Stockpiling for Survival: Tissue Paper
Determining how many rolls of tissue paper you’ll need to stockpile will depend heavily on the usage behavior of the people you’re going to be sharing it with. For the best estimates, calculate approximately how many rolls per month is consumed per person and provide them with at least 2-3 month’s worth.
When it comes to survival stockpiling tips, there’s one item that’s often overlooked: toilet paper.
How much toilet paper should you stockpile? Read on to find out.
Survival Stockpiling Tips: Bathroom Tissue
(Based on the book: Power Out! How to Prepare for and Survive a Grid Collapse by Robert Brenner)
How many rolls of bathroom tissue (TP) should you stockpile?
It depends on how long you expect to be without access to a store, how many people there are in your household, and how much is used each day.
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Twenty percent of the power outages last for over three days. Such an outage can easily be handled by the typical home. But a severe solar storm or a high altitude explosion that creates a damaging EMP could take down our electrical grid for months. So could coordinated terrorist attacks on multiple high voltage transformers across the country.
A lengthy power outage from any of these events can make your stockpile of TP look barely adequate.
So what can you do to stockpile the optimum amount of TP for sheltering in place or bugging out to a different location? How can you determine how many rolls to stock on that shelf?
During research for this article, I spoke with backpackers and wilderness survival experts, and I conducted a usage test to determine my own family’s consumption of this critical resource. Here’s what I found.
First, many backpackers and wilderness campers often make a “SWAG” (Scientific Wild Absolute Guess) as to their needs. Then they remove the number of sheets they think they’ll need off a roll and fold the sheets flat for easy packing. Each person I spoke with admitted to at least one occasion when TP supplies got fearfully low.
As an engineer, I prefer doing some experiments to collect actual usage data and then apply real consumption numbers to estimate future needs.
For example, suppose in a typical month a household goes through 10 rolls of TP. And suppose they typically purchase the same product—an 18-roll package containing 352 square feet (32.7 square meters), and each roll contains 176 – 4” by 4” (10.1 cm. by 10.1 cm.) 3-ply tissues.
If there are two people in this sample household, each person consumes 5 rolls a month (5/30 = 0.167 per day). And if they want to feel comfortable that their TP supply will last for 3 months (90 days), then they’ll need 15 rolls per person. For two people, their stockpile should be 30 rolls. This will provide about 90 days of backup protection.
Their TP can last longer if they use fewer sheets. This may seem gross, but it sure beats old catalogs, used newspapers, rags, or corn cobs. This is the bottom line.
This analytical technique can be used to make good estimates for all your personal products including paper towels, toothpaste, food, water, and fuel.
Be prepared and be comfortable. You deserve it.
Curious about outdoor alternatives to toilet paper? Read our article on that topic here.
BONUS VIDEO: Toilet Paper Stockpiling Tips