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#180237 - 08/24/09 12:03 PM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: Compugeek]
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
Geek, I am certainly interested in your data. I drive a jeep, and the temps are pretty extreme. Any food storage for me within the jeep is limited by the space allowed-the temps can get HOT inside the cab, as the only thing between the sun & the inside is a thin layer of vinyl/canvas. Or, if the top is off-exposed directly to the sun. Either way, they are exposed to fairly significant extremes, and data like this would be valuable to me. Thanks in advance for this!
my adventures

#180241 - 08/24/09 12:53 PM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: oldsoldier]
Compugeek Offline

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 392
Loc: San Diego, CA
Will do, then. Although I can't provide exact air temps from work (that thermometer failed, and hasn't been replaced yet), the forecast for the area is high 80s to low 90s (F) all week.
Okey-dokey. What's plan B?

#180243 - 08/24/09 01:45 PM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: Compugeek]
Dan_McI Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 844
Loc: NYC
As stated by Jeff M, lifeboat rations should be fine, and there should not be many other types of food that will last better. When you consider that these rations are designed to be stuck into a compartment on a lifeboat, for a few years, they will hold up to what happens in your car. A lifeboat is going to be as exposed to elements as you car, but the elements are probably going to worse for the lifeboat's environment.

#180291 - 08/24/09 09:49 PM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: James_Van_Artsdalen]
AROTC Offline

Registered: 05/06/04
Posts: 604
Loc: Manhattan
I'd like to start out by saying I don't have any credentials in this area, I'm not a long distance backpacker, professional chef, nutritionist or anything else. I am however a decent cook and I've been pondering the idea of survival cooking and eating for a long time. Just search my name and cooking on the forums and you'll see its a pet topic of mine. I also just bought the book NOLS Cookery and started looking at food to take camping (I just returned to the US from Korea and plan to go camping now that I'm back).

I will assert that while not eating for a week won't kill you, it might contribute to getting you killed. Food gives you energy to keep you warm, it fuels physical activity and both fuels mental activity and calms you down so you don't do something stupid. I will also assert that the better the food you carry is, the better you perform.

So first off, for long trips, over about three days, NOLS recommends a weight based bulk rationing, rather than planning individual meals. That means you take so many pounds of quick bread mix, so many pounds of soups and sauces, so many pounds of pasta and so on per person per day. The goal is to give you enough nutrition for a long trip, but also to give you the option of deciding what you want to eat on the day you eat it, not two weeks in advance. I think this is great for backpacking, but I would modify it for survival by including more ready to eat foods. Ready to eat foods are for the first day or two and for times when cooking isn't an option.

Along with that, came the realization that the super market is packed with foods you can "cook" just by adding water and heating. I knew this already, but since I don't normally eat those kinds of foods I wasn't really that familiar with them. You can get brownie mix, mashed potatoes, chedder broccoli soup, alfredo sauce and on and on in a box, and they all are just a couple cups of boiling water away from a "homecooked meal". Likewise, the supermarket is full of "MRE entrees". Soft retort or plastic pouches of foods identical to MRE's.

The final piece is because these things take so little to prepare, you can eat much better than MREs or Mainstay bars, for less money (spent on consumables), with just a camp stove and a few utinsels. A small pot/frying pan mess kit, a canister stove, a good water bladder, a tupper ware bowl, a small strainer and a spoon are about all you need plus or minus. You also need/want to carry a few consumable tools like cooking oil and a few condiments.

The down side is you do need to do some work, not just tear open and eat. This is also a plus because if you're waiting by your car for three days for help to arrive you have to do something to occupy the time. Also you need to do some practice and planning. You also need to carry a decent amount of water for cooking and cleaning. Finally, these foods are long shelf life, but not indefinite. Say six months in a shot, but probably safe for much longer. But since they're regular foods and inexpensive, rotating them out and eating them for lunch or dinner isn't much of a hardship.

In case you're wondering I've carried a butane/propane canister stove and lantern in my car both in Texas summer heat and Wyoming winter cold. I've never noticed any evidence of leakage or had any performance failures. My lantern and stove were both made by coleman and cost about $20 each (actually I bought them on sale, but they were supposed to be $20). My whole kitchen set probably cost over $100, but includes about ten mini-nalgene bottles for seasonings, a pepper grinder, a whisk, a strainer, a spatula, a fry pan and pot (I only carry one each from a nesting set), a tupperware bowl, an insulated mug, a folding chopstick and spoon set and is completely and totally over kill.

I recommend the book NOLS Cookery, they have a lot of experiance cooking and eating outdoors, and I highly recommend you take a walk through the grocery store reading the instructions on packaged foods. They were both eye openers for me.

Edited by AROTC (08/24/09 09:52 PM)
A gentleman should always be able to break his fast in the manner of a gentleman where so ever he may find himself.--Good Omens

#180306 - 08/24/09 10:59 PM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: Compugeek]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Data is a good thing. Absolutely share it.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#180339 - 08/25/09 03:17 AM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: AROTC]
James_Van_Artsdalen Offline

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 449
Loc: Texas
My question was really aimed more at what to carry in situations when I *don't* think I'll need it ... but I'm wrong. What I might carry on a trip through the Nevada deserts is not the same as what I happen to have in the car on an ordinary visit to a friend's house a few miles in the country.

Space budgeting becomes an issue. I don't want to depend on something that has to come out of the car every time I need to fill the trunk with vacation luggage, shopping trip loot, etc!

And as I mentioned above I like the idea of smaller rations that can be spread around the car, just in case you can't get the trunk open after a crash.

It looks as though I should be able to get two day's food & water in the driver door's storage pockets, along with a PLB, CB radio, flashlight and escape tools: all within reach even if pinned in. Being able to get to the toy box in back almost becomes a bonus rather than a necessity in a lot of cases.

Both Datrex and Mainstay claim to meet some Coastguard standard. I hope to track that standard down at some point but I'm betting it means "lifeboat ration".

#180343 - 08/25/09 03:47 AM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: James_Van_Artsdalen]
scafool Offline

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
I keep some canned beans, canned peaches and canned sardines in the trunk of the car. I don't like them inside the car because I don't like things that can turn into missiles if I am in a crash.
Inside the cab I usually have a stash of chocolate bars and some hard candy.
My sister-in-law keeps a few bags of granola style trail mixes and dried fruit slices.

I like the canned stuff because iron rations are almost indestructible and come in many flavours. It helps to write what they are on the end of the can with marker just in case the labels come off.
Tinned food is pretty cheap too. Most of the time it does not even need heating, and it usually gets used and replaced frequently enough that expiry dates are not a problem.
The only special tools are a can opener and a table spoon.
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

#180351 - 08/25/09 11:19 AM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: LED]
celler Offline

Registered: 12/25/03
Posts: 410
Loc: Jupiter, FL
Originally Posted By: LED
<snip> Anyone know if freeze dried meals would do better in volatile storage than MRE's (taste wise) due to the water content?

I think this is a great question, but I do not have the answer. Mountain House Pro packs are widely available and the addition of a small camp stove like the JetBoil would add quite a bit of variety over Mainstay cookies. But how long are they going to last in a hot car trunk in the southeastern United States? The lack of water in the package would seem to indicate quite a while. Does anyone have any real life experience on this?



From Mountain House's website:

Based on storage studies over several years, in 2006 the shelf life was increased by an impressive 40%, from 5 years to 7 years! That’s right -- our shelf life is at least 7 years from the date of manufacture as long as the pouch is stored unopened in a cool area. After 7 years a change in flavor and appearance may be noticed. For best results, avoid prolonged storage at temperatures above 75° F (24° C).

Edited by celler (08/25/09 12:05 PM)

#180421 - 08/25/09 11:05 PM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: James_Van_Artsdalen]
AROTC Offline

Registered: 05/06/04
Posts: 604
Loc: Manhattan
Originally Posted By: James_Van_Artsdalen
My question was really aimed more at what to carry in situations when I *don't* think I'll need it ... but I'm wrong.

I got this, but you also mentioned a timeline of about seven days in your original post if I recall correctly. I still think you're probably better with off the shelf foods rather than the Datrex/Mainstay and just rotating every few months. A week of food, a couple days of water and a cook set should each be about the size of a loaf of bread. I think if you want a week of food, I think a modular system would work best. The first couple of days of food and water in ready to eat foods in arms reach of the driver. Pouch spagetti and trail mix stuff. Then a cook kit, dry goods food and more water split up somewhere in the rest of the car.
A gentleman should always be able to break his fast in the manner of a gentleman where so ever he may find himself.--Good Omens

#180449 - 08/26/09 03:11 AM Re: Emergency rations for storage in a car? [Re: AROTC]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
I was curious about the Mountain House foods in heat, so I contacted them.

Their response:

"The trunk can get pretty hot. Although it does cool down at night, I do think that the extreme heat in a trunk will effect the
flavor. Depending on just how hot it gets where you live, the flavor profile could change in just a matter of weeks if the temps are really hot.

"I am pretty confident that after an entire summer in the trunk, there would definitely be a difference in the flavor profile. Almost like a stale flavor.


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