72-Hour Bug Out Food Supply
One of the most important items in your 72-Hour Emergency Bug Out Bag is food!
A full belly is a happy belly. But it goes further than that - if you are hungry your energy level drops, headaches are common, and your decision making ability suffers.
All bad things during stressful times.
So how can you avoid that situation and make sure you have a good 72-Hour Bug Out Food Supply?
Something that can stay fresh in your bags for months or years?
Meals without a kitchen
In recent times we have been blessed with an amazing technological advance in food storage: freeze drying. This process removes all the moisture from foods while keeping all the nutrients and good stuff like flavor. It also has the added benefit of reducing the weight of the food as well. Preparing freeze dried foods is easy, heat up some water and mix, wait a few minutes and you're good to go.
I've heard of buying frozen foods, sticking them in the dehydrator at home and viola, DIY freeze drying. Havent tried it though so cant speak to its effectiveness.Canned foods or foods with heavy packaging should be avoided, although they can be incorporated into a longer-term food supply at your home or emergency bug out location. But there are lots of options to look at. Lets check them out.
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The military uses MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat) which you can get from Surplus stores or from Amazon.Provides an average 1250 calories (13 % protein, 36 % fat, and 51 % carbohydrates) for maximum endurance. This is probably one of your best options, expect to pay anywhere from $8 to $14 per meal. They have main and side dishes, and usually a little heater pack to warm them up. Desert, drinks, coffee all included. Don't forget to chew the gum afterwards! I've heard theres a little laxative in there which you'll need after eating nothing but MRE's all the time :)
Since MRE's are not freeze dried, they are truly ready-to-eat (no boiling water and rehydrating.) This comes at tradeoff to shelf-life.
Mountain House foods are at the top of our list as well, and very cost effective at about $7 a meal with the $60 Just in Case Emergency Food Supply. Their product and packaging is very high quality and will stay fresh and ready-to-go for years. Just add hot water and you're set.
There are several brands you can consider, like Wise Foods and My Patriot Supply but the overwhelming consensus by our tests and by from what we've heard from others is that Mountain House is the best in terms of taste and shelf life (lowest oxygen amount.)
UPDATE: We've recently tried a bunch of the food made by Backpackers Pantry and we think we've found our new favorites! Try the Pad Thai.
Theres also the classic US Coast Guard S.O.S. Rations. Some say its as tasty as lemon flavored cardboard! Better than nothing however a package of these are not really a great 72-Hour plan because though each package has 3600 calories, its mostly from sugar. These are meant for people floating around on life rafts expending little energy though, so these aren't our first choice for BOB's.
Our favorite snack bars are Cliff Bars. They are easy to get anywhere, taste good, and aren't loaded with unhealthy stuff - although their sugar content is a little high. I wouldn't rely on these as meal replacements for that reason, but quick snacks that will serve in a pinch.
Honeyville: Long Term Food Supply
For longer term food supplies, or to buy in bulk to make your own meals you can look at Honeyville foods. Keep them in the big cans they come in or get some mylar bags and some oxygen absorbers and go to town making smaller meals that can be rehydrated quickly. They also offer organic foods if thats your thing.
So how much do you pack?
Well how much can you carry? Weight is an important consideration. Maybe you don't need 4 knives...Think about your calorie requirements and how much you normally eat in a day. You will want at least 2000 calories per day available.
Even more during stressful times! Start tracking your food habits now, its easy to do - count calories with an app or pen and paper. You will not want to starve yourself, trust me its no fun. Best to practice first if you are going the minimalist route to see how well you can handle minimum food.