October 11, 2010
Don't Tell Billy

For the apocalypse-fearer on a budget, Costco will now sell one year's worth of dehydrated and freeze-dried food for just $799. As I recall, and I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong, my father-in-law became convinced that the Y2K (remember that?) bug would unleash Armageddon, and he stocked up accordingly. I think he burned the last of his stacked firewood last year, and I'm pretty sure there's still a few cases of oatmeal in the garage.

Me? Oh hell, if I had a place to put it all I'd probably buy it just to say I did. That, and goof on super-campers Ron and Amber about how prepared I was. As if...

Posted by scott at October 11, 2010 11:40 AM

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You assume I don't already have a year's supply of food laying about...

This isn't necessarily a bad thing to have. In all reality, unless it's truly the ZA or other SHTF moment, you probably don't need more than a few weeks of food.

As for the actual contents, that would likely keep one going, assuming it's got B12* in it. Surprised they didn't have a vitamin supplement to go with it. Getting some source of actual meat would be critical and you'd need to be dead on with the actual serving amounts because if they're using the "food pyramid" servings method, you're eating more than one serving per meal.

Posted by: Ron ap Rhys on October 11, 2010 01:12 PM

The problem with stockpiling food is that even preserved food eventually spoils... and often in a way that you can't tell apart from unspoiled food until you're expending calories puking your guts out instead of staying alive. If you're going to stockpile a year's worth of preserved food, you'd best resign yourself to eating through it at some point before it expires (and restocking what you've eaten until whatever survivalist scenario you're planning for actually happens).

Personally, I don't stock food because the only option that's likely to destroy civilization in the USA would have the side effect of permanently sterilizing anything whose packaging remains intact. Preserving food and even water won't be a problem for anyone that can claim and defend even a reasonably stocked convenience store, for several months. The real problem is that even the giant supermarket warehouses will eventually run out of food and uncontaminated water, and restocking simply will not happen without a completely different set of survival preparations, one that focuses on hoarding and protecting viable seeds, hydroponic farm equipment, and water purifiers instead of simple consumables.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian on October 12, 2010 02:54 PM

That's what I love about you guys. So optimistic.

Posted by: scott on October 12, 2010 10:22 PM

Completely optimistic. That's why you should always have a car that doesn't operate on HEI ignition or have any computers. EMP pulses will fry everything else. I'd also suggest that something with a small block Chevy is probably key because parts are abundant as hell, horsepower/torque is certainly sufficient for most needs, and stockpiling the parts you need now is pretty easy and inexpensive.

Tats - most of the food they called out had a pretty significant lead time before it expired. Years or more, from what I remember in the article. That aside, you're correct in that stockpiles of food should be rotated frequently enough that you can take advantage of the food. Plus, that lets you have the appropriate experience with using the stockpiles that you don't waste any of it when it comes time to use it.

Not mentioned here is an even bigger issue - potable water. Foods very important, but without potable water you're hosed.

You're also hosed if you live in the suburbs.

Posted by: Ron ap Rhys on October 13, 2010 10:04 AM

Most convenience stores will have a nice big stock of bottled liquids stashed away and sterilized by the radiation, so whoever takes and holds them is pretty well set for at least a month... but again, the real problem is that the stock is never going to replenish (and neither will the stockpiles the survivalists stack up), so holding out longer than that (possibly forever, depending on the state the rest of the nation ends up in) requires preparations aimed at creating and maintaining a clean zone that can grow food and remove fallout from water.

Still can't imagine any use for a year's supply of food - if it takes the government more than a month to re-establish services, it'll probably take a lot longer than a year - and I'd rather keep the storage space for a year's supply of water sealed until I actually need it to hold the purifier's output. Besides, a guy that stockpiles food and water is a big fat target to other survivors, while a guy that *makes* food and water is way too valuable to risk messing with.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian on October 13, 2010 08:54 PM

IIRC, unless you're at the actual site of a nuclear bomb or in close enough proximity, the level of radiation will likely go down within a few months. Even then, right afterwards the most immediate danger from radiation is due to getting fallout actually on your bare skin. If you're able to stay indoors, or keep yourself completely covered if you're out, you can make it through that period. That's the goal of survival for when that particular pile of shit hits the fan.

The key thing about having a stockpile of food and water is to not let your neighbors know you've got it. That way you seem to be less of a target.

However, the best possible plan is to not be in Dodge when things go down. Out in the boonies, plenty of land, climate that works for farming - but the ability to keep your crops out of view until things stabilize.

Posted by: Ron ap Rhys on October 13, 2010 09:16 PM

Maybe I'm weird, but it seems to me that trying to cut myself off from contact with other human beings would be the WORST thing to do in any survivalist scenario. Humans don't do too well trying to go it alone; even with massive preparation, the fewer people you have, the more chance that some predator will spot you, and go unnoticed until it manages to sever a major artery. Or a particularly sharp piece of debris, a poorly balanced stack of building material, etc.

People thrive when there are other people who will support them, and getting such support is a lot easier when the stuff you bargain with can't be obtained for free by killing you and ransacking your hidey-hole.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian on October 15, 2010 07:18 PM

Depends on the situation, location, your neighbors, etc. I don't recommend completely cutting yourself off to the point of isolation. To your point, any injury could become catastrophic. However, you also don't want to advertise wealth as that opens you to looters, thugs, etc. If you're way the hell out of Dodge, your neighbors are likely to be much more self-reliant - so they've got skills you don't and vice-versa. If you're in an urban area, mobs are way too likely for survival to be possible - even if you've got food or tangible skills. Especially if you get some warlord type thing going on.

Posted by: Ron ap Rhys on October 15, 2010 07:50 PM
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