Monday, September 14, 2020

Talkin' Bug-Out Foods

By Timothy Gamble (February 23, 2019)

Bug-Out Bags - a favorite topic of discussion among preppers and survivalists. In this article, I want to add my thoughts to the conversation. Specifically, my thoughts on bug-out foods. And, I'll do it in three sections: 1) Foods for the Bug-Out Bag, 2) Extra Food you may be able to take with you, and 3) Hunting, Fishing, and Foraging for Food.

FEMA and most other emergency preparedness experts suggest that our emergency survival packs (bug-out bags) contain enough supplies to last us three-days. Many of us in the survival community have expanded on that to say we need at least a week's worth of supplies, perhaps more. The problem with this is food and water.

Water is not the topic of this article, so let me just say you're not going to be able to carry enough water on you, so include in your bug-out bags the means to collect and treat water (a topic for a future article). 

Food can be a problem because it is bulky, and you only have limited space in your bug-out bag. Its difficult to pack 3 days worth, even moreso an entire week's worth, of MRE's or freeze-dried foods into your bag, along with all you other gear that you need. So remember this: Bugging-out is not a vacation or even a normal camping trip. Its about survival, not fine dining. Don't try to come up with three major meals each day, complete with side dishes and even dessert. You'll be eating for calories, not the fine-dining experience. With that in mind, here is what I am planning to do:

1) Foods for the Bug-Out Bag: In my bug-out bag, you'll find two packs of SOS emergency ration food bars, which form the core of my bug-out bag food supply. This is enough to provide me with 1,200 calories a day for six days, without taking up too much room in my bag. You'll also find a 16 oz jar of peanut butter (just over 2,600 calories for only a pound of weight), several foil packs of salmon (tuna & chicken are also available - I like salmon), a couple of Cliff Bars, and several packs of nuts, seeds, and jerky (these change often since I snack out of my bug-out bag -- to keep things rotated, of course...). I also have a small bag of bullion cubes to make soup with - not much in the way of calories, but will help you feel full. I'm not eating like a king, but I'm definitely not going to starve during that week.

At this point, there may be a couple of folks wanting to point out that my food is not "nutritionally balanced." So what? I'm eating for survival - meaning calories are what is important. I am NOT going to die of a vitamin deficiency eating this way for a week or two, and if I am forced to bug-out, there are more pressing issues to worry about. Besides, its easy enough to throw a small bottle of multi-vitamins into your bag if that is a concern for you.

2) Extra Food: Depending on the circumstances of your bugging-out, you may have time to load more than just your bug-out bgs into your vehicle, including extra food. It is at this point that MRE's and freeze-dried foods start to make sense. A couple of buckets filled with ready-to-eat meals make for a great grab-and-go option. Time-permitting, you can also pack up other food stuffs, such as canned foods, and bags of dried beans and rice. Just remember, if you must abandon your vehicle at some point and go on foot, you won't be able to take this extra stuff with you, just your bug-out-bags.I don't care how strong you are, you won't be able to hike for any distance with a pack on your back, and a bucket of food in each hand.

If you are lucky enough to have a fixed bug-out location, such as a mountain cabin you own or your Great Aunt Ida's house a couple hour's outside the big city, you should pre-position a lot of food and other supplies there. That way you don't have to worry about hauling a bunch of stuff with you.

3) Hunting, Fishing, and Foraging for Food: A lot of folks seem to be planning in providing food for themselves and their family  by hunting, fishing, and foraging while bugging out. I suggest this is going to be a lot harder to do than most folks realize, especially if they are bugging out during late autumn or winter, when pickings will be slim.  I especially am doubtful that they will be able to feed a family of four or five with wire snares.  Even for very experienced trappers, this will be difficult. 

Of course, we may be able to supplement our food somewhat with what we hunt, fish, and forage, but please don't count on those methods. In addition to skill, timing and just plain luck plays a big part. We can develop the skill if we put in the time and effort beforehand, but timing and luck is beyond our control.

That said, in hopes of supplementing my food supplies, I am learning about wild edibles. Which means not just reading a book, but actually going into the field now to find, harvest, cook, and eat those wild edibles.

Since my planned bug-out locations are very near some great fishing areas, I have included a Ronco Pocket Fisherman in my bug-out gear (there are a number of other pocket fishing rigs on the market) along with a couple of the YoYo Fish traps. Hopefully, I'll be able to have enough success to have a fish fry once or twice during my bug-out week.  If not, I'm still covered by what is in my bug-out bag. But the fish would be really nice...

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