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Archive for the ‘Food Storage’Category

The State of Food Storage at SurvivalClub South

When we moved to the Farm, my wife and I left the bulk of our food storage at SurvivalClub North, just in case we ever needed to go there.  However, now that we will very likely bug-in at the Farm, I’ve been slowly (too slowly for my taste) trying to gather another years worth of food.  In the plus column, I have a dedicated climate-controlled space at the warehouse, with pest control.

Even so, we’ve been fighting the mice recently and lost about $50 worth of short-term food.  Something about the mad heat of Summer pushed them inside, as I haven’t had a problem with them in about a year.  I know Tomcat advertises their bait is better than peanut butter, but they’re full of it.  Of the 2 snapped traps (both missed, but we must have wounded the mouse, as we can smell him dead wherever he crawled away to), both had peanut butter, even though there were several Tomcat baited traps nearby.  Honestly, Tomcat bait isn’t very appealing either, I’d steal the PB any day!

I think they are coming in via the drop sealing.  We used to trap that in our previous home’s basement, and I need to do that here as well.

Although I didn’t open up the blog today to talk about mice!

My brother Tom, his wife and his 5 kids are in town visiting from Deathtrap Island (England).  I had a little heart palpitation when I took a bunch of our short-term snacks and munchies over to our house for when they are in town.  My mind was running to ‘You know, I have quite a bit of food for my wife and family…but not so much when you are looking at a crowd of 7 extra bodies.’

Our current short-term food storage (basically, foodstuffs we eat every day…soups, canned veggies, PB, etc) is currently at around 270,000 calories.  That equates to exactly 30 days for my my wife, Nana, and myself at 2000 calories, and the 3 girls at 1000.  That would mean less than 15 days if something happened when my brother’s family is here. (ugg)  I have another 200lbs of longer term rice and beans; but that might only equate to another 15 days.  Double ugg.  I’m now realizing how woefully low our food supplies are down here, and I will definitely be taking some trips to Walmart over the next 2 weeks to at least double our short term supplies.  My wife probably has another 150,000 calories in the pantry and freezer at home, but in the face of the locust horde of kids currently at our house, that’s not much.

As I was counting up the calories, some obvious things popped out at me:

  1.  Peanut Butter might be the very best survival food.  At 6600 calories per jar, it’s space/calorie ratio is among the best available foods (that people would actually want to eat).  It stores well, at least a couple years at the 76 degrees I have my storage room at.  However, this lead me to:
  2. I need to store more crunchies to put it on, and rotate through them.  I’m completely out of Big Cheez-its and Triscuits, which I usually keep about 7 boxes of on-hand.  I can eat peanut butter out of the jar with the best of them, but the girls will want some normalcy!
  3. As mentioned yesterday, green beans blow in terms of actual nutritional/calorie content for the space it takes up.  I’ll check on how many calories cans of spinach or peas have when I next shop.
  4. No surprise, pasta comes in number 2 in terms of caloric density.  With our pool open for the summer, I’m not much worried about the water situation.  I’ve also done some scouting, and found 2 water sources within walking distance of the property.  However, we haven’t gone into drought yet this year, so I’m not convinced they will be there year-round.  Just something for me to keep an eye on.
  5. It’s not for everyone, but I always have some mobile liquids on hand, as you can see in one of the photos.  Gallon jugs of water and apple juice.  Might not be a great use of space, but until I’m actually out of space, its good for my morale!

I had a long conversation with someone looking to start storing some food this week, and like it sometimes does, the conversation got very long-winded about OTR and MVTR properties of bags, and what was the best bag to use, etc.  I finally gave my go-to answer, as I was worried he was overcome by ‘research paralysis’, and I told him to just start storing SOMETHING.  And that’s pretty much my philosophy for any of you out there reading this who don’t have anything stored.  You can see how I’m doing things, I’m not ultra organized.  I just try to be consistent.  Having extra peanut butter, Pop Tarts, and Ramen on hand will never hurt you.  But if you lose your job, or God forbid something truly awful happens, you’ll be glad you did.

Just do it people!

11

08 2017

ShieldPro SafeCache Bags Now Available

This spring and summer has been a great adventure as we have worked to produce the best material and the best bags available for food storage.  It has finally come to fruition as my wife and I (with her 16 weeks pregnant with twins!) unloaded a full truckload of new ShieldPro bags this weekend.  It took about 4 hot, sweaty hours with my wife running the forklift and me manhandling pallets with a pallet jack.  Our warehouse is now filled to the brim with beautiful, silvery, metally, Mylar-y goodness!

Folks here know we have kept our focus mainly food storage related over the years (and intend to keep it that way, mostly!).  We have dabbled in some different products here and there, but through everything our main focus has been Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers.  Thus, we are very proud to announce a product that fits in one of those categories, but expands nicely in a direction we want to be moving.

We’ve been receiving requests for this type of product for over a year now (over 100 customer comments in my little notebook at least), but finding manufacturing for something this specialized proved a little tricky.  As we worked on the ShieldPro brand, we thought this would be a great addition to our focus of storage, though outside the food niche.  I am very pleased to now offer the ShieldPro SafeCache storage bag.

This bag is awesome.  It is 11″x55″ long, made of the 7.5 Mil SafeCache material, the strongest metalized foil substrate I have found (and I’ve looked at hundreds of materials during this process!).  It is incredibly durable, with amazing barrier properties to moisture and oxygen.  The size will fit most long guns and AR’s (some optics may have to be removed for storage), as well as a ton of different types of equipment you may want to store out of your home.  It can be cut and resealed so that a single bag can fit multiple handguns, cameras, phones, or various electronics.2013-08-26 10.56.42

The challenge with trying to bury most standard gun cases is that water is a pretty amazing infiltrator, and it can and will seep through most everything.  The SafeCache bag fixes all that.  Used in conjunction with desiccant and standard storage procedures, you can bury whatever supplies you choose and know (barring earthquake or something crazy!) your valuables will be safe.

These bags are now available at Discount Mylar Bags.

However, for our food storers, please don’t despair!=)  We will have several new bags for y’all showing up at the store later this week.  We will be replacing 2 items permanently with a brand new ShieldPro product.  Our standard 5 gallon bag and 5 gallon zip bags, (both of which are still fabulous!), will be upgraded to the new ShieldPro 5 mil substrate (material).  Even better is that our pricing on both items will remain exactly the same ($1.27 for the 5 gallon and $1.79 for the 5 gallon zip).  We will be running clearance pricing on the 4.5 mil bags these are replacing.  ($.99 or less for the 5 gallon and $1.09 or less for the 5 gallon zip in bulk), and as mentioned in the last post, this is the lowest price offered on the ‘Net for these bags.  Please note there is nothing wrong with the 4.5 mil products, and they have been a staple with us for 3 years now and we have sold millions of them!  However, with our improved buying power, we have been able to work much closer with manufacturing to increase the quality of our products without increasing any costs to our customers, which is a great win for everyone!

Please note that while it has been a very busy summer, we’re not done yet!  We will be going back to manufacturing to figure out what other sizes and styles of bags folks might be needing.  If you have any thoughts, please drop a comment or email!  We don’t do any of this without input from our customers, as you are the most important thing in the world to us!

26

08 2013

Summer Updates: ShieldPro, Twins, Affiliate Program, and a HUGE Sale!

Hey everyone, I hope y’all are having a great summer!  We are having an awesome one, so I wanted to put up some updates.

First, we are very proud to start carrying the trademarked ShieldPro Brand Mylar Bags.  These bags are specifically designed for long-term food storage.  Not only are they beautiful, they offer absolutely awesome protection for your foods, with stellar oxygen and moisture barrier properties.  If you listen to one of the prepper podcasts you might have heard our first radio commercial.  We did it on the cheap, but I like the way it came out!  Take a listen if you’re interested.  We have one official ShieldPro bag currently available (a 1 gallon gusseted stand up bag), and we are currently scheduled to take delivery of a full truckload more on August 13-14 or so, so look for additional sizes then!

To help clear out some space in our warehouse, we are going to be putting up some awesome deals at the website.  For example, for 5-gallon bags, we will be offering 30-packs for $29.70 and 50-packs for $49.50, or $.99 a bag, shipping included!  If you’d like a larger quantity than that, we will go as low as $.89/each for 500 or more (email me!).  We’ll also have on sale 2-gallon bags and 5-gallon zip seal bags starting tomorrow.  Those who have read the blog often know I’m not prone to exaggeration, so I mean it when I say these prices may be the lowest you ever see for shipped bags.

Third on the agenda is the announcement of the Discount Mylar Bags Affiliate Program.  This will not be applicable to most folks, and is intended more for bloggers or folks who run websites.  Over the years I’ve had dozens of folks ask us if we run an affiliate program.  Until now, we didn’t!  But now we have one (Being run by Share-a-Sale) and will be offering a flat 10% for all orders referred to us through your affiliate link.  If you’re interested you can sign up here, or email me at admin@discountmylarbags.com for more info.

Our final big announcement is personal in nature, which I don’t normally do, so skip this part if I offend!  My wife and I have been together over 8 years now and married more than 5, and we always thought she couldn’t have kids.  She tried treatments and things in her first marriage, and they didn’t work.  I wasn’t about to fork out a whole lot of money to repeat the process, so we were content to spend our time together with each other and our dogs, and work on our own business and interests.  Well, the Good Lord Almighty decided that His timing was Now.  My wife is blessedly pregnant…with twins!!!  I’m a little worried about being 60 when my kids are 18, but I am doing my best to get back into good shape so I can try to be a good dad and be around for them as long as I can.  She is at 13 weeks now, we just had a 3d ultrasound done yesterday and all looks well so far, though they won’t be able to determine the sex of them until next time.  All Prayers are very welcome, as we know we’re in a higher-risk age bracket (my wife is 38 and I am 42), plus twins are always a little more complicated.

It also means figuring out how to store 2 more years worth of food, this time for kids!  Anyone with any advice on that and what you do for your younger kids, I’d love to hear it!

Thank you and have a great summer!

31

07 2013

How We Do Business – Mylar Bag Edition

Hey everyone, I know it’s been a while!  While it has been quiet on the blog, we have been very busy behind the scenes trying to serve our customers better.  I’ve been thinking about doing a video encapsulating our philosophy of doing business, and what makes us stand out.  We have the best return customer rate in the business, and I thought we would share some of the reasons why.  If you’ve been on the fence about ordering from us, I hope this gives you some indication of how far we will go to serve our customers!  If you don’t know the address, here is our online store!

1)  Same Day Shipping – In the beginning, there is very little to differentiate one seller from another.  One of the ways we have done so from day one is offering same day shipping for all orders that come in until 3pm.  And many days if I can manage it, I’ll ship everything that comes in until about 5pm, stopping by the Post Office on the way home to drop off packages which miss the regular pickup.  Getting your package in the mail ASAP is very important to us.  We work 7 days a week (about a half shift on Saturday and Sunday) to make sure you get your item as soon as humanly possible without using Express Service!

2)  USPS Priority Mail Shipping for most orders – Whatever else one might say about USPS, I can attest that Priority Mail is the best reasonably costed standard shipping method available today.  UPS Ground can compete for a certain geographical area, but no one else guarantees 2-3 day shipping times (In TN and parts of surrounding states, some folks have told us they got their package the next day!).  This includes Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.  If you need your order as quick as possible, you can trust us to get it there.  Just today, we had several customers on the phone who thanked us on getting their order to them ASAP.

3)  We Value Your Privacy – I am a privacy nut myself, and so we go out of our way to protect yours.  First, we use discrete packaging, meaning nothing will ever show up on your door with a big ‘Survival Stuff Inside!’ or giant ‘Discount Mylar Bags’ plastered all over the box.  We have many folks who specifically request plain packaging, and this is to let everyone know we don’t have ANY outer packaging with our name on it.  The only place you will see our name is the return address as required by our shipping carriers.

4)  We Value Your Privacy, Part 2 – For all orders placed online, we NEVER see or have access to your credit card information.  It is handled in exactly the same manner as it would be at a department or other retail store…invisibly and behind the scenes.  Only our credit card processor actually sees your credit card number, so you never have to fear one of our employees gallivanting around Europe using your credit card!

5)  We Value Your Privacy, Part 3 – While I’ve thought about doing one, we don’t have a mailing list.  We don’t, and will never, sell your email to anyone for any reason.  I hate junk mail in my inbox, and many of the survival stores are terrible about sending out a ton.  The only way I would send an email to a customer is if they asked me to do a newsletter, and only then if they chose to opt in.  This is currently not in the planning stage, so if you’d like to see one, let me know.

6)  Free Shipping over $50 and on all kits – In the beginning I tested out ‘Free shipping on everything!’  That wasn’t very funny when I had dozens of folks placing orders for 2 Mylar Bags at $.25 each.  Needless to say, we lost our shirts and had to change that policy quickly.=)  We know $50 is a lot of money to some folks, and so we also offer free shipping on all our kits (located here).  Our goal is not to make money on shipping, and we only have the minimum charge to cover the cost of processing and packaging small orders.

7)  When We Screw Up, We Fix It – This is perhaps the defining aspect of how we run our business.  While we do our best to get all orders out the door perfect, inevitably we’ll mess one up.  However, you have my promise that I’ll fix it, quickly!  Your satisfaction with your order is our only concern.

8)  No Hassle Returns – Something not quite what you pictured when you bought it?  No problem, you are welcome to return anything at any time for a full refund!  Again, I only wish I could get the same from many of the places I order!=)  We’ve accepted returns from customers who had their product for a year and finally said to themselves ‘I’m never going to do this’.  And that’s OK, ship it back to us and we’ll refund it.

If there’s anything we can do serve you that we’re not currently doing, please let me know!  We are working on getting some new bag sizes in to fill requests of customers, so I hope you’ll check back!

Folding Mylar Bags

There seems to be a good deal of misinformation and lack of information out there about folding of Mylar bags and whether the resulting pinholes will hurt your food storage. I have answered this question before in our FAQ, however because it has come up pretty frequently lately I thought I would do a post about it.

First, I think part of the challenge is because the idea seems to make sense, and so folks read something like ‘folding damages Mylar bags’ and accept the information at face value, understandably. Also, even some of our competitors who should (and probably do) know better do it, for whatever reason.

I think the main cause for the confusion is that folks often use different terms than what they really mean. For example, there is a difference between a pinhole and a puncture when it comes to Mylar bags. A pinhole is a natural part of every Mylar bag. It’s not a dirty word; it doesn’t affect the longevity of your food. Every Mylar bag, whether the lightest 2 mil bag to the heaviest 7.5 mil Mylar bag, has pinholes. There is a measurement that manufacturers use ‘Pinholes per meter squared’ that they use to describe the effect. So when you stick your head into a bag, or shine a flashlight into it, you will see pinholes. That is absolutely normal, and nothing to fear.

A puncture, on the other hand, is an incredibly rare defect in a Mylar bag, usually caused by it being poked by something. It almost never occurs naturally, maybe 1 in 500,000 bags. The main times it occurs is when a manufacturer gets to the end of their roll stock when producing bags, and will occasionally slice a bag. Even though we tell them not to, many times they will tape the tear (which always shocks and annoys me!) and ship them to us. Usually we catch these bags when we package and do not send them out. On a rare occasion, they will make it to a customer, and we apologize when that happens, and will always gladly refund or replace damaged bags.

To understand why pinholes are not an issue, let’s take a look at how Mylar bags are built. Mylar bags are usually composed from 2-5 layers of barriers (though we’ve carried some with 6 on occasion, and for some applications you can get them with more), adhesives and foil. A barrier layer is one that blocks oxygen or moisture, and is usually invisible (except for foil); an adhesive layer is what holds the different layers of the bag together (and some adhesives even have barrier properties as well). And the foil layer is what we actually ‘see’ when we look at the bag, the metal that we refer to as ‘Mylar’. In actuality, Mylar is a clear polyester type material. Only because it is often bonded with an aluminum or metallized layer do we think of Mylar as ‘metallic.’

A pinhole is where the foil layer did not bond to the upper and lower barrier and adhesive layers of the bag, or may happen during shipping. They occur at random places during manufacturing, and again, will show up in all Mylar bags to a greater or lesser extent.  However, every place you see a pinhole, there are still 2-4 layers of material protecting your food.  The very act of storing your food and pulling a vacuum, will cause some more pinholes to occur.  Again, this is completely normal.  As all together those pinholes represent less than 1/1000th or 1/10000th of the total area of the bag, the actual loss of MVTR and OTR is negligible, less than a rounding error.

To demonstrate, I did a Youtube video showing that I can crinkle, crush, and fold a Mylar bag, and it will still be airtight. I took a picture yesterday of a different bag to demonstrate the same thing.  2013-02-23_10-54-13_529It’s hard to tell in the picture, but the bag is holding about a gallon of water with no leaks.

Generally speaking, in our household we only use Mylar bags that have been returned from customers, often because the customer felt folding damaged the bags somehow.  Even after packaging and shipping bags two ways, we have never had a bag fail.  Foil is simply a material that ‘prints’, meaning if you even touch it it will retain the mark.  You can ‘write’ your names on Mylar bags with a coin or fingernail.  Doing this does not hurt the bag.

This business is our livelihood, and I care about our customers.  Many of them have become friends.  I would never do anything to put any of them at risk by shipping product in a way that could potentially make it not work correctly.  We ship hundreds of thousands of bags per month, and there has never been a case where a bag has been returned (except in the case of the tape issue mentioned above) where I have not been able to achieve an airtight seal.  There are several other prepper businesses out there that also ship their bags folded; none of us would even have a business if folding bags damaged them, because we either would have switched to a rolled shipping model, stopped selling them or gone out of business due to the number of returns.

So the next time you are on a prepper or survival forum and someone says you should stick a flashlight in a bag and if it has pinholes it should be returned, please drop me an email, as I will gladly go to the forum and gently reply with the correct information.=)

Keep on prepping folks!

24

02 2013