Ultimate Survival Pantry: The Best Dehydrated Food for Emergencies, Survival, and Storage

Ultimate Survival Pantry

If emergency preparedness is an important priority for you and your family, you already know how valuable dehydrated food can be. The ultimate survival pantry contains food that is well-preserved, packed with nutrients, tastes familiar; and it is essential if you are putting together a survival kit for your loved ones.

Dehydrated food is regular food that has had its water content removed through a process such as freeze-drying. In order to prepare the food, one simply has to add hot water, and the dry, lightweight food pieces become hydrated and normal-looking again.

Whether it’s extreme weather, civil turmoil, or a terrorist attack, there are numerous things that could affect your ability to get enough food for you and your loved ones. Freeze dried or dehydrated food is one of the best options available to help you prepare for any of these emergencies.

The need to be prepared is becoming increasingly necessary and more and more families are storing food items for every survival situation. Between unrest around the globe, catastrophic and natural disasters, and the government’s ability to provide necessities following an event, you need to take responsibility for you and yours. An emergency preparedness kit with survival gear and an emergency supply of food is a must-have in this day and age.

Dehydrated food and pantry survival supplies can help you if your family is affected by:

  • Hurricanes
  • Blizzards
  • Tornadoes
  • Fires
  • Earthquakes
  • Man-made disasters

Anything that could leave you without access to a food source makes it necessary to consider emergency preparedness and a dehydrated food supply. Having all the food you and your family will need for several days or weeks, stored safely at home, is one of the best ways to ensure you are able to survive an event.

Emergency survival foods, emergency essentials, or long-term food storage is an essential part of preparedness. Knowing your best options when it comes to dehydrated food can help you build an adequate supply of food your family can use to survive—and will even enjoy eating—when you’re unable to rely on your traditional source of food.

Keep in mind, once a dehydrated food product has been opened, it needs to be consumed within a short period of time. This information can be essential when you are trying to make your food supply last as long as possible, but you’re tempted by variety.

What Kind of Dehydrated Foods Can You Get?

Dehydrated meals come in a wide variety of options.

Most are the basic dehydrated foods that provide adequate nutrition during an emergency. This might include powdered eggs, cheese, protein from a vegetable source, pasta, and more.

It’s also possible to get more elaborate choices and complete meals if you’re willing to make your own or to invest in complete dehydrated meals.

Benefits of Dehydrated Food

Dehydrated or freeze-dried food that are low in fat tend to have a shelf life of at least 20 years if it’s packaged properly in bags that absorb moisture and keep out pests and prevent exposure to the elements. This includes dehydrated fruits and vegetables, lean meat, noodles, and rice. Higher fat foods have a shorter shelf life, but you’re still looking at 10 to 15 years. This is much longer than the 5 year recommended shelf life of MREs, which is one advantage of dehydrated food over MREs.

The other good thing about dehydrated food is the fact that it is natural, whole foods—it tastes like food.

A lot of the emergency preparedness meals on the market are ground-up, powdered foods you add water to. You’ll get the calories you need, but the experience of eating these meals is less than pleasant. You are eating them to survive.

With dehydrated food, the food shape and texture remains mostly intact once it is re-hydrated, and you get to eat many of your favorite foods and they taste like what you’ve been eating throughout your life. Many people eat dehydrated food in non-emergency situations—dried fruit, beef jerky, and so on.

Traditional dehydrated foods tend to have a chewy texture, while freeze-dried options are lighter and airier. Both are great options for when you don’t have access to a fresh food supply.

Dehydrated meals tend to be lower in calories than MRE meals or emergency food bars. So, if you’re able to supplement, you’ll enjoy a higher calorie intake. However, it is possible to use only dehydrated and freeze-dried foods to survive if you plan carefully.

Making Your Own Ultimate Survival Pantry

Many people who place emergency preparedness at the top of their priority list make their own dehydrated food. This is an upfront investment that allows you to create a supply of healthy, whole foods for your family over time. It’s one of the most affordable options after your initial dehydrator purchase and it allows you to customize your food supply for your family specifically.

Dehydrating your own food enables you to consider food allergies and dietary specifications, and avoids the risk of food not tasting exactly how you imagine. You and your family can sample dehydrated food while you are making it, so you’ll know what to expect should an emergency occur.

Obviously, you’ll need to invest in a food dehydrator to make your own dehydrated food. If you can afford it, opt for a device that features accessories and that allows you to use a variety of heat settings. This enables you to dehydrate different foods at different temperatures and can help you dehydrate faster. Other supplies you’ll need include plenty of plastic food storage bags and possibly a vacuum sealer to make food storage easy and convenient.

Shopping for foods to dehydrate can be a lot of fun. Think of some of your family’s current favorite meals and consider whether or not they can be dehydrated. Some common foods aren’t a practical option for dehydrating, but many people are surprised to learn exactly what you can dehydrate and enjoy in an emergency situation.

One of the biggest reasons people opt not to do their own dehydrating is because the process can be time consuming. You need to dehydrate the individual foods, create meals or individual food bags, and label them properly. Not to mention if you are gradually dehydrating food over the course of several weeks, months, or years to build your family’s food supply, you’ll need to consider good-by dates and plan to consume the food over time if it goes unused after several years or more.

It’s also important to consider the fact that dehydrating your own food means typically not having as long of a shelf life as you get with manufactured food. You’re going to be dehydrating probably about once a year to keep a solid supply of emergency food on hand if you’re doing it yourself. This is compared to a 10-, 20-, 25-, or 30-year shelf life that many manufactured dehydrated food companies guarantee.

The upside and the reason why people decide to dehydrate their own food is because the food usually tastes better, costs less, and can be customized based on your own personal taste. You can eat exactly what you want when you prepare your own dehydrated food, which is a must for many people, even in an emergency. This is especially true if you’re dealing with serious food allergies.

What If You Don’t Want to Make Your Own Dehydrated Food for Survival and Emergencies?

Despite the benefits, not everyone has the desire or the time to build a supply of food adequate for survival with the food they’ve dehydrated on their own. Some prefer to supplement their DIY dehydrated food with survival kits from food suppliers. Others opt to forego dehydrating on their own and simply invest in kits.

These kits can be a pricey investment. However, if time is money and you want to spend just a short time preparing your food supply before moving onto other things, ready-made dehydrated food kits are a great option.

What Are Our Picks for the Best Dehydrated Foods for Emergencies and Survival?

Valley Food Storage

Valley Food Storage offers a selection of foods that are made from natural ingredients. They ship their food packages for free and guarantee a 25-year shelf life on most of the products they sell.

They offer a variety of special dietary meals, including gluten-free, MSG-free, and dairy-free options. You can also order freeze-dried meat and fruit and vegetables in small servings or buy buckets that offer a month’s worth of food. This gives you the option of trying some of the food before investing in a long-term supply. You’ll also be able to stock up a little at a time instead of making a major investment in multiple buckets of food all at once.

One of the great things about Valley Food Storage is the variety they give you. Many of the foods you’ll be able to eat during an emergency are what you’d expect to find at a restaurant or normal food access situation, including apple cinnamon pancakes and pasta primavera.

Augason Farms has been in the emergency food industry for more than four decades. The company is one of the top producers of long-term storage food and have their own brand of food that they supply to other food supply companies. One of their most popular products is their Morning Moo powdered milk.

Their product line is impressive and allows you to customize exactly what you need for your family. They offer 72-hour emergency preparedness food kits, a 1 week Pantry Pack, and a Deluxe 1 Year Kit.

You can also buy ingredients individually, including dehydrated vegetables and fruits, rice, grains, baking ingredients, beans, powdered milk, and eggs. Meal options include oatmeal with strawberries, pasta alfredo, stroganoff, and enchilada soup.

Augason guarantees a 15-year shelf life.

Mountain House offers a selection of canned food that is able to solve one of the biggest issues with survival food, and that is the taste. Each of their products really tastes like what you see on the package, with only the texture being a bit more watery than what you would expect from fresh ingredients.

Additionally, Mountain House cans can be prepared with minimal utensils, as they only need hot water and a can opener to prepare. This means that, technically, you can make the whole meal using just a utility knife, and using the can itself to heat up water.

The company gives a 30 years taste guarantee, which is one of the best on the market. Also, the cans are very sturdy and can be easily stored. The long shelf life combined with reasonable prices makes Mountain House one of the best options for both campers, survivalists, and preppers.

Emergency Essentials is a supplier known for its large inventory of food storage items, including MREs, freeze-dried, and dehydrated foods. You can choose from several different brands. The company offers a variety of staples, including dehydrated meats, cereals, grains, fruits, and vegetables. You can also purchase baking ingredients and powdered foods from them. They offer plenty of entrée options or you can buy emergency kits that provide full meals for several days or weeks.


The Wise Company manufacturs their own products and offers a variety of both long-term survival food kits and short-term kits for emergencies (that last just a few days.) They are considered one of the best values in the food preparedness community and what some of their products lack in taste they make up for in variety. You can get all of the basic meals you’ll need, including chili macaroni and noodles with beef, as well as side items and add-ons like granola.

Numanna offers organic, gluten-free, non-GMO meals that are guaranteed to stay fresh for up to 30 years. They offer a family mega pack that provides 840 servings of food. Meal options include cheddar broccoli soup, pancakes, and chili.

Augason Farms made itself a contender for ''heavy hitting'' emergency food supply as they have packed more than 21000 calories in this 4-gallon pail.

The package is meant for a larger group of people, as there are 16 pouches of food containing 92 servings. This amount should last two people about five days to consume without any substantial energy loss. This is especially important in a survival situation where you will need your energy to perform all of the tasks necessary.

The shelf life of Augason food supply is up to twenty years. The long shelf life combined with easy storage makes this food supply one of the best options when you need to feed multiple people in a difficult situation.

The ARK kit features a single month’s worth of food for one person. The food is packaged in a convenient, six-gallon waterproof bucket that is resistant to light and sealed against pests.

​The price tag is more than affordable for a 30-day supply of food and the bucket (which weighs about 23 pounds when filled with a full supply of food) makes it a portable option. It’s one of the more simple options available and can give you peace of mind if you are just beginning to prep.

Meals feature a total of 330 servings and provide about 2100 calories per day.

ARK Kits feature:

  • ​Zip-seal pouches
  • ​Oxygen Absorber in each pouch
  • No high-fructose corn syrup or MSG in any item

There are eight different meal options, including:

  • ​Oatmeal
  • ​Potato soup
  • ​Chicken-flavored vegetable stew
  • ​Mixed vegetables
  • ​Instant potatoes
  • ​Chicken-flavored vegetable stew
  • ​Chicken-flavored vegetable stew
  • ​Chicken-flavored vegetable stew


Regardless if you are a prepper, a survivalist, or just an avid camper and outdoorsman, having an emergency supply is a good idea. Thankfully, the market is filled with high-quality food that can be stored safely for decades.

With a little bit of research and browsing online you will be able to purchase the most calories in the smallest packaging for a reasonable price. Just remember that calories are not the only thing you are after, as you will want your survival situation to be as pleasant as possible (under the circumstances.) Make sure that you pick out the food that tastes as you want it to taste and that will keep your spirit as fed as your belly.

In the end, while we can hope that this food will be used just for camping and exercise, one can never know. God favors those who come prepared, and having emergency food is the cornerstone of any contingency.


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