I think there are a lot of misconceptions about surviving a major SHTF event among the preparedness community. I read a lot of prepper blogs and watch a lot of preppers on YouTube, and there seems to be a lot of over confidence out there and often heavily focused on gear vs. food. Note: you can’t eat your gear. No, you will not hunt and fish your way through a SHTF event. Unless you are living that way right now, day in and day out, you need to rethink your strategy. Then we have those that think because they are armed they can just take what they need from others, but while you might survive a few encounters the odds will certainly catch up with you. Then of course there are those who will just take their tent and build a new life in a National Park or some other nonsense. And finally, the most common is they either have plenty of beans and rice or spent a couple of grand on ‘survival food’ so they are all set for whatever may come. Not to be a downer, but that plan falls a little flat.
First of all, I have nothing against the big ‘2 Week Survival Bucket’ things, but buyer beware; these things contain loads of sodium and the calory counts really don’t add up to what you would really need for that length of time and needless to say, they are pricey. They could however be used to add some variety to your preps, I would suggest taste testing a couple before spending a month’s pay on them. Buckets of beans and rice are excellent and have a very long shelf life, but do you really want to exist on nothing more than that? Could you survive that way? Yea, probably so, but you just might lose your mind in the process. The stress of an SHTF event, whatever it might be, can be profound, having little more than dried beans to eat will not improve the situation.
Layering your preps. You need items that you can grab and eat without cooking; canned fruit, canned pasta, cereal, peanut butter, crackers, etc. You need a good supply of canned goods you normally eat such as canned veggies, soups, chilis, beans, etc.; most of which is good long past it’s ‘best by’ date. A freezer full of food is always a good plan, we now have 3, but you have to be able to keep the juice flowing to it. The next level for us is vacuum sealed jars of dehydrated fruits as well as cereals and snacks. You can get about a 3-year shelf life (some say over 10 years) out of many cereals, crackers, pretzels, etc., if you vacuum seal them in canning jars. Then we have the buckets, but we don’t use the big 5-gallon mylar bags, we prefer to use the quart size and have several (usually 5) bags inside each bucket. We save white rice, pintos, red beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, a variety of pasta, rolled oats, and potato flakes. Note: it is important to store spices, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, hot peppers, and more to add some spice to that boring rice and beans! Along with the buckets of dried goods, we are now adding a variety of commercially freeze-dried foods in #10 cans. Instead of buying the ready-made meals, we are buying individual ingredients such as corn, green beans, peppers, butter, cheese, as well as banana chips, apples, peaches, etc. It is our hope that we can use these along with our other long-term goods to make a variety of meals as opposed to just beans and rice. We picked some up from beprepared.com and some from Amazon. Note: prices are going up quickly and many items are out of stock or back ordered.
This will all (hopefully) be supplemented by our expanded garden. Growing food will be critical going forward, growing enough to meet all your needs will be next to impossible, but every little bit helps. Finally, you need water to prepare all your long-term foods (including those meal buckets), so you need plenty and likely a renewable source and a way to treat or filter it. You should also add flavored drink mixes, teas, coffee etc. as that case of Pepsi or Coke will go flat and nasty after just a couple of months (found that out the hard way.)
Now, if you are well supplied with food and water or are at least making progress, then you have to also address shelter, power, cooking, medications, defense, etc., are you truly ready for what’s coming?
Now is not the time to be overconfident, now is the time to take a realistic assessment of where you are and what happens if the grocery stores are empty, the banks are closed, and society as you know it is suddenly gone. I have always shied away from the freeze-dried commercial food preps, but I’m swallowing my pride and making the investment. They are not the solution, just a part of it. Please, don’t not be part of the problem. Examine every area and take the steps necessary to protect yourself and your family. No one is coming to save you.
Time is short, prepare now.