Author Topic: winter camping and surviving off the land (maybe caches are good idea)  (Read 7177 times)

Offline caverdude

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I have been trying some camping and testing some living off the land lately. I really haven't given it a good shot because we don't stay out more than one night. So there has not been any real time for hunting/fishing/gathering. But pretty much if we don't take it with use we wouldn't be able to eat at all. I've been camping in the Ozark mountains and hills only so far this winter. I mean song birds would be your best bet and its illegal to kill them. A gill net might catch fish but again illegal. Some forms of trapping might actually be best, I think a trappers license might be needed which is free I think in Arkansas.

Anyway I'm thinking, maybe some nicely hidden caches in plastic containers, buried in locations where no one would possibly think to look near favorite camp sites would be an interesting idea for (shtf) scenario. If its where you absolutely think no one would possibly consider using a metal detector then including something metal might improve odds of you finding it later. If its near your homestead or bol or where people might think to use metal detectors, or metal detectors for hunting for coins or whatever then all plastic containment.

Next question, what is longest lasting food items to pack in a cache. I have been packing things lately for camping like.

  • tang
  • powdered milk
  • sugar
  • bisquick
  • coffee
  • tea
  • hot cocoa
  • crystal light
  • corn meal
  • powdered egg
  • powdered cheese
  • chicken or beef bullion
  • rice
  • noodles

I mean what else? I mean if you didn't mind metal in some caches then some metal canned items might be good idea. Such as tuna, or sardines, as long as they are in plastic cache container.

How do you make sure moisture can't get into your plastic cache containers? Some containers might be buried shallow some deeper. Some only covered by rocks maybe. But how do we make darn sure they are sealed and moisture free.

I'm sure lots of things could be store too, such as water purification. Fire starting stuff etc.

But whats the expected lifetime of this cache? I'm sure some things go bad before other stuff that I listed above.

I'm not talking necessarily 50 gal drum caches. Maybe only a few days supply or something similar, a week supply.

What are your thoughts on this idea?

Offline Perfesser

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Re: winter camping and surviving off the land (maybe caches are good idea)
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2012, 03:29:19 PM »
I bought dehydrated stuff with a 5 year shelf life for the BOL that I visit often(2 hrs distant). Before I knew it I was looking at a package of soup 2 years beyond it's "best by"  date and it tasted so bad I tossed most of it. Granted it wasn't the best quality stuff in the first place but I ate most of it. 

Time passes quickly on stuff like this. If you don't already have plans to use it(like stocking the pantry at the BOL) then this is the best place for your 25 year, individual serving, freeze dried food.

Offline TexGuy

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Re: winter camping and surviving off the land (maybe caches are good idea)
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2012, 01:09:20 PM »
I have been trying some camping and testing some living off the land lately. I really haven't given it a good shot because we don't stay out more than one night. So there has not been any real time for hunting/fishing/gathering. But pretty much if we don't take it with use we wouldn't be able to eat at all. I've been camping in the Ozark mountains and hills only so far this winter. I mean song birds would be your best bet and its illegal to kill them. A gill net might catch fish but again illegal. Some forms of trapping might actually be best, I think a trappers license might be needed which is free I think in Arkansas.

Unless it makes money for corporations selling things for "outdoor sports", most means needed to survive off the land are illegal here in the south. We are not even allowed to fish with Yo-Yos here in Texas. Yes there are plenty of times you can get enough food using legal means but there are also plenty of times you can't. During SHTF you just have to know the other things to do even though we can't practice many of them now.

As far caches I prefer supplies that would me get food or help give me a "heat start" over actually caching food. That gill net you can not use now would be an excellent item for a cache.

Offline cmxterra

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Re: winter camping and surviving off the land (maybe caches are good idea)
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2012, 01:16:19 PM »
Something to consider for caches like that is - will it freeze?  If so I would strongly advise against putting anything that contains liquid in it like canned goods.

Offline ForgedPatriot

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Re: winter camping and surviving off the land (maybe caches are good idea)
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2012, 01:55:32 PM »
Anyway I'm thinking, maybe some nicely hidden caches in plastic containers, buried in locations where no one would possibly think to look near favorite camp sites would be an interesting idea for (shtf) scenario. If its where you absolutely think no one would possibly consider using a metal detector then including something metal might improve odds of you finding it later. If its near your homestead or bol or where people might think to use metal detectors, or metal detectors for hunting for coins or whatever then all plastic containment.

I metal detect, and in most National Forests, parks, etc. it is illegal to metal detect. Are you in any of those places?

endurance

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Re: winter camping and surviving off the land (maybe caches are good idea)
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2012, 06:07:56 PM »
I agree that caching is the only way to go if you seriously want to survive a winter away from home base.  As you mentioned, one issue is food availability, but another serious concern is winter weather, so the ability to construct a meaningful shelter that you can heat with wood is imperative, at least in northern climates.  I have done a fair amount of winter camping in Colorado, but I can tell you from experience that without meticulous attention to detail, anything more than a week and your gear needs to go inside to dry out.  The primary problem is sweating into your sleeping bag and that water vapor freezing in the insulating material.  After three or four days you are unable to actually repack a sleeping bag into your stuff sack and they loose their loft and ability to keep you warm.  Your need a space you can heat!

I've put together quite an extensive list of what I'd cache, but it would take about six 55 gallon salvage drums to contain it all.  Why so much?  Well, first off, I need to build a rocket mass heater so I can have a smoke-free, highly efficient heat source.  I also need durable winter gear.  This is no place for fragile puffy down jackets or ultralight goretex; I want wool and fleece clothing that will hold up over time.  I also need at least 250 pounds of food along with seeds to I can produce food efficiently in the future.

I'd focus on stuff with very good shelf life:

Rice, beans, salt, sugar, oats, corn, lentils, peas-- all of these items have shelf lives of a decade or longer, probably a lot longer if they're climate controlled and in the ground (where they'll never get over 55-60F).
Pasta, vitamins, protein powders, dry milk, dry eggs, dried meats, canned bacon, etc.-- These items are definitely good for 3-5 years, but do expect some deterioration after a decade.  That doesn't mean they'll become bacterially compromised, but the proteins do break down over time, the fats will oxidize over time, and you'll lose a lot of nutrient value.
Oils--Definitely essential to life, definitely a very short shelf life for caching.  Some things like olive oil might give you three years reliably if stored in a metal can under ideal conditions, but it's definitely an item that you'll want to swap out frequently.

Finally, one thing to consider is winter access.  You'd be amazed at just how hard it is to dig something out that is buried 2-3' down in the middle of winter.  Where I live, the frost line can go over 3'.  That said, the right tools (I recommend a pick mattox) and the judicious use of fire over the cache over the period of hours or days will likely make the job a lot easier.  Not having tried this, this is purely hypothetical.

Good luck!

Offline ForgedPatriot

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Re: winter camping and surviving off the land (maybe caches are good idea)
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2012, 06:20:40 PM »
I metal detect, and in most National Forests, parks, etc. it is illegal to metal detect. Are you in any of those places? Not that it would matter in a SHTF situation, was just curious. Looks like Endurance is the man with his posting below and has some great experience with this!

Offline caverdude

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Re: winter camping and surviving off the land (maybe caches are good idea)
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2012, 08:43:22 PM »
Actually I've been camping in National Forrest lately. This is just a thought I had (the cache). Living off the land in winter is not a good idea. Some might be able to, but many couldn't and depending on the location no one could. I think many pioneers had stored food they ate through the winter and occasionally was able to take something in order to have some temporary fresh food to supplement the stored food.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: winter camping and surviving off the land (maybe caches are good idea)
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2012, 10:18:30 PM »
another thought for locating your caches would be to use gps and program the coordinates into the devise. now that is reliant on having gps in a SHTF scenario, but it could be one more way you have to locate things.

Offline caverdude

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Re: winter camping and surviving off the land (maybe caches are good idea)
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2012, 10:49:16 PM »
I'm pretty good with compass and map. I'd not trust gps without compass and map and notes. And yes gsp is the 2ndary method, not the compass maps and notes.

Offline TexGuy

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Re: winter camping and surviving off the land (maybe caches are good idea)
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2012, 11:09:09 PM »
Actually I've been camping in National Forrest lately. This is just a thought I had (the cache). Living off the land in winter is not a good idea. Some might be able to, but many couldn't and depending on the location no one could. I think many pioneers had stored food they ate through the winter and occasionally was able to take something in order to have some temporary fresh food to supplement the stored food.


It is not as hard now as it was back then to live on the land especially with modern tools we can store in a cache to help us. For instance, when winter camping do you look for this? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pecan

They are native in your state (might not be native in your area) but we have spread them so far now that it is surprising where they are found. Two trees (sometimes only one) can take you through winter. Now is the prefect time to find them in the wild, just look up at the trees! A cup of shelled pecans has over 700 calories! A lot of "old homestead" places on back roads that nobody lives on now have a tree or two and only a few people know about them. Look for them and remember the locations. Since normally 3 trees are needed for a tree to produce well then a well producing tree should tell us ...... THERE ARE MORE TREES AROUND!!!

And this is just one food! It's easy when you know where a few trees are!

nelson96

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Re: winter camping and surviving off the land (maybe caches are good idea)
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2012, 03:45:47 PM »
I agree that caching is the only way to go if you seriously want to survive a winter away from home base.  As you mentioned, one issue is food availability, but another serious concern is winter weather, so the ability to construct a meaningful shelter that you can heat with wood is imperative, at least in northern climates.  I have done a fair amount of winter camping in Colorado, but I can tell you from experience that without meticulous attention to detail, anything more than a week and your gear needs to go inside to dry out.  The primary problem is sweating into your sleeping bag and that water vapor freezing in the insulating material.  After three or four days you are unable to actually repack a sleeping bag into your stuff sack and they loose their loft and ability to keep you warm.  Your need a space you can heat!

Very good advice (your whole post), I especially like the suggestion of a rocket mass heater.  You ever build one?  Got any detailed plans?



endurance

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Re: winter camping and surviving off the land (maybe caches are good idea)
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2012, 09:05:00 AM »
I have yet to build one, but when we bought our house we found a bunch of chimney flue material, both double walled and single.  While I'd need to pick up some 90 Degree bends and Ts to complete it (along with a 55 gallon drum), frankly I'd rather cache it somewhere than have taking up room in my attic like it is now. 

There's also a lot of great youtube videos on constructing them, some I found through the Permies website, some are folks discovering problems/solutions with the permies design. 

The wife and I were doing some exploring this weekend and I may have found the perfect place just a few miles from my current house.  The terrain and lack of development in the area makes it ideal.  I don't know if I'll do it there or somewhere further off into the hills.  I like the idea of a nearby fallback location, but any disaster that's going to impact me at my home is going to likely impact that area, too.  At the bare minimum, I'd like to cache enough stuff there to regroup and then either return home or keep moving toward another destination.

Offline ttubravesrock

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Re: winter camping and surviving off the land (maybe caches are good idea)
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2013, 12:57:19 PM »
Jerky (vacuum packed), chocolate (unsweetened), beans (dry), and don't forget lots of spices to make bland things taste better would all be good in a cache.