Bug Out Bag Meals: DYI MREs



1x1.trans Bug Out Bag Meals: DYI MREsThis guest post by Bam Bam and entry in our non-fiction writing contest.

My dh got me a food saver yesterday and I have wasted no time putting it to use. The first project was to seal up 25 lbs. of NY Strip that I bought on sale. The second project, the subject of this article, was to put together some shelf stable meals for our BOBs. The requirements were that the meals had to be nutritiously balanced and significantly cheaper than MREs. And I wanted the foods to be as close to our ordinary diet as possible so we don’t suffer digestive shock.

I got the inexpensive part down—the meals averaged out to about $3.33 per meal (for one person) with the dinners being slightly more expensive than breakfasts or lunches. The nutritious part still needs work. The inexpensive part was achieved largely by shopping at the dollar store and buying things from Publix BOGO.

For example, I purchased Monet crackers at the dollar store for less than half the price of our grocery store—same brand, same size, half price. To improve upon the nutritious part I plan on replacing the processed food with food from my garden that I dehydrate myself. This is going to be my next big step in meal planning—to take the meals in a jar idea to an all-new level.

(It is absolutely true that there is a learning curve to prepping. You start out by buying stuff that you will need. Then you refine your inventory and get into long-term food storage items. Then you actually learn to make/grow the stuff yourself and how to process it for long-term storage.)

I came up with some ideas that are worth sharing. The best breakfast idea I came up with is to put our regular cereal (Honey Bunches of Oats) into a food saver bag, and add dehydrated banana chips (another dollar store find) and two tablespoons of powdered milk. We can just add water to the bag, stir and eat right from the bag. (What I really want to do is learn to make my own granola from Mormon oatmeal, and then make my own trail mix and food saver that.)

1x1.trans Bug Out Bag Meals: DYI MREs

Breakfast

The other important breakfast idea was to include Emergen-C Super Orange electrolyte replacement packets. You pour the packets into a cup of water and drink. I live in Florida and it is very easy to get dehydrated and loose electrolytes. I have also included salt and sugar packets in each meal. (This combo is known as “poor man’s Gatoraid.)

Lunch was more of a challenge. I opted to go with foil packs of premade tuna or chicken salad. (I got these on sale at Publix.) Then I placed individual servings of crackers in food saver bags and sealed them up. (Note: If you have a Food Saver you don’t have to buy the expensive pilot crackers for Emergency Essentials—you can buy cheap dollar store crackers and seal them up—no oxygen, no going stale.) The other lunch option was Top Ramen and canned chicken. I would like to get some freeze-dried veggies to add to the mix. (My dehydrator will be going full speed this year.)

For dinners I planned either Bear Creek chili with crackers or Korr Sides. The Korr sides are somewhat nutritious (they at least have green specks that resemble broccoli) but they take 15 minutes to cook. I am thinking that I can improve upon the Korr Sides by dehydrating my own veggies and adding minute rice and a bullion cube. I have planned on supplementing the Korr Sides with canned chicken.

In the future, I would like to dehydrate my own chicken. I think this would give me more versatility. I have 80 lbs. of Zaycon Food boneless, skinless chicken breast (antibiotic free and hormone free) on the way (for $1.79 lb. – Whoot! Whoot!). I want to try my hand at cooking and dehydrating my own chicken.

1x1.trans Bug Out Bag Meals: DYI MREs

Lunch

Each meal is individually vacuum sealed so as to save space. Each meal contains eating utensils, extra napkins, salt and pepper, a drink mix packet and an individually wrapped wet wipe. I have added to the calorie count of meals by adding granola bars, power bars and Cliff bars. The lunches and dinners also have desserts: cookies, candy, chocolate bars, and brownies. I have not included gum in any of the meal bags, as we have gum packed in our BOBs already.

In terms of calories, I have tried to make each meal at least 800 calories. If we do have to bug out (hopefully in the vehicles so we don’t have to carry all this food on our backs), we will likely be under considerable stress. Having plenty of food is a good idea. It is very likely that we will encounter good Christian folk who need help; so having a little extra will be a good thing.

These meals will be supplemented with boxes of water and we have Berkey Sport water filters. If we are traveling by vehicle, we will have cases of water.

A central problem with this meal plan is cooking planning or rather fuel planning. (If we can remain at home, our preferred option, cooking will not be an issue as we have a gas stove and a propane camping stove with extra propane tanks (and the converter necessary to run a camping stove from a large tank of propane). And we have a forest behind our house for long term cooking needs.) If we bug out, cooking will be an issue. I can warm water for the coffee, oatmeal and grits using a candle and a camp cup. I have some fire bricks for cooking that are supposed to last half an hour. But I have not tested these yet. Another possibility is the cat food container stove fueled by alcohol. If we are forced to bug out, I need to come up with a better way to cook the Korr Sides.

Do you all have any recommendations?

Below are the meal bags I have put together: breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days for the two of us. Since diversity is essential, I would love to hear your ideas. What food items do you have in your BOB? How do you plan to cook these items?

Since getting my hands on a food saver, I have come to an appreciation of a whole new level of prepping. Before I got the food saver, our BOBs contained mostly snack foods—peanuts, jerky, granola bars, etc. But I would not want to be around myself if I hadn’t eaten a meal in three days. I don’t think my dh would want to be around me either. So my new focus will be on improving the nutrition of our BOB meals. It would be nice to reduce some of the weight as well. I would estimate that our meal bag weighs 25 lbs. I have some 5-gallon buckets that I am going to clean out. I will put our BOB meals in easy-to-carry buckets.

The next step in meal planning will be to pack meals for our dog and our four cats. I think we are going to need a separate BOB for our pets. That is on the “To Do List” for next week. Check list: canned cat food, dry cat food, dog food, dog cookies, and catnip to keep my cats totally stoned out of their minds. LOL

What do you think?

Breakfast

Day 1

  • Oatmeal (3 packets)
  • Granola Bar
  • Yogurt Bar
  • Coffee (Folgers Singles)
  • Sugar packets
  • Electrolyte replacement drink packet (Emergen-C)

Hard candy

Day 2

  • Grits (3 packets)
  • Granola Bar
  • Yogurt Bar
  • Coffee
  • Sugar packets
  • Electrolyte replacement drink packet
  • Hard candy

Day 3

  • Cereal (with banana chips and milk powder)
  • Granola Bar
  • Yogurt Bar
  • Coffee
  • Sugar packets
  • Electrolyte replacement drink packet
  • Hard candy

Lunch

Day 1

  • Tuna salad foil pack
  • Crackers
  • Chicken Noodle Soup (packet)
  • Power bar
  • Raspberry tea packet
  • Hard candy
  • Fun sized chocolate bars

Day 2

  • Chicken salad foil pack
  • Crackers
  • Chicken noodle soup (packet)
  • Power bar
  • Raspberry tea packet
  • Hard candy
  • Fun sized chocolate bars

Day 3

  • Tuna salad foil pack
  • Crackers
  • Top Ramen
  • Lemon aid packet
  • Freeze dried pineapple
  • Power bar
  • Hard candy
  • Fun sized chocolate bars

Dinner

Day 1

  • Korr Sides: Rice and Broccoli
  • Canned chicken
  • Crackers
  • Raspberry tea
  • Fun sized chocolate bars
  • Cookies

Day 2

  • Bear Creek Chili
  • Crackers
  • Beef jerky
  • Raspberry tea packet
  • Fun sized chocolate bars
  • Cookies

Day 3

  • Korr Sides: Noodles and Broccoli
  • Canned chicken
  • Crackers
  • Raspberry tea packet
  • Fun sized chocolate bars
  • Brownies

This contest will end on April 22 2013  – prizes include:

Well what are you waiting for – email your entries today. But please read the rules that are listed below first… 1x1.trans Bug Out Bag Meals: DYI MREs

Also be sure to check out the Preppers Cookbook – the Preppers Cookbook was a joint effort by Wolf Pack members that sent in their best recipes and food prep information and then that information was edited and put together by Bam Bam into a 160+ page cookbook. You can find it here – scroll down the page, you’ll find it near the bottom.

Comments

  1. Well done, Bam Bam!!

  2. Speaking from experience, check your packages after about a month. Any sharp corner can put a hole in your FoodSaver bag and destroy the seal. I have found that it is often necessary to repackage items that are packed in hard plastic into a softer profile package in order to keep the contents sealed. Another option is to put your goodie bag together in such a way that the hard corners are padded by say, paper towel for the after-meal cleanup.

    • Anne O.,

      Thanks for the heads up. I wonder if it would be good to put the contents of each bag in an unsealed ziplock bag (for extra protection), and then seal the food saver bag. That way you would end up with a perfectly good ziplock bag that you can reuse once you’ve opened the seal on the food saver bag.

      • worrisome says:

        Bam Bam, I believe that Cabella’s carries a heavier weight bag material that might make a big difference in this.

      • Wrap in pieces of waxed paper adds level of protection and waxed paper scraps can be very handy to have, light, “somewhat weather and heat resistant” if u can melt the waxed coating can be mixed with saw dust and paper shreds for an effective fire starter, White in color so feasibly a signaling device if needed.

  3. Petticoat Prepper says:

    You were busy over the weekend! You’ve done something I’ve thought about but haven’t done yet. I’ve had my vaccumn sealer for a long time and love it. I recently upgraded my dehydrator and have been trying my hand at jerky. This has gotten me to thinking about making my own MRE’s. Guess I’ll have to give it a shot this week!

    Thanks Bam Bam, good article.

    • Petticoat Prepper,

      I have an Excaliber (the smaller 5 tray version) and I want to learn to make jerky. What recipe do you use? How long does it take to dehydrate jerky? What cut of steak do you use?

      • Texanadian says:

        I am looking for a dehydrator and the Excaliber seems to be the way to go. Any comments on yours? Reliability, ease of use etc.

        • Texanadian,

          I have only used it a couple of times and I have not used another brand, so I really couldn’t give a good recommendation. The most I can say is that it was very easy to use. Since it’s only my dh and I, the smaller (5 tray model) is fine four our needs.

        • I have the 9 tray Excaliber and LOVE it! It came with a book, Preserve it Naturally, and has just about everything you would want to know about dehydrating including all the instructions and times in it.

          Normally, jerky is raw meats dehydrated, with or without marinating ahead of time, but for these types of things, I’d recommend cooking first then dehydrating so you would not have to cook as long when making it, and I’ll just bet it’s safer. Depending on the type of meat and how big the chunks, it could take 4-8 hours to dehydrate (or maybe longer if the meat pieces are very big).

          Remember to remove as much fat as possible (so it doesn’t go rancid)

        • Sw't Tater says:

          I have had a china mart one without any way to regulate temp, it’s a waste of good plastic, and I now have a snackmaster, It has a temp control, so it is a step up. I got it for a few dollars at a junk store..Have one, old model that needs repairs, it has 9 trays, and is square, but no temp control , either on or off. Gonna try to get DH to give it a probe and temp control, tighten up the door, etc.

      • Bam Bam,

        My dh doesn’t use steak, he uses roast. We found some a few weeks ago, buy a 2 pack get a 2 pack free. It took atleast 36 hours to dry completely. I don’t know his recipe, I’ll have to find out for you, but it is wonderful! We took it camping with us last week and it was gone in 2 days!

      • Petticoat Prepper says:

        I just bought the Excaliber 9 tray and love it! Judy another one (I think pardon me if I’m wrong; hope to give credit where due!) posted a receipe that I copied. It came out really good, although I’d like a bunch more pepper than I did the first time. It took about 9 hrs to dry. I cut it with the grain as the book said it would be chewier. I’m thinking something Hawaii next time pineapple juice and garlice with soy sauce maybe.

        1 1/2# lean boneless meat (venison round works well) I used cross rib roast good sale price and came out good.
        1/4 cup soy sauce
        1 t worchestershire
        1/2 t onion pwdr
        1/4 t pepper
        1/4 t garlic pwdr
        1/4 t liquid smoke
        vegetable oil cooking spray
        cut meat, in a glass bowl (or any bowl that’s not aluminum or plastic) combine soy sauce, worcestershire, onion pwdr, pepper, garlic pwdr & liquid smoke. Stir to dissolve seasonings. Add meat & mix until thoroughly coated. Cover tightly & refrigerate until the next day. Occasionally stirring but covering tightly after every time.
        Coat dehydrator racks or metal racks with cooking spray. Shake liquid off meat. Arrange meat so it’s not touching. Dry 140* until it cracks but doesn’t break when bent (8-10 hrs). Pat any oil on jerky dry…cool…freeze for 72 hrs & then store in airtight, insect proof containers in a cool, dry place or freeze or refrigerate.
        * Be careful not to overdo the liquid smoke…too much & it will taste like you are eating it in the smoker!!
        **I have a lot of jerky recipes but this is a favorite. Let me know if you would like another one.

        • Petticoat Prepper says:

          PS..I’ve used other dryers and the Excaliber is the best. The trays are nice and big squares with no hole in the middle. There’s no shuffling of trays to move top to bottom as the heat and fan is on the back. Plus I like the temp guage. I didn’t get the timer as I tend to hover over my food stuff.

          As far as I can see this really is the best bet for the bucks.

          • I’ve used the round dehydrator from Chinamart- UGH!
            Horrible, food did not dry evenly, took alot of time, no timer,
            not able to set the drying temp.
            Two years ago, purchased the Excalibur, 100% satisfied. First of all, Made In USA! lifetime guarantee, friendly customer service. The food dries evenly, fan is quiet, removable shelves to permit drying larger food items such as meat. Variable temp settings. I upgraded to include timer. Allows me to dehydrate overnight, or dehydrate and
            walk away. My dehydrator stays on the counter, dehydrate leftovers. Excellent product.

  4. Great article. We do something similar for trips and hunting season. We have found the single serving packets of SPAM, chicken, and tuna to be helpful. I was not tracking the price, and with these meats they limit the shelf life.

    I’m currently working on 2 serving meals that are vacuum packed with the Food Saver. I do an oatmeal breakfast mix and rice/beans/chicken (pre-cooked and dehydrated) and they seem to work good. I don’t make many at a time because I don’t use these for long-term storage.

    I really like the coffee singles. One bag can make a very large cup of coffee, just don’t be in a great hurry. The same with teas, I use Stash brand because of the package they come in. Again letting them steep, I can make a full liter of tea with one bag.

  5. Lauri no e says:

    Very good article.

  6. Consider a camping style dutch oven. If you have a vehicle, weight will not matter and if not a good Cast Iron Dutchy is worth more than gold. An eight inch oven can prepare a meal for four or five easily and you cook with any fuel you find, wood, charcoal, propane. Obviously if on the run must be careful with fire, but if you are gonna stop to cook you will be drawing attention to yourself any ways. Plus when you get to where you are going will have an invaluable resource. “An Army runs on its stomach” and soon you will need fresh meat as it can keep you alive just itself. Fresh red meat, rabbits being the exception, contain all nessacery componants for survival if kept medium rare. I own three Dutchy’s and in the market for a fourth!

    • hv,

      A Dutch oven is an essential. I have one. I was wondering about the best cook way cook–open fire, camping stove, etc.

      • Coals on a small open fire if you can keep the smoke down cooks hot fast and controllable, propane stove’s are great but if you are hoofing it why add one more thing to carry. If I have to choose between a cook stove or an extra rifle or 200 rounds of ammo the stove will lose because if I have the dutchy and can asseble wood smoking racks out of available materials I have essentially rendered the stove a luxery item. If you can take the stove by all means take it!

    • I got one with my new Camp Chef 3 burner propane stove. I am still on the fence about cast iron. It took a couple of tries to get it seasoned right in the oven (setting off all the smoke alarms in the house several times). I suppose I should give it a chance, as I’ve heard many good things about them.

      It’s sooo heeeavy though!

  7. Billy , WI. says:

    Good article . If you want a small but really neat home made cook stove .. Look at You-tube and search (soda can stove). There are many different kinds. I made the basic and it was easy and will work fine using ” HEET ” . And you may have the bottle of Heet in your truck. And if your on foot, it is very light weight. You may want to check further on the drying of meat. My son makes a lot of jerky — different kind. Even with preservatives some mold if they are not dried enough.
    Just giving my 2 cents.

    • Billy,

      My dh made several of those soda can stoves. We used rubbing alcohol as the fuel. A tablespoon or so of the alcohol would burn for about 13 minutes. That is long enough to get the water boiling. If whatever you are cooking takes a longer cook time than that, you can use thermal cooking to finish the job, which requires no additional fuel. Just wrap the pot in a wool blanket and place it in an ice chest (insulated cooler) and it will finish cooking itself. We went on a 3 day camping adventure, sleeping in tents and living out of our BOB’s. These soda can stoves were my only source for cooking and they worked great. Our boys, 9 and 12, had a blast, and learned that making a fire without matches or a lighter was not nearly as easy as it looks on TV. This year, we took our 5th wheel and I cooked the meals on the propane stove, and the boys said they actually preferred roughing it and learning how to make do without modern conveniences. So, this summer we will hit the mountains with our tents and our BOBs.

  8. Tactical G-Ma says:

    Bam Bam,
    Great article! Will make some of my own!

  9. Some frontier reenacters I knew would do this with rice, dehydrated frozen mixed vegetables and chicken or beef bouillon. In the field, they would throw this into the pot along with any game they had taken.

    On an unrelated note, You can vacuum pack your firearms too, but you will need to wrap them in a tool to smooth out the rough edges so that they don’t poke holes in the bag. You can’t pack ammo this way is it may push the bullets into the cartridge, causing dangerous pressures when fired.

    • What to do to fix the bullet issue is to use crimped bullets. But if your bullets are pushing in to easily I would rethink using them to start with or crimping them, because if you are using any form of semi-auto they have a tendency to push on the bullet head from the feeding process and this can cause at times for the entire bullet tip itself to go into the cartridge. I have seen this first hand and it is not pretty with reloads.

  10. My goodness, what a great article and ideas! Mine and my DW’s BOB is sorely lacking compared to yours. Besides all the non-food items we only have store bought MREs (very dull). I order my Foodsaver tomorrow and this article has inspired me! Thanks a bunch!
    Considering your location, do you think the choc bars will hold up?
    Are those gallon bags you used?

    • Oldokie,

      If we have to spend any amount of time outdoors, the chocolate bars will melt. But I am not going to complain about melted chocolate bars.

      Size of bags: When you get your food saver, get the rolls instead of the bags. The rolls are cheaper. Then you can make your own bags.

      • Yep, you’re right, chocolate is chocolate. Gotta love it.
        Ah the rolls, thanks. Do you have the mason jar attachment? Is it worth having?

        • Oldokie,

          I have the small-mouth and wide-mouth mason jar attachments, and I love them. I store a lot of my dehydrated foods in mason jars with these attachments. I also store a lot of chocolate chips in them. They keep long term and don’t get that white yucky stuff all over them. We actually did an experiment to find out how well it actually works. We filled a mason jar with large marshmellows and sealed it with the attachment. The marshmellows grew to almost twice their original size when the air was removed. We did that about a month ago, and the marshmellows have not shrunk back down, so it is holding it’s seal well. We also put a slice of bread in two different jars. We sealed one and didn’t seal the other. The one that wasn’t sealed looks dry and is now molding. The one that was sealed has not changed any in appearance. I plan on using the attachments to make “meals-in-a-jar” of dehydrated veggies, bouillon cubes, etc.

          • Encourager says:

            I do not know what I am doing wrong, but I have never gotten the jars to keep a seal using my Food Saver. I even used two lids like they suggested and then once sealed, removed the extra one. Even those did not seal. The jars were fine, I checked for knicks before using them. Any suggestions??

        • Oldoakie,

          I’vehad a fooddaver for years. The Mason jar attachments are degfinately worth it. I made turkey soup one year after Thanksgiving. I gave most of it away to friends, but kept two jars in the fridge for over a year. They tasted just fine and I had no ill effects.

          The vacuum seal canisters are great for marinating also. Instead of 24 hours in the fridge, 4 is all you need. You’ll be able to see it working from the fine froth of bubbles coming from the meat.

          Just a heads-up on the fooddaver… The neoprene seals do go bad after a while, but you can buy replacements from Tilia’s website. If I’m not mistaken, they are only about $3.50 each.

        • Oldokie,

          I ordered both the regular and wide mouth attachments. I keep most of my dry goods in half gallon canning jars–removing the oxygen will increase the shelf life of my dry goods. I really like the fact that I will be able to “jar saver” chocolate chips and they won’t turn white.

        • Oldokie,

          Update: The food saver attachments arrived in the mail yesterday. I had a bunch of half gallon jars in the garage. So I vacuum sealed a bunch of dried beans and most of my pasta. I need to do some research here, but I imagine that removing the oxygen will extend the shelf life of the products significantly. And that’s great news, because I would prefer not to have to open my #10 cans unless absolutely necessary.

  11. Waterboy says:

    Great idea. Grits on day two may need something to go with them, at least for me. Definitely keep you going stuff.

    • Waterboy,
      Add cheese to make southern cheese grits. I make my grits with milk and add about a 1/4 cup of grated cheddar or more depending of the amount of grits one is making or if one really likes cheese.. Add some salt, powdered onions, pepper, and garlic if you like the taste. Goes great with Ova (freeze dried eggs which taste just like regular eggs). Sometimes I add bacon bits to the eggs just for a change. If you like your grits a little sweet use dehydrated apple, strawberries, blueberries or raisins and if you like spices use cinnamon, nutmeg and if you have a real sweet tooth add sugar. It taste great!

      I have used the 5 minutes grits but one can use the minute ones to save time.

      Bam Bam did a great job on her article!

      Just hope this will help avoiding getting tired of the same old grits. God bless, Linda Lou

      • Linda,

        Normally I would eat my grits smeared all over sunny side up eggs. I used the plain grits because that’s what I had on hand. Now that I am thinking in terms of making my own meals from scratch, I think I will include some butter powder, dehydrated scrambled egg and some ham chunks. Wow. That sounds good. I am getting hungry.

        I am glad you found the article helpful.

        • Millie in KY says:

          Bam Bam, one of my favorite grits meals is grits, eggs, bacon, butter, salt and some cheese. I’m not sure how you would do the bacon, maybe bacon bits? I have a FoodSaver on my want list!

        • Encourager says:

          Bam Bam, this IS a great article. Have put it on my to-do list for this spring. We should come up with a bunch of recipes to share just like the cookbook, don’t you think??

          • Encourager and M.D.,

            I would be willing to put it together if there were enough recipes and M.D. is on board. What does everyone think?

            • Millie in KY says:

              Yes, I have a few ideas for some. I still have to order the cookbook when I have a little extra money….but I will order this one, too, when I can.

  12. I went nuts with my vacuum sealer when I first got it, even sealed clothing and non-food items for compact packing in my BOB. I’m loving what you’re doing here and have been wanting to do the same thing, but am still in the process of researching the best ways to do it. Seems you’re light years ahead of me so would you consider a few questions?

    Some food items are in flimsy packets (e.g. oatmeal, Ramen) while others are in more sturdy foil packets (e.g. chicken salad). Even with sturdy packaging I’ve found things like PowerBars tend to get very hard over time. Each product has a different shelf life regardless of the packaging used, but how do you manage all that when you combine so many different items together in a single vacuum-sealed package?

    What are your thoughts on using sealed packages of noodles in your food kits along with foil-packaged flavoring powders? I ask because I have been wondering if a box of Hamburger Helper could be repackaged with a vacuum sealer to extend the shelf life. It’s tempting because they are very cheap, available in so many different flavors, very fast/easy to make, and it’s a compact yet generous portion of food; but I need more answers about shelf life before I consider doing this.

    • Desert Fox says:

      MR,
      Since the shelf life of products is different…put your use by date for the shortest date available of your food…just like the saying “you are as fast as the slowest person in your group.” Be aware, though, that you can always stretch those dates a little without too much loss of value.

    • mr.

      I have considered using Hamburger Helper as well. But, let me share what I have learned the hard way. Egg noodles do not do well in a vacuum sealer. I tried it. The noodles become a crushed up mess from the pressure. Also, the sharp edges on the noodles poke holes in the bag and totally defeat the purpose. However, I think the Hamburger Helper with other types of noodles, such as elbow mac, might work just fine. I always add veggies to my Hamburger Helper to increase the nutritional content and change up the taste some. You could add dehydrated veggies to the noodles in your vacuum bag with the seasoning packet and have a complete nutritional tasty meal that will feed a family of 4 to 6, for under $2.00. I love Bam bam’s idea of the individual drink mix packets. An 8oz glass of Tang has 100% of the daily Vit. C. You can purchase a 60oz container which makes 22 quarts at Sam’s club for just over $6.00. That is much cheaper than grocery store prices. This can be divided into individual servings using the straw method. If I were to make the vegetable Hamburger Helper MRE, I could add 6 straws of Tang and my meal for my family of 6 would be complete. Very cheap and nutritious!

      • Patty,

        Thanks for the heads up on the egg noodles. I have a bunch of elbow macaroni that I need to use up. I think I will open a can of dehydrated hamburger and make my own hamburger helper. I like the idea of adding veggies.

      • Millie in KY says:

        Can you please explain the straw method? Thanks!

        • Millie,

          Slightly melt the end of a straw and use pliers to press the end together so that it seals closed. Fill the straw with whatever you want it to hold and use the same process to seal the other end. You can cut the straw to whatever length you need it before sealing it. I have many 1″ straws that contain 2 pills in my BOB i.e. Tylenol, benedryl, Imodium, etc. Label each straw with a sharpie. They take up a lot less space than a bunch of bulky bottles. You get the travel size convenience without paying the higher price.

          • Excellent idea for the pills. Thanks!
            Anyone else pack the peanutbutter singles? Like a 1/4 cup in a plastic cup. I love pb, its calorie dense, good, and filling. Packed with pretzels or crackers, yum. I usually eat pb off a spoon.

          • Millie & Patty
            I have also seen on pinterest that you can use the 1″ straws to hold antibacterial ointment or even seasonings for your meals.

    • MR,

      Good questions. About packaging: If there was a significant amount of air in the package, as there was with the dried pineapple from the dollar store, I took it out of the original packaging and placed it in an unsealed ziplock bag. With the noodles, I just poked a hole in the package so the air could get sucked out.

      About different “best by dates”: I am planning to keep the bags for six months and then open them and eat them. If everything is fine, we’ll know. I have used many items past their “best by dates” and they were fine. The only thing I was concerned about was the ready-made foil packs of tuna and chicken. But again if these are stored properly, they should last much longer than if they are, say, left in the back of someone’s trunk. So to answer you question–I am throwing everything together, and testing the product with the shortest shelf life, which is the foil packs of ready made tuna and chicken. Also, keep in mind that if the contents are not exposed to air, they stay fresh longer.

      About hamburger helper: definitely food saver it. No oxygen means it will last longer.

      • Thank you for your replies and adding additional content for better nutrition is a great idea too. Hamburger Helper isn’t exactly high on the nutritious food list, but it is simple, tasty, and filling. Like you are doing, I might just package a dozen of them and try one every six months to see how it is holding up over time. I just might write an article about it in a couple of years! lol

    • Sw't Tater says:

      mr. I have made my own hamburger helper for use daily, see the skillet stretcher article…The things I was concerned about with hamburger helpers was , no meat-you have to add it, too much preservatives and salt..not enough real vegetables..that was my motivation to make my own.
      Be sure to freeze them for 5 days first, to prevent the pasta/rice from hatching larvae. One of the things that limits the shelf life of these is the milk and cheese which is in almost all of them. The foil packages are not packed air free, so you will need to let the air out of them, maybe by punching hole in those pouches, and including a napkin , packed over the holes.. and adding a canned meat to each package will make it a complete meal.I use two 5 oz. cans of chicken or tuna, for a hearty meal, since I don’t like to be hungry.. Hamburger helper will go rancid in time so be sure you keep them in a rotation system, the air-free packing will lengthen the shelf life. I don’t know for sure how much, but we have used some that were 8 months beyond date, that had been frozen and placed on open shelf, with no additional measures..They were edible, but nothing special. Crackers in O2 free, (dry canning,method)are documented to last 10+ years.hope this helps..

      • Sw’t Tater,

        I have done some experimenting this week with homemade hamburger helper–one a chili mac and the other a beef mac with mushroom sauce.

        The chili mac was just a package elbow noodles (cooked), two cans stewed tomato and a can of spaghetti sauce, and a lb. of hamburger. This turned out pretty good. My dh went back for a second helping. Next I want to try making it with tomato powder, freeze dried beef and macaroni.

        The one that turned out the best was the mushroom beef. Cook package of bow ties, add two cans cream of mushroom soup and a can of mushroom. Add 1 lb. ground beef. Dump everything in pan. Season with season pepper and parmasan cheese. It seems to me this could be converted easily by using pasta, dry mushroom soup and freeze dried mushrooms and freeze dried hamburger. And you would need a bit of freeze dried sour cream to swirl in it.

        Both of these recipes seem like they would work. Add a veggie and you’ve got a complete meal that will fill up your family.

  13. I was wondering about doing the same thing with my dehydrator. I have some reservations about using dehydrated veggies and such since they take a long soak time or extra fuel to boil to rehydrate them. Maybe purchasing freeze dried food in #10 cans and then using that to create a bunch of BOB meals?

    We have saved all the bags our coffee comes in since they are Mylar bags. We have one weakness and that is our coffee and the more expensive brands use heavy duty Mylar. These seal great using a flat iron. Just add an oxygen absorber to the package.

    We are also thinking of using Ramen Noodles as a base to some of the meals and adding freeze dried veggies and meat in.

    • Why don’t you grind the dehydrated vegies in a coffee grinder after you dehydrate them, then they’d just be powder and easy to rehydrate – if you’re just going for flavor in a soup?

      • Penny Pincher,

        Excellent idea. I have some tomato powder that I put in my homemade bread. That would increase the nutritional value of chili mac considerably.

      • Sw't Tater says:

        That would work, it would also work to just dice them very small. The smaller the item, the less time it takes to re-hydrate.
        If you know ahead of time which veggies you would need, having a small re-sealable container, such as a plastic/glass jelly jar to soak them in would be of value.warm water could be poured over them at rest stop or prior meal and they would be ready to eat after warming..of course, if you have teeth, they can be eaten without rehydration. we love zucchini this way.

    • Dan;
      I have in the past purchased frozen vegetables that we eat, then dehydrate them, after wards they go into zip lock bags and vacuum sealed. It cuts down on the re-hydration time.

  14. Have you actually tried your meal bags? Some powdered milk needs lots of stirring to re-hydrate, and then your cereal is soggy.

    • Desert Fox says:

      When using dried milk, use very warm water and it will easily dissolve the milk. Refrigerate it overnight before using (so plan ahead). It will taste sweeter than regular milk. The usual measurements are 2/3 c. dried milk to a quart of water…I usually use one full cup of milk. ;)

      • Sw't Tater says:

        Bam, Bam I appreciated your article and effort I would have to change every meal in some way for my family. I would just pack the dry cereal- dry with nothing else, we tend to eat it for snack.
        .,. Desert Fox,.warm water/milk in cold dry cereal won’t get it for my family.Hot cereal we have routinely.
        PACK I have a confession to make, I have not made BOB’s. I have a sm. suitcase I try to keep ready for hospital visit, tho.. it would serve to assist, but I couldn’t eat out of it.for more than 2 days.It does include a protein supplement that can be mixed with water for a full meal. Since.I do not have a plan to bug out..don’t camp, had not thought a meal bag a necessity…guess I’ll have to tackle this one soon.
        Here are some of my hurdles..to doing several meals of one kind, for bug out, this is one reason I have not made individual pouches.
        … Half our family can’t eat/ have to limit amounts of several items,including all nuts including soy,milk and all milk products, with the limitation of carbs..Most of this is directly related to intestinal surgery.(this cuts all high protein bars and granola, I have found. Probably have to make my own)
        … Any more ideas for those who will not eat “instant or quick in grits, oatmeal, potatoes or rice” .and doesn’t like repetition in meals, (except for in peanut butter and jelly!)
        ….( Due to health)Won’t eat anything but Natural peanut butter, and it’s shelf life is short enough I have to keep it in continual rotation, tho it does last at least 6 months past the date on the jar.
        …..Everything I pack , needs to be easy to chew, due to existing tooth and denture issues.

        • Sw’t Tater – Try the BetterOats brand for quick cooking (90 seconds) but tastes like long cooking oatmeal. They come in packets inside the box. Some have blueberries, I like the “raw” version. The box does NOT say that it was made in a place with nuts, etc, so maybe some family members will eat these.
          Everyone in my family has different preferences, so this technique will be great for that.
          By the way, I have the Snackmaster from Nesco – works great.
          On the foodstoragemadeeasy.net website, they explain how to put meals into an empty gallon milk container for a 72 hour kit, but the meals were really low in calories. They also make a stove out of a #10 can.
          Great idea to make the meals this way. Thanks.

        • Swt’ Tatter,

          That’s difficult. You will have to create menus for each person. What ages are your kids? If they are over the age of 8, you could challenge them to make their own menus–that would give you a lot of ideas. Actually, if you home school that would be a great lesson in meal planning and nutrition.

        • Encourager says:

          Sw’t Tater, have you tried to dry the natural peanut butter??

        • Patriot Dave says:

          I have found that hunger is a great cure for finicky eaters. health issues are another problem.
          Evacuation meal planning should be a scaled down version from what you do now. Do you cook several dinners catering to each person needs and wants? Or, do you make one meal suitable for the entire family? Do whatever works for your family.

      • Recently purchased dehydrated “Real Milk” from Tomorrow’s Harvest, online. Purchased the $1.99 sample to try. Package said stir into cold water then use. I used filtered water, stirred little bit as it dissolved quickly… unlike the regular powered dry milk. I admit I was skeptical …first sip, I was greatly surprised. The milk tasted like real milk purchased from the store. Powdered real milk passed the Oreo test. Drank the entire glass and wanted more. Placed an order. Comes in #10 cans or 5gallon bucket…made for long term storage. Average cost is slightly less than $4.00 per gallon when mixed with water. Well worth the $$$. Break the powder down to individual servings and vacumn seal, store in dark cool area. Very good milk.

        • Lynn;
          Thank you, I have been looking at purchasing it. Thought if this taste like powdered milk, it will be good for baking an not drinking. Remember powder milk as a child-yuk.

  15. Desert Fox says:

    Thank you for bringing this to the forefront, Bam Bam. I’ve been doing this to a certain extent for a few months and have a few points..

    First, it’s a great savings to buy from a Dollar Store, however, please check the expiration dates very carefully. They are there for a reason (older stocks monstly). If you are packing for an extended period, start with a recently (6 months is okay) manufactured date to begin with.

    Second, I have learned a lot on this site: dehydrate2store.com This lady has multiple videos on all the questions asked here about dehydrating (she uses that Excalibur), vacuum packaging, and what to do with oxygen paks and sharp edges. Of course, she has the “top” of the line machinery, but we can do with equipment we already own (I do. Dehydrating from frozen packages of veggies is great, since they are already “blanched” and still have their vitamines etc.

    Third, when BOBing it’s a good idea to take multiple fire options. A small alcohol stove or a mini one that uses those propane cups are great, convenient for fast heat and a bit limited because you need to carry replacements. You also need something that will burn wood (I found the Emberlit or similar stove is a great addition to your stuff). I have always taken a small foldable, stainless steel rack in my backpacking trips that you can put right on your wood fire (when you have one) and which holds coffee pot, cooking pot or frying pan.

    Last, but definitely not least, is the issue of eating what you pack. It’s very important to test your food choices. Do it now and see what your family will eat. Cooking with dehydrated food is a little different than using fresh stuff; not much but enough that some people might need to get use to it first.

    • Desert Fox,

      All good points. I am leaning toward getting a folding stove for our BOBs. The Emberlit has received good reviews. Thanks for the feedback.

      • Petticoat Prepper says:

        I will second the dehydrate2store site! So many great ideas and receipes!

      • Bam Bam, we have the Emberlite and we really like ours. Quick hot fire. I carry a camp cup to use with the stove. It works great.

  16. You can also eat ramen dry. It is tolerable, and won’t break your teeth. Homeless people do that. I just tried some right before reading this, because I’m being lazy and having ramen for lunch and was curious what it was like dry.

    I always only use about 1/4 of the flavor packet because it’s so salty. I’ve also put some of that packet on a baked potato at work.

    I guess the only problem would be how to keep the ramen from crumbling all over the car if you were eating it dry there.

  17. Excellent article – as usual Bam Bam.

    For cooking, might I suggest the 180-VL stove. I just bought one, and it’s small, sturdy and you can use any fuel you want, including twigs, leaves, pine cones, etc. It comes fairly flat, in a heavy duty ziplock bag, is only 4 pieces, assembles in seconds and weighs only 5.9 oz and provides a 5.5″ x 7″ cooking surface. This is a triangular shaped stove, but there is also a rectangular one for about $20 more dollars. This one cost me about $29.95, plus shipping (around $34).

    http://www.180tack.com/180vl.htm

    (no, I’m not associated with this product or website – just impressed with it).

    • Michelle,

      Thanks for the recommendation. I a friend who runs a wood/metal shop. I am going to show him the plans for the 180-VL stove and see if he can make me one out of scrap metal.

  18. Very Organized Bam. Have you tried making mixed DH or FD ingredients together to make a meal in a bag?

    Seems no one like ramen noodles. I saved them double bagged with the bullion, added FD onions, asparagus, broccilli, carrots, meat, cheddar cheese, and last, use fresh sour cream to the dishes. I am using those ramen noodles that I bought 4 years ago now, still a great dish,

    • Sw't Tater says:

      Donna, My DH had to survive on them as a staple for many years. we both like them, but served differently..he wants them more liquid, as a soup, I want them with little liquid. I generally keep the foil packs in them, and mix them with bullion from a jar. We both prefer the pasta shells. I’ll have to try some of your ideas, minus the cheese and milk products.

  19. Thats better than most I’ve seen . So many people make a “meal ” with portions that wouldn’t feed a cat , much less a full grown adult under stress exerting themselves . Pack real food folks , it makes a big difference psychologically if you feel that you have been fed vs. humping a load and feeling hungry . For me , breakfast and dinner all almost always cooked , lunch hardly ever . A typical lunch for me would be :
    1- 240 gram can of sprats in oil ( russian )
    6-8 wasa wholegrain flatbreads ( 60 cal /per slice)
    6-8 pieces dried apricots
    1- nuun hydration fizzy tablet
    4- squares off a 75% cocoa dark chocolate bar
    1 – stick chewing gum
    2- cytomax energy drops
    small portion nuts ( cashew pieces )

    Most of the time , I prefer not to separate my food into meal units and carry the vast majority of it loose , this gives me far more options at using any empty space ( including equipment covers and lids ) to put things , As anybody that has backpacked can tell you , a pack only holds so much , and every inch of space is fair game .

    • Desert Fox says:

      TR,
      I believe we’re packing for an emergency of some kind here, so, in preparing a “whole meal in a pak” it is hoped the proportions will be adequate enough to fill the consumer. When in a hurry, it is better to have an already pre-planned, put-together meal rather than randomly throw something to eat at the end of a long and hard trek. Of course, unless you have tried it and you find that it works for you and your family.

      I definifetly agree that when you backpak, the main issue is weight. I packed a great bottle of wine on an overnighter and enjoyed and regretted it as I had to pak the empty bottle back! :)

      • True in that situation , The pack I am using for both camping and BOB is the current issue Molle II 5000cu pack . Its always loaded and ready to go . I did have to get another sustainment pouch to configure it the way I needed tho . I know what you mean about the wine , I never dreamed there would be so many uses for Vodka until I started dating a Russian woman . One piece of equipment I find very useful is a two tier tiffin box . If you put your dry meals ( beans , stews , etc ) in that and add the water . The thing is tight enough that it wont spill out , and while you are on the move , the food is soaking and by the time you stop and make camp , all that needs to be done is heat and eat .

        • “I never dreamed there would be so many uses for Vodka until I started dating a Russian woman.”

          –T.R.

          Definitely the quote of the day.

  20. riverrider says:

    awesome post bam! for a little variety you can get the mre entrees from ee. lot tastier than they used to be. marinara meatballs, yum. they have the little packets of cheese and pb too.

  21. Great article Bam Bam. At my china mart, I found small foil packets of peanut butter/honey mixture. They are the perfect size for a BOB and can be eaten right out of the packet as a snack. A small amount of peanut butter can be fairly filling. The peanut butter provides needed protein and the honey provides natural sugar for added energy.

    Another thing I have been doing: Every time we go to a fast food restaurant I ask for extra salt and pepper. Every time we order pizza, I ask for extra crushed red pepper and parmesan cheese packets. They are free, and the employees are usually generous with the amount they give you. Once I’ve acquired about a pints worth of these, I seal them in a bag with my vacuum sealer. Besides being great to use in your home-made MRE’s, I figure these bags would be great barter items. A little spice can go a long ways with making bland food more palatable.

    • Patty,

      Good ideas. I didn’t think to include red pepper and parmesan cheese packets. These would go great with homemade chili mac. I am putting that on my “to do” list.

    • One more thing: I don’t seal the ketchup, mustard, etc packets. I’m afraid the pressure, or if it gets too hot, would cause them to explode, ruining anything else in the bag.

      Oh, one more thing. I have a question. I believe it was yesterday, I read about some people sealing soups, stews, and marinade with their sealer. I don’t understand how this can be done. I would think the vacuum process would pull the liquid out of the bag, thus making a mess of the sealer and keeping the bag from sealing properly. Could someone please explain to me how this works.

      Ok, so I keep thinking of other things … here’s one more bit of advise. When I first started using my sealer I was sealing rice. Well, the rice gets static on it and tends to move around during the vacuum/sealing process, and gets in the way of the seal. I was having more bags becoming unsealed than were staying sealed and was becoming very frustrated. Here is how I remedied that problem. First, place the rice in a regular plastic bag or zip lock. Poke a few small holes in the bag so the air can be vacuumed out, but the rice can’t escape. Place that bag in a sealer bag, then vacuum/seal the bag. I also took it one step further and double-sealed both ends of the sealer bag. I have not had a single bag come unsealed since! Hopefully, this will save some of you from the frustration I went thru. :0)

      • Petticoat Prepper says:

        Place the soup in the vaccumn bag and set in freezer until hard, then vaccumn seal.

        • Petticoat Prepper,

          I’m kind of laughing at myself now for not thinking of that! That is why I love this place! Learn something new every day! Thanks!

          • Ok, my mind has been churning. I use the Rival 8″ x 9′ vacuum sealer rolls. So, I would have to freeze my soup in another type of bag first, like a zip lock bag, then place that in the vacuum sealer bag once it’s frozen. But, then I was thinking, the soup would freeze in whatever position it is placed in the freezer, which might make it difficult to fit in my sealer bag. This is my idea to remedy that problem. Tell me what you think. I can cut the top and bottom from an empty 2 liter soda bottle, and gently place the zip lock bag of soup inside the plastic tube i just created. The soup would then freeze in the shape of a log, which would fit inside my sealer bag. I just tried it with an empty 2 liter bottle, and it fits. Also, i think I could fit more frozen “logs” into my freezer than a bunch of mis-shapen frozen blobs. Do you foresee any problems with this idea?

            • Petticoat Prepper says:

              So, do you not cut the bag size from the roll? I have long rolls and I cut the size I want, seal one end and fill and the vaccumn bag. I start out with my open bags of soup lined up in a cardboard box. When they’ve set but aren’t hard, I take them out and kinda flatten/smooth them so I can stack them. Then I finish freezing and finally seal them. There’s still some wiggle in the stack but they work well in the freezer door one behind the other. I also do this with pasta sauce.

              When it’s chanterelle mushroom season I clean, chop, saute in butter, freeze in ice cube trays and then vaccumn seal three cubes to a bag. They are a nice addition to lots of dinners!

              • Petticoat Prepper,

                Yes, I cut mine the size I need them. I didn’t think about sitting them upright in a box to freeze them. I think that would probably be easier. I love the ice cube tray idea too! Thanks for the helpful advise!

            • With stews and thicker soups I just leave an extra couple inches of head space in the bag and start to vacuum. I stop the vacuum before strong enough to pull any liquid out and force the seal then flatten out on the counter and place in the deep freezer. Even without a super vacuum they seem to keep with out freezer burn really well. This doesn’t work so well with chicken noodle per say but venison stew my chili is very thick, our venison stroganoff sauce chicken and gnocchi ETC. they work great. Another Idea for broth based soups is don’t thin with water or stock right away leave in a thick consistancy, then when ready to use open bag and poor concentrated soup and needed h2o and walla instant homemade chicken soup.

  22. You probably already know that foodsaver bags are washable and reusable. But did you know that you can now buy them with a zipper feature? The end opposite the zipper is open for you to fill and seal, then the “business end” still has its tear strip that guards the zipper seal.
    Search eBay for *foodsaver bags zipper* and you’ll find them in all the popular sizes, for just a little more than the regular kind — which are already much more economical than what the stores sell — and most likely, free shipping too. I’ve been very pleased with the results, and with having the added versatility.

  23. Akcowboy says:

    The first thing you need to know about ( foodsavers) is that the air that they leave in the product bag will freezer burn your meat or other food your trying to protect!
    If it is meat first wrap it in Saran Wrap or similar. This will help it last a lot longer!

    If you see that your frozen vac PAC bag has air in it, open it up dunk it in cold water quickly. This will put a layer of ice on it then re-vacuum seal it. This will make it last much longer.

    • Akcowboy,

      I just saw your comment about re-vacuum sealing meat. That’s the same principle as coating your orange trees with water when it’s going to go below freezing–the thin coat of ice protects the trees from freezing.

      That’s a great tip.

  24. Great article Bam Bam….glad to see someone who loves using their food saver.
    Couple ideas. Everyone mainly thinks of vacumn sealing food. Just a few suggestions of alternate ways to use your sealer.
    Vacumn seal:
    Silver or Gold rounds or bullion
    Important papers, photos- after you make copies
    Tools to prevent from rusting
    Extra car belts, spark plugs stored in the car.
    Toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls… use roll bags vs precut bags.
    This reduces space of storing toilet paper and paper towels.
    Garden seeds
    Clothing, especially undies, socks, gloves, sweaters…including ones used in BOB bags. Saves on space.
    Medicine prescription or over the counter, seal the entire container to extend the life of the meds.
    Keep in mind..air, humidity reduces the life of most everything. Vacumn seal to save space and increase life, or preserve the item. No air, no bugs !
    My BOB is left at the back door, when I’m home. Grab it everytime I leave the house. Saves heat from spoiling the items.
    Food: salad greens…wash, dry, place in Mason or Ball Canning jar. Use
    vacumn sealer to seal the lid….extends the life of the salad, in the fridge, about a month. Same for fresh berries, crackers, chips. Anything crushable in a vacumn sealed bag…use a canning jar. Jar sealing attachment sold on Amazon…don’t forget to use MD’s Amazon -left side of webpage.
    Thanks Bam Bam

  25. What a lot of fun it was reading both the article and then all the comments. I love my Seal a Meal (same as a food saver) and use it almost daily. I buy my meat when it’s been reduced and portion it to meal sizes and freeze. Ground Meat I freeze as a flat pack and things like steaks, pork chops etc, the same so I can stand them up in a basket in the freezer sort of like a filing box. Wouldn’t be without it. Because I portion everything on the way into the freezer, putting a meal together is a snap. I can take out the meat around 4pm, put it in a tray of tepid water and it thaws really fast. I have vegetables, already cut (if needed) in the fridge in bags. Last night I made pork chops, green beans and sauteed mushrooms for dinner – took 20 minutes in total and everything was really good.

    I have a pressure canner and I’m going to experiment with raw pack pressure canning meat. Won’t work with a BOB but will if we stay home which is what I hope to do.

    Glad to hear about the success with the canning jar attachment. I have been thinking of getting one but didn’t know how well it would work or what, exactly, I would use it for. Great ideas here.

    I haven’t gotten to making MRE’s yet but I am inspired by all of this to do so. I especially like the idea of grinding the vegetables for use in soup. I currently dry sweet potato and other root vegetables for my dog as treats. For her I know I need to get all the moisture out so its crunchy but I’m wondering how much I would need to do for us … I can’t imagine re-hydrating her ‘treats’ but I guess I should try. I have a ‘cheapo’ dehydrator that only cost $70 not an Excalibur which according to my research costs a few hundred dollars (mine’s an American Harvest) and then I found another one at the thrift shop for back up but mostly to give me extra trays. I find it takes 2 nights to completely dry my dog treats (I only run it at night to save hydro -our’s is cheaper between 7pm and 7 am). Can anyone provide some feedback – should the vegs be completely dry i.e. crispy? How else do you know they are ready? It does seem to me that any moisture left in them will contribute to rot.

    Thanks to the person with the straw idea – that’s brilliant! And thanks to Bam, Bam. You have really gotten me thinking.

    • Miriam,

      I have a pressure canner and do the raw pack method when I do chicken. The chicken turns out fine.

      When dehydrating, make sure your food is completely dry. One on of my first batched, I made mushrooms but they where only the slightest bit wet. They molded in the jar and I had to throw them out–lesson learned.

      When cutting veggies for dehydrating, especially carrots, use a salad shooter–you get very think, even slices (in a fraction of the amount of time it takes to slice them by hand).

  26. I have a food saver and love it … love it so much I went out and picked up the (what seems like) endless attachments to help seal food in jars, as well as other containers as opposed to just using food saver sealable bags.

    As a side note, food saver bags are dishwasher safe and can be reused.

    My wife and I buy lots of perishable items in bulk and seal them in more manageable portions.

    We also grow a lot of our own food and use our food saver for many of those items as well.

    A food saver is definitely worth the investment.

  27. Another great article Bam Bam.

    Couscous may be another dinner option; fast cooking, decently nutritious containing protien and iron, no pointy edges to break the sealed bags, add your own dried vegetables to make more of a meal.

    Chia seeds for breakfast or lunchtime snack; heard about them here actually almost a year ago, similar to flaxseed in great fiber and omega-3, something about athletes using them to help retain hydration levels, eat them quick cause the gel method of eating them is kinda yucky!

  28. WYO Ryder says:

    EXCELLENTE!! Until my non-gmo fed meat birds are ready for butchering, Zaycon looks like a good way to go.

    And your article – WOW Bam Bam! GREAT job – lots of ideas sparked by this. I will be busy after I am done with finals . Thanks!

  29. WYO Ryder says:

    Bam Bam or MD –

    I am trying to set up an account on Zaycon…do you know what referral code I can use? They wouldn’t take MD’s blog name as a referral and I doubt they take ‘Bam Bam” :-)

    Thanks.

    • WYO Ryder,

      Don’t worry about the referral–they stopped giving “points” good for discounts with each referral. But thanks for asking. I like Zaycon because the chicken is antibiotic free and hormone free. The beef is grass fed (diet is supplemented with corn at the slaughter house). When you cook their hamburger, you have to add olive oil because there’s no fat. It was kind of weird cooking it the first time–blood came out. My dh said that was how meat is supposed to be.

      • BamBam;
        I bet the taste was so good you thought it was steak. I love their meat, cheaper than I can raise it. For those who thought about ordering from Zaycon, they have “their” own meat processing plant. Quality control was the selling point for me. Hamburger is 93% meat 7% fat, chicken(big bird)one chicken breast feeds both of us. Their bacon no preservatives, and the ham which is wonderful. It only took one year of buying from them along with research to convince me grocery stores can keep their meat products.
        BamBam loved the way you put items together, great job!

        • Becky,

          In your experience with Zaycon, how often do they offer hamburger? I only have a few packages left and I definitely want more. Is hamburger something they have twice or three times a year?

          • BamBam;
            On the hamburger sales I am not positive, but I believe it is once a year. If we recall correctly it was the month of June, and I am ready to order it again like you. The first time I took 120 lbs, had my dh cut the meat into one pound units, then my vacuum sealer and I worked away. We ran out of energy so I put some of the rolls whole into the freezer(just as the were delivered)they still look great. Now we will be pulling them,cutting semi frozen and vacuum sealing to go back to the freezer. Can not believe how good the meat tastes, just wish they had other cuts like steak:-).

  30. Womanofthewoods says:

    Many canadians get milk in bags. These bags are great to reuse with the sealer, very good, thick, foodsafe plastic. I snip a corner to use the milk, then cut one end open to rinse with cold water. They get washed and hung to dry. I have used these to portion food for camping and to freeze veggies from the garden.
    We have made pemmican, a traditional food for the Metis people.
    powdered jerky with fat and dried berries and spices. We used bison meat, and dried wild blueberries and beef fat. It is very tasty, portable and it takes about a pound per person, per day, and is said to be the equivalent of 4 pounds of meat. This is the amount for a hard working person, outdoors in cold weather. My boys are all very big, like XXXXXL big. This is all they take on a hunting trip. For fishing they add beer and a little flour for the fish.
    I am experimenting with chicken and other fats and meats. Seasoning with herbs and spices. I have found that only tradtional beating makes the fluffy dried meat, mechanical made powders are the wrong texture, and make it too hard. Every change I have tried has shortened the shelf life, except for the spices and herbs. They seemed to make it last longer. I am sure I can do a ginger chicken version to have with wild rice, so I will keep experimenting.
    I seal slices of pemmican, and a cube of bone soup, tea bags and a bit of honey, and a square of dark chocholate and some salt, and a bit of powdered whole milk, each separate, and then bagged together and packed 8 in a biscuit tin. 10 pounds of calorie dense, highly nutrious food that would last an average person with shelter much longer than 8 days, lasts for many many months not frozen, longer frozen. Pemmican was the original MRE. No napkins or skittles needed, good hot or cold, can be used to make soup or fried in a pan with other things. A hot drink by the fire is bliss, and to have tea, cocoa, and broth is awsome.
    None of the above mentioned bars and packaged foods had enough fat, certainly not enough saturated fat to be healthy in the outdoors, and not enough calories to make a between meal snack for a person cutting wood all day. We live outside, hunt, fish and trap, heat with wood and grow our food, and the boys all go to work as well. A lazy day would see them use up 4000 calories to my 2000 and a hard day would be twice that…8000 calories! They are big but not overwieght.
    They would need 10 of the above listed meals to just maintain a working level of stamina, and my boys are still growing.

    This is so popular with friends and family, I could make a whole bisons worth and have people asking for more. I give it as christmas gifts in fancy tins, and always get asked for more.

    • Womanofthewoods,

      How every odd–I was just talking to someone this morning about pemmican. I have never made it myself. What do you use to make it today–beef roast? I would sure be interested to hear more about your you make it.

      • Encourager says:

        I am interested in her recipe too!

        BTW, welcome to the Pack, Womanofthewoods. I have not seen you post before. You seem to have a treasure-trove of great ideas. Please share!!

        • Womanofthewoods says:

          Thanks for the welcome.

          I will write out my old recipe from the 1750′s, and how I do it now for everyone. I am also working out how many calories and the cost, both mine and the original in a 60 pound rawhide bag.
          The price of bison has gone up in the last few hundred years, and walmart does not sell rawhide sacks, with or without the hair on the outside, so it is taking some research, but the reading is interesting.
          It is very interesting to me, as I am a bit of a food history nutter, and have a family history in Canada going back to 1650.

          This is the original MRE, as the canoe is the original bug out vehicle. A wigwam is a great shelter made of sticks and grass and bark that will keep you warm at 40 below, and all you need is a knife and a woman who can weave! The Metis women were famous as back country supply specialists. Our family still has these skills, and have made an effort to pass them down year after year.

          Where I live now, the native people have only been on the reserve since the 50′s, and were still on the land before that. The elders have some awsome information on living in a forest.

          • Woman of the Woods,

            I suggest that you submit your article to M.D. for inclusion in the writing contest. Check out the details to see what prizes you could win.

  31. Bam Bam
    Thanks for a great article. I will be adding a food saver to my wish list as well as a better quality dehydrator. Bought mine at a yard sale, not happy with it. Top of the list is a pressure cooker. Love all of the great ideas by everyone here.

  32. Texanadian says:

    I never knew about the mason jar attachments and all the wonderful uses. Turns out TW and I have all we need except the attachments. I will be getting them. I guess all things that suck aren’t bad. :)

  33. I would love to hear more about this pemmican recipe! We are an outdoors family and this would be awesome for deer camp…please share!

  34. I received the regular and wide mouth jar accessories for my food saver today. And I put them to use immediately. I sealed most of my dry goods in half gallon canning jars. This would seem to be a very, very inexpensive way to fill out your mid-range food storage. I haven’t purchased pasta in #10 cans because it seems so expensive. But now I can go to the dollar store, dump the contents in the jar, seal it up and that should be good for a couple of years–provided, of course, the seal holds.

    Question for the Pack: What is your experience with food sealing stuff in canning jars? How long does the seal hold? If oxygen is removed, how long does that extend the shelf life of food?

    • I did pasta (a few years back) it aged in the jars, even though the seals were in place. I believe it was due to fluctuation in temperatures (we live in a area that gets really hot), or light. Now I am trying mylar bags for the pasta.
      I use the half gallon jars for brown sugar then seal. I cover the jars, instead of tossing out old socks I cut them and make covers. It also helps protect them from getting broken rather than using bubble wrap.

      • Millie in KY says:

        Oops, sorry, hit the report button and didn’t mean to.
        Do you put anything into the container to keep the brown sugar soft? Or does taking the air out do that for you? Thanks!

        • Millie in KY;
          It will stay soft if you put it in loosely, no hard packing the brown sugar.
          As we all know brown sugar hardens over time, due to moister lose. A trick that has been passed down through the women in my family. Use an apple to soften brown sugar that has hardened. Cut the apple in half, place it inside the bag that the sugar has harden in, apple skin down, cut side up. If you need to place harden sugar in a zip bag “Check” the apple everyday, when the moister is removed the apple will look withered. If the sugar is still not soft enough put the other half of apple in the bag. When softened you can use for baking or transfer it to your jar and vacuum seal it. Check the lids after a couple of days to make sure no granules were transferred to the lids seals. Give your jar it’s sock…..for protection, you are good to go.

          • Millie in KY says:

            Thank you! What a strange idea and it works, huh?

            Good news today, finally, finally, finally. My girl had 8 healthy puppies, 6 girls and 2 boys. This will help my sorrow begin to heal. Thank you all for your prayers.

      • Becky,

        Was the pasta exposed to light or was it kept in a dark cabinet?

        • BamBam & Millie in Ky;
          Just caught your request, so here it goes.
          I had a small window in my old grocery store(food shed), before I knew about light, and it was a/c for the summer months to keep the temp down. My new shed is windowless, I put the pasta I am going to use in snap containers for every day usage, for long term I am using Mylar in plastic buckets just in case.

          Millie, if you are asking about the apple, yes it does.

          *For those who vacuum seal and are having problems with the jar units, I just discovered a quick fix for you. Plug the hose into the unit, turn it on as if you were doing a jar lid. Put the hose up to your ear if you hear the vacuuming noise it will seal. If it is not vacuuming(sucking air) put your finger over the end plug to cause it pull harder. Then let go, you might have to do this every so often. What I discovered was small particle of material were plugging the main unit. Now it is up and working just fine, so if your unit is not working try this. You can blow into the hose if air passes through and you can feel it on your fingers the plug is in the unit.

    • Bam Bam, I’ve had choc chips, beans, and elbow noodles in jars sealed with the Foodsaver for over 3 years and still good!

  35. Varian Wrynn says:

    I think your breakfasts are too big. When I’m backpacking, I eat two oatmeal packages for breakfast.

    Also, you can dehydrate pineapple – save even more $$$

    • Varian,

      I haven’t seen you post before. Welcome to the Wolf Pack. And thank you for the feedback on the size of my breakfasts.

  36. Rider of Rohan says:

    BamBam, I know you will appreciate this, and know that I’m not trying to hijack your thread.

    The assault weapons and magazines ban has gone down in the Senate when Democratic Leader Reid said today that it would be striped from the overall gun-control bill. Thank you observant student at the Univ. of Central Florida for stopping a shooting there.

    • Rider,

      Yes, we hooted in celebration when we read the headline, “Feinstein Smacked Down.” I think she needs therapy–she has post traumatic stress syndrome from finding Harvey Milk shot dead. She needs to do her own work and leave the rest of us alone.

      That could have been a complete disaster in UCF.

  37. Thanks for the great post. I have been doing MRE’s for years. I live in Utah and we do a lot of Jeeping and there are to many times we don’t make it out in the daylight. It can kill you if you take the wrong way so it is better to spend the night. I make large meal kits to have for the group. I have found that if you put everything that you have sealed into a outer bag and just suck it down snug, not all the way and then use another outer bag and just seal it they will last forever. They take abuse without leaking and you can use the outer bags for water containers. I start out with a real MRE main dish that I find on sale and add to it. I try all kinds of things and keep it for 6 months and try them before making a meal with them. Soda Crackers do not work well for me. They break up and don’t taste good also Cereal taste bad after a year. Packets of oatmeal are what I use. Candy bars will melt and separate and you can warm them and mix them again. Hard candy works better. Ramen works good, my grandson eats them cold all the time. Things that have worked good for me is mostly homemade. I make Hardtack, Crackers and found how to make them off the net. I also make Biscuits from the cooler section and suck them down. Do not use the butter ones. Use quick rice and add your own spices so all you have to do is add hot water. Knorr makes a softer bullion cube that is not so salty. Suck them down with seasoning to add to rice and other things. Stove top stuffing works good so all you have to do is add water. Add TP, Book matches and Coffee, teas and drink mix to them. Suck down Peanut butter and jam to put on the crackers or Biscuits Ask at all the food places for extra packets of seasonings and they usally give me a bag full. So I add them even if I don’t think I need them. Pick up some of the MRE heaters to have if needed. There may be a time that we may need to heat food without a fire so they work good but adds to the cost of the meal. So I just keep them to add if needed. Like was posted before Ketchup and other packets explode.

    • KTS,

      I have thought about putting everything in a ziplock bag (unsealed) and then using the food saver bag as an overbag. Is that what you do?

  38. That would work. I suck down the things I want to seal and them I put it in a bag and pull it down until it just starts to pull tight and seal that. Then I just seal one over the whole thing so it is not tight. I put them in a ammo can in the Jeep and they take a lot of abuse. I would think using a zip lock would work just as well. The idea that was posted with the paper towel between the two bags sounds like a good idea too I am going to try that. I seal ammo and even have done guns that I put in a vehicle. I wrap them with blue paper shop towels and spray them with WD-40 and seal them and that works good.

  39. Encourager says:

    It seems you are a bit weak on veggies, BamBam.

    I have a question for the pack. I dried celery in 2011 and wanted to make stuffing but had no fresh celery. So I soaked the dried celery in hot water for an hour. It still didn’t look softened and hadn’t absorbed much water so I stuck it in the fridge overnight. I drained it and put it in with the onions and herbs to cook a bit before adding the rest of the stuffing ingredients. Well, it was awful. We had to pick out the chewy, stiff celery as we ate the stuffing. Now, when I dried it, I did blanche it as I was suppose to. What did I do wrong??? I have three small jars of dried celery. Am I going to have to toss it all?

    • Encourager,

      Yep. I think the solution is to dehydrate some store bought frozen veggies. As someone mentioned above, they are already blanched. Instead of the Korr sides, I am going to make my own noodle-minute rice dishes, add veggies and keep a can of chicken ready to add–or just add the dehydrated meat.

      I am thinking about ordering some MREs from EE just to see what they tasted like. Does anyone know if you need to buy the heaters separately? Can I reuse a heater?

      • Encourager says:

        Bam Bam, so what do you do if you need celery? I have never found frozen celery…usually because it turns mushy if frozen.

        And I DID blanch the celery first. I cannot figure out where I went wrong. Pack??

        • Encourager,

          This video might help.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vj3R8m9jBYg

          • Encourager says:

            Thanks, Bam Bam. I watched the video. I think I may have dried mine at too high a temperature. Also, I noticed that the celery in the jar was brownish. Do not know what caused that, perhaps air? So I am tossing it all :(

            Will try again this year. Live and learn…sigh

            • Encourager,

              I don’t do much dehydrated celery because we can grow it here just about year round–it’s too hot in July and August. If I do buy a celery, I chop off the bottom, let it sit in water for a few days, and then stick it in the ground. When i need celery I just go out to the garden and shave some off.

      • BamBam;
        (1)Just asked the niece’s bf about the heaters, no, only a one time usage. But he did give me a great tip on how to make a tear gas solution…….got to love those who serve. Let them get bored and they come up with all sorts of things to do with an MRE. After 8 yrs the MRE’s blot up so the crackers, cheese items are still good but the main meal is garbage.
        (2) I have seen where you can buy the heaters separately, there are suppliers out there.

        • Becky,

          Thanks for the answer. I am thinking having a few MRE entrees and heaters will be good–it will be good to have access to a hot meal, even if you can’t start a fire.

        • Try epicenter.com I just bought some heaters and some other things from them. They even have over-sized heaters that are less expensive than the G.I. ones. I’m also looking into powdered magnesium and powdered iron to make my own.

          • Sirius,

            How can you make your own? (I have no idea how MRE heaters work.)

            • I looked them up on Wikipedia. They are basically a bag with magnesium powder, iron powder and table salt. You ad water and get an exothermic reaction. Just the same as you would from instant heat packs, only these produce more heat, but for a shorter amount of time. They also don’t leave any caustic chemicals behind like snow melt chemicals do.

              The first generation MRE heaters just had the loose powder in them. Those were the ones I used in another life. The ones now have the chemicals pressed into a porous polymer to avoid the loose powder.

              I didn’t mind the loose powder back then, so I figured I’d try to replicate it and see if it is cheaper. After looking on Amazon, I’m probably going to have to make my own powders. Harbor Freight sells magnesium fire starters for a dollar, and they also have cheap cast iron. I’ll get those and a dremel and see what I can come up with.

              • Sirius,

                If you get something that works, you might want to write up a little article and submit to M.D. It may be useful to have the ability to heat meals without drawing attention that a fire draws.

                I do wonder if you could use a mini solar oven to heat MREs. I imagine that here in Florida, you could simply leave them out in the sun for 15 minutes and they’d be ready to eat.

    • rehydrate in warm water. We use lots of dehydrated veggies and I always add them to hot or boiling water and let them sit.

  40. Encourager says:

    Great, great article, Bam Bam! So many replies and great ideas!

    My son taught himself to dehydrate meals he cooked himself as he hated the bland, mushy Mountain House meals he bought. He likes a bit of kick to some of his food.

    One of the breakfast meals he made and dehydrated was scrambled eggs with ham, cheese, and jalapeno peppers. He dried all ingredients separately. He cooked the scrambled eggs, then chopped them as fine as he could before dehydrating. He combined all ingredients before sealing them with his Food Saver. At camp, he would combine with hot water and stir well, let sit and eat. He had to experiment with how much hot water to use.

    He also made his own chili (likes it hot), beef stroganoff, beef stew, chicken and rice (spicy); he found that using pasta such as elbow, ditalini, ziti and the like packed easier and didn’t poke holes in the bag. He cooked the pasta first (barely al dente) and then dehydrated it. He cooked completely various veggies and then dehydrated them so there would be no need to cook them.

  41. Bam Bam you inspired me had never given it much thought but besides pure bug out these homade MRE’s would be great for going out on a hunting party of even just throwing in the camper for a quickie meal. I started putting a few together today while i was putting up a bunch of canned chicken. Worked mostly from existing pantry but did spend about 90 dollers on some things we needed and a few additions to my packs. I found that the fruit snacks claim to have a full days worth of vitamin C wether its true or not figure its cheap filler. Also added packets of hot cocoa and dried apple slices to the breakfast packs cheap easy to digest calories, and a nice warm u up. Did mostly oatmeal stuff for breakfast and canned meats and tuna with ramen noodle packets or rice for lunches I know ramen isn’t really all that good for you but quick to cook and has a source to quick energy. added a fun size candy bar per person (I made mine for a family of five) and a few odds and ends. this is a really good idea I bet I don’t have six or seven dollars a piece in each one and at least 600 calories per person. figure 1.20 per person is cheap prepping!

    • hv,

      Yes–cheap prepping. If you had to purchase MREs for everyone in your family for every meal that would get expensive. The homemade MREs are closer to what you feed your family and you have more control about what goes into them.

  42. The reason I started making them is to have what I want. I have a case of MRE’S so I opened one and looked how they made them. Most of the things that were in them I would not use and I wanted things that were not in them. There are times that store bought MRE’s would be good. They make them for young people that are working hard so they are good for that. My Son was in the Marines so I asked him about what ones that he liked. So I went and bought just the main dish and added around them and they worked great. After doing them and using them when needed. I decided that I could do better for my family. I started making my own stuff and when I find things in the store that would help make them I use them for all kinds of things. If every one that wants, just start making them you will find that it will become easier and you will find things that will work for you and your family. I still keep store bought MRE’s in my vehicles for just in case and change them out often but the more I make the more I use my own. The grand kids love to eat my MRE’s because I make things they like. It has been the best thing I have done. They love to spend the night out on the trail. It is fun for them.

    • KTS,

      It sounds like we are on the same wavelength. Now that I’ve put together some meals, it will be a matter of testing them out to see how well they work and how well they hold up to the heat. Tomorrow my dh and I are going to go for a picnic and we are going to grab two of the lunch MREs, so I will have more to report then. I suspect I’ve packed too much food. But it’s better to have too much than not enough.

  43. http://www.internet-grocer.net/bulkitms.htm ,anyone seen this site?I was looking at their bulk prices on dehydrated goods/they even had jerky made from tvp =texturized vegetable protein anyone tried this,I was wondering how it tasted as well as the bacos = tvp bacon bits as a snak food instead of on salads,or adding to dry eggs.,and comparing them against http://www.bulkfoods.com with these 2 addresses,it might give you some new directions for alt to MREs,see what you think ,bookmark if you like.\I window shop on the net.

    • Millie in KY says:

      I know this site. I’ve not ever bought from them but I do know that Bruce is a very honest and God fearing person. He’s been doing this for years. As a matter of fact, I dated him for a short while when I was very, very young. He’s a neat guy and very personable. I’d give them a try. I don’t think he would steer you wrong at all. And it is a long silly story how we ran into each other again after 40+ years! :)

      • I have seen the site but didn’t order anything–I just don’t buy from sites without recommendation. With Millie’s recommendation I book marked the site and will check it out.

    • We use Emergency Essentials for our dehydrated foods.
      http://beprepared.com/?sc=TSBLOGN&oc=TSBG0001#mountain-house
      Best price on shipping and the products are amazing

    • Encourager says:

      khbostic, TVP is made from soybeans. I do not recommend soy to anyone. The body treats it like estrogen. That can cause problems, especially in males, more especially in pre-adolescent boys and even girls. There have been some reports that soy products have been one of the reasons children are developing too fast.

      It is a completely different story with fermented soy, such as soy sauce, tamari, or fermented bean curds. The fermenting destroys the estrogen-like part of soy.

  44. The English and Canadians,maybe other commonwealth countries have pork n beans in their MRE s,I just add some extra sugar n cook with a lil extra water n veggie oil,as well as mashing them like fried pintoes,good with eggs,and canned luncheon meat,also good alt for a MRE,or with corned beef that also comes in 12 oz cans,haven t seen the argentinian lately.Then theres the lil cans of vienna sausg and the canned potted meat in sm cans,good with pork n beans.Eggs hard boiled,how long do they keep?maybe hard boil a doz or two before heading out if theres time.Maybe the sm louisiana hot sauce bottle?Kool aid with the sweetener in it?Regular tea bags,Iuse the blue pack sweetener these days.I shop a lot at Aldi stores these days,& feel lucky to have one in town.Popcorn,I heard the Indians at 1st thanksgiving just threw it in the fire and gathered it up,but I use veggie oil,could use pot or dutchie,no microwave here.Granola is in most supermarkets was the roman MRE,a few bucks a lb box.Raisens were added to granola,as well as extra sugar,could add peanuts,too,maybe cookies broke up into bits.Maybe add nacho cheese chips broken into smaller bits too…add sunflower,pumkin seeds,or m & m s?

  45. HOMEMADE ELECTROLYTE SOLUTION

    1/2 teaspoon salt substitute
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon table salt
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1 gallon water
    Mix well and drink chilled or at room temperature.

    This is my favorite one.
    Sugar Option

    This option is made with sugar: When you work out, your body does not only lose water and electrolytes, it burns energy as well. To make sure you can keep your activity level up, it is a good idea to add some kind of sugar to your drink.

    1 gallon water
    5-10 teaspoon of sugar
    1 teaspoon of salt
    1 teaspoon of baking soda
    ½ teaspoon of salt substitute (potassium salt)
    1 pack of sugar-free drink flavoring (unsweetened Kool-Aid)

  46. Stir Sea Salt + Baking Soda + Lemon Juice + Maple Syrup into 8 ounces of Water – This is a great natural remedy for serious endurance athletes – You might think drinking baking soda is a little weird, but it’s been used for centuries to treat various aliments. In this case, it’s added to the mix because it makes the body less acidic and provides an additional source of sodium bicarbonate.
    http://foodbabe.com/2012/07/10/the-secret-behind-gatorade-how-to-replenish-electrolytes-naturally/

  47. I have a question about leaving my BOB in the trunk of my car. I live in east Texas near the coast, so it is hot and humid during the summer. But that is when we get hurricanes and fires, so I want to leave my bag in the car to stay prepared. How will this affect my food and equipment?

    • CC,

      The shelf life of MRE, like the most other foods, decreases significantly when stored at higher temperatures. If your concern is hurricanes, why keep MREs in your trunk? There is enough advanced warning that you don’t need to keep them with you. But if you do want to keep them in your trunk, just be prepared to eat them once hurricane season is over. I don’t know if they are still on sale, but EE had MRE entrees on sale for like $2.99. If you want a more precise answer, Google shelf life of MRE and temperature–that will get you a chart that says how long MREs last at varying temperatures.

    • JP in MT says:

      I don’t live in your type of climate, mine, in fact, can be just the opposite. What i do is keep those items that are “temperature immaterial” in a smaller duffel bag with a shoulder strap. This I take back and forth with me. The other stuff I can leave in the backpack in the car. I have figured out how I am going to attach it, or carry it, in addition to my GHB. The other advantage is these are usually the items that are more perishable than my main gear. It is easier to keep it rotated this way.

  48. James of Wales says:

    In all fairness, carrying that amount of food on your back wouldn’t be too difficult. For my Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award i carried 4 days worth of food on my back while wild camping on Dartmoor, wasn’t light food either, they were wet rations. So long as you packed well enough, a 65 Litre rucksack would carry everything you need to survive for any length of time.

    Water purification tablets would solve the water issue, you want to be aiming at carrying 2 litres on you at all times.

    In terms of a stove then a solid fuel burner would be ideal, using Hexamine tablets as a fire starter you could then substitute wood as fuel after starting the fire, so long as it is kept small and appropriate wood is used, it should remain undetected and and have optimum heat output to cook whatever is required. I personally use a 1 litre Esbit stove. Hoe this helps in some way shape or form.

    • Bam Bam says:

      James of Wales,

      I haven’t seen you post before. Welcome to the Wolf Pack. Thanks for your input.

    • Encourager says:

      Welcome to the Wolf Pack, James of Wales. Haven’t seen you post before. I am assuming you are in Wales?? How is the living situation there? Have you been doing any prepping for hard times?

  49. James of Wales says:

    Hey guys,

    Yep, first time here for me :) Thanks for the welcome, should have introduced myself first i guess.

    Yes i am from Wales, Neath in fact (South Wales). Where i live the situation is pretty good in all fairness, sort of semi rural area on the edge of a small village, plenty of forestry around and easy access to common ground.

    I wouldn’t say that i have purposefully prepped for anything, however i am a leader with the Duke of Edinburgh Open Gold Centre in NPTCBC, therefore i always have at least one rucksack packed with enough provisions to last for 48 hours and relevant kit to survive a good length of time. If you want i could post something regarding the kit i carry and plans i have should the SHTF? Don’t really feel it’s my place to hijack this thread considering i’m a newbie.

    • James,

      We would love to hear about the kit you carry. M.D., our leader, has put out a call for posts. Write up your post and email it to him. I, for one, am always interested to hear what folks in other countries are doing–and what they are prepping for and how they are prepping.

    • Encourager says:

      James, (may I call you James??), post away. We are always looking for new ways to look at things, new ideas for prepping. So…translate NPTCBC…and I assume a rucksack is a backpack that you carry with straps over the shoulders?

      I agree with BamBam, write up an article, even if it is geared towards where you live, what disasters you may face, etc. We will still be able to get something out of it to apply to our own efforts.

  50. khbostic says:

    Well,I d like to say Im part Irish on my ma s side,last names German tho.
    so my Intel is that Wales is 40 to 60 miles accross the Irish chanel from the Capitol,Dublin,Ireland,and theres a ferry everyday to and from th 2 ports,giant Hovercraft.
    Wales is between Scottland to the north,and England to the South.Theres a lot of folks in Scottland and Wales with some Irish blood in their background.Scottlands closest point to Ireland in the north is 9 miles accross.Englands closest to the French mainland is maybe 37 miles.
    Ireland is depopulated to apx 4.6 million ,while England is 62.3 million./3 million in Wales as of 2009 census.5.1 million population in Scottland,courtesy of my World Almanac and book of facts,same source as the CIA world book of facts.
    Anyways,with 2/3 of the land mass of Brittain,Ireland grows a lot of food and ships it to the UK/ie,the next island nation over.My mothers dads people were Kinshella,son of Kavanaugh,Kavanaugh county is right there at the capitol,and the Kennedy s were also from there,its farming country with fairly steady rains for crops.
    My dad and his dad were partial to the sardines and crackers,These areb emgcy rations for lifeboats,but I never got into sardines,but crackers are good with cheese or peanut butter,and water,wouldn t ya say?

  51. khbostic says:

    My uncle was a mailman in Detroit suburbs,did the ancestry thing on retirement.Hw stated the 1st generation off the boat rom Ireland landed in Quebec, CA[Canada].and married a full blooded French woman,also fresh off the boat from France.Then there was a Norwegian great granddad,another couple Irish,and French thrown in,along 5 generations.
    My granddad/ma s side, was born in northern Minnesot,when they surveyed,found granddad was born on US soil,so thats how he got citizenship.My granddad migrated to Detroit,eventually had a ma and pop restaurant on the Woodward ave,its the main street,apx 2 blocks from 5 mile intersection,til the 1956/57.They raised rabbits in a colony to get thru the meat rationing of WW2,using chicken recipes on the rabbits,hint ,hint,hint….

  52. James of Wales says:

    Hey guys,

    You may call me whatever you wish ;) But yeh i will write up an article as soon as i get the chance and start posting like crazy!

    NPTCBC = Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, it’s the area i’m from and the council that runs the area (basically where i work, i’m a leader with the D of E Award scheme in the Neath Port Talbot Area) I’ll explain it in further detail in an article if you wish?

    Um, not a clue whether some of those facts are true, they sound it lol :) But, England is more West of Wales (google a map of Wales and you’ll soon see) And yes a rucksack is indeed a backpack with shoulder straps and a waist strap.

    Hope that’s cleared a few things up, shall get on that article ASAP!

  53. khbostic says:

    Well,I got out my 2011 edition of the World Almanac and BookOfFacts on the population stats.The Ferry/Giant Hovercraft,I saw a documentary on that,like on the Discovery channel.N Ireland is considered part of the UK,has another 1 and a 1/2 million population.
    In America,the English,Irish,and German all have 60 million part blooded of those old countries in a population of 310,212,000 population.Then theres 14% Black and 15% hispanic for the other 2 major ethnic groups.
    I thought I d get in this:one of my maternal granddads recipe on rabbit was chicken salad sandwiches,instead made with rabbit fine diced,add in chopped onions and salad dressing instead of mayo.Extra sweetener is optional,as well as sweet elish being optional.Put it on toast,buttered with lettuce and tomato,slather one piece of toast with more salad dressing.Lettuce and tomato slices optioal,as well as pickle on side ,especially when no relish is added.
    Tuna salad sandwich is the same way,although you may add a dash of vinegar,a splash of mustard,mashed eggs for tuna and egg salad ,eggs by themselves the same way for egg salad sandwiches,and of course full cooked chicken for chicken salad sandwiches…

  54. internalfusion says:

    I highly suggest an alcohol camp stove to heat your food for several reasons:

    1.) Extremely lightweight (ultra light backpackers swear by the things)
    2.) Very efficient use of fuel with the right stove configuration (jet burner style built with coke cans for example)
    3.) No smoke = no positional giveaway
    4.) Did I mention how portable they are?

  55. BamBam,
    a penny stove made from soda cans and 2 large juice cans work well. It folds up to about 4 inches tall and with 1/4 cup of denatured alcohol will boil a quart of water in about 8 minutes. The fuel will burn full steam for about 20-25 minutes. The other one is a wood gas stove which burns smokeless after a few minutes, and you can use materials around you. I’ve not cooked with it yet, so no feedback on that part but it does work well. Both can be found doing a search and made with stuff around home:) Mark