In a bugout scenario, you are likely to spend a lot of time in your vehicle as you travel from one destination to the next. This means a vehicle well-stocked with survival supplies is one of the most important components in a bugout plan – and food is the most essential supply that you can stockpile.
Before you start tossing groceries into the trunk of your car, it’s important to note that not all foods are great for storing in vehicles. For example, chocolate protein bars are great meal replacements, but the chocolate is likely to melt and get all over the place.
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A food that is good for vehicle storage needs to have a long shelf-life, have lots of nutrition, and be easy to prepare. With those qualifications in mind, here are 17 emergency foods that you should keep in your vehicle.
1. Beef Jerky
Beef jerky is a tasty snack that is high in protein and calories. It’s also a food that has a shelf-life of up to two years and can withstand the temperature extremes that occur in most vehicles.
• Calories per ounce: 88 calories
• Protein per ounce: 9.4 grams
2. Instant Oatmeal
As long as you have a way to boil water, instant oatmeal is a meal that is quick and easy to prepare. Instant oatmeal also has a shelf-life of up to two years, making it an ideal food item for long-term storage. Instant oatmeal isn’t very high in fats or protein, but it does offer a lot of filling carbs.
• Calories per ounce: 105 calories
• Carbs per ounce: 21 grams
3. Mixed Nuts
Mixed nuts make for a convenient snack that is high in calories and protein. They require no preparation to eat and can give you a quick boost of energy when you need it the most.
• Calories per ounce: 164
• Protein per ounce: 6 grams
4. Trail Mix
Like mixed nuts, but with more variety, trail mix is a tasty, calorie-rich snack that is easy to store and requires no preparation to eat. The dried fruits in trail mix offer plenty of energy-boosting sugars while the mixed nuts offer protein and healthy fats.
Just be sure to purchase trail mix that doesn’t contain chocolate or anything else that might melt in a hot car.
• Calories per ounce: 151 calories
• Protein per ounce: 3.9 grams
5. Ramen Noodles
Ramen noodles don’t offer much in way of nutrients, but they are a tasty snack that can be stored for years without spoiling. Ramen noodles are also high in sodium, enabling you to replace the sodium you lose through sweating.
While Ramen noodles can be eaten without any preparation, they will be much more enjoyable if you have a way to boil water.
• Calories per ounce: 127 calories
• Sodium per ounce: 577 mg
6. MREs (Meals Ready to Eat)
If you’ve ever served in the military, chances are you’re familiar with MREs. These pre-packaged meals can easily be purchased in bulk by civilians. MREs are easy to store, have a long shelf-life, and require essentially no preparation, making them an ideal food item to store in your vehicle.
While the macronutrients of MREs will vary from meal to meal, they are typically filling and nutritious – even if they aren’t the best tasting cuisine in the world.
7. Powdered Gatorade
Storing powdered Gatorade in your vehicle will give you a tasty alternative to bottled water. It’s also full of energy-boosting sugars to get you through the day and has a two-year shelf-life if left unopened.
• Calories per ounce (when added to water): 7.9 calories
• Sugars per ounce (when added to water): 1.6 grams
8. Bottled Water
Bottled water isn’t a food per se, but it is one of the most important things you can store in your vehicle if you are preparing for a bugout scenario. While the human body can go weeks without food, it can only go a matter of days without water before dying from dehydration.
In addition, water is a necessary ingredient for preparing many of the other food items you might store in your vehicle. Whatever food items you decide on, make sure a large package of bottled water is on the list.
Multivitamins may not count as a food, but they are still a beneficial thing to store in your vehicle along with food items if you want to ensure you are getting the nutrients you need. During a bugout scenario, your diet is going to be very restricted, and getting all of your important nutrients without being able to eat fresh meat and vegetables is going to be a challenge.
A good multivitamin can supplement a limited diet and ensure that you are still getting the nutrients you need to remain strong, energetic, and healthy.
• Calories per ounce: NA
10. Pinto Beans
Pinto beans are a prepper staple thanks to the fact that they are filling, easy to prepare, and have a shelf-life that is near indefinite. Pinto beans are also high in both calories and protein, and they are one of the healthier food items that can be stored in a vehicle for an extended period of time.
Of course, in order to prepare pinto beans, you will need water, a container, and the ability to start a fire.
• Calories per ounce: 89 calories
• Protein per ounce: 6.1 grams
11. Protein Bars
As the name suggests, protein bars are one of the best ways to quickly consume a large amount of protein on the go. Protein bars are also very filling, high in calories, and quite tasty as well.
If you are looking for a convenient food item that offers plenty of bang for your buck when it comes to protein and calories, protein bars are a great option.
• Calories per ounce: variable
SPAM is neither the healthiest nor the best tasting meat product, but it is one of the only meat products that can be stored outside a refrigerator for up to five years without spoiling. If calories and protein are what you are after, SPAM isn’t that bad in terms of nutritional value either.
Like Ramen noodles, the high sodium count of SPAM can also help you replace the sodium that you lose through sweating during the strenuous process of bugging out.
• Calories per ounce: 87 calories
• Protein per ounce: 3.5 grams
• Sodium per ounce: 544 mg
13. Macaroni and Cheese
If you’ve found this list devoid of your favorite foods thus far, you may be happy to learn that delicious macaroni and cheese is also a great food for storing in your vehicle. Mac and cheese is a tasty food item that can be quickly prepared.
It’s also a food item with a long shelf-life and one that is very filling and rich in calories. Of course, it’s also another food that requires boiled water to prepare.
• Calories per ounce: 108 calories
14. Instant Coffee
Given how much energy a bugout scenario requires, you are going to need all of the energy-boosters that you can get. Unlike ground coffee, which only has a shelf-life of a few months, instant coffee can be stored for up to twenty years without spoiling.
Best of all, instant coffee is also much easier to prepare. These two qualities make instant coffee an obvious choice for storing in your vehicle.
• Calories per ounce (when added to water): 1.5 calories
15. Breakfast Bars
Typically made out of oats and some kind of dried fruit, breakfast bars are a nutritious and filling snack that has a long shelf-life and is convenient to eat on the go.
• Calories: variable
16. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds require a little more effort to eat than most foods, meaning they aren’t exactly the best way to fill up quickly. With that said, sunflower seeds do offer a number of other benefits that make them a great food to store in your vehicle.
For one, sunflower seeds are a healthy snack that is high in sodium. Sunflower seeds are also enjoyable to eat and can be a stress reliever during long car rides.
• Calories per ounce: 162 calories
17. Peanut Butter Pouches
Peanut butter is a food that is rich in both protein and calories, and buying it in pouches is the most convenient way to store and eat it. If you are looking for an energy-boosting snack that packs plenty of calories and protein into a lightweight, easy to store package, then peanut butter pouches are an ideal choice.
• Calories per ounce: 186 calories
• Protein per ounce: 7 grams
Of course, there is more to bugging out than throwing food in the trunk. Here are some other articles to help you get started: