There was a time when I was a prepping newbie and even now, seven plus years later, I have more to do and more to learn. In my heart of hearts, however, I still feel like a beginner and so I empathize with those that are just getting started. They may be moms and dads, seniors like myself, or enlightened millennials. That said, these days I feel fortunate that I have come so far with my prepping activities. Moving beyond obsession, the prepping way of life is now a part of my core. It is “what I do” as well as being a hobby and a passion.
Durable packaging: Can it hold up to abuse, floods from storms, etc. For example, the biggest danger during an earthquake is things falling. Since it’s easy to imagine storing supplies like this on the bottom shelf in a garage, consider how it would hold up to stuff falling on top of the container or flood water coming in. Or zombies… those sneaky zombies.
Speaking of making mistakes here’s one of mine. One of the first things I ‘put back’ (as my Mom use to say in the fall before my Dad was out of work due to bad weather at the quarry), was a couple of extra bottles of vegetable oil. Well, other stuff got in front of them on the shelf and pretty soon they were 3 or 4 years old. Yes, they were rancid when I opened them. Taught me a good lesson on keeping track of what you have and using it before it goes bad. They are marked ‘not to eat’ and are now used to fuel some lanterns outside when we have cookouts.
Testers felt Soylent beat Tsogo on flavor. However, the Tsogo line has a lot of products, such as fruit and vegetable powders and boost packs (protein, caffeine, energy, green tea), so it’s worth checking out. This might be a line of products you want to work into your regular life, so cycling through your supply before it expires would make the shelf-life less of a concern.
It’s impossible to carry all the food you will need for a week unless you’re eating very high density proteins like nuts. Nuts and dried meat are two of the easiest off-the-cuff meals. Canned food has a lot of water that is wasted during the cooking process. Stay away from heavily flavored or salted nuts. The amount of salt present in the unsalted nut mixes is still sufficient enough to replace electrolytes.
This is an obvious one, but if you don’t already have it – or any other lists for that matter – it’s a good list to start with. Having a list of items you’ve got stockpiled helps you to know exactly what you’ve got and what you’re missing, which will help you to remember to buy more of what you need and to refrain from stocking up on more items you’ve already got enough of.
Thomas spoke about these in his article on purifying contaminated water. Basically, the reverse osmosis water purification systems, like the one featured as #5, will take care of larger contaminents. Couple that with ultraviolet disinfection and the rest of water purification is pretty well taken care of without requiring anything too expensive. Remember that this system requires electrical power, so you’re going to need to take that into consideration. But with a solar panel generator, it’ll do the trick perfectly.
I recommend that the very first step you take when prepping is to evaluate the most likely risks specific to your geographical area and your personal domestic situation. Most, if not all, city, county and state governments will have emergency management websites that will help you sort through the most likely disasters to occur in your area. Take advantage of these public resources.
While survivalists accept the long-term viability of Western civilization, they learn principles and techniques needed for surviving life-threatening situations that can occur at any time and place. They prepare for such calamities that could result in physical harm or requiring immediate attention or defense from threats. These disasters could be biotic or abiotic. Survivalists combat disasters by attempting to prevent and mitigate damage caused by these factors.
I know it’s not an incredibly expensive product, but a food dehydrator has been on my prepper wishlist for a long time. They’re so convenient, especially when you have ones with so many racks like the Excalibur on hand. Yes, you can dehydrate foods without one, but it’s not as easy to do, and thus for me, makes it much less likely I’ll actually bother to do it. Major wishlist item here.
One of the “skills” every prepper should learn (and learn this week or next) is foraging for edibles in and around their homes. Search the library or order a book on Amazon…one with pictures…to learn which weeds provide vitamins and minerals and how to spot them (and their poisonous look-a-likes) in YOUR neighborhood. The day MAY come when that is ALL that is available to eat because the mice, rats, birds, cats and dogs have already been dispatched to feed hungry neighbors. Weeds are likely to still be around even after looters have torn out and dug up your gardens in search of food.
Time and time again I’ve seen families buy all of their wheat, then buy all of another item, and so on. Don’t do that. It’s important to keep well-balanced as you build your storage. Buy several items, rather than a large quantity of one item. If something happens and you have to live on your present storage, you’ll fare much better having a one-month supply of a variety of items than a year’s supply of two to three items.
Some products are no different than a normal box of mac and cheese: you boil water in a pot, mix the packaged product into the pot, turn the heat to a simmer, cook, and serve. Others are as simple as pouring boiling water in the pouch and waiting a few minutes. In some cases, the water doesn’t even need to be hot (although flavor and texture is better if it is).
Wheat can be cooked as is but most people will grind the wheat for flour. My favorite manual grain mill is the Wondermill Junior. Grinding flour is hard work, so you will probably prefer an electric mill, too. Wondermill and NutriMill both make very good electric mills in the lower $200 price range. I found my electric mill in a second hand store for about $30, so you might also start checking places like Goodwill and even online — Craigslist or eBay.
A very timely article! I’ve been purchasing some basic dehydrated foods to experiment with this past month or so and hope to start cooking with them in the new year. I want to see what I will use and what, if anything, won’t be as popular. I’m starting small, but really looking forward to playing with them. 🙂 Also, there is something very seductive about not having to worry about whether or not I have any fresh eggs or milk or sour cream on hand just when I need them!
Don’t overlook the importance of a solid financial foundation in prepping — it reduces your chances of an emergency happening in the first place and makes them much easier to handle when they do. Check out our money management basics for normal preppers with tips on building an emergency “rainy day” fund and how to change the way you save, budget, spend, and invest.
Freeze-dried food is nothing new. As early as the 13th century, the ancient Quechua and Aymara people of Bolivia and Peru pioneered a form of the process by exposing potatoes to the freezing temperatures of the Andes overnight, then drying them in the sun. In 1937, Nestlé used industrial technology to create the world’s first freeze-dried coffee, and in the 60s and 70s, the US military shipped freeze-dried food rations to the troops in Vietnam.