Bury Your Mono Vault!
The Mono Vault product line was conceptualized with burial applications in mind. The "s" designation for "standard wall" has a nominal wall thickness of 1/4" and can be seen showing off on the Redneck Laboratories page. We leave you to be the judge in selecting a vault for your particular installation.
As you proceed with your preparations, please keep it in mind that the noble goals of preparedness are entirely defeated if such an effort leads to injury or death. Thus the following warning...
WARNING: CHILDREN CAN FALL INTO A BUCKET AND DROWN. KEEP CHILDREN AWAY FROM CONTAINERS WITH EVEN A SMALL AMOUNT OF LIQUID. DO NOT LEAVE AN OPEN VAULT OR PARTIAL INSTALLATION UN-ATTENDED AS PEOPLE OR ANIMALS MAY STEP OR FALL INTO THE OPENING. SECURE ALL INSTALLATIONS AGAINST HAZARDS TO PEOPLE OR ANIMALS WHO MAY OR MAY NOT BE AWARE OF THE PRESENCE OF A BURIED VAULT. DO NOT STORE FIREAMRS WHERE THEY ARE ACCESSIBLE TO CHILDREN.
Moisture is bad so let's talk humidity. Here is what we understand... Moisture can go through plastic. Those water bottles we buy in cases at Walmart don't look like they leak but they do! The water vapor molecule goes through the plastic allowing the contents to slowly evaporate right through the wall of the bottle (not to be confused with condensation which comes from the outside air). This is not usually a problem because it happens slowly. When it comes to caching, any moisture that gets in is bad. ...So use desiccant in your monovault! The desiccant 'adsorbs' (different word from 'absorbs' but for our purposes it means about the same) the moisture to keep the air dry up to the capacity of the desiccant. More is better. Some desiccants are corrosive. We like silica gel desiccants. We also advise the use of Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor (VCI) products. VCI bags provide both protective chemistry and another physical barrier between your goods and the moisture that wants to harm them.
Temperature Stability is good! As temperature rises so does the pressure in the vault pushing up and out on all surfaces including the lid and gaskets. As temperature falls the lid is sucked down tighter and tighter and the vault wants to hourglass. If the vault 'breathes' with temperature cycling then fresh moisture is introduced which may compromise the contents. If liquid water is present at the gasket then bad things can happen. Seek temperature stable locations.
Let's talk shop....Your Mono Vault will float. While this is great on the water, it is not so good in burial applications. Clay soils of an excavated hole can inhibit drainage of any water that may collect. Water collected in the hole can impart tremendous floating forces on your Mono Vault, driving it to the surface and then some. It is advisable to anchor your vault effectively with appropriate compaction or the addition of hardening or sealing agents. A few sacks of concrete in the clean bottom of your backfill can serve to anchor the vault to the bottom of the hole. Use caution with concrete in the vicinity of the lid as most concretes will shrink as they cure and may cause some distortion of the vault and critical sealing surfaces. Choose your site carefully to avoid natural drainages that may direct water to your vault. Slightly sloped or cresting locations may be best. Remember to mark your site for recovery. One way is to identify two landmarks and record the distances from each. Another is to record the GPS location. Watch the accuracy of your GPS device. Plus or minus 10 feet can mean a 20 foot circle to dig in.
If security is an issue and your goal is to avoid detection by metal detectors, avoid storing metal items. If metal items are to be stored, use a deeper vault buried vertically and disguise the site by salting with metal scrap such as nails, food tins, or other debris that might be logically encountered in the area. New electro-galvanized nails in an old mining area will not likely fool anyone. You might also consider locating the vault on a line or cross fence, next to a metal t-post and slightly under the fence wire. These comments apply to your own property. We do not condone any activity that would amount to littering on public property. Educate yourself as to any applicable federal, state, or local laws.
A few words on the Burial Shield.This stout Polyethylene cap protects the lid from physical damage when buried. In a vertical orientation (ALWAYS INSTALL YOUR MONOVAULT VERTICALLY) the Burial Shield directs water off and away from the gasketed lid within providing an additional level of protection for the stored contents. The Burial Shield also protects the lid from damage due to human traffic though we do recommend adequate soil cover to disperse such loads. As we do not have an Elk on staff, we have not tested the Mono Shield for abuse by Mr. Bull Elk stamping his frustration in the Fall. You will want to keep local wildlife and domestic livestock in mind when selecting your installation site and bury depth. Excessive weight from cover materials or traffic can distort the Burial Shield transferring a portion of the load to the lid below. The Burial Shield is also very useful in recovery. The Burial Shield protects the inner lid from shovel damage as you remove soil cover. Once soil cover is removed down to the lower edge, the Burial Shield can be removed providing a clean access to the lid. This reduces the risk of debris entering your Mono Vault upon opening and the potential for fouling of the gasket seal upon closure. The Burial Shield can be secured to the Vault body with a Lock Strap available as an accessory.
In high frost areas where the ground freezes deeper than the cover soil, it may be advisable to cover your Mono Vault with a piece of foam insulation below the cover soil and extending a couple of feet out from the perimeter of the vault. This insulation can reduce freezing of the soils around the neck of the Mono Vault and the resulting pressures and possible distortion. Be aware that such insulation can also slow snow melt so don't use a square piece that will leave an unnatural looking residual snow pile. How much insulation? Reference the ASCE standard for the "Design and Construction of Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations" for ideas on insulation practices for your area that you can apply to your Mono Vault installation.
Those of you in areas with tunneling varmints may wish to place some chicken wire or such in your backfill to discourage the critters from taking an interest in your Mono Vault and the relatively soft fresh backfill. you can wrap the mesh directly around the vault but spacing it away an inch or two would be even better. Some drain rock or even concrete in the backfill can further armor your vault installation.
For more ideas on general burial and recovery methods, search the Internet. There are a lot of folks out there sharing their thoughts and experiences.
What might one bury?
Food, water purifying means, medicine, guns, ammunition, cleaning kit, spare parts, first aid supplies, gold, silver, jewelry, radio, cyalume sticks, shelter, basic survival gear, basic tools, clothing...