We’ve been setting aside small quantities of food and water for several years. We explain the rationale in the Panoplia.org Soft Skills and Tactics (SST) course topic 01.02.05 (Residence Survival). Suffice it to say here that people who live in the West are overly dependent on what’s become a routine supply chain. Every few days large trucks show up to your local supermarket and stock the shelves with an abundance of choices.
In the same way, when you wake up in the morning you expect your sink and shower to provide you with the water you need to drink and to take care of your hygiene needs.
Have you ever asked yourself the question, “What would I do if there was suddenly no food available in the supermarket, and no water supplied to my home?” We’ve become so accustom to things working well that many within western nations don’t stop to ask themselves these questions. People who’ve lived for years in less-developed areas, however, are aware of what it’s like when scarcity becomes the new normal.
My wife and I have a goal for the amount of food and water we’d like to have set aside. The goal would be somewhat easy to achieve if food that lasts for years was inexpensive, yet we’ve not found that to be the case. Setting aside food that will be nutritious and enjoyable after being stored for many years can be expensive. The same is true for water and water filtration options. We’ve been working on this for several years, and have slowly been making progress. We haven’t reached our goal yet, but are on the way.
We recently used some savings to add to our emergency food and water supply. As we did so, we were amazed to see how much more expensive things are now than they were just a year or so ago. For example, take a look at the image below.
Within the past month, we purchased the metal shelving shown above, and some of the other items pictured. The shelving unit was purchased at Home Depot. It’s a Husky 5-Shelf Heavy-Duty Storage Unit. It’s 48 inches wide, 24 inches deep, and 78 inches high. It’s rated at 1,000 pounds per shelf. The store SKU number is 1006567513.
I watched an online review of this unit. The YouTube video was made in May 2018. At that time the shelving unit was said to sell for $79. When we purchased it a few weeks ago, it cost $159.00.
Likewise, in 2019 I purchased ten of the food-grade, five gallon buckets shown in the image. At that time they cost about $3.75 each at Home Depot. When you can find them, they now cost $7.98 each. We use these to store items such as rice, beans, and pasta in one-gallon mylar bags that we heat-seal. We use oxygen absorbers inside the bags to help the food items stay fresh for years.
So far it doesn’t seem that the Zephyrhills five gallon spring water bottles have gone up in price too much, yet it would not surprise me if this changes before long.
It seems that the Mountain House freeze dried food in #10 cans have gone up in price a bit, yet we’re thankful that they are once again available. For much of 2020 you could hardly find them at any price.
In case you’re wondering, the Husky shelving as shown fits eight five gallon water containers, eight five gallon food-grade buckets, and 42 #10 cans of Mountain House freeze dried food. You can see that we have a way to go to fill in the #10 cans, yet they are quite expensive depending on the content.
The jugs on the top shelf are 2.4 gallon food-grade plastic containers that originally held cat litter. Each time we empty one we clean it well, fill it with tap water, and mark it as “Not intended for Drinking.” These can be used for washing, flushing toilets, etc. One can also drink the water if necessary if it’s filtered first.
The Zephyrhills five gallon spring water bottles have a “best by” date of two years out. We cover them with pillow cases to keep the sun off them, and store them in a cool, dry place. This being the case, we expect them to last almost indefinitely, even if the water has to be filtered after a few years. We plan to test them after three years or so for freshness, and plan to write an article at that time on our findings. Incidentally, the entire shelf unit as shown will be covered with a bed sheet to keep any sun and light off the items.
We’ve used and enjoyed Mountain House freeze dried food for years. We’ve always found it to be delicious. In fact, when my wife traveled for a week recently, three of my meals that week were the smaller Mountain House pouches. Like the #10 cans, most of these are rated to last for 30 years. I especially enjoy the Beef Stroganoff and the Lasagna.
We recently branched out and ordered some #10 cans from a company called My Patriot Supply. The reason we did so is that they offer a few baking items such as Butter Powder and Whole Egg Powder. These both have a shelf life rated for 10 years. These are examples of items not available from Mountain House, and so we thought we would give them a try.
Although we’ve not tested the My Patriot Supply items as yet, we were a bit disappointed with them in other ways. When we order Mountain House products they tend to have been made very recently, and we receive them in pristine condition. When we received the #10 cans from My Patriot Supply, however, several were already a year old, had significant dents, or had ripped labels. This is shown in the image below.
Given this, we have to wonder about the quality control of the products themselves during the manufacturing process. We hope to test a few of their products soon, and plan to let you know our findings.
No matter what food or water you choose to store for an emergency, we recommend that you begin doing so soon. The way things are going, no one knows for sure when such things will be needed, and how expensive they will be in the months and years ahead.
Let us know in the Comment section below if there’s a particular brand of emergency food or water that you have tested and enjoy.
As always, remember that Panoplia.org has no affiliate relationships with manufacturers or retail suppliers, nor do we participate in third-party advertising. We simply share our views about gear and supplies that work well for us under hard use.