When you’re putting together a bug out bag, you need to carefully consider every item. You don’t want your bag to be an ounce heavier than necessary, so it’s important to only include the most useful items possible.
This includes the food you pack. You need to get the most energy and nutrition you can out of every single bite. Remember, you’re not eating for enjoyment; you’re eating for survival.
There are some key things you should consider when putting food into your bug out bag:
• Weight to Calorie Ratio — Focus on foods with a small weight to calorie ratio. In other words, you want foods with the most calories per ounce you can find.
• Macronutrients — Fat and protein are more important than carbohydrates. The fat and protein will fill you up and give you more energy over a longer period of time compared to the short burst of energy you’ll get from carbs.
• Shelf Life — Food that lasts months or even years is a better choice than food that will spoil in a matter of weeks. You don’t want to have to update your bug out bag that often.
• How Hard it is to Prepare – Food that is easy to prepare and requires very little water or cooking is your best option. If you’re bugging out, you won’t have time to cook anything too complicated.
Here are 20 foods that meet most, if not all, of these requirements:
1. Mountain House Freeze Dried Meals – These are perfect for bug out bags. They’re lightweight, require very little water, and can turn into a full meal in a hurry.
2. Peanut Butter Pouches – These are excellent for when you’re on the go. Peanut butter is packed full of protein and will give you energy for a long time.
3. Protein Bars – Another favorite because they can be eaten on the go. These are delicious and packed with protein to keep your muscles strong and healthy. The only downside is they can be messy when they melt.
4. MREs or Meals Ready to Eat – These are a military staple but civilians can buy them as well. They have a very long shelf life even in extreme weather conditions, and each meal is over 1200 calories.
5. Beef Jerky – Another staple that gives you something to gnaw on. But be careful not to eat too much. The sodium content tends to be high, which can cause dehydration.
7. S.O.S Rations – They don’t taste very good, but they’re very dense (3600 calories per package) and have a very long shelf life.
8. Tuna Pouches – These have high calorie content and are rich in protein. You can eat them hot or cold or mixed with foraged greens.
9. Instant Oatmeal – These have quite a few more carbs than fat or protein, but they’re delicious and easy to prepare. All you need is tin cup so you can boil water.
10. Meal Replacement Powders – These are lightweight and can be added to water to keep you fueled while you’re on the go. Just put some in a Ziploc bag. Along with these, electrolyte powders can keep you hydrated while walking long distances.
11. Sardine Tins – Sardines in oil have lots of protein and lots of calories. The only drawback to these is the weight. However, the cans and oil could be useful in a survival scenario.
12. Ready-To-Eat Rice Pouches – These are high in carbs and sodium so you wouldn’t want to eat them all the time, but they could give you a little variety. Combine them with canned chicken or tuna for a more well-balanced, if not slightly strange meal.
13. SPAM – It’s heavy and high in sodium, but it can be eaten in so many different ways that it makes sense to have a can. Plus, the can can double as a pot for boiling water or a bowl for eating food. SPAM also comes in single packs.
14. Fruitcake – Most people don’t get excited about fruitcake anymore, but it’s a favorite among preppers. It keeps for a long time and has a lot of nutritional value. Take a little along to have as dessert.
15. Pinto Beans – A bag of pinto beans will last a while and provide a lot of protein. They’re also quite filling. Cooking them for an hour or two over an open fire or adding them to a stew will give you a healthy dose or protein.
16. Cereal / Breakfast Bars – These are great for giving you a boost of energy. They’re typically made of oats and some kind of dried fruit or fruit paste. They’re perfect for breaking up the monotony of dried or canned meat.
17. Sunflower Seeds – They’re light and packed with healthy fats. They’re also a great comfort food and can go a long way toward soothing your stress. Just a small handful can satisfy your hunger until you set up camp.
18. Sprouting Seeds – Store them in your bag along with a paper towel. When you’re ready to sprout the seeds, dampen the towel, wrap up a handful of seeds, wait a couple days and you’ll have a tasty, nutritious snack. Or you can just eat them raw. They’ve very healthy either way.
19. Chocolate – Another staple in many bug out bags. It’s not high protein, but the sugar will give you a burst of energy. Be prepared for it to wear off quickly, though. If nothing else, it can satisfy cravings that will linger long after eating bland, canned, prepacked food for several days. Dark chocolate
20. GORP – I saved the best for last. GORP is short for “good ol’ raisins and peanuts,” although you can also use granola, oats, cashews, pistachios, and even banana chips. It’s basically homemade trail mix, and if you follow the link you’ll find a great recipe.