Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Prudent Prepping: Cache and Carry

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.

Our Esteemed Editrix Erin Palette foolishly posted several pun-inspired potential titles for future Blue Collar Prepping articles. Several of us have said,  "Challenge accepted!" and here is my contribution to The Cause.

Cache And Carry
It has been several years since I have actively hiked or backpacked long distances. Marriage to a woman with a minor disability, home ownership, and having a child slowed down my participation in activities that were easily done as a single man. When I was able to hike the Sierra Nevadas, the group of guys I hiked with started at Lake Tahoe and went all the way to Yosemite National Park. We never made it all the way to Yosemite in one trip; weather knocked us back twice, and illness the third time we tried it.

We did make the trip in pieces over the years, though. To do a hike that long (almost 190 miles), lightweight food was required. Unfortunately for us, our wallets were lacking the money to buy freeze-dried meals, so we made do the best we could with a mixture of canned goods and what few lightweight meals we could afford. To make it easy on ourselves, we decided to carry in supplies by putting our food into pails, lashing them to the frames of our backpacks, and caching them at the halfway point. This was relatively easy, since the Forest Service and the State of California maintain fire roads into and around the areas the Pacific Crest Trail runs. We still had to do some serious hiking, mostly uphill and through some very rough terrain, to get to the PCT.

This is similar to the pack frames we used, only our frames didn't have a shelf to make keeping a cylindrical object stable.
The idea was to hike in to the "Go, No Go" point, bury the pails in a place that would be easily found, mark it and hike out. Since metal pails were too expensive, 5 gallon plastic pails were what we used.

To keep varmints out of our food, we adapted an old frontier trick used by early settlers to keep graves from being dug up by animals. They would spread gunpowder around the area, whereas we mixed motor oil into the dirt used to backfill the holes. This is totally unacceptable to me now, in our environmentally conscious times, but back then no one thought about the potential damage. I will state that 10w-40 protected our food very well, since it once took us a year to get back to the cache.

Finding an area with enough soil to allow us to dig a hole over two feet deep was our second hardest problem. These holes were NOT dug below the frost line, but the pails were never intended to be stored long term anyway.

This method of food storage, and the idea of being able to grab supplies quickly and easily, was in the back of my mind when the idea of The Bucket of Holding hit me. Adapting an internal frame pack to take a 5 gallon pail might be a problem if the pack is completely full; if only partially filled with gear, lashing a pail to the outside should be relatively easy, using existing D-rings and anchor points
I see similar pictures from every disaster in the First or Second World: people no different than those I might see at the grocery store, carrying bags, suitcases or even cardboard boxes filled with their belongings and walking down the road. I don't intend to be like these people if I have to Bug Out, or even if I am going across town in a disaster. I will be carrying my gear safely and securely, on my back.

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NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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