Running CACHE Networks

Caches are prepositioned resources put in place to support a future activity. Classically we "visualize" them as buried treasure but they don't have to be buried, and we will cover that a little later in this article

Shady stuff in the hills

What is a cache? Caches are prepositioned resources put in place to support a future activity. Classically we "visualize" them as buried treasure but they don't have to be buried, and we will cover that a little later in this article. Having been to a Special Forces school for this, I'm happy to say this subject is one of my favorites and an area that I have plenty of real world experience. The challenge of this article will be keeping it unclassified, so if there seems to be a "gap" in the flow of the article, accept my apologies up front I'm trying to make everyone happy... Caches have been used for centuries, there's nothing new about them but in todays fast paced disposable world they are usually overlooked as lacking imagination or to time consuming. Of course the big army (or military) as a whole doesn't really use caches, but a cache system doesn't make sense for our modern army. They come complete with supply trains and never really know where the next operation will take place. They are designed for mobility. You however are not.

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You KNOW where you will be staying, working and traveling. A cache network would fit easily into the busiest modern schedule and as we will discuss lighten your bug out loads considerably. Caches are the difference between a 100lbs Bog out Bag (BoB) and a 20lbs BoB. Use caches to offset your emergency weight and have enough that you can afford to lose a few to the elements. Caching is a process not a singular event. Why use them? DSC_0114Caches will drastically offset the amount of weight and equipment required to get from A to B on any map. If established correctly, you could have a cache set up at all of your major check points and if you don't need to contents of the cache, bypass it and save it for later. If you have ever wondered how commandos get away with traveling so light, its because we aren't just moving to a safe area I'm admitting we are cheating, and picking up food and ammo along the way that someone else buried before hand. Like a magician, the trick isn't magic, its the assistant who skillfully positions the tools needed ahead of time when no one was looking.


[gallery type="rectangular" orderby="rand" ids="2365,2366,2367,2368"] Site selection criteria. Its not good enough to just pick a gnarly oak tree and have at it. In theory you should have dozens of these located all over the place so site selection criteria has to take on a consistent, and more primary role as you develop your network. Consider:

  • 24 hour all weather access
  • Enough cover and concealment to hide loading and unloading of the cache
  • You must have access to the site, and avoid places like banks daycare or municipal buildings that will draw unwanted attention (or security footage) of your activities. There's nothing illegal about caches, but it doesn't look good hiding in the bushes of a children's park.....
  • Will it develop? Will your cache be a burger king next year?
  • Anchor points. If the cache site proper doesn't have good visual markers it may make sense to identify a reference point nearby. For instance, 3 yards due north of the North East road sign at the intersection of Mayberry and main St.
  • Anchor stakes. It may not make sense to map directly to a cache, if that's the case map to a tent stake with a string leading you to the buried goods. Experiment with different methods.
  • Always consider that SOMEONE ELSE will have to service the cache. Don't assume you will be the one who is unloading the goods. What if you're hurt? or busy saving lives? Don't assume the tree you picked is unique enough for a stranger who has never been there to pick out of the crowd.

Types of caches. I like to build caches based on themes so that's what ill discuss in this article. Most of my caches are simple food and water 24 hour kits, small and easy to hide. I have 1 large cache, that remains unmarked and only I know where it is that contains everything I need to start over... I bury this early and let it season in the elements. Consider:

  • Support cache. Food, water, clothing and medical supplies.
  • Action Caches: Ammunition and "other" supplies, just in case I get disarmed.
  • Recovery cache: Important documents, cash, food, water, ammo, perhaps a weapon, family pics you name it. If your house burned down right now, what would you need?

You can build and camouflage caches out of anything, you're limited only by your imagination. Just make sure they are double weathered sealed. Consider using packing grease when storing working "metal" parts for long periods of time and using metal containers for water. Metal containers don't leak into the water like plastic bottles do. How to organize them into usable networks. Its all about the mapping. I break my mapping down into useable blocks that are easy for family members to follow and understand. There are 3, maybe 4 basic sketches you need to learn:

  1. Macro Sketch. Think state with multiple ports of entry like airports or interstate intersections. This way my cousin Earl can drive in and find his way around.
  2. Navigator Sketch. Now that Earl has his bearing from the macro sketch, its time to get him to the area where the cache is. This is the street map level sketch that references the major ports of entry from the previous sketch, BUT gets you to the road intersection where the actual cache is located. Google maps works well here, and several navigator sketches can be support by a single Macro sketch.
  3. Micro Sketch. Now that Earl is at the right intersection, he needs to know exactly where to dig. This sketch should have the precise pace count and reference points required to walk right up to the cache and it should also include any pertinent details the user needs to know: Police station near by, bring a shovel, service between this hour and that, etc....
  4. Point of view (POV) sketch. In some cases a site may require a perspective as if seen from the person performing the task, this is the case when the person loading and unloading the cache is face with multiple but similar choices in a given are. For instance multiple paths or multiple telephone pole. It doesn't hurt to include one in every report, but frankly they aren't needed unless you gauge the circumstances to warrant the work.

Here's an organization example of how I set up my cache mapping:

  • Macro (2GA1FEB2015)
    • Navigator Bug out (Husbands work and home)
      • Micro (Support) GA323-01
      • Micro (Support) GA323-02
      • Micro (action) GA323-01a
        • with POV
      • Micro (Recovery) no mapping
    • Navigator Bug out (Wife's work and home)
      • Micro (Support) GA324-01
      • Micro (Support) GA324-02
      • Micro (Support) GA324-03

I would keep all of these in a book and even supplement the data with a Google earth maps overlay. Ideally when I forward a cache I want the information as simplified as possible yet accurate. This way in a pinch I could simply "text" it to someone and send them on their way.

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Under this organization I can group my caches and maps into zones, and maintain an underground supply network that supports multiple family members in different locations, perhaps a child in college and so on. [gallery columns="2" size="medium" type="rectangular" ids="2353,2355"]

Mapping.

Mapping is the trickiest part of all of this. Caches are aren't any good if YOU are the only one who can use them. But for OPSEC or data reasons you may not have access to accurate enough mapping to make this work. So make your own! [gallery type="rectangular" ids="2360,2361,2362"] The trick to this is finding the right amount of detail with out over crowding your work. Practice this amongst your own group to see what I mean. Have one person draw a map to an unknown location, and another person navigate to it with out any assistance. Then you will see how your assumption over the obviousness of a particular reference point may not be as obvious as you previously thought. There is an art to it and it must be learned and rehearsed. We wont go to far into mapping in this article, its an article all its own but we will write it up as an addition to this cache piece.

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Of course here at CAGmain we offer a wide variety of classes and that includes how to cache. Caching is a hybrid of field craft, administration and art its not just bury MREs in the woods for a rainy day. Play with Geocaching and get a feel for the venue and see what other folks have done. Its fun and family oriented I think you'll like it. Click this link to learn more! As always thank you, and please ask questions!

TR

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Austere Guide to Gauze

Hemostatic Gauze Vs. Non-Hemostatic Gauze... There are many types of gauze on the market to choose, from standard gauze rolls to different types of "Hemostatic gauze", which are impregnated in substances to help stop bleeding. Without understanding the differences between a package of compressed gauze, to Combat gauze, Celox-gauze and Chito-gauze, how they work, or even if they work, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you and your medical kits. Here's the breakdown:

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Plain (Non-Hemostatic) Gauze:  Often called Kerlix, and coming in "Z-fold" or "S-rolled", or even compressed to take up less space, This is a must and a minimum. While this gauze certainly is not as good as the hemostatic gauzes in terms of controlling severe hemorrhage , It's inexpensive and versatile use make it a must. This isn't just for packing a bleeding wound that a tourniquet can't reach, it can be used as simple bandaging, dressings, stabilizing such as a sling and swathe and so much more. For the low-cost, it's a stepping stone towards hemostatic gauze. I recommend at least 2-3, and more in your house/truck kit, for those areas on your body where a tourniquet can't stop the bleeding, or for a little pressure in an extremity that is not a severe enough bleed to warrant a tourniquet. [gallery size="medium" type="rectangular" link="none" orderby="rand" ids="2327,2328,2329"] Hemostatic Gauzes - For arterial bleeding, don't risk having a non-hemostatic gauze as your Primary choice, you and your loved ones deserve the best shot at survival. What you do for bleeding control for the first few minutes is similar whether you are in an austere environment or 911 is just a few minutes away... If you don't get this bleeding stopped, it will eventually stop when the patient runs out of blood. Unlike previous generations of hemostatic gauze, these do not generate heat or burn.  Here's your choices, and how they work:

  1. Combat Gauze:  Combat Gauze is the #1 choice of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research and Committee of T.C.C.C and has earned it's place. It is impregnated with kaolin, which helps the bodies clotting along much greater than using standard gauze. It's got a hefty price tag, but would you rather have a wallet with more money or a heart with enough blood to keep pumping? For a bare minimum medical pack I'd recommend at least 2, because if the first one does not work, you will have to be more aggressive your second time.
  2. Celox Gauze - Unlike Combat Gauze, Celox does not help your body itself clot but creates one. This is because when the it comes into contact with blood it creates a gel. What this means in basic terms is if your patient does not have good clotting factors ( Hypothermia, Medications such as Aspirin, etc.) this is a good choice because it works by itself instead of supporting the bodies clotting process. 3.   Chito Gauze - Chito Gauze does not rely on the bodies clotting process, as well. Instead of a gel, it uses the chitosan and dressing to slow down and stick the blood and platelets to create a clot. Again, for those with poor clotting factors, this is a good choice.

[gallery type="rectangular" size="medium" ids="2338,2339,2340"] These are in no particular order, and I'd recommend all 3 as a good decision. While the Military recommends Combat Gauze as #1, their demographic is healthy young soldiers who likely don't have poor clotting factors. Even then, blood loss can cause hypothermia and ruin their clotting factors, making Celox or Chito-gauze an option as well. Now that you know why and how, you can make an educated purchase. Personally im a fan of Chito-Gauze, but I'm also a reasonably trained medic...

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A product is only as good as your training, so if you leave it on the shelf, it won't live up to it's potential in a stressful situation. Have a couple non-hemostatic gauze as "trainers" to practice wraps and packing wounds as free drills to keep sharp. You do dry Fits in a cargo pocket

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Knock-off medical supplies: Is saving your wallet worth risking your life? 

This warning fully understands that many who seek self sufficiency are not made of money and may be on a fixed income. It's always nice to get a deal on something by finding it online for cheaper, but when does the expression "You get what you pay for" come into play? When does quality become priority over price?  bogusCAT Medical Supplies should be that line in the sand. In  CATS eat RATS: Tourniquet Comparison Article we addressed the difference between tried and true and unproven medical interventions, but now we're talking Knock-Offs and copy cats from trying to save a dime by going through unreliable vendors. Some may justify buying a cheaper tourniquet on non-reputable dealers because the differences aren't obvious to the untrained eye. Would you do that on medical supplies, such as heart or cancer meds? I've seen many post pictures of their medical gear and I've caught fakes, knockoffs and at a minimum outdated gear. For instance, China has a terrible problem with infringing upon patents and not caring about which products they make look-alike. While it can often be harmless stuff such as clothing, there is simply no cheap way to go about quality medical supplies. If there is one thing to not be frugal about, I'd recommend it to be what you have to use on the worst day(s) of your life. I've noticed no explanation needed for people to drop hundreds and hundreds of dollars into weapon accessories, just to turn around and relentlessly search Ebay or auction sites for used or knock off medical supplies. While I'm not denying the effectiveness of firearms and self defense, I will rebuttal with frequency of medical emergencies. How many times in your life have you needed to use your firearm in relation to times you've needed medical intervention? Nobody is immune to this, and you can't always trust "How to spot a fake" guides. Some are nearly identical and it is a fact that even the U.S. Military has bought batches of fake CAT tourniquets that have made their way into the battlefield, where they have failed when needed most. They are frequently used by "Military Simulation" (MILSIM) / Airsoft Operators to match their Plate Carriers to what the SOF uses without the cost. Their game is not life or death, but ours is. [caption id="attachment_1229" align="aligncenter" width="620"]The Boston Bombing is a testament to the proof of tourniquets in civilian, especially mass casualty incidents. The Boston Bombing is a testament to the proof of tourniquets in civilian, especially mass casualty incidents.[/caption] You may get lucky when you roll the dice, but I'll stack the odds in my favor and go into a situation with superior training and equipment. Use a reputable dealer to negate the risks associated with subpar products that you, your loved ones and your patients will need in the most common factor of emergencies: Medical Injuries and Illness. References: CAT Knock-Off - http://www.scribd.com/doc/31121665/Combat-Application-Tourniquet-GEN-III-vs-E-CAT

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Does your Bug Out Bag suck?

The accepted answer is a 72 survival backpack with everything you need in it. Have you asked yourself why 72 hours? Seems kind of arbitrary if you ask me, why not 48 or 96? How long will your disaster last? A Green Berets take on the Bug Out Bag -or- BoB... What's a BoB? The accepted answer is a 72 survival backpack with everything you need in it. Have you asked yourself why 72 hours? Seems kind of arbitrary if you ask me, why not 48 or 96? How long will your disaster last? If you're trying to pass off a tactical glamping pack as a BoB, I'm calling you out. Preppers should start thinking about the mission goal and not the mission gear. What I mean is the goal for BoB should be to get from point A, to Point B. That's it. Now what tools do you need to do that? If your need to get to point B doesn't exist, well then a BoB is not going to help you much. Having spent a few years preparing for evasions in combat zones across the globe, this is a topic I'm intimately familiar with.

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We strongly encourage the use of caches to supplement your bugging out plans. Get the tick target off your back, and go home as fast as you can! If you're actually "bugging out" you should be able to sustain short duration jogging bursts with the BoB on your back....Food for thought. If you're actually bugging out, you're in for a world of hurt, because it's not going to be an easy stroll down the block. It will be a life changing event. [caption id="attachment_682" align="aligncenter" width="660"]Good grief whose hauling this tick? Good grief whose hauling this tick?[/caption] What goes in a bug out bag and why? So many questions, not a lot of consistent answers... Lets simplify the equation: Do you have a need to go from point A to point B during an emergency? From work to home, home to a school, vice versa? In a vehicle, on foot or on a bike? Because there is a difference between a bag you can easily put in a car, and one you easily walk with... Most of the BoBs I've seen floating around the internet are entirely to large, way to complex and couldn't be hauled by a vast majority of the people who need a BoB. Consider small children have been lost in the woods without any supplies, during the cold and have survived. What exactly is it that you NEED?

This is how I rig my personal BoB

https://youtu.be/NBqnSyTp9Rg If you don't know how to use it, why carry it? It's just weight at that point and during the emergency is the worst time to learn. Start thinking a little more Spartan, and slim down your kit to BARE ESSENTIALS. Weight is brutal...Weight is brutal... We need to stop making these comfort packs and calling it a survival rig. Fact is there's no "list" so each mobile kit you produce MUST be tailored to your individual needs and circumstances. In Special Operations we will build our kits to fit the mission profile and evasion plan we going to exercise. There is no bag we grab and call it good to go.

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72 hours is the national average it takes to restore utilities from the onset of an emergency, making it an almost pointless figure to use for real planning. This ranges all the way from Katrina to a local tornado. The number is irrelevant to the need. It's just a planning tool to get you started, it's not gospel. I've had to build a few BoBs over the years for real world missions. These are some of the things I consider: The bag: Preppers tend to recycle surplus milspec bags because there are comfortable and usually modular. Hiking backpacks are too and also have more useful color schemes than just camo and crye. Have you considered luggage? I have a well seasoned traveler I trust when I'm on the road.... Resist the urge to fill empty space...... Time: How long is this bag really supposed to support you? My experience has taught me that once you go over 24 hrs, you're cutting into your speed and mobility. Again, if the goal is to get home.... then uh.... Food: How much? and what kind? Are you trying to just make it home or live comfortably until rescue? Protein powder and meal replacement shakes are a great way to get the fuel you need while conserving space, but then you need water? If it's an emergency do you care if its tasty? Water: Are you really going to carry 3 days worth of water and expect to go very far? Will you purify by filter or chemical? I like chemical because it reduces weight, can you boil? Medical: You better have at least a trauma pack. Do you have chronic meds? Allergies? Hygiene: Get some baby wipes, the appropriate female necessities and move out. Why do you feel like brushing your teeth is a priority during a time like this? If you're in the field long enough to brush your teeth, your Bug out plan is failing. Ammo: Are you trying to carry a combat load? Is there a hill you have to take or hostage you need to rescue on the way home? If you have the mindset of an assaulter you may be over packing. Lighten up and think evasion. Break contact and go home... Fire: Can you start one? Will you bring fuel for a stove? Shelter: Tents are heavy but provide comfort and moral.... Signal Kits: Are you trying to hide or get noticed? It sucks trying to rescue people who have gone out of their way to be unnoticed. A few flares and a radio go a long way...How about a safety vest? Maps: Yep, you still need them. Batteries die and GPS lose signals. The of course geographic essentials: This all goes out the window in an Alaskan winter or Arizona summer....

 

[caption id="attachment_698" align="aligncenter" width="259"]In most cases, Bub out webbing makes more sense! In most cases, Bug out webbing makes more sense![/caption] Have you actually hiked with all this gear? Turns out hiking is harder than most people think so many of the BoBs I've seen people suggest just wont work. They are at best vehicle bags. None of this should exceed 25% of your body weight unless you road march Infantry style on a regular basis... If you feel like you need to have supplies on hand in the event of an emergency, consider building caches. This will lighten your carried load, and if you were separated from your BoB you will still have some food and water for the trip. Keep in mind you KNOW where your trying to go, why not set yourself up for success early on and go bury some emergency bacon... The bottom line having a BoB is an ongoing process where you show me yours and I'll show you mine. It needs to be refined and trained with. I have a general rule, if I don't use it on 3 training or real world missions in a row, its gone. As your life circumstances change, so should your BoB. If the training you're doing either doesn't support using your BoB, or has determined you don't need a BoB changes to your program must be made. Don't just build a BoB because that's what all the "cool" preppers do, create a requirements driven approach to the purchases you make, and generate your requirements from effective training. Planning means nothing with out training.....Rehearse rehearse rehearse...

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