Wednesday, March 9, 2011

72-Hour Kit Wednesday - To cook or not to cook?

We have our breakfast meals prepared and before we do lunch we need to gather utensils. You can go as basic or elaborate as you want to; your choice. We’ll talk about what is available and you can choose, based on your budget, time constraints and other available resources. You know best what your family needs.

Necessities:One of the basic necessities you’ll need to put your kit together is the Utensils for each person’s kit and a cheap can opener for each kit. Buy sturdy plastic utensils for each person’s kit and plan on at least one set for each meal for three days plus some extra’s for snacks, etc. Calculate how many utensils you need to buy and get them.

Next you need to decide if you are going to include just basic meals that require no cooking, such as granola bars, tuna, beanie weenies etc or if you want to purchase something to heat with. There are several different types of heating units available such as a wing stove or a flat fold stove. These range in price from about $5 up. You could get by with one stove per family, however, if you have many mouths to feed it would be a good idea to have one per person or at a minimum 1 for every 2 people. Then you will also need to buy the fuel cells or fuel tablets for each. If you have a large family you can invest quite a bit of money. However it may turn out to be very important to your family’s survival. You need to decide what you want to do.

If your family is avid campers, chances are you already have a camp stove. If this is what you choose to use in an emergency, make sure it is in a place that is easily accessible, that you will be able to take it with you in a hurry if needs be, and that you have plenty of fuel on hand to use it.

If you are interested in purchasing a stove or heating unit, check out emergency essentials ( or on the web. Other preparedness suppliers also have these stoves. I know that in some areas Wal-mart also carries with wing stoves in their camping section. As you decide which route you want to go, you can plan your food accordingly. A little bit about some different types of stoves:

The Flat fold stove folds flat for easy storage. Easy setup in seconds; it is a great little stove that folds up to less than 1/2" thick. Using canned camp heat as fuel. It will hold an aluminum pot to boil water. You can use it to make 16 oz. of water hot enough for hot chocolate or oatmeal, or to heat freeze dried pouches in 12 min. The 4 oz camp heat will last up to 4 hours. This is a well made, sturdy product that delivers. This is a good survival stove too. So if this interests you figure out how many cans of fuel you would need for your family for 3 days and how many stoves you would have to buy. There are a couple of different makes of the flat fold stoves. One uses the cans of fuel while another uses the fuel bars. Either works great.

The Wing Stove is a little harder to find these days, although it is still available. It is around $3 and uses fuel bars. If you want to investigate it further it can be seen at this site ( and it too will support a pot for cooking or boiling water.

The portable butane stove is a little more expensive, a little more sturdy and uses a can of butane fuel. Most come with a carrying case which is very handy. It is a good way to cook your meals if you want to invest the money. However, the price is still around $15 for some brands of this stove. The cans for fuel are a little more expensive but again, they last a little longer than other cans. Check these stoves out too if you like.

The MRE Heater is a little bag designed specifically for heating MRE entrees. It is self-contained, and all you need is water (or any liquid for that matter)! It is an aluminum-lined polyethylene bag with a magnesium-combination filler at the bottom of the pouch. I’ve personally used these bags a many times and they are wonderful (and HOT!)! These heaters are perfect for heating entrees, and with how hot they get I’d say you might even be able to stretch it for 2 entrees or your side dish!
How does it work? At the bottom of the MRE heater pouch is smaller sealed pouch that contains magnesium. The chemical reaction with the magnesium and the water starts to work immediately after you add the water. This generates a lot of heat when water is added. You start by cutting off the top of the bag (there is a tear notch if you don’t have scissors). Next, you pour the water in the bag, making sure not to pass the fill line (it takes about 1 ounce of water). Then take the MRE out of the cardboard box and slide it in the MRE heater pouch. Fold the pouch so the open flap is on top and the heater is on the side of the entree. Slide the whole MRE pouch with the meal back inside the cardboard box, and let sit for the designated time, usually about 10 minutes, and enjoy a delicious and hot meal. It’s that easy!

If this is the route you want to go, you can do anything you want as far as meals go. Heating the food won’t be a problem. One workshop I attended many years ago was hosted by a preparedness expert. She made the statement that if you really believe that you will actually need your 72-hour kits, you’ll put out the time and money to make them useful and well stocked. Those who believe nothing will ever happen will either not put a kit together or it will be filled with granola bars and empty calorie foods. Good food for thought.

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