Editor’s note: I want to welcome Cheryl L (my mom) to the site with her first article! Enjoy!
No matter what you are prepping for, at some point in time food preparation must enter into your preps. I am always trying to find ways to cook using a minimum amount of time, energy, effort, and fuel. So I plan my preps accordingly.
I prefer to keep my life simple and that includes getting everything done in the morning and taking it easy after all the work is done. This is one of the reasons that I decided to purchase a thermal cooker.
Another reason I thought a thermal cooker would be a wonderful idea is for the ease of cooking a meal whether on a regular stove, a rocket stove, an open campfire, or in any emergency situation. We live in tornado territory and I can take a thermal cooker down into the shelter along with the already stored dehydrated meals and water, etc. so that I can prepare them for my family if the need arises. Be it a rabbit dinner or emergency food storage, I feel secure in having the means to take care of them.
I looked and researched on the internet, reading about several different thermal cookers. After some study I finally settled on the Saratoga Jack 7L thermal cooker.
I went with the Saratoga because it received a lot of positive feedback on Amazon, and because it comes with two heavy-duty pans that nestle together for cooking, (cook two separate pots at once) a lid, a cook book and of course the vacuüm cooker.
The Saratoga Jack thermal cooker is simple to use. You follow your regular recipes, bring the temperature to a rolling boil for a few minutes, and then seal the pot in the cooker. And depending on the recipe your food is ready and waiting for you in the evening when you are ready to sit down to dinner.
For many preppers on a budget, the ability to stockpile goods and supplies might be limited. They may have to stock just a little at a time. And in that case, I hope that they are not stockpiling items which maybe they shouldn’t.
I wanted to take a look at some items that you may NOT want to stock pile long-term and the reasons why. I also try to have some alternatives available as well.
Many of the items listed below are items you SHOULD have in a disaster, so do NOT think I’m saying not to have these items. Instead, I’m saying that in your long-term planning (i.e. the grid goes down for an extended time) these are items you should think about having alternative plans and options for.
Now hear me out. NO ONE out there understands the importance of good, quality toilet paper more than I do. I always have several weeks’ supply on hand. But there is a big draw back to trying to hoard toilet paper long-term.
The problem is that large amounts of toilet paper are bulky and take up a lot of room. For me, in an urban setting, I have trouble storing more than a month’s supply for my family. So if a true long-term disaster struck, beyond 3 to 4 weeks I’ll be in a crappy situation.
The average person uses over 100 rolls of TP per year. Now multiple that times the number of your family members/group. That’s a lot of room for a hoard of TP! And yes, my family goes through AT LEAST that much TP.
Hopefully, as a prepper, you will have some food set back and stocked in case of a disaster. You will have water stored, as well as a few purification methods. You might have a weapon or two stored, and some extra ammunition. (Click the links to find out about water storage, weapons for SHTF, and storing ammo long-term). You might have extra gear and supplies on hand. But could there be items out there you haven’t thought about stockpiling for a long-term, grid down scenario?
In this article, I want to cover some items that you might not realize you should have plenty of in case of a long-term disaster, and some reasons why it might be a good idea.
So let’s jump in.
Being clean (or at least feeling clean) is a great boost to morale during a SHTF situation. And during a grid down scenario, you might not have enough water (or fuel to heat the water) for a hot shower. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep yourself clean. So having some extra hygiene items is probably a good idea.
Things like toothpaste and shampoo have a shelf life of about 2 years from the date of manufacture once they are opened. (They can last around 3 years if unopened.) Things like soap, mouthwash, and deodorant have a 3 year or so shelf life.
Keep in mind that the shelf life listed is for items stored at room temperature. Things like temperature extremes and direct sun light can degrade these products much more quickly.
If you cure your store-bought bars of soap (by removing the wrappers and letting them sit in the air for about 6 weeks) they will harden and last much longer.
A few months ago, my brother and I were visiting a local gun show. I do not usually buy firearms at gun shows, as they tend to be a bit overpriced in my opinion. But I have found some good deals on parts and accessories, and I love to “window shop”.
Anyway, while making our way from table to table, my brother came upon a slightly used Smith and Wesson M&P Shield in .40 cal. The owner allowed him to field strip it, and we realized it was in excellent condition, LNIB. (Like New In Box.) After some slight haggling, my brother bought it. And after a trip to the range, I thought I would give it a review as an EDC firearm.
The M&P Shield is a black polymer framed, striker fired pistol. It is slim and light weight. The pistol is a bit over 4.5 inches tall, and weights about 19 oz. The barrel is 3.1 inches long. So for a 40 cal pistol, the Shield is small enough to conceal, but offers significant stopping power.
As I mentioned, this particular pistol is a .40 cal. Smith and Wesson also makes the M&P Shield in 9mm, but because our ammo stores are .40 cal, we went with the .40 cal. The .40 comes with a single stack 6 or 7 round magazine.
When it comes to preparedness gear, the most important gear is that which you have on you at the time of the emergency. A life jacket on the boat is of no use to you if you are drowning in the ocean. And because emergencies are never planned and usually not expected, you will most likely not have a lot of gear on you when disaster first strikes.
This is why the Every Day Carry gear (EDC) that so many preppers talk about is a popular discussion. In reality, your EDC can be your first line of defense against unforeseen problems and emergencies.
Before we jump into this topic, I want to give you a word of caution. A mistake I see some preppers make is that they try and include way too much in their EDC. Those preppers think “The End Of The World As We Know It” (TEOTWAWKI) when trying to create an EDC kit. I want to tell them, “Well isn’t that what your Bug Out Bag or Get Home Bag (GHB) is for?”
For myself, I look at what I carry in my EDC different than what I have in my Go Bag. The Go bag is designed to help sustain me over a period of time for true SHTF scenarios. My EDC is there for temporary solutions to emergencies both big and small.
I don’t need my GHB for a temporary power outage. I don’t need it when I drop something between my car seats at night, or if the credit card machines at the gas station are not working. Instead, I have some small, simple tools that I have on me at all times for situations like these.
In a large scale SHTF scenario, my EDC could help to get me to my GHB, which I would then use to help get me home. Hence my EDC is not designed for long term problems or scenarios.
Before I get into what and why I carry what I do, I need to say that for the purposes of this article, my EDC is what I carry “off-duty”. As a police officer, I typically carry A LOT more gear on me than a normal person would. I even have an “EDC” backpack or Patrol bag I take to work every day. But as you can see from the pic below, it is generally gear specific to my job. Most people don’t need a metal citation book, extra hand cuffs, or a yellow reflective “highway safety” vest on them every day.
I am always on the lookout for quality firearms. I fully believe that when it comes to firearms, you generally get what you pay for. So I do not mind spending a bit more if I know that I am getting a well built, reliable firearm. And if there is a chance of getting a quality firearm on a budget, then I am certainly all in.
I have been looking for a pistol carbine for quite some time. I decided I wanted a 40 cal carbine since my pistols were 40 cal, and I have plenty of 40 cal ammo. Who doesn’t like the idea of having multiple weapons and weapons platforms that you can share ammo between?
I initially wanted to get a Beretta CX Storm. But the internal parts of that carbine are made of polymer, not metal. I have no issue with polymer framed firearms, like my Glock. But I’m a bit unsure of a firearm with polymer internal parts.
To replace those polymer parts with metal would double the price of the gun. That made it inefficient for me from a cost stand point.
I also was interested in a Kel-Tec Sub 2000 that took Glock 23 magazines. But I have yet to be able to find one. (At least one that wasn’t used AND double the MSRP.) I really want a new Gen 2 Sub 2000, but I doubt I will ever find one. 🙁
I checked other 40 cal carbines, but typically found something about them that did not appeal to me. Then one day I came across a brand new, still in the box Hi Point 40 S&W carbine. Now obviously, this gun is ugly. No, I mean UGLY! (What Hi Point isn’t?) But I had heard good things about Hi point’s overall reliability. And for the price I paid for it, (got a SMOKIN’ deal well under $300) I decided “What the hell!”
I took it home and noticed that there was going to be “some assembly required”. But not to worry. The assembly was fairly simple. I had to mount the knob for the slide release, and mount the grip handle. (I got the version with the vertical grip.) Really, this took me less than 5 minutes to complete. The carbine comes with the tool you need to put it together and to field strip it.
The carbine also came with a picatinny rail for mounting whatever accessories you might like. It can mount scopes, flashlights, or targeting lasers. And as I mentioned, mine also came with a folding grip handle that is easily attached and removed. There is a button on the side of the grip that allows you to lock the handle in place or fold it up.