Emergency Radio- Even a very severe disaster is unlikely to obliterate communications grids entirely. Pickup one of the hand-cranked or battery-powered emergency radios so you will always be able to passively receive information so long as authorities are transmitting. Some nicer models include a flashlight or even USB charging ports. So long as you have the muscle, it will have power.

Though its light weight and long shelf life are ideal for navigating harsh conditions, freeze-dried food is probably most famous as a cultural curiosity: Like many Americans, I discovered it in a museum gift shop, gawking at the styrofoam-like ice cream that astronauts used to have for dessert. More recently, I encountered it at a disaster preparedness convention in Raleigh, North Carolina, where smiling, gray-haired preppers manned tables piled with plastic bags full of vegetables, meats, and stews.
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