Anyone shopping for bulk survival food kits, like those three, six or 12 month ones has been swept up in the whole “X number of servings” hype surrounding them, and while that type of information isn’t completely irrelevant, it’s only one part of what you should be considering when shopping for these types of kits. You should also be concerned with how much room it takes up, how much food is in a serving and how many calories is in that serving. Nutrition, believe it or not, is as important in kits that contain complete “just add water” meals or MREs because they’re almost always balanced meals with lots of the same good nutrition is if you made the meal yourself.
The way I look at it, the most important thing that you should be concerned with for your food supply is that it contains enough calories to support the type of activities that you’ll be doing in a t-plus event. Ideally your food supply will be what you consume while waiting for your renewable crops to grow. If the t-plus event is not so severe that you don’t need to grow food, then your food supply just needs to last as long as the event. If you are in a “sit and wait” mode then obviously your caloric intake can be reduced, if you’re doing agricultural work or hard labor, then obviously your caloric intake needs to match that so that you don’t begin to suffer from poor nutrition.
The second thing to make sure of is that the food tastes good enough to eat for as long as you’re going to have to eat it. You may buy a sample of food from a particular vendor and believe that it is tasty enough at the time, but consider if you have to eat it for six months straight, how does it taste then? I’ve personally been eating food out of #10 cans and such supplemented by fresh produce either grown or store-bought to see just how likely it is that I could stand stored food for an extended period. To be completely honest with you, I think I’ve chosen the right brands and selection of meals and could probably subsist on the stuff for a very long time, as long as I did have the fresh produce to supplement it.
So if I could offer you one piece of advice regarding purchasing stored food that comes in #10 cans or some other type of storage container, it would be that you need to see the nutrition label and serving size information before you buy. Also, consider whether a serving is enough food for you for one meal. I’m in the process of developing a basic one week, one month, and three months survival menu that I will offer for free on this website that takes serving size into consideration because I’ve discovered that many of the companies that produce food stored in #10 cans complete meals (i.e. Mountain House, et al.) don’t really provide enough food for a normal humans consume per meal. So what I’ve done is combine the ready-made entrées with a couple of supplemental items in each meal that not only helps increase the calories and nutrition of the meal, but also makes it feel less like you’re eating out of a can and more like you’re eating “normally”, which goes a long ways towards feeling better about your situation.
sometimes those of us who’ve been doing this for a while, and by that I mean planning and preparing and practicing, take for granted that those just coming on board to the idea of “prepping” will automatically know to consider these kinds of things. However after talking with people who have no idea what prepping is, it’s become very clear that it all needs to be spelled out. Not from a condescending I know more than you do standpoint, but from a completely educational standpoint. It’s in everyone’s best interests for as many people as possible to get on board with the idea of prepping at least for the most likely and practical T plus events such as power outages due to storms, relocation due to hurricanes or tornadoes.
This is probably going to be the most popular form of commerce WTSHTF. Bartering is simply the exchange of goods and/or services for other goods and/or services.
These are the items that people need. You don’t need to resort to the tactics used by modern advertisers to tell you what you want, people will almost certainly know what they need in a post-disaster situation.
You’re much more likely to make it successful barter with people if you have some of the following items:
If you are going to stockpile items for bartering, and I suggest you do, always buy those items in bulk. I cannot stress enough how pointless it is to pay full retail price for items you’re going to stockpile for bartering, you want to make sure you pay as little as you can per unit. A great example is salt, which has a lot of uses outside of seasoning your eggs. Obtain a 100 pound bag of salt and get 100 heavy-duty Ziploc bags. Break out the salt into 1 pound bags, and now you have a great bartering tool. You can do this with rice, beans, pasta, and other foodstuffs and spices with very little extra expense.
There are a few things that you will never really want to barter away, but primarily these will be weapons, ammunition, and just about anything else that could harm you or defeat your own survival.
I suppose that no article on bartering would be complete without the mention of gold and silver. In many preparedness and survivalist communities there is a lot of talk about the value of gold, silver, and other precious and semi precious metals and even gems for their use as currency if a national or global economic meltdown occurred.
I think the problem with stockpiling these things for use as currency, and to an extent as trade goods, is that you cannot eat precious metals. I do think that in certain short-term situations, they would probably benefit you to some degree because people without forethought or consideration for preparedness would make the assumptions about how valuable precious metals are in post-disaster situations. More specifically, gold won’t have much use to people who are starving, thirsty, or have no reliable warm place to winter.