A must at your hunting cabin or any retreat is a quality set of cast iron cookware. An all encompassing set is Lodge's 5-piece Cast Iron Cook Set which includes the following: 10.5-inch round griddle, 8-inch skillet, 10.25-inch skillet, 5qt Dutch Oven and 10.25-inch iron cover. For cooking over campfires there is not a better cookware alternative when preparing foods in large quantities. Dutch ovens allow anyone to efficiently cook stews, chili's or breakfast dishes quickly.
For a durable inexpensive entry level grinder purchase Farm Market's grinding mill for $27 at Amazon.com (see site's Amazon page for link). This is a great system to have on hand for grinding grains, corn, nuts and cereals. Many people push off purchasing hand grinders due to cost. You can always upgrade grinders when additional funds become available. The grinder comes with a sturdy clamping system and a long 10 inch handle for easy continuous operation.
One of the best long term food storage items I've found is the Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Food bucket for $99 at the following Walmart.com link, Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Pail. This is a great value for the amount of freeze dried food you receive in a packaged food grade storage bucket. The food bucket consist of 56,000 calories of freeze dried food with a 25 year shelf life, a water bottle filter system that can purify 100 gallons of water and a fire starter block. I prefer food storage buckets because the self contained grab and go container makes for easy transport.
When purchasing canned foods take a hard look at the caloric, protein and fat content of the item. Higher caloric foods provide the energy needed during times of high physical activity. If on a camping trip you are better off eating a can of pasta vs. a can of soup or vegetables. Most pasta and chili products offer over 500 calories per can, far exceeding most other canned good products. Some individuals buy canned foods based on cost alone and do not look at the nutritional value of the food. If you are purchasing food for storage stick to canned goods that are high in calories, protein and fat. For the cost there is no better product then cans of Chili or Pasta. The items pictures both have over 500 calories, 20g protein and 14g fat. For a 15oz serving that sure beats a can of peas with 250 calories, 14g protein and 2g fat. The sale price of canned pasta or chili is $1, otherwise the cost is closer to $2 when not on sale. When camping kids really appreciate ravioli and other pasta products.
When purchasing preparedness foods consider cost, caloric value, shelf life and weight of the food. As mentioned in an earlier post the $100 Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Bucket freeze dried or "dry" food contains almost 56,000 calories, has a net weight of 25lbs and a 25 year shelf life which is far better when compared to 100 cans of wet food at a cost of $100 with only 50,000 calories, a net weight of 94lbs and a 3-5 year shelf life. Both wet and dry foods have their strengths and weaknesses and must be tailored to the proper application. I am a firm believer in freeze dried food for long term storage, weight and cost if purchased in bulk. For camping or short hikes wet foods are great for a quick readymade meal. For longer trips to the woods dry foods are the way to go due to their weight, allowing you to carry a much greater quantity. The example in the picture illustrates a 15oz can of chili with 520 calories vs. a 15oz quantity of freeze dried food with
1800 calories. The same goes for comparing the nutritional value of wet food vs. dry food. Dry foods also offer a significant benefit from a nutrition standpoint. Having the moisture removed from freeze dried food removes the requirement for additives and preservatives that are common in wet foods. The other benefit of freeze dried foods is shelf life. Most freeze dried camping package portions have a shelf life of 7 years vs. the canned good shelf life of 3 years. Shelf life for dry foods increases greatly when purchased in bulk packs.
As a general rule you should maintain at least one year's worth of multivitamins for all members of your family. You can argue the effectiveness of multivitamins but they are a great dietary supplement in any condition or environment. Store Brand multivitamins are inexpensive and are easy to store due their small container size. The pictured adult Complete Member's Mark Multivitamins (Qty 450 tablets, one tablet per person per day) can be purchased at Sam's Club for under $20. The pictured children's Gummie Multivitamins (Qty 300 gummies, two gummies per child per day) can also be purchased at Sam's Club for under $10. I also recommended maintaining multivitamins in your bug out bag. Ensure you always rotate and use your multivitamins before their expiration date.
For a cost effective storage system there is no better waterproof stackable container then the 5-gallon bucket for food storage, for transportation of supplies, and for sanitation. Non-food grade 5-Gallon buckets can be purchased for $5 ($3 for the bucket, $2 for the lid) at all of the major home repair stores. Food grade 5-gallon buckets can be purchased for around $18. The major cost in the food grade container is the lid's rubber seal. If you plan to store food for long periods of time you may want to look into spending the extra money on the food grade buckets due to their air tight seal and heavy duty handles. For food grade containers you can contact a restaurant and ask them if they are willing to give you their old food grade 5-gallon buckets for free. In addition to getting pails for free look for offers where the buckets are bundled as part of another item. A great example mentioned in a earlier post that includes a food grade container is Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Pail for $99. I like this package because it includes a large 6-gallon food grade bucket. The pails are also great for water collection, washing cloths and for other sanitation purposes. A neat sanitation accessory is the snap on toilet seat lid for the 5-gallon bucket. Finally, it also makes a great camp chair.