Not So Secret Cache Part 1 The Stash Somewhere Duffel

Not So Secret Cache

The idea is a duffel bag, it can lay there under a table or on a shelf, a not so secret cache. The old army and navy surplus type, full of ‘stuff’ that I would keep at a friend’s house, tucked somewhere in a corner of his basement.

I am sure the type of bag is due to having one at home when I was a kid, the bag was about my height then, and I remember having a weird fascination with it. That old dusty and empty bag only lives in my memory.

Not So Secret Cache

My ‘friend’ doesn’t want to get in trouble, so everything in there is legal, and if he opens it up one day, he would not get in trouble in the least.

  • This is the first part in a multi-part series on a not so secret cache.
  • Transparency warning! :)This article series contains Amazon associate links.


  • My assumption is that you have friends or family a distance from your home that is willing to hold a ‘bag’ for you.
  • You want to have ‘something’ at least, somewhere. (This is for the preparedness skeptic)
  • This cache should not break the bank.
  • This is from a Northern USA point of view. Other American eco-regions posts are in the works.
  • Plan around your plans, not mine.

The Duffel Bag

4812 or 4812M -Type I bag?

The classic looking duffel bag is tried and true both in design and construction. I liked the top loader design, similar to the ultra-lightweight hiking backpack I currently use, and never had an issue with the olive drab color. The zippered kind that I own has a weak zipper, perhaps it’s my lesson for buying a cheap no-name brand, my zippered duffel is also black and gets visibly grungy real quick (which led me to stop using it, it stands out like a beacon though it’s black). Having said that, if you are not going to stuff it to the gills, the zippered kind might work for you. It makes the contents much more accessible. Maybe I can still use it to store sleeping bags. What do you think?

This one is known as “Bag, Duffel, OD Green” NSN: 8465-01-117-8699.

At some point, someone smartened up and added straps to the classic duffel so that the whole thing can be carried like a giant backpack. it is definitely a way better duffel design at this point. While you are at it, this and the previous bag are prime territory for DIY additions, sew a pocket here or there, maybe be crazy and throw on some PALS webbing on it

Improved Duffel Bag, OD Green, USGI. NSN 8465-01-604-6541.

The newer kind of US military duffel looks very much like a toughened piece of luggage. I have not tried it, can’t comment on it, but I will likely buy one (if it’s cheap and is better than any alternative) to try it out, load it up, leave it at a friend’s home.

I hope, that without saying it, you understand the DUFFEL BAG, as cool as they look, is an analog for any container of your stuff that can be stowed at a friend’s home. The not so secret cache can be anything you put stuff in.


This is for your soul, interpret that as you will. I like the idea of doing whatever I do for the right reason, to have a set of values that I want to pass on to my son, and therefore hope.

For Your Secret Cache
The Good News.

You might want to have a small bible or sacred texts for the faith you adhere to. I can’t comment on any versions beyond a Christian Bible since I have not spent time with anyone that can provide me with that information on any other faiths at the moment. If you believe, you will know what to keep.

You can also get free bibles.

If you don’t believe, you might still need a spiritual magnet that keeps your needle pointing north. Maybe its Marcus Aurelius, or some Herman Hesse you can find them used all over the place, cheap.

Secret Cache Clothing

Think closet, maybe clothes that are a size too big, extra socks, the winter boots you never used. That may end up in your not so secret cache and by doing that get an extra life or use, instead of the trash can.


Flip-floppy level

A Croc.

You will want some flip-flops or sandals or some other light footwear to wear around the house. I recommend Crocs! Once upon a time I really disliked these, I thought they looked stupid, dumb, clumsy. Then I was given a pair (they were on sale in a Walmart in Florida) and … well, they replaced my flip-flops (which went into storage) and sandals (which went into the garbage bin) Yes Crocs!

They are hardier than most cheap flip-flops, are themselves cheap, and protect (to a certain degree) the toes.

For Your Secret CacheIf you are in the northern shelf of the USA or in Canada, some are sold lined in fancy camo or vanilla colors for those cold nights, or days when you need to look fashionable.

Flip-flops beat crocs in at least two ways: weight and shower wear.

Day in Day out level

Vasque Sundowner Gore-Tex

Boots, I don’t wear them hiking, but when it comes to prepping I have the trusty Vasque I use to be a Sundowner guy, I mean I used them a ton, then little by little went to lighter shoes when hiking. 

For Your Secret Cache
Vasque St. Elias GTX

Currently, my most substantial boots are the lighter St. Elias GTX. I still find boots way too heavy in general, but I rather keep my ankles safe in case of an evacuation on foot, then risk a major injury.

Now, I am not advocating Vasque specifically here, just telling you what boots I have used, you might have a hankering for GI or GI-inspired boots or no boots at all! That’s up to you.

I always wanted Limmer boots, but by the time I could afford them I didn’t use them for hiking.

Merrell Moab Ventilator

I used Merrell Moab Ventilators for years but for hiking switched to something lighter, over time I had about five pairs and loved them, the last pair was in 2016 which saw action in the first section of The Florida Trail.

Other levels

These are all suggestions. Hopefully, they will make you think and question, you can or could add another ‘level’ of shoes.

I have some ‘Mud Boots’ that I bought on special at Cabela’s and Kamik Nationplus boots, but would not leave either in a duffel, they take up space.


Mountaineering OTC Extra Cushion.

Nice wool socks, or a wool mix. Smartwool was my go-to for years, then a mix of Smartwool and Darn Tough, like the ones to the left, then finally the strategy became ‘whatever kept my feet warm’, enter: Wolverine (I think that was their name, it’s not on the sock, which I still have three years later) a brand I found at Walmart, these paired with the aforementioned Kamik’s were a success, these were two pairs of socks for ten bucks.


Cold and Rain, that’s what comes to mind when ‘Outerwear’ is mentioned, and that’s what I am referring to. A good, warm coat and something to keep water off of you, and I mean plan for torrential rain!

My go-to cold coat was never upgraded, I know, I know shame on me. I can’t pretend that I am perfect, I have a Carhartt jacket which is now two sizes too big and was replaced by a similar Patagonia jacket from their ‘workwear’ line. I would definitely leave either of these in a duffel, though too heavy to bug out with.

For Your Secret Cache
Alpha Industries N-3B Parka

Though in reality, I want a packable, waterproof, and warm parka for this bag something like the N-3B or similar parka/anorak with an attached hood or even a well made capote. Canada Goose and Swazi make some sweet ones, the prices are astronomical.

Currently, I have a Marmot PreCip waterproof jacket, it offers no insulation whatsoever. This is great for hiking, but not for my not so secret cache.


The same stuff I use for hiking. Synthetic and light, they scrunch up real small and would be shoved in the shoes with the socks to save space. I have none to recommend, I bought mine at Walmart in Maine. I honestly can’t remember a brand, I will try and edit this post when I find them.

You also want some tops, short and long sleeves. Again, I got nothing remotely interesting to recommend.

I will stick long johns here, instead of below under insulation, because of the next-to-skin nature of their use. At a Tractor Supply Company (an awesome store IMHO), again in Maine, I got some Indera long john’s (tops and bottoms) on sale, they helped a lot in winter where the mean Feb. the temp was 5F. They are the ‘natural’ color ones with that waffle-like weave, I would throw a set of these in the duffel.

Once back in NY I found some Terramar Military Fleece Bottom long johns type thing, at half-price on special, so I picked up a pair for my wife and one for myself. These are a great layer next to a wicking layer, warm as embers!


Layer up, layering is the way to go, if you didn’t know that, now you do. Sweaters, hoodies, vests and so on.

I have used ‘hiking’ types of insulation garments for years now:

Fleeces from REI. The design has been changed, as it often happens, for the worse.  I won’t link the current version of the fleece. Also, a Marmot 1/2 zip lightweight fleece, in yellow! on sale. It has worked out OK, a little too light for a full winter in the Northeast though.

The latest of these was a Micro Puff synthetic down jacket on sale from Patagonia, which I would definitely stick in a duffel, though it might be for inside use only, I don’t think I’d bet my life bugging out to it.

Many moons ago I used a cheap fleece vest, come to think of it I used it for a long while, I bought at a sportswear store. it was warm, but would not pack too small, and the armholes were really wide, too wide even for my real big and tall body back then. No more vests for me.

For Your Secret Cache
Carhartt Men’s Rain Defender Rutland Thermal Lined.

Almost 20 years ago I had three Carhartt sweaters, they were oven hot, I mean blazing hot! A full zip hoodie, a pullover, also yellow! I also bought it during a sale. and a brown pullover.

The pullovers were taken over by my then partner, the hoodie I kept until it fell apart on me. That hoodie I would gladly keep in a duffel even though it weighed as much as my newborn son.

Not So Secret Cache, Part 2

Next time we keep talking clothes, and also about equipment, eating & drinking, sleeping, and maybe more.



PS. Review this post, please. Writing, content, information, links, everything you want, if I can’t write well enough to help then I have to improve. 🙂