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

Help Us Pick the Next Specialty Course

PICK THE NEXT SPECIALTY CLASS! Our POLLS determine what classes are offered next according to popular demand! It would be great for us to offer every survival class possible,  but time is limited for everyone and we need to focus on our students most critical needs. What is your top choice for the following classes being offered that you are interested in?

ANSWER the poll below to help define survival training needs & focus.

If you want to look at the companies websites to determine what you like best. Click here for more info! Click the pics to see company websites!

SHARE the poll with your friends on Facebook or by e-mail.

CONTACT US if you have any questions or want to suggest other companies you want to train with.

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BIG CHANGES! SIGMA 3 NEWS UPDATE

Greetings, Sigma 3 Family!

As many of you know, Sigma 3 Survival School has been experiencing exponential growth as of late. With this growth comes new and exciting opportunities, new classes, and new skill sets to be mastered. These changes are exciting and refreshing for us and we know that you will be pleased with the direction Sigma 3 is going as well.

We have been given many new opportunities for specialty classes that have previously been unavailable along with access to new instructors and sources of information, and SIGMA will be adding new, different, and exciting courses soon.

Like all growth, though, there are some growing pains as we move into new frontiers and find that some of the things that served us well in the past are not as vital to our continued growth and ability to serve our students and customers.

 

Curriculum Changes

We have some monster changes coming to our training programs and we will be dropping some programs and adding some new ones. We can only run programs that are popular and as the years have come and gone, we have learned what classes our students want the most. So in accordance with what our customers want, we are adapting to the changing business environment by adapting our programs to meet our customer’s needs.

We will be dropping the Tactical Scout Cert program and the SOLO wilderness medic cert program and replacing it with a list of specialty classes. Basically we will be recruiting other top training companies to come showcase their best courses for our SIGMA 3 students. We will be keeping the DSD tactical tracking program and both SERE courses, but all other programs within the tactical scout will be eliminated and replaced. We will replace the courses with specialty classes that are determined by our customers via polling. Some of the potential trainers we will try to recruit for courses include: Travis Haley, Kyle Lamb, Badlands Tactical, Mark Elbroch, Joel Hardin, and many more! Almost anyone you want to train under, SIGMA 3 can get! You will see changes in the website to reflect these changes soon. If you have any questions then please contact us for more details.

 

Maine Location Closing and Moving Farther South

We have found after the initial launch of our location in Maine, that it is too remote and to distant a drive for most people in the Northeast to attend our courses. We have tons of customers in the New York area and it is our goal to move closer to the New York/Pennsylvania line, so that more people from metropolitan areas can join our weekend classes as well as other programs. If you have any land in this area that we can use to host these events please let us know. There is substantial incentive for allowing us to use your land for training. But for now we will not be scheduling anymore classes at the Maine location.

North Carolina Update

We recently launched the North Carolina location that will be run by Eugene Runkis and Sean Walker. The location we originally picked may be in jeopardy due to lease issues with the land owner, so we may be moving the location to farther north on the North Carolina/Virginia border. Still up in the air as to what is going to happen with this training location. And Eugene is in the process of shooting his 3rd season for Hillbilly Blood, so his schedule is still up in the air also. As soon as we get some solid dates I’ll be sure to update everyone. But you can count on us having classes on the schedule for that area very soon. Just waiting on a few things to come through before posting the training schedule for NC!

Children’s Programs

Probably the single biggest question asked, is do we have any kids programs or classes that kids can attend. Our policy has always been to allow children in most courses offered, except for the advanced ones! But to add to that, we are going to start offering family packages that bring father/son and mother/daughter together in these training classes. And we will have special pricing for package deals, so that both parents and children can enjoy the benefit of world class training at a great price. We will also be starting a kid’s summer survival camp in 2014. Send the kids for a week of adventure and they will learn all the need to know about how to survive! More info on this coming soon!

 All in all, we have a ton of changes happening with SIGMA 3 and we appreciate your commentary and continued support. If you have an interest in some type of training, then please let us know what you would like to see on the schedule and we will try and accommodate your interests.

Thanks,

Robert Allen

President

SIGMA 3 Survival School

Official Dates for DSD Tactical Tracking Course!

We at SIGMA 3 are super excited to announce, after long anticipation, the OFFICIAL DSD TRACKING COURSE DATES! We want to thank everyone who has signed up for being so patient with us, and to encourage anyone who has been thinking about signing up to do so quickly, as this class is filling up fast!

In case this is the first time you’ve heard of this class, or if you don’t know who David Scott Donelan (DSD) is, then you should take the time to do some research, because you will be truly amazed at the opportunity SIGMA 3 has managed to arrange. DSD is the premier expert in the world on dangerous man tracking operations and is responsible for many of the current US military tracking programs in use today. He literally wrote the current manuals that almost every tactical tracking organization in the world currently uses. This man has spent more time hunting down people than almost anyone on the planet! David was an elite member of the Rhodesian SAS Selous Scouts as well as many other elite special forces units over his long career as an operator.

Read this Article about David Scott Donelan. Click Here!

The Selous Scouts are the premier tracking and guerilla warfare experts known all over the world for their ability to track a dangerous enemy over long distances in thick bush in order to destroy them. The selection process is probably one of the toughest selections the SOF community has ever seen, and usually only about 5-10% of their best crack troops finished Selous Scout selection. They were a very small elite unit and they were so effective that they are reported to have been responsible for approximately 70% of the enemy KIA. There primary expertise was tracking, tactical bushcraft, and counter insurgency operations. SIGMA 3 only recruits the top tactical instructors in the country and DSD is one of the most decorated SOF vets to ever grace our training grounds.

Read DSD’s Tactical Tracking Manual used all over the world. Click Here!

The class will be 5 days, 100% in the field but there will be some limited lecture time in our GP Medium Army Tent Classroom. The 5th day will be an all day FTX, with airsoft force-on-force. Be prepared to be in the field with hostile weather conditions, bugs, and tough conditions. This will be an intensive class but is definitely something the person of an average fitness level can participate in. Bring any tactical equipment relevant to your training needs. Contact Us if you have questions.

Being certified under The Scott Donelan Tracking School is truly a privilege and something that very few people can say they have attained outside the special forces community. I hope that you join us in this once in a lifetime opportunity to train with the most recognized expert on the planet in tactical tracking. It won’t be one you forget.

Date: September 26-30, 2013

Location: Huntington, AR Survival Camp

Instructor: David Scott Donelan & Assistant Instructors

Cost: $995 Early or $1200 Late Registration (payment plans can be arranged, get registered early though)

Items Needed: Outdoor clothing preferably camo, boots, bug spray, food and water, overnight camping gear if you intend to stay at our camp otherwise check our locations tab for hotel info, bring any tactical equipment relevant to your training needs