Survival Food. It’s a subject that any serious survivalist or prepper has to think about extensively.
There are many different options for survival foods out there. They are available as “freeze dried”, “dehydrated”, “ready to eat”, “emergency ration packs” , “non perishable food” and the list goes on and on. Your number one consideration with bug out bags is weight. Weight plays a major factor especially when you have to bug out on foot, and unless your very fit, you will probably not be able to cope with carrying a 10 kg pack.
The second biggest factor is packaging. As with all other survival products, you want to choose food that is packed in such a way that it is light, compact and does not take up too much space. For example, I wouldn’t recommend that you carry a dozen cans of baked beans in your bug out bag. That is plain foolish when you could use the space more effectively and carry more food say with something like military style Meals Ready To Eat (MRE’s) or maybe home-made ration packs made up of high energy bars, jerky, pemmican, instant noodles, soup sachets etc.
The third factor is nutrition and energy. You want to choose foods that not only give you the best bang for your buck, but are also high in calories, provide wholesome nutrients, vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, energy etc which are all vital for your body to be in good shape and to function properly. This is especially true when bugging out on foot as you will most likely be burning a considerable amount of calories.
Most traditional MRE’s can be pretty nasty for your health and are quite expensive. I highly recommend that you put together your own emergency ration packs (as I alluded to before) as you are in control of what goes in there. Not only that, but doing it yourself is cheaper in the long run and you can be satisfied knowing that your family will be eating quality, nutritious foods should you find yourselves in a worst case scenario. If you want to go down the path of ready made MRE’s, I recommend that you get freeze-dried rations (such as the ones made by Wise Foods, Mountain House or Backcountry) rather than dehydrated ones simply because freeze dried meals retain vital vitamins due to the low temperatures used in processing and… they simply look more appetising.
The fourth factor you should take into account is quantity. Do a reality check. Sit down and do the math and start asking yourself some serious questions such as “realistically, how long is this food supply going to sustain me and my family?”. As this is for a bug out bag, we suggest that you pack a minimum of 72 hrs supply of food. 72 hrs is regarded by suvival experts and the general survival community as the minimum length of time it takes to bug out from your home to a safer location such as a your Bug Out Location (BOL), a friend or family member’s place or even interstate. Obviously you should have a home stockpile and food caches at your Bug Out Location (BOL) or other pre-arranged location which should get you and your family through at least 3 months with at least another month’s supply in reserve but that is for another article at some other time.
The final consideration is how often to replace your food supply. We recommend foods that have a long-shelf life of up to 5 years otherwise you will be replacing the emergency food rations in your bug out bags pretty often, which isn’t a very good thing as it is both expensive and inconvenient. Make it a habit to check the dates on your food supplies when you do your monthly routine bug out bag check next.