The reason the vacuum sealing system’s up on this list is because I feel food has a much longer “shelf life” so to speak when its vacuum sealed before being thrown in the freezer. Used to have a lot of power outages when we lived in Toronto, and each time our food would thaw out a little it’d taste worse and worse – except for the one vacuum sealed slab of meat we got from a neighbour which I think withstood 2-3 power outages (one which lasted 4-5 days) and tasted as though it was vacuum packed the day before. I’ve also heard of people vacuum packing rice into smaller one-serving portions, and have always thought that a great idea for cases you might want to throw a bunch into a pack and go, or just generally extend the shelf life of your food/prevent rats and mice from getting into things. Necessary? No. Definitely still something I want, though.
With freeze dried foods you can get a good selection of nutritionally balanced foods and they are easy to carry, even if you have to bug out. They have a very long shelf-life of up to 25 years. The only drawback is if you don’t have water, you can’t rehydrate your food. Plus, it is ideal to have warm water so you can have a warm meal, so if there is no way to heat your water, then you will be eating a cold meal.
One can infer from commentary in newspapers and writings of folks commenting on the current scene that weather was bad. I can remember folks still talking about the winter of ’88 when I was a kid. I do believe as a personal belief that war creates world wide different weather patterns. I believe it is due to the smoke and dust thrown into the air by shelling, now also bombing, and fires that create some temporary misalignment in world weather patterns. I know from personal observation in the desert that contrails can affect the temperature on the ground locally.
I do think there is a near universal “beginner’s checklist”. Regardless of where you live or what disasters tend to occur in your area (hurricanes, earthquakes, volcano eruptions), people still need the same basic supplies–water, food, medical, solid footwear and clothing. If you live in a tropical or subtropic climate like I do, your water needs will be greater than if you live in a cooler climate. I actually recommend the Texas Baptist’s Men’s water filtration system–cf. https://tbmtx.org/. You can pick up a system similar to the Big Berkey for a fraction of the cost. In terms of food, I think the author’s recommendation–that you just buy more of what you ordinarily use–is sound advise. Remember to rotate your food supplies–first in, first out. If you get a few extra cans each week, you can quickly build a three month supply of foods that your family regularly consumes. Once you get to a three-month food supply, it’s time to look into longer term food storage. I think the LDS Online Store is a great value. I think there are certain items every household should have–flashlights, extra batters, a cooler, extra ice in the freezer (I live in hurricane country), at least a shotgun and a handgun, extra ammo, a decent medical kit and so forth.
There’s going to be a fire risk in your bunker, and it could even be in the walls. Many professional companies use Expanded Polystyrme (EPS) foam blocks which, according to Clarence Mason of Tempest Building Systems, are highly flammable and full of toxic chemicals in an attempt to make it less flammable. They should, ideally, be encased with something that is not flammable, but because they’re used in part to reduce costs, you might be tempted not to.
Hi, GNP. While, as a fellow Canuck, I applaud your noble sentiments I fear that in a true extended grid-down situation your idealism could be viewed as naivete and could get you and your neighbours killed or worse. And I am not criticizing or judging you but I don’t think most of us can imagine how bad it might get if a true SHTF situation arises. If you live a bit out of the bigger cities, once the looters are finished with them they will turn their eyes to the agricultural hinterland surrounding the cities. They will have no choice unless they all become cannibals. Once the food is completely gone from the major centres the mass of the population will spread like locusts across the land raping and pillaging and stealing whatever they can to survive. They will band together in gangs to survive and that will be very difficult to defend against. In any siege situation the advantage is always with the aggressor. They will wear you down bit by bit over time. I have to laugh at the notion of all the very rich secreting themselves in their hidden bunkers to wait out the end of the hostilities. What is there going to be for them to come back to? And if the attackers are determined enough their bunkers are going to be peeled back like so many sardine cans and the insides scooped out for good eatin’. LOL! If we’re talking bible stuff somewhere in there it says something like that no one can hide in caves or things like that if the worst comes to pass. I can see your idea working if you get together with ALL your neighbours before our worst nightmares come to pass and getting EVERYONE in your neighbourhood to start prepping now if they already haven’t done so. And you all have to be of like mind with a self-sufficient survivalist mindset. Everyone needs to have some farming or hunting skills and EVERYONE needs to be armed. AS long as they ALL understand it’s for the common good. Everyone has to bring their own particular skillset to the table and be prepared to work very hard to supplement the dwindling original food supply without the weekly virgin sacrifice. LOL! But that is also fraught with danger if there are laggards that refuse to prep and then they of course know who has supplies stashed away. There is no easy answer. Again, I’m not criticizing. You have to do what you think is right. I’m just trying to open your eyes as to what the reality of the situation may become. As bad as most of us think that things can get I don’t think most of us realize that whatever we can imagine the reality would be a 100 times worse. Under the right circumstances people can succumb to true evil and unfortunately too many people have watched shows like “The Walking Dead” giving them many “good” ideas as to what to do to survive. Unless you have a warehouse full of food and water stashed away you have no chance of even saving a small percentage of your neighbours. And once the easy food and water is gone there is a very good chance of them turning on you. As horrible as it sounds, once the food is gone, then starving people need to be treated like rabid dogs or they WILL pull YOU under and then all your effort is for naught. The only real solution I see is to try and move to a small community where the people are already used to being self-sufficient and settling there until some kind of order is restored. I live on a small crescent in what is still a fairly small town and my neighbours are the best. At the moment! LOL! It’s like a small community within a community. Maybe 200 houses. You do the math as to how many people. I have no hope in hell trying to save as many people as I can with the meager supplies I have managed to put away. As far as I can tell no one here is prepping or has fruit trees in their back yards or any thoughts for the future. And of course no one here knows what I’m doing. As far as they’re concerned I’m a poor, dumb, harmless old man. That suits me fine. I’ll leave you with one last story and it surprised the heck out of me. Came across a video on YouTube and there were three young men. Maybe mid 20’s. Not in any particular good or bad shape. Summertime. They wanted to see how far they could walk in 24 hours starting from the very bottom of Yonge street right by the lake. In 24 hours those sons of a bitches made it all the way up to Barrie. Didn’t think it could be done that quickly. The point being that once the people in the major centres like Toronto run out of food they will start to head north. And we’re talking millions of people. Once that happens the people north of the major centres will be in deep, deep shit. Hope we all have a lot of a ammo. I know that I’m going to get blasted for these comments but that can’t be helped. And I’m also sorry that I think so little of human nature but in a true disaster scenario events will play out quite differently as compared to the many sanitized versions that Hollywood loves to portray. As I say there is no easy answer or no easy solution and when the time comes many very difficult decisions will HAVE to made. OldNamVet has seen the reality of combat and what he proposes makes much more sense to me. Show whatever compassion you can to those refugees that come to your door but then very politely but firmly send them on their way and make sure that they understand this is a one time deal. When the time comes we will all be forced to become hard as diamonds while still retaining some semblance of our humanity. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Disturbing news from the Southern Carribean. The World Bank just “ruled” against Venezuela in favor of oil giant ConocoPhillips, saying they could “seize” their government owned oil assets. All this while Russian nuclear bombers and naval vessels have been sighted in the area. Venezuela, already on the verge of collapse, may be the next flash point in the world. Lawsuit Article Link
Edible landscaping provides another potentially important supplement to your storage foods. Instead of planting ornamental trees, plant fruit trees. Instead of ordinary shrubs, plant blueberry bushes. Fruiting vines, blackberries, and things of this nature are great to have around in the best of times, they can be life savers in the worst of times.
I believe that the only real weakness in this article is the insistence that needing to add a lot of water is a downside to a particular food. Water is life. If you do not have an essentially unlimited supply of water, you will die when it runs out, and food is entirely irrelevant. If there isn’t an essentially unlimited supply on your property (well, stream, lake, etc), nor a nearby supply you can lug to your property, then you need to abandon your place and go somewhere that has water.
MRE stands for Meals Ready to Eat and they are essentially military food. This is the type of food soldiers are provided with when they aren’t near a facility or camp that has a mess hall. MREs come in cases of 12 and each waterproof foil bag contains one three-course meal. When you get MREs, you can choose from so many options that the variety is pretty decent. There are even vegetarian meals available. Brands of MREs include:
Dehydrating your food is a fabulous way to preserve it. Provided you have a dehydrator, you can dehydrate fruit, vegetables, and meat. Dehydration means to literally take the water out of the food. Without water, the food stays is less susceptible to spoilage. It can be eaten that way (think fruit leathers or beef jerky) or rehydrated and put into soups and stews and other meals.
When doing a mixed container, I put the Ziploc bag with various condiments from Taco Bell and other places, salt, pepper, hot sauce soup mixes and lots of things which can be put in the cracks and crevices in there. Also, put in the Ziploc with matches( in a small spice bottle) a couple of boxcutters and a manual can opener. Sam’s had tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, etc. for three dollars and change per #10 can.
It is hard learning to garden. I just put in my first huge garden a couple of years ago. One thing that I did learn…. is that there are many different ways to garden. There are many books at the library about different types of gardening and of course the internet has a wealth of knowledge. Everyone of course, thinks that their way is the best. Good luck with the garden.
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.
With that goal in mind, let me say this: this is not a list of items intended for deep storage. Nor is it a list of items packaged so that they have a 25 year shelf life. (And in reality, do you really need your stored food to last that long?) I am also not going to list items that might be foreign to your palate, difficult to find, or too costly to absorb into your weekly shopping budget.
Clothing and Footwear- Appropriate to your locale and weather. Aside from being able to dress to the environment and weather conditions, you should consider practical utilitarian clothing that will help you succeed. Tough, breathable, flexible, quick-drying clothing paired with gloves and sturdy boots or hiking shoes will help you negotiate dangerous man-made or natural environments and give you a degree of protection against incidental scrapes, pokes and slices.
My number one tip, though, is to go through your cupboards and closets and remove those items that are duplicates, that you rarely use, or that you do not use at all. For example, in your kitchen, how may different pots and pans do you need? My guess is that you use the same two or three over and over again. Stow the extras in the basement, attic, or garage, or give them away to charity. Trust me, they will not be missed. The same thing applies to seldom used clothing, shoes and sports equipment.
If you live in a hot and humid environment, you have to store the food a little differently. I live in Florida, and I recommend sealing 1 lbs to 5 lbs in mylar bags and storing those in sealed 5 gallon buckets. It creates a double barrier and smaller bag sizes if you have to open them in an emergency. It might seem more expensive, but it is better than losing everything to water or humidity. It also makes great barter material in a shtf situation.
Rice. This is an old standby. It can form the base of many tasty and nutritious meals. Be aware that although it requires no processing, it does require quite a bit of water to cook. It is most economical to buy rice in 40 lb bags and repackage it into buckets yourself, a 5 gallon bucket will hold a 40lb bag. For a bit more you can find rice sold pre-sealed in buckets from a number of sources.
Still, as I sat at my desk one afternoon, eyeing the colorful salads my coworkers were having for lunch, I realized the absurdity of my experiment: I live in a city with 24/7 access to fresh food and work a job that affords me the privilege of eating healthfully most of the time. Even quibbling over the nutritional content of these freeze-dried meals was something of a luxury, because I wasn’t in a position where I actually needed to eat them. Then again, you never know what’s going to happen.