When we look the survival rule of three’s; three minutes without air, three hours without shelter in harsh conditions, three days without water, three weeks without food we have to face it that food is at the bottom of the list.
That doesn’t mean that we should ignore it though, having to forage, hunt and scavenge for food is a time and labour intensive activity so being prepared for emergencies with a well-stocked pantry or for outdoor adventures with well packed provisions if you’re headed out on an expedition is essential.
If you’re heading out on the trail for an expedition being able to pack food that is easy to prepare and light is really important. Canned food drastically increases the weight of your pack and is going to make your hike much more uncomfortable than it needs to be, consider instead light weight options such as dehydrated rations, these are great in temperate or arctic conditions but bear in mind if you are hiking or exploring somewhere very arid and dry you will need to be able to find water to rehydrate all your food, and realistically you might want to prioritise drinking water and accept that carrying food that doesn’t need rehydrating might be a better bet. MRE’s are a fairly good option as hiking rations, they don’t need rehydrating and provide plenty of snacks as well as main meals, they are heavy though.
Remember that having the food is only part of the battle and ultimately you will pack what your personal tastes dictate but whatever you do pack you need to make sure you’ve got what you need to prepare that food, this might mean packing a stove to cook on, a pot to cook in and spoon to eat with, you don’t need anything more in terms of cooking utensils when you out camping and you might even forego the stove if you’re planning to cook on a camp fire. What you will need though is something to light your stove or fire with so make sure you have multiple options for fire lighting, a lighter, matches and fire steel don’t weigh much and it really is worth having all three options.
Whenever you head out for an adventure as well as the food you are planning to eat you should also carry some emergency rations in case your planned adventure turns into an unplanned survival situation. Getting snowed into a campsite or cabin, getting injured or delayed are all reasons that you might have to rely on extra food and supplies that you should be carrying, a small emergency pack like this contains some basic tools that will be useful in an emergency and some extra food. For a bit more of a substantial emergency ration try packing some of these 5 year food bars, these can stay in your bag almost indefinitely until you need them or until they need to be rotated out when they pass their sell by date.
So you’ve managed to cook a few campfire meals and you didn’t need your emergency rations while you were out on the trail but what if disaster struck and you dug in at home, you’ve got food storage right?
In preparation for emergencies it’s sensible to build up a stock pile of food, fuel, a comprehensive tool kit, communication equipment and other vital supplies at home. As you stock pile food at home you obviously don’t have to consider weight as much as you do when you are packing a backpack, although you will have to consider space as you may only have a small pantry, a few cupboards or maybe you’re even resorting to storing things under beds.
Bulk storage options, that either already come in rodent proof containers or which can easily be decanted into rodent proof barrels is ideal. Dry good, such as pasta, rice, flour, whole grains and dehydrated food stuffs can be stored in bulk, will keep for a long time and are very versatile when it comes to preparing meals. Consider as well that while you need these staple foods you will need seasonings and other basic items that it’s easy to forget about when you are preparing your food storage; oil, salt, sugar, honey, vinegar are all things that you should have in a comprehensive food store. Consider some of the Wise Company products stocked by DNA tactical as you prepare your food stores, these bulk storage buckets contain between sixty and one hundred and twenty servings depending on the contents and will add vegetables, dried milk, meat and other food stuffs to your emergency food store without adding too much bulk to your storage solution and they are already supplied in neatly stackable rodent proof buckets to aid storage.
We might starve to death slower than we’d freeze to death in an emergency but that’s no excuse to not get your food storage right, or to pack the wrong food when you head out on expeditions.