What Food To Store

There are several ways to start storing food:

  • Purchase standard food stuffs from the grocery store
  • Purchase MRE (Meals ready to eat)
  • Purchase dehydrated food
  • Grow and can your own food

Food storage takes some organization. A good place to start is to set aside a dedicated area for your survival foods. An shelving system will show your inventory and  efficiently store your food. The storage area should be in a cool and dry place to optimize shelf life. The storage space will need to be vermin proofed.

Step 1: What Food to Store

I started buying two of  all the staplesI bought every time when I went shopping. From canned tuna to toilet paper this slowly built my survival stores with things that I actually use and like.  You can buy on sale as well. There are three types of supplies that you will need to store:

  1. Canned food
  2. Bagged or boxed staples
  3. Dry goods

I like to buy nutrient dense foods where you get the most calories for your storage dollar. Canned tuna and peanut butter are good choices. Bagged and boxed staples are things like rice and beans. Bagged staples can be bought in several sizes ranging from individual servings to bulk 50# bags. In the case of bagged staples you need to analyze your habits in order to know what food to store. If you never eat rice there is no point in buying it in bulk. Bulk products like rice and beans need to be stored properly to last. If you eat these foods regularly buying in bulk will not only save money now but provide you with a good supply for emergencies. The key here is to rotate your stores.

Step 2: Know that you know what food to store we need to determine how much

From step 1 you know what food to store. Step 2 will guide you to quanity. My personal opinion is that storing more than a 2-3 month supply of food is too expensive to store, ration and protect. Storing seeds and becoming proficient in hunting and fishing will be dollars better spent. By the third month of our survival situation you need to move towards self reliance and a sustainable model. Supplementing your food stores with a hunter / gatherer lifestyle will immediatly make your stores last longer. These are skills that should produce more food over time.

Let’s assume you are a rookie hunter / gatherer and need to supplement your needs from your food stores. Here is the math for a sample scenario of what food to store:

Calorie requirements are for average sized people with moderate activity. Minimizing calories will lead to a non productive lifestyle that will not allow you the energy to become sustainable on your own. People tend to see their large store of food and not pursue other measures. This is ahuge mistake. Begin a sustainable lifestyle at once. Adequate calories are a must. Lets take a family of 4 and see how many calories we need for two months. From this we will know what foods to store and how much.

  • Males = 2,000 calories per day or 120,000 calories for two months
  • Females = 1,600 calories per day or 96,000 calories for two months
  • Teen = 1,750 calories per day or 105,000 calories for two month
  • Child = 1,200 calories per day or 72,000 calories for two months

This adds up to 393,000 calories per month which will enable our family to pursue an active lifestyle and start becoming sustainable on their own. Let’s say that you have tuna, peanut butter and rice. You got lucky and shot a deer and found some apples. Here is what you would need:

  • Our deer weighed in at 100 lbs. This will yield 44Lb of meat for 45,000 calories. This is just the lean meat. The organs will provide an excellent source of vitamins and minerals as well as fat and calories.
  • We found 200 apples. This would produce 14,400 calories.

Our hunter / gatherer efforts provided 59,400 calories leaving 333,600 calories needed or:

  • 100 2oz cans of tuna in oil (oil provides fat as well as calories) = 12,000 calories
  • 50 – 40 oz jars of peanut butter = 188,000 calories
  • 100 lbs of rice = 133,000 calories

Those are our supplies for two months to feed our family of four. Now we know how much and what food to store. Our choices above, although boring, will give us a balanced nutrient breakdown with a good ratio of carbs, fat, and protein. Protein and fat are more essential to supporting a healthy lifestyle than carbs. The Paleo diet is a modern diet that mimics our ancestral diet and will tell us what food to store for optimum health. This hunter/gatherer lifestyle is our first model to emulate after a disaster. Establishing farming and animal husbandry would be the next step. Dehydrated and MRE are the next choice in what food to store. I prefer the real food scenario above. Dehydrated and MRE foods are good to have a backup they are more expensive on a calorie for calorie basis. I would recommend some dehydrated foods but would rather raise chickens for eggs than eat dehydrated eggs. MRE’s are meals ready to eat commonly found in the military. These are extremely convenient but equally expensive. I would have a few for travel and emergency but not really on them. They are traditionally not very tasty either and not my favorite choice on my what food to store list. Dry goods are bagged and boxed items like rice and beans. These are good for calories and relatively inexpensive. They should be stored in bin that are vermin resistent. Supplies stored in bags will not last as long as those in bins. The only caveat with these goods on our what foods to store list is that they contain little protein and fat. Paper goods are next on our what food to store list although they are not food. Toilet paper and tampons are the top items on this list. There are other ways around both, but let’s be as civilized as we can for as long as we can.

Rucksacks Or Backpacks

You may want to consider keeping a backpack, or as the Army calls it, a rucksack
handy. Of course you need to fill it with things that will make life on the go outdoors
more comfortable.

Why would you want a backpack? I keep one in my garage in case I need to take
off on foot. If I’m going on a long road trip, it is handy to toss in the car and I know I’m
good if the car breaks down 50 miles from Undershirt, KS or if I’m stuck in a blizzard
outside of Sheeplover, MT. If the zombies attack, or the Republicans realize Trump isn’t
going to pay their rent for them, there might be significant civil unrest with closed roads
and the best way out of the situation is on foot.

If you haven’t walked 25 miles in a day with a backpack on you should know that
if you do, you won’t want anything in that pack that isn’t absolutely necessary. Some
food with minimalist packaging is good. Water is absolutely necessary and a good
portable way to purify water is also essential. You cannot possibly carry enough water
on your back if you are walking very far for very long so water resupply must be
foremost in your mind. In a desert environment this can be a very serious concern.

A nice blanket or sleeping bag, one that provides maximum warmth for minimal
weight is essential. A change of clothes, maybe two is a good idea. Some basic tools
like a foldable military style shovel and maybe a small hatchet can’t hurt. Some kind of
fire starter is necessary. My favorite is a simple disposable Bic lighter.

A little first aid kit should be included. Again on the first aid kit, don’t pack IV
equipment if you have no idea how to administer an IV. Your first aid kit should only
include items you are comfortable with using.

If you end up walking a considerable distance you should consider packing an
extra pair of hiking boots. You should also plan to suffer rain, snow, or the horror of
freezing rain. A waterproof bag to keep at least your change of clothes dry is necessary.

What kind of backpack should you get? There are many many different types and
brands, but they fall into two broad categories. You can get a military pack, or a civilian
pack. A civilian pack will generally be more comfortable, however it can be flimsy and
may come in bright colors, which is undesirable if you don’t want to be seen. Civilian
packs are usually expensive too. A military pack has the advantage of subdued colors,
amazing durability, and can be found at a bargain price if you know where to look. The
main drawback to a military pack is that it will almost certainly be less comfortable than
a civilian pack. You may want to consider one pack for each member of your family.
One person cannot carry enough to sustain 3 or 4 people for very long at all.

Survival Kits

There is much to be said for having a survival kit handy. If you have ever read the book Robinson Crusoe you know that the items he was able to salvage from the wreck of his ship were instrumental to his survivability. Robinson Crusoe is a work of fiction, however that theme runs in any account of any survival situation. The fewer tools you have to make from scratch, the better off you will be.

Since you will be in several situations at different times, it is wise to have several different kinds of kits. Let’s talk about these kits, going from smallest to largest.

The US Army recommends that soldiers have on their person a blowout kit. Depending on who your sergeant is this may be more than a recommendation. In fact it is usually mandatory. The idea is that if the worst-case scenario happens and you find yourself running through bad guy country with nothing but the clothes on your back, a few small items that will fit into one big pocket will help immensely. This principle can be easily applied to civilian life.

If you are a frequent flier like me, a very small kit that will fit into your carry on can give you some real peace of mind. Just remember not to put anything in there that will win you special attention from the fascists in the TSA.

At your home, you have the space for a little more substantial kit. It is wise to keep a backpack with some survival gear handy. One for each member of your family could help even more.

I grew up in the north where winter weather can be severe at times. Even if you are a southerner, it is a good idea to keep a kit in your car with things to help out in the event of bad weather or breakdown.

If you want to go all out, you can equip your vehicle with a trailer hitch and prepare a “survival trailer” that you keep stocked with some good stuff. This will allow you to get out town if you need to and have enough supplies to keep going for a while.

Of course, if you are planning to stay put, you can stock up on all sorts of things and store them in your basement or garage. Even better, if you live on some acres, you can prepare to be wholly self-sufficient for the long-term.

Several firms are now producing various kinds of survival kits that you can buy. The positive to buying a kit is that it is quick and easy. The negative is that it is expensive and may not have exactly what you want. You can always build your own kits. The negative to building your own kit is that it takes a lot of thought and time. The positive to building your own kit is that you will save a lot of money and have exactly the items you want and the items you know how to use.

In future posts we will go into detail on each of these types of kits.