We can go approximately 3 weeks without food before dying. But, let’s be honest here: I get cranky and tired after going without food for even half a day!
That is why I think it is so important to add some emergency food to your Bug Out Bag.
A Bug Out Bag is for your survival, so choose each item with care. This includes the food for your Bug Out Bag.
*If you are new to the idea of Bug Out Bags, here are some articles to get you started:
Here are the requirements I have when selecting Bug Out food.
You don’t want heavy food items in your Bug Out Bag. But choosing lightweight foods isn’t a solution either. What you want to look for are food items with a high caloric density. This means that they have a lot of calories for their weight (calories/ounce).
An ounce of fat contains 240 calories.
An ounce of protein contains 100 calories.
And an ounce of carbohydrates also has about 100 calories.
So, fatty foods are good options for your Bug Out Bag food. *Read this post for ideas on how to cut weight from your Bug Out Bag.
Also read about the minimum calories needed to survive.
Caloric density is calories per ounce. Size refers to the calories per volume. You don’t want a lot of large, bulky items taking up space in your BOB, which you need for other essential items.
Nutritional and Energy Value
This requirement is debatable. I know a lot of people who don’t give a damn about nutrition.
For example, I know one hiker who practically subsists off Pringles because they are lightweight and have massive amounts of calories.
He hikes for weeks at a time, whereas a Bug Out Bag is for about 2-7 days of emergency travel.
I know that I don’t do very well when I eat junk foods. Eating sugary foods (which includes starchy foods) causes blood sugar levels to spike and quickly drop.
You don’t want your energy levels to drop when you are in an evacuation situation (adrenaline can only fuel you for so long).
The best bug out bag foods for sustaining your energy levels are proteins and fat. They keep your blood sugar levels more stable, so you don’t get energy spikes and subsequent drops.
In an evacuation situation, you won’t have time to stop and cook a meal. So, your Bug Out Bag food should be ready to eat and require no preparation.
No one wants to check on the contents of their Bug Out Bag every week. So, you need food that you can put in your Bug Out Bag and forget about it. Okay – you shouldn’t completely forget about it. Ideally, your Bug Out Bag food will have a shelf life of at least 6 months, and you will rotate it before it goes bad.
Bug Out Bag Food Ideas
Protein-Rich Bug Out Bag Foods
- Beef jerky
- Pemmican (read how to make pemmican here)
- Tuna pouches
- Sport energy gels
- Packets of peanut butter or peanut butter powder (see our guide to the best powdered peanut butter)
- Meat paste (add hot water)
- Dehydrated hummus (add hot water)
- Dehydrated bean paste (add hot water)
Nuts, Seeds and Fat
- Almonds (160 calories/ounce)
- Cashews (160 calories/ounce)
- Brazil nuts (184 calories/ounce)
- Pistachios, shelled (160 calories/ounce)
- Walnuts (183 calories/ounce)
- Peanuts (170 calories/ounce)
- Sunflower seeds (173 calories/ounce)
- Pepitas (126 calories/ounce)
- Avocado powder
- Packets of olive oil
- Hard, aged cheeses in wax coatings
Food Bars for a quick boost of energy
- Millenium bars – Buy on Amazon
- ProBar – Buy on Amazon
- Cliff Bars – Buy on Amazon
- Honey Stinger bars – Buy on Amazon
- Bear Valley Pemmican bar
- Hooah Energy bars
- Larabar – Buy on Amazon
- Emergency food ration bars –Buy on Amazon
Add-to-Water Bug Out Bag Foods
- Resource 2.0 meal replacement shake
- Med Pass 2.0 meal replacement shake
- Mighty Shake
- Boost Plus shake
- Ensure Plus shake
- Powdered milk
- Whey powder
Carb-Rich Bug Out Bag Foods
- Trail mix/GORP
- Banana chips
- Dark chocolate
- Snickers bars
- Twix peanut butter bars
- Tootsie rolls
- Peanut M&Ms
- Kit Kat bar
- Sesame bars
- Dried fruit
- Fruit leather
- Chocolate pretzels
- Cook-in-the-Pouch meals (Mountain House makes some good ones that you can buy here)
- Freeze-dried foods from a reputable survival food company
What foods do you have in your Bug Out Bag? Let us know in the comments.