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.