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Stocking your bug-out location with several months’ worth of food can provide peace of mind during peaceful times, and provide lifesaving nourishment during a crisis. But food isn’t the only thing you need to stock. Consider the value of these six items—and consider what it would be like to go without them.
1. Toilet paper
Six months’ worth of food and one case of toilet paper both seem like large volumes of supplies. But when you figure how many bathroom breaks occur from eating a half-year’s worth of food, you’d better think again about your toilet paper stock. Try to match your TP storage to your food storage, or even overshoot on TP. It will never go bad, or go out of demand. It could even be a great trade item. One roll per person per week is a good average, though some family members may use much more or much less.
2. Hand sanitizer
Soap and hot water are great for hand washing, but hand sanitizer is a close second, and the pump still squirts even if the utilities are out. Make sure you have plenty of this goop to maintain clean hands. Four ounces per person per week is a good benchmark.
About 20 percent of the American population smokes, and cigarette customers are usually lifelong patrons (although that life may be much shorter than the lifespan of a similar non-smoker). If you have smokers on your team or in your family, it might be wise to squirrel away a few cartons where they cannot find them, and ration them out as needed. You’d have enough problems without adding nicotine addiction withdrawal to your crisis situation. The average smoker goes through one pack a day, and there are ten packs per carton. Two to three cartons per smoker per month should keep them from going into a complete tailspin. I’ve never been through an apocalypse, but I’m sure it’s the wrong time to go cold turkey.
I went off caffeine a few years ago and never looked back. But plenty of other people still carry that monkey on their back. The irritability, low energy, and splitting headaches of caffeine withdrawal make this a prime stimulant to stock. Black tea, coffee packed for a long shelf life, Excedrin tablets, and 5-Hour ENERGY shots are fine sources of this craveable compound. Make sure you have enough. To figure out the right amount, allow at least a few cups of tea or coffee per day, or one energy shot per day. The Excedrin will help, too, providing both caffeine and an analgesic for the caffeine withdrawal headaches.
Need to wash your hands? How about your body, clothes, dishes and any other dirty items? Inexpensive hard bar soap will last for decades, and it serves many important roles in health and hygiene. Take only bar soap on your next multi-day campout, and see how far each bar lasts. This will help you figure out how much bar soap your family needs per week, month, etc. One bar per person per week will cover most sanitation and hygiene needs.
6. Feminine Hygiene Products
I hope you ladies enjoy how much it makes a guy squirm to offer suggestions about these things. But as a husband to a grown woman and a father to young women, I know my family always seems to run out of these things at the worst possible time. Stocking an ample (or even excessive) supply of tampons, pads and cleansing products will take this worry out of your emergency planning.
What do you “over” stock for long-term emergencies? Please tell us by leaving a comment.