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U.S. Cavalry

Food, Water And Basics

It doesn't take much to survive, unless you don't have what it takes!

Despite our perspective, humans are actually quite delicate creatures and limited to a narrow habitable range of our planet. The exact mix of oxygen, gravity, air pressure, temperature, nutrients and water must be available and kept in balance at all times or else we would perish.

That said, we are still relatively hardy when kept within our "comfort" zone.

Left alone, with no other resources, the average healthy person could live for weeks without anything but air to breath. But, should there be weather, stress, injury, disease or danger present, access to additional resources is mandatory for survival.

Civilisation is often described as some combination of food, clothing and shelter achieved once early humans climbed down from that tree and started walking upright.

Survival can be described and achieved with a similar approach. For example, one way to quantify the components of survival is with the "Rule of Threes".

The Survival Rule of Threes is a convenient way of memorizing the order of importance for each basic survival necessity. In extreme survival situations you cannot survive more than:

  • 3 minutes without air
  • 3 hours without shelter
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food
  • 3 months without hope

Air is pretty much a given, so other than an NBC event (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) which would require a protective mask of some type, you needn't concern yourself with breathing.

Shelter is critical but shouldn't be difficult to supply. You need to have a sun and wind break available to you at all times. This can be in the form of protective clothing when on the move and exposed or trees, tents or buildings when hunkered down. Time of year, climate and geography will dictate what form of shelter is needed.

In the survivalist and prepper world, they refer to an improved and fixed shelter as a BOL or BugOut Location (or even Bug Out Lair). During the Cold War this would have been easily recognizable as a fallout bunker. But for anything short of a nuclear war or cosmic calamity (e.g. asteriod impact), any cabin or trailer that is safely outside of the crisis area is a reasonable BOL.

Water is critical. We use it as fuel, coolant, lubrication ... really everything your body does requires water as a component or conduit.

The conservative estimate of how much water an individual needs is two gallons. This accounts for a gallon for consumption and food prep and another gallon for cleanliness and hygiene. If you are setting up a water supply and waster removal system for your BOL (i.e. BugOut Location), then this would be a good volume to plan and manage towards.

But, if you are just considering bare bones survival, then a couple eight (8) ounce water bottles per day is sufficient. The more labor and exercise you are engaged in will require additional water, so plan ahead accordingly.

After water, food is the number one resource you need to plan to provide for in the event of a crisis. You need food for energy, healing from sickness or injury and high level brain functioning.

Adults need over 2,500 calories of fat, protein and carbohydrates each day to be active and healthy. Anything less that 2,500 calories a day will lead to weight loss within days and illness within weeks.

How much is 2,500 calories? It's both more and less than you probably think. You need to be smart about what food you store and consume. Four cans of food and a handful of dry goods like cereal, rice or pasta is about what you should consume each day. The entree in an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) has roughly half of what you need to eat each day.

Most people don't give much thought to how much food and water they need, say over the course of week, to survive.

Do you and your family have a week's worth of food and water stored up? Per person? Where is it?


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