Monday, January 16, 2017

Prepping.....the Bug Out Food Box

There's this funny thing keeping me occupied these last few weeks. What if there was a situation where you'd be forced to really rely on yourself. An emergency that would require selfreliance. What if there would be a situation where we'd have to leave in a hurry for whatever the reason?
I am talking about prepping.
Not that bushcraft, homesteading and prepping are all that different. There are many similarities and crossovers between them... and a great many other related fields. But somehow I want to create a possibility to have an advantage, when something goes wrong and we'd have to relocate in a hurry. I am not talking about hordes of zombies banging on my front door, but an emergency, like a forest fire, that forces me and my family to leave home on short notice. There are uncountable sites and places that will tell you just what to pack; the so-called B.O.B. or bug out bag. In this you should have tools and items you'd need to make it easier or to just make it through the troubled days and ways ahead, when the proverbial excrements hit the air circulation device, in jargon known as SHTF.
The so-called BOB or Bug Out Bag is a term one regularly comes across in the bushcraft-, prepper-, survivalist or worse case scenario-scenes and it comes with all sorts of essentials, gizmos and gadgets. Fine, then you'd have your knife & axe, your cooking- and firelighting set, your water purifying tools, your tarpaulin, sleeping bag and your survival kit... Great. But in many of these lists and recommendations there are some things missing. How about some good, old cash. Doesn't have to be a huge sum, but a handful will get you a long way. How about some backup I.D.'s or copies of them? Proof of insurance or medical stats. A small bundle of essential (in this society) documentation in written form. I think it is a good thing in itself to be prepared, but the thing that I sorely miss in those, is one of the most essential things; food!!
Now I do not talk about that crappy freeze dried or other survival "foods". I mean real, nutritious, high energy and tasty food. If things go wrong, nibbling on some tasteless, compressed, sawdust oatmeal survival bar or slobbering down something, that looks like it has been eaten before, is not the best way to lift spirits and increase morale. Yet I have to admit here that I know nothing of today's freeze dried or dehydrated meals. I did have my share of those back in the days, like the army or during bike- or campingtrips and the memory haunts me to this day. Just the thought is repulsive and given the fact that products these days in general do not hold the same level of "quality" as 20 years ago....
The needed extra energy intake to cope with stress and inconvenience is another matter to take into account. The food had to be as healthy and nutritious as possible, yet have a long shelf life. So you can store it and just grab it, when needed. As little carbs as possible and as much fat as possible, because stressful and intense situations, as said, require a lot of energy. Long lasting, not a massive spike, followed by a even more massive low. Plus it had to taste good, because in said situations it will need to keep up spirits and improve morale and good food will do just that. Just the act of preparing a real, tasty meal does that too!! Plus it should be as similar as possible as regular food, so we could just use it, when it might near the spoiling date and just add "fresh" supplies to the box. Changing your diet during times of high level stress might very well cause health issues and I read in extreme cases even death, due to metabolism failure. And to add to the challenge it had to feed my family of 5 for at least 72hrs. And last but not least it had to be fit for winter, meaning high energy, but also usable during summer. An additional advantage of using single ingredients, is that you can adapt according to the situation, like using food we'd find out there; berries, mushrooms or even some animal might find its way into the menu.
Weight would not be so much of an issue, since if it would ever be necessary to bug out, family logistics would dictate the use of a vessel; car, cart or sleds. If I ever found myself in a situation, where we would have to carry everything on our own backs to get out alive, something has gone horribly wrong, we'd have failed big time and would be in need of support from others anyway.

So I sat down and thought.... and planned.... and came up with both a menu and a list of contents.

72 hrs - I split that up into 3x breakfast, 3x lunch and 3x dinner, just to cover the basics. If room would be left, that could easily be filled up with things like dark chocolate (morale boost and energy). Maybe some mints. And of course more nuts and dried fruits. Can't have too much of that.
Breakfast;
- oatporridge (havregryn) with raisins and/or nuts
- hardbread with jam, liverpaté or cheese in a tube.
- semolina (mannagryn) porridge with dried fruit or applesauce

Lunch;
- tinned mackerel in tomato sauce and hardbread
- self baked bread w/nuts, dried fruits, raisins and jam
- canned soup

Dinner;
- pasta w/ham and tomato sauce
- rice, beans and tuna
- mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, sausage.

Now via my buddy Odd the phenomenon "mylar bags with oxygen absorbers" was brought to my attention and we exchanged many a message about them and their uses. I also did some reading into the subject and one of the advices given, was to keep the mylar packaged food in an extra container, since, although the mylar is moisture-, air- and light tight, it is not strong enough to deal with handling and the slightest pinprick would ruin the effect of the oxygen absorbers, with spoiling the food in the end after all.
I was going to give the mylar a try anyway and the box would contain a number of ingredients that might require repackaging in order to keep them longer.

So in order to be able to make this, we would need a lot of stuff. And shopping we went....

Part II, the practical bit, will follow shortly......

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