Mountain House order

Hey, check it out..a filtered post! This post is filtered to about two dozen people……

Im putting in an order with Mountain House next week for #10 cans of various freeze drieds. Since Ive got dealer status with them they wind up being fairly affordable. I’ll be putting in an order Friday (Nov. 10) and if anyone wants to get in on it, youre welcome to do so as long as we can agree on some basic guidelines:

All orders have to be for a complete case (thats 6 cans). MH won’t sell #10 cans individually, you have to buy them by the 6-pack. If you really don’t want 6 cans of Beef Stew maybe you can find someone to split a case with. If Person A orders a case of Beef Stew and Person Y orders a case of Chili Mac and agree to split them then I will break the cases apart upon request and send them on as 3 of one, 3 of the other. This filter is open to about two dozen people whom I feel comfortable doing this for but I won’t mention names for opsec. If you want to see if someone wants to split a case of something, make a comment and check the other comments. I’ll leave it to you two (or three, or whatever) to work out the distribution.

Everything has to be paid up front. Sorry guys I know it sounds like a scam but I simply cant buy all this stuff outta my own pocket on the strength of an email that says “Hey, get me a case of XYZ and I’ll send you $75 next week.” Wish I could, but I can’t. You can either send a money order made out to ‘WBC’ to me at the PO Box 998 Missoula MT 59806-0998 address, you can PayPal to or if youre a really trusting soul you can email me credit card info( # and exp date). Keep in mind, on credit cards and PayPal theres fees involved so tack on another 3%. I’m doing this at cost, so Im not making any money off this.

Shipping is $5 from MH to my bunker. From there, its whatever the cheapest method is. Easiest way is for me to email you the shipping price once I have whatever it is you want sitting here boxed up. Keep in mind the average #10 can weighs about 3# so a six pack of them will weigh around 20#. Given the discount you’ll be getting on the food, even with shipping it twice you’ll still be way, way, way ahead of the curve.

This is between us paranoid whackos, okay? If youre Uncle Steve wants in on it then you deal with it with him and tack it along on your own order. I would prefer not to get emails that start with “You dont know me but …. told me I could get some food from you.”

If we can agree on all that, then lets continue…

I’ll place the order on Friday Nov. 10. As of today MH informs me they are in stock on all of their #10 items, so there shouldnt be any problems. If something is unavailble, you get your money back…I dont want to make a career out of this.

Figure the usual “week to ten days’ for shipping to Bunkertopia and then another week once you get the email that says “Hey, your muinchies are here. It’ll be $13.55 to ship ’em to you by USPS or UPS”

Prices are, essentially, 50% of retail for the #10 cans. The pouches, which I can also get, BTW, are not discounted as heavily. I wasn’t planning on ordering any pouches (they are listed at five yeras for shelf life rather than the 20+ on the cans) However, if you really want the pouches, email me with the flavors you want and I’ll get back to you.


I see by the note on the refrigerator that its time to buy more batteries. For the longest time I’ve tried to standardize batteries. The commonly used sizes are AAA, AA, D and 9v (which probably do have a letter designation…Im just not feeling its particularly necessary at the moment). Theres also those nifty little lithium batts which are, I believe, designated CR123. (And, yeah, theres the AAAA and other size batts but the operative word here is ‘commonly’.)

I have tried to streamline my battery needs to just ‘D’ and ‘AA’. There are things in the house, such as tv remotes and smoke detectors, that run on different sized batts but for the preparedness stuff I try to limit it to those two sizes. (The one glaring exception is the damn Seismic Intrusion Detectors which run on 9v. but I could always rig something up, I suppose…) Makes it easier to store spares and allows more interchangeability if I have to ‘borrow’ batteries from one device to run another. (Which has happened…a few months back I discovered my GPS batts were dead and I took the 4 AA’s outta my Streamlight. Since then, I carry six spare AA batts in my bag. An empty Altoids tin, lined with bubble wrap, holds six spare AA batts securely. The bubble wrap keeps em quiet and keeps em from grounding out on the metal case.)

Unfortunately, my perfect world of Only Two Battery Sizes has been disrupted by the need for the lithium CR123’s to power me and the girlfriends tactical lights. On the bright side, they don’t need replacing that often since they are infrequently used and the spares will keep a nice long time.

I’ve been very taken with the lithium AA’s and use them in my GPS and radios. Flashlights get along just fine on run of the mill Duracells. (Esp. with the LED models of lights that have lower power requirements.) Being much more tolerant of extreme temperatures, they are an excellent choice for flashlights that youre going to leave in your truck all summer/winter. Lithium 9v can be found at Home Depot for use in smoke detectors. Still having difficulty finding lithium D’s anywhere but online. And, yeah, theyre spendy but they have a shelf life of ten years with minimal power loss and can handle being left in a glove compartment all winter…that’s worth it to me.

I’ve been buying Duracell AA and D batteries up at Costco in 36 and 24 packs, respectively. I try to keep at least one or two packages on hand at all times and as I go through batteries, I use up the stored ones. In this way they get rotated out and I always have at least one pack of reasonably fresh ones available.

Rechargeables are, of course, an option. Rechargeables, however, are only a good idea when you have a means to recharge them and most circumstances when Im likely to be going through batteries are circumstances where electricity is probably not available. Fortunately the internet is full of DIY solar battery charging plans and these are in the future at some point. Then again, I’ve got several Baygen radios and lights stocked away as well so battery recharging is a fairly low priority. For extended power loss situations its worth getting into, but for the short term (less than a week) I figure Im served with a couple dozen extras.

There are also, by the way, battery ‘inserts’ that let you use a smaller size battery in your gear. They let you use C in a D, AA in a C, etc, etc. Usefull for when youre scrounging batteries but a simple grasp of basic electronics tells you that some wire and electrical tape will let you rig any AA, C, D or 9v. device to run off different batteries.

Fortunately, most of the really cool toys run on AA or D…big MagLites, MiniMags, FRS radios, portable AM/FM radios, etc, etc. The small Photon microlights run on small ‘coin’ batteries but I’ve yet to actually run down the battery in one. At $5 per light its almost cheaper to just have extra lights rather than extra batteries for it. On the other hand, I could always cannibalize batteries for it out of a digital watch.

So, if you’ve got a handful of ‘essential’ electronic gizmos that run on batteries you might wanna think about getting them all on board in the battery compatability department.

Winter, Jericho, battlezero

Drove to Helena Friday and ran into a patch of hideous weather. Was heading east on I-90 and sailed right into a horribly intense storm of sleet and slush. Even with the wipers at full tilt the visibility was almost nil. I thought about pulling off to the side of the road and waiting it out, since in Montana the weather changes about every fifteen minutes or so, but figured if I was careful I’d make it through. As it turns out, I was fine. Several other drivers, however, did not fare as well and interestingly all the cars I saw in ditches were of the four-wheel-drive kind. This confirms the fact that 4WD does not make you invincible and tends to make many people overconfident. There is no substitute for caution.

Since the weather hasn’t been truly winterlike I hadn’t thrown anything in the back of the truck to give some weight over the tires. That’s gonna change this weekend. Also, I hadn’t really left any dedicated winter gear in the truck. Oh, there was a blanket and a parka but that was about it. Fortunately, I had my Bag O’ Tricks with my everyday gear in it so I’d have had water, light, first aid, a radio, spare batts, and the other essentials. Nonetheless, I need to go and put together another just-in-case box like I set the girlfriend up with last week. She’d been getting rides back and forth to Helena with a classmate. However the classmate has no emergency gear in the vehicle and has on one occasion let the gas gauge get dangerously low. So, I threw together a Rubbermaid tote with some MRE’s and heaters, water, sleeping bag, flashlight and batts, lightsticks, and a few other goodies for her. Also a Blitz can with five gallons of stabilized gas. Ideally, I’ll get all of this stuff back when classes are over in December and maybe by then the other gal will have her own gear together. In the meantime, Im a little bit more relaxed knowing the girlfriend can sit out the night by the side of the road if things get just too undriveable.
Jericho stuff

Pop. Mech., gas, CZ550, winter, grain stockpiles

Man, I am lovin’ my subscription to Popular Mechanics. For the McGuyver/BurtGummer types like me this thing is incredible. The articles are, obviously, great (last issue was pebble-bed nuclear reactors and this issue is about hydrogen fuel production) but whats really cool are the advertisements. New tools and devices out there that I’d otherwise never know about. Example: the new Crescent wrench that replaces the old and slow dial adjustment for jaw width with a new, speedy slider. Must have. And Dickies workgear (the poor man’s Carharts) has their ‘Arctic Shield’ line of work wear which incorporates “patented RE-tain lining, a thin yet heat resistant barrier that captures up to 97% of body heat with no added bulk to restrict movement.” Hmmm…gonna have to go try one on.

Yay for information.
Gasoline dropped another seven cents overnight. Average around town is $2.38/regular.
Had my buddy, the 1000-yard competitor, measure my uber-group from the last outing with my CZ. Five shots into .512” at 100 yards. Love me that CZ. (By the by, dealer price on that CZ550 ‘Varmint’ w/ the H-S Precision Kevlar stock is around $650. The Leupold scope can be found used at most gun shows for around $100. So for $750 a fella can get a pretty darn good rifle and not have to hock his armored car.)
Although the daytime temps here in western Montana are close to 55-65 degrees, the nighttime (and pre-dawn) temps are close to 35 degrees less. Time to fill the kerosene heaters and dig out the parkas. Montana has some enormous temperature swings and you can really have a summer-like daytime and a bitter arctic evening…especially in the higher-ups. We did, after all, have a blizzard on the Fourth Of July one year.
In timely news, didja know the worlds grain stockpiles are at their lowest in 25 years?

MagLite, force multiplying, DPRK, Jericho musings

Picked up the latest incarnation of the ubiquitous MagLite today. This is the new LED MagLite (~$35). Its major difference from the usual MagLites is that it uses a 3-watt LED lamp rather than the krypton or incandescent bulbs we normally use. Advantages are increased battery life and a much, much greater resistance to shock. (We’ve all had a situation where we’ve dropped a flashlight and it goes out, right? That’s the filament in the bulb breaking from the shock of impact. Not an issue with LED.) Additionally, bulb life is greatly(!!) enhanced. The only other change I could discern other than the bulb was the reflector…it was more rounded and ‘egg shaped’ than the usual ‘funnel shaped’ reflector. I’ll be taking this and a ‘normal’ MagLite out tonight to try them out in the dark and see how they perform. A ‘conversion kit’ is also offered to allow you to retrofit your existing MagLite to LED. It’s the wave of the future, gang. Flashlights with filament bulbs are going to be right up there with rotary dial phones very soon.
The fold of local LMI’s may be increasing with the anticipated relocation of some folks I know. Its always nice to have people to hang out with, go to the range, and otherwise be yourself around….esp. when they don’t think its weird to have conversations about MRE’s, freeze-dried foods, alternate energy supplies, battle packs of ammo and gold coins.
North Korea is saying theyre going to have a nuclear test going on sometime soon. This country couldn’t successfully launch a couple missles a few months ago. If they cant even get the delivery system to work….

I’d be surprised if those idiots have a working nuke and I’d be more surprised if they had enough to be able to afford setting a couple off for ‘testing purposes’. On the bright side, perhaps it’ll malfunction and take out the ruling government.

In reality, this is just a ploy to get international aid. “Give us money and food or we’ll start building nukes”. Things in that particular workers paradise aren’t as rosy as they’d like and it seems that short of welcoming capitalism the only way to relieve the suffering (and perhaps stave off a popular revolt?) is to extort international aid. I say let ‘em starve.
New tag added for Jericho
Jericho spoilage

Oatmeal deal, Jericho fantasy episode

Sweet little deal going on at my local Albertsons. Varios Quaker food products are on sale. You know those packets of instant oatmeal? Well, theyre normally around $4.89 for a box of 10 packets…but this week theyre 10 for $15.00..but if you have their little preferred customer card its another $5 off…bringing it to $1 per box. Nice, eh? And the really cool part…same deal on Cap’n Crunch. Gonna get my crunch on!

The oatmeal will be removed from the cardboard box, the individual packets will be tossed into a vacuum bag, sealed and sent to the Big Nap in the cupboard. Between the dehydrated eggs, oatmeal, canned hash, pancake mix, canned fruit and Tang drink mix (Not to be confused with ‘tang…an edible of a completely different nature) I can whip up a pretty decent breakfast the day after the bombs fall. But, the stuff is also excellent for camping trips and the like. Plus, at a dollar a box how can you go wrong? Those wastes of skin in the ‘poor skills’ community should worship me as some sort of god.
I have the third episode of ‘Jericho’ “Alas Babylon: The Series” waiting for me on the Tivo. Fantasy episode: Burt Gummer picks up a hitchhiking Sarah Connor and stops in Jericho for gas and batteries for his radio controlled graboid-detonating trucks. Gummer Is having problems with the remote control while Connor is pumping gas and flexing, fortunately McGuyver pulls up in his jeep and fixes the remote control using some gum wrappers and leftover parts from a T100 that Connor was saving as ‘proof’. The three of them hit it off fabulously and are comparing notes on how to stretch out fifteen minutes of fame when George Peppard and Jan-Michael Vincent show up in their Landmaster and completely ruin the moment by asking for ‘a whole lotta cockroach killing bug spray’.

Yeah, now that’d be cool.


Gas was down another four cents today so I swapped out some of the stored gas.

Currently, I keep fuel in two different containers: Longterm (one year or longer) fuel goes in the standard metal Blitz jerrycan. Shortterm (less than a year, usually six months between rotations) fuel goes in 5- or 6-gallon plastic cans. Larger containers do have their place but they are less easily transported…and I really like to have all my gear in a form that allows it to be hurriedly heaved into the back of a vehicle. A 40# gas can is a lot easier to handle than a 400# drum.

The military uses the Military Fuel Can (MFC) as manufactured by (and available from) Scepter of Canada. These are nice cans but they are plastic. A very heavy, very durable plastic, but still… My concerns with plastic are its expansion in temperature ranges (expansion/contraction when left in the heat/cold), the ‘off gassing’ through the porous plastic material, degradation from sun exposure, and resistance to puncture.

I worry less about these things with the metal cans but they aren’t without their drawbacks either. First off is the cost. The plastic cans from Blitz or Briggs and Stratton are ridiculously cheap. About $6 or less. A metal can goes for about 5-6 times that. The metal Blitz cans seem to have ‘issues’ with the paint coming off rather easily. Keep in mind that youre supposed to have your gas cans colored bright red, so while I don’t care if the paint comes off since I can just degrease the whole can and paint it a nice flat OD, such would be, in the eyes of .gov, ‘wrong’. Mala per se versus mala prohiba.
One other nice thing about the metal cans is they lend themselves to being locked. (Although there are locking racks for plastic ones) You can fab up a locking arrangement fairly easily or just buy some aftermarket lock-up kit. When traveling long distances, I leave the cans in the back of the truck with a cable lock running through them but I put the cans in the backseat of the truck if stopping overnight (and with the metal cans, this leaves no lingering gas smell in the vehicle.)

Both styles of cans use spouts that affix to the main large opening in the can. Here’s where more headaches start. Even with everything going well, these things drain slowly. Mind numbingly slow. Like an 85-year-old-man-at-a -urinal kind of slow. You stand there and think to yourself “It only took me 90 seconds to put 5 gallons of gas in at the pump, whys it taking me fifteen minutes here?”. One reason, your fuel can is gravity feed versus electrically pumped. Another is the venting of the cans to allow air to enter and gasoline to leave without creating a vacuum (which, I am sure, has a technical or scientific term to describe it.) A very nice end run around these problems is simply to get a funnel. Most automotive sections at WalMart, Kmart or whathaveyou will have long plastic funnels made for just this sort of thing. The ones I got were also made by Blitz, a buck each, and I paracorded one to each plastic gas can. (Although the gas cans come with their own nozzles that are hit/miss in terms of efficiency.) With the funnel, things go much faster and being able to quickly fill your vehicle can come in mighty handy…esp. when you don’t want others to see that you have ‘extra’ fuel.

The two big choices these days for gas stabilizers are PRI-G and Sta-bil. As we all know, gasoline degrades over time as various additives and whatnot evaporate out or start to change. By adding a gasoline stabilizer you extend the ‘shelf life’ of your fuel. PRI-G claims that their additive will actually recover ‘bad’ gas and make it more palatable than it would otherwise be to your vehicle. I’d read other reviews of PRI-G and have been using it, although Stab-il is much easier to find in pretty much every auto store. The girlfriend got me a large (enough to do 512 gallons) bottle of PRI-G about two years ago and I’ve been pleased with it, although I do also have some Stab-il on hand.

As usual, when handling stuff like gasoline you want to observe some minimum safety precautions like ‘keep it outta your eyes, off your clothes and vehicle, and try not to breath it in’. A pair of gloves and safety goggles, kept in your truckbox, is never a bad idea…yeah, you’ll look like a dork but when youre staggering around clutching your eyes and trying to find a garden hose you’ll wish to hell you’d cared less about looking cool. A couple of those little ‘pocket packs’ of bleach wipes (whcih, btw, you should always have in your pack or bag…they make using public bathrooms alot less germtacular. Seriously.) or babywipes is also handy for getting the inevitable smell of gas off your hands.

How much fuel to keep on hand is a strictly personal choice…much like ‘how much ammo/food/gold/condoms do you need?’. I’ll offer my opinion. Many of us will probably stay pretty close to home in a crisis, but think of the furthest distant place you are likely to go to if you were to leave during a crisis…Unlce Billys farm, your hunting cabin in the hills, etc. Calculate the miles and mileage of your vehicle. Have enough gas to make two complete round trips. Why? Because youre gonna spend a lot of time idling in traffic (if youre unlucky enough to get caught in one of those county-length traffic jams), youre likely going to have to detour and take alternate routes that may be longer than ‘the usual way’, and you may find it useful for bartering or sharing (if youre inclined towards that sort of thing).

And fer cryin’ out loud, try to refuel where no one can see you. In a crisis theres a few things that are going to immediately be high demand (‘high demand’ as in ‘give me your [item] or I’ll kill you’) and fuel is one of them. (Others include ammo, water, food, etc). So get off the main drag, find an out of the way spot away from prying eyes and do it there. Try to cover or hide the fuel cans so the stranded and desperate motorists don’t get any ideas. And, of course, think about exactly what youre going to do when someone says ‘Screw you, I need gas and I’m taking yours’.

Obviously if youre planning on running a generator youre going to want to keep as much fuel as necessary for that as well. Always try to store more than you need. And don’t forget to sock away some oil as well. All the gas in the world won’t help if the engine is seized because you ran your genny for three days with low oil pressure. (Side note: portable generators can become very portable in a crisis if you don’t chain them to a solid object. Store some heavy duty chain and a user-programmable combination lock. [No keys to lose or to have to share. Come up with an easily remembered combo, maybe the last four digits on the serial number plate, and share it with those who need to know it. Keys get lost or there aren’t enough to go around.)