8 Best Survival Foods | March 2017

Doomsday preppers, hikers, campers and backpackers alike will find our selection of survival foods invaluable for building an emergency kit to keep themselves and their families nourished during any situation. Skip to the best survival food on Amazon.
8 Best Survival Foods | March 2017

Overall Rank: 7
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 8
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 3
Best Inexpensive
The Wise Company Wish Prepper Pack has you and the family covered in desperate situations. Each durable bucket contains 52 meal servings, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner, making it ideal for smaller families who need to weather several days on their own.
The Mountain House Breakfast Assortment contains 16 pouches of morning-style meals ready for your convenience when camping, backpacking, or in emergencies. The meals have a 10-year shelf life from their manufacture date.
The Datrex 2400 Calorie Ration Bars are easy to store and convenient to ration, and each bar contains plenty of calories derived from natural ingredients, making them ideal for survival kits. Note the flavor may not win any contests.
The Wise Company Emergency Food Supply has a one month supply of survival food that requires simply water and 15 minutes of patience to prepare and serve. These foods were featured on the National Geographic show "Doomsday Preppers."
  • 25 year shelf life
  • includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • no single-serving options included
Brand Wise Company
Model 01-116
Weight 17.5 pounds
The SurvivAMINO Tactical Protein Replacement tablets are extremely easy to consume, and compact enough to take anywhere. One bottle serves as one week's worth of protein stand-in, and the formula is gluten and GMO free.
  • helps maintain strength
  • each pill is packed with amino acids
  • made in the united states
Brand Vitality Sciences
Model pending
Weight 3.2 ounces
The SOS Food Bar Rations can stand up to the extremes of hot and cold climates, so they will help users sustain their lives in dire situations anywhere on Earth. A survival tips and tricks booklet comes included.
  • approved by us coast guard
  • each pack contains 9 food bars
  • delicious coconut cookie taste
Brand sos food lab
Model pending
Weight 5.1 pounds
The Mountain House 72-Hour Kit includes 11 freeze dried meals that are perfect for campers or backpackers. Each meal is individually packaged, swift and simple to prepare, and with entrees like "Beef Stroganoff with Noodles," tasty.
  • 3-day food supply for one person
  • meals have a 12-year shelf life
  • pouches are lightweight for portability
Brand Mountain House
Model 80705
Weight 3 pounds
The Relief 150-Servings Food Supply has a 25-year shelf life, contains zero preservatives, and only requires hot water for preparation. If you're only going to buy one emergency food supply product for your family, consider this one.
  • made in the usa
  • offers breakfast and entree meals
  • durable plastic container
Brand Relief Foods
Model 70303-RF
Weight 12.5 pounds

When Your Body's Under Stress: Nutrition Notes

Sure, it's great to know you have a supply of survival kits on hand. Sustenance that requires little prep and lasts for years must give you some peace of mind. But really being prepared for anything from a natural catastrophe to a taxing hike means looking a little deeper into what your body needs.

Under stress that's physical, emotional -- or both. To survive means literally "to live through" a situation. But when disaster strikes, at home, on the trail, or during travel, what you probably really want is to ensure your family thrives.

So take a good look at the nutrition labels (I know it seems boring, but it's your family we're talking about!), and get serious about providing complete nutrition for whatever you'll be living through.

You'll notice that some survival foods are heavy on sugar and/or carbs. That's because the brain needs glycogen -- which, put simply, is derived from sugar -- to function well. You might be familiar with that early-morning brain fog that somehow seems to clear when you snarf a sweet roll.

Simple carbs, like sugar and white flour, in a manner of speaking, hit the brain pretty much right away. This allows your head to clear enough to finish that weekly report before your mid-morning meeting. Of course, you don't want to indulge in sugar and simple carbs every day (because of the crash that follows the spike in energy). But in an emergency, your body will be grateful.

Fats play a pretty heavy role in most survival kits. Fats help you feel full longer: this is key when you're battling extreme circumstances. On a hike, for example, you won't have to keep stopping to eat to maintain energy.

Some kits, you'll find, offer a nutrient ratio similar to what was adopted by NASA for 1960s astronauts. That is, 51% carbohydrate, 32% fat and 17% protein. However, today's nutritionists tend to recommend amping up protein when you are under stress.

So, you might consider adding protein tablets to your store of kits. While you're at it, powdered vitamins and minerals couldn't hurt. Just to be sure you're covering all the bases.

And of course, keep as much water on hand as you'll need, both for drinking and prepping the meals.

Survival Foods: Methods of Dehydration

You may not be an astronaut, but when it comes to survival food, you probably have some of the same standards.

Sure, the food needs to be lightweight and compact. But it also has to keep your energy up and meet your needs for protein, carbs and fat at minimum.

The sticky wicket is in making it taste good. Food during the early space programs didn’t pass the taste test. It was so bad, in fact, that the astronauts -- disciplined and accustomed to enduring physical extremes -- complained. It took a team of food scientists several years to develop better-tasting options for space flight.

Dehydrated foods are foods from which the moisture has been removed. Even prehistoric peoples dried foods to preserve them, typically by placing them in the sun. Removing the moisture helps stop the spoilage process. In the 1800s, foods were often dried using heated air. This method was used to prep rations for World War II soldiers.

These days, foods might be dehydrated using tunnel, kiln, cabinet or vacuum driers. The less time the food takes to dry, the better it will taste. Vacuum drying is great for fruits and veggies. Spray drying -- converting liquid to fine mist and then heating it -- is one good way to make powdered dairy products. Freeze-drying works especially well for meats. It allows foods to hold onto both nutrition and flavor for literally years.

Freeze-dried foods were put to the test during the Gemini and Apollo space ventures. Meals were “...prepared by quick-freezing cooked items, which were then placed in a vacuum chamber where they were heated to remove all water,” according to the National Air and Space Museum. The food was “then vacuum-packed in a four-ply laminated container with a water valve at one end.”

NASA explorers first had only cold water to re-hydrate their rations. Hot water later became available during flights and the food, a lot more palatable.

Most of the foods in our recommended kits have been freeze-dried. You may not need a hot water gun to reconstitute them, or a restraint pouch to keep the food from floating off in zero-gravity conditions. But the flavor and nutrition you’ll enjoy surely owe a debt to NASA.

Survival Prep: It's Not Just for Mountain Men

Survivalism in its literal form dates all the way back to the first cave dwellers foraging for food to give them enough energy to go about their daily tasks.

Around the advent of the nuclear explosive, the U.S. government actually encouraged ordinary citizens to construct and fit out home bomb shelters. The well-stocked underground bunker seemed to some an even safer alternative.

As panic over the bomb subsided, folks who still kept up a shelter were seen by some as a bit kooky, on the lunatic fringe. They were often the butt of late-night TV and tabloid jokes. But at the turn of the millennium, citizens again resorted to prep mode. The events of 9/11 provided yet another trigger.

Today's preppers are a truly mixed bag. Some have an eye toward natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods or hurricanes. Others seem to anticipate man-made circumstances that would lead to apocalyptic conditions. Preppers come from all walks of life. There are suburban Moms, white-collar workers, blue-collar families, and rural residents. Some are driven by ideology, while others see themselves as practical. Naturally, the survival foods industry happily serves them all.

In any case, learning to provide for ourselves and our families during harsh and unexpected conditions builds a [sense of resiliency](http://www.outsideonline.com/1922686/boom-times). And there's nothing off the wall about that.

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Last updated: 03/23/2017 | Authorship Information