12 Foods I Keep In My Car At All Times

Rich M.
By Rich M. June 21, 2019 06:31

12 Foods I Keep In My Car At All Times

Being prepared means being prepared all the time; at least in my book it does. That can be a bit challenging at times, especially since we don’t really know what life is going to throw our way. That’s why I always carry a complete survival kit as part of my EDC, along with emergency equipment in my car. This includes a variety of food items, so that I always have something to eat with me.

Granted, there are few places where you can drive in this great land of ours, where you aren’t going to find food to eat. Even so, I’ve been in a few. I’ve also been stranded in my car a number of times, whether because of mechanical failure or simply being stuck in traffic. At those times, it’s nice to have something to eat, especially something for the kids to eat. They just don’t understand phrases like, “There isn’t a McDonald’s here in the middle of nowhere.”

Keeping food in your car can also help out with a number of other emergency and semi-emergency situations, such as low blood sugar, heat exhaustion and just low energy. So it really makes sense to keep food in the car, even if you’re not thinking bug out or getting stranded. Now the only question is, what to keep? Here are the types of things I find useful to keep in mine.

Water

12 Foods I Keep In My Car At All TimesI always start out by putting a couple of gallons of water in the car. I know some people prefer to use bottles, but I find that I can carry more water in less space, if I use gallons. If I need to drink that water, I can easily pour it into water bottles; but if I need to use it for the car, gallons are more convenient.

The water bottle in this picture is aluminum. I always use metal water bottles, because they can be put in the fire. So, I can use this water bottle to purify water, to heat up water for coffee and to heat up water for soup. That’s a whole lot better than using a plastic water bottle and needing to have something extra for heating up water.

Gatorade Powder

12 Foods I Keep In My Car At All TimesI live in a hot part of the country, so it’s not unusual to overheat and become dehydrated from sweating too much. Many people deal with that here by drinking copious amounts of Gatorade. Carrying liquid Gatorade in bottles is one option, but it takes up space. Since I’m carrying water anyway, I tend to carry the powdered Gatorade, rather than the bottles.

Of course, the container of powdered Gatorade is pretty large too; about the size of a number 10 can. So for the car, I just dump some of it into a labeled. This jar held pickles at one time, until I cleaned it out and repurposed it for my Gatorade. A plastic container would work too.

You might want some instant coffee, as well as your Gatorade, especially if you do a lot of driving at night. With the metal water bottle and a way to start fires, you’ll be all set to make yourself a cup of coffee, even if you are in the middle of nowhere.

Jerky

12 Foods I Keep In My Car At All TimesMy favorite snack food is jerky. Nutritious, low calorie and it is meat; what more could you ask for? The American Indians made jerky as survival food and our early ancestors learned that from them. While there are other places in the world which make something similar, our jerky tradition goes back to those early Indians.

Jerky also provides you with something that you can make a meal out of. Mix it with Ramen noodles and come dried veggies and you’ve got a fairly decent soup; something that can keep you going and warm you up on a cold night.

Just remember that you will need to replace your jerky periodically, if you don’t eat it. Heat will draw the oils out of it, drying it even farther.

Ramen & Dried Vegetables

12 Foods I Keep In My Car At All TimesGood old Ramen is the college staple. I think every college student goes through a time when they live off of it. It’s a great source of carbohydrates to give you energy to keep you going. Mix it with some cut up jerky and some dehydrated vegetables and you can have a much heartier soup.

This kind of Ramen comes with the dried vegetables already mixed in. I usually dry my own, but I’m out of them until harvest time, so I bought the kind that comes with veggies. While a bit more expensive, it really doesn’t cost all that much. Besides, it comes with a cup to mix it in.

Related: How To Cook In A Cactus

Dry Fruit

12 Foods I Keep In My Car At All TimesSpeaking of carbohydrates, fruit is another excellent source for them. If you have someone with low blood sugar, giving them fruit is much safer than giving them a candy bar. The natural fructose sugar is much easier for the body to digest and won’t shock their system like candy will.

Dried fruit also provides you with something that’s easy to take along, if you have to leave your car for any reason; whether due to emergency, taking a hike or for work. A bag of dried fruit in your pocket can keep away hunger pains for the whole afternoon.

Related: How To Build A Solar Dehydrator

Canned Fruit

12 Foods I Keep In My Car At All TimesCanned fruit, like dried fruit, is a great source of carbohydrates and sugar. Some people prefer it. I wouldn’t want to carry this around in a backpack, due to the extra weight; but last I checked, that much weight isn’t going to bother anyone’s car.

These mandarin oranges and applesause are “canned” in plastic cups, with foil lids. That works well for short-term canning; but not for long-term (more than a year). The plastic might release some chemicals into the fruit during hot times, so you want to be careful about that. Even so, canned fruit can be much more refreshing than dried when you need something to eat.

Granola Bars

12 Foods I Keep In My Car At All TimesI’m almost as big a fan of granola bars for emergency food as I am of jerky. It’s worth spending the money to buy the better brands, even though they are considerably more expensive. But the amount of nutrition you get from those better brands makes them worth the money.

Granola bars are great, in that they are an ideal pick-me-up sort of snack, packing a lot of carbohydrates into a small amount of food. Watch out for the ones with chocolate or yoghurt, as those ingredients can melt, making a mess for you to deal with.

Nuts & Sunflower Seeds

12 Foods I Keep In My Car At All TimesNuts are a good source of both fats and protein. Of all the nutrients we eat, protein is one of the most important, as the body can’t really synthesize it well, without having consumed proteins to break down into amino acids. Fats digest slower than carbohydrates, providing you with long-term energy to burn. Eating a combination of fats and carbohydrates together will keep you going for hours.

I always keep sunflower seeds on hand, as well. Like nuts, they provide you with protein and fats, but they also do something else; they help keep you awake. If you’re driving long distances, especially at night, eating sunflower seeds while you are driving will keep you active enough that you can probably keep driving all the way through the night.

Hard Candies & Gum

12 Foods I Keep In My Car At All TimesThese might be a bit surprising, but I have good reason for keeping them in my car. First of all, hard candies are great for that quick burst of sugar, when you need some energy. They’re a whole lot safer to eat than taking energy drinks too. But they also work to help you if you have a sore throat and don’t have any throat lozenges around. Sometimes, I just carry the throat lozenges, and use them as hard candy.

Peppermint is also useful for settling an upset stomach or relieving pain. Peppermint essential oil is one of the best ways to relieve headaches there is. So if you’re in pain, have a headache or have indigestion, mints are nice to have.

The gum isn’t as much for use as candy, as it is for relieving the pressure in your ears, when changing altitude quickly. If you’ve spent any time traveling by air or in the mountains, you’re familiar with the need to pop your ears every once in a while. Chewing gum helps with that. It can also help to keep you awake while driving at night, just like the sunflower seeds.

Breakfast Cereal

12 Foods I Keep In My Car At All TimesThis is for the kiddies. If you have small children, breakfast cereals, especially sweet breakfast cereals are one of the easiest ways of quieting them down, when they are hungry. Not only do they like the taste, but they like eating the cereal out of these cool little containers. Yeah, you can put it in baggies too; but for the price, these are worth it.

Doritos

12 Foods I Keep In My Car At All TimesMany people have touted Doritos as a fire starter. Actually, what they are is a good tinder for a fire.

The combination of the dried corn and the oils they are cooked in, make the chips burn well. You can even ignite the with a spark, let alone using a flame to get them going.

If you don’t need them for a fire, I suppose you can always eat them. Doritos, like any other chips, are a good source of carbohydrates.

Being made of corn, rather than potato, they probably digest a little slower; so they’ll help you feel full longer, than if you were just eating potato chips.

Spices

12 Foods I Keep In My Car At All TimesThis is another one that you might think is a bit strange; but there is good reason for it.

Whether you’re in an actual survival situation or you’re just stranded somewhere, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up eating things that you might otherwise not want to eat.

But when you’re hungry, you go for what’s available, right?

But that doesn’t mean that you have to choke it down if you don’t like it. Rather, bring some spices with you, so that you can make it more appealing. It’s amazing what you can do with just a few spices, especially if they are stronger flavors that you like.

Both of the container styles shown below were bought on eBay.

The ones with the red stoppers are small test tubes and the others are just miniature containers. I wrote on them with a Sharpie marker and I’d recommend covering that with tape, so that the marking doesn’t wipe off. Put the closed containers in a small zipper bag, so that nothing can rub against the lids and open them.

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Rich M.
By Rich M. June 21, 2019 06:31
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74 Comments

  1. Deb June 21, 14:18

    Thank you, I was stranded last week with car failure in the mountains and I’ve been thinking about this. Now I know what to do.

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  2. Saal June 21, 14:34

    One additional tip on the good ol’ Ramen. From my good SERE days – the spice pack is a great for enhancing less desirable, but higher protein food.

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    • scrooster July 3, 21:38

      Author obviously doesn’t live in the South. Half that stuff would spoil inside of a week in this heat … it hit 112 Real Feel today here in SC.

      Jerky, okay, if super dry and vacuum packed.
      Water, absolutely. Along with a good survival straw or pump filter.
      Hard candy … it melts. Glucose tablets are better.
      Granola bars, okay if vacuum packed and rotated.
      Breakfast cereals … good one.
      Canned or vacuum packed fruit, excellent provided they are regularly rotated.
      Dried fruit, excellent provided it is freeze dried or vacuum packed. Also raisins and dried cranberries are excellent just be sure to rotate.
      Spices … yeah, okay, sure. What are you cooking?
      Chips … no, just no. Vacuum packed peanut butter crackers would be better provided they are rotated.

      If you are cooking, if you have a can or pot, why not include rice and lentils to go with those spices? Unaffected by heat and cooks fairly quickly. A clear water bottle full of rice and one of lentils provides a ton of calories … a couple of meals.

      Drink mixes … there are a myriad of sugary electrolyte prepackaged drink mixes to be had that add calories and electrolytes plus some even have protein. My favorite is SuperMix Moringa Oleifera Blend by CORE ZIJA. Also, Emergency-C offers up a very good single serving pack that you can buy in bulk. It doesn’t hurt to include a package or two of vacuum packed Whey Powder that can be mixed with anything to add protein.

      Calories, protein and fluids!

      Also, none of it will help if you can’t pack it up and hump to safety or home so Walmart sells a little compact back pack that bundles into a small ball about the size of an orange. Keep it with your food. And whenever possible package food inside of aluminum bottles so that they can be reused for water or cooking. The aluminum beer bottles work great.

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      • left coast chuck July 4, 03:02

        What beer comes in aluminum beer bottles? I can only remember one, it was Asahi Beer and it came in an aluminum kegger type can with a screw top. I haven’t seen it in years. I still have that can as it is a good back up water bottle. It would also make a great bottle, as you pointed out to store rice, lentils, ramen, any number of dry food products.

        I guess I will have to scout out BevMo which is a big box liquor store here in the PDRK.

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        • Lenny July 8, 18:07

          uh, yeah. Beer comes in aluminum bottles in California. Budweiser and others.

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          • left coast chuck July 9, 17:24

            Yeah, but once you pop the top, you have an open container. By “aluminum beer bottles” I assumed he meant just that bottles with a screw-on top so that they were re-useable. While aluminum cans of all types have a multitude of secondary uses, convenient carrying of liquids any distance is low on that list. Yes, you can carry an aluminum can in your hand like a cup and actually use it as a cup for cooking or boiling water, but it is far handier to stick a bottle with a screw-on top in your pocket or the bottle pouch on your backpack.

            Reply to this comment
          • left coast chuck July 11, 00:38

            I spent 40 minutes in Bevmo which has six fifteen-foot long, six foot high shelving loaded on four sides with various beers, ales, meads and other types of brewed alcoholic beverages. The only screw-top containers I saw were Mickey’s Malt liquor in a wide-mouth, glass bottle with a screw top. Cock and Bull Ginger Beer in a 26 ounce can has a screw top but at $4.79 a can, it’s a little pricey to buy just for the can. According to the can your Moscow Mule isn’t real unless you use Cock & Bull Ginger Beer to make it.

            Grolisch has the clamp top but on glass bottles and a couple other imports have the same clamping top arrangement.

            I don’t ordinarily buy canned beer and so was surprised to see a different kind of container. The clerk told me it was the new, gentler, kinder, green-earth six-pack holder designed to save wildlife from itself. It has a solid top as opposed to the old ring arrangement. I won’t bother discussing significant deposits on the packaging to solve the “problem.”

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  3. Mad Fiddler June 21, 15:26

    Couple of thoughts to add, NOT CRITICISING (1) Might be good to have some foods stored in plastic jars NOT Glass. Or (2) Store breakable materials in a padded-Insulated box w separators. (3) Trunk of a sedan will stay cooler over long-term than the passenger compartment >> less rapid degrading of flavor & nutrition. (4) If you can place Oxygen absorbers WITH food inside sealed Mylar pouches, your stash will last longer. More important for some items than others.

    Not meaning to criticise; You are wise to do this, especially thinking about the emotional And nutritional needs of the children…

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  4. Northland June 21, 15:41

    Winter will freeze and rupture the water and fruit in the little plastic containers. Not just up here in the north, but in most of the USA except for way down south. (Georgia, Alabama and North Florida will experience freezing some.) Increase dried fruit. Water in 1/2 to 3/4 full stainless steel drink bottles from thrift store (they always have many). Will have to heat over fire or on engine block to melt the ice. Or add in a small metal pot, good knife to cut ruptured plastic bottle open the rest of the way and melt plastic bottle ice in small pot. Truck stop will carry cigarette lighter plug in immersion heater or same plug small pot. Powdered milk mixed with water plus raisins for the cold dry cereal.

    Reply to this comment
    • The Ohio Prepper June 21, 17:52

      Northland,

      Winter will freeze and rupture the water and fruit in the little plastic containers

      Those were my thoughts exactly, and even if they don’t burst, you’ll have a hard time drinking ice.
      I also carry a #10 can car heater. Take an empty #10 can with a lid and punch a row of holes around the outside of the bottom of the can. I use the pointed end of the typical church key can & bottle opener; but, other tools will do the trick.
      Place some candles and matches or lighter in the can, put the lid on, and stuck it in the back of your vehicle. In cold weather, this may be used to take the chill off of the vehicle if stick somewhere and not running; but, may also be used to warm up that metal water bottle and melt the ice into useable water.
      Along with hard candies & gum, we also keep some peanut butter crackers that can provide calories, carbohydrates and a bit of protein. As well as the small bags of Doritos, for eating, not for fire starting, for which we always have at least four methods on hand.
      Various Nuts & Sunflower Seeds are good to have on hand; but, in hot climates, the oil in these may turn rancid, so they need to be rotated and eaten to make sure they stay fresh.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Lil June 21, 15:43

    I live in Florida. Will those foods keep well in a car whose temperature may approach 125 degrees f?

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    • left coast chuck June 21, 17:40

      Insulate as I have recommended and then check it on a monthly basis to see if it has deteriorated. You can proceed on a less frequent basis when you gain some knowledge based on hands on experience.

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    • john June 22, 16:17

      keep a cooler in your car and store your food stash inside it it will keep temps far more regulated and your food stuffs will last much longer.

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  6. Jack June 21, 16:15

    I too, live in a very hot part of the country as well. I totally agree with being prepared for anything. I have found that the heat wrecks havoc on my food and water that is in the vehicle. Looking on your input on ideas to help prevent this issue. I’ve tried to keep things in an insulated container, just doesn’t work. Humidity changes, increased heat.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Freakie One June 21, 16:27

    You stated that you live in a hot climate. If you put those fruit cups in your car, they are going to explode and make a mess. Also, let some water out of your container and make sure it has a screw on lid or it will explode or leak.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck June 27, 02:05

      Freakie: Is this a hands-on-experience you have actually had with fruit cups exploding in your car or is it a rumor that somebody told you that somebody else had had it happen to them?

      I have had water containers in my car in the summer time and they have never leaked. The expansion rate of water isn’t enough to make them leak unless they are perhaps laying on their side and the caps aren’t tight. Even expansion with a bottle frozen solid, if handled carefully will not rupture the plastic bottle. I know that from hands on, first hand experience.

      Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis June 29, 23:52

      I’ve been keeping sealed plastic bottles of water in my truck for years, including weeks in hot desert conditions. Nome of them have ever leaked, never mind exploded. That isn’t something that’s ever going to happen unless the water actually boils, and if the weather is hot enough to boil water you’ll be dead anyway, so leaking bottles won’t matter.

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      • Long Ben July 2, 21:51

        Depends on the quality of the plastic container, thickness and type of plastic along with the type of closure (screw on or the tamp on type of lid with the little plastic strip that you pull to open it. The cheap wally world water $ .99 containers degrade rather quickly and will leak at the slightest provocation, be it a bump to the jug or if the jug is turned on it’s side (leaks out the lid. I seal the lids themselves with paraffin from one of those little crock pot pou porrie thingies, you can add paraffin as you go. Perhaps a better Jug like say an Ozark water for vehicular use in mild climates. I’ve accumulated 3 or 4 old stanley stainless thermos’es over the years, maybe these could be used, could even paraffin the stopper and the built in cup as well and strap them down in cab, toolbox or trunk to keep them from becoming missiles. Not forgetting the #10 can to boil the water, just in case.

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  8. tkw June 21, 16:58

    Have you ever thought about calorie rich fruit cake

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    • left coast chuck June 24, 18:34

      Fruit cake gets an undeserved bad rap. It is calorie dense and good quality fruit cake has lots of dried fruit and nuts in it. Unfortunately, I have never been able to accurately test the shelf life of fruit cake because it disappears around my house not very long after it arrives negating my attempts at measuring its self life.

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      • Dupin June 24, 21:54

        Agreed. A couple of good ones are the Collin Street Bakery fruit cakes (https://www.collinstreet.com), called the Baptist fruitcake by some, or if you want some with bourbon in it, The Abbey of Gethsemani makes a good one with Kentucky bourbon in it (https://www.gethsemanifarms.org). No clue on shelf life on either of them…for the same reason. I’m sure there are others out there as well, but those are the two I’m familiar with.

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      • The Ohio Prepper June 24, 23:24

        left coast chuck,

        Fruit cake gets an undeserved bad rap. It is calorie dense and good quality fruit cake has lots of dried fruit and nuts in it.

        I concur with your assessment; but, since many do not like it, I relieve them of the burden of choking it down. LOL

        Unfortunately, I have never been able to accurately test the shelf life of fruit cake because it disappears around my house not very long after it arrives negating my attempts at measuring its self life.

        It’s usually the same here; but, you can definitely make it last longer by adding a preservative, like rum and storing in the fridge or freezer.

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      • Dance Forever July 12, 05:14

        Fruit cake is truly undeserving of its poor reputation! It it an excellent food packed with high energy food sources and was used for centuries for storing dried fruits and dried diced meats over the long winters. I adapted a wonderful recipe from the original 1800’s Boston Cooking School Cookbook that I inherited from my grandmother. It took a while to get the proportions right because among other things, it called for “3 full glurgs of wine from a half full bottle.” I’ve always wondered who got the privilege of getting the bottle to the “half full” state! I ultimately worked this out to be 2/3 cup of good cream sherry. The recipe makes 6 pounds of fruit cake. I’ve tried different dried fruit combos over the years, but my favor “go to” combination uses diced dried fruits – pears, apricots, dates, figs, pineapple, and mango, plus pecan halves, along with all the usual holiday spices including ground mace. I also sometimes add dried condensed mincemeat. Once done, but while it is still hot from the oven, I drizzle good bourbon on it till it can’t absorb any more and let it sit out over night. The next day I wrap it up in foil and freeze it or put it in a tin. It’s good hot or cold, or even frozen! I call it “harvest cake” and all my family and friends love it, never realizing it’s really a fruit cake. The original cook book instructs the cook to pack the entire doused fruit cake in a thick 1″ layer of powdered sugar and then to wrap it snuggly in layers of cheese cloth and then store it in an airtight tin. Then once a year, the cook is to take the cake out, heat it back up and drizzle their choice of warmed spirits on it till can’t absorb any more (brandy, bourbon, rum, etc.) and after it dries over night to then pack it back up in fresh powdered sugar, wrap it back up in cheese cloth, and store it back in the tin. These steps are then repeated annually till eating it. The recipe advises that storing the cakes this way in a pantry will preserve them for eating for 20 years or more. I managed to store one this way for 5 years, before the family insisted on eating it and it tasted even better than a fresh baked one with a subtle rich, mellow flavor.

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  9. left coast chuck June 21, 17:35

    I live in SoCal. I wrap my food in several layers of newspaper before putting it in a styrofoam ice chest. While I don’t live in Fresno or Bakersfield where the heat can be a real challenge, my car sits out, so it gets really hot inside. I haven’t had any of the problems that have been mentioned. I use glass jars as opposed to plastic. Wrapping them in newspaper, besides insulating them, also acts as a padding for the jar so that it is less susceptible to breakage.

    You have to remember, when storing food that is storable, it isn’t like storing fresh food that will start to rot if it gets above a certain temperature. The jerky will last longer if its temperature only gets to 85 or 90° as opposed to 140° inside your trunk or your car. Same is true with freezing. Water won’t freeze the minute it hits 32°. The object of insulating and storing in an ice chest is to limit the extremes of heat.

    I also carry S.O.S. bars which are high calorie lifeboat emergency bars. They have a 5-year shelf life. I have eaten them way past the five years. They still tasted like what the package said they would taste like and they didn’t kill me or make me sick. I keep them wrapped in about an inch of newsprint on all sides to help their shelf life. They are a good source of compact, high calorie food. I use the food “food” advisably. I don’t think anyone would confuse them with a nice New York steak and baked potato with sour cream and chives.

    Another thing I include in my car is a woman’s urine jar. It used to be the aim of the California Highway Patrol to get traffic moving as quickly as possible after a collision or some other incident involving the free flow of traffic on our non-freeways. (With the gas tax we pay they most certainly aren’t “free”). Today it seems as if the emphasis is on generating as much overtime as possible. It is nothing to see folks stuck on the the highways for six or more hours. While guys might not mind relieving themselves by the side of the road in full view of hundreds of spectators, sometimes the ladies are somewhat hesitant to perform similarly, hence the lady’s urine jar. They are cheap and light and don’t take up much room.

    We just missed being stuck on the highway two weeks ago. A head-on collision took place just in front of us. we were able to avoid the car coming across the highway by using the shoulder which is quite wide at that point. The rest of our trip we didn’t see any traffic behind us and I later learned that the highway was closed for four hours in both directions. Had we stopped, we would have been unable to get off the highway as all the side roads in that area are eventual dead-ends. Had we been five or ten cars back, without that jar, my wife would have had to hold it for four hours. Maybe she could, maybe she couldn’t but with the jar in the car she wouldn’t have to. Make sure the lid is leakproof if you get one. They all are supposed to be but because they are cheap, quality control is somewhat sketchy.

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    • TheSouthernNationalist June 23, 13:40

      LLC, might help if you include a five gallon bucket, a roll of toliet paper and a 8×8 tarp to make a small shelter for the women folk to enter so they can do their business next to the car when stranded on the highway.

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      • TheSouthernNationalist June 23, 15:25

        Oh, dont forget the hand sanitizers

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      • left coast chuck June 24, 18:47

        Southern: We always have t.p. in the car, seat covers and hand sanitizer wipe. The condition of most of the “rest rooms” in the PDRK look and smell like the third world country this state has become.

        MacDonald’s have become the rest stop of choice while traveling the highways in the PDRK. They have more locations and are significantly cleaner. I always make it a point to buy a large coffee and something to eat. Nothing is free and the purchase is the entry price in my opinion to a reasonably clean restroom.

        I just read an editorial piece about the PDRK, comparing it to Turkey today. The PDRK finished a poor second. The author talked about the difference between LAX and the Ankara airport. You can guess which one was a distant second.

        While a 5-gallon bucket with seat and liners would allow for more serious bodily functions, I have thought about it, but it takes up more room than I want to devout to the effort. The urine jar is small and light and once utilized can be emptied by the side of the road and placed back in the trunk. T.p. and the rest take up almost zero space and are also quite light.

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    • Cookie June 29, 05:40

      I carry a plastic coffee container ( Large) in trunk of my car for potty purposes and put a roll of toilet paper inside for emergencies…..

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  10. Bambi June 21, 18:01

    Hi, Thank you very much for this article! I have a question about pemmican. My husband won’t let me run our oven for ‘days’, so can I use my food dehydrator? It is one with the stacked plastic shelves. thank you for your response!

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck June 21, 22:47

      Bambi: It depends on your weather. If you have hot summers and low humidity, yes, your food dryer will work satisfactorily. Remember, the Indians made pemmican and they didn’t have oven or fancy food dehydrators. On the other hand, if you live in Mississippi, with the high humidity (or any other high humidity state for that matter) you might have to only leave the pemmican out for short periods during midday. If you live in Southern Arizona, you can make pemmican almost year round.

      Reply to this comment
  11. Swedie June 21, 18:14

    This is a great list! Living in the desert, however, means you cannot keep most of these items in the car. The only way I can think of to have them handy when you drive is to take them out of the car when you get home and put them in the car when you leave.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Swedie June 21, 18:22

    Great list of foods! Living in the desert, I cannot keep any foods or water in the car. My best solution is to put food and water in the car when I leave the house, and take it out when I return home. You can leave it ready to go in a container so you just have to lift it in and out of the car. (But don’t leave it in the garage as that is too warm for food.)

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    • VS June 22, 00:24

      AMEN – I live in AZ. I once left a candy thermometer in the car by accident. Went to retrieve it. It was above 180º. So… even though I keep water in the car at all times (mostly for radiator and a real emergency) – I can’t leave anything edible in there for any length of time. What works is to keep a bag hanging on the door to the garage that has some essentials in it. As for drinkable water, I freeze a couple of BPA safe bottles and grab one or two when i head out.

      Another thing to think of if you’re in a hot area: keep a supply of ice packs and frozen washcloths in the freezer. Put them all in the cooler when you leave the house, along with any food supplies. Frozen bottles of water, frozen washcloths and the ice packs will keep for quite a long time.

      You can also buy a portable refrigerator that plugs into the cigarette lighter port and doesn’t use a lot of power to stay cold. I’ve done that and still put in frozen bottles of water and other cold items.

      In the desert the frozen washcloths are a godsend if your car breaks down. From June to September, I routinely carry those with me. Come home, toss them in the wash, grab the clean ones, wet them and toss in the freezer again.

      Reply to this comment
      • The Ohio Prepper June 22, 03:17

        VS,

        I live in AZ. I once left a candy thermometer in the car by accident. Went to retrieve it. It was above 180º. So… even though I keep water in the car at all times (mostly for radiator and a real emergency) – I can’t leave anything edible in there for any length of time.

        I’ve been out there to do some work in the Fountain Hills, Scottsdale area and from what I see, people only go out to transfer to another air conditioned shelter. Home to the car (unless the car is in the garage), and then from the car to work or an air conditioned store. I personally prefer the cold, since extra layers or burning cheap fuel can make heat more easily than running something to cool.

        I think freeze dried fruits or perhaps some very lean meats would keep rather well in that heat and for fruits, you only have to add water and stir or shake.

        What works is to keep a bag hanging on the door to the garage that has some essentials in it. As for drinkable water, I freeze a couple of BPA safe bottles and grab one or two when i head out.

        This make sense in nearly any environment, change out the contents as the seasons change. We keep a seasonal vehicle kit, with certain items, mostly clothing swapped or added for winter.

        Another thing to think of if you’re in a hot area: keep a supply of ice packs and frozen washcloths in the freezer. Put them all in the cooler when you leave the house, along with any food supplies. Frozen bottles of water, frozen washcloths and the ice packs will keep for quite a long time.

        Laid on the back of the neck will really help cool the body.

        You can also buy a portable refrigerator that plugs into the cigarette lighter port and doesn’t use a lot of power to stay cold. I’ve done that and still put in frozen bottles of water and other cold items.

        These work OK; but, the Peltier device that runs them, is still just an electronic heat pump, and keeping the hot side in shade makes them operate more efficiently.

        Reply to this comment
        • left coast chuck June 27, 02:34

          Ohio: I agree. The operative word is “dried”. In Arizona, except for the summer monsoonal rainstorms and accompanying high humidity, one does not have to worry about mold. With humidity levels in the high single digits, dried fruit and dried meat are in no danger of going bad. Getting drier than when first manufactured, definitely, but going bad, not going to happen. Will your chocolate get all soft and gooey? You betcha. But you know what? It still is chocolate and getting all soft and gooey won’t hurt it a bit. It will taste just as good and be just as soul satisfying as if it were hard in bar form. That’s how it got in bar form to begin with, it was all hot and gooey until it hardened in the mold. If you add chocolate chips to the dough and put it in the oven to make chocolate chip cookies, the chocolate gets all soft and gooey and the oven is a lot hotter than even Scottsdale on an August afternoon. In fact, there is nothing quite so delicious in my opinion as a chocolate chip cookie still hot from the oven with the chocolate all gooey and soft with a nice cold glass of milk to wash it down.

          Need to put your thinking caps on, people. The biggest asset one has as a preppier is the ability to think on one’s feet. Think of solutions, don’t think of problems. If you have a problem, think of a solution to the problem. Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle of knowledge.

          You can’t have and won’t have all the supplies you need in an EOTW situation. What you will have is your brain. You have to use it. There is nothing like empirical testing to prove that something does or doesn’t work.

          There is a story about Thomas Edison in his search for using electricity to provide light. He and his lab assistants had tried over 500 different items to provide the filament we see in the common ordinary, now forbidden, electric light. One day one of his lab assistants came to Edison and said, “Mr. Edison, we’ve tried over 500 different filaments and have failed over 500 times.”

          Edison is reputed to have said, “No, we didn’t fail 500 times. We now know 500 things that don’t work.”

          That’s the kind of attitude prepares are going to need in an EOTW scenario. If you say to yourself, “I tried that and it didn’t work,” and give up, guess what. You are going to die a miserable death.

          Don’t take someone else’s word for something not working. Try it for yourself. Or add a different variation or another factor. Think your car is hot in the summertime? Try cracking your windows just a quarter of an inch all around. Most cars these day don’t have the kind of locking devices that can be manipulated by a coat hanger any more. I have locked the keys to my 2003 Honda Ody in the car 3 times over the years I have owned it and each time the “expert” from the auto club had one H of a time getting the car open and he had all sorts of tools to help him. Most stolen cars are stolen because the owner ran into the store with the engine running. Well, duhhh. That’s like putting a “STEAL ME!” sign on the car. A window cracked open 1/4 of an inch isn’t exactly the same thing. It will allow hot air to escape. Putting shades on the glass and in the windshield will lower the temperature in your car significantly. Those methods plus putting your food in a cooler in the car will enable it to withstand the blazing summer sun.

          The same thing applies for wintertime. Putting your items in a cooler will keep them warm..Seem counter intuitive? All the cooler is doing is insulating the item inside it. The cooler can’t differentiate, cooler or warmer. It just insulates.

          If you are stuck and have been for a long period of time, do what cold weather training teaches. Keep your water bottle inside your clothing but over your underwear. Decide what you want to eat before you want to eat it and put it in the same place. C-ration cans were darned cold when first placed inside one’s shirt but soon warmed up and were at least palatable by the time one was ready to eat if done soon enough. Don’t wait until 5 minutes before you want to eat to do it. Think! Think! Think!

          Reply to this comment
      • SGB June 28, 21:11

        My D-I-Lalways handed out cold bottles of water to everyone going out the door in Phoenix. We were there in late June and never went back in the summer.

        Reply to this comment
  13. MrMMG June 21, 18:50

    I live in an area where it can get above 100 in the summer and below 0 in the winter. With no home garage, and a weather exposed vehicle after my commute to work, how do I manage those extreme temperatures with regards to bursting containers and spoiling food, without having to remove the items at home or work?

    Reply to this comment
  14. catslo June 21, 19:08

    I live in an area where it gets HOT. I would never leave food or water in the car because the heat buildup inside a locked car here is well in excess of 100+ degrees. Plastic leeches chemicals into water when kept in those conditions. A Sawyer Straw or LifeStraw would be a much better option in this area because there’s water everywhere. About the only thing I could see leaving in the car is the hard candy…but even that could end up a nasty mess because of heat and humidity.

    Reply to this comment
    • MrMMG June 23, 22:52

      Yup, this has been the limiting factor for me as well. I want to have a Go Bag in the car, any that works in the fall and spring. But winters are frigid and summer days can get over 90 semi-regularly and reach 100. I guess I’ll hope that when I’m driving when the shtf, It’s during during a temperate season

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck June 27, 02:39

        I’m sorry, Mr. MMG. Hoping that the end of the world arrives at a convenient time — well, I won’t characterize it, but I hope you can see the futility of that. What you need to do is sit down and figure out how you can have your supplies in your car ready at the most inconvenient time possible. Mr. Murphy is always lurking ready to take advantage of every deep hole in the swamp.. You have to be ready for those deep holes. That’s what this whole website is all about, getting ready so that if some catastrophe strikes. you won’t be left wringing your hands crying, ” I coulda, woulda, shoulda.”

        Reply to this comment
  15. Prepper In Training June 21, 19:54

    I am fortunate to live in a rural community, with great neighbors. I very seldom drive to areas where being stuck in traffic for long periods of time, or being stranded in remote locations, is a problem.

    My two cents worth, on those concerned about massive temperature swings.. Have you considered a battery operated cooler for your vehicle? I don’t know anything about them, so they may not be effective for your needs/conditions, but if it is capable of keeping your food at a fairly constant temperature, it seems to be worthwhile investigating.

    My hopes are that no one on this board ever has to endure the pains of needing to tap into their emergency supplies. There have been times, when heading home from shopping, I was able to render assistance to stranded motorists, and had candy and juices for their kids. Emergencies don’t happen at the most convenient times, so this article reminds me that just because I may not need the emergency items, others that are unprepared may.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck June 21, 22:53

      I have a Coleman car refrigerator. Yes, it can ameliorate the huge temperature swings that lead to food degradation. However, some car plugs don’t work when the ignition is turned off. I have a 2003 Honda Ody and when the engine is turned off, so are the car plugs. Bad design feature, but I can understand. If you leave the fridge plugged in and it is running for any period of time, you will need to jump start your car when you come out.

      I think the suggestion of having a go-bag with your water and foodstuffs in it in extreme temperature zones is a good one. Simple, easy and cheap to institute. If you use an ice chest as the container, it will make the food last that much longer. Except in bear country where bears have been known to tear car doors off in order to get at ice chests which they know contain something to eat.

      Reply to this comment
      • Raven tactical June 24, 09:25

        Why not make a hot wire source for it.

        Reply to this comment
        • left coast chuck July 4, 03:20

          Thanks for the idea. I have considered having the “cigarette lighter” outlets rewired, but that would still leave the problem of the battery running down. The cooler runs continuously. It doesn’t have a setting other than for hot or for cold..On the cold side, it will only drop the temperature 60°F below the ambient temperature. That is plenty to keep food cold, even in hot weather because if the inside temperature of the car is 100°F, the inside of the cooler will be 40 which is just a little warmer than optimum. I never used it to heat and would have to read the instructions to see what the range is. I am positive that it will not cook food, but will keep food that is already hot in that state.

          Reply to this comment
  16. d. June 21, 23:25

    Good start, but I think you need more water. The thin gallon jugs leak after a short while, so it would be good to store it in a plastic tub, bucket, or even double garbage bags (with their own other uses).

    I stored a case of bottled water in my van in an unheated garage all winter wrapped in an extra down jacket and it was fine.

    Reply to this comment
  17. IvyMike June 22, 01:13

    I don’t live day to day expecting the SHTF, I always have water, snacks and beer in the truck but I drive an old 2 door single cab Chevy with a broke AC and there is no room up front for a big survival stash. And I drive in to the city to work, so I don’t like to carry a bunch of stuff that the less motivated types will steal the moment I run into the convenience store to p ( hey, I’m old, I make a lot of stops).
    But we spend at least a month every year off grid in the Chihuahuan Desert and our main survival stash is in 2 old steel coolers I bought 30 years ago when they were affordable. They keep ice 4 days in the desert like a Yeti but hold more food and don’t cost 1000.00. Plus I have a watertight plastic box full of canned food, two 5g water cans, a case of bottled water, a case of beer, a liter of vodka, liter of tequila, portable stove, Berkey, a couple pounds of ground coffee, no Granola bars or canned fruit (yuk). Why is survival always contingent on having Granola bars and Gatorade? Can of Wolf Brand Chili and a beer will keep you alive a lot longer than oats, nuts, honey, and fluorescent chemical drink mix.

    6
    2
    Reply to this comment
    • Wannabe June 22, 19:01

      Ivy Mike, you may want to rethink that beverage list. It will dehydrate you as fast as you drink it. Just a suggestion. As all posts are , it’s hard to tell if it is sarcasm or being serious. Hope you are being sarcastic. If you are serious, don’t open a survival blog, it won’t last. Just a helpful suggestion.

      Reply to this comment
    • Wannabe June 22, 19:03

      My previous comment was referring to beer, vodka and tequila.

      Reply to this comment
      • The Ohio Prepper June 23, 04:22

        Wannabe,

        My previous comment was referring to beer, vodka and tequila.

        Actually Vodka as in 180 or 190 proof PGA can be very useful. It may be used to make tinctures, clean wounds, and in a pinch will burn quite nicely.
        Consumption however, as you state is probably not the best use for it.

        Reply to this comment
        • left coast chuck June 27, 02:44

          Unfortunately in the PDRK our masters in Sacramento have decided that allowing the peasants to have beverages with such high alcoholic content is not good for them and so those items are verboten to the peasants. Can’t buy them. Have to smuggle them in from out of state. I don’t know if it is illegal to possess them, although I suspect there is some sort of civil penalty for bringing alcohol into the state without paying the appropriate tax on it.

          OTOH, marijuana for recreational use is perfectly OK.

          Reply to this comment
          • The Ohio Prepper June 27, 04:25

            left coast chuck,

            Unfortunately in the PDRK our masters in Sacramento have decided that allowing the peasants to have beverages with such high alcoholic content is not good for them and so those items are verboten to the peasants. Can’t buy them.

            We can’t purchase anything over 151 proof (75.5%) alcohol content either.

            Have to smuggle them in from out of state. I don’t know if it is illegal to possess them, although I suspect there is some sort of civil penalty for bringing alcohol into the state without paying the appropriate tax on it.

            Same here; but, West Virginia and Indiana have the good stuff and we get ours there with no penalty as long as they have the federal tax stamp (e.g. not moonshine) in the 180 proof 90% grade of nearly PGA.
            I do however suspect if you had a whole truck load of it, you would have some splainin to do.

            OTOH, marijuana for recreational use is perfectly OK.

            Since it’s legal to possess I heard that incarcerated criminals may legally possess it, in jail or prison; however, they may still not use it. Such is the logic of the left.

            Reply to this comment
            • left coast chuck July 4, 03:14

              Ohio: I had not heard that inmates could possess m.j. while in the crossbars hotel. However, considering the logic(?) in other decrees issuing from Sacramento, I certainly wouldn’t bet heavily against the idea that it is okay to have but not to use.

              Reply to this comment
  18. Southerner June 22, 14:23

    I can’t wait to burn some Doritos. I had no idea. I used to eat them as a kid and it’s probably best I didn’t know they were flammable 🙂

    Reply to this comment
    • Wannabe June 22, 20:41

      It’s the oil content in the corn chip that is flammable. They use biofuels all the time for power. Works great. Low energy flame so have other kindlin ready on hand to get fire going really good

      Reply to this comment
      • The Ohio Prepper June 23, 04:30

        Wannabe,

        It’s the oil content in the corn chip that is flammable. They use biofuels all the time for power.

        True but, I personally don’t like to waste a whole chip unless it’s an emergency. If you have the single serving Mylar bags, you always end up with crumbs, so I save all of these into one bag, and after a while you can collect quite a little pile of them.

        Works great. Low energy flame so have other kindlin ready on hand to get fire going really good

        It’s not any lower energy than paper or thin wood tinder; but, it is sort of short lived, so like any fire building task, you need to collect all of your material and ”build” the fire long before you try to ignite it.

        Reply to this comment
    • Dupin June 23, 17:49

      We use Fritos, but same concept. Fritos may have more fat…seems like it. The crumbs can be used for kindling if you’re throwing sparks.

      Reply to this comment
  19. Clergylady June 23, 06:55

    Good list. Good discussion. I always have peanut butter and graham crackers. My vehicles do happen to have live plug ins even when the keys are off.

    Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady June 23, 23:04

      Yup. NM here. 100 or more part of the summer and -10 parts of the winter in normal years with a lot is single digit humidity days. I have a grab n go back pack with food items. I do sometimes leave a few bottles of water in the vehicles. TP and a few things stay in a box. Winter a sweatshirt and some wool throws and in summer a few lt weight tees and a bandana or two. Winter adds a carpet scrap, kitty litter for snow or ice. Usually have a folding or short shovel, and tools, jumper cables, tire iron, jack, wheel chocks et that stay in the box. Deserts summer or winter are both deadly.
      I grew up sitting on the little running board between the open doors with some TP. Quite survivable. Carried a milk jug for the boys. 🙂

      Reply to this comment
    • Sharp stick June 24, 18:39

      I’ve tried storing water in aluminum container, however, the water develops a unpleasant taste/odor after a week. I was told to soak with baking soda but didn’t notice any improvement. Do you have any other ideas?

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck June 25, 21:03

        It probably isn’t the canteen itself, it more likely is the lid. Try soaking the lid in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of water. Let it dry thoroughly. Also inspect it for funk. If you see stuff stuck inside the lid, you need to clean it thoroughly.

        Our WWII era aluminum canteens did develop some kind of taste after a while but nothing like the plastic canteens they used in Nam. Now there is some bad tasting stuff.

        In my opinion, stainless steel is the way to go in water bottles. I like the 40 oz size personally as opposed to the more common 26 oz size. Twenty-Six ounces???What’s with that? Whatever happened to good ole 32?

        Reply to this comment
        • The Ohio Prepper June 26, 14:42

          left coast chuck,

          In my opinion, stainless steel is the way to go in water bottles. I like the 40 oz size personally as opposed to the more common 26 oz size. Twenty-Six ounces???What’s with that? Whatever happened to good ole 32?

          I agree and also wonder about the 26 oz. I have 24 & 32 oz for just water; but, I also have a few stainless 40 oz Nalgene style bottles with plastic screw on lids. These are not thermos bottles; but, are still handy for field use, since they can be used to heat or boil water directly over the heat source (including melting snow).
          The large mouth allows you to add bullion or other things to make a palatable soup.
          I have a few aluminum Nalgene bottles; but, these are more for connection to a filter and using the water immediately, instead of long term storage.

          Reply to this comment
  20. Raven tactical June 24, 09:27

    I keep a mre or two and toss it after summer. The water will freeze but in a gallon jug. Its kinda of a moot point.

    We had polar temps dip to negative 48 without windchill and that was nuts enough

    Reply to this comment
  21. Clergylady June 25, 04:19

    Love a good fruitcake. A can of pork n beans or chili n beans can be heated on the manifold. Ready to eat in 15 minutes. Canned tea or lemonade is certainly best cold but is still thirst quenching at 70 to 80 degrees. Hotter it isn’t so good.
    A roll or two of TP fits in the larger round oatmeal boxes. Hubs needs to snack often now. I carry tuna salad or chicken salad and cracker snack boxes for him in the to go back pack. He also loves almost any snack or meal replacement bar. He’s agreeable to drinking canned tea even when quite warm.

    Reply to this comment
  22. Clergylady June 26, 02:00

    For years I’ve carried a glass bottle in a homemade yarn carrier. It also cushioned the bottle in a side pocket of my backpack. Not for everyone but works for me.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck June 27, 02:51

      My wonderful, talented wife also knitted sleeves with a long loop to go over the body to carry the water bottle for all of our water bottles. It semi-insulates the bottle, makes it handy to carry, cuts down on the noise of something banging against the water bottle for OpSec, and makes carrying the water bottle a lot easier and more accessible than tucking it away in a pocket on a rucksack or hanging it from your belt with a carabiner where it constantly bangs against your body with every step you take. Okay for a mile or two but in five or ten miles you want to toss the blamed thing as far as you can.

      Reply to this comment
  23. john June 27, 06:05

    ok me again
    i live in the mountains and even up and down air ressure can cause stuff to rupture.
    caned foods can be great i used to keep a couple big cans of beef stew in the truck camp stove etc even so far as keeping a bottle of rum extra gloves fire starters i repackage a lot of stuff into ziplock bags for dried foods carry four gallonds of water minimum etc in a 50 quart cooler in the summer i toss a couple gllon jugs in the freezer and it stays cold dirnks food etc are all fine that cooler will keep two gallons frozen for almost a week even when it is 105 in the summer.
    in winter i use it to keep stuff from freezing
    got stuck in traffic going over donner summit once and handed out hot buttered rums and sandwhihes to the people stuck around me had extra ski gloves for peoples kids who wee ltetting them play in the snow without gloves or heat one kid already had frost bite starting when i talked to them had beef stew slept in the bak of the truck comfrotably and woke up to things getting going again a semi had crashed and block all lanes of the fwy and it seems people dont know the story of the donner party and tend to treat the mountains like disneyland instead of the wilds..
    best advice i have know where you will be traveling and when and be prepared for anything
    i actually had some time off and ran into some friend who were heading out on a camping trip to yosemite and was able to leave with them right then and camp for two weeks off what i had in the truck and was better preppared than the people who had planned and acked for that trip.
    aalso
    sorry about the typs i hope this was not total gibberish

    Reply to this comment
  24. john June 27, 06:07

    i live in the mountains and even up and down air pressure can cause stuff to rupture.
    caned foods can be great i used to keep a couple big cans of beef stew in the truck camp stove etc even so far as keeping a bottle of rum extra gloves fire starters i repackage a lot of stuff into ziplock bags for dried foods carry four gallons of water minimum etc in a 50 quart cooler in the summer i toss a couple gallon jugs in the freezer and it stays cold dirnks food etc are all fine that cooler will keep two gallons frozen for almost a week even when it is 105 in the summer.
    in winter i use it to keep stuff from freezing
    got stuck in traffic going over donner summit once and handed out hot buttered rums and sandwiches to the people stuck around me had extra ski gloves for peoples kids who wee ltetting them play in the snow without gloves or heat one kid already had frost bite starting when i talked to them had beef stew slept in the bak of the truck comfrotably and woke up to things getting going again a semi had crashed and block all lanes of the fwy and it seems people dont know the story of the donner party and tend to treat the mountains like disneyland instead of the wilds..
    best advice i have know where you will be traveling and when and be prepared for anything
    i actually had some time off and ran into some friend who were heading out on a camping trip to yosemite and was able to leave with them right then and camp for two weeks off what i had in the truck and was better prepared than the people who had planned and packed for that trip.
    also
    sorry about the typos i hope this was not total gibberish

    Reply to this comment
  25. merlin grayman July 4, 14:31

    i keep some vienna sausages, kippersnacks, and sardines.
    also water will not freeze if kept in a large enough container and positioned where it can get warm air blown on it while driving.
    i live in utah.
    winters can be quite cold, and a gallon jug will remain drinkable if you use your vehicle once a day with the heater blowing on the water jug.

    Reply to this comment
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