How much water, how much food? How much do you really need to put away to feel at least somewhat secure? I think we probably all ask ourselves that from time to time, and we probably all come up with different answers. The amount we actually need primarily depends on the length of time you are trying to prepare for, what type of event (see my previous blog What type of event or events are you preparing for? ) and how long you think it will last. Another major factor is will you still have access to other supplies or will you be hunkered down living on only what you’ve saved? A good rule of thumb is buy what you eat, so what is it you eat most that you can save and how often do you eat it? Personally I’ve been trying to lose a few pounds and tone up a bit so I’ve been eating more (canned) fruit in the mornings before work, probably 4 times a week, so 4 cans a week of either pears, peaches, mandarin oranges, or fruit cocktail. So if you do the math, that’s about 208 cans of fruit a year or 52 for just a 3 month supply – and that’s just for me. Yikes, that’s just one item. So what do you eat? For the sake of argument let’s say you eat 1 can of soup (insert your favorite here) a week now, which might turn out to be more like 3 cans a week in a SHTF incident, so just a 3 month supply would be roughly 39 cans, or a 156 cans a year; that’s a lot of soup! And that’s just one item in your prepper stash. Multiply that time how many different items you would need to survive through a week and the numbers get pretty staggering. (See our The Prepper List for more storage items to consider.) A gallon of water per person per day for a family of four is roughly 180 gallons for just a 3 month supply and that doesn’t include washing, cleaning or flushing the toilet! OK, take a deep breath, baby steps.
Beans and rice, rice and beans
Two of the most common prepper items are of course rice and dried beans because of their long shelf life, but how often do you actually eat these items? Are you just packing away 5 gallon buckets of dried goods that you hope you’ll never need or are you planning how you will actually eat, drink and live in a SHTF event? Commercially prepared long term food storage may or may not be right for you depending on your situation. Take inventory of what you use every week/month and decide what the best items are for you to save and based on usage how many of each you need. And keep in mind living and just surviving are two very different things. There are no experts on the future; each of us has to make our own SHTF plan based on our view of the world as we know it.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.