Whether you’re looking to prepare for a storm, famine, martial law, war or other types of major disaster; or if you’re just interested in a prologued camping trip to test your bushcraft and survival skills- your first concern should be keeping yourself and anyone with you well fed.
There are a number of ways to go about creating and securing a long term emergency food supply. The ideal types of food items you choose, methods of storage, and modes of preparation will depend on the type of emergency you expect to encounter, the length of the emergency, and the number of people with you.
Long Term Food Storage Locations
Before you start buying and preparing food, you should have a secure and appropriate location for Emergency Food Storage. Set aside a special area that meets all of the following criteria.
Any space that meets these criteria is acceptable. It doesn’t have to be a basement or root cellar as long as it is suitable and easily maintained. In fact, having your food storage in a place that is near to your living space can make it easy to check on and maintain. You would not want to get into a food emergency and find your store had been ruined by exposure or vermin.
It’s also important to understand that in a food emergency, you and your family could be targeted by those who have failed to prepare their own emergency food supply. Try to find storage that is easy to conceal and secure.
Long Term VS Portable Emergency Food
As you begin to assemble your emergency food supply, it’s a good idea to start by placing nonperishable items into backpacks. In a food emergency, you may not be able to stay where you are and may have to travel to safety. Therefore, a set of durable, comfortable hiking luggage should be used to organize your portable emergency food.
Once your emergency food “bugout bags” are complete, continue to fill out your emergency food collection with the intention of sustaining yourself and your group for longer periods of time.
What to Store?
As a beginner, your task is fairly simple. Collect as much food- able to be stored for long periods of time- as possible. There are many foods that can be stored- and much of it is readily available at your local grocery store. Canned foods are very inexpensive and are a great place to start.
Once your collection starts to become more sophisticated you will want to start looking into.
Before too long, you’ll want to look into learning to preserve your own food- since the ultimate survival scenario would require more than the ability to buy prepackaged items.
Long, Medium, & Short Term Storage Items
The best long term survival food is relatively non-perishable, portable, and most importantly- nutritious. There are a lot of long term survival food products out there which will last 20 years or more in storage. Most canned items will last for between 4 to 8 years and can be reasonably nutritious. Smoked items like jerky can be good in storage for up to three years in ideal conditions, and when made properly will be some of the most nutritious items in your collection.
Once you have your supply organized into long (10-25 years), medium (4 to 8 years), and short term (1 to 3 years), you can start rotating out the short and medium term items. Simply eat items before they expire and replace them. In this way, you’ll get a good idea of how to cook these foods and how you feel when you eat them.
Of course, there are high-end freeze dried products in just about any food-type category such as proteins, veggies, and fruits. Freeze dried foods will last practically forever (up to 25 years). They are a great choice for long term food security. Not every vendor has these but, the finest products are both nutritious and taste great even after many years of storage.
Finally, keep in mind that you will have to prepare your emergency food. Having a small butane camping cooker and purified water on hand is a good start. Later, when we go a bit deeper into this topic, we’ll discuss advanced survival food prep such as pemmican prep. and more.