Long Term Food Storage:
Never Fear Starvation Again
We can live for a few minutes without Oxygen. Luckily, it’s everywhere. We can live without water for a few days. Thank goodness it’s (usually) abundant enough that we don’t have to worry about dying of thirst. Finally, we can live 2-3 weeks without food.
Could you imagine the horror of realizing you only have 3 weeks to live if you can’t find food? What about the more shocking horror of realizing your family will slowly starve to death if you can’t find a source of food (fast).
Why would we take the risk that our local grocery store will never run out of food?
Is that so outlandish to imagine? All it would take is a mild disruption in the supply chain or a public panic to empty shelves of food.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) achieved both. When most of the country stayed home instead of working, simple things weren’t even available for purchase. At first people worried about toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Then the real fear set in. What if my family goes without food?
Within days, you couldn’t buy bread or milk at most stores. Canned goods, beans, rice, oatmeal, and nuts were hard to find. If you could find them, there was a small limit to what you were allowed to buy! Fear of starvation emptied the store shelves.
What if you never had to go through that fear again?
No parent should ever have to live with that fear again. No husband, mother, son, or daughter should have to worry about starvation. While the thought of our family going without food is scary, the remedy is simple and affordable.
I’ll show you how to store enough food for your family to survive for months or even years. That’s more than enough time to start growing a survival garden. I’ll show you how to do that too.
The bottom line?
I’ll show you how to avoid starvation if the food supply chain breaks down. Your family deserves that security.
If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it’s that our country can be brought to its knees in a matter of days.
How Much Food Do You Need To Store?
Before I give you a very detailed explanation, I’ll give you the napkin math.
The following amounts are per person, per year:
300 lbs of grain.
60 lbs of beans/legumes.
50 lbs of powdered milk.
40 lbs of sugar.
1 lb of baking powder.
1 lb of baking soda.
1/2 lb of yeast.
5 lbs of salt.
Your grains can include: wheat, flour, oats, rice, and pasta.
Your beans/legumes can include: pinto beans, Lima beans, split peas, and lentils.
Now that you’ve seen the one size fits all math, I’ll show you some specific numbers you can use to truly tailor your food storage needs for your family.
To decide how much food to store, you’ll need to consider a few factors.
- How many calories will you need per person.
- How many people do you need to feed.
- How much time do you need to buy.
The amount of food you need to store depends on what level of risk you’re willing to accept.
Let’s face it, if you’ve decided to abstain from storing food for your family, you’ve accepted a huge risk.
You’ve bet that your local grocery stores will never ever under any circumstances ever run out of food. You’ve bet that most of the major crops will come out fine every year. You’ve bet that most of the animals we use for meat will be fine every year.
You’ve bet that a once-a-century drought won’t happen in your lifetime. You’ve bet that Mad Cow disease was a fluke and that nothing like that will ever happen again.
You’ve bet that a pandemic could never quarantine enough Americans to cause our food supply chain to break down.
A family with a 1 month food supply can hold out for quite some time as the food supply chain is repaired. That’s good enough for situations like Hurricane Katrina.
If the food supply chain does break down, how long will it take before it’s working again.
A family with a 1-2 year emergency food supply is not willing to accept any risk.
That family can survive just about anything. That’s even enough time to start a survival garden. A family with their own renewable food source can survive starvation.
How Many Calories Do You Really Need?
Well, it depends. Before I go into too many specifics, I’ll give you the simple answer.
- Small Child: 1500 calories per day.
- 10 – 15 Year Old Child: 2000 calories per day.
- Woman: 2000 calories per day.
- Man: 2500 calories per day.
Now to get more specific.
You’ll need a minimum of 1200 calories per day just to survive.
1200 calories per day will prevent starvation. However, at 1200 calories per day, you will definitely lose weight.
Realistic caloric needs will vary greatly per person. A 19 year old man who’s active will need approximately 3000 calories per day to avoid weight loss. In contrast, a 60 year old woman who’s sedentary would probably need just 1600 calories per day to avoid weight loss. Again, these are just estimates.
You also have to consider a person’s size. If a person is larger or smaller than average, these numbers may need to be adjusted.
A good average for a woman would be 2000 calories per day. A good average for a man would be 2500 calories per day. An elementary-aged child can make do with 1500 calories per day but will need to step up to 2000 calories once the reach 10 or 11 years old.
The following chart is from WebMd.com
The following chart is from health.gov
How Many People Do You Need To Feed?
This is not necessarily a simple question to answer.
What if your spouse’s Mom and Dad plan on coming over in case disaster strikes? Do they have their own food stores to bring with them?
Perhaps you have a brother or sister with young kids. If so, do they have food storage? This is important to know because if they’re starving while your home is not, don’t you think they’ll want to join the party? Will you lie to your family and tell them you don’t have any food? Could you live with yourself if you do?
Here’s the bottom line: are you really prepared for the unknown if you only store the bare minimum food you calculate your home will need?
I think a basic Food Storage Kit would make a great Christmas or Birthday gift for everyone in your family who might decide that life’s too short to prepare for disasters. I’d even follow up with them multiple times to ensure they’ve bought enough rice and beans to last a couple of months (minimum). That’s a Christmas present for them that also has a great benefit to yourself!
Your food supply can potentially disappear fast if everyone else realizes you have food and they don’t.
I personally have a two year food supply packed away for me and my family; not just my immediate family either. I know that somehow I’ll end up with more mouths to feed in a crisis if I have food. That’s simply how the real world works.
I know that someone in my family with small kids will refuse to be responsible for those children. In my heart, I know that I wouldn’t want to see them starve to death if I can help it. Therefore, I’ve doubled the amount of food that my immediate family will need to survive for two years.
I’ve fully prepared for Murphy’s Law.
Now, if someone expects to ride out a disaster at your home (using your food supply), you’d better trust them explicitly. Otherwise, someone else could declare themselves the Governor of your castle. There are plenty of ways to prevent that scenario.
Needless to say, if someone separates you from your food supply, all your hard work was for nothing.
The bottom line to the question of how many people you need to feed is this. Double or even triple your first answer.
How Much Time Do You Need To Buy?
Do you want to survive a temporary pandemic where the food supply chain doesn’t completely break down? A three month food supply should hopefully get you through.
Do you want to survive if the entire food supply chain never comes back online? You’ll need 1-2 years worth of food to accomplish this level of security. That’s long enough to get a hearty garden established.
The only real way to survive a complete breakdown in the food supply chain is to provide your family’s food yourself.
Sure, there are millionaires that have doomsday bunkers with 20 years worth of food storage buried deep enough to survive nuclear warfare. Some people are rich enough to buy a whole lot of risk prevention. I’m happy for them. However, for most people, anything more than a 1-2 year food supply is unreasonable.
I’ll take a 2 year food supply with the seeds I’ll need to start a garden over a 20 year food supply that’s missing seeds any day of the week.
You can slowly build up a bucket or two of food every month until you meet your goal. After that, you can start working on your seed stock (more on that later).
So how much time do you need to buy? You’ll want a 3 month supply of food if you don’t mind a little risk.
However, if you want to truly prepare your family for anything, you’ll want to add food to your supply until you have enough to last your family at least a year or two.
What Are The Best Foods To Store?
Here’s the bottom line: Rice, Beans, Oats, Flour (not whole wheat), Pasta, Lentils, Sugar, & Powdered Milk are the main foods you’ll want to store.
Don’t get me wrong. There are tons of other foods to store and I highly recommend you add a little variety to your food storage. You should definitely mix in a few other ingredients. You should also ensure you’ve packed away lots of spices and seasonings. Plain beans and rice will get really boring really fast.
It’s important to note that this is a survival cache though. You won’t be preparing 4 star meals for distinguished guests. The foods listed above will ensure you survive. Plus, they’re very affordable.
Let’s also not forget that after you start your garden, you can start eating home-grown vegetables within 2-4 months.
Again: Rice, Beans, Oats, Flour, Cornmeal, Pasta, Sugar, & Powdered Milk are nutritious, affordable, and store very well (if the proper procedures are followed correctly) for very long periods of time.
Why is rice a great choice for food storage? That’s an easy question to answer.
It’s affordable, can last for decades if stored properly, and nutritious.
Rice has over 1600 calories per pound (uncooked)! Because it’s 90% carbohydrates, its an excellent survival food. Pair it with high protein beans for sustainable nutrition.
Plus, rice can be used for literally hundreds of recipes. My personal favorite way to eat rice is with sugar and cinnamon for breakfast.
Rice is high in fiber and starch. The high starch content is why it’s so calorie dense. Plus, with 4 grams of protein per cooked cup, it’s a decent source of protein as well.
Here’s the breakdown of 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of cooked rice:
Dietary Fiber: 1g
Manganese: 18% Daily Value (DV)
Selenium: 13% DV
Niacin: 12% DV
Vitamin B6: 8% DV
Phosphorus: 6% DV
Thiamine: 5% DV
Copper: 4% DV
Magnesium 2% DV
Zinc: 2% DV
Folate: 1% DV
Iron: 1% DV
How Long Can White Rice Be Stored?
You’ll want to keep it as cool as possible (without freezing). If you can keep it at 50-60 degrees, it can last up to 30 years. However, that’s hard to accomplish with home storage. Big temperature swings should be avoided as well.
If you can keep it at a constant 70 degrees, it’ll last for well over 10 years if you store it in airtight containers with oxygen absorbers. If your basement or underground storm shelter stays even cooler, it’ll last 20-30 years.
Why are beans a great choice for food storage? It’s for mostly the same reasons as rice.
They’re affordable, can last for decades if stored properly, and nutritious.
Beans are just as important as white rice for your long term storage needs. Beans and rice alone can sustain your family for quite a while. Beans and rice combined contain all the essential amino acids present in protein. Each one separately lacks some of the essential amino acids. But when combined, one provides what the other one lacks.
Beans and Rice are a staple all over the world for a reason…they work.
Beans have the highest protein content of any seed crop: 22%. Beans are great source of fiber, starch, vitamins, and minerals.
Here’s the nutritional breakdown of 1 cup (171 grams) of cooked pinto beans:
Dietary Fiber: 15g
Iron: 20% Daily Value (DV)
Thiamine: 28% DV
Calcium: 8% DV
Magnesium: 21% DV
Phosphorous: 20% DV
Potassium: 16% DV
Folate: 74% DV
How Long Can Beans Be Stored?
Like most food storage, if you can store it in cool, dry, and dark conditions, it’ll last longer. In optimal conditions, it’ll last 20-30 years.
Even at 70 degrees in a dry conditions should keep them good for over a decade.
Oats are great for long term storage because they can last for a very long time and are very nutritious.
Oats are chock full of carbs, protein, and fiber. Sure, oats are great for breakfast but they are great for baking too.
Oats can be added to meatloaf, ground into flour for muffins, breads, or cookies and can even be used as a thickener in soups and stews.
While oats are great for food storage, did you know that they are one of the healthiest foods available for human consumption. It’s true! Oats can actually help you live longer and healthier.
Why are oats so darn healthy? The biggest reasons: high fiber content and antioxidants.
The high fiber can help reduce cholesterol, lower your blood sugar, and help prevent heart disease.
Avenanthramides are free radicals only found in oats. They help prevent free radicals from wreaking havoc on your body and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Oats also have 11 grams of protein to go along with 56 grams of carbs in a cup (cooked).
Here’s the nutritional info for oats:
Dietary Fiber: 8g
Iron: 77% Daily Value (DV)
Calcium: 18% DV
Vitamin A: 20% DV
Vitamin: B-6: 35%
Powdered Milk (Non-Fat)
While Powdered Milk can’t last nearly as long as other foods on this list, it’s incredibly nutritious and can last for a few years if stored properly.
You will definitely have to rotate the powdered milk in your food stock more often than other foods.
At 70 degrees, it’ll last about 2 years. At 50 degrees, it can last up to 5 years. Anything over 80 degrees will cause powdered milk to not last past a few months.
Powdered milk can be rotated out of your food storage and used in your recipes if you prefer fresh milk in your daily routine. It can be added to gravies, soups, pancakes, smoothies, etc. It’s an easy way to add nutrition to countless recipes.
Powdered Milk’s very impressive nutrition facts are:
Vitamin A: 32% Daily Value (DV)
Vitamin C: 6% DV
Vitamin D: 75% DV
Thiamin: 19% DV
Riboflavin: 70% DV
Niacin: 3% DV
Vitamin B6: 12% DV
Folate: 8% DV
Vitamin B12: 45% DV
Calcium: 84% DV
Iron: 1% DV
Magnesium: 20% DV
Phosphorus: 67% DV
Potassium: 33% DV
Sodium: 16% DV
Zinc: 20% DV
Selenium: 27% DV
Sugar isn’t even recommended in our daily diets so why do we want it in our food storage?
Because it’s an easy way to add some variety to your daily meals. A little sugar add a lot of comfort in times of crises. Plus, although it doesn’t add much nutritional value, it does add energy to your diet.
Sugar will make the oats or rice in your storage much better at breakfast time. Add in a little powdered milk and you’ll be set for much a better breakfast than plain oats. I promise you that after about 3 weeks of eating plain oats or rice for breakfast you will be dreaming of a little sugar.
Sugar is easy (and affordable) to add to your storage so it’s a no-brainer.
Here are the nutrition facts from 1 teaspoon (4g) of granulated sugar:
Just FYI, you don’t need oxygen absorbers in sugar. It lasts just as long without them and the oxygen absorbers cause the sugar to lump together.
Bottom Line: How Long Will My Food Last?
Most of it can last up 25-30 years if kept in a cool, dry, dark basement: rice, beans, and oats all have a very long shelf life.
At 70 degrees, rice, beans, and oats, should last over 10 years (at least).
Powdered milk can last for a couple of years at 70 degrees or 4-5 years in a cool, dry, dark basement.
Sugar can last for up to 10 years in a cool, dry, dark basement. It should easily last a couple of years at 70 degrees.
You should rotate your food stock so that your food storage stays fresher and lasts longer.
Rice can be used in countless recipes and is pretty healthy for you.
Beans can be used in many recipes as well and can actually help you live longer thanks to its myriad health benefits.
Oats in particular are viewed as a superfood that can extend your life substantially if you eat it on a regular basis. There are hundreds of recipes that utilize oats to keep your meals from getting mundane.
Here’s the ironic thing about eating beans, rice, and oats on a regular basis: you’ll cut your grocery bill by a third (or more) and you’ll live longer. With enough experimenting, you can add a constant array of new recipes to your dinner table as well.
I personally eat rice 3 times per week. I eat beans in one fashion or another twice a week. I eat oatmeal 4-5 times a week for breakfast.
And to answer you question: No, I don’t get tired of them.
Rice can be used in Mexican, Chinese, and American dishes. There are literally hundreds of recipes that utilize rice (and they all have their own unique flavor). Beans can be used in all kinds of soups, Mexican dishes, etc.
There are dozens of ways to eat oats for breakfast. Does that shock you? There are recipes that utilize your crockpot, recipes that involve soaking them in the fridge overnight with yogurt and fruit.
Bottom Line: Your food storage will last forever as long as you continually rotate it.
After you empty a bucket of rice, refill it and add it to the end of your food stock. Then grab a new one from the front. Just make sure to label everything so you’re grabbing the one with the oldest date when you pull a new bucket out.
How Do I Get Started?
You’ll need a few very specific materials to properly store your food for long-term storage.
- Food Grade Buckets
- Food Grade Mylar Bags
- Oxygen Absorbers
- Heat Sealer (for the mylar bags)
- Mallet (to seal bucket)
- Labels (to label and date the buckets)
Food Grade Buckets
Why do you need buckets if the food can just be sealed in a mylar bag? Because pests (think insects and mice) can chew through a mylar bag with ease. They are much less likely to get into a properly sealed bucket/mylar bag combo.
You’ll want FDA approved buckets. 5 gallon buckets are best. It doesn’t matter if you use round or square buckets. Either will work just fine.
You might be curious about using used buckets. If you’re sure it’s FDA approved, it should be fine as long as it can still be sealed properly.
However, it should be noted that if the bucket smells like whatever was previously in it, your food will probably absorb some of that smell. So unless you want your oatmeal to smell like pickles, be very selective with used buckets.
Food Grade Mylar Bags
So why do we need to line our buckets with mylar bags? It helps with multiple aspects of long term food storage. It’s very difficult to keep oxygen out of a plastic bucket. Sometimes small insects can find their way in as well.
Mylar bags keep your food fresher longer. Plus, they help to keep pests out.
If you throw in the right amount of oxygen absorbers, your food will be sealed in a low oxygen environment that keeps food from spoiling. Plus, if any small insects made it in with your food (it happens), they will die in short order without oxygen.
Oxygen absorbers are a game changer when it comes to how long you can store your food. After all, a lack of oxygen is why canned food lasts so long.
You can create a great seal if you throw in the correct amount of oxygen absorbers into a mylar bag and seal it shut with a heat sealer. The atmosphere we breathe is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% argon. There are trace amounts of a few other gases as well.
When you seal in oxygen absorbers with your food in a mylar bag, the oxygen is removed and the nitrogen remains. Nitrogen is harmless to your food though. By pulling the oxygen out, your food can last for decades.
A heat sealer seals the mylar bag to keep oxygen away from your food supply.
Here’s a little tip though: an iron works just as well. I’ll go over this in the next section.
A good mallet will help you seal the lid of your bucket. Using a hammer can damage the lid if you strike it directly. You can use a wood block with a hammer if you absolutely can’t find a mallet.
Labels are very important. Proper labeling will ensure you don’t have to crack open a bucket to know what’s in it. But it also allows you to date each bucket. You’ll want to use the earliest dates first.
How To Safely Pack Food For Long Term Storage
Long term food storage is easy if you have the proper tools, equipment, and materials.
It’s an easy 5 step process:
- Insert mylar bag into bucket.
- Pack the bucket full of food.
- Load oxygen absorbers (quickly).
- Seal the mylar bag.
- Seal the bucket.
Insert Mylar Bag Into Bucket
You’ll want to ensure your mylar bag is specifically sized for a 5 gallon bucket: 20” X 30”.
Next, you’ll insert the bag into the bucket with the bottom seam centered on the bottom of the bucket.
Simple, right? Yes, just make darn sure that the bag is the right size.
Pack Food Into Bucket/Bag
How full should you pack the bag? Pack it as full as possible. If you don’t fill it all the way, you’ll have more oxygen to contend with. An inch or so from the top is fine.
Load Oxygen Absorbers
Why do we want to get the oxygen out of our food supplies? Oxygen causes chemical reactions that cause your food to go bad. Most food will last many times longer if you remove the oxygen.
Before opening your oxygen absorbers, you can do a test with the lid to make sure it’ll fully seat on the bucket if you have doubts. You do not want to open you oxygen absorbers before you’re ready to use them.
This is a crucial step. If you don’t get the oxygen out of the bag, you could open up a spoiled bag of food when you need it most.
You’ll want to use a 2000cc oxygen absorber packet.
Be Careful Here.
Oxygen absorbers start working as soon as air hits them. You’ll want to keep them in the original packaging until you need them (any unused oxygen absorbers can be stored in a small mason jar).
Once you open them, move quickly. How quickly? Shoot for under 5 minutes for the best results.
After you get your buckets loaded with food, warm up your iron and get your board ready (see next step).
Finally, add a 2000cc (or four 500cc) oxygen absorber to the top of the food and then quickly seal the bag.
Once you’ve added the oxygen absorber, you’re ready to seal the bag.
Some people have special bag sealers. If you want to spend $150 on one, that’s fine but unnecessary. Specialty bag sealers are convenient but a cheap iron works just as well at sealing a mylar bag.
You’ll need an iron. A cheap $15 iron from Walmart works just fine.
You’ll also need a board to lay on top of your bucket. This’ll give you a flat area to press the iron down.
I’d use a 1” X 2” board. A length of two foot works great.
Before you start, it’s a good idea to test your iron to find the right temperature. You can cut a couple inches off the top of a mylar bag and it’ll still leave plenty of bag left to seal up.
Use that two inch test strip to try out the temperature setting on your iron. On most irons, the cotton setting with no steam works best. You’ll want to make sure, it seals up quick and easy.
- Lay the board across the bucket.
- Run the iron across the bag but stop one inch from the end.
- Press as much air out as possible
- Seal the last inch of the bag.
Now the stressful part is over. You’ve sealed your bag as quickly as possible.
You have two options to seal your bucket.
First, you can use your standard bucket lid and a mallet to seal it on tight. Make sure it’s sealed good all the way around the bucket. If you don’t have a mallet, you can lay a board across the lid and pop the lid down with a hammer. You should never hit the plastic lid with a hammer though. It can damage it badly. The best bet is a good heavy rubber mallet.
The second (and best) option to seal your bucket is a Gamma Seal Lid. A Gamma Seal Lid has two parts. The first part is a ring with a gasket inside that snaps onto the bucket’s rim. The second part is the center that screws onto and off of the ring.
Before we go over how to install it, let’s talk about why it’s go great for food storage. First, it seals the bucket a little better than a standard bucket lid. This is because the ring completely surrounds the rim of the bucket with a rubber gasket. Secondly, the Gamma Seal Lid is amazing because it allows you to open and close the bucket by simply spinning the center piece on or off.
Now, the convenience factor of this really comes into play as you rotate your buckets of food stock into your pantry. When you bring a new bucket into the pantry, you can simply unscrew the lid, scoop out enough oatmeal for your recipe and screw the lid back on. Like I said: It’s amazing!
How and Where To Store Your Cache
You don’t want to just stash your food cache in a hot shed in the back corner of your yard or in a hot attic.
That would be a huge mistake.
Heat destroys the shelf life of your food supply. We’ll go over a few options but let’s start at the top.
This is a crucial step. If you don’t label and date your food supply, you’ll find yourself randomly opening buckets of food to find what you need: not good.
In addition, the date will tell you if your food is still good if you’ve stored it for years on end. Plus, the date will allow you to rotate the right buckets into your food pantry. If you continually rotate the buckets that are older than the others, you’ll keep your food supply younger.
Don’t stack buckets directly on a concrete floor. Some experts (but not all) believe chemicals from concrete can eventually leach into the plastic of your food bucket. If you aren’t using shelving, you’ll want to I would stack the buckets on a wooden base (pallets work fine). I would recommend only stacking buckets three high unless you are using shelves.
If you’re using shelves, you can stack as many buckets on your shelves as they are rated for. Even so, I wouldn’t stack the buckets more than four high. The reason: going up and down a ladder with a heavy bucket of food is cumbersome and sometimes dangerous.
There’s a basic rule of thumb here: cool, dark, and dry. The heat, light, and moisture are the enemy here.
If you can store your food at a consistent 70 degrees F, it’ll last you ten years. That’s good.
If you can store your food at a consistent 40-50 degrees, it’ll last you 25-30 years. That’s great.
However, as long as you’re rotating your food supply, ten years is plenty.
Your house is usually going to be around 70 degrees. It might be a few degrees cooler or warmer on average. That might make a difference of a year or two in either direction.
Good Storage Locations
You can store the food inside your home, underground at your home, or at a bug out location.
Let’s look at storage locations inside your home first.
The best convenient storage location is a basement if you have one. A basement is cool and dark. Plus, with a dehumidifier, it can be plenty dry. Just make sure not to put the food too close to a furnace.
If you don’t have a basement, you can store buckets at the back of your closets. If you don’t have room in your closets, there are some other options.
Did you know that you can store 30 buckets under a queen bed or 42 buckets under a king bed? It’s true!
To create storage for 5-gallon buckets under your bed, you’ll ditch the box spring and get some plywood. The plywood goes over the top of the buckets. Your mattress goes over the plywood. Will it look stupid? Nope. You won’t see the buckets because that’s what bed skirts are for. You can even build sides with plywood if you want. You can design it so that removing a few screws allows easy access. You can even use hinges on the foot board to allow easier access. You can paint, stain, or add any decorations to the wooden frame.
There are other places around the house you can find as well. Under the stairs, crawl space, under the sink, etc. Just avoid the hot attic unless you add an air conditioner up there.
What about outside your home on your property?
There are a few of good options here. You can use an underground storm shelter. You can use a shed if you run electricity to it (it’ll need an air conditioner).
You can dig a root cellar into a hill and line it with bricks.
You can even bury your buckets underground. If you go this route, I’d wrap the buckets in heavy duty plastic sheeting to add an extra layer of protection.
What about somewhere off your homestead?
A bug out location is a great place to store your food if you ensure it’s not easy to find and steal. How do you accomplish that?
You can put in a storm shelter with a heavy duty door with a heavy duty lock. Even if it’s not hidden, it’ll ward off anyone who doesn’t come with a set of bolt cutters with them.
It’s best if you hide the storm shelter though. You can put a shed over the storm shelter. Then, inside the shed, you can put some (heavy) junk over the door that most people wouldn’t bother to move.
If your storm shelter is low enough to the ground, you can park a junked out car over the door. A simple winch or cable puller can move the car out of the way when you need access.
You don’t have to use a storm shelter, you can bury an old storage container as well. You can even dig a hole and line it with concrete or bricks.
Don’t want that much work? You can simply bury your 5-gallon buckets on your bug out property. Just remember to record the exact location in a map that you keep in your bug out bag. You might want to take a picture of the map and email it to yourself too (just in case you lose the hard copy).
Conceal Your Food
Whether you store your food at home or your bug out property, concealing it is smart.
If a breakdown of the food supply chain does happen, people will be looking for other sources of food.
If a man’s family is starving, he will take your food. His family’s survival is a higher priority than your family’s survival. Worse yet, he may take your food by force.
If you store your food on your property, conceal it. A bed frame built over your food is a great idea. You could build one in every bedroom.
If you store your food in your basement, you can build a wall with a hidden door. If you use a closet, you can replace the door with a bookshelf.
If you bury it, make sure it isn’t obvious.
Bugout locations work great because they should have much less human traffic than a house in the city.
The most important part is to not tell anyone you are a prepper. They could very well come to your home looking for food when they run out.
Nothing is wrong with giving some of your food away. However, it should be on your own terms. The best way for it to be on your own terms is if nobody knows what you have.
Even telling your brother-in-law can be a mistake. He might tell a friend that he has a “close relative” that store’s food. That person could tell five others. There are a lot of ways for people to find out about your food supply cache. The fewer people that know, the better.
Think about the real reason you’re storing food.
You don’t want your family to ever go without food.
You’ll have the best odds if your food supply is secret.
Sure, you could build a food cache and then forget about it for a decade or two. But wouldn’t it be better to not have to replace it all in the future?
If you rotate it into your food pantry, it’ll last forever!
You’ll want to have beans, rice, oatmeal, etc., in your pantry. Not only will it lower your monthly food bill, you’ll live longer. It’s healthy for you!
The key to rotating food out of your food cache is FIFO. First In, First Out.
The food that you stored first is the food you’ll want to bring out first. It’s that simple!
You have a couple of options. You can organize your food by year or by type. If you organize your food by type, you can organize by year inside each food type category.
I personally use color coded duct tape on every bucket.
I like to organize my food supply by type. I have my oatmeal buckets together, my bean buckets together, my rice buckets together, etc. When my pantry bucket of oats runs out, I know exactly where to go in my food supply cache to get a replacement bucket of oats.
I go to my stack of oat buckets and grab the oldest bucket. I write the date on each bucket. However, I also change the color of my label (duct tape) every year. It makes it faster for me to go to the oldest date.
Essential Survival Gear To Add To Your Stock
This goes without saying. You can only last a 2-3 days without water.
How much water do you need?
Most recommendations call for a gallon of water per person per day. About half of that is for consumption and half for hygiene.
How much should you store?
First things first: you’ll want to have some water pouches or bottles in your bug out bag. It’s a good idea to have a couple gallons of water in the trunk of your car as well. That can last you a day or two. Having some water treatment tablets and a water filter (such as LifeStraw) in your bug out bag is a great idea too.
If a disaster happens that knocks out the city water system, most scenarios will have the water supply working again within a few days to a few weeks at worst.
So, it’s a smart idea to have a large barrel (or two) of water somewhere on your property if at all possible. Two 55 gallon barrels will give a family of four close to a month of emergency water.
A 300 gallon water storage tank buried in your backyard can be purchased for under $300. Now you’re looking at a 2-3 month water supply for a family of four.
What about long term water supplies?
If there’s a stream on your bug out property, that’s good. If there’s a river or lake in town, that’ll work too. Another water source is rain barrels placed under gutter’s down spout. However, you’ll want to have some water filters and water purification tablets on hand if you plan on drinking it.
The best way to stay safe when drinking river water is to boil the water and filter it. It’s a good idea to have a good water filter system at home anyway. A good way to keep clean water for a few years is to store a few years worth of water filters.
The best long term solution is to have a well on your bug out property. You can have a generator or solar power systems on site as well.
A food supply can last you a long time but not forever. The best way to fully prevent the possibility of starvation for your family is to produce your own food.
Some seeds can last up to five years in the freezer!
Store them in a jar and make sure to label them. After five years, it’s a good idea to replace them.
It’s important to let the seeds warm up to room temperature before opening them. Moisture isn’t good for your seeds and condensation can ruin them.
It’s a good idea to educate yourself on how to garden in your backyard. It can provide a lot of security for your family and save you money. Plus, it’s organic!
Here’s a breakdown of how long seeds can last:
Short-lived Seeds (1 to 2 years):
- sweet corn
Intermediate Seeds (3 to 4 years):
- cabbage family (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, etc.)
Long-lived Seeds (5 to 6 years):
While this may not sound like a survival product ask yourself this: do you really want to go without coffee?
If a disaster hits and you can’t get to a grocery store for a few days (or weeks), you’ll be glad you stuffed some into your supply. You don’t need a lot, just few pounds to last you for a few weeks.
Two Way Radio’s, flashlights, and all kinds of modern conveniences will be necessary to make your life better during a disaster. Having enough batteries on hand can definitely make life easier during a disaster.
USB Solar Chargers
A good USB solar charger can soak up sunlight and use it to power your smartphone, tablet, or other rechargeable items such as flashlights. Cell towers may be working or they may not be working when a disaster strikes your area. However, that won’t matter if you can’t even charge your phone.
It’s a good idea to throw one of these into your bug out bag.
Although things like toilet paper, toothpaste, soap and razors are incredibly cheap, it’s hard to live without them. Everyone should have a toiletries bag inside their go bag.
If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it taught us that cheap items like toilet paper become precious to us when everyone starts hoarding it.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to have a month’s worth of toiletries at all times. It only takes a few dollars, after all!
This is incredibly important to have ready to go at all times. Your bug out bag is how you make it through the first 24 to 72 hours of a disaster. Simple things like food water instantly become incredibly valuable when you don’t have them.
You can have a fully stocked Bugout bag for two or three hundred dollars. There’s no excuse not to have one.
What should you have in your bug out bag?
2. Food Bars
3. First Aid Kit
4. Toiletries Bag
5. Weather Band Radio
6. Water Purification Tablets
8. USB Solar Charger
9. 12 Hour Emergency Bright Stick
10. Survival Whistle
13. Work Gloves
14. Ferro Rod
Of course, you can add whatever else makes you feel safer in an emergency.
It’s a good idea to have a bug out bag in your closet and in the trunk of your car.
Tedderock offers expert-packed survival bags at a great price.
A survival garden is how you survive starvation through almost any disaster. You build your own food supply.
Mel Bartholomew started the Square Foot Gardening Foundation with a great approach to survival gardening.
The Square Foot Garden is 4 foot X 4 Foot. It uses less space and only 10% of the water demands of a traditional garden. Plus it requires far less work. You basically build a box over landscape fabric and fill it with Vermiculite, Sphagnum Peat Moss, and Blended Organic Compost.
While it’s important to have variety in your garden, it’s important to know what foods will start producing food for your family fast. It’s important to get food coming into your kitchen ASAP while your different vegetables are going through their different time cycles.
Quick Growing Food Seeds:
- Spinach – 4-6 weeks
- Baby Carrots – 30 days
- Radishes – 22-50 days
- Cucumbers – 50-60 days
- Beets – Greens in 30 days – beets in 50 days
- Bush Beans – 40-65 days
- Bok Choy – 30 days
- Lettuce – 30-60 days
- Squash – as little 35 days – then almost daily onward
- Okra – 50 days
- Kale – baby greens in 25 days – mature greens in 50-65 days
- Snow Peas – 60 days
- Broccoli – 60 days
- Turnips – greens in 40 days – roots in 60 days
Starchy vegetable like turnips, squash, and potatoes provide a lot of calories for the same amount (or less) work as less calorie-dense food.
Other Considerations in Case Of Societal Collapse
While humanity survived (and thrived) for millennia without electricity, it has made life much better. You can last for a while with generators or solar power but even those won’t last forever.
Generators can provide plenty of electricity if you have plenty of fuel. You can probably store enough propane to last a while but eventually you’ll run out.
Solar systems will work for a while but the batteries that store the charge will eventually malfunction. After that, you’ll only have electricity when the sun is up.
Things like wind, water, and steam can be used to rotate a turbine shaft in an electric generator. This is the most likely solution to really long term electricity needs.
Wind or Water Mills
Transferring mechanical energy into DIY machinery may be an easier task than using a DIY generator. Things like a flour grinding mill or a water tower can be operated with mechanical energy.
A windmill can move water to an elevated water tower to provide running water to a household. Mechanical energy can also operate pulleys or even turn drills for wells.
Physical Encyclopedias / Text Books
This goes without saying but in a real apocalyptic scenario, you probably won’t have the internet. You can provide countless generations of your family a real education with a few physical text books and a good set of encyclopedias.
Wood Burning Stove
A good stove is infinitely better than a campfire for heating and cooking needs! They can be had for a few hundred dollars and are great to have at a cabin at your bug out location.
Tabletop CNC Machine
These can be had for a couple thousand dollars. If you can find the electricity to power it, you can produce parts for DIY machinery on your kitchen table!
They are relatively easy to use and are great for making things around the house as well.
The moral of the story is this: If we take personal responsibility for our family, we can survive almost any disaster.
There is no excuse to not prepare for disasters. Disasters happen every year around the world. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, thousands of Americans went without running water. No grocery stores were open either.
When the coronavirus first hit the US, it grocery store shelves were empty. The coronavirus’ death rate was 2%. Can you imagine what would happen to our country’s food supply chain if it’s death rate was 5%-10%?
At the very least, you need a food supply that can last your family a couple of months. Plus, you’ll need some quick growing food seeds will ensure you can have food ready when your food supply cache runs out.
So at the very least, stock up on some 5-gallon pails of basic staples like beans, oats, and rice.
If you only add one pail a month to your food supply cache, after a year or so, you’ll have a lot of food squirreled away for your family’s security.