Both of these simple rules I learned as a young Lieutenant. On the face they are simple, but each has a larger context as it relates to prepping. The first rule applies to water and the second involves “snivel gear” (the Army term for warm/comforting clothing).
Rule 1: Water. I grew up in the Army before the days of the CamelBak and other hydration systems. We had high tech devices called canteens (and no we did not carry muskets). Each soldier regularly carried 4 quarts of water. You had a 2 qt canteen attached to your rucksack and two 1 qt canteens on your pistol belt. The rules for consumption were simple and commonsensical. The first water to be consumed would be from the 2 qt on your rucksack, even though this was typically the least convenient when you were on the move. The reason is simple. If you are separated from your pack you will still have 2 FULL canteens on your pistol belt.
Rule 2: Snivel Gear. No matter how cold and/or how wet you become ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS maintain ONE piece of dry clothing (it could be a t-shirt, sweater, poly-pro top, etc) in your rucksack. Again the reason is simple. When you are suckin’…I mean REALLY suckin’…knowing that you still have a dry piece of clothing is a HUGE morale booster and gives you hope that when it gets warmer or stops raining you can change into something more comfortable. When everything you have is wet and you are cold it is infinitesimally easier to give up and quit!
How does Rule 1 apply to prepping? In the simplest form it can be useful advice, but let’s consider the larger context. Here’s a scenario. The power is out (you pick the reason) and you have the following fuels available for cooking; one 20 lb bag of charcoal, a propane grill with a full tank, 2 gallons of gas in a can for your lawn mower and 1 rick of firewood for your fire place. Which should you use to cook with first? My answer is none of the above! I send my kids to the woods across the street to gather as much dead fall as they can carry home. The reason is simple. I save my “convenient fuels” for when I need it. There will be a time when I HAVE to tap into my convenient preps. The reasons could be illness, security, weather, etc. As a result, it is important to save convenient preps. The important point is to make every effort possible to preserve your reserve. Obviously do not take this to the extreme and die of starvation with a basement full of Mountain House #10 cans. However, I’m not sure it’s a great idea to figure out if you can shoot a squirrel when you are out of Mac-N-Cheese and starvin’ to death.
Rule 2 involves Hope and Morale; both in my view are imperative to survival. The point here is to pick something (and the something should fit the context of your situation) that you preserve until “the end”. If you like “ZombieLand”…maybe it’s a box of Twinkies. It could be a pack of cigarettes, can of food, bottle of Jim Beam…whatever. The point is; keep something to look forward too. This will help you maintain morale and look to the future. If you eat all the good stuff, wear all your dry clothes, shoot up all your ammo, or spend all of your silver too early there is no future. Quite simply, you will lose hope.
On some level these concepts are simple, but I hope it provokes some thought on how you prep and how you prioritize.