Book Review: The Last Layover by Steven C. Bird

the last layover

This post is by Bernie Carr,

I had the pleasure of reading The Last Layover:  The New Homefront Volume 1 by Steven C. Bird as part of Survivor Jane’s preparedness books blog tour.

What is the book about?  The Last Layover is an e-book, a work of fiction in which an airline crew finds themselves in a grid down disaster while in a layover in New York City.  They must find their way back to their homes while dealing with violence, loss of infrastructure and chaos.

What I thought about the book 

I was very interested in reading the story, as the topic speaks to one of my fears:  being in a disaster while being far from home.   It was easy to place one’s self in the shoes of the characters.  I  liked the characters and agreed with their choices and actions.

The book initially covered much detail about flying and the piloting life.  While informative, I felt the background info was a bit too long.  I would have preferred more details about what caused the breakdown.  I wondered why the local police and sheriffs were strangely absent – the only detail given was they were protecting their families.  Perhaps some of the questions would be answered in the sequel.  I also felt the last part of the book seemed to be rushed, considering the hardships and roadblocks described getting from Delaware to Ohio, the trip from Ohio to Tennessee seemed to go quickly and without incident.

Overall, I thought it had a good story and I enjoyed reading it.  I thought the characters were very believable and it was easy to relate to them.  The book was fast paced and had enough action to hold my attention and I was able to finish it in a couple of days.  If you are looking for a quick and enjoyable read, I recommend you pick up The Last Layover. 

The Last Layover and its sequel, The Guardians: The New Homefront Volume 2 are available Amazon.


© Apartment Prepper 2014

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared


Off-Grid for 48 Hours

Offgrid for 46 hours1This post is by Bernie Carr,

Right before school started we decided to try being off grid and unplugged from all electrical devices for 48 hours.  Being connected all the time, I was a little apprehensive about not being able to check on the blog and being out of reach.  But I thought this would be a good opportunity to test our preps and ourselves.

What it was like to be off-grid for 48 hours

Our destination was remote and had no water except at the trail head where a water pump could be used.  A couple of families participated – we coordinated supplies to avoid bringing duplicates.  We left the GPS device behind.  We turned off our cell phones; but it would not have mattered as there was no cell service for miles around.

Getting There without GPS

We went during the middle of the week, so the area was deserted.  There was not even much street traffic on the route over.  Not having GPS, we had written out the directions.  We got to the small town just fine, then followed the signs.  However, we missed one of the turns and had to backtrack.  We eventually found the place and realized we had driven past the main road.

First lesson learned:  We have gotten overly dependent on GPS and relying on directions from the phone that we now second guess ourselves.  We were a lot more confident about directions when we relied on paper maps.

The Trek

We parked our cars at the bottom of the hill and found the marked trails.  It turned out the trail we intended to take was closed off, and there was no access.  We had to choose another trail which was a lot longer and steeper than the original one.  At this point it was 95 degrees out in the heat.  We had our packs, plus had to collect water at the only source before heading up.

Water is heavy!  Everyone from the oldest to the youngest carried a pack.  We took frequent breaks during the hike.  Because of the heat and humidity, it was hard to breathe while walking and carrying the packs.

Your pack’s weight starts to become really critical as you get more fatigued.  When we do this again, we will make sure to keep the packs a lot lighter.

Survival requires being in decent shape, especially if you have to find water.  Someone in our group started to suffer from heatstroke, as he alternately felt hot then strangely started feeling chilled.  We had to give him some wet bandannas to cool off, and lots of water to hydrate.

We did not expect the hike to take so long but the trail closure left us no choice.  Someone in the party was wearing athletic shoes instead of hiking shoes and he got major blisters during the long hike up to the camp site.

In a survival situation, it is best to wear the most comfortable footwear.   

Footcare is important in a survival situation and so is taking proper care of your shoes.

First Aid kit

We brought a standard first aid kit which came in handy for small cuts and blisters.  We also brought plenty of sunscreen and insect repellant.  If you try this, make sure you bring your prescription medications with you.


We cleared an area set up our tents in a meadow-like area.  It also takes energy to clear an area and set up shelter, making us even more tired after the long hike.

Thank goodness we had set up the tents properly – the last night of our stay we experienced a spectacular thunderstorm with huge wind gusts that were quite threatening.  The rain and wind beat down on our tents for a couple of hours as we huddled in our own tents praying that our tents would hold up.  Thankfully our tents survived the rain storm; a nice bonus was the weather cooled down to the 60s making a pleasantly cool morning the next day.

The morning after the rain storm

Morning after the rain storm

Take the time to choose your shelter properly, as you never know what type of weather you will encounter.   Because we do not use them for cold winters, we have 3-season backpacking tents, and they have worked well for us.  Your choice of shelter will depend on your climate and the areas you will most likely be visiting.


We had camping lanterns, flashlights and head lamps.  Next time, I will bring the Luci solar lantern that I recently tested; it would have been a lot more lightweight.

Food preparation

Due to the recent drought, campfires were not allowed in the area.  We used our camp stoves to prepare food.

The food tasted really good because because we were outdoors and we very hungry.   Some of our favorite lightweight foods are Mountain House Chicken and Noodles for dinners, and Mountain House Scrambled Eggs and Bacon for breakfast.  We also brought plenty of food bars for in between meal snacks, as well as the old standby, PB & J sandwiches.

As night approached, it was my chance to test how to tell how much daylight is left when out in the wilderness.  I posted about it here and found the method was surprisingly accurate.


Not having much water was hard on the hygiene front.  I brought baby wipes which helped a lot.  On the plus side, the location did have a composting toilet at a short distance away, requiring a bit of walking.  I was surprised the composting toilet did not smell at all, unlike porta potties or outhouses.  I was so impressed at the condition of the composting toilet that I have started researching DIY info such as this one.

When water is scarce, having backup ways to wash up is important-I will need to stock up on wipes.


The kids initially were worried about not having their computers and Kindle but they adapted very quickly.  The kids learned were taught how to use a sling shot properly -soon they were targeting shooting cacti.  They also found other ways to entertain themselves outdoors such as collecting rocks and snail shells.  We also brought card and board games – the kids played a mean game of UNO and it was a lot of fun.

We also found a nearby river and spent a nice day wading in the cool water.  The kids enjoyed pitching rocks, playing in the water and trying to catch fish.

Another unexpected delight was watching fireflies flitting around outside the tents.  Being city folks, we rarely see fireflies and found them really fascinating.

After the 48 hours were up, we returned to “normal life,”  tired but glad to know it is possible, even enjoyable in some ways.  We were really appreciative of running water and hot showers when we returned.  I thought I would miss the electronics a lot more than I actually did.  Next time we will try being unplugged longer.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared


Show young kids that being prepared can be fun!

Jake and Miller's Big Adventure




Cox’s Honey Holiday Giveaway

Merry Christmas Cox’s Honey Giveaway

Merry Christmas Cox's Honey Giveaway Oct. 27th-Nov. 2nd, 2014 by
I know we are just barely getting to Halloween but the holidays are right around the corner! Cox’s Honey is involved in a another giveaway! This giveaway is a little different. We will have one winner chosen through our Rafflecopter system. Then that winner will give the names and addresses to Cox’s Honey for FIVE of their friends to receive the same giftpack shown above! WooHoo! This is a sponsored group giveaway and we thank Cox’s Honey for these awesome prizes. Have you tried their creamed honey….fabulous! Have you seen: Cox’s Honey Website?
This Cox’s Honey Gift Pack Giveaway is open to any resident who is 18 years of age or older who lives in one of the 48 US Contiguous States. This giveaway starts on Monday, Oct. 27th at 5:00 am (MDT) and ends on Sunday, Nov.2nd, 2014 at 5:00 pm (MDT). The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If we do not hear back from said winner in the designated time period of 24 hours we will choose another winner and they will have 24 hours to respond from the time the notification email is sent. Please check your SPAM email folders. Good luck to everyone! Let’s be prepared for the unexpected!
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What if Your Apartment has Ebola?

What if Your Apartment has Ebola

There are still a lot of worries about the Ebola virus right now, with the latest one being the doctor in NYC who tested positive for the virus after having returned from treating patients in Guinea. Before being diagnosed, he visited a coffee stand, a restaurant, took three subway lines, ran in a park and went to a bowling alley. Officials are saying these places have been cleared and are safe.

It was mentioned in the news his apartment units had to be locked down. Similarly, the other patients in Dallas also lived in apartments and their units were disinfected by teams in hazmat suits. I can only imagine what the neighbors must have felt as they witnessed the heavily suited teams, or getting a phone call such as the one described in “Hello. Your Neighbor Has Ebola.” The neighbors received flyers providing information about Ebola and risks of contracting it. Assurances were given that their neighborhoods are safe.

I am seeing a lot of nervous comments on social media, and see a lot of people searching for what to do if about Ebola comes to their towns. Since I write about apartment prepper issues, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least discuss the possibility.

What if your apartment has an Ebola victim?

First of all you need to be observant and aware of what’s going on in your immediate vicinity. If an area is cordoned off, don’t jump to conclusions that it’s Ebola. It could be just a normal activity such as a spill or repairs being done. However, if you see hazmat suited individuals, you will know something is going on. Read information left on your doorstep – a lot of people throw them away without even reading.

We’ve all heard the way to contract the disease is through contact with bodily fluids, and how the virus is not airborne. I am not telling anyone to panic – that would be counterproductive. But if you just have a twinge of concern that what you are touching may have germs, then keep reading.

Common areas

Be careful what you touch in all common areas such as the gym, business office, club rooms, vending machine room, coffee room.

  • If you must visit these areas, avoid coming into contact with surfaces where germs may live. If you are extra worried, wear disposable gloves when touching any surfaces such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, light switches, gym equipment etc. If you find yourself without gloves, use a thick paper towel or several paper towels when flushing the toilet, turning on faucets, lights or opening doors.
  • Do not touch your eyes, face, mouth or nose with you gloved hands, or even with your own hands unless you have thoroughly washed or disinfected your hands.
    · When removing disposable gloves remove them without your skin coming into contact with the outside of the gloves.
  • After removing the gloves, wash your hands with soap and water as soon as possible.

These are reasonable steps that don’t go overboard – at the very least you will also protect yourself from germs such as the common cold, flu etc.

Can you catch Ebola from using the swimming pool?

Chlorine bleach is used to sanitize surfaces in hospitals, and chlorine is present in pools. According to a pool website, as long as your pool has chlorine bromine levels in the 1.5ppm-3ppm level there would be no way to ever catch Ebola from being in a pool. Of course your pool would need to be well-maintained at the proper levels to be certain it is within this guideline.

However, viruses can live for a long time on hard surfaces such as pool chairs, shower handles etc. According to the CDC website, “Ebola dried on surfaces such as doorknobs and counter tops can survive for several hours; however, virus in body fluids (such as blood) can survive up to several days at room temperature.”

I would suggest avoid sitting down on the pool deck, patio chairs and using outside barbecue facilities until you know everything has been disinfected. You should bring your own folding chair if you wanted to sit by the pool.

And I can’t stress it enough: Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and use disinfecting solutions.

What if someone vomits outside?

The most simple thing to do is avoid the area of the vomit. Do not let your kids play near there, and do not walk your dog in that area. Vomit from an Ebola patient is highly contagious and contact with any fluids must be avoided. If someone else stepped on it, they would track the germs with them.

A good way to avoid bringing germs inside is to take your shoes off before entering your home. Wear sandals or flip flops that are strictly for inside your home. When I lived in Hawaii many years ago, I noticed that most households practiced leaving shoes out in the porch. I thought it is a good way to keep your home clean.

What about the dumpster?

Every apartment has a dumpster area where all the tenants throw out their trash.
If using the dumpster, wear disposable gloves and don’t forget to throw out the gloves after one use. Do not reuse these gloves or and remember not to touch anything else especially your own face, nose, eyes, mouth or skin.


Here is a good article regarding disinfection with bleach:
Ebola Virus Disinfection with Bleach

Don’t panic

At this point in time, both of the nurses from Dallas have recovered. The lab worker who self-quarantined in the cruise ship turned out to be negative for the virus. So there have been some good news. There is one patient in NYC, and we are keeping our fingers crossed no one else gets infected. As I mentioned in What would do if Ebola were to spread in your city you will need to decide for yourself and your family at what point you would go on lockdown or leave for a few days.

Read this good article on Ebola from The Survival Doctor:
Sensation-Free Ebola Facts: What We Know and What We Don’t

This book also gives some straightforward information: Ebola: Understanding and Preparing for an Outbreak by Alex Smith

Stay informed about any developments and be discerning about whom to believe. We pray this passes soon and no other new cases pop up.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Book Feature: Liberators and Interview with James Wesley Rawles


This post is by Bernie Carr,

Today we are featuring James Wesley Rawles’s latest book, Liberators.  As you know Mr. Rawles is the author of several books, and is the founder of SurvivalBlog, one of the first survival and emergency websites.

What is Liberators about?

America has experienced a socio-economic collapse that spreads throughout the world.  Looting and rioting affect all major cities.  The book follows Afghanistan War vet Ray McGregor as he makes his way from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to his parents’ ranch in Bella Coola, British Columbia, in remote western Canada. His old friend Phil Adams, a Defense Intelligence Agency counterintelligence case officer joins him in his journey.

Lightly populated Bella Coola, the home of Ray’s parents is not devastated by the chaos but is taken over by a foreign occupation.  Ray and Phil become key members of the resistance in a war that will have far reaching effects.

From Amazon:  Liberators depicts a world that is all too conceivable and terrifyingly familiar. Fastpaced and packed with authentic information on outdoor survival, self-sufficiency, and small-unit tactics, James Wesley, Rawles’s latest thriller will resonate with his dedicated fanbase and encourage new readers to prepare for anything from lesser disasters to the dreaded worst-case scenario.

 Interview with James Wesley Rawles

1. Do you feel the UN has designs on the U.S. in terms of taking control?

Yes, the globalist camp that rules the UN clearly has domination of the US in their long-term-plans. They simply cannot allow a bastion of liberty to survive if they have any hope of instituting global; government.

2. In your book there was a fictional invasion of Western Canada by China. China has been flexing its muscles of late – do you think China would end up owning us, or invading us?

That threat was accelerated in the novel for the sake of drama. Presently, since they lack blue water navy and the requisite transport, the PLA cannot project force across the Pacific. But in another 15 or 20 years, that threat could indeed be manifested.

3. In the story, one of the pseudo governments took over Fort Knox. In our current economy – gold has been dropping in price, “financial experts” say it’s not coming back up anytime soon, however the affluent are buying up large amounts. What is your take on gold right now?

I believe that gold and silver are both undervalued. My preference is for silver. At less than $18 per Troy ounce it is presently a bargain. Buy it cheap and stack it deep!

4. The oil boom in Wyoming, North Dakota etc. has attracted a lot of newcomers to these areas – has your opinion changed on which states are still good for bugging out or establishing a homestead?

My advice is essentially unchanged. The Bakken oil shale development simply represents further diversification of the economy for Montana. However, I would avoid living in the immediate vicinity, because of the many “camp follower” vices that are inevitable in boom towns.

5. The ebola virus is a concern for many, and at lot of advice point to the possibility of having to hunker down in your home and stay in isolation. However this may be difficult for apartment dwellers living in the city. What would be the best approach for apartment dwellers?

I would say extremely difficult, because of sanitation issues that would be created by backed-up toilets (in the event of a power grid collapse and subsequent failure of civic water supplies), or simply hazard one or more bodies in your apartment building that are not removed promptly-or removed without full attention to contaminating body fluids.

6. Most of my readers are city dwellers who are not able to relocate to a small town or rural area due to their circumstances – what are some options if they had to bug out?

Because you may only have ONE trip out of Dodge, you need to pre-position the vast majority of your food and gear at your intended bug out location. Without those supplies, you will just be another hungry person to feed, for the locals. Be part of the solution—not part of the problem.

7. I understand your next book will be a non fiction book. Can you give us an idea what it will be and when is the expected publishing date?

It is titled Tools for Survival. It is a comprehensive book that covers everything from guns to sewing machines. That book will be released by Penguin in December.

Our thanks to James Wesley Rawles for the interview.  Liberators has just been released and is now available in Amazon and other bookstores.  Like his other books, you’ll get involved in the story, and learn some survival techniques at the same time.


© Apartment Prepper 2014


Reader question: How Do you Protect your Emergency Supplies from Pests?

protect your emergency supplies from pests1

Photo provided by reader “S,” used with permission

This post is by Bernie Carr,

I get a lot of emails on Apartment Prepper, and I always respond to readers’ questions.  Here is an excerpt from a recent email from reader “S.”  (I have removed any personal references.)  “S” provided actual photos.

protect your emergency supplies from pests2

Emergency bag, eaten through by mice. Photo provided by reader “S,” used with permission

I had some bad luck recently. My car broke down coming home from work.  As a result I had to leave the car at a mechanic for a week to fix a now bigger problem & figured it was wise to move my earthquake emergency bags from my trunk to my living room floor while the car was being fixed so that no one would be tempted to “borrow” from my supplies while fixing the car.

While that was happening, a restaurant next door started to be remodeled & I had to go out of town with a relative for several days. Since that relative had their own earthquake bags in their trunk I left mine at home over the trip so we’d have room for the suitcases.

I came home to my apartment & discovered something had eaten through the bags to get at the trail mix inside & had even ripped open a bag of store self tuna but decided it didn’t like it so the house smelt of rotten fish!! I had never had anything other than ants, spiders & crickets in the apartment before for years so this was a completely new experience for me!

So my question is, how do you keep your supplies safe from pests?

Reader “S” described a common problem among apartment dwellers.

She mentioned there was some remodeling going on next door.  Pests do travel from one unit to another.   I have noticed whenever someone moves out nearby and the unit is fumigated, there is an uptick in pests trying to come into our area.  That’s because the pests are driven out of one unit and they try to invade nearby units if you let them.

Preventive measure:  If you see movers, spray insecticide along entrances as well as corners of shared walls.  This should help prevent them from trying to come to you.  However this works on insects, but not mice.  We have discussed insects in a previous post, but today we are looking at rodents.

How do you protect your emergency supplies from pests such as mice?

To protect your emergency food, store them in food grade 5-gallon food buckets.  Mice or rats cannot chew through the plastic of the 5 gallon bucket.   Reader “S” has ready to eat items such as trail mix, granola bars and packaged tuna – these could all go in the 5-gallon bucket.  Place the sealed bucket in your closet.  Make sure the lid is super secure.  Hang your bug out bag (with non food items) in your closet.  In the event of an emergency and you had to leave, take the food from the bucket and transfer them to your bug out bag – this should only take 5 minutes before you run out the door.

If you are storing bulk food such salt, sugar, flour etc. for long term storage, here is a link to simple instructions: Repackaging salt for long term storage

Sometimes you can get food grade 5 gallon buckets for free.
How to Get Free Food Grade Buckets for Long Term Storage

Natural repellants for mice:

Thoroughly clean and sweep your areas, and remove any food.  Cover all trash cans so they don’t try to go in.  If you are already using 5 gallon buckets for your emergency food, make sure you are protecting your every day food as well – do not leave anything edible on counters.

There are commercial repellants available such as Rodent Defense  Spray in the areas frequented by rodents to keep them away.

Other natural repellants I have heard about but have not tried:

  • Peppermint Oil: Saturate cotton balls with peppermint oil and leave them around the areas you where have found droppings.  This is said to repel mice, sending them elsewhere.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar:  Clean floors, the insides of cabinets and countertops with 50% apple cider vinegar (does not have to be organic) and 50% water.  Mice will avoid the area and leave.
 © Apartment Prepper 2014

Sun Oven Giveaway

Win An All American Sun Oven in this Giveaway!

The folks at the All American Sun Oven company have teamed up with a large group of bloggers and we are giving away a deluxe Sun Oven! The retail price of this set is $399! But that is only the start of the reasons why you should enter to try and win this oven.

Sun Oven Giveaway

Using a sun oven can help you be more frugal by cutting your utility bills. Wouldn’t it be great to have that bill lowered. Cooking in a sun oven is just as easy as using a conventional oven and really only takes a few minutes longer in the cooking cycle. Prepare your recipe using a little less liquid in casseroles, soups and stews. For baked goods use the same amounts of liquids as the recipe calls for. Find the optimal direction of the sun and get cooking. Of course, using a sun oven does require the sun to be available. However, it is possible to obtain good results even on a partly cloudy day.

The All American Sun Oven is manufactured right here in the USA. The company stands behind their product. Globally, Sun Oven has worked to bring this off grid cooking solution to many undeveloped parts of the world, allowing people to eat healthier, cooked foods. I am happy to work with a company that has a giving mission.

With all the benefits of lower utility bills, being prepared to cook without fuel or electricity, and supporting a wonderful company, who wouldn’t want to own a Sun Oven! So lets get to the giveaway.

The Terms

(otherwise known as the small print)

The All American Sun Oven Giveaway is open to any resident who is 18 years of age or older who lives in one of the 48 US Contiguous States. This giveaway starts on Monday, Oct. 20th at 5:00 am (MDT) and ends on Sunday, Oct. 26th at 5:00 pm (MDT). The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If we do not hear back from said winner in the designated time period of 24 hours we will choose another winner and they will have 24 hours to respond from the time the notification email is sent. Please check your SPAM email folders. Good luck to everyone! Let’s be prepared for the unexpected!

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Review of LUCI Solar Lantern

Review of Luci Solar LanternThis post is by Bernie Carr,

Having very little space,  I am always interested in checking out products that are lightweight, space saving, and energy efficient.  I wanted to see if the LUCI solar lantern would deliver these potential benefits.

Here is my review of Luci Solar Lantern with photos:

The LUCI Lantern came in a very small mailing envelope.  It came intact and well packaged.  Here’s what it looked like right out of the mailing package.

Review of Luci Solar Lantern1

I opened up the cardboard packaging and found the instructions.  The lantern itself is very light and flat.  All the instructions were illustrated, The pictures are simple enough to follow, but being the anal person that I am, I had to go look them up.

Review of Luci Solar Lantern2

I also had some unanswered questions regarding the LUCI Lantern I thought it best to go to the source:  The package indicated the User Manual can be found here.

Review of Luci Solar Lantern5

I used a carbiner to hang the Luci on a small branch of a dwarf orange tree I keep in the enclosed patio.


  1. Turn the LUCI with the valve facing up.
  2. Open the valve and pinch the bottom while pulling up.  You can then blow into it to inflate it.
  3. Close the valve and push down.
  4. I used a carabiner as a way to hang the LUCI on a nail with the solar panels facing up.  Later in the day, as the sun moved, I hung the LUCI on a tree branch.
  5. According to the User’s Manual, eight hours of exposure would give it a full charge.
  6. After the eight hours were up, I took it back inside.  Now it’s ready to test.
  7. A button in between the solar panels turns it on.  One push gives a normal light, 2nd push gives it a bright light, 3rd push makes it a pulsing light and the 4th one turns it off.

How long does it last?

According to the User’s Manual, when Luci is set on lowest light setting it will provide light for up to 12 hours after a full charge.

What if you store it away after the first charge?

Luci holds a full charge for about three months when unused. After that,
it retains up to 50% of its charge for two years.
How long can it be expected to last?
Again according to the manual, it should last for two full years with constant everyday use, meaning you charge it daily and use it every night.
For an emergency light, I can see it will last for many years, as long as you don’t puncture it or place it near a fire.

What I thought of the Luci Solar Lantern

I think it is a nifty product.

  • I like that it is lightweight, so you can take it backpacking,
  • It uses very little space, since it deflates and flattens when not in use.
  • I also like that it runs on solar power, so no batteries are needed.

Review of Luci Solar Lantern3The only part that I think can be improved is the plastic strip handle across the top – I would have preferred it to be smaller strap that you can hook into.  However this is just a minor point that does not take away from the overall usefulness and efficiency of the product.  As you can see from the photo below, the light output is nice and bright, even at the normal setting.

Review of Luci Solar Lantern6

The Luci Solar Lantern at normal setting in a dark hallway

Overall I think it is a great product and would come in handy for either recreational or emergency use.  It is flat and lightweight enough I can take it backpacking.  And, it is reasonably priced for $14.99.  I think the Luci is worth a spot in the emergency kit.  It would also make a great gift, even for both prepper or non-prepper recipients.



Treats and Snacks in Your Food Storage

Treats and Snacks in Your Food StorageIn the movie Zombieland, one of the goals of Woody Harrelson’s character had was to find a store that had Twinkies.  He was obsessed with getting a hold of a Twinkie stash he wouldn’t let anything, including a bunch of zombies get in his way.  It might have been just some product placement but they still had a valid point – a disaster does not make you stop craving for treats.

At the worst of Hurricane Ike, which sent me on my path to preparedness, I really wanted cheese and crackers.  When the stores finally opened, there was no dairy to be found, including any kind of cheese whatsoever, even Cheez Weez was gone.  After that, I made sure I have cheese on hand, including cheese spread  – I know it’s fake, but it’ll do.  I admit I happen to like artificial cheese flavor – Doritos and Cheetos Cheese Puffs.

Adding snacks and treats to your food storage

What Snacks and Treats should you Include?

The answer really depends on you – the items you really crave, as well the amount of space you have.  Some ideas:

  • Chocolate   A lot of people crave chocolate; I do enjoy a good bar of plain Hershey’s on occasion, as well as my all time favorite, Heath Bars.  You can even rationalize that it is good for you, especially dark chocolate.  You do need to make sure you buy it well ahead of expiration dates, and the packaging must not be broken.  When I first started working, I had the misfortune of opening up a bar of Rocky Road Marshmallow Chocolate (these used to be my favorite) and it was full of maggots *shudder*  I bought it from a convenience store in my office building at the time and it must not have been stored properly.
  • Crackers and cookies   Cookies and crackers can be satisfying treats, and not just for the kids.  Again, pay attention to the packaging and dates.  You already know what you and your family like, just pick up a couple of boxes and save them.
  • Nuts and seeds   Nuts and seeds are both satisfying and healthy – pick up a few cans or jars of peanuts, cashews, macadamia, almonds etc.
  • Dried fruit   Again, they are both tasty and good for you.  Pick up raisins,  dehydrated strawberries, blueberries etc.  Or better yet, pick up a food dehydrator and dry them yourself.  (one of my “to-do’s”)
  • Chips   Okay, these are not so healthy but I like them.  Between salty and sweet, I am partial to salty snacks.  Go on, pick your favorites and have a few bags on hand, just in case.
  • Bacon   The only person I know who hates bacon is a vegetarian, everyone else loves it.  Bacon comes in a can, so you have options.
  • Soda   I am not a soda drinker, but I do like carbonated water.  Some people swear by 7-Up to relieve stomach aches so who am I to judge.  Keep a liter or two in your pantry, you can always use the plastic bottle for water storage.  Or, learn to make your own soda at home.


  • Make sure the items you keep are shelf stable, that is, no refrigeration needed.
  • Buy items that have long expiration dates.
  • Pick up items while on sale and stock up.  Halloween is coming up in a few weeks – now is a good time to stock up on chocolate and candy.  You can even freeze them for later use and use them for making other desserts.
  • Follow the same tips to avoid food storage mistakes, as you do other foods.

As an added benefit, your non-prepping teen or spouse will feel a little more receptive to preparing if you include their wish list to your storage.  In an emergency, having favorite snacks would boost family morale.  And, if nothing happens, then you still have your favorite treats on hand for cravings.