Hardigg sale and info

These are the dimensions and other info on the Hardigg cases that are available.

A few things to make clear, just so we are all on the same page:

  • The cases are used.This is why they are aren’t $300-$600 each.

  • They will have scuffs and scratches.

  • Cases have no foam in them.
  • They may have paint/marker/labels/markings adorning them. These markings and labels may be removed..or maybe not.

  • All hardware is in working condition although there may be spots of corrosion or rust, but not enough to affect anything negatively.

  • These cases are not cracked, do not have holes, are not missing gaskets or parts.
  • Payment will be through PayPal. This is really the easiest and most pain-free way for me to do this. If you have problems with PayPal, I sympathize but any other method is just too much headache for me.
  • Shipping will almost certainly be through USPS. Cases will be sent ‘naked’ with a label and postage slapped on them. 

These first two cases are leftovers from this post. I still have these available.


“Small Grey” AL1814-1504 – Left case, $120 including shipping to lower 48
“Large Grey” AL2318-1705- Right case, $200 including shipping to lower 48



“Nested Grey Pair” – $300 for both cases, including shipping to lower 48

These next  cases are the ones in the photo posted earlier.

AL 1616-1005

“Green Cube” – AL 1616-1005
Exterior (L x W x D) – 18.75″ x 18.88″ x 16.69″
Interior (L x W x D) – 15.75″ x 15.88″ x 14.99″
Lid Depth – 5.12″ Bottom Depth – 9.87″ Total Depth – 14.99″
Price: $120, price includes shipping to lower 48


“Green Small Flat” – AL 1616-0505
Exterior (L x W x D) – 18.75″ x 18.88″ x 12.19″
Interior (L x W x D) – 15.75″ x 15.88″ x 10.54″
Lid Depth – 5.12″ Bottom Depth – 5.42″ Total Depth – 10.54″
Price: $110, price includes shipping to lower 48


“Green Large Flat” – AL 2221-0605
Exterior (L x W x D) – 25.5″ x 24.06 x 13.13″
Interior (L x W x D) – 22.5″ x 21.06″ x 11.5″
Lid Depth – 5″ Bottom Depth – 6.5″ Total Depth – 11.5″
Price: $135, price includes shipping to lower 48


“Green Large” – AL 2318-1205
Exterior (L x W x D) – 25.5″ x 24.06 x 13.13″
Interior (L x W x D) – 22.5″ x 21.06″ x 11.5″
Lid Depth – 5″ Bottom Depth – 6.5″ Total Depth – 11.5″
Price: $185, price includes shipping to lower 48


Nested Green Pair – Green Small Flat inside a Green Large Flat
$225 for the pair, including shipping to lower 48

How to get ‘em? Email me (zero@commanderzero.com) and tell me which case(s) you want. I’ll send you an invoice you can pay through email. Yes, it really is that simple.

Repackbox.com redux

IMG_1598You guys remember the cardboard ammo boxes from repackbox.com that I got last year? I read somewhere that they were coming out with boxes suitable for revolver ammo and I figured when they became available I would order some up and try ‘em out. While boxes for automatic cartridges are tough enough to find, non-trayed boxes for revolver ammo is darn near impossible to find. Since .38/.357 is the standard revolver cartridge around here, I was very interested in the revolver ammo boxes. Well, the folks at repackbox.com beat me to the punch and a box from them arrived at my PO box a few weeks ago. (And, hey, if anyone wants to send me gear to test, books you think I’d like, storage food to try, a subscription to Hustler,  or some free ammo….well, you know where to find me.)

IMG_1595So whats different? Well, let’s check the promo they sent me in email:

REPACKBOX, Manufacturer of Ammunition Packaging Boxes and Supplies, announces several product improvements and the addition of new boxes to the line.

First, as part of a commitment to continuous product improvement, to compensate for the variations in loaded cartridge dimensions, effective immediately, all boxes have been redesigned using SAAMI (Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute) Specifications. No more tight boxes!

Second, new boxes have been added to the line. In stock for immediate delivery are: .30 Carbine, 380 ACP, .357 Magnum, and 45 Long Colt. Coming soon… 30-06 & 7.62 X 54. Note: matching cover-up labels such as .38 Special for the .357 Magnum boxes are available at a nominal cost.

Third, to accommodate Commercial Ammunition Makers, all current box production will be printed with a Standard Industry Injury & Lead Warning on the back panel. Additionally, in the works are heavy duty (44 ECT) corrugated shipping containers for the pistol caliber boxes which will hold either 500 rounds (10 boxes of 50) or 1000 rounds (20 boxes of 50). They will be pre-printed with the new ORM-D HAZMAT Symbol.

IMG_1596So…some interesting things there. The boxes I received last year were, in my opinion, very good. There was an issue with the .308 boxes having a missing crease that made folding the box a little sloppy, but the folks at repackbox.com offered to swap out the boxes for a different lot. I didnt bother because, really, it wasnt that big a deal. Other than that little hiccup, quality seemed good. So, no need to recap on the 9mm and other size boxes that were already covered in the earlier post…so lets go to the new stuff.

The .357 box accommodates either .38 or .357, since the only physical difference is case length. The cardboard box is slightly smaller than the usual plastic compartmentalized box. I’d be very interested in seeing the ‘mothersip’ boxes that are dimensioned to to fit these smaller boxes…those could be quite handy for the long-term.

IMG_1594I like these boxes for being relatively compact, disposable, and just plain convenient. It’s easy to slip a box of 50 rounds into the pocket of any coat or pack and be on your way. If youre the kind of guy who likes to keep your reloaded ammo in neat, professional-looking packaging this is definitely the way to go.




MonoVault – Pt I


MonoVault Model 248 (L.), Model 130 (R.), Pelican 1720 (back)

Anyone who has been hanging around the interwebz for any amount of time, especially on YouTube, has come across dozens and dozens of ‘how to cache guns’ videos that revolve around getting some PVC pipe, a couple end caps, some adhesive/sealant, and making a potato gun burial cache. In retrospect, I’m surprised there are as many videos as there are on the subject since once you buy the materials there’s pretty much only one way to assemble the darn things.  A year or so back, I stumbled upon the website of an outfit that makes burial vaults for guns and, amazingly, didn’t use the now-standard formula of PVC pipe and endcaps. An outfit in Idaho (go figure) was making a product called MonoVault and unlike the PVC creations, it was a purpose built container, not repurposed hardware from aisle 12 at Home Depot, made for creating a stash of valuables and gear.

I recently got the opportunity to finally get my hands on not one, but two of the MonoVaults. My main interests in them were pretty much what you’d expect:

  • How much gear can I get in there?
  • How well protected from the elements will it be?
  • How durable and rugged will it be under the kind of harsh conditions I’d expect?
  • How easy is it to transport?

These aren’t innocent questions…if you’re going to stash valuables with a significant dollar value into a burial tube, and trust your life to those same valuables being in good condition when the time comes to retrieve them, then you wanna know you’re not throwing your hard-earned money into some cheesy geegaw that is gonna leave you with a pile of rusted metal, rodent-damaged freeze-drieds, shorted-out batteries and wet, moldy clothing.

The MonoVaults come in two diameters and several lengths….short and stubby to hold just a pistol and some important documents, to long enough to accommodate just about any man-portable shoulder arm. Advantage over a Pelican case? Well the Pelican case is awesome for gun storage and hard to beat. But, that’s what its for – gun storage. A cache is usually more than just a rifle and a couple mags. It might look like this: rifle, mags, clothes, food, knife, flashlight, batteries, cash, pistol, ammo, web gear, backpack, maps, compass, first aid kit and a pair of boots. Thats the sort of loadout that doesn’t quite fit in a Pelican 1760 once you stuff a rifle in it. So for storing guns, there are as-good-or-better options out there, like the Pelican case, but for stashing guns and gear together this MonoVault is a handy option.


Widest part of an AR slides in with room to spare

One of the greatest attractions of the MonoVault product was that while PVC pipe pretty much maxes out at around 8″, the MonoVaults were significantly wider….this meant that things like ARs and AKs could be stored without having to have their protruding pistol grips removed. When things in your life hit the stage where you have to recover a cache of hidden guns and gear, you’re probably also at a stage where you don’t have a lot of time on your hands to do little things like re-assembling pistol grips on rifles.


While this product and the classic PVC cache tubes are supposed to be airtight and watertight, it is always, in my opinion, a good idea to pack them as if they were not. That means that anything that is vulnerable to moisture or dirt should get packed in some type of protective container and then stored in a tube. I suppose there are times when the suspenders-and-a-belt approach might slow down your recovery of things from hidden cache but I bet its less inconvenient than finding your clothing wet and mildewed, your first aid supplies full of bugs, and guns bright orange with rust.

For our examination we have two of the MonoVaults. The Model 130 and Model 248. Specs? Right here.

When I told the missus about these things being on the way, she asked me what they were. I said “Imagine a 5-gallon bucket with a Gamma Seal lid on the top. Now imagine that bucket being four feet tall.” I thought that was a succinct way of describing it and now that they’re here, I was way wrong. How wrong? Well I don’t think the 5-gallon bucket has been made with the wall thickness of these things. When I got the box off the UPS truck I whipped out a box cutter, opened the box and tried to lift the MonoVaults out of the box. They..uhm..were a …errr….a bit too heavy for that. (Or, more accurately, I was too weak.) Now, in my defense, the 130 was inside the 248 so I was trying to lift a fairly heavy four foot long object out of a four foot long box and..y’know, let’s forget about that, whats important here is that they arrived.

Nothing kills like overkill and this is one of the very, very few times I have gotten a piece of gear and thought “Okay, that may have been a bit much.” The Model 248 is huge. I mean huge. Paint it white, glue some PVC pipe to it and you could passably camouflage it as a water softener or hot water heater. I think that if you filled it to capacity with gear you would probably be unable to move the darn thing..it’s huge. The Model 130, by comparison, was much more portable but still looks like it’ll hold a respectable quantity of gear.


Remove the protective cover from the MonoVault and you expose the GammaSeal lid

The MonoVaults are one-piece construction with a gasketed screw-on lid at the top. In addition to the Gamma Seal lid, there is a second lid, a cap really, that goes over the top of the unit to protect it and, presumably, to allow you to keep the Gamma Seal lid free of dirt and debris when you bury it,and to protect it from damage. You’d dig down to your cache, dig the dirt from around the cap (referred to as a ‘burial shield’ in the literature), lift up the cap and theres your screw-top lid ready to be removed and provide access to your goodies. It’s a well-thought out design.


Unscrew the GammaSeal lid and the interior of the MonoVault is now open for business

The walls of the MonoVault are 1/4″ thick. That thickness makes the walls of the MonoVault rigid and very resistant to flexing. I laid the Model 248 down, rested my hands on it in a “CPR compression” type position and pushed down as hard as I could. There was just the slightest hint of flex. Interestingly, my flat Pelican cases exhibit much more ‘crush flex’ in the same circumstance. No doubt the round, cylindrical shape of the MonoVault distributes the forces against it in a different way. In terms of protecting-my-stuff-in-a-wreck I would think this thing is going to offer more or better protection than my Pelican 1760 or 1720.

One of my concerns about the MonoVaults was that there appeared to be no real place for ‘purchase’ on them….they are smooth-sided cylinders that don’t really have any place on them to get a grip. Now that I have them in front of me, I can see that at the top of the MonoVault, a couple inches down from the lid, is a ‘waist’ or ‘coke bottle’ groove running around the MonoVault that appears perfect for looping some rope or paracord around. That should go a long way towards making raising/lowering these things into the ground a bit easier.


The Model 248 had plenty of room for a full-length AR

So what will fit into these things? Well, since they come from a website called ‘storeguns.com’ I would reckon that we should put some thundertoys in there and see how they go. Most PVC-style caches/burial tubes are too narrow for anything with a pistol grip. Common practice is to remove the pistol grip or break the gun down into its larger component parts. (Such as splitting up your AR into its upper/lower receiver components.) Absolutely, definitely, most assuredly NOT necessary with the Model 248. Heck, man…I can fit my head through that thing and not even hit the edges. AR (with carry handle mounted!), AK, HK, SKS all fit with room to spare. How much room to spare? I stacked the two ARs, one on top of the other, and they slide right in. Same for the other long guns. About the only thing that isn’t going to fit in there is a SMAW (although it looks like an AT-4 will fit nicely.) Guns that do not have protruding pistol grips will fit right in and I’d bet you could fit enough 870s in the Model 248 to equip a pretty decent sized group of people.

The biggest drawback that I can see, in the Model 248, is that it really is just so huge. This is the sort of thing that if you were going to use it as a cache, and filled it with all the gear you’d want and that this thing could hold, you be rocketting past the limits of man-portability. You’re gonna need two, maybe three, guys to help you hump one of these things into the boonies, dig the hole, and lower it in. It is not a one-man job unless that man was formerly married to Maria Shriver. However, once you figure out where you’re going to put this thing, and once you get it there, you’ll have plenty of room for a large amount of gear. The Model 248 held a military sleep system, ILBE pack, AR-15 20″, and had room left over for other, smaller gear. Realistically, a smaller pack like a frameless ALICE, would really work well in this. The ILBE pack was flexible enough to fold in half ‘taco style’ to slide in. The rigid frames on an ALICE or MOLLE pack would be too wide.


A quick segue here – just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. I wanted to see if I could get a compressed military sleep system into the Model 248. It was … challenging. Here’s some photos showing the progression:


Yes, it went in…and it was like trying to stuff an unconscious Oprah Winfrey into a pair of wet blue jeans. Still, that was a piece of cake compared to the nightmare of getting the damn thing out. That was like trying to help a chihuahua give birth to a great dane. See, the GammaSeal has smooth plastic that funnels things into the tube, but when you try to pull them out it meets the abrupt sharp edges of the plastic ring that the lid screws into…kinda like a minnow trap. Every buckle and stitched webbing bartack would catch on that thing and it was a major pain to get that sleep system carrier outta there. Made all the more difficult because the MonoVault is smooth-sided so finding something to grasp for leverage was right outta the question. Yes, the military sleep system will fit. Do yourself a favor, put it in one piece at a time. Seriously. Moving on, now.

The Model 248, the largest MonoVault offered, is pretty darn huge…but there are several more sizes between the 130 and the 248. There’s a size in there somewhere that will probably meet your needs. You dont have to get the biggest one, I just wanted the biggest one so I could see what was available. Some of the smaller sizes might be prove to have even more utility than the larger sizes, depending on your anticipated needs. A smaller-but-still-very-handy size is the Model 130.

The Model 130 is a smaller version of the 248. How smaller? Well, the Model 130 was shipped inside the Model 248. The 130 is definitely a more man-portable version of the 248. Smaller in length and diameter, the 130 has about 40% of the volume of the 248, but it is far easier to carry around, and probably a lot easier to hide. With it’s reduced capacity you arent going to fit as much in it as the 248 but you can still get a respectable amount of gear. A broken-down AR with mags, a day pack, ammo, freeze drieds, some clothes and a pair of boots all fit and depending on how you pack your stuff (and what stuff you pack) there’s definitely enough space to hold enough gear to make your life easier in a crisis.The 130 is large enough to hold a folder 10/22 or other long gun with side folding stock, or a broken down AR carbine. In addition, there’s room leftover for a few essentials…not as many as you could stuff in the Model 248, but definitely enough space to get a long gun, pistol, some amo, warm clothing, a few freeze drieds, and a couple other niceties.


Still plenty of room for all the important stuff


Even with a smaller opening than the Model 248, still plenty of room for the widest part of this 10/22


The 130 isn’t so large it won’t fit on an ALICE frame and cargo shelf for transport. When shouldered, the top of the Model 130 is only a few inches over head height. Kinda looks like a SADM package, doesn’t it? This would probably be the easiest way to transport it to wherever you’re planning on burying/stashing it. Since it can be carried by one person it eliminates the need for helpers. As the man said, three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead. Save yourself the headache, keep it a one-man job.


The monoVault folks didn’t do anything half-assed. Stuffing guns into a tube is only half the battle, the other half is making sure that the guns in the MonoVault are as well-protected from the environment as possible. To this end the MonoVault folks sent along a bunch of gear for long-term storage of guns. Just going off the invoice, we got:

Beats the crap out of a tube sock filled with oven-dried drywall. It is manifestly obvious that the folks selling this stuff have given some serious thought to how their product is going to be used and are logistically supporting that use. In fact, they did a bit of very interesting testing in regards to humidity…from their email:

We recommend vertical installation.  We tested a series of MonoVaults with humidity and temperature sensors with automated hourly sampling for 1 year using 200g of desiccant.  7-9% humidity after 1 year, trending up at a straight line.  Assuming the slope of the line would remain stable a projection of the graph suggests hitting 50% humidity at 3.5-4 years out.  Backing off from that we suggest using that 200g pack only for applications less than 2 years… but go with the 900g if it fits.  We generally suggest using as much as fits the budget without interfering with function.  If using a vault liner we like most of the desiccant outside the liner with a smaller amount inside, e.g. with a 248 using 900g or so outside of the liner with a 200g pack inside.  Desiccant / liner / desiccant / bag …makes for a multilayered system of protection.  note:  I have not seen it happen but it is said that desiccant can over-dry wood stocks and cause cracking or checking,  though I would assume most guys aren’t caching their pre-64 Winchesters.  Test location: Idaho mountains, buried, sun exposed site, hot summer, cold winter, snow pack, decomposing granite.

Pretty sure the guys selling PVC-pipe creations haven’t done actual humidity testing over the course of year. So, they’ve got you covered for more than just a burial tube. Shoot, all they need to do now is sell a soil auger bit wide enough to accommodate the Model 248 and I think they’ll have covered all the possible needs.

My impression of the MonoVaults is highly favorable. I haven’t had a chance to really smack them around a bit, but I will be doing that over the next couple weeks. When I’ve had a chance to do things like throw them out of a moving vehicle, drop them off the roof, submerge them for a few days, etc, then I’ll update things. (That’ll be the Pt II) For now, though, I am very impressed with this product. They should be strapping the Model 248 into parachute harnesses and using them for resupply drops in Afghanistan…although I think you could probably just skip the parachute and roll ‘em out the back of a low-flying cargo plane and they’d be fine.

This sort of protection and utility isn’t cheap. On one end of the scale, you have the cheapest method which is a fast trip to Home Depot’s plumbing department. On the other end of the scale, you have Pelican and Hardigg. That’s a spectrum that runs from about $40 on one end to hundreds of dollars on the other. (The Pelican 1720 in the picture was about $200 and it won’ t hold nearly as much as the Model 248. To be fair, though, its an apples/orange comparison since the Pelican is designed exclusively for one purpose – long gun storage, and the MonoVault is meant to cover a bit more ground than that) MSRP on the Model 130 is $100 and the Model 248 tops the chart at $170. These are MSRP according to the website, but I would imagine there’s a bit of latitude in the final price once you find one of these from a vendor.

Final analysis? Seems like a great product so far. I need to get to the destructive testing but I suspect it’ll handle most of it just fine…the submerged testing will be the most interesting. These things are heavy-duty and if you get the larger sizes you will almost certainly have all the room you would need for an emergency cache. If you genuinely feel the need to bury your gear, hide it in some mine shaft, under an old barn, or in the rafters of an abandoned warehouse, then this is probably the best container for the job. So far I’m very favorably impressed and look forward to beating the crap outta these things over the next couple weeks.

MonoVaults website is: storeguns.com

ETA: How can you not want to do business with an outfit that has this on their website:

Our goals are simple:

provide a quality product,

transact business honorably,

and behave loyally to these United States.


We take satisfaction in contributing to the safety, security, and preparedness of our fellow citizens.

We buy American when we can and are proud of the “Made in USA” label on most of our products.

Ammo Boxes

The cardboard ammo boxes I ordered up last week arrived today. Fortuitous since I’ve been spending some quality time with the Dillon 1050. Usually I store reloaded ammo in plastic ammo boxes. The plastic boxes suit my needs perfectly most of the time but they are a bit bulkier than the cardboard boxes (because the cardboard boxes dont have internal dividers giving each cartridge its own compartment) and certainly more expensive. While everything is disposable in a bad enough crisis, I’d like to have something cheap enough that I can hand someone 50 rounds of 9mm and not feel like I’m throwing away money when I don’t get the box back. Additionally, since the boxes are smaller they are going to fit more in an ammo can than the if they were plastic ammo boxers.

So, enough with the rationale, let’s move on to the meat of the matter…….

Boxes arrived today via UPS in rubber-banded bundles of 100. Each bundle of 100 was $19.95 making each individual box $0.1995 ea. Factor in shipping costs, which are variable depending on your location, and my final cost was $0.25 ea. The boxes themselves are a matte white color with caliber/quantity printed on the lid and the vendor (“repackbox.com“) printed on the bottom. Plenty of space to put a wide swath of color if you want to color code your stuff. (For example, a nice wide band of orange around the box to denote tracer.) The boxes do not use styrofoam trays, so you just stack cartridges in there until you run outta room…which is gonna be 50 rounds in the pistol calibers or 20 in the .308.

All boxes are shipped flat and you fold ‘em up to create your ammo box. The pistol calibers are pretty straightforward but I can see how a fella might get confused on the rifle boxes. After a minute or two Im pretty sure I figured out the right way to do it…I must have, because all the other ways wound up not having the folds mesh together properly so while there might be fifty ways to leave your lover, there is apparently only one correct way to put this box together and it may not be the most intuitive way.

The cardboard is listed on the website as being .024″ thick. Sounds flimsy when you think about thousandths of an inch but once everything is folded together it forms a reasonably stiff and resistant container.  (Side note: on the .308 cardboards, one of the folds was not creased properly and made the assembled box a little irregular in its finished form…instead of a nice sharp 90-degree edge things were a bit rounded and sloppy.) Lets not pretend these boxes are something they arent…they arent waterproof, they arent crushproof, and they arent dustproof. What they are is a cheap way to keep ammo organized and ready for packaging. Ideally, you box up your stuff and stack these boxes into a larger, more protective container. (Like an ammo can.)

When it’s time to move, you grab a couple boxes and slip them into a pocket or pouch, or hand them out as needed. For this sort of usage these seem ideal.

What I’m really more interested in were the rifle cartridge boxes. Other than stripper clips, there arent really any convenient ways to carry loose rifle ammo that dont involve bulky containers. Much of the battle-packed surplus ammo I’ve seen over the years comesin little 20-rd boxes that seem ideal. So…given the opportunity to get some similar boxes for my reloads, why not give ‘em a try.

The 9mm ammo box was loaded like the military .45 boxes are – bullet pointing up. I tried the .308 box three different ways – tip up, tip down, and mixed. All tip down seemed to fit best. The 9mm box is noticeably smaller than a plastic box holding a comparable amount of ammo. I suspect three or four of these would fit easily into the average BDU pocket. The .308 boxes are definitely handier than the plastic alternatives. Since both boxes are smaller than their plastic counterparts you can fit more of them into an ammo can.

IMG_0889All in all, for my anticipated needs, I like this product. I wind up reloading and storing a lot of ammo over the course of a year and having compact, semi-disposable packaging like this lets me store more ammo per ammo can and lets me distribute/store it in ways I might not normally distribute/store it if I had to worry about expensive plastic boxes. I wish I had picked up the .223 versions to try out but I figure theyre probably going to be not much different than the .308 boxes.

So..final analysis: perhaps not a product you might need, but I like it and will be using these quite a bit for my wife’s competition practice ammo and my own ammo stashes. Slap a length of clear tape across the top to secure the box shut and it should be just as good a packaging as what you buy off the shelf at the store.

Link – Storage sofa

Anyone remember the scene in the somewhat forgettable movie “Book Of Eli” where Eli is holed up in a house with an elderly couple and when the house comes under attack they flip back the cushions on the sofa to reveal a cache of weapons? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Ok, here’s some help.

Remember it now? I recall reading, years ago, about some guy that bought a storage unit at auction, found a crappy sofa inside and figured he’s reupholster it. Ripped it apart and found a couple HK-91’s and other goodies hidden inside it. I suppose if you think about it, a sofa isn’t a bad place to hide things. If you disregard the ‘hide’ aspect, it’s certainly an interesting place to store things. (The difference between hide and store being that you hide what you dont want found, you store what you dont care if people find.)


Someone was generous enough to send me a link to a webpage about how to make a ‘storage’ sofa and I figured I’d post it for the rest of the class to share. Admittedly, it isnt my style of furniture, I had enough of sleeping on foam pad mattresses when I was at college, but the design can certainly be tweaked to give it a more ‘traditional’ sofa look. I suppose if you wanted to get all secret-squirrel on it you could incorporate some sort of  hidden latching/locking method so that if anyone suspected anything they would find the whole thing to seem solid when they tried to open it up.

Cool pictorial, cool idea, cool potential.

Recovery?, racks, poly bottles

The news media, in some circles, is saying that we’re in a sort of, kinda, possible, gradual economic recovery. Maybe we are, maybe we aren’t. Even if we were in an economic recovery, so what? Does it mean you can let out a deep breath because the bad times are over? Does it mean that somehow your job is safer than it was before? Absolutely not. Businesses aren’t going to stay the ax because we’re in a recovery. They keep people around as long as those folks earn more money than they cost. That’s Econ 101. I’m no expert but I would imagine that if we are really in a recovery businesses are just as likely to ax people on the premise that, having made it through the recession, the company needs to stay ‘lean and mean’ to weather the next one and be competitive. So…even if we are in a recovery (which Im not sure I believe) that’s no reason to think your safe. Heck, Im not even sure that there is a ‘safe’ time. So just because someone is saying we’re in a recovery is no reason to buy the new bass boat or remodel the bathroom. Hold on to that money for a while ‘just in case’ and let’s see if things actually get better.
I’m fairly content with the food storage situation. I’m always up for adding more to it, of course, but if things fell apart tomorrow I know we wouldn’t starve for quite a while. I do need to stock up on some of the more mundane things, things like toiletries, tissues, cleaning agents, bleach, etc, etc. We do keep a somewhat larger-than-average quantity of these things on hand but it would be nice to have a more generous stockpile. For example, while we may buy toilet paper in the 36-roll pack up at CostCo we usually only have one pack on hand at the house. The smarter way to do it would be to have one in storage at all times and one that’s open for use. That way theres always that reserve of one package. Of course, in reality perhaps it would be more like two or three in reserve.

For storage, by the way, I really like the steel wire shelves that you see used for food service type situations. Although the other kind of steel shelving is quite good, I find the wire shelves to be far more versatile. Unfortunately the heavy-duty ones are not cheap. There are some cheap ones out there but they are just that – cheap. They sag like an aging porn star. I lucked out and found a ‘liquidator’ business not far from me. This is a business that buys out other businesses and liquidates their inventory. They tend to have a huge amount of office-type furniture but I recently found that they have the steel wire shelving I like as well….and at a good bit cheaper than new.
Speaking of gear, I’ve been interested in the ‘poly bottles’ that have come out lately. These are, essentially, soft-sided water bottles. Pouches, I suppose, would be a better term. The idea is that they are lighter and more packable than the usual Nalgene bottle. Several companies offer them including Nalgene and Platypus. The Nalgene one seems to get lesser reviews than the Platypus. I have the Platypus one and have been pretty pleased with it thus far, my only complaint is that I haven’t found a wide-mouth version yet. One very nice feature of these things is that as you consume the liquid you can squeeze the remaining air out of the container so the liquid doesn’t slosh around. A very nice feature. My concern, of course, is durability. The reviews I’ve read say that obviously these things don’t take the same abuse as the hard bottle, and that they need to packed so they don’t encounter sharp or hard corners in your gear, but other than that they seem like a good idea. The Nalgene one, according to the reviews, seems more prone to failure at the seams than the Platypus, so for now I’m sticking with the Platypus ones.