Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Apparently the fates have seen fit to completely skip the autumnal season and head straight into fall here in western Montana. Its been downright chilly here the last few evenings. This particular region of Montana is, for whatever reason, one of the warmest. We refer to ourselves as the Banana Belt, so if its cold here its damn cold everywhere else. So the cold winter gear comes out of storage, the hats and coats and gloves are moved to the closet for use, and the cold weather gear goes into the truck.
When I was younger and a bit newer to this whole preparedness things I would spend a lot of time wandering gun shops dreamily fantasizing about all the awesome firepower I would someday accumulate in the name of ‘survivalism’. (Back then the term was ‘survivalism’ before the term got clouded with other less-than-flattering connotations. Nowadays we use the less dramatic ‘preparedness’) But, as time goes by and your ideas about what you really need and want to prepare for develop, you find that the Ahern-esque arsenals might be a bit less important than some of the other staples. Case in point: I now show the same level of enchantment and daydreaming when I prowl the aisles at the local super WallyWorld. Cases and cases of food, pouches of meat, mountains of canned goods, food and drink mixes, toilet paper and paper towels by the gorss, batteries by the pound, and every other item necessary to keep from starving to death.

It’s just my personal opinion, and its worth whatever you pay for it, but I think when your focus and fascination shifts from firearms to foodstuffs you’ve crossed a maturity threshold in your attitude towards preparedness.

While I derive a great deal of satisfaction from a gun safe full of firearms and cases of ammo, I get an even larger amount of satisfaction from the stockpile of food and other essentials. Not saying the boomsticks aren’t important…they help to keep that mountain of food MY mountain of food…just that it seems the cases of soup and canned vegetables may come in to play long before the cases of 7.62×39.

In many of the after action reports out of Katrina there are plenty of cases of people using guns but nothing that required copious applications of ammo. There were, however, plenty of tales of people needing plenty of food. While Joe Average may have loosed ten or twenty rounds over the course of a couple weeks, he used far more food than he did ammo.

And this is why, though we have plenty of firepower on hand for pretty much any eventuality, I probably derive more peace of mind from the stored food than the stored armaments. (Of course, when you couple the two together it really pegs the needle on the ol’ Satisfaction-O-Meter.)
As it stands now, I’m fairly satisfied with the level of preparedness that the missus and I enjoy. (And we do enjoy it. We both feel a good bit more secure and relaxed knowing that we have the things we need to ride out the bad times.) This isn’t to say that there aren’t things that I still think we should have, but I think that in a Katrina-style disaster, with its several weeks of chaos following, with just what we have at the moment we would come through it just fine. There’d be security, communications, food, fuel, light, water, sanitation and everything else we’d need to thumb our noses at the .gov.

This isn’t to say that we have everything I want. I’m always willing to add more ammo, more arms, more freeze drieds, more money and more food to the current inventory, and at some point a generator and a nice place out in the boonies will need to be acquired…but we’ve certainly achieved what you could call a ‘minimum acceptable’ level. Enough to easily handle any hurricane, blizzard, ice storm, infrastructure failure, outbreak or civil disturbance.

But, as I said, there’s always room for improvement.
A local source came to me the other day with a bunch of these for sale:

Formerly used to hold fruit juice, im tempted to pick up one or two and see how difficult they are to clean out. If worst comes to worst, I can always cut them in half and use them as planters in the spring. Be nice to have an extra 50 gallons or so of potable water around.