Preparedness On The Fly

It seems that there is a growing interest in preparedness. In fact, I get the feeling that some out there want the magic list, that list which will tell you everything you need to buy and in what amounts (and where, when, how). If I were a grifter, I would come up with a list, make it a paid post, and augment with a bunch of “one weird trick” posts. Thankfully, I’m not a grifter.

The reason I call it a magic list is that there is no one single list for preparedness, and anyone who tells you there is one is a con artist and/or a fool. They are also probably the type Fudd who says you have to have all your firearms in .489 Harambe (or you ain’t s***!), your NVG must be a QuantumTracker 5300 with built in nuclear reactor, and that you need all this other expensive gear for which they either just happen to be a broker or get a commission.

Me? Well, I’m the guy who thinks Alton Brown is on the right track when he says the gear you get should do more than one job. Rather than doing more than one thing in the kitchen, I think that most preparedness gear should be useful for more than one reason and that your emergency stocks are there to make your life easier all the time, not just in an emergency. Since I ditched Amazon a couple of years ago, I don’t earn commissions on anything I mention here and I’m sadly not getting paid fees to endorse any particular product. The income would be welcome right now, but I would also tell you if I were getting it.

I’m also a cheap bastard, er, Scottish. Do I wish I had more gear? Yes. In fact, I can tell you at least four things I wish I had right now. I also wouldn’t mind upgrading a couple of things I already have. Believe it or not, about a grand would do most or all of it. You don’t have to spend huge amounts of money unless you are starting very late or want to spend the money. I mean if someone said “I’m giving you $X for prep” I guarantee I could spend it even if we get into the 7-figure range (land and building supplies ain’t cheap). Thing is, I don’t have to spend it. Neither do you. Pick and choose, spend wisely.

I know, I know, you want the magic list. Or at least a guide/suggestions. After all, the nuclear saber is being rattled which does get one’s attention. So, let’s break this down and start giving some suggestions so you can add to your stocks/start building some stocks.

First up, food. Frankly, with food and water you can survive almost any situation. Just don’t be like Opus the Penguin who was tasked with provisioning the Bloom County shelter and did a great job with canned this, canned that, but no can opener.

Aside from having several can openers, church keys, and other delights, there are two bits of food for thought in regards your list. First, buy things with a long shelf-life. If you are careful, you can get things that have a best buy date two or more years out, which means they are good for a year or three beyond that. Second, buy a range of foods as food ennui can become a problem if you are hunkered down for a while.

By buying things that I like to eat, even if only on occasion, it not only prepares me for emergencies but also for day-to-day living. It gives me options for meals, for creating meals, and more. Rather than being something that I never use, it becomes something I use on a more regular basis, which in turn provides turnover, which means I constantly have things that are good for potentially several years out. I just simply have more of it.

While I do have some things in glass, I do get more in cans and other non-breakable containers. I do this simply because too many disasters may not be kind to glass, no matter what precautions I take. Even so, between being able to can items, and buying some things that only come in glass, I do have a fair bit of glass at any given time. So, no, I’m not one of those Fudds who is going to scream at you for having glass. Having items in glass, and extra glass canning jars, is a good thing. You just need to take some steps to try to keep it safe.

As for going out and buying cases of MREs or freeze dried, I have some but not huge amounts. I think it a very good idea to have at least some MREs or equivalent (British versions are quite good; have heard good things about those from Italy and Chile; and just from rumors want to try Malaysian) on hand. Thing is, they are fully self-contained meals: full meal, heating for same, utensils, etc. Given all the added vitamins and minerals, one meal gives you all you need for a day. That can come in handy in an emergency, and is essential if you have to do the bugout boogie.

In terms of freeze dried, I’ve mainly focused on breakfast. That’s for a number of reasons, including that my regular diet is very low carb, which means I eat a lot of eggs and some meat. Both of which are going to be in short supply if a disaster hits. I really do want/need more, but it is expensive, so get as I can. I think I do have a couple of what I term FI freeze dried meals, but they are for that FI moment or if I have to do the bugout boogie. Or go camping.

I also have things like powdered whole milk because, just like eggs, milk and other refrigerated items are going to be in short supply. Canned and dry milk, juices, etc. are a good thing to have. You are not just eating normal meals, you need to be sure you are getting the full array of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. You should be doing so anyway, slacker, but it’s especially important in an emergency. Reminder to myself, I need to get into supplements (and certain regulatory efforts underway) another day.

Speaking of powders, one thing I would suggest augmenting in your pantry are things like flour, corn meal, pasta, and things dependent upon grains. I would also stock up on things for baking (powder, yeast, etc.), and on things that are imported, like chocolate, coffee, tea, etc. If you read through the posts here, neither I nor Royal think there will be starvation in the U.S. but things could get rather lean. Elsewhere in the world, it’s quite likely to be bad. Also, the rail strike may be back on, and if you think the grocery store shelves are expensive and messed up now…

Another quick thought is don’t forget the soups and even some soft drinks. I don’t do soft drinks unless I’m sick or having to do prep for a colonoscopy. Having some on hand has come in handy not only for that, but the aftermath of the unscheduled open heart surgery and a couple of other visits to the ER. As for soups, they can be a complete (and even tasty) meal, and are a source of liquids to help keep you hydrated.

So, no grocery list per se, just a category list. I have eclectic tastes, so my pantry could already handle a variety of cuisines. I’ve hit a few of the various ethnic and international markets to spread that out a bit. Two things to consider are that you need to go to minimum rations immediately until you see how things are going to go, and you need to live the first rule of preparedness club: don’t tell people you are prepared. I could, sadly, easily see my landlord giving up any stocks of food he knew about to the government or others in the wake of a disaster. Others of ill intent might decide to liberate your stocks since they didn’t plan ahead. Be smart, be safe, be quiet, and be prepared.

By the way, if anyone reading this is involved with field rations for your respective country or region, and is willing to send me samples to try (and augment my stocks), I will be glad to do a review. Heck, I will even do it on our MREs. Maybe do some videos or such on Rumble. I will decline any Russian though (even when they have field rations, one of the first things Russian troops have done is loot grocery stores and restaurants. There’s a reason), but am open to most others.

For those wondering about the equipment list I mentioned earlier: portable generator, geiger counter, dosimeters, plastic and tape. I would like to upgrade my field cooking gear and my water purification gear. With all that has happened since getting hit by lightning, and needing to have my shoulders regrown or replaced, I fear my days of backpacking and remote camping are behind me. That said, I would not mind a shift to car/drive-in camping. There have been some very good advances on water purification, and I’ve seen a couple of items for cooking that I would love to add to the arsenal.

Tomorrow I think I will get into water and cooking a bit. Final note, be sure to include hot sauces in your food prep. You’d be amazed at what you can get down with enough hot sauce.


If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

5 thoughts on “Preparedness On The Fly”

  1. > Second, buy a range of foods as food ennui can become
    > a problem if you are hunkered down for a while.

    There are still cultures on earth that eat incredibly monotonous diets. Like the same thing every day for years at a time with little or no variation. They manage to survive in relatively hostile environments and have high energy output. They also don’t get fat.

    If you’re hunkered in a bunker with food supplies limited to what is on hand you don’t *want* the food to be attractive as you want to stretch it out AND you don’t want to leave the bunker 20 pounds heavier than you went in.

    > Another quick thought is don’t forget the soups and even some soft drinks.

    Consider powdered/dehydrated for those. I get powdered Gatorade and Nuun tables that provide some flavor and electrolytes/minerals (I currently stock them for regular drinking), but are cheaper per ounce (of final product) than the fluid versions, take up a lot less shelf space, and are easier to move around. Yeah, you have to have water to rehydrate them, but you need water anyway.

    > Heck, I will even do it on our MREs.

    You want a case of Humanitarian rations?

  2. Shelf life as mentioned here is wildly under rated. Most expiration dates on commercially available foods exist because they are required to have one. I have tried various commercial and home prepared storage foods after ten years with no problems and see no reason to assume ten years as a limit. The only failure I found was some 12 year old biltong that was stored in glass jars that had gotten moldy.
    I assume that it wasn’t dry enough when stored.
    In the seventies the US Army was doing tests on how long commercially stored food was still viable as part of their after the big war research, they found a can of corn in San Francisco that was from 1937 or thereabouts that was still edible and had no significant loss of nutrition. There was a naval disaster post Civil War where a steamboat returning Union POWs to the North blew up on the Mississippi killing well over one thousand. The wreck site was lost and buried by the changes in the riverbed over time. It was excavated about one hundred years later and there were intact food storage cans found. Different than our canned products today, these were very large by our standards and sealed with lead. Intact can contents (blew up remember) were still safe as food.
    I do not intend to unnecessarily rotate my stocks as I too suffer from the Scottish Syndrome involving unnecessary waste. The only things that I rotate are tomato products that are acid and tend to eat the liners and inside of cans. I have seen the results of this.

  3. Good column.

    I’d sit down before doing anything else and decide which disasters are most likely for us in our area, and add any others which while far less likely have such high consequences that we want to be prepared for those as well.

    Then ask what we need to have or know how to do in order to respond to them.

    Our commonest problem is short term blackouts: less than a day. Hardly needs prepping to survive, but prepping for that gets one started preparing for longer term blackouts from earthquakes and hurricanes, which are seriously threatening and our commonest serious threat.

    We’ve found that prepping is relatively generic: being well prepared for one situation also prepares one decently for others, particularly if one adds a few specialized items.

    We originally prepped for hurricanes, which give a few days notice, so we had collapsable five gallon water jugs we’d fill before one hit. Then we got hit with something we hadn’t considered: an earthquake, which gave no notice. We got through it ok, but added stored water.

    Then we read that our city, because of the international airport, was the US’s 3rd likeliest hub for a pandemic. We added N-95 masks. Six years later we had the Covid pandemic, and we were not only prepared, we had enough masks to share with a family member on her way home from Cambodia, and another living in Seattle. One thing we learned: the elastic on N-95 masks is at the ragged edge of its usable life at six years: it lost its elasticity after one wearing. Still, we had enough to get by the crucial initial lock downs. Cloth masks are a political joke: the medical people we talked with admitted they don’t work. N-95 masks are the only way to go.

    So: prepping for hurricanes plus stored water prepped us for earthquakes, adding masks and hand sanitizer preps us for pandemics. And so on.

    Food storage: we think our standard canned goods, rice and pasta should be our foundational food storage preps. Just keep rotating the stock. We added cases of LDS long term rice, beans, quick oats for longer term disasters, and a few cans of freeze dried foods, mostly for convenience and variety.

    It is extremely important to try each type of freeze dried food before stocking up, because some of them are fairly repulsive. Mountain House makes that easy by selling single servings in foil packets, as well as bigger cans.

    MREs: I dislike the taste and the short shelf life, so we don’t stock them. Again, if you want some, try them out first, and note the shelf life. I’ve tried some which were still within stated shelf life and they were inedible.

    1. There are an infinite number of disasters (really infinity minus 2 as SMOD was just another lying politician. There are only three things that can happen. Focus on those, and it gets easier. Preparedness on the fly is really aimed at those who are just starting to prepare, and are worried about WWIII.

Comments are closed.