The Need to Prepare is Real
“Disasters disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year. Each disaster has lasting effects, both to people and property.
If a disaster occurs in your community, local government and disaster-relief organizations will try to help you, but you need to be ready as well. Local responders may not be able to reach you immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere.
You should know how to respond to severe weather or any disaster that could occur in your area – hurricanes, earthquakes, extreme cold, flooding, or terrorism.
You should also be ready to be self-sufficient for at least three days. This may mean providing for your own shelter, first aid, food, water, and sanitation.”
Just when I thought everything was good to go with equipment, suppliers and shipping the whole world started coming apart at the seams.
Here’s the good news: Natick has developed six additional FSR menus, which means soon Bug-Out Grub will have six additional menus.
Now here’s the bad news: Sourcing items to fill those menus is turning out to be a real bitch, thanks to all the wars and disasters happening all over the world.
Personally, I’m a perfectionist. I don’t want to sell some half-assed product that doesn’t meet my own standards. I envisioned being able to source all military MRE components and accessories to fill my Bug-Out Grub menus. Unfortunately, that’s turning out to be tougher than expected. And it’s not really the big items that are the problem, it’s the little things like condiments and accessories.
I have spoken to several of the manufacturers of MRE condiments and they assure me the civilian versions are exactly the same as the military. Only the packaging is different. Their civilian specs indicate foil packaging and a 12 month shelf-life. Of course, that’s 12 months from the date of manufacture, which isn’t stamped on the package like the military versions. Hmmm. Dilemma.
Another roadblock comes with the accessory packs.
You’re all familiar with the typical MRE accessory pack: Coffee, sugar, creamer, salt, chewing gum, matches, tissue, but did you know that’s just considered Accessory Pack “A”? There’s also Accessory Packs “B” through “E”. Each is just a little different based on the contents of the meal. Those are really hard to come by.
So, I’ve made an executive decision. I’m going to temporarily replace the hard to find military condiments with civilian versions, and I’m going to build my own accessory packs.
Bug-Out Grub accessory packs will contain all the essentials of the military MRE accessory packs, with a few modifications and additions. For example, I’m not a fan of black coffee and I always need more than one sugar packet to make it taste just right. So, I’ve replaced the generic sugar packet with two packets of Splenda Sweetener. If you happen to suffer from diabetes, you’ll thank me for this.
Next, I’ve doubled up on the wet-naps and toilet paper.
Bug-Out Grub is a full day’s ration, so shouldn’t a full day’s ration include enough toilet paper to last a full day? Granted, MRE toilet paper is almost useless but until I can find a suitable replacement it’ll have to do. (Hmmm. Anybody ever try those Charmin ToGo freshmates cloths?)
The Bug-Out Grub bag is already packed pretty tight, so I can’t go too crazy with the customizations. However, I am considering adding one more thing that’s not in the military version, but might just turn out to be quite useful.
If you’re not aware of it, PuR Purifier of Water is used all over the world to make drinking water safe. One packet of PuR Purifier of Water treats 2.5 gallons of water. More than enough for one person’s daily consumption requirements. Use some, save the rest for the next day.
The PuR packet will add about $.60 to the price of Bug-Out Grub, so I may just make it available as an option. What do you think?
It’s taken us a little longer than planned, but we’ve finally got our first three menus complete.
We’ve also got all our packaging lined up. We’ll be packing Bug-Out Grub in a foil stand-up zip pouch with oxygen absorbers to increase shelf life.
Most of the individual food items in the Bug-Out Grub package will also be sealed in their own foil package with oxygen absorbers. Our packaging will ensure those items without oxygen absorbers (drink powders, accessory pieces, etc.) will last just as long.
Regarding shelf life, the latest research shows current MRE (meal, ready to eat) shelf life at up to 60 months at 55 degrees F. You may not have access to cold storage, so you can probably expect a shelf life of up to 40 months (3 years, four months) at 75 degrees F (room temperature).
With the additional foil packaging and oxygen absorbers in Bug-Out Grub, you can probably extend that estimate somewhat. As always, don’t put all your trust in what some government scientist says. Trust your nose as well. If it doesn’t smell right, don’t eat it.
Eventually, we plan on adding an additional six menus to the Bug-Out Grub lineup. Each menu will mirror (as closely as possible) their military counterpart.
In the near future, we plan on adding a civilian version of the military cold weather ration and long range patrol ration. These two rations have recently been combined into one – the MCW/LRP ration. We have already sourced all the products and packaging for these rations and expect to begin production within a few months.
In the meantime, expect the first three menus of Bug-Out Grub to be available within a few short weeks.
I know many of you think we’ve fallen off the face of the earth, but we’ve actually been pretty busy. We’ve been trying to come up with the perfect packaging for Bug-Out Grub.
Let me tell you, it ain’t as easy as I thought it was gonna be. I just thought we’d toss everything in a half box, shrink wrap it, and be done with it. Boy, was I wrong. We did a little field test with that design and it turns out after three days of packing and unpacking that last day’s ration was in pretty bad shape. On a side note, I think I gained a pound or two eating Bug-Out Grub. (Guess I wasn’t working as hard or moving as fast as I should have been!)
So, it was back to the old drawing board.
A heavy duty zip top bag seemed to be the best answer. We’re experimenting with a couple of materials: clear poly and Mylar.
We hope to have all this nonsense finished in the next few weeks so we can start shipping Bug-Out Grub in time for the holidays.
Wow! What a great Christmas present!
Oh yeah, a couple more things. We’ve been a little worried about the whole tuna and mayo thing in Menu 3 and the chicken and mayo in Menu 2. We thought, “Hmmm. Mayo. Not such a good thing for long term storage.” But what was the alternative? What could we include besides Mayo that would mix with tuna to make a decent wrap? Then, wonder of wonders, Starkist answered our prayers by introducing tuna salad in a pouch.
First problem solved. Now, on to the chicken salad. We’ll let you know how that goes…
Just a quick teaser to let you know Bug-Out Grub is almost ready to ship. We’ve finalized the first three menus for our civilian version of First Strike Rations. For you purists out there, rest assured — Bug-Out Grub will contain 90% of the items in the military version of First Strike Rations. We’ve had to make a couple of substitutions because, quite frankly some items just aren’t available to the public yet. When those items do become available, they’ll be available in Bug-Out Grub as well.
What’s been replaced?
First, we’ve replaced the two, single serving packages of military ERGO energy drink mix with a two serving stick of Gatorade® G Series Pro 02 Endurance Powder. ERGO drink mix contains Maltodextrin as the key ingredient and tastes similar to a sports drink. It is intended to increase endurance by conserving glycogen, which is energy stored in the liver and muscles. Gatorade® G Series Pro 02 Endurance Powder contains the same ingredients, but in a two serving stick. Simply mix half the package with 16oz. of water and you’re good to go. We actually think this is a step up from the military version, since you can easily pour the contents into a water bottle and sip on it throughout the day.
Next, we replaced the Zapplesauce®. Like the ERGO drink, Zapplesauce® is made with extra maltodextrin, a complex carbohydrate, and caffeine for sustained energy release. There are a number of products available on the market that contain the same ingredients. We’ve chosen Hammer Energy Gel to go into Bug-Out Grub because our tests show it provides the same sustained energy without the nasty caffeine jitters of some of the other energy gels. It’s also available in lots of cool flavors.
There are a couple of items that have different packaging. First Strike! bars are available to the public as Soldier Fuel. And the beef jerky, well beef jerky is beef jerky right? Well, not really. We’ve replaced the off brand jerky from the military FSR with Jack Link’s Original Beef Steak snacks. Mmmm, Beef Steak!
And that’s it! Everything else in Bug-Out Grub is straight from the government suppliers.
We’ll be updating the site again soon with more info on our menus, so check back often.