This is a partial list of many things that disappear fast in an emergency. Look for things you should stock pile before the crisis. Many of these items can be used to barter for items that you or your family might want or need. For example: During the gold rush of 1849 the people who had shovels became wealthy from the miners who needed them. Remember: A wise man purchases his insurance before the fire starts. Create a scheduled plan to get any of these things.
You might think it’s silly to grab one of these when you can DIY one yourself, but I do often feel like preps that are ugly are kind of frustrating to have to live with in the long-term. Besides, if you’re trying to hide the fact that you’re a prepper, nothing works better than hiding your preps in a pretty package like this. And you buy them once, how often are you going to replace a rain barrel? Pretty much never!
Some people carry both, but most choose one or the other. Multi-tools are nice for everyday utility like opening a bottle or fixing a screw on your sunglasses. There are tons of great options from popular brands like Leatherman and Gerber. But as in most things, the 80-20 rule applies here, and you’ll find that you won’t use most of the features in the extra-gadgety options and should avoid the unnecessary weight.
I personally like 5 gallon buckets with the gamma lids, so that I can access and rotate my food. I built shelves for food storage but I do have some of big Home Depot style orange shelves and they would work well. I also have some mix of number 10 cans but i like them less because they seem so bulky. For things that i rotate through slower input a Mylar bag in the bucket to keep thing fresh. I live in Utah and we have an industrial container store that sells buckets and lids for a great price, a lot less than the e-prep stores.
For survival purposes, think calories, not meals per day. An adult will require between 2,000 and 2,400 calories a day nominally, and more if they are active. Children require less, but the effects of malnutrition and starvation hit them harder. You can live for quite a while on reduced calories to make your stores go further, but your activity levels in the aftermath depending on what is required of you may dictate high calorie consumption. Plan accordingly before you hit “rationing” levels of supply.
As you can see, even the specialty foods are really just your everyday foods that have been prepackaged for you so that they come already preserved and ready to be put on the storage shelf. It just means all the work has been done for you. However, no one type of prepared food is the one and only one to use. The best thing for you to do is have a combination of stocked up regular food and specialty food so that you have the ideal food for any situation in which you might find yourself.
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.