Apr 11

Thoughts on basic food storage – fats, proteins, carbohydrates and the rule of ten

post by tweell

An uncle passed away recently so I have been cleaning up his condominium and thinking about his food stash choices.

His pantry was crammed full of cans, with jars and dried foods being a small minority of his storage. This made sense for an elderly man with poor eyesight since he wanted things he could eat with a minimum of preparation.

Unfortunately I have had to throw quite a bit away, as he did not handle his food stores as well as I’d hoped. He had a lot of food from 2012.

Oils, kept away from air and light, will go rancid in a year. This includes many types of canned meat, such as tuna, sardines and corned beef. The kippers, sardines and corned beef he stocked? Nasty.

Protein under the same circumstances will last up to three years, depending on the protein. My uncle’s canned salmon from 2012 is ‘iffy’, the canned chicken was also starting to go bad.

Carbohydrates kept well can last for at least 20 years. His green beans and canned peaches were A-okay!

The rule of ten states that for every ten degrees difference from room temperature, the storage life doubles (or halves, if it’s hotter). The part most folks don’t get is that’s in Celcius, not Fahrenheit.

This is from chemistry ~ it’s called the Arrhenius equation. So, food kept in a cool room at 12 degrees C (54 F) can be kept for double the time, and food kept in a refrigerator at 2 degrees C (36 F or normal refrigerator temperature) has four times the storage time. That explains why my uncle’s Cure 81 ham in the refrigerator from 2012 was still good — the fat had not turned rancid.

Note that freezing changes things, the rule of ten no longer applies. Frozen goods can be kept for a very long time with minimal degradation. But when the power goes out… that rule of ten also works the other way.

For example, food kept in a garage in Arizona experiences a lot of heat differences, but in general expect only half the storage time. That sealed gallon of corn oil I forgot in the garage was going bad just six months later. Food stashed in a car trunk would have at most a quarter of the regular storage time – a can of peanuts in my trunk was going ‘off’ just halfway through the summer.

All these food storage times require the food to be protected from air and light. Bulging cans, jars with air under the lid, broken seals, otherwise compromised containers, those times mean nothing. If in doubt, throw it out.

Leave an open bag of chips out for a week or two and you’ll probably taste a difference.

Looking at my uncle’s place has made me realize that I’m not doing as well as I should with storing what I eat and eating the old food first. My family will be complaining … we have some Dinty Moore stew suppers coming up!

Feb 05

Gasoline Storage Life

Post by tweell

Having some gasoline stashed away just in case is a good idea. It doesn’t take TEOTWAWKI to cause a gas shortage here in Arizona — it happened in 2003 because Kinder Morgan didn’t maintain the gas pipeline.

Whether it is for a generator, a car or just your lawn mower, gasoline is handy to have around.

How long can you store that gasoline and still depend on it? Well…

Most gasoline at the pump has 5-10% alcohol in it, which shortens the storage life. Alcohol is hygroscopic, which means it attracts water, and engines don’t like water in their gas intake. In as little as four months, that gasoline may be unusable as is. There are a few gas stations (usually catering to racing) that sell non-alcohol gasoline: http://pure-gas.org/index.jsp has a list. Ethanol-free gasoline has a storage life 2-3 times as long as the standard gasoline does.

Next, there are gasoline additives that will keep the gasoline from becoming unusable. Sta-bil and Pri-G are two brands that are readily available. They work. I had a truck sit for over a year, but with Sta-bil in the tank it started up just fine. There are claims that adding the treatment to old gas will make it usable again. I cannot verify those claims (and the additive companies don’t say it will), but treating the gas at the start of storage definitely works.

These will allow standard gasoline to be stored for a year, you’d be able to store treated non-alcohol gasoline for up to two years.

For long term cache storage, there isn’t much out there. The only long term cache storage gasoline that I know about is a combination of toluene and white gas. This is done in Australia to avoid high gasoline taxes, but here those materials are taxed much higher, so it isn’t as well known. Three gallons of toluene and one gallon of white gas (Coleman fuel) will make four gallons of 90 octane gasoline, and this takes over ten years to go bad, if mixed when you need it. At over $15 a gallon, it had better be good.

Good policy as preppers is to use and replace our preps before they go bad.

This applies to gasoline as well as food and water. Date your gasoline, treat it when you get it and cycle it like everything else.

Take care, tweell

Dec 23

The importance of shoes

Post by tweell

Leather personal transporters, footwear, shoes – whatever you call them, they’re important. Without your feet, you won’t go far. A good broken-in pair of boots allows you to go much further and easier than an ill-fitting or new pair of boots.

The first rule of shoes is that more is better. A study of long distance runners found that runners who alternated pairs of shoes had 39% fewer injuries than those that didn’t. There are many benefits to alternating shoes. The padding recovers, making them more comfortable. Fungus and bacteria get more exposed to air, cutting down on stinky shoes (and feet!). You have a respite when breaking in new shoes, so your feet feel better. Finally, it actually seems to make them last longer – I used to buy a pair of tennis shoes every four months, but when I buy and wear two pair, they last almost a year.

The second rule of shoes is quality. That doesn’t mean don’t look for bargains, be an informed consumer. Big 5 sporting goods has great shoe sales, but search for the good stuff, don’t take the cheapest shoe that will fit. Good dress shoes and work boots are going to be expensive, spend the money and hurt your wallet instead of your feet. I’ve had dress shoes that literally fell apart while wearing them (at a wedding, very embarrassing). Now I have dress shoes I could hike in if needed. Much more expensive, but worth every penny.

The third rule of shoes is have the right shoes for the job.

Steel-toed boots are great, they have saved my feet more than once. They also make me noisier and slower.

Would you have a pair in your car trunk, or a pair of speedy sneaky tennis shoes, in case you have to bug home from work?

Look at the shoes on your feet. Would you trust them if you had to GOOD? If not, either change your shoes or have a change handy for that purpose.

Sometimes our work requires attire unsuitable for emergencies, being prepared includes a set of shoes in the bag if that’s the situation.

Spare socks are also important. Dress socks and work boots are a prescription for blisters and pain. Stuff a pair of socks into those spare shoes, your feet will thank you.

So – have spare shoes, alternate them, get good shoes and have the right ones for the job. Preppers … protect your feet!

Sep 17

Be prepared for major rain and flash floods across Arizona from Tropical Storm Odile

Normally by mid-September most of the monsoon activity has petered out, but recently parts of the desert southwest got pounded by storms from the remnants of Pacific Hurricane Norbert, and now Tropical Storm Odile has crawled up Baja towards Arizona.

Forecasters are predicting some major rain in parts of our state and warning people to use extreme caution in the coming days (Sep 16 – 20, 2014).

Please download a free 57-page mini ebook portion of our IT’S A DISASTER! …and what are YOU gonna do about it? book compliments of Fedhealth and American Preppers Network that contains some safety tips about flooding and other preparedness data. And feel free to share the PDF and link with others.

What the experts are saying

According to AccuWeather Western Weather Expert Ken Clark, “There is the potential for devastating, catastrophic and historic flooding in this scenario.”

The heaviest rainfall will hit the Southwestern states of Arizona and New Mexico where a general 3 to 6 inches will fall, but local amounts of 10 inches or more are possible on the slopes of the mountains. Rainfall of 1 to 2 inches per hour can occur.

There is a significant risk to lives and property in the region. “Not only will flash and urban flooding occur in this case, but there is the potential for major river flooding,” Clark said. “Travel on Interstate-10 between El Paso, Texas, and Phoenix will be dangerous.”

The National Weather Service Tucson posted the following chart on Twitter today:


Learn more about Flash Flood Safety … Lightning Safety … and Dust Storms and Downburst Winds … and please stay safe this week!

Sep 09

Do you have alternatives if city water is not safe?

Contributed post by tweell

AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Michael ChowWell, we had a storm dump a few inches here in Phoenix, leading to widespread flooding. The desert is like that – a mineral shell builds up close to the surface that only slowly allows water to pass through, causing water to run off instead of soaking in. Add the dust-clogged storm drains and flash floods will happen whenever we get a big rain storm.

It may seem strange, but times like these are when preppers should ensure they have clean water.

City water treatment plants can be flooded like homes are, and water main damage can result in contaminated water mixing with drinking water.

We are used to having clean water from every tap, and often do not take precautions with city water. The other problem with this is that the city usually won’t figure out the problem until after the contaminated water is in use. How good is your immune system?

Where do you get your drinking water from, and how do you ensure its purity? Here are some possibilities.

1. Bottled water. It’s expensive, but there are some folks that do this. Buy more than you use and it is easy to build up a reserve. Bottled water quickly gets bought out when there’s a problem.

2. Fill jugs at the local RO vending machine. A quarter gives a gallon of clean water, making it cheaper than the buck or so that the supermarket charges for that jug and water. You can build up a reserve the same way.

3. Camping water filters. This allows you to use and get familiar with those prep items. The problem is using them full-time – camping equipment usually isn’t made to be used day in and day out.

4. Built-in purification. A reverse osmosis unit is comparable in cost with decent camping equipment, and is easy to train family to use for drinking. The only problem is that you can’t bug out with them. You can build up a reserve of water bottles as in examples 1 and 2.

5. Home distilling. It’s expensive, hot and slow. Distillation provides the purest water, but requires frequent cleaning to remove mineral scale.

Personally, I prefer an under-sink reverse osmosis system for every-day drinking water. It provides excellent quality, decent quantity and will run for months between filter changes. Change out the filters when it starts to refill slow.

This may seem like a low probability issue, but I’ve seen the city water be declared off-limits for drinking more than once. In these times government tends to skimp on repairing infrastructure, and water is one of those systems that gets ignored. Ensure you and yours have clean water to drink, don’t depend on the government to do it!

Aug 18

Carrying a Load

Contributed post by tweell

I try to re-evaluate my preps from time to time, and my BoB is the latest casualty of this check. My car bag is designed to get me back to my home, with the minimum weight possible. My Bug out Bag for exiting the premises, never to return, is a lot heavier. Too much so, my knees explained while recently hiking with it.

I can stand to lose some weight and become more fit, and am working to do just that. However, that does not guarantee that the BoB will become bearable. I can remove weight from the BoB, but I’m throwing away options with every ounce. Truth is, I would like it to have a few more things, only that was too much weight ten years ago.

Given that, I’ve been investigating ways to put that weight on wheels instead of knees.

Here’s the ones I looked at.

1. Little Red Wagon. The grandkids aren’t using it any more, so why not put it to holding my preps?

  • Good – it only requires one hand, can hold just about everything I’d like to take along, easy to load and unload.
  • Bad – it is unstable when going fast, turning or on anything other than flat ground.
  • Ugly – it’s noisy, even after greasing the axles.
  • Conclusion – this severely limits where I can go, and doesn’t look like it would last long. Not recommended.

2. Hand truck (2 wheel dolly). With some bungie cords, it can carry the majority of my gear.

  • Good – the collapsible kind fits neatly into very little space, easy to handle.
  • Bad – even worse on anything other than flat ground than the wagon was.
  • Conclusion – only for urban areas, and wouldn’t last long there before wearing out. Not recommended.

3. Game cart. These are either 1 or 2 wheeled. I went for the 2 wheeled cart because I could use that with one hand if needed, plus it could hold more.

  • Good – will go most places I can, best load capacity.
  • Bad – nothing noted.
  • Ugly – assembly required if in car, unusual look draws attention (something I had not really thought of).
  • Conclusion – not bad, especially in rural areas. Recommended.

4. Bicycle. With time, bungie cords and some modification, a bicycle will carry my gear, and I can even ride it.

  • Good – speed, decent load capacity, best at handling terrain.
  • Bad – nothing noted.
  • Ugly – assembly required if in car, most time needed to load and unload.
  • Conclusion – it can carry what I need, has the capability to get me places quicker and won’t draw attention like a game cart. My Choice.

Circumstances can make for different choices. Given that, even the most strong and fit would make better time if most of that BoB wasn’t wearing them down. Shouldn’t a bicycle (or game cart) be in your prepping plans?

May 23

AZ Fire restrictions begin Friday, May 23, 2014

The following is from AZ Game and Fish Department’s 20-May-2014 enews…

PHOENIX – To reduce the looming threat of summer wildfires following one of Arizona’s driest winters on record, officials have announced fire restrictions for many locations throughout Arizona. The restrictions take effect just as the busy Memorial Day weekend begins on Friday, May 23.

Fire danger conditions, local closures and restrictions are subject to change. Many of the state’s most popular destinations will be affected by the fire restrictions that take effect this Friday.

Stage II and elevated fire restrictions have been issued for Prescott National Forest and Tonto National Forest. The following activities will be prohibited in these forests as of May 23:

  • Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire
  • Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle or building
  • Possessing, using or discharging fireworks or pyrotechnic device
  • Discharging a firearm, except during a lawful hunt
  • Using explosives
  • Operating chainsaws or equipment with internal combustion engines between the hours of 1 p.m. and 1 a.m.
  • Using internal or external combustion engines without properly installed, approved, working spark arrestors
  • Welding and use of acetylene or other torches with open flame
  • Using or operating motor vehicles off forest system roads, except when parking within 10 feet of a road where there is no brush or vegetation, or overnight parking in developed campgrounds and trailheads

Officials also announced Stage I fire restrictions for specific lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management. In addition to the Stage II and elevated fire restrictions listed above, the discharge of air rifles, exploding targets or gas guns except during a lawful hunt will be also be prohibited on lands managed by the BLM Lower Sonoran and Hassayampa field offices, BLM land in the counties of Maricopa, Pima, Pinal and Yavapai, the Sonoran Desert National Monument and the Agua Fria National Monument. Exceptions and exclusions to fire restrictions in these BLM-administered areas will permit certain limited activities, including:

  • Fires in fire rings or grills provided by officials in developed campsites or picnic areas
  • Smoking in areas with a diameter of at least 10 feet that are clear of brush and all flammable materials
  • Use of devices solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off in areas clear of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the device
  • Otherwise prohibited activities are allowed if a person possesses a written permit authorizing the activity, as well as in areas where written and posted notice specifically authorizes the activity

The Gila River Fire Department has issued Open Burning Permit Restrictions and Moratorium, which is a community no-burn notice that prohibits outdoor fires typically used to dispose of refuse.

For more information about restrictions in specific locations, visit the Arizona Interagency Wildfire Prevention and Information website at http://wildlandfire.az.gov 

And stay current on wildfires and other notifications at AZ Emergency Information Network at www.azein.gov

May 21

Arizona Survivalist/Prepper Expo in Prescott Valley May 31-Jun 1, 2014

Arizona Survivalist / Prepper Expo is bringing their 7th Expo to the Prescott area again! Northern Arizonans have 2 days to attend the Expo this time .. May 31 and June 1 .. at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.

Some examples of the speakers and topics include…

  • Sheriff Mascher of Yavapai County will be speaking about 2nd Amendment Rights
  • Hydroponic and Aquaponic gardening
  • Gardening seeds and food related concerns
  • Power sources you can use, when the lights go out for good
  • Back care in a SHTF situation (Dr. Austin from Tucson will be bringing some information and self adjusting techniques to use on your back)
  • How to prepare the ultimate Bug-Out-Bag
  • The ever popular TV star from Doomsday Preppers, Tim Ralston, will be displaying the latest and greatest in survival gear — with new innovations being introduced at the EXPO!
  • And even more Arizona based stars from the Doomsday Preppers show, such Brian and Sheila Moffat demonstrating various self defense techniques, along with Chad Hudspeth demonstrating his latest Aquaponic gardening set ups.

The complete speaker roster is available online plus there will be over 75 vendors onsite during the 2 day event. Also, as part of the Freedom Rally, organizers will pass out mini-Constitutions / Bill of Rights booklets to the first 1300 families / couples (or individuals) through the doors.

Download the EXPO color flyer in PDF … and please help spread the word!

Where: Tim’s Toyota Center 3201 N Main St, Prescott Valley, AZ 86314
When: Saturday, May 31, 2014 9am – 5pm / Sunday, June 1, 2014 9am – 4pm

General admission: $10.00 (Kids 12 & under free)

Contact (Media / Questions / Vendor Information): Lance Baker 480-229-5691 or arizonasurvivalistshows [at] gmail.com

To learn more visit  www.arizonasurvivalistshow.com or follow the EXPO organizers on Facebook

Feb 23

PrepperFestAZ Expo March 21–23, 2014

PrepperFestAZ flyerPrepperFestAZ Expo is coming to the Arizona State Fairgrounds March 21 – 23, 2014.

PrepperFestAZ offers you a family friendly, interactive, hands-on experience where you can enjoy a variety of preparedness and permaculture activties including:

  • Four classrooms of seminars boasting an “A-List” cadre of self-reliance and healthy living speakers. PrepperFest AZ Expo will have approximately 75 classes all expo long. The vast majority of the educational seminars are free of charge, included in the modest cost of your $10 (with coupon) admission ticket.
  • A 50+ page event program with a list of all exhibitors and a solid amount of introductory prepper information you can use to help enroll your friends and family whom are slacking in their preps to Snap out of the Normalcy Bias and “get with the program”.
  • A HEALTHY LIVING PAVILION where you can receive all sorts of resources on GMO Free & Gluten Free living as well as speak with advocates on Colloidal Silver, Herbal Remedies, Essential Oils and a host of other Naturopathic Remedies.
  • A HAM RADIO PAVILION where you can explore how EXTREMELY EASY it is to get a HAM license and have a communications tool that will work in a grid down scenario.
  • A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS PAVILION with some of the nation’s leading advocates including OATH KEEPERS founder Stewart Rhodes, Sheriff Richard Mack, Shane Krauser & Alan Korwin.
  • A PERMACULTURE PAVILION where you can receive all sorts of valuable information on permaculture, which is long term self-reliance.

Download the Expo flyer in PDF (or click above graphic) and get $2.00 off the day of event price if you bring the flyer.

What: PrepperFestAZ EXPO

Where: Arizona State Fairgrounds 1826 W McDowell Rd, Phoenix AZ 85007

When: Friday, March 21, 2014 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday, March 22, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday, March 23, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Admission: $10 in advance / $12 day of event (Kids under 12 are free)


Contact:  Tony Tangalos 602-321-4100

Sponsored by The Prepper Patch Radio Show (listen live Sundays 2:00 – 3:00 pm on 1100 AM KFNX)

Jan 01

Becoming an Outdoors Woman Deluxe workshop Jan 24-26, 2014

The following announcement is from Arizona Game and Fish Department:

Whether you love the outdoors or are a bit wary of the wilderness, the “Becoming an Outdoors Woman Deluxe” workshop is a great way to enjoy a fun-filled weekend with like-minded women.

The workshop is set for Jan. 24-26, 2014 at Saguaro Lake Ranch, nestled on the banks of the Salt River across from the picturesque Bulldog Cliffs. The BOW Deluxe weekend features comfortable lodging in nicely outfitted resort-style ranchettes, delicious meals and a beautiful location.

BOW has something of interest to everyone and every skill level. There are workshops and activities for experienced outdoor enthusiasts and for women who have never hiked, camped, hunted or held a fishing pole.

Kayaking on Saguaro Lake, birding, archery, landscape photography, and horseback riding are just a few of the popular activities offered at BOW.

New this year is a class on optics. There will also be a session on hunting javelina, and a varmint-call stand. Jean Groen, author of “Foods of the Superstitions,” will be on hand to give a presentation about edible and medicinal plants of the southwest desert. The desert survival class is informative and fun. Dutch oven classes will guide guests through the preparation of the evening meals. There are fun evening activities as well, including a fashion show, a wine and cheese tasting, and a javelina presentation.

The cost is $380, and includes instruction, program materials, use of equipment, deluxe lodging and meals Friday evening through Sunday lunch. Details of class descriptions can be found on the Arizona Wildlife Federation site or call (480) 644-0077. The Becoming and Outdoor Woman Deluxe program is sponsored by the Arizona Wildlife Federation with the support of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

NOTE: There are 2 other BOW events scheduled for 2014 — April 25-27 and September 5-7 — both at Friendly Pines Camp in Prescott and Scholarships are available for both workshops. Learn more

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