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.
About three years ago — while the last presidential campaign was raging — the Discovery Channel, The History Channel and National Geographic began airing a series of documentaries that could only be described as apocalyptic. You know the shows I’m talking about… Nostradamus, 2012, The Mayan Prophecy, etc. While those documentaries didn’t make me run out back and start digging a bunker in the yard, they did make me think. What would I do if a natural — or worse, a man-made — disaster struck?
I started doing a little research and found literally hundreds of websites catering to disaster preparedness. I’ve always been a big fan of outdoor gear, so needless to say I found myself spending a lot of time looking at expensive survival kits. While everything I found looked useful and brought out the inner boy scout in me, I never really felt the need to spend the money.
Now, thanks to cable news, I’ve seen more earthquakes, storms and war in the last three years than I had in the previous 30. The number of preparedness websites, blogs and forums has increased exponentially. And my attitude towards preparation has changed.
This site has a two-fold purpose:
- Provide those in need with a useful, desired product.
- Provide some useful information to help you prepare for the worse.
Regarding point one, there’s a little history that needs relaying.
When I finally decided to stop researching and start preparing I quickly discovered I had more questions than answers. Should I buy a pre-stocked bug-out bag, or build my own? What type of food should I get, freeze dried, dehydrated or MREs? When SHTF (the sh*t hits the fan), where will I go and how will I get there. Once I’m there, should I have a stockpile of food or should I grow my own? How will I protect myself and my family?
Each question I answered raised a half dozen more. I’ll describe how I got my answers to many of those questions in future posts. For now, I’ll try to stick to the point and discuss how I came up with the idea for Bug-Out Grub.
During my research period I tried to envision as many different scenarios as possible. One of them involved a situation I hope never happens; that is, becoming a refugee without transportation. If I was required to walk some distance to a safer place, I would have to pare down my possessions to just the bare minimum required for survival and carry everything on my back. That would include gear, weapons, water and food. I suppose I could live in the same clothes for three days if I had to, so that wouldn’t be a problem (though my wife might disagree). Assuming the social situation didn’t include some sort of zombie apocalypse, weapons could be limited to a knife or a pistol and some spare ammo. Where I live, water is abundant and can be easily filtered and purified. That leaves food as the only major problem.
Canned food was out of the question — too heavy. Freeze dried or dehydrated camping food was a good choice, but those require a lot of hot water. Some freeze dried and dehydrated foods require simmering for 20 minutes. What if I couldn’t make a fire?
MREs were the next option. MREs are compact, easy to eat and best of all don’t require a fire to heat them up. They were perfect… almost. I’m assuming three meals a day, or around 3000 calories, to maintain energy levels for high mobility and high stress situations. Since most civilian MREs provide around 1000 calories, I’d need to carry three cases in order to have enough food to feed a family of four for three days . If I cut back to two meals a day I’d still need two cases. Not good. We’d need to highjack a donkey to carry all those boxes.
Most websites feature emergency food bars — like Mayday or Datrex bars. These are vacuum packaged, high protein, high energy, non thirst enducing squares that can provide from 2400 to 3600 calories per day. They have a long shelf life, only take up a few square inches of pack space and really don’t taste bad. They solve a lot of my problems, but I can’t see myself eating them for three days straight. Maybe as a backup. Sort of a backup to my backup.
After a little more internet searching I hit pay-dirt.
The Army Soldier Systems Center at Natick, MA developed a single-package, high-energy ration intended as a substitute for the three daily MREs that soldiers carried. First announced in May 2002, and called the First Strike Ration (FSR), it was designed for use by forward-deployed troops in the first 72 hours of field operations to provide the energy that soldiers need during the initial stage of deployment. The combat-driven ration has more carbohydrates, less packaging and no luxury items compared to MREs, intended for soldiers to eat while on the move, requiring no preparation, utensils, or cleanup.
This sounded like exactly what I had been looking for. Small, lightweight, and a full day’s ration. Unfortunately, you couldn’t buy them. Anywhere.
That is, until now…
Enter Bug-Out Grub
Bug-Out Grub is our civilian version of the military First Strike Ration.