Survival Food Guide

Survival Food Guide

When you’re in a survival situation or just far from access to fresh meals and ingredients, survival food is going to be your savior. The world of survival food is dynamic, and in order to ensure that you are prepared for emergency situations, there’s a lot you need to know.

This survival food guide will explain everything you need to know about what supplies you’ll need, how to find wilderness food when you’ve got nothing on you, and even how to store food for survival. Having this information and being prepared for the worst-case scenario will give you peace of mind like you never expected.

As one of the most basic human needs, getting the food portion of your survival kit sorted is going to be paramount to your success in the wilderness. Without food we lack energy and nutrition, so not only is it important to have the right foods and supplies but also know how to store them. This guide can show you how so you’ll have the peace of mind you need.

Essentials To Pack In Bug Out Bag

The most common place you’ll find survival food is in a bug out bag. These bags are designed to get you through 72 hours in an emergency situation which can include natural disasters, being isolated in the wilderness, or any other event that keeps you from civilization.

Storing emergency food in these bug out bags are a must-have, but how much food does one require for 72 hours? The best way to prepare is to pack enough for yourself and your family, as this can change the portions. Most survival food has been packaged for long-term use, so once it’s been packed away you don’t need to think about it again.

Having enough food and water to last for 72 hours will look different for everyone, however there are some essentials you should have:

  • ​Water for drinking, washing, and cooking (around 1 gallon per day per person);
  • ​Cooking supplies;
  • ​Water purification supplies;
  • check
    Nonperishable food to last 9 main meals and snacks;

​MREs ​And Other Survival Food

Nonperishable foods are easy to come by these days and offer a fuss-free approach to getting your survival kit prepared. There are a few different types, depending on the food within, and they include MREs (Meal, Ready to Eat), tinned foods, or dehydrated foods.


Meals Ready to Eat

MRE or Meal, Ready to Eat is an individual ration of food that can be prepared and eaten without anything else. Commonly used by the US Department of Defense for those in service, these packets are also stored by survivalist because they have a long shelf life.

They can be heated with a flameless ration heater and come in all flavors and recipes including Asian food and Italian meals. Price wise, they are quite reasonable for the amount of food you get.

Freeze Dried Food

Freeze Dried Foods

Freeze dried foods are just like their name suggests, foods that have been frozen and dried to help retain their flavor and nutrition. Their shelf life is about 25 years and they are a great choice for snacks. They can be eaten by being boiled, being added to water, or eaten as they are. They are usually one of the more expensive survival food options and can be bulky to carry.

Dehydrated Food

Dehydrated Foods

These are foods that have had the water removed from them, effectively shrinking them down in size. They don’t last anywhere near as long as the others, with around 1.5 years shelf life being the standard. However, they are lightweight to carry, affordable, and can even be made at home for anyone with access to a dehydrator.


Non Perishable Food

Non-Perishables include all supermarket variety meals that don’t need refrigeration and have a longer shelf life. In most cases, it will only be a few years, but you’ll get a great variety of food to choose from like vegetables, beans, pasta, and rice. However, you will need to put some extra effort into cooking them like boiling with water and so they’re not always ideal in a survival situation.

Survival Bars

These bars have been specifically designed for survival mode and they’re almost like protein bars but better. With a standard shelf life of around five years, they’re a great go-to if you’re hungry and need to eat something with any preparation.

Long Term Food For Survival 

There may be circumstances that lead to a need for surviving without food long term. In this case, people like to learn about potential ways to feed themselves and use food from the land and water so that they could live off it forever if need be. These are a few ways that people can learn to stay fed even when their rations run out.


Survival Seeds

Learning a little about gardening and how to harvest your own food could be quite useful in a survival situation. Depending on your climate and surroundings there are some things that are easy to grow from seed to harvest. Opt for choices like beans, squash, carrots, grains, beets, and tomatoes for fast results.


Plants for Survival

There are many different plants species in the outdoors and some that can be harmful and fatal. A good survivalist will have an understanding of these species and know how to differentiate between the dangerous ones and the ones that are good for eating, healthcare, and other uses.            


Hunting Animals for Meat

Having some basic hunting skills could be useful in a survival situation as it will allow you to hunt for food. Provided you are in an area where there are animals suitable for eating or other uses, learning some basic knowledge about the different hunting techniques and how to properly dress an animal will be essential to your survival.


Fishing Nature

Although technically a form of hunting, many people find fishing a lot easier to do than getting out into the field. There are different species available in saltwater and freshwater, but the technique remains the same. Having access to fish is a great source of nutrition and is a very handy skill to learn for the future.

Water And Hydration

We often look at the food part of survival while discounting just how important hydration is. Sometimes we take water for granted as we have a good supply of it and never have to think about it, but when you’re in a survival situation you won’t be able to last long without it.

The problem with water and packing a survival kit is not knowing how much water you’re going to need or how long you’ll be without. Carrying water around can be burdensome and heavy, so it’s essential to learn about the different ways to purify it.


Water purification filters come in all sizes designed for use at home or to take traveling. People who regularly camp, hike or spend time in the outdoors have one handy in case their water supply runs out. Some filters are like a straw that can be used on the go without the need for anything else.


Boiling Water

Boiling water is one approach to take if you have access to a fire and stove that allows you to do so. This process removes any impurities out of the water and makes it acceptable to drink.

Iodine Solution

There are some chemical solutions available that purify and disinfect the water. They come in tablet form and will be able to treat around one quart of water per tablet, so you may need to have quite a few in your supplies.              

Survival Food Storage

Learning about emergency food storage is just as important as the food supply itself. Although the food items have been designed not to perish, that label can be misleading as they will lose some nutritional value over time. Here are some pointers on storing your food safely.

Understand the time limit placed on the survival food you’re purchasing. Some have been made to never expire, like an MRE, and others will have 25 years or less shelf life. Although the longer ones technically won’t expire they can lose their nutritional value after some time, so it’s important to update your food packs every few years if necessary.

Storing MREs

Storing the food will help it to keep longer, and there are some ways you can extend its life. Keep the food packages in a separate box that’s airtight and weatherproof. Never store the box in sunlight or harsh weather conditions and keep it somewhere dry and cool.

If you plan on carrying food with you, you’ll need to pack lightly so that it doesn’t weigh you down. For short-term survival, this is where dehydrated food or MREs come in handy as they are lightweight and can be easily placed in a backpack.

Tips For Survival Food

If you’re completely new to survival food, it can seem as though there’s a lot to learn. These are some simple tips to keep in mind when you’re purchasing your food supplies and knowing exactly what and how much you should have.

Start Small

People tend to think big when packing their survival supplies but the best place to start is with a three-day plan. Pack enough food for you and your loved ones to last 72 hours and as you learn more, you can add to it.

What To Avoid

There are many things to consider when choosing foods, but most importantly are the things you should avoid. Never choose anything that your family or children are fussy about or have never tried in the past, and be sure to check for allergens. Avoid foods that have a shorter shelf life like oil, crackers, and jars of condiments.

Bag Them Up

Storage Mylar bags

In addition to putting your goods into sealable containers, you should then also put them in large bags, like Mylar bags. There are various sizes and the extra layer of protection will keep your food fresher for longer. You might also like to use an oxygen absorber which can further lengthen the life of your food.

Label Everything

You might think you’ll remember what was in what package or jar, but after years of never seeing them you won’t. Mark everything with a black marker and clear instructions in case you aren’t there to help.

Use Glass Where Possible

Things that are stored in glass jars or containers will stay fresher for longer because it’s not permeable the way that plastic is. Although it can be hard to find large glass containers, make an effort to start keeping your old glass bottles from condiments and drinks and store what you can in them.

Stay Hidden

It might seem like a lot of work, but if there is ever an emergency situation the potential for looters will increase. Try to avoid storing your survival food somewhere obvious and keep it hidden from plain sight.

An Essential Part Of Survival

Regardless of your other circumstances or surroundings, if you don’t have adequate food and water supplies you won’t survive long in an emergency situation. Just like all other aspects of survival preparation, being prepared well in advance and giving yourself more than one option or way of doing things is the best approach.

Eating MREs

For those looking to store food in their bug out bag, choosing from a few different options is ideal. MREs are ideal for long-term survival but it’s a good idea to have other types as well, like some dehydrated and tinned foods.

Those serious about survival and wanting to be prepared for any situation will be dedicated to learning more about long-term options including harvesting seeds, plant identification, and hunting and fishing methods. However, for the time being, these survival foods and water purification products will be more than enough for peace of mind.

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