Hey guys!

Since we are getting very close to setting sail and leaving our familiar, everyday world behind for the open ocean, and new landscapes, I thought I would share with you a bit about how we are preparing.  We are hoping to be as self sufficient as possible, so that we can truly relax and enjoy ourselves in remote, far off places.  Of course there are lots of preparations that go into this, but  this post isn’t about boat projects, its about provisioning!

In addition to being our transportation, our boat will be our floating bed, closet, garage, kitchen and giant pantry.  We have narrowed all of our belongings down to what we truly need and can fit onboard, but in addition to those items, we have to carry lots of supplies with us!  Of course, those supplies aren’t just limited to food… there’s cleaners, oil, lubricants, adhesives, filters, hoses, clamps, injectors, belts, bulbs, latches, cables, wires, and oh so much more!  But we won’t get into that today.

Here I will share with you our complete provisioning supply list, broken down by category.  We spent a lot of time thinking and talking about how to organize a provisioning strategy.  Our list of items couldn’t be the same as we kept in our kitchen back on and in a condo… even though it was a small kitchen, we seemed to accumulate tons of items that all seemed essential, yet rarely got used once a month.  We were also used to living right around the corner from a wonderful grocery store, where we could walk over and pick up whatever fresh veggies, meat or dairy that we needed and be back home in 15 minutes.  We had to rethink how we would cook based on what we could feasibly carry.


I guess here is a good place to mention refrigeration… Varuna has a HUGE refrigerator and freezer in the galley.  Not quite as big as one you would have at home, but close.  While that may seem great at first, once we sail her away from a dock, that thing will suck up a TON of power!  Way more power than we can make with our solar panels and wind/water generator.  While we do plan to add more solar eventually, there are a few things that we will do to manage in the mean time.  The cooling plate is located in the freezer, and spills cold air through a vent to the fridge side.  So when the temperature gauge is turned way down, we can convert the freezer section into proper boat-sized refrigerator, and then treat the fridge more like an ice box.  We will store any meats that truly need to be kept cold in the freezer, and use the ice box side for condiments and veggies, things that could probably survive just fine without being chilled, but will benefit from being kept out of the hot, tropical air.


So with that being said, our provisioning list focuses on long life,versatile ingredients.  We came up with a list of staples that should be easy (and hopefully relatively cheap) to find anywhere in the world.  Of course, we probably won’t be able to find all of these items easily or cheaply everywhere, but then we will have the opportunity to add some variety and find a local substitute!  Since we haven’t actually set sail yet, we haven’t had the opportunity to fully test our list, but we have been happily living on the boat with these items for the past month!


In terms of quantity, most of our dry goods are labeled as either “small cube,” “large cube,” or “pint.”  These are our own words we came up with for the storage containers we bought.  We don’t keep any of the paper packaging (as this will be a prime location to find insect eggs in tropical places), and try to get rid of as much of the plastic and other bits as we can, as we will want to have as little waste as possible on board… because anything that’s not compostable we have to carry with us.  Anyways, after a lot of searching, we settled on these awesome containers and love them!

Here’s a little breakdown for you….




LARGE CUBE” = 152 oz / 18.7 cup Airtight Storage Container

SMALL CUBE” = 87 oz / 10.8 cup Airtight Storage Container

PINT” = Repurposed Talenti Gelato Container

And finally…


A note regarding the quantities… While it’s easy to pick up 2 cans of beans and one pound of fruit, we needed to come up with a way to manage bulk-stored items. So we set resupply levels to make sure we don’t run out of items, but don’t purchase them to early and have no where to store them.  The resupply level listed in our provisions is a minimum quantity.  For example, for dry cereal, our quantity is “1.1 Large Cube.”  This means that we don’t buy more cereal until we have less than 1.1 large cubes of cereal, which still leaves us with plenty of cereal to last, but allows us to fit 2 new boxes of cereal into the almost empty cube.  So fully stocked we would have 2 cubes.


Chicken 20 Can
Other Meat 10 Can
Beans 12 Can
Baked Beans 5 Can
Tomato Sauce 8 Can
Chiles 10 Can
Corn 10 Can
Green Beans 10 Can
Misc Veggies 10 Can
Tomatoes 10 Can
Can Meal 30 Can
Soup 15 Can
Fruit 15 Can


Flour 1.1 2 Large Cube
Milk 1.1 2 Large Cube
Sugar 1.1 2 Small Cube
Corn Flour 0.3 1 Small Cube
Mashed Potatoes 0.5 1 Small Cube
Misc Grain 0.3 1 Small Cube
Rice 0.5 1 Large Cube
Pasta 0.5 1 Large Cube
Pasta (spagetti) 0.3 1 Small Cube
Dry Cereal 1.1 2 Large Cube
Hot Cereal 0.2 1 Small Cube
Ground Coffee 0.2 1 Container
Instant Coffee 1 2 Container
Tea 0.5 1 Small Cube
Cocoa Powder 0.1 1 Small Cube
Drink Mix 0.4 1 Container
Baking Soda 0.1 1 Pint
Baking Powder 0.1 1 Pint
Vanilla 0.2 1 Bottle
Boullion 0.1 1 Jar
Nuts/Dried Fruit 0.4 1 Flat Cube
Snacks 0.75 1 Large Cube
Chocolate 4 4 Bar
Ramen 20 20 Packet


Salt 0.2 1 Pint
Pepper 0.2 1 Pint
Cumin 0.2 1 Pint
Chili Powder 0.2 1 Pint
Paprika 0.2 1 Pint
Curry 0.2 1 Pint
Dried Herbs 0.2 1 Pint
Garlic Powder 0.2 1 Pint


Onions 15 Each
Potatoes 6 Each
Cured Meat 5 Package
Carrot 1 Pounds
Celery 1 Pounds
Lemon/Limes 3 Pounds
Ginger 1 Pounds
Peppers 2 Pounds
Fruit 5 Pounds
Eggs 48 Each
Hard Cheese 1 Pounds
Precooked Meat 3 Pounds
Sandwich Meat 3 Pounds
Packaged Cheese 1 Pounds
Butter 2 Pounds
Yeast 0.5 Pint


Honey 1 2 Bottle
Mayo 1 2 Jar
Mustard 1 2 Bottle
Misc Condiment Sauce 1 2 Bottle
Peanut Butter 1 2 Jar
Oil 0.5 1 Gallon
Olive Oil 0.3 1 Bottle
White Vinegar 0.5 1 Gallon
Other Vinegar 0.1 1 Bottle
Soy Sauce 0.1 1 Bottle
Black Sauce 0.1 1 Bottle
Hot Sauce 0.2 1 Bottle
Jam 0.3 1 Jar

5 thoughts to “Provisioning! Coming up with an easy, practical, economical list

  • Andrew Ballantine

    Wow, great work. I shall save this for use later.
    Many thanks for sharing

  • Andrew Ballantine

    I have just remembered a woodworking video I saw on YouTube a while ago.
    This is a project to make a food can dispenser. The big advantage is that it will keep the cans on purchase order so you always get the oldest can. What we call FIFO in the computer industry (First In First Out)
    Here’s the link

    I am certainly considering building one of these into my boat.

    Hope this is useful to someone.

  • Andrew Ballantine

    Another thought on storing bulk cereals.
    It is bad practice to top-up bulk cereals like Flour or rice because if the remains in the storage container have any mites or other of natures stowaways they will instantly have a head start on the new stuff. These creatures are nearly invisible, but can often be detected by a sweet smell. If the infestation is heavy you can see the surface moving ever so slightly.
    I learnt all this when we sold animal feeds a few years ago. The problem is worse in warm/hot weather.
    So always empty, clean out and dry any bulk container before adding new stock.
    Do not think that your stock is immune because the eggs of these mites come in the new product, it just take a while for them to hatch and grow. So using several small containers rather than on large one, as you are doing, is the right thing to do.

    So DO NOT add new to old.

    Hope this helps.

  • Dave & Lisa

    Great in depth provisioning plan. It will make shopping and planning so food doesn’t sit and waste away immensely easier while you’re out cruising.

    • adventureadrift

      That’s what we’re hoping for! We’re so used to fresh ingredients, but have been shifting our mindset so we can figure out ways to make fresh food by mixing some basic, long lasting fresh items with canned/dry ingredients. And you got it about the making shopping trips easier, we don’t want to forget anything, or buy something we don’t need! Anyways, cheers!


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