Sunday, February 10, 2008

Caching Wheat

A cache (pronounced “cash”) is a hidden, typically secret, store of provisions or supplies. There are several types of caches (pronounced “cashes”). Perhaps the most discussed is the underground cache whereby one buries supplies (weapons, food, money, medical supplies) in some type of suitable container for eventual recovery and use. Underground caches are typically the most secure. Other types include submersed and concealment caches. The problems with submersed caches are using an appropriate container, emplacing and recovering the cache, and ensuring it remains submerged. Concealment caches are generally easier to emplace and recover but suffer from a security weakness in that someone may stumble upon it easier than if it was buried.

A little over five years ago I decided to experiment with caching some wheat above ground in a concealment cache. The area I chose was rocky, home to a variety of rodents and critters and had light human traffic – hunters and trappers visited the area but not in large numbers. I had the idea of caching a bunch of wheat in this area selected for a potential bug out scenario and I did not want to go through the effort of burying it or the eventual effort of recovering a buried cache. I also did not want to conceal a whole lot of wheat only to find out a year or so later that something bad had happened to it. So I though I’d just start out with one bucket – about 30 pounds of wheat.

I bought the bucket and lid at Chinamart, lined it with a clear plastic trash bag, poured in about an inch of seed wheat, added a fist sized chunk of dry ice, filled the remainder of the bucket, loosely twisted the top of the bag closed, set the lid on and walked away for a few hours. When the CO2 had finished doing its job of displacing all the oxygen, I twisted the bag closed and held it that way with a wire tie. I then put a thin bead of silicon along the underside of my lid and put it on correctly. Next, I wrapped a strip of duct tape around the top edge seal to ensure nothing got in.

At this point I was pretty sure bugs and water would not ruin my cache of wheat. I was concerned however that mice or other varmints would gnaw through the plastic to get at the grain. I also had a white bucket. It would stand out like a beacon to anyone traipsing through the area. To solve those potential problems I first wrapped the entire bucket in hardware cloth – you can see it in the first picture. I used some wire to hold it all nice and snug. Then I simply painted it with Krylon spray paint - primarily gray and brown.

I then selected a place off of any trails or ridgelines and placed my bucket up against a rock. I tilted other rocks around it and it was basically invisible. I checked on it every year or so when I showed it to buddies or just to make sure it was still there, to see if critters had figured out a way into it and whether or not the constant sub zero to over 100 temperatures had affected the plastic. It was not really in the sun so UV was not a big problem.

And there it sat for five years. No special wheat. No oxygen absorbers. No Mylar. No special lid. No special paint. Five years enduring the elements, subject to all manner of potential problems.

Recently I was back in the area with one of those buddies I showed it to, lo those many years ago and he suggested we open it to see if it was okay inside. Bugs could have turned it into powder, moisture from fluctuating temperatures could have molded and mildewed it – who knew? I figured 5 years was as good as 10 – if something was going to go wrong it would have by then. It was after all an experiment – I needed to see results, so I agreed to open it.

We dragged it out of the rocks and into a clear area. The wire came off easily with a Leatherman. The silicon seal was still good - too good. I could not get the lid off. In the end, I just hacked out an access hatch right through the top of the lid. This of course ruined the lid and risked puncturing the plastic liner bag – both which would create problems if I intended to keep it out there longer.

The wheat? It was as fine as the day I put it in there. Dry, hard, and beautiful. I have since made bread with it. If you are interested in storing wheat in this manner – scroll down to an entire entry on the process of putting it up.

So what did I learn? I learned that this is a viable means of storing supplies in general and wheat in particular. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive. I could have just as easily stored 30 buckets in a similar manner. So for those of you in apartments or other situations with “no room” or for those of you looking for a way to store wheat (or anything else) at a potential bug out location – this method worked for me.

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
- Proverbs 6:6 – 8

Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished. – Joel 1:11

See ya out there.
If you have any comments I’d love to hear them.
If they really interest me, I may even post them.
You can reach me at

Prepared Americans for a Strong America


At 18/2/08 10:41, Blogger Survival Man said...

Excellent article! Thank you very much for sharing.

At 21/2/11 16:05, Blogger Shreela said...

Do you know if this setup would keep out flood waters? I would guess the duct tape might not last through soaking in flood waters, but maybe the silicone seal would?


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