Recent events have shown us that the world we live in, despite being incredibly advanced, is also very fragile. Apart from socio-economic downfall, there are things like natural disasters that can put even the best survivalist to the test. Having the best emergency food kits at your disposal can be the difference between life and death in case of an emergency. These kits can keep you and your family well-fed and healthy for the days immediately after a disaster until the rescue teams come.
Emergency food kits, however, are very diverse and there are different kinds that serve different purposes. This is why I’ve decided to compile all the information you need in a single guide. First, we will go through some of the most well-received kits for this year, and then we will dive deeper into what makes a good food kit and the different types you should consider before buying.
SOS Food Labs S.O.S. Emergency Rations
SOS Food Labs is a company that specializes in the making of emergency food kits which are high in calories and perfect for your backpack. Their S.O.S. Emergency Rations Food Bars are among their best-selling products since they are extremely compact, packed full of the much-needed calories, and securely sealed in order to last at least a few years.
These food bars come in vacuumed packages which can be re-sealed after opening. Each package contains 9 food bars with each having around 400 calories. The total calorie count of each package is more than 3600 calories, making it enough for a single person to survive for 3 full days. On average, you need 3 of those bars per day to get the minimum amount of calories for your body to cover its basic energy costs.
The bars are US Coast Guard approved and have a shelf life of around 5 years no matter the conditions in which they are stored thanks to that vacuum seal.
In terms of flavor, these food rations have a cinnamon and coconut mix to them. More importantly, they aren’t thirst inducing like some other cheaper food bars. They are also quite solid, making them hard to crumble in their packaging. The only downsides here are that you need a lot of those if you plan on preparing for a 10+ day emergency. On top of that, you won’t be getting much of your body’s nutrient needs from these bars, apart from basic carbs, proteins, and fats.
- Excellent price to value
- Very energy-rich
- Air-sealed package
- Can help you survive for 6 days
- Good flavor
- Non-thirst provoking formula
- Not a very long shelf life
- You need more packages for a longer emergency
- Doesn’t address the complex nutrition needs of our bodies
Wise Company Emergency Food Supply
Another company that is pioneering the emergency food kit industry is the Wise Company. Their emergency food supply buckets are one of the most delicious and flavor-rich out there but come at a slightly higher price per serving than most other brands that produce emergency supply buckets. Brands like Augason Farms have their rations down to around 0.50$ per serving, while they maintain similar shelf life and meal quality. So, Wise Company’s near 2 dollars per serving must be justified, right? Well, let’s find out!
The main thing with this supply bucket is the insane amount of diversity in the meals. There are a total of 120 meals inside which include:
- Chicken noodle soups
- Creamy pasta
- Tomato basil soups
- Southwest beans and rice
- Potato and chicken pot pie
- Cheesy lasagna
- Chili mac
- Heart tortilla soup
And many others! That meal diversity combined with the delicious recipes Wise Company uses for their servings is one of the main reasons they keep such a high price tag. Basically, if you want to enjoy delicious and nutritious meals during a natural disaster or other types of emergencies, this bucket is the perfect addition to your shelter. All the packages inside the bucket have a shelf life of up to 25 years when stored properly and can be prepared when mixed with water only.
The downsides here are that the meals aren’t very rich on calories and won’t be good for a long duration if you have to feed more than 1-2 people. That, combined with the high price tag, makes this bucket a hard-to-pick options for large families on a budget.
- 25 years shelf life
- Delicious and diverse recipes
- 120 servings
- Easy to prepare
- Perfect for a shelter
- Can help a person last up to 16 days
- Very expensive
- Meals aren’t very calorie-rich
- Not enough calories/servings for a large family
Augason Farms Deluxe Emergency Food Supply
The ultimate leader in budget emergency kits that taste amazing is Augason Farms. Their Deluxe emergency food supply bucket has 200 servings which are enough to last a single person 30 days thanks to the high calorie count in each of the meal packages. Moreover, each serving here costs less than half a dollar, making this the cheapest emergency meal options out there with such a diversity in the recipes.
There are 12 meal varieties here ranging from banana chips to cheesy broccoli, chicken soups, and other delicious sweet desserts like maple brown sugar oatmeal. These desserts are the main reason why this bucket contains twice the calories of other similar emergency supplies. There are more than 37,000 calories inside which can last you around 30 days with an average daily calorie intake of around 1200 calories (or around 6-7 servings).
Within the bucket, you also get a 30-day meal planner which is a unique take on the whole emergency situation which other companies are quickly catching up to. This food supply also has a shelf life of 25 years which is among the highest in the industry. As a whole, there aren’t many disadvantages here apart from the lack of salty recipe varieties and the bulky footprint of the whole bucket.
- High-calorie count per serving
- Can last a single person 30 days
- Long shelf life (25 years)
- Easy to prepare meals
- Excellent for shelters
- Quite bulky. Only suitable for shelters
- A lot of sweet dessert recipes
NorthWest Fork Gluten-Free Emergency Food Supply
NorthWest Fork Gluten-Free emergency food supply takes a slightly different approach to emergency food kits and adds a bit of a progressive touch to their meals. What I mean by that is that they are Kosher, Non-GMO, and Vegan – a combination unique to the whole industry. And you would think that this would spike up the price but it actually doesn’t and this box full of meals is actually an affordable and delicious option for families or people wanting to stock their shelters.
The meals here are rationed in 6 bags with each containing 15 servings (pouches). Each bag is good for 5 days (3 meals per day) and gives you all the needed calories and nutrition to keep your body running. All of the 6 bags are resealable and are good for 2 months after being opened. The meals here are contained in Mylar Bags with oxygen absorbers which prevents degradation and adds to the 10+ years of shelf life. When you mix these with water (the hotter the better) they result in a serving of around a pint of food.
The star feature here is, without a doubt, the fact that all the meals here are GMO-free, vegan, kosher, soy, nut, and gluten-free. There are also quite the diverse meal choices ranging from strawberry banana oatmeal to green pea soup and chipotle stew. Everything inside this box is good for a single person for 30 days or a family of 4 for roughly 8 days. Despite the slightly high price, this food supply checks almost all the boxes.
- Rich variety of recipes
- 30-days supply for a single person
- Easy to prepare meals
- Vegan and GMO-free
- Can be stockpiled
- Slightly short shelf life
- Higher than average price
Sustain Supply Co. Premium Emergency Survival Bag
The Premium Emergency Survival Bag by Sustain Supply Co. is a slightly different product than the rest in this guide. Instead of giving you a purely food-oriented emergency supply, they give you a survivalist dream containing all the necessary tools and features to guarantee your survival in or out of your house.
This backpack has all the essentials to last you and one more person full 72 hours after a disaster. Inside, there are:
- 12 meals
- 2 refillable water carton bottles
- 2 water filtration straws
- 4 snap lights
- 1 lantern
- A flashlight
There are also things like first aid kit, bath wipes, emergency blankets, bowls, utensils, and even a portable stove that can be used to cook food. Everything here is meant to be used by two people for around 3 days, as this is considered the time needed for emergency teams to get to your location. Apart from ensuring your immediate survival, this backpack also makes sure that you can last a while longer even without its core food and water supplies. You get a fire-starter, tinder, and a lot of light options. While it is a little more expensive than other emergency food supplies, it is actually a great value for its money all things considered. There is even a 4-person backpack option that is an even better deal.
- Comes with all the essentials to survive the first 3 days
- Has tools that can ensure your survival after that
- Comes with a stove, fire-starter, and tinder
- Good for two people
- Decent price to value ratio
- Backpack quality isn’t stellar
- Not enough food for more than 3 days
Survival Tabs 60-Day Emergency Food Ration
The Survival Tabs is a company or rather a product that tries to change the way we look at emergency food supplies. While other brands are focusing on diverse recipes and meal plans, this 60-day emergency food ration focuses on sweet tabs that are rich in calories and have all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to sustain itself.
Even if those tabs aren’t very diverse in their flavors, are made with a high-quality protein and are also GMO-free and Gluten-free. They are also made with a formula that maximizes the body’s absorption rate, which is typically low for emergency food kit meals. With this package, you get 4 bottles that have 180 tables each. With 12 chewable tablets per servings, that makes 60 servings. Here is my issue, though – the company states that this is enough to last a single person 60 days, even though this makes barely 250 calories per day which isn’t enough to sustain a human body.
What these tabs are good for, though, are supplementing your other emergency food supply. Normal food supplies aren’t rich in vitamins and minerals and these survival tabs will be a great addition to any disaster shelter stockpile and will make for a delicious dessert after each meal. Still, I have to call them out on their slightly false advertising.
- Long shelf life
- Excellent addition to a full-on emergency food supply
- High-protein formula
- Excellent body absorption
- Delicious taste
- GMO and gluten-free
- Not enough to support a person on their own for the stated 60 days
- Can barely last a week on their own with no extra supplies
Survival Food Kits Buyer’s Guide
Whether you are preparing for an expanding wildfire that you relocate you from your home or a hurricane that will pin your family to your shelter for days, you should always have food and water at the top of your priority list. While water is fairly simple to come by in most places, food that is nutrient-rich and long-lasting requires a bit of prior preparation. To understand food kits better, we must first answer one important question…
What exactly is a survival food kit?
Survival food kits are basically packs of dried and/or canned food that are good to last you and your family for up to 14 days. This time frame is set by the number of days needed for emergency services to clean up the site and rescue everyone involved in the disaster or emergency.
While some kits provide you with freeze-dried meals that can be prepared when just mixed with water, some other kits emphasize on calorie-count by having dried fortified food bars that are easy to carry around and are extremely dense in calories. When it comes to portability, we must make one clear distinction that divides most survival food kits into two types…
The two main types
Depending on whether or not the food kit is meant to be carried in a backpack or stockpiled in a shelter or your home, there are two different types of survival food kits. Those are:
- Cabin/Stockpiling Emergency Food Kits/Supplies – In most cases, these come in the form of a large bucket that contains various meals according to the meal plan of the kit. These meals can be prepared when mixed with water or be eaten straight away, depending on the size of the bucket. Most of these emergency supplies are good for up to a few days for a whole family or more than a week for a single person. Still, there are some extremely large food supply kits that are good for up to 30 days. The main benefit of these kits is that they are very rich in terms of nutrition variety and will provide all the vitamins and minerals a human body needs along with a minimum daily calorie supply. They are, however, very limited in terms of portability and are suitable only for stockpiling or preparing a shelter.
- Backpack emergency food kits – Unlike the previous kind, these are very compact and are easy to carry in your backpack in case of an emergency. In most cases, they come in the form of dry bars that are extremely rich in calories and are air-sealed in order to withstand all sorts of conditions. They have a long shelf life which allows you to stock up if you need a lot of those packages for your family. While they are rich in calories, they are often limited in terms of vitamins and minerals and struggle to supply your body with its full nutrition spectrum. They also don’t need any type of preparation furthering their theme of portability and convenience.
Now that we’ve gone through the basics, let’s dive deeper into the features that you need to look for when you’re choosing an emergency food kit…
As with any food you get, there are quite a lot of things that you should look for if you want to have a nutrient-rich stockpile that will not only keep you full but will keep your body at optimal health. Here are the things that you should pay attention to:
- Number of servings
- Shelf Life
- Nutrition and calories
- Meal Variety and Taste
- Portability and Preparation
As we already discussed, with survival food kits, you can pretty much choose between buckets and food bars which are vacuum sealed and quite compact. Buckets are the way to go if you’re stockpiling a shelter you have or a basement that you use in cases of tornadoes or hurricanes, while food bars are the best way to pack up a survival backpack or an emergency kit that you can quickly take with you in case you have to leave.
There are products out there that combine the best of all worlds by selling you a backpack full of all the essential tools to prep the food you get (both in bars and in packets that are prepared with water only). The Sustain Supply Co. Premium emergency survival bag is one of the best examples for such a combo product but it does cost quite much more than the other food kits.
Number of servings
The number of servings is going to be determined mainly by the number of people that will depend on that survival food kit. Most buckets will have around 100-150 servings which is more than enough to feed a 4-person family for around 10 days. Always account for unexpected meals that are given to other people outside of your initial circle. Apart from the number of servings, you should look at how nutritious and caloric each serving is but more on that later…
The shelf life is, without a doubt, one of the most important features of anything that is emergency related. When preparing for an emergency you don’t actually know when it will happen. It can be next month or in 15 years. This is why emergency food kits should have a long shelf life. Most premium companies pride themselves with kits that can last up to 25 years if kept well. Still, some aren’t as long-lasting and you should always account for that when buying them. If you get food kits which have shorter shelf lives, make sure you mark that with a stick-it note on them so that you are constantly reminded if you have to change them when you go to the shelter or inspect your emergency backpack.
Nutrition and calories
Your intake of calories is what keeps your body at a constant weight and health. Eating more calories results in a caloric surplus with the body storing them as fats. Eating less, however, will end up starving the body in the long run. On average, a healthy female needs around 2000 calories per day, while males need around 2500. That, of course, varies from person to person based on their weight, height, and age, as well as their activity levels. Athletes often need 1000-1500 calories on top of the daily average just to cover their energy losses through exercises. In an emergency situation, the goal is to keep your caloric intake to the minimum that your body needs to sustain all of your systems. Moreover, eating the same amount of calories in evenly distributed meals throughout the day guarantees a better resorption rate than eating them all at once. Large meals lead to the biggest energy and nutrient losses due to the inability of our bodies to process everything we’ve eaten in that large meal.
Nutrition refers to the overall composition of the food inside or in other words, the diversity of the ingredients (proteins, carbs, fats). Foods that are rich in carbs only aren’t very nutritious by definition, even though they are good for your body’s energy consumption. To be an all-around balanced meal, it must contain all three of the main nutrients plus minerals and vitamins.
Meal Variety and Taste
The fact that these kits are meant for an emergency situation doesn’t mean that they have to be bland and identical when it comes to the different servings and meals in them. Different flavor-rich meals will not only keep your GI tract at its optimal state but will also boost morale. Nothing feels like an emergency more than having nothing to eat or having to eat the same tasteless food bar over and over day after day.
Portability and Preparation
We sort of already covered portability when we discussed the types of emergency food kits. If you need something more static, go for the large buckets with 100+ servings in them. For backpacks, I recommend survival tabs or dry food bars.
In terms of preparation, most food kits are going to be prepared with water only. They typically don’t need heating up or cooking but rather mixing them with water only. Some freeze-dried meat buckets can be either eaten straight out of the meal pouch or cooked in water to create various soups or stews.
Even if it is sometimes hard to give certain foods a long shelf life without preservatives, try looking for food kits that rely on good packaging and solid meal choices rather than ones that have a quarter of a century shelf life.
The last thing I want to talk about is the packaging. Look for kits that are packed into smaller meals or individual rations (either for a meal or for a day). Kits that are divided into bigger rations are suitable for families as you will need to prepare larger meals at a time. Food bars that aren’t vacuum-sealed won’t last long and will almost certainly crumble inside the packaging if you aren’t careful with them. The lack of air in some vacuum packages keeps them fresh and also keeps them intact.
Top Survival Food Brands
Some of the best brands that make survival food kits are Augason Farms, Valley Food Storage, My Patriot Supply, Mountain House. There are some smaller brands like Emergency Essentials, Survival Frog, and The Ready Store which are also worth mentioning due to their high-quality products with decent value.
While most of these brands have paused production right now, their products are still (mostly) available on the Amazon store. Brands like Augason Farms sell some of the best price-to-value survival buckets which cost around a hundred dollars and are good to last you up to a month. Mountain House, albeit a little expensive, produces some of the finest food kits in terms of flavor and nutrition qualities. Valley Food Storage is another great-tasting option that comes at a bargain price, although they aren’t taking full orders now as well. They offer 1-year survival food packages which are delivered in 4 parts 3 months apart due to the high demand right now.
Frequently Asked Questions
What foods should I stockpile for survival?
Some of the main things you should consider when choosing your stockpiling food picks is having plenty of frozen fruits, veggies, and canned food. These will be rich on vitamins and minerals enough to sustain you without a proper rich diet. Canned beans are an excellent choice since they are rich in plant proteins and zinc. Canned fish is a good source of omega fatty acids, while whole grains will give you fibers and iron.
If you want to stock up mostly in terms of high-calorie numbers, put your stock on dry pasta, white rice, hard grains, canned spaghetti, and other high-carb foods. Those will give you plenty of energy, although they won’t be really rich in other nutrients.
What single food can you survive on the longest?
While it isn’t a good idea to eat only one type of food since that will eventually lead to certain deficiencies, the potato is a good example of a food that can sustain human life for longer periods. Whole nations have survived on mostly potato-based diets for centuries. In other words, the potato has proven itself as a Mars-worthy food when it comes to sustainability.
What is the best canned food to stockpile?
While we already established that canned beans are an excellent choice for protein and vitamins, other canned foods are also great for stockpiling. Diced tomatoes, corn, different soups, spam, tune, and vegetable medley are all great picks for a nutrient-rich canned stockpile.
One of the most important takeaways from this guide is that the best survival food kits should be rich in nutrients, diverse in terms of their meals, and should be calorie-rich in order to provide a better survival chance. Depending on the type of survival kit you pick, you should be focusing either on calories or taste and convenience. Shelter kits will be much more nutrient-rich and will be far more delicious. They are, however, hard to carry around and suitable only for static stockpiling, while true emergency kits can be put in your backpack and still provide you with a few days worth of calories.