As you may have seen on the news, this winter has been an especially hard one for folks staying home, staying apart, and now with icy weather causing blackouts it has been even harder in some areas. Time to stay home may give you more time to stay at home, focus on what matters, and more time to read and to be prepared… ideally before you need to be.
It is especially important to stock up and prepare these past months when it is best to visit stores for once a month or so rather than every week… and this has put this more in the mind of everyone to have several weeks’ worth of water… and food available for times like this. If you have access to clear non-chemical-tainted water a UV water purifier (Steripen) may be a good option.
Many of the freeze dried food and “go bag” foods you can buy are not only a great thing to buy for emergencies but can be good for your next camp/day trip, especially if restaurants are closed. 🙁 Look for foods that are in large bulk bags rather than the smaller single serve servings. This can be cheaper and reduce plastic waste. You can make a mix of several large bulk freeze dried foods (rice+beans+greens for soup for example), plus some salt and flavoring to your taste, put a day serving into a reused clean glass jar, and save some money over the REI camp foods.
Another thing to consider is what electricity you may need – generators burn fuel which should not last indefinitely while left in the generator, and they also make a lot of noise. Something more covert and quiet, and usable indoors is the Bioenno power pack – there are several sizes and the 500w and up may be a good choice to run a small refrigerator, laptop and/or other devices. It re-charges from solar or the grid, and can be used portable for AC outlet plugs(up to a certain power), 12v ham radio equipment, or USB devices. Like camp-food and this should be something you will use on trips even if there isn’t a big emergency.
Lighting: many people have flashlights with various different batteries, but recently 18650 lithium ion cell flashlights have become much more common – and can be recharged over and over. This makes it much easier than the dozens of lights with various batteries many collect over the years. This should be more environmentally friendly and handy in the long run too.
Radio: Another thing to be ready for, is hearing (or communicating) even if all local power or internet is out. Does your portable radio have batteries?