How to Create a Pantry in Fallout Shelter
So, you want to build a fallout shelter. You are not alone: the civilian bomb housing construction industry has grown steadily to meet demand over the past decade, the past events sparking a full market boom , not to mention the pandemic and elections.
Whether you’re going the DIY route or opting for a custom made option replete with anti-air doors and air filtration systems, you’ll need food – and plenty of it – to survive. Keep the pantry in your bunker cool, dark and well ventilated; it should also include a varied selection of dry bulk, canned food, and prepared meals such as MRE . Here are some tips to get you started.
Get enough water
Without enough water, we die, so in the first place, there must be a lot of bottled water for the pantry of any fallout shelter. How many? Probably more than you think: by some estimates, a person can use up to one hundred gallons of water in one day . The soup-to-nut water purification system is useless if you’ve run out of bottled water and can’t find another source of water, so take your time to make an estimate as accurate as possible. Perform your calculations many times, taking into account all possible rates of use, and store bottled water appropriately.
Priority to dried goods
Stored properly, dried foods are the most durable food you can buy. Rice, dried beans, whole grains, milk powder, and jerky are great options with an almost unlimited shelf life. What you store is of course completely up to you, but when it comes to storage, there are a few best practices to follow. Purchase a vacuum or heat sealer to seal dried food in foil bags with oxygen scavengers *, store sealed foil bags in food grade plastic buckets, and build lots of pantry racks to keep your grocery stores above floor level. Dried food is useless if it floats in a puddle of nuclear waste.
* Note on oxygen scavengers: never use them on dried food with a high moisture content (ten percent or more), as this will contribute to the development of botulism. Check the labels on your storage solutions and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Set aside a cool spot for canned food
Protein is an essential part of the human diet, and many canned foods are high in protein. Canned beans, stews, chili peppers, soups, and fish are readily available and can be stored safely for about five years. Condensed and / or condensed milk is also a good choice, as are delicious sodium canned meats such as corned beef, spam, and Viennese sausages. Hot environments (80 ° F or higher) will shorten the shelf life of canned foods, so keep the storage area well ventilated and as cool as possible – 60 ° F is ideal, but colder the better.
If you are canning yourself, carefully read and follow the USDA’s home storage guidelines to ensure safety. Aside from excess heat, anything stored in the glass must be protected from light, so keep that in mind when setting up food storage.
Make room for vegetable oil, salt and sugar.
A full spice cabinet is an easy to moderate waste of hopper space, but keep the basics in mind: Without vegetable oil, salt, and sugar, you won’t be able to cook much at all. The shelf life of olive oil is three to four years, while coconut oil and vegetable fat are about two years old; salt and sugar are stored indefinitely. As with dried and canned foods, keep these foods tightly closed and protect them from heat, moisture, and light to extend their shelf life.
Keep ready meals
I’m not a psychic, but it seems unlikely that the post-apocalyptic lifestyle constantly gives time to cook dried beans. This is why you should stock up on some MREs and other instant foods. Real MREs are available in most army surplus, but I’m totally enamored with the Mountain House brand offerings. May I interest you with the breakfast bucket “just in case” ? How about a ten-pound jar of cookies and gravy ? Even if you only have basic foods, I still recommend bringing spare rations, such as these 3,600 calorie bars, with you . If there’s even one time you don’t want to get hungry (or, you know, literally starve to death), then it’s in the midst of a nuclear winter.
Have a few small, handpicked luxury items.
Let’s face it: no matter how carefully you prepare, the chances of surviving in an underground bunker for more than a couple of years are pretty darn low. Anything that provides a short-term respite from the crushing desolation of everyday existence – whiskey, gin, chocolate, wine, Vicodin – hide a little for especially difficult days. I don’t recommend cigars or pipes unless you are obsessed with dying from tobacco smoke poisoning, but hey, I’m not your boss.
As a resident of the apartment, I agreed that I was simply not supposed to survive the apocalypse; My plan is to bring more wine to the crowded underground party at the end of time. Homeowners, what’s with your fallout shelter? If you built it yourself – even if it’s just a small corner of your basement – I want to hear all about it.
This post was originally published in 2017 and was updated on November 4, 2020 with new links and a new header image, and in line with current Lifehacker style guidelines. It was originally published as part of Retro Week .