Food Preservation

Survival Food Kits: What You Need to Make Sure Your Family Survives

Food prepared and packed

In the light of latest years’ natural events, people started to look at surviving information, survival courses, survival food kits and survivalists with less skepticism and more of an open mind. It’s sad that it took several major hurricanes, multiple tsunamis, catastrophic earthquakes and other types of natural destruction to make people understand that preparedness is the answer.

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We know that it’s difficult to anticipate disaster when everything is calm and the sun is shining, but, as a human being and the head of a family, you need to look ahead and plan for the future, good and bad.

After realizing Mother Nature is not always nice and calm, many people decided to take survival courses. During such a course you learn hunting techniques, useful for when you need to hunt or fish without high-tech gear. It’s not like you can take your latest fishing gear with you when the tornado tries to take your head, you only have what nature offers. This shows that people want to be prepared in case of a disaster.

Survivalist is a growing trend, especially among American families, they being some the most affected by ugly, dark events in the last period. Survivalist concepts and ideas are spreading throughout the world, making people aware of the possibility of a disaster.

Packed food

Let’s say the worst happens, and the entire world is left in darkness. We, the human race are back in the Stone Age (so to speak) without electricity, fuel or jobs. There is total chaos and anarchy. You think you can manage to take your family to safety and be their protector and provider? If you don’t train to resist in a world where food doesn’t sit on a shelf, nicely packed and ready to be cooked, you won’t last even a day.

It may seem a bit drastic to start storing emergency food kits in your pantry in case something might happen. Why store all that extra food and let it there to spoil when you can find so much food in nature? Well, if there’s a lesson to be learned from action movies depicting the end of the world as we know it, it’s the fact that everything can change in a matter of hours. There can be powerful solar explosions that will send us back ages, or the magnetic poles might shift causing chaos and massive destruction.

We never know what and when might happen, but it could be a global event that can change the natural environment completely. We live in a bubble where the grass is always green (so to speak) and we don’t want to look pass the fence.

If you want to be among the ones who get to see a new Earth and build the new world in case of a major disaster, it’s time to start stocking up.

What your survival food kits should contain?

You can find survival food kits at specialized stores, you can order them online or you can do them yourself. Regardless of the option you choose, you need to know which food categories are important for a stressful situation like the end of civilized world (we stretched it a bit to highlight the gravity of the situation).

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The first thing you have to do when you take into consideration storing emergency food kits for dark days is to find the place. You should be prepared for at least a three days to one week period and you can’t keep food for three or four people in your building apartment. Our recommendation is to build an emergency pantry where you can stock up as you like, but we are going to talk about this a bit later.

Let’s see, what should be on the shelves of your pantry:

  • Canned fruits and vegetables with a long shelf life (6 months to 1 year or more)
  • Canned or dried meat – this variety is made to resist for at least 1 year on the shelf of a store. In your pantry, with optimal conditions it may last even more
  • Canned soups or instant noodles that you can prepare just by adding water.
  • Fresh water and the possibility to filter it.
  • Nuts because they are oil rich and very nutritious. In optimal storage conditions (little to no humidity) they will last for a long periods of time without getting bad
  • Crackers, another emergency food that loves dry places.
  • Another food you should consider adding to your pantry collection is pasta. Easy to prepare, rich in nutrients and delicious, it can be extremely valuable in times of need.
  • Peanut Butter will resist unspoiled in a sealed jar for a good period of time so make sure to add it to your list.
  • Tea bags, coffee bags, fruit juice (you wouldn’t want to live without these in your life). Due to their texture and packaging these products can last for years in a humidity free storage place.
  • Spices and seasonings like salt, pepper, oregano, basil, garlic, and more to give your food some taste.
  • Sauces like marinara, pesto, salsa, garlic can brighten a difficult day so make sure to put them somewhere on the shelf
  • Whole grains like rice, quinoa, oats, and cuscus for when you need something healthy and nutritious to eat.
  • Cereals, beans, and seeds. These can be used for both eating and planting. In case everything is destroyed you will be able to grow your own food using what you have in storage.
  • Already cooked meals canned or dried. These usually come as a part of survival food kits and they have long shelf life.

The list may seem a bit long but we tried to cover all the basic needs of the human organism. Of course that if you are preparing for a hurricane or an earthquake, you don’t need to store large quantities of food and you may not even need a special pantry. Still, the storage place is important to be dry, in a dark area and at a low temperature.

food storage

Regardless of the fact that you decide to stock up for a global disaster or for a local one, you can read about storage solutions and emergency pantries bellow.

How to stock up your pantry and storage solutions?

True survivalists have been preparing for years and their emergency food kits may look very elaborate. They know how to prepare their own food in the wilderness and their pantry is always full and stocked up for a least a few months if not for an entire year. They manage to keep their storage places clean and fresh by rotating products periodically so if there’s no disaster they eat the food that is about to expire and replace it with fresh items.

If you’re not the kind of family who believes in global destruction, but you still want to be prepared in case of a natural (local) disaster, your emergency food kit must be stocked up for three full days. You must have enough food for all family members and pets (if there are any). Keep in mind: your survival food kits must be ready to grab and go at any given moment, day or night! There is no time to gather, pack and prepare an emergency food kit in the moments before the forces of nature get unleashed.

Even the moment when authorities launch the warning is pretty late to think about preparedness and stocking up. Warnings like this are followed by general madness and paranoia. In the craziness of the moment, people empty stores’ shelves even if they don’t need everything.

The general rule is: it’s better to have more than to have nothing which is why you’ll have to be among the first ones in the store in order to get something. Survival is deeply carved in our primordial system and it shuts down any other instincts like care for others. This is why, in a catastrophic situation you get to see all sorts of abnormal behaviors. Anyways, the general idea is prepare in advance and you won’t be sorry.

Returning to the emergency food kits storage place, it can be of two types:

  • for your regular 72 hours food kits
  • an emergency pantry

The first option is simple and easy to realize. You just need a place in your house where it’s dry, dark and cold. You need the place to be easy to reach and you should have the food packed and ready to go. If you have to evacuate, you just grab the backpack with everything in it and off you go. Even more, 72-hour kits can easily be bought in specialized stores but you should know a bit about the content. In regard to this, we invite you to read our ideas and reviews on the 3-days survival kit.

The second solution requires more effort from your part. You need to find a place, close to your building, isolated and easy to get to. You emergency pantry shouldn’t be in the basement or in your yard. Populated areas with building and other objects are the ones to suffer the most from a global disaster and you might not be able to reach your pantry.

Food in storage

After you find the place, you need to build your pantry in order to be cold, dark and dry. You don’t need a big place, but you need to have the optimal storage conditions. You can ask a specialist in survival for advice and guidance. After you build it, add shelves and make sure you can organize the place in such way that everything is stored by shelf life. Put in the back products like cereals, seeds, nuts, canned foods with long shelf life and in the front put water, juices, dried fruits, everything that is most likely to get spoiled.

The first rule of successfully storing your emergency food is regular checkup. At least twice a year you must check on all the products in your pantry. Only one product spoiled among the good ones can contaminate the rest and you could lose your entire stock. We also have a great guide on how to store food for emergency situations in our emergency food storage article so don’t forget to take a quick look.

Emergency food kits to buy

We kept talking about survival food kits that you can buy from specialized stores or order online.

Emergency Ration Bar packets

Now we’re going to describe some of the most popular ones on the market so you know what to look for. There are:

  1. Kits with everything made  for 1 person like:
    • Augason Farms 30-Day Food Storage Emergency All-in-One Pail which contains 300 Total Servings of 1,857 calories per day and 1 bucket with 8 Mylar Food pouches. This should hold one adult for one month or a family of four for a week. There’s also a gluten free option.
    • ER Emergency Ration Bar packets – each packet contains six individual 410 calorie ready-to-eat servings with no preparation. The shelf life of this product is 5 years and the product is approved and certified by USCG and US Department of Homeland Security.
  1. Emergency food kits with everything made to stock up your pantry like:
    • Ultimate 1 year food supply with gourmet delicious meals that you won’t have to cook or prepare. Each daily portion has around 2000 calories which is the recommended intake for a stressful situation. The packaging is very efficient which means long shelf life.
    • Survival food kits to last for a few months for the entire family, also with precooked meals and/or dried foods.
  1. Kits  focused on a certain type of food like:
    • Survival Cave Food Canned Meat Pallet – a package that contains 4 types of canned meat (chicken, pork, beef, and turkey)
    • Fruit Savings Combo – a package of 6 cans with different types of fruits. This particular package contains cans with Banana Dices, Blackberries, Strawberries, Pineapple Dices, Cherries and Raspberries. Given the packaging solution, these products also have a long shelf life and they can be a tasty, sweet treat after a meal
    • Canned hard bread – a variety of hard bread (white wheat, rye, etc). It’s easy to keep the bread safe this way, away from humidity and mold.

There are many brands, types and categories of emergency food kits out there. You just have to take a look at different offers.

Augason Farms 30-Day Food Storage Emergency All

Once you find a store or producer you like you should stick with it and start your stocking up.  Anyways, never buy a large quantity of survival food without testing it first. Ask for a sample, if you want to buy a one year supply or simply buy one small kit and open it. If you and your family can eat the food then and only then it’s safe to buy more.

DIY survival food kits – methods of canning at home

It’s not very difficult to prepare your own survival food kits and it can be a fun activity for your entire family.  The best part with canning your own survival foods is that you know for sure what is in that can and how much nutrients it has. We all know that canned foods can sometimes be less than what’s advertised on the label which is why we encourage you to give it a try. We even have a complete guide to home canning where you can learn everything there is to know about preserving food at home.

Canning at home

There are two main methods you can use to make your own emergency food kits:

  • Hot water canning (for high acid foods)
  • Pressure canning (for low acid foods)

Hot water canning

This is the process where you bath the canning jars in boiling water. You need a large pot where you can fit several jars inside and a canning rack to keep the jars from touching the bottom of the pot. The jars need to be covered entirely with water (the water should be at about 1 inch above the lid of the jars) and the optimal temperature is 100 degrees Celsius or 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

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The process is simple: at first you carefully put the jars in the pot and then you add the warm water until it covers them up. Put the pot on a medium to small flame and wait for the water to boil. When the water reaches the optimal temperature, take the pot off the fire and allow the jars to cool before you get them out of water. This will seal tight the lids and it will eliminate any air trapped inside.

Pressure canning

This process requires a special pressure cannier that can be electrical or non electrical and uses steam to remove the air inside the jar and kill any harmful bacteria. The jars will have to withstand a temperature of 115 degrees Celsius or 240 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the optimal temperature for this type of canning. Pressure canning is ideal for foods like beans, meats, low acid vegetables, and any other low acid foods.

If you really want to try your success on home canning, we have some delicious recipes and step-by-step preparation guides so do take a look and let us know your opinion!

Regardless of the fact that you choose to buy your emergency food kits from specialized stores or you do it yourself using the canning methods we just described, one thing is for sure: you must be prepared with food and water! Don’t allow yourself to be caught with your guard down by any type of disaster.

Especially nowadays, when survival preparedness has surfaced and you can find supplies almost anywhere. You saw that you can stock up for three days of you can stock up big time, for a few years. The choice is yours and it’s time to start thinking about it if you haven’t already.

Major disasters can happen every day, in every minute. We were lucky up until now but who knows how long we are going to be lucky for?

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click on one of these links and make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Also, as an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If the information in this post has been helpful, please consider purchasing through one of the links in this article. Thank you.

About the author

David Dawson

David Dawson is a retired security specialist with over 20 years of experience. He worked for a secret manufacturing facilities and hospitals in Illinois. David's responsibility was to protect people in case of any disaster or cataclysm that might occur. Now he keeps on doing it through teaching others about how to prepare and survive flood, earthquake or even war.


  • If I may add, another trick is to build a cellar specially made for storing your SHTF food supply. SHTF cellars, should ideally be subterranean which makes it a colder than surface pantries and this temperature helps preserve food longer. Plus it’s a good storage for wine and alcohol, IFKWIM.

    • There is nothing like a good old fashion root cellar underground. You can build these into a side of a tall bank if you have one on your property. We always have two on the farm. We like to separate items due to the type product you plan to store and the ventilation needed, etc… Root crops mainly in one unit with fruits like apples, pears, peaches in another unit. Herbs can be hung to the wooden shelves and nuts can be stored in them as well. You want to rodent proof the root cellar so you don’t lose your stored items to the critters. Few details and precautions should be taken Lots more info on the internet. Circulation and air flow means a lot…

  • One of those good to buy and good tasting emergency food kits is the Mountain House freeze dried food where each pouch has 2.5 servings. While some canned goods can last for up to a year, these will last up to 25 years. If you are on the move, these are also extremely light to carry compared to packing canned goods. Your kids could pack 10 of these in their backpacks and it will only add an extra pound of weight. However, unlike canned goods which you can just open and eat, you would need to add water to make a meal with this emergency dried food.

  • Both dried and canned foods are highly resourceful during an emergency, but dried foods last longer, and as you have said they are extremely light to backpack.

  • Well, most people may think that building a root cellar is not entirely necessary. However, you should think of what it can do for you. It can give you durable potatoes in April, crisp carrots in March, juicy fruits in February, fresh veggies in January, and so on. In actual fact, this is the best way of preparing for an emergency.

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