Prepare Ahead of Time: Emergency Food Supply

Earlier this year we wrote about how Gents should act in a time of panic buying.  As parts of the country went into lockdown, we talked about the leadership that our society needs from us, especially when at home with our families.  We also talked with Emmitt Smith about how to use this time to constructively shift our mindset to deal with changing conditions.  One of the thing that didn't make sense to talk about in those days is what to do "before" a crisis.  To be sure this year has thrown a lot of curveballs our way, and it isn't over yet, but when there's a moment to take some action to prepare for challenges that may lay ahead, Gents take the initiative.

Three Day Minimum

Any number of challenges can come our way, from weather, to blackouts, to lockdowns and food shortages.  That's why it's always wise to have at least three days of supplies on hand in your home to be more resilient when challenges arrive.  You can always choose to scale up from there to 14 days or 30 days, etc., but start simple with three days of supplies.

General Supplies

While these are items you probably have already in your house, it wouldn't hurt to either write down their locations or buy duplicates and put them all in one spot.

  • scissors
  • can opener
  • aluminum foil
  • flashlights
  • blankets


In general, one adult human needs 1 gallon of water per day for drinking and cooking, and 2 gallons per day for bathing, hygiene (like brushing teeth), and washing dishes.  Depending on their size, pets can use up to 1 gallon per day also.  You'll need enough water for your household per day times three.

If you're buying water from the store, note the expiration dates.  Of course water never "expires," but the plastic does, and will start leaching chemicals into the water, so you'll want to consume it before that date.  If you're filling up your own water supplies, use lightweight shatterproof plastic with lids that can be firmly twisted closed.


If you have anyone in your household, including yourself, that needs medication, that should be on hand, as well as anything for any infants that might be hard to get.  An additional first aid kit will be handy as well.


You generally want to get food that is non perishable, requires no refrigeration, requires minimal to no cooking and minimal to no water.  Good candidates include:

  • Canned meats
  • Canned fruits
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned juices
  • "energy" food like
    • peanut butter
    • jelly
    • crackers
    • granola bars
    • trail mix
  • "comfort" food like
    • cookies
    • jerky
    • hard candy
    • instant coffee
    • tea bags
  • basics like
    • sugar
    • salt
    • pepper
  • MREs

If you want to add a bit of luxury to the emergency kit you can always add a grill or camping cookstove as well as fuel so that you can eat some of the food warmed up.

Canned foods can often last two years or more.  As with the water, you'll want to check and note the dates of expiration.  Beware of any dents along seams or around ends as this can compromise the stability of the food inside.

All of these supplies need to be kept in cool places, out of direct light, and expiring items need to be consumed and replaced.

Be Prepared

As you can see, there's a fair amount of work to be done in preparing even a three day emergency supply of food for your household.  But once it's done, you've got something to build on, and more importantly, you're not going to have to panic buy like everyone else does who never bothers to prepare for hard times or challenging situations.  Gents prepare, especially ahead of time.

Do you have an emergency supply kit set up already?  What did you include in it that we should add to our list?  Let us know in the comments.

Ben Davis

About Ben Davis

A serial entrepreneur, Ben Davis is founder of The Gents Place and a leading investor in gentlemen's refinement and confidence.

Consider what you can do ahead of time to store your food safely in an emergency. If you live in a location that could be affected by a flood, plan your food storage on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water. Coolers are a great help for keeping food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours—have a couple on hand along with frozen gel packs. When your freezer is not full, keep items close together—this helps the food stay cold longer. Digital, dial, or instant-read food thermometers and appliance thermometers will help you know if the food is at safe temperatures. Keep appliance thermometers in the refrigerator and freezer at all times. When the power is out, an appliance thermometer will always indicate the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer no matter how long the power has been out. The refrigerator temperature should be 40 °F or below; the freezer, 0 °F or lower. If you’re not sure a particular food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer.

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