To be truthful, my initial goal with this article was to respond to readers who were just getting started and wanted a shopping list of things to buy for their food storage pantry. I also wanted to compile a checklist that more experienced preppers could use to compare what they had to what they needed. My goal can pretty much be summed up by saying that I wanted to write about getting started with food storage the easy way. No frills, no fluff – just a common sense list of food items to get you started.
Any canned foods you purchase at the grocery store will store for a number of years under the right conditions. Canned food makes great prepper food because it can be stored for such a long time and because you can eat it right out of the can if necessary. Canned food will also provide a hot meal when you have the means to heat it and you don’t need any extra water or ingredients. Plus, depending on what you buy, you can get a complete meal in a can (think soups and stews) and you can get almost anything you could want in terms of canned food, including:
If I’m bugging out, I want a lightweight stove such as an Esbit, alcohol or fuel tab is adequate to boil water, not a large wood burner stove as I don’t need the extra weight in my BOB or GHB. JIf really needed I can build a rocket stove using empty cans and a metal hole punch or my leatherman tool. If I’m bugging in I have a BBQ or two I can use with charcoal, or wood.
In practice, the process can be a bit tricky. Freeze-dried meals require that you have potable water lying around, which might not be the case in the event of a serious calamity (some Wise Company kits include water purifiers). The cooking instructions for the Wise products I tested call for using the entire four-serving bag at once, which means that you have to have a container on hand to store what you don’t eat, and a fridge to keep it from spoiling. Even at my office kitchen, the only way I could make it work was by pouring about a fourth of the packet in a mug, filling it with water, and putting another mug on top of it.
Self-Defense- Learn to use your fists, feet and weapons to good effect. Weapons, firearms in particular, can be more hazardous to you and yours than an attacker if you are not trained and practiced in their use. You do not need to master a bunch of different disciplines or types, but you should be a capable hand-to-hand fighter and competent with a gun.
When I was 17, Nasa announced the discovery of a far-off planet. News reports hinted at the prospect of the Voyager being deployed, but I never got to hear what the probe actually found. The excitement eventually dwindled and I got on with my life, but the discovery sparked an ongoing interest in space and exploration and, later, in the environment and geopolitics. About 18 months ago those interests led me to prepping.
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 one of the items on the list we do have, and by golly it’s great. Definitely not a complete replacement for carrying a proper firesteel, and it would be good to have a better knife on you outdoors, but if you like carrying backups (as I’ve already expressed I do!) this is one of those excellent investments that delivers on its promises. Great multi-tool; but I’m not going to regurgitate information – you want more about it, check out Thomas’ review of it here.
Forgetting to store spices, salt, oil and basic condiments that are needed for your food storage. How will your famous spaghetti sauce taste without Italian seasoning, salt, olive oil and that pinch of sugar? Beans are a great staple to have on hand and can be seasoned in a variety of ways using salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, soy sauce, ground red pepper and more.
The way I think of it is, it depends on the food. How long will it last once you open it? Will it last long enough once opened for your family to consume it before it goes bad. Also, only buy foods you know how to use and that you will actually like to eat. No point in buying wheat berries if you dont have the manual grinder to process it and if you don’t know how to cook with it. I have a family of 4 including 2 small children. If I store rice in a 5 gallon mylar, will we use it before it goes bad once it’s opened? Possibly not. So i put it in 1 lb mylar bags. We can pull out smaller amounts at a time.
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.
Personally, I’d separate this list out from the actual food stockpile list. Why? If you have a list of foods you’re stockpiling, it’s better to organize it in a way that makes sense to you (refrigerated, frozen, canned, grains, etc.) than it is to organize it by food expiry, and if the food is expiring soon it can be hard to tell if you just tacked the expiry date on to the end of each item in an unorganized list.
The next things to add are powdered milk, rolled oats and cooking oil. Add some bulk herbs and spices – in an emergency you can use what’s already in the kitchen, but it’s good to have a proper reserve too. Don’t forget the most important seasoning – salt. Get at least five pounds of that. As you move forward you can add pasta, dried vegetables (this is a great excuse to get a dehydrator and vacuum sealer) and of course more rice and beans.
Oil of oregano. This is my favorite pick for a medicinal herb. This stuff has amazing immune system benefits and antibiotic properties. We use it constantly in my house to wipe out colds and flues, it does the job every time! Capsules are the most convenient form, although you can purchase the oil and add it to beverages (Don’t expect it to taste good!)
The difference between the male prepper stereotype and this softer, more feminine strain of survivalism, Mitchell explains, is that women’s work never stops being useful. “We don’t need the pickup truck and the chainsaw and the assault weapon every day, but every day someone must love the children,” he says. “Every day we must feed ourselves and care for ourselves emotionally. There is no crisis that can possibly exacerbate the [need for] women’s traditional roles, because they’re always needed. Do we need the men? For practical purposes, maybe not.”
158. Baofeng handheld – If you’re looking for a handheld HAM radio, Baofeng delivers. FCC certified if you want to go HAM without a huge setup this 2 pack handheld is the right way to start. Before you buy a radio and start broadcasting you need to get familiar with the laws and the FCC and consider getting a Technicians license to be able to broadcast legally. You can ‘receive’ with no license, but to broadcast you need to be certified.
On a humid day in early August, I traveled to Wild Abundance, a homesteading and primitive-skills school in the rolling green hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Founded by Natalie Bogwalker in 2012, the facility in Weaverville, North Carolina, offers courses in gardening, foraging, herbalism, tiny house construction, hide tanning, and any number of practices that might come in handy when living alone in the wilderness. It’s also a functional homestead with a sprawling vegetable garden and a series of charming hobbit-like outbuildings fanned out across a wooded hillside.
If you are reading this article, I would imagine that you have never eaten an MRE before. Why do I say that? Well, for anyone who has eaten MREs you probably already have a strong opinion about them or at the very least, your experience might be based upon military service years ago. That is the perspective I was coming from when Meal Kit Supply approached me about reviewing their MREs that they produce. I had eaten more than my fair share of MREs when I was in the Army, but things have changed as you would expect with the passage of more years than I want to think about so I decided to take them up on the offer and while I was at it, share my opinion on what if any place MREs have in the food storage plan for preppers.
Great article! I’ll be trying out several of these soon, since my family is in a tight spot financially and I’ve made the decision to stop buying dry goods or canned foods for the next several months in order to reduce spending. So we’re eating from long term food storage whenever I can incorporate ingredients into meals — one of our family favorites is canned meat fried up with rehydrated potato shreds & eggs & cheese to make sort of a corned beef or Spam hash! And we’ve already had good experiences with using cheese powder & dehydrated potato slices from the grocery’s “bulk food” section (very similar to the same items in our long term food storage) to make au gratin potatoes.
When you go back to the last depressing days when we were in a survival mode, the last one the Y2K of course, before the 1970s, what had happened was you only saw this one element of survivalist, you know, the caricature, the guy with the AK-47 heading to the hills with enough ammunition and pork and beans to ride out the storm. This is a very different one from that: you're seeing average people taking smart moves and moving in intelligent directions to prepare for the worst. (...) So survivalism in every way possible. Growing your own, self-sustaining, doing as much as you can to make it as best as you can on your own and it can happen in urban area, sub-urban area or the ex-urbans. And it also means becoming more and more tightly committed to your neighbors, your neighborhood, working together and understanding that we're all in this together and that when we help each other out that's going to be the best way forward.
“Before the nuclear age, it was thought that only a wrathful deity or natural force (pandemic, planetary collision, etc) would bring about the end of the world,” he says. “But some time in the 1980s, it became clear that there were so many nuclear weapons on the planet that we could literally bring about the end, not only of Homo sapiens but pretty much extinguish most life on Earth through a nuclear exchange,” he says.
My OCD side has often obsessed over the years about my prepping to the point of actually hurting my progress. See items #12, #13, and #14. Yes, you CAN procrastinate in an OCD manner! As you brought up, you can study study study to the point where nothing actually gets done. A favorite saying of mine is that “I hate do-overs”. I’d rather thoroughly examine a situation and do it right the first time instead of taking four tries to get it right. But that often accomplishes exactly what I’ve suggested…nothing.
I love this article and absolutely agree with you. I wanted to know what advice you could give if something like the power grid goes down? The reason I ask is because of the importance of keeping food in a COOL, dry, place. I am currently stationed at Fort Rucker, AL. It is blazing hot here and I would be worried that if the power grid went down, all that work that I did to ensure we had enough food and water would be wasted due to the heat. I know there are circumstances that call for bugging in or out but with a wife and two young kids, bugging in would be my first option. I hope something like this never happens but it is better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Just hoping for some good advice on how to keep food and water from going bad even if keeping it cool is not an option. Thank you for your time and help!
Anarcho-primitivists share many characteristics with survivalists, most notably predictions of a pending ecological disaster. Writers such as Derrick Jensen argue that industrial civilization is not sustainable, and will therefore inevitably bring about its own collapse. Non-anarchist writers such as Daniel Quinn, Joseph Tainter, and Richard Manning also hold this view. Some members of the Men Going Their Own Way subculture also promote off-grid living and believe that modern society is no longer liveable.
Where there used to be occasional forays into the bush with minimal equipment to test his mettle, now there are several buried caches in specific but remote bug-out locations on public land. The caches include dried beans, rice, water purification and fire-starting devices. “Some people say – well, what if you never use it. But it doesn’t cost much and, if we do need it, it is there.”
I prep on two levels: first, for events that might cause a bit of social unrest and all of the food in my local supermarket to quickly disappear – a financial collapse, say – and, second, for something bigger: a national pandemic, a major environmental catastrophe. For the first scenario I’ve organised a reliable supply of clean water and a store of long-shelf-life food, and then some practical stuff: stitches for wounds, analgesics, antibiotics, a whole range of meds you wouldn’t normally have, various kinds of equipment needed to start a fire. I have go-bags at home and in my car, because you never know where you’ll be when something happens, and I’m part of a prepping community that has an equipment cache stored in a secluded spot near to my house. If there’s some kind of cataclysm? I’ve organised escape routes, away from the general population. You’ll find me above 900ft – or out of the country.
I’ve written in a previous article about beans as survival food. No matter how you look at it, the bottom line is that beans are a superfood. They are high in protein and fiber and other nutrients that can help keep you healthy during an extended crisis. They are excellent foods to feed more than one person since one cup of dry beans makes 2-3 cups of cooked beans (depending on the variety). Once you get to the store, make sure you pick three large bags of beans. To diversify your meals feel free to choose your favorite. One thing to mention is that beans are also proper survival seeds. In case you need to start a garden, you already have some of the seeds waiting for you.
If there was anything my freeze-dried food experiment taught me, it was how lucky I was to be able to walk down the street and buy a sandwich whenever I wanted to—but also how far I was from being self-reliant in the more quotidian sense. If freeze-dried meals are becoming increasingly popular in America, then maybe it’s because many of us realize that if something really bad happened, we wouldn’t know the first thing about surviving for a week on the ingredients lying around in our pantry. But as we continue to be bombarded by headlines foreshadowing epic floods, economic collapse, and nuclear escalation, there’s nothing wrong with finding a little peace of mind in a bag of dehydrated Chicken A La King.