INCH Bag: Building The Food Supply
Posted on July 27 2016
The process of building a reality based food supply takes time, thought and a bit of patience. It’s easy to toss some MRE’s and beef jerky in your pack and call it a day. That works fine for a bugout kit when you don’t expect to be cut off for longer than three days. But when it comes to preparing your INCH bag, one must create an actual menu, considering the options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. INCH stands for I’m Never Coming Home which implies this isn’t a nature walk or camping in the woods for a few days. Good quality food plays a huge role in your survival so put some real thought into the process. The goal is to find the best tasting high calorie foods that are easy to prepare, low in sodium/sugars and lightweight.
There is no logical reason to select foods that require more than two ingredients to prepare. Sure you can drag along a cast iron skillet and make bannock bread, but does that make sense in a potentially hostile environment? The idea is to make food prep quick and easy, providing a balance of actual meals such as vegetables, beef and mashed potatoes and also providing quick snacks for eating on the move.
Based on this line of reasoning, I laid out a menu that covers my food needs for two weeks without resupply. I didn’t include any foods that I don’t eat from time to time. There’s nothing more depressing than having to eat a five year old MRE when you could be eating some smoked salmon on a tortilla with a Milky Way for desert. Apart for packing food that actually tastes good which boosts moral, one must also consider the nutritional factors. It’s a good idea to look for foods that are not only low in sodium but also high in protein with moderate amounts of fats and carbohydrates. Protein helps maintain muscle and repair your body from strenuous activities. The fats and carbohydrates help provide energy and are essential for brain function and overall health.
As part of the food preps, it’s impossible to forget about how the food will be stored in your pack. I chose the 120 liter British Army issue Bergen as my INCH bag based on its simple design. The large sustainment pouches on each side are perfect for storing a comprehensive food kit, while the middle pouch fits the stove and fuel bottle. Packing the entire food kit in the external pouches of the Bergen makes access quick and easy, which is what you want when it comes to items that see regular use.
The best way to organize food is separate into meal types. For this pouch, I combined the breakfast foods, lunch items and snacks. Finally I added a small bag containing instant coffee, creamer, sugar and Kool-Aid packets. I have three options for breakfast, two options for lunch with more than a few snacks to bridge the gap between meals.
Slim Jim Beef & Cheese: http://amzn.to/2a0n0wL
Good Spread Peanut Butter & Honey: http://amzn.to/2ar89JR
Banana Chips: http://amzn.to/2aetVgT
Epic Bison Bars: http://amzn.to/2aia2GG
Chocolate: Grab some favorites at the grocery or gas station
Dinner meals, condiments and miscellaneous items are packed into the 2nd pouch, including a hygiene kit that is not pictured. In the future I may add a few Mountain House meals considering I still have room after adding all the contents shown below. The stove and fuel bottle are stowed away in the middle pouch on the front of the bergen. Note the addition of textured vegetable protein and dehydrated vegetables which can be combined with the mashed potatoes for a down and dirty Shepherd’s Pie. The beef protein can be added to the Masala Oats for another dinner option.
AlpineAire Foods Southwestern Masa with Beef: http://amzn.to/2afnNIQ
Honeyville Textured Vegetable Protein: http://amzn.to/2ar8jkG
Harmony House Dried Vegetables: http://amzn.to/2anoQHV
Wise Foods Chili Mac & Beef: http://amzn.to/2ahJcRQ
Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice: http://amzn.to/2ahJXdH
Instant Mashed Potatoes: http://amzn.to/2ayoigd
Masala Oats Packets: http://amzn.to/2aiaRPF
Condiments & Miscellaneous:
Salt, Sugar, Hot Sauce, Pepper, Wet Wipes and Zip lock bags
The process of planning and building my INCH menu taught me some important lessons. First and foremost, choose food that you actually enjoy eating. A good hot meal can be a huge moral booster in a survival situation so why be lazy and only pack military rations or dehydrated meals? Add variety, taking into account your current eating habits. Everyone loves chocolate so why not add candy bars? Banana chips and spicy peanuts can be a great sweet and savory snack on the go.
Finally I had to take into account calories. I eat an average of 1500-1800 maintenance calories on daily basis. Although I have a desk job, I work out at the local gym 5 days a week, 1 hr per day with as much cardio as I can fit in. It’s unreasonable and not probable to pack enough food to satisfy the amount of calories I take in currently. But I was able to hit a fairly happy medium with an average of 1,100 calories per day from my two week food supply.
Let’s look at a typical day of three meals and snacks from the food supply.
Peanut Butter & Honey packet
170 cals / 12 grams fat / 6 grams protein / 12 grams carbs
1 cup Frosted Mini Wheats
180 cals / 1 grams fat / 5 grams protein / 40 grams carbs
1/2 cup powdered milk
90 cals / 0 grams fat / 12 grams protein / 8 grams carbs
Smoked Salmon pouch
120 cals / 3 grams fat / 21 grams protein / 1 grams carbs
140 cals / 3.5 grams fat / 5 grams protein / 24 grams carbs
Epic Bison Bar:
200 cals / 12 grams fat / 11 grams protein / 10 grams carbs
Banana Chips & Peanuts:
300 cals / 20 grams fat / 5 grams protein / 32 grams carbs
AlpineAire Foods Southwestern Masa:
330 cals / 8 grams fat / 20 grams protein / 46 grams carbs
In a normal environment, I would prefer the protein to be higher and carbohydrates lower, however considering the physical demands of a survival situation, I’m fine with a higher amount. Overall, I would expect to lose weight living off this food supply for two weeks. Not that I’m complaining, I’d like to drop 10-15 pounds. An interesting experiment would be to eat this menu for two weeks and see the end result. I’m betting that even under usual situations, anyone would lose weight eating from this food supply.
The best part about this menu, aside from the expected fat loss, is the price and availability. Once I determined what I wanted, I purchased nearly everything in bulk from Amazon, providing me with enough food to restock this menu at least five times before supplies run out. Purchasing in bulk costs a bit more up front, but pays off in the end run. These days the majority of items ship direct from the nearest Amazon warehouse, guaranteeing your order arrives within 2-3 business days. Much better option that shopping around at multiple stores looking for each item, wasting time, energy and money.
I’m working on a video that will cover the food supply in more detail so be sure to subscribe on Youtube for all the updates. Of course input is always great, this is my first run at building a two week food supply so hit me up with questions, comments and critique.