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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Black Box

Guest blogger Brett is back again with another post he alluded to in his last one.

Well lets talk about the Black Box, I’m sure we all have one or a version of it. It could be called the blue box or the tan box. It just so happens that the store had this good sized tough plastic Black box on sale for twenty dollars, good buy I thought. Anyways, it’s just my fun name for a large “go box” or whatever acronym you would like to use.
It of course, started with my first cardboard box that was duct tapped together and held my odd assortment of supplies that led to my Hobo Lunches. That, of course, grew and adapted, as we all do. We learn from each other and experiment with what works for us and our likes and dislikes. So my fellow Prepper and friend Rick asked me what I keep in my Black Box. What kind of items do I keep, how do I plan to use it, how big is it and what am I missing.
WOW - well here goes, the Black Box and its contents more or less.
It measures 18’’x24 “x16” one long continuous hinge at the back, two clasps in the front and a spot for a lock. I will just give a basic run down of what is in it because there is so many things that it’s like a mini outlet store. Keep in mind this is my Box for my Bronco, I could not pack this around on my own. I consider this one of my 'home bases' or a cache. I think it is wise to have a few set up for yourself and family. If you can, make some that are placed in your vehicle or one that is small and mobile, so that it isn't hard to find in a last minute rush.
As I talked a bit about in the Hobo Lunch story, I shop at the canned food outlet or at stores like it. Not only my daily house food, but for some basics for the Black Box. I keep several types of canned goods like evaporated milk, spam, pork-n-beans, corned beef, canned chicken, Vienna sausages, tuna and albacore, refried beans. Oh boy, just all kinds of canned goods that I rotate through. Then, as well, I keep dry goods like 'add water only' pancake mix, plenty of pasta roni, stroganoff, rice-a-roni and a few other varieties that I’ll pick up as I see them. These things are great as they can keep for a long, long time and all you need is water and some of that evaporated milk.
I also have an assortment of those freeze-dried meals, everything from scrambled eggs to corn and more stroganoff and a number of other tasty flavors, I shop around for these as well, sports outlet stores at times, have these at a discounted prices or check around online, you can find great deals and save yourself the gas money to boot.
I have also hunted out deals on M.R.E.’s or partials, like just the entrees. I have numerous miscellaneous entree’s as well as full meals, about ten or so. A couple of those emergency protein bricks(lifeboat rations), they don’t taste great but they keep for a long time and are handy. A couple boxes of tea bags, honey and a couple bags of coffee (got to have that). I have a coffee pot in the box, but I came across a mini espresso maker, one of those totally self contained, extremely portable, ten ounce or so deals. Found this at another outlet style store, it’s hit and miss but keep looking, good and useful things are out their that are affordable. I got this thing for about eight dollars. Oh yes and that opened can of evaporated milk is great in here as well, mmm.
Keep in mind that these little things, even in the worst case scenario or locations can have a profound impact on your mood and lets face it, if your state of mind is down nothing else really feels right. As my wife says to me at times like this, just drink tea. {yes grasshopper, just drink tea and be just the tea, not everything else at least while your drinking tea} got to love a good woman.
So what else is in there, oh yes several bottles of water, several soda’s, plates, cups, camp silverware, gum, couple pots, a propane burner with a few bottles of propane, candles, a lantern and fuel for it, hatchet, knife, a no-battery flashlight, space blanket, small first aid kit, cordage, (can never have enough of that). I’m sure I have a ton of things floating around in the box I forgot about like matches and a flint. The point is with a Black Box, is to set it up with what you need for a few days to a week or more, for two people, to be self-sufficient if needed. Remember that if the need does come up, use all other options first, like food hand outs or fishing, whatever means you have before you go into the box with no clear restock date. I think its very important to keep a few of these types of setups handy and it can be done a piece here and part there with some wise shopping and imagination, keeping in mind your needs. No point in buying a bunch of stuff your not going to eat or use just because you can or it fills up your box. I’ll admit my box is full and heavy but it’s in my primary ride and as I talked about before, I do a lot of Hobo-Lunches out of it. I also keep a back pack in my ride, so if I have to foot it somewhere, I can load up what I need.
Now, if you can use out of your box, and restock it, this is real handy for being ready to go at a moments notice for lunch or camping and just incase a worse case issue comes along, you’re ready and lets face it with today’s economy it’s best to be stocked up as much as possible. You just don’t know what’s around the corner. So I keep one of these in each rig and one master box in the house and yes, my wife thinks I’m a little odd, but I think she understands why I do it. Besides the stuff in the box I keep sleeping bags, chairs, tables, large water container and even gasoline on my rig.
My wife and I use one of the smaller boxes on our canoe trips quite often. So, I guess if I were to give any advice on setting up or using a Black Box of your own, I would suggest that first off stock it with things you know you like to eat, don’t just buy stuff to stock up on that you can’t stand. Batteries are nice but unless they are those super long-lasting cells don’t waste your time, most of the time they go dead before you need them and even worse they can leak into your food supply. A hatchet is good and can double as a hammer; cordage, some stakes or big nails, a tarp, candle lantern are always good and those candles have multiple uses. Shop around and talk with like-minded people and ask where did you get that? But even with all the stuff that I have told you I keep, I’ll pass on another one-liner that my wife is fond of giving me but that makes sense here, “more is not always better, it’s just more” in other words just stick to what you need and will use.

Brett

Thanks Brett, another informative post,
Rick

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