Food storage is an important part of being prepared for an emergency. In this section of RightWingInk, we are going to discuss various different aspects of food storage, from stocking your bug-out bag or 72-hour emergency kit, to preparing to keep your family fed for weeks, months, or even a year.
There are different requirements for each goal and we will address them all separately.
Starting from scratch, it can all seem overwhelming, but we’re here to make it less so. Like anything, if we take this in small steps, eventually we will be able to step back and see an incredible amount of progress.
To start with, I created a small backpack that I keep in my car. I consider this my kit for getting myself back home in the chance that there is some kind of emergency in which my car breaks down and I’m far from help or for whatever reason I am unable to maneuver my vehicle through the streets such as debris from natural disasters, flooded roads, or the like. (see the bottom of the page for a link to all the contents you may want to consider for your get-yourself-back-home bag. This particular bag is going to go through all the rigors of changing weather so keep in mind that you want food that is going to survive the heat and cold, be lightweight, and give me lots of energy. Ideally you should be able to make it home within a day, so nutrition isn’t really the concern here that it might be in our 72-hour kits and even more so in our home pantries. Jerky, trail mix and food bars are ideal. Basically items similar to what you might take with you for a day hiking trip, minus anything perishable.
Also, you want to consider how much water you should take with you. It would be good to assume 1 liter of water per day, but based on the weather or your own personal needs or if you may have children or other passengers with you, you may want to increase this. Microbial contamination is always a worry therefore I recommend using unopened bottled water. Because of contamination risk so you certainly don’t want to leave a re-used and possibly contaminated bottle of water in your warm car for weeks or months though you can later use it to disinfect water if needed. See this wiki-page for more information as to how to do it correctly. Solar Water Disinfection
Some people worry about chemicals leaching from the plastic as it sits in a hot car, as did I, in spite of knowing that it was used for solar water disinfection as mentioned above. However I did some research and this is what the FDA has to say.
“It is true that exposing the bottle to higher temperatures may imply a greater degree of migration of substances from the plastic to the water. However, in its safety review, the FDA takes into account exposures to higher temperatures, such as during storage and transportation of bottled water prior to sale, in its estimates of potential levels of migration of substances from the plastic to the water.
The levels of migration expected, including during periods of exposure to elevated temperatures in storage and transport (such as might be experienced in a closed vehicle in the sun) have, as discussed above, been determined by the agency to be well within the margin of safety. Therefore, the agency does not consider this situation to be a safety concern.”
Once we have our get-back-home bag packed and in the vehicle, let’s move on to our 72-hour bags. Under many survivalist plans, this bag may not be needed as many people plan to ‘bunker down’ where they are at and 72-hour bagsare based on the idea that we may need to leave our homes. But a natural disaster such as fire or flood can change our plans in a minute, so it is always a good idea to have a kit packed and ready to go. Consider if emergency officials bang on your door and tell you they are evacuating the area and you have ten minutes to gather what you can and get out. Would you be able to gather everything up that can help you survive for the next 3 days? It is agreed that it takes government officials and relief agencies about 72 hours to set up so it is imperative that you and your family are able to take care of yourselves for that time. For more information as to what to pack in these bags, see our section on bug-out bags.
A crisis of any sort is a very high stress time. While nutrition is important, for these kits it is not as important as food that gives us energy and comfort. By having everything ready to go ahead of time, you can have food items that do both. First, consider your water needs. Again, you probably want at least 1 liter of water a day- make that a gallon in you want to beable to wash- but depending on your personal needs, and what types of food you pack, you may want to increase the amount of water you carry. Because of the weight of water, and the possible need that you may need more than you had planned for, it would be a good idea to pack a small water filtration device and/or some water purification tablets.
Ideally, food should be compact and lightweight and easy to prepare. As in our get-back-home bags, things like meal bars, jerky and trail mix and even candy are ideal snacks to provide energy and comfort. You can find some high-calorie meal bars here – Bayou Security and Survival. Also, instant oatmeal, instant mashed potatoes, powdered milk, instant soups and instant drink mixes are good options as well. Just remember all these require more water, and every pint of water is an extra pound in your pack. Be sure to take expiration dates into account. A good idea is to pin a list of your foods on a paper on the outside of the pack, with the expiration dates, and check it every 6 months so that you can rotate food in and out as needed.