Prepping or Living?

This is the month of Mountain House sales apparently. I see so many repeated conversations about what food to store, and I just have to shake my head a little. “Preppers” are usually a little more in-tune, generally speaking, and maybe its just a phase we all go through, but storing doesn’t make much practical sense to me. Using does.

The lists of “100 things to disappear first in a disaster” and the like circle around every so often, and usually its the everyday household stuff that is on those lists. I say everyday, but apparently they are not everyday items, not anymore for most folk.

Maybe its just me. I grew up in the country. Not “in the country” as in forty miles of farm fields between us and our next closest neighbors, but out of town. We weren’t so far out that we only went to town every other weekend or anything like that. I played youth sports and video games with friends, we just were different from some of the other kids because we could go home that night and see the stars.

Then again, we were far enough out and just poor enough that when our clothes dryer broke and we couldn’t fix it, we hung everything on a clothes line on good days and on bad days, we used a rack… and chairs… and tables… and hangers in every doorway….

Starting pretty early I was very big into backpacking, staying out for weeks at a time probably before I was a teenager. Before I could drive for certain at any rate. Later on I  ironically “graduated” to car camping with big tents and propane grills. Usually it is the other way around from what I hear these days. That’s why its weird for me to see the gear I have relied on for years being talked about by people as having put it away for “just in case.”

Yes, I buy mountain house stuff and have a pile of it in a bin set aside. That way I don’t have to go to the store when I’m packing up for a last minute weekend hike with friends. I also know how much I need to eat. I might not know the calorie count, but I know if I’m going to still be hungry or need more food throughout the day after having one freeze dried Mountain House packet… because I use them. 72 hour bucket of emergency food that you’ll break into when the time comes? Good luck.

After I moved out of the house and was on my own, I did live in an apartment in town for a time. And not much of my life or lifestyle really changed. The best deals on toilet paper was still by buying it in bulk. I still wanted to eat my mothers split pea soup recipe and split peas are cheaper in a big bag. 

A while back there was a blog on some prepper forum about this family that didn’t go to the store for a month and lived off only their supplies. One of the first things they ran out of was soap!!! This is a person/family that is into the ‘be prepared’ ideas, but really, how do you run out of soap? Do you buy it one bar at a time and don’t buy the next one till the previous one is a sliver that got washed down the drain that morning?

I still light candles and oil lamps at night because I like the atmosphere of them. I cook out of cast iron for the heat control, I garden all the time because its nice to have fresh food and I heat with a wood stove because its economical, whether the power is on or off. What I’m talking about is living life, not socking stuff away for a crappy day.

For all the bravado I see and hear, all the “good deals” people find and stick away, at best they wont know how to use it when the time comes. At worst, it wont work at all or will do more harm than good. Every hurricane season I read up on peoples experiences. And every year, there are more than a few stories of “the generator I bought wouldn’t start.”

I work with tools too and am brutally hard on them – everything is a hammer or pry bar in my opinion. If you don’t have a spare when you break your rake handle one evening after the stores are closed, its an inconvenience. Even worse on a holiday weekend. When there is no shop to get a spare from? Well that latrine you were digging just became even more of a pain in the ass.

My point is, is that “prepping” is a lifestyle. And not one different than regular life, or at least it shouldn’t be. It is life.

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One thought on “Prepping or Living?

  1. Yup. If you’re going to get into supply storage, you have to rotate. That means use the stuff and replenish it. I live about 10 minutes from a Mountain House outlet. Usually buy my stuff during their fall and “dented can” sales. Don’t keep the 72-hour buckets (for the same reason you pointed out), but do have 6 Mountain House MREs in each of our BOBs (aka “72 hour bags”). Our approach storing and using has saved us more than once when things have gotten a bit tight…it’s pretty nice knowing the family will still eat. Most of those tight times have gone pretty well unnoticed in terms of lifestyle changes, other than a little less dining out and such. It’s also really nice to have some variety close at hand when you get the munchies at 2 am.

    Emergency supplies? Get ’em out, use ’em, get familiar with them now. Waiting to learn under stress is a really bad idea. Candles, oil lamps, bags, fire starters, generator, camping gear, the whole nine yards.

    We also garden at my house, although our plot is not huge – it’s building the skill-set that’s much more important than the size of the yield from the garden. You don’t wait for a tire to blow out before you learn to change a tire. And it also keeps my fat old butt from getting even fatter.

    BTW, did you know you can grow a quarter-acre worth of potatoes in two garbage cans? Not terribly mobile, but beats the heck out of chewing up limited acreage for potatoes.

    Your real point is well taken here. It’s about incorporating skills and preps into your current lifestyle. If nothing else, you’ll sleep better at night. And, if worse does gradually come to worst, you’ll be better off than most…because you’ll have the “bullets, beans and band-aids” basics covered.

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