“To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.” – Larry Niven, Lucifer’s Hammer

As I mentioned, some of my posts have been deleted.  I will repost them over the next couple of days.  I have managed to locate a back up copy, yet it is heavily corrupted.  I believe it is close to as it was.



I recently completed reading the book Lucifer’s Hammer, by Niven and Pournelle.  This is a science fiction book, written in 1978, detailing the tales of various people struggling through the aftermath of a comet strike on the planet.  Not an event which I think would ever occur in real life, yet I did enjoy the book.  Apart from some inaccuracies regarding tsunamis and some errors regarding different time zones (at one point in the book the effects of the strike are explained in relation to other parts of the world.  The strike in America occurs in the morning, yet the author mistakenly describes the effects of the strike at dusk in western Europe when it actually should have been close to dawn), I found the book to be a great and informative read.  I have a habit of nit-picking, so after I got over my annoyance (several days later) I went back to the story.

If you are interested in an exciting and post-apocalyptic read, I would recommend this to you.


In my post from January I discussed the updating of my Get home bag, focusing on the items it contained.  I also mentioned the distance I would need to travel to get home.  While I doubt that I would ever have to walk the distance, the way home is long and would take me between one and two days to complete the journey if I had to do it by foot.  I could survive several days without food (it might actually do my waist-line some good), yet I believe that food is important.  It is such a long walk that the food will give me additional, and much needed, energy.  The food would also serve as a comfort.  After walking most of a day, stopping for the night to rest would be made much more comfortable with something to eat.  I would like to use a military grade ration pack – I have several at home that I have collected over the years.  Yet, many are seriously past their expiration date and I hold on to them for part of a collection.  The others are reasonably new, however due to having so few I thought it might be better to make my own ration pack.

Australian army ration pack
Australian army ration pack

To do this I considered a few factors:

  • For what length of time would I need to supply?
  • How would it be stored?
  • How heavy could I make it?
  • How long should it last, unused?
  • What would I eat?

To answer this I had to determine the route I would have to take if I had to walk home – I also considered that it should be useful on other, less dire, circumstances (such as having to wait at a broken down car for half a day).  I decided that a days worth of food would suit most situations.

I would like it to take the smallest space possible – if it was small, I could keep it in my every day bag.  If it was too large I couldn’t carry it with me, so I would need to store it (possibly in the car.. which would mean it would have to be able to survive varying degrees of temperature change on a daily basis).  So, if it is small enough, I will carry it in my bag.  I would also consider vacuum packing it, so it would be more resilient.

Obviously I don’t want it to be too heavy.  I don’t want to carry around a large weight, so this is important.  I would guess no more than 2 kgs.

In relation to how long I would like the food to last, I would say at least a year.  I don’t want to stock it with foods that would expire in less than 12 months.  2 years would be better, so I need to consider expiry dates on items.

It would have to be foods I would eat, that would taste nice and would also provide sufficient energy.  It would be great if there could be a few comfort foods to help keep me happy.

Here is what I decided upon:

  • can of Spam
  • pack instant noodles
  • 2 packets of cup a soup
  • Oat Bars
  • Beef Jerky or Biltong
  • Sticks of Nestle instant coffee
  • Green tea individual tea bags
  • Salt and Pepper sachets total
  • Cracker biscuits (Sao)
  • sachets of powdered water flavouring
  • Bag of Barley Sugar candy.
home made ration pack
home made ration pack

This weighs just under 1.4kg – not too bad.  I have considered the calories that this provides, it is not close to the recommended daily input.  I guess it will have to suffice.

The Crackers take up the most space, yet they are versatile and able to be used in many different ways.  The Coffee is a bit of a treat to make me feel human.  The oat bars have the shortest expiry period, yet they would make a great treat/meal.  The candy is to help if I feel hungry, or need a pick me up.

With this ration, I should be able to make a great breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a little left over if needed.  Several of the items could do with cooking and need water (such as the noodles, cup a soup, coffee) which has the potential to be a problem, yet in a pinch I could eat them without water and cooking.  I have plans to bring water in the bag (I always have at least 1.2 litres in my bag, I will boost this a little more, and have some in key locations, such as my work, car, etc.) and I have access to water on the way home if I need to resupply.

I may add a couple of other items to make the pack even more useful – such as a squeeze tube of Peanut Butter (or a small jar).

Contents of the pack
Contents of the pack

I intend to test this out soon, to see how I feel after a day of having to eat the ration pack.

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