Food for Your Bug Out Bag

September 4, 2014 by | 1 Comment

Bugging out requires energy, and energy requires food—so you need plenty of tasty, nutritious food for your bug out bag.

Traveling on foot, especially with a heavy pack, forces you to expend more energy than usual, so you’ll need food that is dense in calories and nutrients, but also has a long shelf-life and is simple to prepare.

Below are three types of food that are ideal for your bug out bag.

Freeze-dried foods

This is my preferred option. Companies like Wise Foods and Mountain House offer a variety of meals with a shelf-life of up to 25 years. Preparation takes a little more effort compared to other options because you have to pour in boiling water to reconstitute the meal, but the reduced weight and extremely long shelf-life more than make up for that. Freeze-dried food is also very cost-effective.

Freeze-Dried Food


I’ve eaten more than my share of MREs during my time in the Marine Corps, and I can tell you they have come a long way since the late 90s. They have a shelf-life of up to 5 years under ideal storage conditions, but expect closer to 1 year when stored in a hot environment, such as the trunk of your car. Preparation is simple—just open and eat, and they are tasty and loaded with calories so they are perfect for your bug out bag. They are a little more expensive than freeze-dried food though, at about $5 per meal.


Emergency rations

These are compact, calorie-dense bars designed with one purpose—to provide the calories you need in a survival situation. You won’t get excited about the taste or texture—they taste the way I would expect sweetened sawdust to taste, but they have a long shelf-life and are completely unaffected by storage temperature. An added bonus is that they require no preparation.

Mayday Rationso

Melanie Swick (a.k.a. Survival Chick) grew up wanting to be a rocket scientist, but when she realized she that required way too much math, she took to her second dream—spending time in the wilderness. Today, when she's not hiking, camping, or hunting, she's blogging about it. You can connect with Melanie on Facebook.

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1 Comment

  • Bryce says:

    I’ve been “making”my own mountain house meals for less than $3 per pouch. A knorr or Lipton pretty packaged pouch of rice or pasta for $1.30, and adding a 1/3cup if freeze dried chicken from a $25 large can of mountain home chicken. Re seal them with an O2 absorber pkt with my food saver sealer in mylar bags. I made some 10 years ago..still super fresh and no loss of seal.

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