May 9, 2020

Emergency Food and Bug Out Bag Considerations

Preparing For Any Situation

Some people tend to focus on a specific disaster when preparing or “prepping” as it is referred to by some. This is fine for the most part but you must remember that regardless of the situation you will always need life’s essentials. The essentials are shelter, water, fire/energy and food. Additionally, you will need medical supplies, quality gear, tools and certain other materials. Redundancy is the best backup plan so always have more than one stockpile in another location (cached). Make sure that items are multi-purpose. Keeping the basics in mind you can then begin to prepare for any situation by tailoring your gear and provisions to specific disasters such as nuclear, chemical and/or biological. Keep in mind while you wait on that nuclear detonation other emergencies and disasters may occur.


Economics play a role in preparedness for many people and so they tend to try to get by, as it were, with lesser quality. Investing in quality gear and tools is an investment in you and your family’s survival and it is recommended you carefully select your equipment and other provisions. Gather items over time to ease the economic burden so you can afford the best, because during an emergency you cannot afford low quality gear.

Plan for All Possibilities

Some tend to believe they will always have their home to shelter in during a crisis, and therefore they do not always prepare for evacuation. They may have stockpiles of food and water in their home without any way of transporting their supplies if they have to evacuate because of damage to their home or the area has become hostile.

Remember that most natural disasters will result in the loss of utilities to include gas for cooking and heating, no electricity and possibly a contaminated water source if you have water at all. Experts and local authorities have always recommended having a 72-hour supply of provisions on hand. This recommendation is outdated as proven by recent and not so recent events. Ten to 14 days is the minimum recommendation and 21 days is ideal for natural disasters. You will need emergency shelters, as well, that can be placed on your property if your home is damaged or even destroyed.

Long-Term Survival

For those that subscribe to the doomsday theories you should have a minimum of two years of provisions. You will need enough food and water to allow you time to develop a food source that you control, such as a garden large enough so surpluses can be preserved for the off seasons. You will need time to dig wells and possibly build a more sturdy shelter as well. Specific items needed would be a large seed repository and the tools and materials to maintain a garden along with the means to preserve your vegetables, fruits and meats by drying, canning, smoking and salt curing. Additional survival gear for long-term includes hunting weapons and tools for processing game. You will need tools and materials to dig wells and cap or build a well house around your well, as well as hand operated water pumps, rope and containers for water collection.

Types of Foods

MRE Bags

Meals Ready To Eat (MRE)

The types of foods you choose are important and the standard choices include dehydrated, canned and Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s).

Dehydrated foods have a typical shelf life of between 20 and 30 years unopened and are ideal for long-term food storage. You must have a reliable heat and water source for their preparation however, because they do need water for reconstitution and the water must be heated. The foods are easy to store and many manufactures offer package deals for one person or an entire family. The packages are based on two meals a day and you can order a month on up to several years’ supply of food. There is a wide variety of dehydrated foods from which to choose, so they are a very popular choice.



Canned foods are the traditional go to items for disaster preparedness. You can expect a shelf life of one year from date of purchase and they can be eaten literally from the can in an emergency. You are limited on variety however, and must purchase multiples of cans for a well-rounded diet. It is recommended each person have one can of meat product, one fruit and vegetable can daily with snacks such as crackers and peanut butter. Canned foods would not make an ideal long-term food source. Additionally they are cumbersome to carry in a backpack. Foods canned at home have a typical shelf life of one year and are usually in glass containers making them difficult to carry in a pack or transport by vehicle and once opened they must be eaten or refrigerated.

MRE’s are ideal for any situation because they are self-contained full meals that include condiments and eating utensils. Each meal whether it is the civilian version or military issue contains roughly 1,200 calories. The recommendation is two meals a day in a survival situation and if you cannot have two a day you must supplement with other foods. The shelf life is between five and seven years if they are stored in a cool place. The meal packages are light and can be easily packed into a backpack or vehicle for transport. The meals can be eaten cold out of the package or you can submerge the package in hot water for heating.



Prepare for evacuation by having a bug-out-bag if you live in an urban area. You may not have a vehicle, and in some cases, if you did the highways and streets may be blocked. Prepare to leave the area on foot with your bag. Pre-planning is important so have multiple routes mapped out. Know your environment, walk the streets to get a street level perspective. Landmarks and navigational aids will look different on foot as opposed to seeing them from a bus or taxi window.

For people living in rural areas you must have a defense plan for protecting your family, property and provisions. It is likely you will have to deal with hostile individuals or groups. Remember that people will be fleeing cities looking for safe havens, so rural areas will have an influx of desperate people. Make sure you have a vehicle designated for evacuation, and that it is well-maintained and fueled at all times.

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Bug Out Bags

Have your bag packed at all times with at least 72-hours of provisions and the means to collect and purify a surface water source because you will run out of water. You must have a shelter and/or the tools and materials to construct one from your environment. Water weighs 8.5lb/3.8kg per gallon in its container making it difficult to carry more than a 72-hour supply.

The following list of items is what you must have in your bag, so add additional items as you see fit but remember you will be carrying the pack so do not over pack. Expect a Bug-out-bag packed with the essentials and additional items will weigh between 50 and 60 pounds.

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  • Eight Packages Of MRE’s
  • Water One Gallon/Four Liters Daily (72-Hour Supply) Divided Up Into Canteens And Water Bottles
  • Iodine and/or Chlorine Dioxide Water Purification Tablets
  • Two Stainless Steel Canteens
  • Multi-Purpose Knife And A Fixed Bladed Knife
  • Machete/Camp Ax/Folding Saw
  • 50 Feet Of Quality Rope Consider 550 Paracord
  • Personal Hygiene Items
  • Sewing Kit With Assorted Needles
  • First Aid Kit
  • 15 to 20 Pound Fishing Line With Assorted Hooks And Tackle
  • 20 to 24 Gauge Wire
  • Fire Starting Tools And Materials
  • Personal Protection
  • Hat Bandana Sunglasses Sun Block And Lip Balm
  • Clip On Flashlight
  • Two Rain Ponchos Large Enough To Cover You And Your Pack Can Be Used As Shelter
  • Compass And Map Of The Area State And Country
  • Waterproof Tarp
  • Extra Socks Foot Powder (it is important you keep your feet dry and clean)
  • Battery Operated Radio

As stated, the list is only the essentials. It is assumed you would be wearing clothes appropriate for the climate. Add items only after you have the life essentials, and remember to keep the pack light enough to carry. People tend to over pack and then have to make decisions along the route as to which items must be discarded. Optional items include a nylon tent and sleeping bag. It is recommended you do not set up a tent if the area is hostile because you can be trapped in the tent and it will obstruct your line of sight. The same thing applies to being in a sleeping bag it will restrict your movements. Use a tent when you have established a base camp.


Your pack should be water resistant if not waterproof. It should have adjustable straps that allow you to attach items. Ensure it has kidney pads as well as kidney straps. Consider a load bearing web belt to attach canteens, personal protection and other items.

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