This list by necessity is very basic, and I am not claiming to cover every contingency or even a specific common threat in your area. I have weighted this list in general order of importance to let you hit the important things first and go from there, but depending on your locale and situation some elements may be more important or less. This is a guide; use your head and common sense.
When preparing food for storage, take into account the need for future food, if long-term emergencies occur. This would include a space for growing your own food, hydroponics, plant food, and good quality heirloom non-GMO seeds, UV lamps, and good quality earth to grow the seeds in. For tips on how to stock a survival garden, see our topic on homesteading to learn more.
Batteries- Your primary battery-gobblers will be the above flashlights and battery-powered lanterns. Make sure you have plenty of each type you need for all your lights. You can make your life easy by limiting your battery consumption on lights to two types of cell; perhaps one kind for flashlights and headlamps, and one for lanterns. Or you might have one type for low-output utility lights, and another, perhaps CR123 cells for your high-output work and weapon lights.
At $40 for a case of 12, Soylent does a great job replacing solid meals with pre-mixed drinks that can extend your survival food stores by a few days. Each bottle is 400 calories and contains 20% of your daily nutritional needs. Drink five bottles and you’ve got a full day’s worth. They’re also vegan and nut- and lactose-free, with very clear nutritional info.
I don’t encounter any preppers at the school that day, but I do meet women from all over the United States and with all kinds of reasons for wanting to learn how to cut and drill wood, including a young yoga studio employee from Wisconsin who is building some custom shelving for her kitchen appliances and cookbooks, as well as two seniors from Washington, DC, who want to build a set of matching cabinets to house their prized collection of vintage wine glasses. Down by the garden, I meet a pair of women from Missouri who are hoping to go into business flipping houses. “We’re tired of waiting for our husbands to do it,” one of them says.
Your next trip to the grocery can yield extra provision to add to your emergency supply. The next time you have a couple hours of spare time you can scout rural routes out of town, or get in some practice on any number of skills. Even so, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and bewildered staring down all the possible disasters that may occur and all the varied skills to learn and supplies to gather.
I would like to add something, not necessarily to the list, but more like “food for thought” ideas that could very well save you and your family’s life. Living in the South, you “will almost” grow up around some natural disasters, whether it be a hurricane or tornado, most of us here take “prepping” very serious..and we learn a lot from those disasters also (I.e. Hurricane Katrina). I grew up around great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, other relatives and friends, who have a garden, almost for the entire year. Learning to can and freeze food was as natural as brushing your teeth! During the summer, when school is out, we shelled peas, shuck corn(yeah say that fast!), canned beans and tomatoes, picked berries, smashed berries, and, on occasion, churned butter! I wish I had a dollar for every pea I shelled! I be richer than Midas! Knowing these “techniques” can make a huge difference in feeding your family for several months without electricity. There have been lots of times when we would get lunch or diner straight out of the garden, washed and prepped, cooked, and on the plate in a couple of hours. No storage. No refrigeration! Scraps of food went into the garden or compost. And you can cook this stuff straight over an open fire. Two words…”cast iron”…it is a very good investment…it is great to use anywhere…open fire or stove! You don’t have to wash cast iron(I know it does sound gross, but believe it or not, that is the “beauty” of cast iron)..you wipe it out and keep it seasoned. You can cook anything in cast iron, from biscuits…to a cake! People with cast iron can cook almost forever! I would view it as essential. Enough about the garden.
Next, look at ways to become more self-sufficient in water. If you already have a well you’re sorted. Otherwise consider a rainwater catchment system. If you have a stream or river nearby you could build a large water filter and run a pipe to it from the stream, giving you a constant filtered supply. Be adaptable, but find something – without water, your refuge is unsustainable.
Storage is very important. When you are prepping, it is important to store your food in storage containers and NOT in sacks. Moisture is your enemy, as it will lead to mildew, mold, insects, rodents, and germs that you cannot afford to have spread throughout your shelter. If what you are using isn’t food grade, make sure you have food grade plastic lining the buckets or tubs. Food safety and integrity is important to the health of your family. You cannot afford to contaminate your food-stores.
@Cycloneous: Learning any martial arts skill takes years. Too many dojos promote people in order to keep them coming back. Elvis Presley was supposed to hold black belt ratings in several different martial arts. I strongly suspect that if he were to engage in a match with even a first class brown belt in any of those disciplines he would have gotten his butt royally kicked.
EMP attacks, both natural and otherwise, are genuine threats. Once considered “conspiracy theory,” EMP attack threats have been featured in mainstream media publications such as Business Insider and Bloomberg. Natural EMP threats are proven as well. The sun’s solar flares have (and will again) wreaked havoc on our planet during non-technology eras. In 2012, it almost happened again.
This is by no means an exhaustive or comprehensive list of the items available for your long term food storage program. You can tailor your program to your tastes and your budget. Remember the key elements are calories (LOTS), nutritional value (Vitamins and Minerals), storage life, storage space, and flavor. By consulting this list however, you can get a pretty good idea of how to get going on your program.
Still, these extraterrestrial-looking foodstuffs seem to be having something of a moment: For the past four years, Costco has been selling pallets of shriveled vegetables, fruits, grains, and meats that promise to feed a single family for up to a year—and if you’re not a member, you can purchase similar survival kits, many of which boast a 20- to 30-year shelf life, at Walmart and Target. One top seller, Wise Company, saw its sales nearly double over the past four years, reaching around $75 million, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story last November. The company’s CEO, Jack Shields, told me he estimates the industry as a whole generates between $400 and $450 million annually in retail.