Survival in an SHTF scenario isn’t just about having supplies. You need to be able to keep those supplies when someone comes to take them. Urban caching is a great way to keep those “emergency only” items secure.
The constant stream of looting after every natural disaster highlights just how important it is to keep your most valuable items safe. Having searched many buildings from Kosovo to Iraq, I know just where to look…
And where I wouldn’t!
It takes a lot of time and energy to thoroughly search a home or building. Whether you’re running to the store or bugging out, by taking a few steps to protect your valuables, you can feel a little more comfortable when you leave your home. Here are 6 tips for urban caching.
1. Find Places That You Walk Right By
Shelves and drawers may do a great job of hiding your valuables from view, but they are the first place someone goes to look for anything. Instead, place your valuables in places that every home would have.
For smaller items, consider using an interior door for urban caching. These doors are usually hollow and you can store valuable items inside them by cutting a hole into the top. You can use PVC pipe or small plastic containers to keep the items from falling to the floor.
Other options include trap doors in the floor under the carpet and inside machines for long-term storage.
2. Avoid Metal With Urban Caching
A metal detector is one of the fastest ways to scan a home. Unless the objects you’re trying to store are metal themselves (which we’ll get to next), try to avoid using metal containers. It may look tactical to pull an ammo can out of your floor, but a plastic container won’t give away its location.
When storing cash, food, or other non-metallic items, opt for strong Tupperware containers that will keep your items safe without giving the thieves an easy target.
3. Combine Metal With Metal
If the items you’re trying to store are metal, look for other metal places to store them. Older appliances are the perfect solution to this problem. Unless it’s a brand new refrigerator, most thieves and looters won’t take the time to drag it out. It’s just not valuable enough.
These appliances are made of metal, so using a metal detector is pointless. By opening a back cover or drain tray, you can store metal objects without anyone being able to do a quick sweep to find them.
This provides the additional benefits that most people won’t take (or have) the time to disassemble the appliance and they normally don’t want to get any dirtier than necessary as it increases the chances of leaving prints or other identifying marks.
Washing machines will work well for items like coins that won’t be destroyed if they get wet. Dryers are great for items like cash, but try to provide some insulation, as the heat will wear them over time. A cheap clock may also work for smaller items.
4. Create Barrier Layers Without Making It Obvious
By creating layers of barriers, you are not only increasing the chances that your urban cache won’t be identified, you’re also increasing the amount of time the searcher needs to find it.
I’ve already mentioned hiding trap doors under carpets. This means the searcher needs to take the time to pull up the carpet before they can even check to see if something is hidden. This is time that even professional searches don’t usually have to scour a place.
You can also use smaller rooms as barriers. Getting people and tools into a closet or laundry room is difficult. By hiding items in places that would be difficult to access, you’re wasting more of the searcher’s precious time.
Even something as simple as placing items behind your washer or dryer can be very effective if the laundry room is small enough that you’d have to pull them out to see behind them.
5. Establish Diversions
You may think that you need to be on-site to create a diversion, but that isn’t the case. Locked doors and drawers pique the curiosity of searches and can be used to create diversions to the real cache.
Drawers are particularly valuable and have wasted much of my time in the past. The great thing about drawers is that you can’t just kick them in. They require time to pick or cut out the locks.
6. Take It With You
While there are likely many things you may want to hide in your urban cache sight, your most important items should be part of your bug-out gear. Make sure that you are able to travel with your bug-out bag and take it with you when you leave. Some things really should be with you at all times.
About the Author: With 12 years as an Infantryman in the United States Army, Jason Crawford has served in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He has served in positions from Rifleman, to Platoon Sergeant, and as an Observer/Controller.
During his time in the Army, he received the Ranger Tab, Airborne and Pathfinder Badges, a Bronze Star Medal for service and more. Jason is now the Director Content for Spy Escape & Evasion.
You can find more from here: Spy Escape and Evasion.