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What is "caching"? Simply, it is hiding a quantity of supplies that you might need in the future. The following article recently appeared on the misc.survivalism newsgroup. I thought the information was sound and worth passing on.

Speaking as a person who has placed numerous caches under many different circumstances, this method is the best.

Some things to be aware of : My caches are made of either 6" or 8" diameter SDR35 PVC pipe (it is a bit thinner than schedule 40 and less expensive, but provides more than enough protection to the supplies inside). Length tends to be about 40" to 60" long (when storing a rifle). My caches tend to be located under heavy cover (not out in the open) usually in wooded areas where surveillance/accidental discovery is minimized. Landmarks are very easily recognized and are permanent. Exact location of the cache is a consistent method (i.e., always 10 yards from a specific marker). Caches are made during late spring and into the summer. Other times of the year increase the possibility of hunters, etc. being in the area.

I tried emplacing caches at night, but that didn't work too well. You need light to work and properly cover your equipment. My caching technique requires a minimum of 2 people to be effective. One digs, one watches/listens. Our best method uses 4 people : 2 to emplace and two other s as security. Everyone has radios. Basically what happens is we perform a long-term surveillance of the area (if we don't already know the area). This long-term surveillance may take place over an entire year. We go there on weekends, drive by on weekdays, possibly even hunt the area during specific seasons to get a feel as to what goes on there.

Once we've decided to use the place for a cache. A cache tube is created and sealed BEFOREwe get to the site. The topcap is sealed on with grease, unlike the bottomcap (end cap) which is glued on. Equipment carried with us is a radio, water, the prepared cachetube, hand-auger (no gas-powered), poncho, backpack, long-handled shovels, and sandbags.

When doing the 4-man cache technique. Everyone loads up into a truck. We do a very early morning drive-by (just before sunrise) and drop off one person for security. We wait for his signal that everything is quiet. Then we drop off the two diggers who have everything ready to go. They move immediately to the cache site and sit down to watch listen. The vehicle driver moves to a quiet overwatch position, usually far enough away to see the entire area and avenues of approach. The diggers then go to work, maintaining constant radio contact with everyone. The topsoil is removed and placed on the ponchos, the hole is dug with all the dirt going into the sandbags. Once the hole is dug, the tube is dropped in and extra dirt tamped down around the tube. Extra water is poured along the tube sides to help settle the dirt. The topsoil is placed back on exactly as it was removed. Extra dirt (already in the sandbags) is loaded into the backpack (with a trashbag liner) and is carried out. With two people digging, it only takes about an hour to an hour and a half to do everything, depending upon soil conditions. The one person on security meets up with the two diggers who all then move to a pick up point (not the same location as the drop-off point) and the driver picks them up.

Other tips : Don't place your caches out in the open, even in the woods. Place them at the corner of a bush or something. Don't cache in tall grass, doing the dig and getting to the site will make it obvious that someone was there. "Mound" the dirt a little over the cache site before replacing topsoil (after the dirt settles, a depression will form if you don't do this).

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Geoffrey L. Hardin
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