Its one thing to have a remote camp that you and your family visits on the weekends, its another thing to have this camp prepped and ready to go for a disaster. Having the camp prepped means the difference between having a bug out location, or having a weekend get away. One of the comforts of modern life we take for granted is the ability to cook. We walk into the kitchen, and turn on the oven, stove, microwave, crock pot, or toaster without ever giving it a single thought – until the power goes off that is.
What are your plans for cooking with no electricity? Some people might have a grill on the back porch, some people might have a wood burning stove, with others may have no cooking options at all. Some people might have natural gas – but natural gas requires pumps to be working between your house and the natural gas supplier. When those pumps stop working, the natural gas stops flowing.
Lets divide cooking into three layers:
Family / Unit cooking
Personal cooking – this is a small camp fire, or maybe a single burner stove, something just big enough to cook for 1 or 2 people. Examples could include a Vargo stove, camp fire, Coleman 533 dual fuel stove, single burner propane stove,,, something just big enough to cook for 1 or 2 people.
Personal sized cooking solutions are well suited for the lone wolf type. These are the people with no family that depend on them, and people that like to travel light. If your plans involve grabbing your bug out bag, and walking 200+ miles to your bug out location, then something like the Vargo Hexagon wood stove might be for you.
Family / Unit sized cooking – these options should be able to cook for a family sized unit, say 4 – 6 people at 1 time. In some kind of post SHTF situation, this is probably going to be the primary cooking options for a lot of people.
If you already have a wood burning stove, and several cords of wood, good for you. But a lot of people out there do not have that kind of setup. Having a wood burning stove, and several acres of hardwood would be ideal, but a lot of people have not taken the steps towards that kind of solution.
Example solutions include – propane stove, Coleman dual burner camp stove, grill, bar-b-q pit,,,, something where enough food for 4 – 6 can be cooked.
At the camp we have a 250 gallon propane tank and a propane stove. This provides a nice and quick solution for cooking. We just fire the stove up, and cook whatever we want. The problem with propane, it does not last forever.
After Hurricane Rita pushed through in September 0f 2005, some of my neighbors used their outdoor propane grill to cook on. After about 2 weeks of no electricity, they must have emptied 5 or 6 of those 20# propane bottles. If you have a propane outdoor grill and have a few of those #20 propane bottles and think they are going to last a long time – don’t count on it.
While at the annual survivalist meet and greet at Martin Dies State Park, a buddy of mine pulled out his Coleman Perfectflow stove to cook breakfast on. After firing the grill up, we had breakfast cooked in a matter of minutes.
Communal cooking – this is where the community can come together cook, socialize, share information, and form some kind of community. Communal cooking is more then just “cooking” – it can help satisfy the need of people to socialize. Humans are social animals, we need to flock together to maintain a stable mindset and to keep a grip on reality.
If your neighbors do not have a way to cook, providing them the ability to cook their frozen foods before they spoil could win some favors.
Several years ago I decided to build myself a bar-b-q pit on a trailer. This makes the pit portable – I can pull it from my house to the camp, or anywhere else I need to go. The cooking surface is 6 feet 9 inches long and 29 inches across. In other words, its big enough to put a hog on. During the last couple of Hurricanes, having a pit this big has come in useful.
During the evacuation of Hurricanes Ike and Rita, several of my family members evacuated to my house. At one point or another, we probably had 10 – 12 people in my house, and with no electricity to cook with. To cook for that many people, I fired up the pit, threw a couple of those family sized packs of pork chops on the grill, along with some sausage and we had a feast.
Its going to be kinda difficult cooking for a group of people with a single burner camping / hiking / backpacking stove. But that is what a lot of people plan on doing during a bug out.
On one of the videos about my bar-b-q pit on a trailer, someone posted a comment about how the trailer and pit was a waste of time, and a waste of fuel having to pull the thing. I have to agree and disagree with that statement at the same time.
If you have nowhere to go during a bug out, then yes, having a trailer with a pit on it might be a waste of time, and a waste of fuel for your car / truck.
But if you have a remote location where you have plenty of firewood, and plenty of wild game to hunt, then no, it is not a waste of time.
Tailor your plans to fit your needs -there is no “one size fits all” solution. If your in an urban situation, then having a pull behind pit on a trailer might not be for you. If your the lone wolf type that only wants to plan for himself / herself and no one else, then a single burner stove might be the best option.
What do you need in a cooking solution? Do you need something that can cook for only 2 people, or do you need the ability to cook for 12 people?
Often overlooked items:
Matches – the last time I counted my match stockpile at the camp, I think it came to around 1,250 – 1,500 matches. It was like 6 – 8 boxes of 250 matches per box.
Knives – lets not forget some good heavy knives for butchering wild game like deer and hogs. And lets also not forget having some knives for people to cut their meat and eat with.
Eating utensils – a lot of times people just bring plastic forks, spoons and knives to their camp. From time to time take inventory of your metal eating utensil stockpile.
Spices – salt, pepper, garlic,,,, anything else you can keep on hand to spice things up a little bit.
Hand soap – for washing up before and after eating. Hand washing is the number 1 way to prevent the spread of disease.
Solid plates – keep in mind this is for a bug out location / remote camp. When your dealing with a weekend get away, a lot of people only bring plastic plates. That way they don’t have to worry about washing the dishes – especially when water is in short supply. Having a few real plates on hand would be a good idea.
Serving platters and trays – lets say one of the hunters brings in a hog, and its roasted on the pit. It would be nice to have a couple of serving platters or trays to pull the meat off the hog, and put it on the tray for people to get. This helps keep everyone away from the pit and the doors closed. The longer the doors to the pit are open, the more heat escapes. Pull the meat off the hog, put it on a serving platter and keep the pit closed up.
Post your comments in this forum thread about cooking at the bug out location.
Copyright Kevin Felts 2010