Getting Started: Food

Your body needs fuel in order to function. Whether hiking, backpacking, or living in your house you require food. Have food for an emergency is critical. Along with food you will need water, a stove, and some cooking equipment.

Short-Term Food

Whether you are at home, hiking, or on the road you should have some short-term food. This is food that can be eaten immediately and normally with little or no preparation. The type of foods vary depending on the activity. For example, when hiking you should have food high in protein. When doing strenuous activities then it may be appropriate to have high calorie foods. Short-term foods can include snacks such as jerky, nuts, trail mix, energy bars, etc.

Cooking Equipment

Having a way to cook food and boil water is a very good thing. There are a variety of stoves available for home, vehicle, and backpacking.

  • Good: [Home/Vehicle Kit] Purchase a small, two burner propane stove such as a Coleman or Eureka. These are versatile, cost effective, can use a variety of standard cookware, and transportable. The stove can be used for road trips, picnics, as well as for emergency purposes. Keep some spare propane bottles and consider purchasing a refill adapter.
  • Better: [Vehicle/Hiking Kit] Add a backpacking stove to your vehicle or hiking kit. These stoves are very small and lightweight. Some use liquid fuel and others, such as the Flash Boil stoves, use ISO butane canisters.

Always remember to have a fire starter. Some stoves include a starter but you should always be ready to ignite the stove manually. The starters are normally the first thing to fail on a stove. Have ways to start a fire. I like the sparkers because they throw sparks and keep your hands away from the stove burner.

Long-Term Food

If you must survive for longer periods of time then you need long-term food supplies. This type of food must be protected from the environment and against pest and predators. It is NOT good enough to take standard food and repackage it. Long-term food is sealed and has a long shelf life. Most long-term food is best when cooked or heated. Be sure to include some basic cooking implements (pots, pans, etc.), utensils, paper towels, and cleaning supplies (dish soap, sponges, etc.).

  • Good: [Home Kit] Canned foods with a longer shelf life are an excellent choice to have in your home. The cans protect the contents and add longevity. You can also quickly pack cans in your vehicle if you need to evacuate. Rotate your canned food supply and use the oldest ones first to ensure that they are fresh.
  • Better: [Home/Vehicle/Hiking Kit] Have some freeze dried meal packs available. You can normally prepare these by adding boiling water to the bag, mixing the contents, sealing the bag, and waiting for it to cook. These meals are convenient, very easy to prepare, and they normally taste pretty good. You can use a Flash Boil or other camp stove to boil the water. These meals often have a shelf life of 10 to 25 years.
  • Best: [Home/Vehicle/Hiking Kit] Have a supply of freeze-dried foods including individual ingredients. You can easily store months of food in a small amount of space. I use THRIVE™ foods for both everyday cooking and for emergency preparedness. These foods are nutritious, affordable, and tasty (click here for recommendations).