The Modern Nomad’s Pantry

As a Modern Nomad that spends a great deal of her time living in a 19’ travel trailer, one of the questions that I am asked most often is: how do you eat on the road? Do you actually have food in your travel trailer? Do you cook or just eat out all the time?

First, I eat. I like food like…a lot. So no worries there.

While I will never be mistaken for a healthy lifestyle enthusiast the 2020 pandemic has given me a reason to slow down and revisit the joys of making a home, even if it is a tiny one.

One of the first considerations in tiny or mobile living is space. The second is access to resources. Similar to food stores in a traditional home, lifestyle, food type, shelf life, and quantities must be factored into a supply plan.

Storage

In a tiny home or living system maximizing space is a top priority. Typically, I use a combination of mason jars, mylar storage bags with oxygen absorbers, and zip-lock storage bags.

Food Storage Safety Do’s and Don’ts

Do:

  • Seal EVERYTHING!
  • Keep food in covered containers
  • Be PROACTIVE about pests – Use inset-repelling herbs in food storage areas
  • Rotate your food stores/supplies – keep track of expirations dates

Don’t:

  • Eat foods from cans that are swollen, dented, or corroded, even though the product may look safe to eat.
  • Eat any food that looks or smells abnormal, even if the can looks normal.
  • Let garbage accumulate inside, both for fire and sanitation reasons.

Storage Tip:  For longer-term storage of dry goods such as grans, rice, or flour add a bay leaf to the packages/containers to keep pantry pests at bay

Inventory

Even in a tiny space, it is sometimes very easy to forget what supplies we have and where they are stored. Creating an inventory worksheet serves to key functions. First, it will allow you to maintain a working list of what you have in your mobile pantry and it will also allow you to plan means in both emergency and everyday situations.

The Things We Carry

 In many mobile living scenarios, refrigeration is limited. Although access to power is not often an issue, it can be, therefore it is wise to incorporate canned foods, dry mixes, freeze-dried, and other pantry staples that do not require refrigeration.

My #1 recommendation is to store nutritious food that you and your family will actually enjoy eating! Regardless if you have chosen a mobile lifestyle or you have become mobile out of necessity, remember that food helps us to have a sense of normalcy and is comforting in emergency or high-stress situations. Calm is Contagious, so store the things that will help your family feel calm and safe.

As a Modern Nomad, my goal is to be as self-sufficient as possible. My goal is to always have a minimum of a 1-month supply of non-perishable food per person. Although most sources recommend at least a 3-day supply of food per person in your household, this may not be sufficient in an emergency situation. Every emergency is not a national emergency – sometimes it is just an emergency of one (you and your immediate family).

Ideally, in a traditional homestead or urban living scenario, the food storage goal my be up to a 1-year supply per person in your household. This level of food stores takes up a great deal of space, please plan accordingly. Here is a summary of my current longer-term mobile food stores:

ItemQuantityNotes
Rice, Jasmine & Long-grain white20-30 poundsFiling, nutritious, long shelf-life
Red beans, dry (light kidney beans)5 poundsPerfect protein, filing, nutritious, long shelf-life
Black beans, dry2 poundsPerfect protein, filing, nutritious, long shelf-life
Canned vegetables, variety20+ cansConsider low-sodium varieties that you actually eat
Freeze-dried meat, variety#10 cans, smaller cansChicken, pulled pork, sausage, ground beef
Tomatoes, canned stewed, crushed, paste10 cansGreat for making sauces and soups
Grits, instant and 5-minute24 instant packs, 5 pounds cookFiling, comforting. Substitute oatmeal if you prefer that.
Peanut butter2 24 oz jarsGood source of protein, filling, comforting
Tang & Pink lemonade2 containersGood source for additional vitamin c, adds flavor to water
Powdered milk2 poundsGood for cooking, added protein, can be used in coffee or tea
Powdered coconut milk6 packagesGreat addition to red beans
Beef & chicken bouillonCubesFlavoring and soup bases
Freeze-dried onions & bell pepper#10 cans and smallerSeasoning
Pancake mix, complete5 poundsComfort food, great for anytime meal entrée
Honey, jam, syrups Sweetening, topping
Pasta10 poundsComfort food, filing
Oils, vegetable, coconut Adds substance to food, supports fat-soluble vitamins distribution in the body
Coffee, ground, instant5 pounds but often moreComfort, caffeine
Teas, various100+ bags & cold brewsTeas are comforting and have medicinal values.
Sugar, raw & brown5 poundsCooking, beverages, first-aid
Powdered coffee creamer Coffee & tea, adds body to the beaverage
Baking soda5 poundsCooking, cleaning, first-aid
Granola2 poundsFilling, energy, snack
Flour, baking powder, yeast, saltUsable quantitiesCooking comfort foods/baking
Dried herbs, variousBasil, Bay leaves, Lavender, Mint, RosemarySeasoning and pest control
White & Apple cider vinegar1-gallon jugs of eachAdd other varieties as needed
Freeze-dried scrambled eggs#10 canNice protein
Freeze-dried broccoli cheddar soup#10 canMy daughter loves broccoli cheddar soup, so I keep some on hand
Spices & Condiments, various Flavor
Popcorn seeds & seasons4 pounds of seedsComfort snack
Mixed nuts2 poundsComfort snack
Ham flakes6 boxesFor seasoning beans
Instant mashed potatoes2 poundsSide dish
Pet food, dry5 poundsBecause we love them
Hard candies, variety Root beer barrels, lemonheads Comfort
 Manual can opener  

‘What’s in your wallet…er, pantry? I’ve been thinking of creating a downloadable pantry list. What do you guys think? I’d love to hear your storage solutions in the comments!

Until next time, stay safe out there!

Bonne journée!

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