First of all I'm not a survival expert, and don't pretend to be one. I only want to share what I have found out so you can get to self sufficiency faster and avoid the long lines, or worst yet, empty selves at your favorite grocery stores.

Here are the sections I plan to cover:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Heat
  • Electric
  • Medical supplies

Food | #10 cans | MRE | Pails | Pouches | Retail packaging

Types of Packaging

#10 Cans#10 cans are about the size of a 1 gallon paint can (3.8liters), and have been sealed with nitrogen or air absorbing packets. They can have a shelf life of 30 years or more. Once opened they need to be covered, stored in a dry, dark space and used within several months.
MREsMRE (Meals Ready to Eat) are not freeze dried or dehydrated, so they don't require water to rehydrate. They will last 5-10 years, or longer, if stored correctly.
Pails5-6 gallon pails (23 liters) that are usually cheaper than #10 cans, but are not as air tight and are used for beams, grains and rice.
PouchesPouches have a shorter life span than #10 cans, 7 years.
Retail storeI plan to use this method to start out with, concentrating on bulk dry goods, replacing them as I rotate them out for everyday use. Can't think of them in terms of years and decades

Note: I plan to start by buying bulk dry goods, i.e. beans, rice, flour, powder milk, sugar, honey, etc.  Replacing them as I rotate them out for everyday use. Then I'm going to get #10 cans which I will probably use and replace every 2-4 years.


Mountain HouseMountain House is probably the best know and most widely distributed. You can find references on a lot of survivalist web sites. They have been in business for over 35 years.
Saratoga Farms
ThriveThrive is a brand name sold by Shelf Reliance. The advantage I found is they are sold through Costco and the prices are very reasonable.

Note: I have included a spreadsheet that you can use to look at the different suppliers, their foods, and the cost-per-serving. The spreadsheet is divided into 5 sheets, the first includes all the info, and the next 4 are the different suppliers separated out. Since it is a spreadsheet you can add and delete data (columns and rows) and you can sort the data by different criteria.

So what am I going to do? I found out that Costco sells Thrive ( on their web site at pretty good prices, and the prices include shipping.  You can buy sample packages with 6 #10 cans, or you can buy 1 year supply for 1 to 4 people. I definitely can't afford the 1 year 4 person package which runs $3,499.99. The 1 year 1 person package is more in my league at $999.00.  However, I did added up most of the samplers that give you about 1/2 of the quantity of the 1year 1 person package and it adds up to $680.00.

I'm leaning towards the 1 year 1 person package, add in a couple of 50lb bags of rice, beans, oats, wheat and figure that it will take care of my family of 4 for at least 3-4 of the months.  Hopefully this will give me enough time to figure on what I'm going to do next!

Water - Filtration | Purification

I ran across a great site They suggest having 5 different methods for making sure you have enough clean drinking water. The first method is the primary method and relies on a ceramic filter. They have a good video on how to build the filter here.

#1 Gravity Water Filter

Low Cost Gravity Water Filter

The best emergency water filter is a gravity water filter because it doesn’t require electricity.

The best, inexpensive filter is a dome filter that has proved very effective in disaster areas around the world. It filters out 100% of Giardia, E. Coli, and many more harmful substances.

#2 Giant Water Sock

DO NOT use this filter sock as a stand-alone filter. But it is a great addition to other methods of water purification.

You can use this filter sock in your 72 hour kit, for backpacking & hiking, and to preserve the life of your ceramic gravity water filter. It filters out particles down to 1 micron.

Used in conjunction with iodine, it now becomes another water filtering device.

#3 Boiling or Pasteurization

Boiling water kills ALL the pathogens (germs) in the water. But don’t use your valuable fuel to boil your water. On sunny days you can use your solar oven to pasteurize your water.

#4 Iodine

You can use iodine tablets or liquid iodine, but they have expiration dates. I found iodine crystals that have an indefinite shelf-life. One small bottle will purify 2,000 quarts of water.

#5 Chlorine

For less than $20 you can store a year’s supply of chlorine that will purify your water. But you MUST use caution when you’re storing and using it.

With some additional research I found a site that sells an 8 gallon dispenser with the same ceramic filter. The web site isn't to impressive, but the price is right.  I also noticed that they have a site on Amazon .  I got the unit within 4-5 days of ordering it so I am happy.

Warmth - Wood Stove | Pellet Stove |

I looked around for a wood stove and found there were a number of manufacturers, types and heating capacities.


Hudson River
US Stove
Horse Flame

The types of stoves

More to come...


More to come...

Bottom line. I chose to buy local at Tractor Supply. They had a great price on the US Stove Co 2000 at $699.00.  The reviews were not the best, but most were ok, so I chose to overlook the ash falling out the front problem.

us-stove company-2000

us-stove company-2000

Electricity - generator | Solar

I'm working on a budget and wanted to get the best bang for the buck. Again I found that Tractor Supply had a hidden gem. I read all the reviews and it seems the Champion Power 3500watt is a great value for $299.00.



Medical supplies -

More to come...

Supplies to always have on hand

Good flashlight, extra batteries, good knife possibly a gun, tazer, or bow and arrows, ...

Note from Mountain House (I found very disturbing)

The message below is on the Mountain House web site, basically saying they have run out of #10 cans of food. They have been in business for 36 years? Something sounds fishy.

As you know we have removed #10 cans from our website temporarily. The reason for this is sales of #10 cans have continued to increase. OFD is allocating as much production capacity as possible to this market segment, but we must maintain capacity for our other market segments as well.

Currently we are able to meet demand for Mountain House pouches and most of these products are still available for purchase on our website. We do have a small number of dealers that we will continue to make and ship #10 cans to and you will need to contact them directly to place an order. For a list of dealers, please contact us at

We want to clarify inaccurate information that is being said on the internet, news and radio. This situation is not due to sales to the government domestically or internationally. We do sell products to this market, but we also sell other market segments, including Ingredient and Private Brand markets. The reason for this decision is solely due to an unexpected sales spike in #10 cans sales.

We expect this situation to be necessary for several months although this isn’t a guarantee. We will update this information as soon as we know more. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your patience. We sincerely hope you will continue to be Mountain House customers in the future. Oregon Freeze Dry

01.31.2011. 14:00

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