Keeping a survival food kit stashed away in your apartment, basement, or even your car might come in handy sooner than you think. Whether it's a week-long snowstorm this winter, the risk of ever-increasing forest fires, or maybe you're doomsday prepping - for the end times - having a good food kit on hand will ensure you don't go hungry. Thankfully, dehydrated food has come a long way over the years. It's less astronaut ice cream - the type you had as a kid - and more vegan pad thai with spicy sriracha lime sauce.
Some of the most important considerations when choosing a food kit are how long you'd like it to last - in terms of how many servings - how many calories you need per day, and the variety of different meals included. But arguably the most important factor is the taste. You're not going to get any energy from a food kit you just can't stand to eat. If you've got time, you could also learnhow to freeze dry foods and make a custom food kit of your own. But for those who want a survival food kit that is a little more ready-to-go, we've compiled this list that runs the gamut from no-cook to practically gourmet, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
Valley Food Storage
Valley Food Storage features simple, non-GMO meals without artificial ingredients while still having an impressive 25-year shelf life. Their food kits come in waterproof, resealable buckets and range from 175 servings to an apocalypse-worthy 4,200 servings. Because Valley Food Storage uses real, clean ingredients you won’t find anything on their labels that you can’t pronounce. They offer soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian options that aren’t packed with sugar and sodium. Their 175 serving kit contains 23,600 calories which would last around two weeks if you ate roughly 2,000 calories a day.
Mountain House Classic Bucket
If you’ve ever gone backpacking or camping you’re probably familiar with Mountain House. These dehydrated meals are easy to make (just add hot water) and come with a 30-year taste guarantee, so you can pack them away and feel comfortable knowing they’re there when an emergency strikes. The Classic Bucket includes 24 servings (around 6,000 calories), which should be enough to get you through a weekend. They have no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, and five different meals to lend some variety to your dining experience. This kit is great to have on hand for short-term survival or if you simply don’t have time to swing by REI before this weekend’s camping trip.
ReadyWise Emergency Food Supply
ReadyWise food kits also come in a resealable bucket and are ready just by adding hot water. They have a 25-year shelf life and are made in the USA. What's great about ReadyWise is the variety of meals included in their kit. Their Emergency Foot Kit contains 13 different types of meals including cheesy lasagna, southwest beans and rice, and hearty tortilla soup. They also offer fruit and vegetable buckets to make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber in your diet.
For the survivalist on the go who wants to keep weight light and gear to a minimum, check out the S.O.S. rations. These calorically dense food and energy bars require no cooking, no additional water, and actually have pretty good reviews for taste. Better than you might imagine for a calorically dense food bar. This kit also contains water and a survival guide, both super handy in an emergency situation. Because this kit offers less variety than some of the others on our list, I’m not sure how great it would be for long-term survival, but it would be perfect for a go-bag or car kit.
Harmony House Dehydrated Vegetable Sampler
Beef stroganoff, chicken teriyaki; one thing about food kits is they’re not the friendliest to vegetarians. That’s why I’ve included the Harmony House Dehydrated Vegetable Sample. This is a great option for those who don’t eat meat or for those looking to add some more vegetables to their diet. They come in resealable zip pouches, which are perfect for adjusting the serving size to your liking and saving the rest for later. They’re also non-GMO, gluten-free, and kosher. For only $55, this sampler would be great to pair with one of the other kits on the list for added variety and nutrients.
MRE - Meals Ready To Eay
If you’ve never had an MRE you should get this pack just to check them out. I first had them when I was in the Boy Scouts as a kid. What struck me then was how much you got in each pack. You get an entrée, a starch, a snack, and a dessert. You also get their accessory pack which includes salt and pepper, instant coffee, a wet napkin, red pepper flakes, and a toothpick. These meals also cook in a special pouch that heats up when water is added, meaning you can have hot meals on the go without a stove. The downside of this is more packaging and added cost. They’re worth trying at least once, though, and they have the highest calories per meal of any of the kits on the list.
Legacy Food Storage
If you’re looking for the best cost-per-pound ratio check out Legacy Food Storage. Like other kits on our list, they’re made in the USA, have a 25-year shelf life, are free of GMOs, and offer options for those with dietary restrictions. They also have a wide variety of meals, perfect for someone getting a kit for the longer term and they are well-reviewed when it comes to taste.
Augason Farms Emergency Food Supply
Augason Farms is another resealable bucket meal kit that offers a decent amount of calories and protein per day. They have a variety of meal choices and a long shelf life. Where they score well is on price, coming in far below some of the other options. That said, you get what you pay for, and the taste of this kit ranks lower than the others. College students and others on a budget, this could be the kit for you.
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