Emergency Food Supplies – Give Yourself Some Options

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After water, food is probably the most important survival item to make sure you have stored and ready for a potential disaster. You won’t die immediately without food, but a couple of days without enough calories and you will start to notice a significant drop in energy, cognitive and fine motor skills, and morale. Even though it is widely accepted in the prepping community that you will be able to survive for up to 3 weeks without food, the loss of those things listed above can be a real threat to your safety. There are a lot of resources out there on the interwebs on emergency food supplies written by survivalists, outdoor experts, ex-special forces, and so on. My aim isn’t to be an end-all be-all defining line in the sand on which type of food is better or which brand of freeze-dried food tastes better or anything like that. I will just lay out some of the different options available for you to try. It’s all about having different options. And trying this stuff out is key, especially if you have picky eaters in your home (spouse, kids). Food fatigue is a real issue, and storing a bunch of rice and beans and calling it good can lead to slow starvation that food fatigue brings.

The different emergency food supply options can be broken down into a couple of different categories: canned goods, MREs, freeze-dried goods, and dry goods. Let’s take an in depth look at these categories below, in order of shortest to longest shelf life.

Canned Goods

Canned goods are a great starting point for anyone interested in building up their emergency food supplies. The beauty of this category is that it consists of food you and your family are likely already eating on a regular basis, and it is easy to have instant variety. It is inexpensive to build up your pantry compared to the other categories on this list.

One great suggestion that I read is to have about a month supply of food in your pantry (or if your pantry is small, as long as possible) that is properly organized and easy to rotate. Once you have that, double everything but store the copy in a plastic storage bin in your basement or under a bed somewhere. You could even make a 2nd copy to give you 3 months of easy to prepare emergency food storage. How do you arrive at that first month supply? Glad you asked.

Start by keeping track of what you and your family eat from your pantry for an entire month. Get yourself a cheap notebook and keep it in your pantry. Every time you use something, write it down. At the end of the month, see how much of each item you used. Over the next couple store visits, replenish what you used during the month and start to build your 2nd and if you choose, the 3rd extra month supply.

Don’t forget to rotate those bins every month. Set a reminder on your phone or on outlook or other calendar. Canned goods are easy to prepare, but they have a limited shelf life. You won’t be able to fill up a couple bins and leave them for the next 25+ years.

Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup, Chicken Flavor, 3 oz, 36 Packs

Pros – Inexpensive, easy to prepare, instant variety, what you are already used to eating

Cons – short shelf life, constant rotation and expiration date checking (most work)

MREs

MREs, or meals ready to eat, are very popular among the prepping and survival crowd. Part of this comes from the fact that many in the prepping community are former/current military personnel, and are used to eating MREs. But even for those not used to MREs from military training, MREs just make a lot of sense when it comes to emergency food supplies. Let me elaborate.

MREs, as the name says, are ready made meals that can be eaten right out of the packaging, hot or cold. No cooking is required, which is usually required to some extent in the other categories (maybe not a can of baked beans or spaghetti-os), which makes this a great portable emergency food supply option. There is also quite a bit of variety with these meals, depending on the brand you purchase and whether you purchase full meals, just entrees or sides.

MREs range in price depending on the brand and where you buy them from. If you are current military, you will probably get the best deals from the commissary. Everyone else, shop around online. Below is an option from Amazon that comes highly rated.

The question that everyone is dying to know – are they any good? I actually like a lot of the MREs out there. Some of the sides not so much, but the entrees are quite palatable, although they are much better when warmed up than cold (with the handy MRE heaters). You don’t get the flavor that you would get with a freeze-dried meal (MREs utilize preservatives to extend the shelf life vs removing all the H2O). If you plan on storing MREs, I would strongly suggest buying a variety box of entrees and trying every one of them to see what you think. When it comes to ready-to-eat, portable emergency food supplies that have a mid-range shelf life (~5 years), you can’t go wrong with MREs.

Pros – portable, ready-to-eat, variety, better shelf life than canned goods, many calories

Cons – more expensive, only ~5 year shelf life, rotation necessary (not as much as with canned goods)

Freeze-dried Emergency Food Supplies

Within the last decade or so, freeze-dried emergency food supplies have really made big headway in the market. Before, NASA was basically the only group interested in freeze drying food for their astronauts in outer space. Now, it seems a new company is coming out every month with their own freeze-dried meal recipes for emergency storage. There are lots of options varying a lot in price from brand to brand. Mountain House used to dominate this market. Now there are several high-quality companies competing for market share, like Honeywell, Wise Company, Thrive, and Backpackers Pantry.

Freeze-dried meals have some nice advantages. First is shelf life, with most touting at least 25 years as the standard now-a-days. Because of how they are prepared, they are completely water free. This makes them very portable and lightweight compared to MREs and canned goods. However, you will need to re-hydrate the food before it will be edible.

The freeze-drying process preserves the flavors of the food very well, without the need to add a lot of extra preservatives, so the flavors will be excellent with most well-known brands. The meals do require some preparation, but not a lot (usually just boiling some water and mixing with the food and waiting for 10 minutes for the food to re-hydrate).
Like with the MREs, my suggestion is to buy a variety meal pack and try out the different meal options before stocking up (they can be pricey). This Mountain House entrée pack is a great place to start. I would prefer to eat a freeze-dried meal entree over an MRE any day of the week.

Pros – Long shelf life, lightweight, delicious

Cons – Expensive, requires preparation

Dry Goods

Dried Pinto Beans – 20 lbs.

In the realm of food storage, dry goods take the grand prize in shelf life (as long as they are stored properly). Scientists actually found grain buried with an Egyptian Pharaoh that was still good after more than a thousand years. If done properly, this category can long outlast us.

Common dry goods include rice, beans, wheat (red and white), oats, and popping corn. The combination of rice and black or pinto beans can sustain life almost by itself, and is the basic food of many undeveloped countries. Wheat can be use in a variety of different ways, from sprouting to grinding for flour.

Dry goods are very inexpensive for the total amount of nutrition they provide. I can regularly find 50 pound bags of White or Red wheat for around $14, 50 pound bags of white rice for around $20, and 20 pound bags of pinto or black beans for around $15 in early 2015.

The main drawbacks when it comes to dry goods include the weight, extra work to store the food, and the sometimes extensive work in preparing the food for consumption. It is way easier to rip open an MRE, open a can of soup, or even prepare a freeze-dried meal than to cook a meal that consists of dry goods, which could include grinding the grain, extensive boiling, or even sprouting the grains. Preparing the dry goods for long term storage is also extra work that isn’t required with the other categories.

A sensible approach when dealing with dry goods is to start small and to only store items that you will actually use. There is absolutely no use in storing 1000 pounds of red wheat in your basement if you don’t know how to turn the wheat into something edible. I recommend some rice and your bean of choice (black, pinto, kidney) to start out with. A couple hundred pounds of each will do a lot to extend your family’s survival without adding a lot of extra work for food prep (boil the rice, soak beans overnight and boil them with some seasonings, viola!).

Pros – Inexpensive, longest shelf life, nutritious

Cons – Heavy, extra work to prepare and store, needs extra seasonings and ingredients to help taste, not used to eating

Preparing your dry goods for long term storage requires some extra work, food grade containers (5 gallon buckets work great), mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers. Below is a great video to walk you through the steps.

Balanced Approach

So which category do I recommend for you to build your emergency food supplies? All of them. Let me explain why. If you were to just focus on canned goods, you would be alright in the short term, but after you run out or they go stale, depending on the duration of the emergency, you might not be able to re-supply. The longer shelf life food supplies can sustain you for a long time, but nobody wants to eat bland rice and beans every day for a year.

The key is to balance your storage with a variety from these 4 categories. I recommend starting with the canned goods, especially since you and your family are already eating these items on a regular basis. Top Ramen, Spaghetti-Os, canned chili and Mac and Cheese are comfort items and will not only provide sustenance but also a sense of normalcy during trying times. Expand into the MREs and Freeze-dried meals next, but be careful of the price, as it is easy to spend an entire paycheck at once. Lastly, diversify with some longer-term dry goods to round out your emergency food supplies.

It’s all about options. A well balanced plan will see you and your loved ones through an emergency scenario. If you haven’t built up your supplies, the most important thing to do is to start. Start today. Good luck!

Benefitting From A Solar Powered Radio

Ambient Weather WR-111 Emergency Solar Hand Crank AM/FM/NOAA Digital Radio, Flashlight, Cell Phone Charger with NOAA Certified Weather Alert & Cables

A solar powered radio is one of the most helpful tools that you can have at your disposal. These units go great as a part of any emergency or survival kit, whether you are stocking your home with supplies or are going hiking.

Should any kind of disaster situation occur, you are going to want to be able to talk to people. Communication is vital, and the instructions from official sources you pick up will be essential to keep you and your family safe.

Likewise, being out in the wilderness and being stranded or injured facilitates the need to call for help. Solar powered radios are able to achieve these ends by being a compact and easily portable device that essentially can run forever.

The prime benefit to using solar panels is that they passively recharge from an unlimited power source. The sun provides more energy in a single day than the entire earth could use at once, so charging a small unit like this is no problem at all.

The ability to recharge from the sun is a very useful one indeed. When you are facing a situation where you need to be able to use a radio consistently and your safety depends on it, you do not want to have to rely on batteries.

Batteries work, but they run out of charge easily. They also are vulnerable to corrosion and do have an expiration date on them.

What’s more, not everyone keeps spares around. In fact, anyone who had ever run out of battery on their phone or music player can readily attest that battery runs out when you least expect it, and recharging via an outlet is not always an option.

Running out of batteries in an emergency situation would be a dangerous scenario to be in. Luckily for anyone concerned, the solar powered radio is a great example of good engineering which can be recharged whenever there is daylight.

What’s more, the amount of power stored in a solar cell is enough to power a radio for a long amount of time, giving more mileage as people are using the product. When it all comes down to it, this is a survival necessity no matter what situation you are in.

Not only can people use the equipment to listen for official broadcasts and orders in case of emergency, but they can also use the equipment to communicate with others. Should there be injuries or obstacles to getting to safety, such abilities can be truly lifesaving in nature.

This is an investment in emergency equipment that is well worth it all in nature. The funds that you spend getting a good and reliable unit are not even going to matter compared to the assurances of safety and security that you will have.

Solar power is one of the most clean and efficient sources of renewable energy that we have. Even in the small scale it is highly useful, not to mention possibly lifesaving.

Food Insurance Essentials Kit Review

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We’ve all heard of the rumors started by doomsdayers about the Mayan apocalypse that’s supposed to come on December 21, 2012. I know what you’re thinking: they have been wrong so many times before, so why should they be right now? Personally, I highly doubt the whole Mayan apocalypse nonsense; I think it’s a bunch of brainless and baseless babble. However, what I can’t deny is that the world seems to be experiencing quite an increase of both natural and man-made disasters.

Whether it’s tsunamis in Asia, hurricanes in America, economic depression in Europe, the threat of war in the Middle East, or the melting of the ice caps in the Poles, one thing’s for certain: something’s definitely wrong with the world as we know it. As such, it isn’t really surprising if you’re worried about you and your family’s safety. In fact, I’d be more shocked if you weren’t concerned at all about all that’s going on around us.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not saying that the world is coming to an end, but I’d rather have a plan and not need it, than need a plan and not have it. If you feel the same as I do, here are a few things I think you should consider doing:

  1. First off, always have an emergency bug-out plan (no, it has nothing to do with bugs). When I say bug-out, I mean escape plan. When worse comes to worst, the best thing to do is to keep a level head to be able to make logical decisions. Having a plan for the worst is a good way to keep your calm and prepare yourself mentally for whatever might happen. If you’re taking care of some people, then it might also be a good idea to set an emergency rendezvous point where you can meet up and escape together.
  2. Secondly, make sure you have an emergency supply of all your essentials. Bring along some food, water, medical supplies, hygiene products, personal safety gear, and maintenance tools. Iff you plan on building your own emergency food supply, be sure to consider buying freeze-dried food for survival. Check out these Food Insurance reviews for more information.
  3. Lastly, teach yourself some survival skills. While it is admirable to take an intensive training workshop, knowing how to apply first aid, bandages, and CPR will do for starters. If you want to go a step beyond the basics, try getting some wilderness survival training from your local campers or outdoorsmen.

Solar Water Heaters: Types Of Systems And Collectors

Installing a solar water heater for your home is a way to save some money long term, while at the same time becoming more energy independent and helping the environment. A solar water heater uses the suns energy to warm water, so you need to use less electricity to get hot water. A solar water heater can supply 50-90% of your water heating needs, cutting your annual energy costs by 10-20%.

For more information on the costs of installing solar panels, click here.

ACTIVE vs. PASSIVE SYSTEMS

Solar water heaters generally run on one of two systems: active and passive.

Active systems use pumps to move the water through the system, and as such require extra power to run them. They’re also more expensive. On the plus side though, they’re generally more efficient, and allow for greater design flexibility.

Passive systems don’t use pumps, but instead use natural convection currents to move the water. The solar collector is found at the lowest point of the current. Water is heated, and naturally moves upward, towards the water tanks. It enters the water rank, pushing the cold water at the bottom of the tank down and towards the solar collector, where the process begins again.

SOLAR COLLECTORS

Solar collectors generally come in 3 forms: batch collectors, flat plate collectors and evacuated tube collectors.

Batch collectors are the cheapest and least efficient form of collector. The water tank essentially doubles as the collector, found outside and warming the water as it waits to be used. It’s usually found within an insulated box to maximize heat absorption.

Flat plate collectors are a series of copper tubes found within a box with a transparent top and dark bottom (to absorb solar energy and keep it in). Water moves through the tubes and is heated.

Evacuated tubes are the Cadillac of solar collectors- the most expensive, but by far the highest quality. They maximize the surface area receiving sunlight, making them the most efficient at heating water. They’re essentially a series of tubes within tubes, the outer layer for energy absorption and the inner layer for carrying the water to be heated.

Good luck and stay prepared!

Read more from RamboMoe at preparedforthat.com

12 Tube Split Solar Water Heater Collector

Emergency Survival Backpack – Preparedness For Emergencies

In these dangerous times there is an essential need to have your own survival kit. To serve this purpose FEMA has come out with an emergency kit which can last up to 3 days. You still need a survival kit even if you are storing water, food and other emergency items in your home, because even if you have a storage facility, you may not be home when the emergency happens.

Especially in the case of wildfires or an incoming hurricane, you just need to leave your home with a backpack. In such times a need for an emergency survival kit arises which you could just pick and go. You can get one pre-made from a survival gear store. To have more knowledge about this product you can visit Space Haggis.

Things in the Kit

Your kit must contain all the necessary things you need when you are on run and go, like food, water, heat filter, heat source, first aid kit, flash lights, personal medication, personal hygiene articles etc. There are a variety of kits available in the market and you can choose either the ones which contain the bare essentials or the other which contain everything you need in a disaster situation.

To cite an example, an ideal emergency survival backpack must contain food, water, filtration tablets, heat source, first aid kit, cooking tin and utensils, flash-light, waterproof matches, radio and dusk mask.

Then there are kits which are bigger than these and contain more items than the basic one; which makes it heavier than the first one. The kind you choose depends upon your requirement and your budget. These have a lasting time for about 3 days by the time you will get the help of emergency services.

However before setting for the right survival kit which serves your purpose you should keep in mind the load that is easy for you to carry. To save yourself and your family from the disasters, I think you should invest this much for insuring your and their life.

Living Through The End Of Days

Have you been wondering about all the storange things that have been going on all over the world these past few months? All sorts of natural calamities are happening on all parts of the world. There was the earthquake that devastated Haiti and Chile, now there’s the flooding and landslides that are engulfing Australia and Brazil. The weather pattern has been changing too. Places that were cold are now warming up and the opposite is also true in other areas. Lakes are starting to dry, sinkholes are suddenly popping up everywhere.The seasons are not making any sense. Its snowing when its not supposed to be and raining during the supposed dry spells. What’s going on? It’s not just the change in the climate. We get the feeling that something is about to happen and that something can not be good. What is it?

The Mayans may have the answer and they discovered it hundreds of years ago. The Mayans are perhaps the most mysterious people who ever lived. They left startlingly accurate predictions that have come true and other predictions of things yet to come. The most controversial of these predictions concerns what will happen in December 2012, which is supposed to be the end of a cycle of years in the ancient Mayan calendar. There is supposed to be a great change that will happen at that time.

So how to survive 2012? There are a lot of analyst that have offered their opinion as to what changes will transpire on 2012. Unfortunately though there are as many interpretations as there are interpreters so there is a great variation as to what will happen. The best thing would be to prepare for the worst and not live in fear of what we are not sure. For me that will be the best way to survive 2012.