And I have bought various pantry sized cans of sauces to increase flavor and nutrition. Alfredo sauce, tomato sauce, mild hot sauce, and Italian seasoning mix come to mind immediately. Since those cans are so well sealed, I don’t bother putting them in the buckets. I also have some #10 cans of cheese sauce powder (think boxed Mac and cheese) since I couldn’t find it in a pantry can, but I store lots of ziplock freezer bags (both quart and gallon sizes) and can use my silica packs to keep it fresher – hopefully long enough to use it up. Cheese sauce over pasta, rice or broccoli will be a nice change of taste when things get boring.
If you are in a tight spot and cannot cook or prepare anything, it is a very good idea to have ready to go meals and freeze dried foods on hand. Things like MREs  (meals ready to eat), trail mix, beef jerky, candy and food that make you happy (good for your psychological health) can come in handy in a tight spot. Check out our guide on how to prepare DIY MREs to prepare you for any emergencies.
8. Basic camping gear.  In the case of an evacuation, take this with you in case hotels are already filled.  Additionally, camping skills double as survival skills.  Learning how to locate the best camping spot, how to pitch a tent, how to cook over a fire, and how to enjoy nature are important for every member of the family to learn.  A good quality tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads (for us older folks!), and a campstove are good basics to begin with.
Earlier this year the hands of the Doomsday Clock moved to two minutes to midnight, as atomic scientists announced that the world is closer to annihilation than it has been in decades. Is it any wonder then that the worldwide phenomenon of prepping, in all its camouflaged, gun-toting, canned-food-hoarding glory, is spreading as global anxiety about everything from thermonuclear war to climate change takes hold.
When speaking to preppers like Jennifer, Luther, and Nygaard, it can be hard to separate the more practical aspects of the lifestyle from the enjoyment that comes from doing things yourself instead of paying someone to do them. When I point out that running a small-scale farm and caring for two kids seems like an awful lot of work to do on top of a full-time job, Nygaard demures. “Yeah, it is. But I choose it. I choose to spend it like this because there are things that give me pleasure. I enjoy canning. I love seeing my work on the shelf. You grew that, and you canned it, and you get a source of pride from that.”
Here’s an idea that is very useful. I found at the dollar store some space bags. I used one per person and filled it with winter gear, a multi tool, matches/lighter, a small solar light, a bit of emergency food, an emergency blanket, some basic first aid supplies, etc., then removed the air. If you pack it right, you will be able to fold it over and (I used a bungee cord) place over a strap for easy carry. Now you have an instant (and weather proof) instant kit. I also did this with a pillow (small personal one), blanket, sheet, towel, etc. Not only are they portable and protected, they store in less space.
“If you’re using it for emergency survival, the fact is you’re going to buy it once, and hopefully you’re not going to use it,” Shields said. “But it’s there as a safety net for you and your family.” That’s what intrigued me about freeze-dried food: You can wait up to a quarter-century to use it, but in an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to eat it at all.
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