Friday Gear Report: A Legendary Dutch Oven Combination

johnaheatherlySurvival Gear

This week’s Gear Report is likely to inspire endless jokes, but we are unafraid, so you may fire when ready!

Pictured above are: one 25-ounce can of Hormel Chili, one 32-ounce bag of white rice, one 15-ounce can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew, and a 1-quart, legendary Lodge Logic dutch oven. The food items combined contain 4,380 calories, 120+ grams of protein, and 850+ grams of carbohydrates.

For those who may not appreciate the ingenious culinary potential of the items above, here are a few more facts: According to the FAQ’s at the Hormel Foods site, the chili and beef stew are “always safe to consume as long as the seal has remained intact, unbroken and securely attached. However, the flavor and freshness of the product gradually begin to decline after three years from the manufacturing date.” Hormel’s canning process provides an indefinite shelf life. White rice, if stored in a mylar bag (or purchased in a #10 can) has a shelf-life of 30+ years. For less than $10, a person can pack away a sustenance combination such as this one for consumption in just about any kind of emergency.

I recommend the addition of a $35 Lodge Logic 1-quart Dutch oven, as it is mobile (about 7 pounds) and can easily cook white rice with a small amount of fuel.

Here is how I do it:

  • Add “1 knuckle deep” rice to the Dutch oven
  • Add “2 knuckles deep” water
  • Cover the rice and water with the Dutch oven lid and bring to a boil (see pictures below)
  • Remove the oven from the heat and let it sit covered until the rice is soft
  • Add the chili or beef stew, stir, wait a few minutes for the concoction to heat up, then consume

Charcoal above and below the Dutch oven works great. The picture above shows a 1-quart Dutch oven being heated in a hibachi grill—12 charcoals on top and 6 underneath. Of course, coals from a fire are equally effective. After all, Lewis and Clark stated that their Dutch oven was the most valuable piece of gear utilized during their travels.

Another configuration applies stacked Dutch ovens to conserve heat. The legs on the bottom of the oven keep it stable when placed over a heat source.

So, to employ this inexpensive, brilliant food storage strategy, purchase a small Dutch oven, as well as white rice and canned Hormel products. Each week, add a can or two to the pantry. If you have charcoal or firewood, you are prepared to eat well if the power is out or you are on the move.

Let the Dutch oven jokes continue!


About the author:

“Heatherly makes you feel like you could survive on your own (for at least a little while) after reading this book (The Cave and The Sea)—not that I’m going to give it a try any time soon.” –Forever Young Adult

The Hunger Games smash hit book and movie got my daughter and one of her friends interested in archery. Maybe John A. Heatherly’s novel The Cave and The Sea will do the same for teenagers regarding learning primitive survival skills…” –

“I don’t throw the term ‘life changing’ around lightly but this book (The Survival Template) has very likely altered the way I think, the way I plan and the way I see my future as I’ve laid it out.” –