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Survivalist Stash

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"It's not paranoia if you're right."
Old Saying

It's The End of the World as We Know It, or at least whatever small part of it the protagonist used to live in, and in the ensuing chaos our worn down, desperate and starving heroes stumble upon a Survivalist's Stash. It seems someone was Crazy-Prepared enough to assemble a shelter, bunker, or some other refuge with all the essentials: food, water, an electric generator, a first aid kit, and good old guns!

The heroes will marvel at their good fortune, and lament the irony that the person responsible for this bounty died without being able to take advantage of it. Or did they?

Much like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, they may be trespassing into a very well-armed crazy survivalist's home without realizing it! Odds are even that they'll manage to defuse the following armed confrontation, though they may end up being chased out or having to kill the survivalist in self defense.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The 7 Fujis in 7 Seeds are shelters built to withstand indefinite time and are filled with food and other necessities for the teams and their guides that were sent to the future.
    • The Fuji ship (the 8th Fuji) was a ship-shelter for part of humanity, filled with everything to keep their survival going, but also filled to the brim with lots and lots of guns. It also functions as a vertical launch for rockets, including a nuclear blaster, to hit all of Japan in case things look completely hopeless without a chance to restore itself over there, although it luckily has a turn-off switch for this. You can guess how things ended for them.

    Comic Books 
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: During the second Universo story arc, the Legion has been outlawed and everyone on Earth turned against them by the mind-controlling villain. All their resources have been stripped away. Good thing they just happen to stumble across one of Lex Luthor's old hideaways, still fully stocked and functional after a thousand years.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Zombieland, the survivors find a Hummer stocked with automatic weapons.
    Tallahassee: Thank God for rednecks!
  • The subterranean bomb shelter in The Road, stocked with food and high-quality booze.

  • Done in the Doctor Who New Adventures novel Sky Pirates!, when the heroes are stuck on an ice planet. Not a survivalists' bunker, though, but a stash left by arctic explorers.
  • In N.K. Jemisin's The Broken Earth trilogy, every established human community has at least one of these, as part of the Ragnarök Proofing instructions commanded by quasi-religious stonelore. It is justified due to Father Earth being angry and unpredictably triggering the global catalysms known as Fifth Seasons. During a Season, comms go under martial law to protect their storecaches from one another - and comms sending people on suicide missions to recover supplies from other stashes is an established practice (otherwise, they will resort to cannibalism).
  • The heroes in Stephen King's Zombie Apocalypse novel Cell loot the home of the neighborhood gun-enthusiast for weapons and ammunition.
  • The Stockpiles in Deathlands are the US government's version of these; unfortunately there's no more United States left. Intrepid Merchant The Trader has become quite wealthy and powerful in this Scavenger World due to his ability to locate these hidden government stashes.
  • Two downplayed examples in The Famous Five: In Five Run Away Together, George reveals that her mother has a cupboard full of tinned food in her bedroom at Kirrin Cottage, in case they get snowed in. In Five Get Into Trouble, the villains' very isolated hideout is extremely self-contained, including cows and hens, and Julian suspects that they have stacks and stacks of tinned food.
  • In the Mistborn series, it turns out that Lord Ruler had made a number of these specifically in case of his defeat. They come in real useful when the shit hits the fan in the third book.
  • Discussed, invoked and ultimately deconstructed in The Postman. The original stashes were things worth searching and killing for. Meaning that all the preppers, with their one-man bunkers and fortified homesteads, were the target of other groups of survivalists, with the vicious cycle of raids and new owners going for as long as the content of each stash lasted. Whatever supplies that are still around to be found by the time the story proper is set are really well hidden (and usually just useless stuff, too), or simply suspicious enough to be left behind - at one point Gordon, the main character, leaves behind what appears to be a perfectly fine jar of preserves, because for whatever reason all the previous scavengers going through that basement over the past decade left it and Gordon isn't willing to risk finding out why.
  • The Road by Cormac Mccarthy. The creator of the bunker is dead.
  • Late in Small Game the survivors find a well-stocked cabin. Mara theorizes that it's a survivalist's bug-out rather than a hunting lodge.
  • Naturally The Survivalist (the action-adventure series by Jerry Ahern) had the title character's excessively well-equipped bunker. It does take him some time to reach it though, and a lot more time to find his family and get them there as well.
  • In one part of World War Z, one of the survivors comes across a truck absolutely loaded down with canned food, weapons, and other survival gear. In a rather ironic twist, the driver did himself in, apparently from despair.
    • She doesn't use any of it because she still had her military issued gear and since it's all civilian gear it would just weigh her down, and in a Zombie Apocalypse speed and mobility is everything.
  • Prior to the Waterless Flood, the God's Gardeners in The Year of the Flood are encouraged to build and maintain "Ararats", basically food stores meant to enable them to survive the apocalypse. Given the nature of the Flood when it does come, the Ararats don't do most of the Gardeners much good.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica has Helo and "Sharon" find a stash of food and anti-radiation meds in a cafe. Of course, it was probably planted by the Cylons.
  • Lost. Station 3 The Swan is stocked with food, an armory and various equipment.
  • The simulated-apocalypse reality show The Colony requires its participants to accumulate and defend the resources they need, creating an example of this trope for themselves.
  • On an episode of Elementary, Holmes and Watson investigate the murder of a rich doctor who was a doomsday prepper. The man had invested $100,000 in a high-class bunker for the rich complete with game room, lavish furnishing and more. However, Sherlock is quickly able to determine the entire thing is a scam as the boxes of "supplies" are empty, the walls behind the paneling are cracked and moldy and the door to the "generator room" opens to a brick wall.
    • It turns out this was the key to the murder: The doctor had gotten in deep selling painkillers to a gang and needed to make up for a lost order, so broke into the bunker to use the supposed hordes of pills there. Too late, he realized it was a scam as there were no supplies at all and his partner (worried the continued selling to the gang would ruin thier practice), killed him.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • BattleTech has Brian Caches, massive, hidden structures (often built into mountains) on numerous planets across the Inner Sphere that were built by the Star League. Three centuries after the Star League collapsed, Brian Caches are still massively valuable treasure troves filled with military equipment that can be powered up and used with minimal effect, making them sought after by pretty much everyone.
  • Both GURPS After the End and GURPS Reign of Steel have dedicated mechanics and tables for resolving scavenging rolls, where finding a pre-cataclysm stash is the top-most result. In case of the AtE, if it's explicitly a survivalist stash itself that's being scavenged, the table provided gives far superior outcomes and better gear than "regular" search.
  • The Morrow Project adventure Prime Base. The title installation has everything a Morrow Project team could want, if they can figure out how to make it operational.

    Video Games 
  • This is a frequent occurrence in the Fallout games, with the whole post apocalyptic scenario going on, it's no wonder. You can find and loot ones lying around, and it's very likely that you'll end up building up a few of your own ones.
  • Both Left 4 Dead games feature them. Most levels begin and end in a saferoom stocked with guns, ammunition, and medical supplies. There's also one in The Sacrifice's comic, a sailboat stocked with food, guns, ammo, and medkits.
  • In the Zombie Apocalypse game Rogue Survivor, you can put together your own Survivalist Stash! Of course, how long you can protect it (and yourself) from the undead, bikers, gangsters, starving looters, and all the other psychopathic jerkasses is another question...
  • In Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead, it is not uncommon to find basements containing a corpse with a damaged gun behind a sandbag barricade, and with several useful survival supplies such as tools, more guns, and food. Fortunately for you, it is usually safe to use this basement for yourself.
  • Project Zomboid: A rare occurence is a house spawning with most or all of the first-floor entrances barricaded, a large crowd of zombies on the outside and a generous supply of weapons and ammo, as well as a kitchen stocked to the brim with tinned food. Evidently, someone saw it coming and didn't sit on his or her laurels. Creating your own stashes is the best long-term survival strategy: nomadism and living hand-to-mouth is also viable, but certainly much harder.
  • Far Cry 5 has Prepper Stashes, which are locations set up around the map that you have to figure out how to get into (most of them involve some sort of puzzle or platforming). They hold nice supplies of ammo, meds, weapons, and most useful of all, perk magazines that give you extra perk points.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Robert Wayne Atkins created emergency food supply lasting one year. The author also mentions that it takes a lot of room to store that amount.