Article submitted by Brian S. Kiefat @ The Ready Center
Okay, we are back and we are ready with your newest segment of “Prepping on $20 a Paycheck.” If you’ve been following this series faithfully you have a lot of great gear and supplies that could realistically save you if the worst were to ever happen. This time we are recommending a few specific items to help you cover some short-comings that were created by the other items that you currently have. What are these items? Well, you have water. You have food. You even have a camp stove to prepare your food. So what are these short-comings we speak of? Well, the 4 items listed below will cover the short-comings you have within your supply cache. Once you read about them, you’ll probably feel silly you never thought of them yourself. Here we go:
1. 1 lb. Propane Cylinder – It doesn’t do you any good to have a propane fueled camp stove as we discussed in “Prepping on $20 a Paycheck – Part 6 of 24“, but have absolutely no propane on hand to make the blasted thing work. As a matter of fact, being caught in this type of situation is just plain stupid. Get off your butt, go to Walmart or Cabela’s or wherever and pick up a 1 lb. propane cylinder. They are small, light weight, and worth every penny. Cost – $3.00
2. Outdoor/Camping Frying Pan – This one should be a no brainer for ya. Without this, you won’t be able to cook your food or boil your water. We recommend a frying pan over a stockpot for a great number of reasons. An outdoor/camping frying pan can fold its handle in on itself to reduce itself in size. A stockpot with lid can’t reduce in size. A frying pan will fit easily into your emergency back pack while stockpot with lid will more than likely not fit. If you come across a piece of meat you’d like to cook up for yourself or the family, a frying pan is really the best option. You have enough surface space for cooking and are able to access the meat to turn it, flip it, etc. This would be very difficult with a stock pot. Also, most all outdoor/camping frying pans come with a non-stick surface to them which reduces the chances of you burning your food while cooking over your propane stove or wood fire. This is most certainly a plus. Not only that, but the frying pan has really the “go to” cook ware for Americans for as long as you care to look back. From today’s weekend camper to the Old West Cowboys who pioneered this land, the frying pan was one piece of equipment that almost everyone carried. It has withstood the tests of time and, for the most part, has remained completely unchanged in its design. I’d say that’s good enough for me.
If you’re looking to get one that is non-stick, light weight, has a foldable handle, and is large enough to cook for a family, I recommend going to your local Walmart or Fred Myers and picking up the Coleman 12″ Non-Stick Frying Pan. It has done me and my family well on every camping trip that we have used it and it also slides in the emergency pack quite nicely. Get one or something similar. Cost – $16.00
3. Can Opener – When we discussed stable foods for your emergency supplies in “Prepping on $20 a Paycheck – Part 5 of 24“, we provided you a list of your 6 best options when it came to nutrition and survivability. One of those 6 options we discussed was canned goods. While we did recommend finding the canned goods with “pull-top” lids, not all manufacturers use them in their canning process. Therefore picking up a dedicated can opener is a must. Even if you had all “pull-top” cans or even no canned goods at all, you would still want to have a can opener in the event that you later acquire some canned goods through foraging, bartering, or relief efforts. Ideally, you should already have a can opener on the multi-tool that you picked up during Part 15 & 16 of this series, but the rule of redundancy says have another can opener anyways. The camping/military style stores flat, weighs less than an ounce, and could save you a lot of headache. I’ve seen them sell for as little as 49 cents a piece, but for the sake of keeping even numbers, I’ll just round the price up. Cost – $1.00
4. Plastic Silverware – Well, if you are any good at math you will have figured out that a $3 propane cylinder, a $16 frying pan, and a $1 can opener add up to a full $20. Why then are we still having you pick up more stuff? Well, two reasons. 1) You need it. 2) It’s free.
Fact: you need to get food from frying pan to mouth. You could use and store real silverware, but I highly recommend not doing this. They weigh too much and cleaning them will take time and effort you don’t have in a real disaster situation. That is, if you have access to clean water, soap, and have the free time to clean them. Not cleaning them or not cleaning them thoroughly can result in many stomach problems and oral diseases, including trench mouth, which manifests itself in the form of swollen gums, oral ulcers, and a great deal of pain. Why risk this at a time when so much more might already be at risk because of disaster. To prevent this, we recommend keeping an ample supply of plastic silverware.
Why and how are these not costing you a dime? Well, if you are diligent in your acquisition of these, they will be free. But you have to be on top of your game every time you are out of the house. Let me explain: plastic silverware is everywhere. Almost every store or restaurant you enter gives it away. As a matter of fact, it is so value-less that everyplace that has it literally just leaves it out for the taking. There is no accountability for this product because it is cheap and stated plainly: no one cares what happens to it. This is my suggestion: Take one.
Take one every time you see them. If you are at McDonalds and you order a cheeseburger, ask for a fork and a knife when you place your order. When you are grabbing your napkins, grab a plastic spoon. No matter what you order in any drive-through, request a set of plastic silverware with your order. I assure you that you will get a set. You will because the 16 year old girl working behind the counter doesn’t care. And neither does her manager. When you are at Subway and you are grabbing a straw for your drink, take a pack of plastic silverware. In the morning when you are eating a continental breakfast at a hotel, take one extra piece of plastic ware home with you. When ordering food at your grocery store deli-counter, grab one of their plastic forks. Don’t be selfish. Don’t be rude. Don’t be extreme. Remember, my suggestion is “Take one.” Not take a dozen. Over a short period of time you can acquire a more than adequate supply to stock your emergency backpack. They may not all match, but it’s better than paying for them. And it’s WAY better than getting trench mouth. Cost – $0.00
Total Cost – $20.00
I hope you found the information in this portion of “Prepping on $20 a Paycheck” interesting and useful. More importantly, I hope you put it to good use. If you enjoyed this article or this series, let us know. We would love the encouragement.
The Ready Center