training, so don’t let the interrogation scare you off from the program. But if you do decide to participate in the Resistance Phase, you will be stun gunned, maced, and treated harshly. But after its over you will be immensely proud of yourself for not only surviving but escaping custody easily. And the more you use what we teach you, the less painful it will be. We have a 100% success rate of our students escaping illegal custody. You will get away after we get done training you. You’ll be able to escape handcuffs, zip ties, duct tape, rope, and much more! Anything that a captor could tie you up with, we will teach you how to beat it!

If you travel the world or believe one day you might need to escape and evade, then this is the course for you. We will cover all types of urban and wilderness survival tactics in this course and after the 7 days are over, you will be confident that you can survive just about any tactical survival situation. Check out the link below for more information on how you can get some SERE training!


The Lead Instructor: Sean Walkerseanwalker2

Served 16 years with Delta Force. Participated in Tora Bora raid on Osama Bin Laden. Had 55 confirmed kills on the Kurt Muse raid. Sniper Team Leader, Master Breacher, Assaulter, and SERE expert.

clickhere

America Unplugged

SIGMA 3 on new show “America Unplugged”

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Well we wrapped up another TV shoot with another awesome organization, the Sportsman Channel. SIGMA 3 was recently featured in the new show called “America Unplugged” hosted by Cade Courtley. The show is about preppers and survivalists that are on the path to getting off the grid and it’s a well done documentary about our lifestyle here at SIGMA 3. The show focuses on our efforts to build a self reliant homestead. Each new episode will feature a new family or group of Off Grid Survivalists. If you hated Doomsday Preppers because of the Tin Foil crazies, then you will definitely like this well thought out documentary that skips the sensationalism and gets right to the heart of how important self reliance is to everyone. We did the shoot prior to the build out of many of our homestead projects and it was in the middle of winter, so the episode doesn’t display all the awesome progress we have made on the garden and survival camp. But it was still a great episode on the philosophy of self reliance and the necessity to unplug from the grid!
We have been in the process of building out several homestead projects over the last year and we are still in the beginning phases of building a permaculture based farming setup. Our goal is to reduce our waste to as little as possible, grow most of our food needs, supply our own electricity via solar, raise various types of cattle, and become as self reliant as we possibly can. We aren’t just about wilderness and urban survival, but also homesteading and permaculture based skills as well. DSC_0897

We are currently still building our the Urban Farming model here at the homestead. Our idea is to create an urban design that almost anyone can incorporate if they have even a small amount of space. We are going to show all the various urban gardening techniques, so that people can pick and choose what they need for their place. This project should be completed by the end of 2014 and we will keep blogging our updates so stay tuned for future projects.

The show also covers some our wilderness survival training and it outlines how important it is to not over emphasize your gear based preparations, and instead train your mind to create everything you need from minimal resources. It encompasses our philosophy of walking off onto the land with nothing but a knife and surviving indefinitely! Please check out this episode and share it in other survival forums so that we can spread the word about Self Reliance. These old school skills are the key to our future and lets share these truths with as many people as we can. So stop sitting on the sidelines and get active in pushing these skills to your friends. Because there might come a day when you are going to depend on these same people for your life and you want them to have the best training and education they can get. Whether it’s through SIGMA 3, home training, or some other organization; make sure you get prepared today by doing some training!

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Thanks,
Rob Allen
President
SIGMA 3 Survival School

 

Eating Bugs for Survival

So most of us have seen all the survival shows on TV that show would be survival experts eating all kinds of crazy things for the attention of it’s audience. Well I am here to tell you that these guys are idiots and I wouldn’t recommend following their instructions on things pertaining to what to eat and how to prepare it. Plain and simple, they do it for the ratings and not the educational value of the techniques prescribed. Now you can eat bugs raw and will probably get away without any harm from it, but there are always risks when doing it. Many bugs carry nasty parasites and diseases and by ingesting them we have rolled the dice that our immune system will be able to take care of them. Most of the time your immune system will  handle it but when in a survival situation your immune system is already on the edge from all the increased stress put on it. Stress decreases immune system functions and I can assure that most all survival situations are high stress ones! So don’t take the risk of eating something because it’s convenient and then paying greatly for your laziness later. Remember that some insects may contain toxins or venom and these bugs are usually brightly colored. If you have a question about the edibility of a certain bug, observe whether or not wild animals eat the insect or check a field guide to back you up. But honestly there are very few grasshoppers or similar species that will cause you any harm, they are definitely in the minority of the available bugs to eat out there!

But don’t let my harsh tone persuade you from trying these protein rich sources of calories, because bugs truly are the easiest and most nutrient dense resource available to gather in most areas. Most of the world consumes bugs in their diet and it is a much needed source of healthy stuff for our body when other more desirable sources aren’t available. Grasshoppers for instance, contain more protein than beef and chicken. But large spiders contain 3 times the protein that grasshoppers do, so these small treats add up to big calories real quick! Check out these two articles on the nutrition and how to cook up different types of bugs, you’ll be shocked! Eating Fried Tarantula’s or Bug Nutrition Table

There are many ways to gather these types of foods but all the methods require you to get out and go explore. Whether your walking through a field catching hoppers, lifting rocks to find tasty treats, or raiding an ant hill for its larvae it doesn’t matter.  Some ants are quite excellent and have a surprisingly sour taste that keeps you coming back for more. All these methods will produce calories for you time and time again should you have to resort to these more dire methods. Americans consider these emergency methods but many cultures consider them delicacies, so alter your perception and try something different for once. So look up some recipes for these items and do something crazy like adding a few bugs to your next stir fry. Hope this helps and if you like this information then please share these videos and blog. Thanks for your continued support!

Employing Stealth in Disasters

Why is Stealth Pivotal in Disasters?

 

We are all aware of the horror stories from refugees in disasters in the recent past. During Hurricane Katrina there were so many crimes carried out in a short amount of time that it truly boggles the mind how quickly some individuals can lose their sense of humanity in a life threatening situation.

 

Of all the priorities that we have to worry in a potential bug out there is one that rings in my mind greater than any other. SECURITY! Being ex military and also having more high speed civilian side combat training than I did in the military, I believe the number one concern for a well prepared refugee of a disaster is to make sure they are safe from people that intend to do them harm. There is no answer for dealing with the problem of security in a disaster scenario but that you should be prepared and have a high degree of training if you intend to not be a statistic. The key when getting out in a disaster is to go un-noticed, whether that be in an urban setting or a wilderness one.  If you’re not seen or noticed then you reduce your overall chances of being a target of attack. This is one of the key priorities that we train in our Tactical Scout program. Gun and weapon training is important but not near as important as our ability to move and the tactics we utilize in a fight! And this training is just as important for keeping us out of a fight as it is in teaching us to dominate the fight.

Students first learn how to move in the field and to develop their tactics before putting a heavy emphasis on shooting expertise. Because you can’t hit what you don’t see! It doesn’t matter if you are the best shot in the world, if you never see your enemy coming or going then your skills are eliminated from the equation giving the advantage to the most stealthy person in the fight! But that is only true in a wilderness setting. So let’s talk about the urban setting first by addressing the most important element of your security, which is to be the grey man. The grey man blends in wherever he goes and doesn’t attract un-wanted attention when moving through potentially hostile areas. Just as a animal doesn’t want to put off the vibe of prey, then neither do we. If you are noticed then you should want to appear as someone who should not be trifled with and that your demeanor is not one of invitation to attack. The grey man is the way to be and the best way to keep you out of a fight and safe from potential injury.

 

Don’t be a statistic! Get Training!

We have to remember that their won’t be medical help coming to us promptly should we be injured in defense of our resources. We don’t want to fight, but we also cannot afford to appear weak. Talk softly and carry a big stick. Once you have assumed the appearance and demeanor of the grey man, then you should be prepared to gather what you need with urban tools that are taught in our Urban Scout program. Once you have what you need to safely exit then you should begin your evacuation of the area until your in safe area.

 

Once into a place of safety outside the disaster area, we then need to immediately start addressing our personal survival needs. Shelter, water, fire, food, tools, and medical is the order of priority! And how to do all those things is for another article.

What I want to talk about is how we can solve future security problems by implementing absolute stealth in all things that we do. We first find our shelter location and make sure it is in an area that passers by wouldn’t easily stumble upon. I usually prefer to make my shelter in thickets, just as the animals make their beds in thick safe areas. These areas are natural protectors from storms and elemental issues. When I create my primitive or modern survival shelter, I then worry about water. But my shelter should be located relatively close to safe drinking sources anyway so these two priorities go hand in hand. Once I have established the easiest first two things, then I worry about fire, food, etc. But in everything I do I must make stealth and employ anti tracking measures into these thoughts. Remember it is always best to avoid potential conflict, because that is the only thing that can truly ensure your safety is to avoid possible deadly engagements. My advice to you, is to train in stealth for your personal protection, and how to stay out of a fight first and then engage in training on what to do if that engagement does occur. First don’t be the prey as your transform yourself into the dominate predator through training. And only through training will we ever be prepared to survive a deadly contact.