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#180136 - 08/23/09 02:00 AM Emergency rations for storage in a car?
James_Van_Artsdalen Offline

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 449
Loc: Texas
I'd like to store some emergency rations & water - something like the Datrex stuff - in my car, but the temperature extremes seem problematic. Has anyone found rations & water rated for temperatures found in a car? I'm thinking of heat degrading the food & repeated freezing rupturing the water storage.

The motive for this thinking: I have 30 days of rations at home that can be quickly put in the car for an emergency evac or whatever. But I spend a lot of each week not at home and there's a good chance the call to run will come while away from home, possibly with no way to stop by home before heading for the hills. I already keep a "toolbox" crate in the car of everything I might need during evac & at civilized shelter, except the big ones: food & water.

My Honda Odyssey has large door pockets and there's room amongst other supplies for a couple of day's food & water there, and another week or two in the back.

#180137 - 08/23/09 02:15 AM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: James_Van_Artsdalen]
scafool Offline

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
I have never had problems with plastic water bottles freezing and bursting. I have not had problems with tinned food bursting the cans either, though some of them did bulge a bit at the ends.

I found most chocolate bars melted and got a white bloom on them from the summer heat, but they were still perfectly edible.

The cold part is Canada. I am not sure if it gets as hot inside my car in the summer as yours might get. I do know it gets hot enough to melt plastic things if you leave them on the dash.
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

#180138 - 08/23/09 03:00 AM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: scafool]
MDinana Offline

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2196
Loc: Beer&Cheese country
I have some of the aluminum water packs in my car. No problem after 2 winters in Detroit. As for food, my MRE is still edible after a few years in the car (Missouri and Michigan weather). I wouldn't leave them more than a few years though. Other options include granola/power bars, Datrex or Mainstay bars, the aluminized-packs of meats found in the grocery store. Again, I've tried all these after months to years, and never really had a problem.

#180141 - 08/23/09 05:05 AM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: MDinana]
timo Offline

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 39
Aqua blox for water.
Mainstay food cookie rations for food.

Both tout a "5 year shelf life" so I would expect them to last maybe 3 years in a car
before I'd even begin to worry.

You could also get a Scepter Runt 2.5 gallon water can.
Tough enough for our military.

The mainstay cookie rations taste pretty darn good too.

#180142 - 08/23/09 05:10 AM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: timo]
Tjin Offline

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1791
You could put the ration in a good cooler to stabalize the temperature during the day.

#180145 - 08/23/09 07:59 AM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: James_Van_Artsdalen]
LED Offline

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1474
1. Replace the food often (once every 6 months)
2. Park in the shade as much as possible
3. Hope you never have to eat your car kit food laugh

Thats what I do anyway. I also keep some dog food in the car but I swap that out every month or so cause it just doesn't store well. Anyone know if freeze dried meals would do better in volatile storage than MRE's (taste wise) due to the water content?

#180149 - 08/23/09 11:33 AM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: LED]
James_Van_Artsdalen Offline

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 449
Loc: Texas
Datrex doesn't list storage temperature ratings but Mainstay does.

From the Survivor Industries web site the Mainstay food storage temperature range is -40F to +300F and for water packets it's -40F to +210F. The shelf life for both is five years.

That fits the bill. Datrex is also rated at five years though they don't list the storage temperatures.

Thermal cycling, or repeated freezing & thawing, is pretty tough on most materials when water is involved and can lead to microfractures, or empty water containers when you need them most.

Water can: the water packets are going to have a much longer shelf life than anything I can do at home with a water can. Also, small water packets are easier to put in several places around the car than a big water can (one water can in the car would be like all-eggs-one-basket but I'll put several water packets in many different places in the car).

I definitely hope to never eat that stuff except for the test run! The food I only plan to eat when the alternative of not eating it is even worse...

#180150 - 08/23/09 01:17 PM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: James_Van_Artsdalen]
Jeff_M Offline

Registered: 07/18/07
Posts: 665
Loc: Northwest Florida

The climatic and storage conditions on most commercial or recreational life raft packs are more extreme than those in a car trunk in a southern summer or northern winter.

I've looked into this issue. My conclusions were that "lifeboat rations" are the only foods I'd rely on for several years. So they are my core food supply. Dissappountingly, the packaging doesn't seem to hold up all that well to a lot of movement, vibration or handling, so mine got an extra layer of aluminum foil and a vacuum pack.

There are lots of supposed "official" MREs out there, of varying quality. I conservatively count them as done after a year, or one full season of high temperature trunk storage. I usually have only one or two in there. I also have a small amount of COTS (commercial off the shelf) food items in my pack. My experience with long distance backpacking has taught me that, ounce for ounce, peanut butter is a good choice; it will keep you going a very long way. Likewise, my work in disaster zones has shown me the value of a little electrolyte drink mix for working in hot environments. The COTS stuff also get tossed each winter.

I carry 3 liters of water and ice in an insulted Camelbak that gets replaced every third day, a liter in a Nalgene bottle in an outer pocket of the BOB that routinely gets dumped and replaced whenever I think of it, and several commercial water bottles for general use, along with another empty 3L water bladder in the BOB itself.

#180209 - 08/24/09 12:26 AM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: Jeff_M]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
It occurred to me that having some kind of insulated container with one of those minimum/maximum thermometers in it could give a reasonable idea what the temperatures inside a container would be during temperature extremes for your own local areas. I don't have that kind of thermometer, so I've never tried it.

Has anyone else?

#180216 - 08/24/09 01:09 AM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: Susan]
Compugeek Offline

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 392
Loc: San Diego, CA
Such timing. I just set up this exact experiment yesterday. I'll be able to monitor both inside the trunk and inside the cooler. If no one else has data, I'll post my results next weekend.

There's no shade where I park at work, but plenty of asphalt. This should be a pretty good test.
Okey-dokey. What's plan B?

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