Operational Cache Part 3: Choosing Storage Containers For The Cache and Hiding Them

Let’s review what an operational cache is:

An operational cache is a secure source for re-supply of equipment and needed items to access later when needed.

An operational cache does NOT have to be buried but certainly can be. It may be at a buddy’s house, in a storage unit, in the corner of your shed, or buried up in the mountains beside a large oak tree. The decision on where to storage the cache is highly dependent on many factors including geographical location, contents, specific intended uses, and method and means of access.

Before a cache can be put together a container to put everything in has to be decided on. Container selection can vary tremendously.

For an above ground operational cache simple containers such as backpacks and totes can be used to house supplies. More rugged and secure containers such as the Rubbermaid ActionPacker and Pelican/Hardigg hard cases can also be used.

A stump located out in the middle of nowhere could provide a unique location for an above ground cache hid deep down inside of it. Covered with vegetation a bypassing hunter could glance inside and never see what awaits inside.

The decision is up to the creator while taking into consideration where the cache will be stored and what will be in it.


Below ground caches certainly adds some complexity as protection from the elements must be maintained. Ammo cans can be used however this will limit firearms to pistols due to their typically small size. PVC caches can be made large enough to fit full-sized rifles and hold a lot of supplies  – completely watertight. The aforementioned Pelican/Hardigg hard cases can also be buried and afford excellent protection.


Hiding the operational cache requires some creativity and a realization that often something can be right in front of you and not even know it is there. Last summer my family got into Geocaching. It was amazing to see the number of places that I had frequented for years and had no idea there was a cache right there.


Consider a compost bin like mine above. An ammo can placed inside covered with composting scraps would be a great hiding place. How about under the bin itself buried a foot down?

“Finding it years later when the terrain changes can be challenging.”

As far as burying a cache out in the country or in the mountain it does not go without risk. First – I would not bury anything that can lead back to you should it be discovered. A firearm purchased through a dealer and coinciding with a Form 4473 filled out will link the purchaser to that firearm. Only bury firearms purchased via private sale.


PVC containers can float if sufficient rain occurs. Placing such a cache under a large rock or weighing it down will help keep it hidden. The number of hiding places on open land is endless. Finding it years later when the terrain changes can be challenging. Numerous GPS apps and devices can assist in sourcing the operational cache assuming the satellites are still active. Buried caches should be well off the roadside. Detailed maps of the area with notes regarding the precise location of the cache will aid in finding the cache as well. Modern satellite imagery that can be printed out can provide an excellent reference with numerous waypoints to locate any hidden cache.


Several techniques are used when burying. One involves burying in an area and then spreading nails over the cache and surrounding area. This provides numerous false positives for anyone using a metal detector. The other provides a decoy which to find. The idea here is to bury the cache deep and then place a “prize” above it so as to satisfy the diggers curiosity.

Hopefully this has provided some ideas when it comes to selecting a container and sourcing a place for it to go.

Coming up in Part 4 – What To Put in an Operational Cache.



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Supplies for the Zombie Apocalypse..... (4)

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