Sunday, July 18, 2010

Praxis: Some Experience in Storing Items in a Humid Climate

This is why I always store any perishables in the proverbial "cool, dry place." And if the place is not cool and dry, I pack it and cache it so it is.

My source for free used food-grade 5 gallon buckets -- WalMart -- has recently changed policy and no longer gives them out. There are other grocery bakeries who still do. Sealing anything in a 5-gallon plastic pail and burying it below the frost line in a cache (or stashing it in a cool cave) will almost always keep it fresh. We recently opened and tested some 15 year old five gallon bucket caches (some buried, some caved), including ammo and MREs. No signs of corrosion or spoilage.

Large items -- ALICE packs on frames, USGI packboards, large sleeping bags, small tents, camouflage netting -- can be stored in footlocker sized "Tuff Boxes."

You can seal any container with a large enough bead of silicone.

Remember that any container (except steel ammo cans) can be chewed through by rodents to get at what's inside. After about 1998, we would include a liberal spraying of the outside of the sealed containers (and the storage area if possible) with pest repellent.

We have always sprayed inside of containers with insecticides of various kinds (be sure and let them dry out completely before sealing).

For electronic stuff such as radios and field telephony equipment that requires the improvising of an EMP-resistant Faraday cage, I am fond of the South African steel ammo cans in 7.62 NATO and .50 BMG.

South African ammo can in 7.62 NATO (The .50 BMG can is larger).

These require some hole-plugging with silicone-daubed bolts/nuts in the drainage holes on the bottom and, if cached, a bead of silicone around the lid.

For storage of books and other perishables in conditions where rodents are known to be, I prefer USGI 20MM steel ammo cans as below.

I have a quite extensive collection of US Field and Technical Manuals stored in 7 of these. Smaller collections of FMs and TMs can be secured in intermediate size ammo cans such as the SAW ammo can.


MadDawg308 said...

Mike, just a note about something I have found useful for storage of large items, such as ALICE packs or misc field gear:

There are a number of manufacturers of airtight, watertight cases that make cases for the US Military, for storage and transport of sensitive electronic equipment. When the electronics are used up, or outdated, the cases (minus the equipment) get surplussed out. One of the best manufacturers is Hardigg. They make some very thick plastic, yet watertight cases that have numerous thumb-screw type clasps all around the lid to clamp the lid to the case, and they work great.

Retails for $200 or more for the bigger ones, but when they surplus them out in lots of 10-100 pieces, they sell for $20-30 each on average on the government surplus website. Get a bunch of your friends together and buy a pile of them at once, biggest problem you're gonna have is finding a way to move a huge lot of them at once!

Hope this helps,

Loren said...

This an issue for caching, especially later after they start really watching for it. Someone who knows how to age a dig site and trail FAST would do well to spread the knowledge.

Another issue is ground penetrating radar. This requires a bit more sophisticated solution, such as someone designing a "stealth" cover to put on top of a cache to conceal it. Someone with access to supercomputer time needs to do that.

Dakota said...

Good article ... I have a lot of my stuff in the 5 gallon pails also. My food cache is either in them or in 50 gallon honey barrels with the removable top. All ammo in "cans" and whatever I can adapt over for use.

Restaurants are an excellent source for containers. There are a couple of different style buckets the round and then a somewhat square model that is excellent for food. If you can find a large fancy Italian restaurant they import olives in a small drum type with a 2 piece lid somewhat like a quart jar that I keep rice and other kitchen goodies in they hold about 4 gallons and there are larger models that I have gotten at Indian restaurants that are about 8 gallon size. Also don't overlook the 1 gallon size screw lid jars that they get stuff in ... they throw those out by the handful and they are great for beans rice etc.

All this stuff goes in the dumpster but sometimes they will hold it back for you for a couple of bucks here and there. You just have to ask. I always tell them I buy at Sams club and need storage containers.