Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Prudent Prepping: January Buffet post

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Now we concentrate  on what to do in, and how to plan for, the long term via Prudent Prepping.

January is a slow month for me. Sales taper off in the post-Christmas "Look-at-these-bills!" budget crunch, so I usually have a bit of spare time to go through the gear not mentioned in last week's post, along with several updates on gear and supplies.

Bug Out, In, and Around
From previous attempts at prepping, I have learned that the food I select needs to be things I, and those around me, like to eat and can fix fast, easily, and cheaply. One neglected part of all this is how well these menu items clean up. To make things fair and have reproducible results, all testing was done indoors. (Sorry, no outdoor survival recreations.) This was a test to see if what I have now are the types of things I want to use going forward. My MSR Stowaway pot was used on a gas range to make the cooking and cleaning tests as uniform as possible and also to simulate "Get Home" conditions.

Canned soup and chili
  • Cooked quickly with no surprises. 
  • Water added to the pot loosened food residue before the boiling point.
    Breakfast food (Instant oatmeal and grits/cream of wheat)
    • Cooked as expected. Oatmeal is something I cook for myself normally and have in my bug out gear. 
    • Residue loosened quickly but these items can scorch if the long-cooking varieties are used instead of instant. 
    Pastas with sauce and Mac n' Cheese
    • Slower cooking. Much slower since the portions used from the original packaging need to be reduced for a smaller serving size, and water needs to be watched more closely. 
    • Residue was not so easily removed, especially from the mac n' cheese pot. Extra time and effort, along with extra water, was needed to get the cheesy goo out of the pot.
    At the start of the washing and cleaning portion of this test I found another item lacking in my prepping gear: Paper towels and/or another way to wash and scrub the pot. I don't like the idea of a sponge being used in my prep gear, since sponges can go 'sour' and harbor bacteria. A wash rag is not much better in a Get Home situation. Who wants a wet rag in their gear? Who wants that wet rag in a plastic bag, growing a science project? I don't, so a partial roll of paper towels has been added to my Get Home Bag.

    Gear Check
    • Check your flashlights and batteries. Make sure you have extra bulbs in the flashlights, spares in your bulk storage and fresh batteries installed and close to your lights. Buy extra batteries and put them in your bulk stores. DATE THE PACKS so the oldest packs get used first. 
    • Add another space blanket or poncho to your GHB if you can afford it. There is always the chance you will be with someone in need. If not, grab two or three 33 gallon trash bags for emergency rain gear.

      • Make sure you have cash on hand at home, in the car and your Get Home gear. I have $40 rolled up in a piece of foil and then duct taped to the bottom of my Get Home Bag. The tape looks like I'm covering a rip or hole in the bag. The same thing can be done in your car. 
      • I am putting away all my change at the end of the week, and once a month I roll it up and take it to my bank. This money is my cash reserve. 

      The Takeaway
      Practice what you plan to do now, before you need it. Make your mistakes in the back yard or on a weekend camping trip. Use your stores as you think they will be used in an emergency.

       If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

      NOTE: All items tested were purchased be me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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