Category: beginning prepping

Mon. Apr. 10, 2023 – let’s get this party started…

Cool and damp, but maybe no rain?   We’re sorta in the rain zone, but who knows.  Yesterday was overcast most of the day with occasional sunlight.  No rain though.

I did family things all day.   Egg hunt, Easter baskets, breakfast, bread making, and dinner prep ate most of the day.   What wasn’t used for that got spent catching up on some auction stuff, while youtube vids played on the other monitor.   Kids were wrapped up in their own stuff most of the day.   We did play a game after dinner.

Today should be more cleaning and sorting.   Housecleaning service is supposed to come by and do the heavy lifting.   I just have to get some stuff picked up and put away.  If it’s clear, I might even get over to my storage unit, and do some sorting there.

If it’s raining, I’ll do more cleaning and paperwork here.   Tax time is upon us, and some stuff needs to be put in order before sending to the accountant.

There is also the not inconsequential task of cleaning and sorting the cans on my pantry shelves.   Some more fruit cans popped in the pantry area, and now I’ve got a real mess.   Far more damaged cans than I first thought, and extra possum mess besides.   No wonder the little beast was hanging out- some of the stuff in the very back was leaking.   Well, I know I’ll have losses due to poor conditions, and some of the stuff is approaching 10 years in the stacks, so it’s past time to go through it again.    It’s a bio-hazard and needs to be addressed soon.

Even with FIFO policy, and can organizers for much of it, there is food we don’t normally eat and food we only eat occasionally in the stacks, so we don’t rotate through the whole stack before it REALLY ages out.   I can accept that.   I’d rather have the food on hand.   No way to know when the last trip to the supermarket could be, so I maintain the level I’d need if today was that last day.  Well, I’ll  be below it with all the breakage, until I can replace it.

And I might not replace all of it.   If I assume we can get to the BOL or travel between them, I can split the resources between them.   If I assume that we may be stuck at either place, then I need full stacks at both locations.  The reality is that I might never get stuck in either situation, and I might never need the stuff.   But having it is what prepping is about for me, so I’ll probably waffle back and forth, starting by splitting the stacks, and building both sets back up to full.

First step is cleaning and saving what I can.  And that might happen today, or later this week… depending.

So stack it high, but realize that you will have losses, and you  might not need it.  Like a gun or a parachute, it’s much better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.


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Thur. Feb. 16, 2023 – no matter where you go, there you are…

Warm and wet, mid 70s to start, and if we get any rain, it might cool down, but if we just get overcast and drizzle, it’s going to be pretty unpleasant.  It was misty drizzle for most of yesterday and warm besides.   Sweaty.

I did get a few things done.   Mainly small but important things on my Ranger.  At 20 years old, the biggest problem is with the plastics.   Whether for cost savings or weight, the plastic parts are really aging out.   First to go was a cable end for the latch release on the suicide doors.  Fortunately there is an aftermarket billet aluminum replacement available.   It’s a niche product made by some guy, and sold world wide through ebay.   Peak civilization?  The next thing was the soft plastic over the cruise control buttons on the steering wheel.   I replaced them once with NOS, but they crumbled again.  This time I replaced them with OOS, or scavenged parts from my ‘parts truck’.   I did soak them in silicone, which seems to reverse and delay the crumbling, if you get it in time.  The latest thing, which had to be addressed, was the driver’s door handle.   The whole thing is molded from some sort of polymer, looks like glass reinforced.   The lever actuator that moves the rod to open the latch broke at it’s root, where it joins the handle.  I stole a very similar handle off my parts truck, replaced the one time fasteners with some bolts, and got it working again.

What does this all have to do with anything?  Well generally I see a lot of failures in soft plastic overlays.  They will suddenly get sticky or crumble.  Usually I can remove a thin layer of ‘soft’ sticky and continue to use the device.  Sometimes I re-coat it with clear FlexSeal spray.  The thicker items that crumble could be made on a 3D printer, or re-created in some other way.   The door bhandle definitely could have been printed.   There are a couple of take aways for me.  If you want something that will last, avoid overmolded soft plastic.   Avoid plastic in structurally important parts.   If you can’t avoid it, be prepared to replace or re-make critical parts in the future.

I believe that the best economic choice (most of the time) and the best ecological choice, is to repair an item that breaks, especially if the repair is straightforward.   There might be items that don’t have parts available, or the parts are expensive, or they are not available in a timely fashion, and then you need to be creative, and prepared to do some work yourself.  To that end it’s been one of my goals to have the tools and materials on hand to re-create most industrial processes, or to replace the process with something equivalent.

If the door handle was critical, I could 3D print it (or have a friend do so).  I could fab one out of metal.   I could design something to do the same job that I could make more easily than duplicating the Ford design.  Or I could bypass the handle entirely.     I took the easy route yesterday, because my time and money are limited, and I already had a part that was a 98% solution.  I got to practice repairing my truck.   I used stuff I’d put aside against future need.

That’s the essence of prepping, and disaster response.   Very small disaster in this case, but still a good chance to test my skills, knowing I can get a real repair shop to buy the real piece and replace it if needed.

Test your self, your skills, and your stores, while there is still backup in the world.

And stack some stuff.



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Wed. Feb. 15, 2023 – sometimes things go as planned, and sometimes they don’t…

Warmish, and dampish, with chance of some real rain.   Although the national forecast has us right on the edge of the ‘possible storm’ zone, and that usually means we won’t get rain, it’s still possible.  ‘course pretty much anything is possible but very little of it is likely.

Did some chores yesterday.  Will do some more today.   One of the things I picked up, because it was $3, and ya never know… was a fuel tank.   It’s an OEM or replacement tank for a vehicle of some kind, nicely made from steel.   And the reason I even bid was that I could see that it had a fill hole with a push and twist locking ring for a cap, and it was mostly rectangular.   Most vehicle tanks are very odd shapes, have a big hole for a sending unit, and no way to close up the tank.   I would like to have more bulk fuel storage at the BOL, and it seemed like this might be a cheap way to get some.   I don’t need more projects, so I’ll just put it to the side up there, and when there is opportunity or need, it will be ready.

A lot of my preps are like that.

Putting something aside against a future need, especially if it’s very cheap or easy now, but might be very dear indeed later, seems like a no-brainer to me.   I understand that there are costs associated with doing that.   Opportunity costs with the resources diverted, burdens from storage, etc… but there are benefits too if and when the item or skill is needed.  Fuel is something I’ll need no matter what happens globally.   Water, food, meds, tools, materials- those are also things I know I’ll need to some degree.   Am I prepped past that point?   Or am I short of what my eventual need will be?   Since we can’t predict the future with any certainty, we have to choose what level WE find appropriate.

Some of you think I’m  a nut for having the stuff I have.   Some of you think I’m falling short of where I should be.   I agree with both!   I’m both those things at the same time, for different things, and at different times for the same things.   It’s a continuum.  A journey.  It is fractal and ever changing.   And most of all, for me it’s a way of life now.

I look around and I can’t imagine living any other way.   I can imagine other people living other ways… but I also am imagining those people joining me in getting prepped, to whatever level they think meets their need.   Do it.  Start today.

Stack something.


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Wed. Jan. 25, 2023 – and the wind cried, Mary…

Warmish, damp.   Maybe clear after the rain yesterday.  Who knows?   The shadow knows.  Weather liars certainly don’t.

Yesterday’s predicted high wind and storm missed me here in Northwest Houston.   Southeast Houston didn’t get so lucky.  I got about 1.5″ of rain in a couple of hours, with misty drizzle the rest of the time.  Some thunder and lightning.   They got high winds and tornadoes.

Looking at the pictures, you can clearly see why you should have preps stored offsite.   It was years ago, looking at pictures of the aftermath of several tornadoes that ripped through Oklahoma, that I got serious about putting some resources elsewhere.   I haven’t kept up with clothes as the kids have grown, nor feminine products, but we’ve got food, heat, cooling, light, power, etc. and some place to stay if needed.   Adding the BOL has really helped my peace of mind that we now have somewhere to go, and stuff waiting for us there.

If you don’t have a BOL, and most people don’t, talk seriously with friends or relations.   Put a plan in place ahead of time.   In California they used to suggest NOT keeping your earthquake kit in the house.   Instead they suggested bins in a light shed, or out behind the house.   The idea being the kit wouldn’t be buried under collapsed house when you needed it most.  Think hard about doing something similar, no matter where you are.

Another option would be a small storage unit.  Ideally it would be out of town, not too far away, but on your most likely evac route.   Should have 24hr access even without power.  A few bins of canned food, some water, some clothes, some hygiene products, a couple of toys for the kids, an encrypted thumb drive with critical paperwork stored on it- doesn’t take up that much room, but could go a long way toward keeping you alive, comfortable, and sane if something should happen to your home.  Doesn’t have to be like a prepper novel… just enough to keep body and soul together for a few days while you figure out the next step.

Prepping is fractal in nature.   That is, for every task, there are dozens of prerequisite tasks, and follow up tasks, the deeper you go, the more tasks reveal themselves.   Like a mandelbrot set though, they keep repeating their basic nature.   Get some stuff.   Learn some thing.    Learn about more stuff to get, more stuff to learn.  Rinse and repeat.  It’s a journey, not a destination.  You can put as much or as little into it as you are comfortable doing, but do SOMETHING.

Stacking is easy.  And useful.


–as usual, if anyone is in the affected areas and needs something we can help with, let us know.

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Thur. May 19, 2022 – driving around today

Hot and clear, some small chance of scattered showers.   But mostly it is likely to be hot and hot, with a side of hot.   My weather station said 102F in the afternoon yesterday.  Granted that was in the sun,but jeez.

Since my back responded well to the stretching, manipulation, and inversion table, I woke feeling pretty good.  I decided I didn’t want to screw that up by unloading trash from my truck or cutting the grass.  So I spent most of the day online.

Today I have to venture out and collect all  the stuff.   Metro shelves for the garage and storage.  Another bucket of freeze dried food, and a cell booster for my client’s place.  A bunch of stuff for the BOL.  Typical week.   Keep moving as the world does its thing…

Which seems to be continuing on the path we’ve already started down.  The drums of war are beating and they won’t stop.*  Various items are in short supply, and there are more of them, and the supply is shorter, from what I’m hearing.   The money markets are in turmoil.  People are starting to buy less, move down scale, and run out of credit card.  Home sales are slowing, which is normal when rates increase, but a lot of people are going to feel a lot less rich when they are making two mortgage payments, waiting for a house to sell.

There are HUGE new developments going in all around the Houston metro area in green field developments.  They are tearing down warehouse and industrial space to build apartments and condos, and clusters of houses closer in.   Everyone in the country seems to be moving to TX or FL.   This is historically a boom or bust town, and we’re seeing it again…

But there is a frantic quality to it.   People are in a big hurry to get done before the bad thing happens.  IDK which bad thing they individually fear, but there is starting to be a sense of wrongness in the population, at least the parts I interact with.   And I talk to everyone I can.  Store clerks, construction company owners, workers, yard salers, hustlers, professionals, tradesmen, small business owners, other random people.   Change is in the air.  Not hopeful, good change either.  More like dread, and trepidation.  Everyone is nervous and unsure, but soldiering on as fast as they can.

8 buckets of rice is 2 dry cups a day for more than 2 years.   Including the buckets, it’s about $400.  Don’t wish you’d bought them, BUY THEM.   You don’t have to get it all this week, but I wouldn’t wait too long.  Everyone has room for 8 buckets.   Throw a couple big bottles of multi-vitamin in the cart too.

Bob would talk a lot about “iron rations”, food that was enough to keep you alive, but not what you’d eat by choice.   There are a lot of details in posts and comments tagged with the keywords on the right.  Go and read the posts.   But at a minimum, buy and store the rice.  It will extend whatever else is available, and it’s the single simplest thing I can think of to recommend doing.   Of course there is a lot more, and I urge anyone who hasn’t already to read the stuff at the keywords.  Then ACT.   It’s really cheap insurance.

That’s the baseline.   Build from there.  Stack it all.



*”why are the drums going all night?”  ” when the drumming stops, the guitar solo starts…”

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Sun. Apr. 3, 2022 – home later, but for now, work…

Shipped to be another great day like it was yesterday.

I got stuff done.  Still have more on the list for today though.  I deff want a brad maker up here.  SteveF got me thinking about it, add it makes sense.

Met another person that knew the previous owner.  This guy didn’t know he’d passed. He was very upset as he used to come by and fish with the previous owner, and he’d brought the kids to fish with him.  After he recovered, I invited him to fish with me.  And I got a lesson in fishing this lake.


Meeting people and gettng local knowledge, priceless.


Don’t forget to stack up more than just cans.


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Wed. Mar. 23, 2022 – 03232022 – yeah silly, but it does amuse me

Cool and clear after the crashing rain and hail that started off yesterday.  It even got into the high 70s and was sunny and blue sky by noon…   and I feel like I could use some more of that.

Did my errands.   Got lucky at a Goodwill on the east side of town, and got 3 shirts and a pair of pants, all like new, and priced like rags.  One of the peculiarities of shopping thrifts is that they don’t usually differentiate between brands when pricing.   So UnderArmor, Nike, Mammut, North Face, etc are all priced the same as Old Navy, or Abercrombie and Fitch, or the chain store ‘house brands’.  So why buy the cheap clothes when you can buy the expensive well made clothes for the same money?

Had a chat with one of my auctioneers about the secondary economy and buying at outlets, resellers, and auctions.   He sells $1200 sheet sets (yes bedsheets) at auction for 30-100$.   Who has money to spend at Macy’s on a $1200 set of sheets?  And how many of those people will there be when things go pear shaped?  (just an example)   He sees the number of people logging into his auctions dramatically increasing every week lately (which I hate because his prices won’t be so low anymore).  It tells me that people are finding the lower cost ways to get what they want and need.   Eventually, there won’t be a surplus of expensive stuff to sell cheaply, but those days are in the future yet.

If you haven’t checked out alternative ways to buy what you need, like ‘casual sales’ at yard or garage sales, ‘person to person sales’ either mediated by an app, or in a more traditional venue like a swap meet, or things like estate sales and thrift shops,  or the online versions of any of the above, you need to.  It takes a bit more time, and what you need or want may not be immediately available (but it may not be in traditional retail either), but prices are better.   Remember the quality triangle, good, fast, or cheap, – pick any two…   It applies to retail too.

However you do it, stack it up.  The worse it gets, the harder it will be to catch up.  And it sure looks like it’s getting worse.


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Tues. Feb. 1, 2022- 02012022 – more work, more stuff to do, more MOAR!

Cool and damp again?  Rained yesterday.  Had to drive all over town and back in the rain doing my pickups.  Didn’t get the violent downpour that the weather liars were predicting, but did get some.

So I did my pickups as soon as they were open and made it back to pick up D2 for some together time.  We couldn’t find the stuff for the project she wanted to do in her bedroom, so she taught me how to play chess instead.  WEEEELLLLLLLL……  Taught me how to move the pieces anyway.  Mom says I played as a young kid, but I don’t have any memory of it.  May be that I lost it after one of the blows to the head?  Don’t know, can’t worry about it.  Had fun.  Played two games and she beat me both times.  She loved it.  D1 got home from school and that was that, but I had her for over an hour, all to myself.   Because of holidays from school and the trip up to the lake house, I missed the last couple of weeks.  And jeez, I’m happy about a single hour…   which is kinda F’ed up when you think too much about it.

Anyway, busier than a one armed paper hanger today.   This morning I’m headed to my client’s house.  Painters are there, and I need to pull a few TVs down to keep them safe and paint free.  Also, they’re having some network issues that I need to look at.   Then back to town to finish my pickups.   More stuff for the house and for my shop.  I got a ‘tombstone’ stick welding machine for about half to one quarter of what they normally go for, and I’ve always wanted one.  They are great for heavier steel welding that MIG really isn’t the best choice for.  Granted that in the shop I’ve also got a Miller 250 welding machine and it has the capacity to do some pretty heavy welding in steel and even heavy welds in aluminum with the spool gun, the stick welder and some long leads let you do  a bunch of stuff that is much harder with the MIG process.  Working outside on a fence is just one example, or a dock…

So how to slickly transition to a prepper topic???  Well, I’ve talked before about fixing things, and making things as a valuable skill any time, but especially in hard times.   If you can build stuff you can make it for yourself and save money, fix it yourself and save the replacement or repair costs, or make and fix stuff for other people.  Here in the oil patch, I’m the least likely guy to bust out a welder and fab up something big, but I’ve made a ton of smaller stuff for myself and occasionally for others.  I built the security bar door for my rent house, for example.   I made it in a style that complimented the craftsman style of the door and it came out really well.   I’ve made furniture for the house, some that we still use every day.   I’ve made or modified tools for my workshop, and fixed tools as well.

This new welding machine will just extend capabilities I have, and possibly make some ‘field’ work much easier.   Working in metal isn’t any harder than working in wood, but the tools and techniques are different.

Whatever you have an interest or skill in making, or repairing, or building, I encourage you to get the tools and some supplies while you can, if you don’t already have them.   It can be as simple as sewing by hand in leather, cloth, or web gear, or as complicated as 3D printing parts that aren’t available any more, due to supply chain or obsolescence.   Timber frame construction, and hand wood work might be very useful if things go very far down the slope.    There are some really interesting youtubers doing “green wood” or “traditional hand woodworking” or “bodging” that demonstrate the very high levels of functionality you can get in a ‘world built by hand’.

It doesn’t have to cost much.  I get leather and cloth at the goodwill and the goodwill surplus for pennies.  Purses, leather coats, leather clothes, belts, wallets, even boots, all provide raw materials.  So do bed sheets, blankets, and most commonly, curtains and window treatments.  A pair of work pants might not fit, but the heavy cotton duck or denim can be used for patching and reinforcing your pants.   So many backpacks, book bags, and duffles are in the surplus bins that all can provide donor material for repairs to your gear or customizations.  You can salvage buckles, straps, pads, and webbing from them too.

I grab small pieces of wood at thrift stores too.  They are usually a walnut serving tray or a piece of teak used as decor, or some other nice but small wooden object.  $1.20 per pound, and I’ve got some really nice walnut for small projects.  There are a number of things you can reuse the plastic material of cutting boards for, like wear pads, or friction reducing pads.  There are almost always plastic and wooden cutting boards at the thrifts.

You need the tools to take advantage of the materials, and the skills to make something useful.  It’s not hard though.  And if you are working with junk, or something already broken, the cost of failure is low.

Get some tools and try doing some things.   While the resources are still abundant.

And stack what you need.  Two is one, and one is none.


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Mon. Jan. 31, 2022 – this month is finally on it’s last day…

Cool and kinda damp today, with the possibility of some real hard rain according to  I guess we’ll see….    Sunday was nice, cool but sunny and decently warm in the sun.

This January took forever to pass by.  Usually I feel like the days are flying by, but with 5 weekends, this month dragged.  I don’t know why I want it to be past, but I do.    I don’t think great things will be happening in February, but at least it won’t be January.

Spent yesterday watching auctions for stuff for the new place, while also doing other stuff around the house, and I blew it.  I let something go that I really wanted and would save both time and money at the new place.  Got distracted…

Then made dinner.  Which brought me this thought.  I can talk briefly about one of my storage options, the freezer.

I freeze bread.  I find that bread products keep really well for me in the upright freezer. I don’t do anything special, just put them in the way they come from the store. I freeze regular loaves of Sara Lee white sandwich bread, with at least 2 and usually 3 in the freezer at a time.  We use about 2 loaves in three weeks, so  they do turn over regularly.  I like the Sara Lee because it holds up to spreading peanut butter.  A lot of the white breads don’t.

I freeze naan bread.  (indian flat bread) It’s pre-baked, and just needs to be warmed up, so it’s a quick and easy way to get a bit of bread with a meal.  It does come in a sealed plastic bag.  It lasts for a year or more in the freezer, doesn’t take up much space, and is a solid “go to” for me.  Very easy to warm for use too, spritz with water and throw on the grill or in the oven (whichever you already have hot) for a few minutes each side.  I think if things get really shirty, flat breads will be the way to go vs leaven breads.  Much less time and energy to cook than baking.

I freeze english muffins.  Thomas’ to be precise.  Again, I just chuck them into the freezer in their store packaging.   They store well for a long time.

I freezer a 300 pack of wheat tortillas too, but also have a 300 open in the fridge for normal day to day use.  They last in the fridge for months.

I thaw the white bread, and the english muffins all at once for the week before use, but the naan I heat from frozen.

Hamburger buns and hotdog buns do well too, but do get ‘freezer burned’ if left too long.

It is very convenient to have bread in the stacks and to not have to head to the store every week.

One other option deserves mention, my Costco has 3 packs of shelf stable bread.  They are loaves of sourdough and are vac packed with some sort of absorber packet.  They just need to be heated to ‘crunchy’ and they are great when you are looking for a crusty hearty loaf in a hurry.  They are still good after the best by date, but the absorber starts to stain the crust black.  I just cut that part of the crust off and ate the rest.

Of course, you can bake from scratch, kit, or with a bread machine.  I’ve done the machine and still do for holiday breads.  It’s very easy and a great way to get good bread on demand, and save money while cycling through your stored bulk.  I’ve found the loaf doesn’t last long once made though, and if we don’t work hard at it, we don’t eat it before it gets hard.  So the store bought breads are a better value as they last long enough to get eaten.

There it is.  Compelling content!  Exciting discussion!  Friendly folks!  Random factoids!  Red Lectroids!

If you haven’t been stacking bread or bread-like food items, I hope you can throw some in the freezer now.  They’ll probably be good later too.

Stack all the things!  Including bread.


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Mon. Nov. 8, 2021 – joy… and pain, sunshine …. and rain

Cool but clear and sunny later. Basically gorgeous weather. And the forecast says the same for a couple more days too. Hooray! That was yesterday, started running the heat in the morning, and ran A/C in the late evening once the house had soaked up the sun. I’m certainly hoping for more of the same.

Yesterday was eaten by ducks. And pain. I was paying the price for my lifting, bending, and toting the day before. The inversion table and the foam roller both got a workout, and both helped, but I couldn’t walk, stand, or sit without pinching pain in my back until late in the afternoon, and after my second go ’round with the table and roller. That coupled with the family coming home meant not much got done. I did put away a few more Halloween decorations, got out the Thanksgiving decoration bin, and cleaned up some stuff in the garage and attic.

I added a couple of small bins to my upright freezer to better organize the meat. I had been just stacking it on shelves and it would cascade out if I bumped it wrong… I don’t know if the plastic bins will hold up in the cold, but they are better than having everything slide around. I need to find a few more that fit.

I ate my first grapefruit off my potted tree for breakfast yesterday. It was a bit on the smaller side, like a navel orange, but was delicious. Only three more on the tree, but that’s more than I got on the big tree in five years. And then the freeze killed it the year it produced a dozen fruits. I really like the idea of fruit and nut trees as a prep, but they are damnably hard to keep alive here in Houston. And I’ve still not seen a single fruit or flower on the peach tree.

Growing your own food is hard. Get started learning about your area and your garden.


For the last couple of days, I’ve been thinking about doing some followup on stuff that worked for me, and that I still like. So here goes.

I really like the container I got to save cooking fat in the kitchen. It is stainless steel, has a flip up lid, a strainer, and the top 1/3 lifts off to reveal the saved fatty goodness in the bottom. Got it on amazon and it works well. Saving cooking fat has a long history and is a great way to save money and cook tasty meals. Use mason jars, airtight canisters, or something airtight and new, but start saving that bacon grease, and using it later.

Ditto for the little flip top trash can I got for the bathroom counter. It looks like a mini version of the old school round topped metal trash cans, with the ‘flap’ in the top. It’s a bit thin and the stainless isn’t really, but it does the job of catching all the little bits of paper from the breathe-rite strips and any other little bits of trash. Those bits would flutter and scatter all over the bathroom when I used to toss them toward the regular can.

The Toto Drake dual flush toilet works really well. Only one time since I put it in did it need a plunge, and that’s down from several times a day. Every Toto toilet I’ve put in has worked very well. This one has a very small amount of water in the bowl, and a lot of dry porcelain. It gets dirty quickly. If having a spotless bowl is important, get one with a bigger water puddle. Other than that, it’s a flushing CHAMP.

The can organizers I installed at the beginning of the lockdown work, but they have slightly distorted over time. They are plastic, and have sagged enough that cans don’t roll through as freely as when it was new. FIFO is important when using your preps, but the racks aren’t as efficient for storage as just stacking flats of cans. You won’t get as many cans in the same volume space, but they are MUCH easier to actually use daily for cooking when you can get to them. I added more despite knowing they aren’t perfect, so that I could have more varieties of cans in the dispenser. If you’re not just piling up cans against future need, get some kind of FIFO can racking.

And while I didn’t use them as much this year as last, both styles of cooling vest worked well for me. Techniche for the evap one, ergodyne for the gel pack.

The Uniden Home Patrol II scanner continues to work well, and I’ve heard a lot of stuff going on in my area on it. Pair it with a good discone antenna from MFJ and listen to it. There is a lot of stuff that is going on around you that never gets reported. Start paying attention to it, and you’ll be better off.

High tech ‘cool’ fabrics for shirts, and shorts, and wool blend socks. What a difference in hot weather comfort. Cotton is NOT for that first layer, or maybe even for the second. About the only good thing about cotton is cost and flame retardant properties. Even for my cold weather clothes, the high tech breathable wicking t shirts in long sleeve are more comfortable than anything else I’ve ever used as a first layer. Clothes have gone technical, and it makes a difference. If the cost is too much, look at Goodwill. A lot of stuff there is never worn. You can try the technical fabrics cheaply, and then spend the money in the store on a brand you like, if you must have new. These are not the stinky poly blend fabrics from decades ago.

Boots and shoes. I rotate through shoes, rarely wearing the same pair two days in a row. It helps the shoes last longer, and your feet will be more comfortable. And for gnu’s sake, get shoes that fit. All the different manufacturers use different ‘lasts’. The last is the shape they build the shoe on, and by trying different brands you can find shoes and boots that fit your weirdo feet. KEEN has a large ‘toe box’ but the soles are a bit slippery when wet. I wore through a couple of pairs and generally liked them. Asic and Columbia made the lightweight ‘sneakers’ I wear on normal days. They are available in wide widths if you need that, or have a high arch. They fit me perfectly in a EEE width. They aren’t “sturdy” but they are lightweight and have held up well. I wore the Columbia pair in Disneyworld and never had an issue. Get some shoes that FIT and don’t be afraid to try sports and active lifestyle brands that are smaller, they have to cater to their buyers, and seem to offer more options.

And for long term, leather boots with vibram soles. Any overmolded soft plastic in place of rubber will turn to goo with time and crumble to a sticky mess. Men should be able to buy all leather dress shoes from a quality maker, and with care they will outlast you. Cole Haan, and most of the J&M lines are not quality. They are better than Stacy Adams, or modern Florsheim, but not by much. Workboots are either disposable or will last a lifetime. There are US makers still, and they have quality reps. Find a solid pair you can maintain and they should last a long time. Chased by zombies while wearing sandals made from old tires or barefoot just isn’t the same as crunching through the detritus of a fallen city in good boots. If you do go for disposable (and I like my under armor technical boots) know that just storing an extra pair won’t help once the plastic ages out. Mil spec and milsurp are designed to be stored and still be usable so having at least one pair is a good prep. Bonus is that they fit me well and are very comfortable.

I’ll stop the list here for today. If you have something that has worked well for you put it in a comment. There are plenty of things I might add below as I think of them, this list was just ‘top of mind’ when I wrote the post. I’m already thinking of the Honda inverter gennies and DeWalt cordless tools….

Improve what you’ve got stacked, add to your stacks, organize your stacks, and KEEP stacking…


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