Bug Out Bag Food Ideas

Packing Food For Your Perfect Bug-Out Bag 

Food storage is an essential part of the survival of civilization. Since eating is a crucial part of a healthy life, preservation is a great way to ensure a stable food supply in case of an emergency.

Food preservation is a common custom that dates back to 12,000 BC. Popular mainstream preservation techniques like canning came about in the late 1700s. In fact, the man responsible for canned goods is the none other than Napoleon Bonaparte.

Napoleon was on a quest to find an efficient way to feed his troops. He wanted an alternative to the typical methods like drying and pickling. Since these methods weren’t sufficient to feed an entire army, he offered 12,000 French francs to anyone offering a solution to his problem.

Luckily, a confectioner arose to the challenge. In the early 1800s, the concept of putting food in sealed containers to increase their shelf life was born. Starting as a glass container, this method transformed into canning, which is used to this day. Heating the cans kept the food bacteria-free, warmed it, and also vacuum-sealed it, making it impossible for organisms to get in.

Because of this, we enjoy pantries of stored food. Whether we’re camping or enjoying a quick meal, we have the option of storing enough food to sustain us, especially on the go.

If you’re traveling, it’s best to pack a bug out bag of food. Bug out bags are survival kits that provide at least 72 hours of essential goods. These are great to have during an evacuation or natural disaster.

When it comes to packing food, there are two things to keep in mind. One is which foods supply the most energy. The other involves the amount of food necessary to make it from point A to point B. Here’s a list of tips for packing the best bug out bag.

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  • Berries. High in fiber, berries are naturally sweet, and their rich colors mean they are high in antioxidants and disease-fighting nutrients.
  • Fish. Fish can be a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease.
  • Olive oil. Olive oil is a good source of vitamin E, polyphenols, and monounsaturated fatty acids, all which help reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Leafy greens. Dark, leafy greens are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, as well as several phytochemicals (chemicals made by plants that have a positive effect on your health). They also add fiber into the diet.
  • Nuts. Hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans — nuts are a good source of plant protein. They also contain monounsaturated fats, which may be a factor in reducing the risk of heart disease.

How Much Food to Pack

Keep in mind, bug out bags are typically for traveling with little to no access to kitchen or storage equipment. Therefore, it’s best to be realistic with your expectations. For instance, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be in a car, so prepare your bug out bag as if you’ll be carrying it on foot.


The best way to estimate the amount of food you’ll need is three meals per day times the amount of days you plan on traveling. Be sure to multiply this amount by the number of people traveling with you to minimize the chances of running out. It’s also smart to use your daily calorie intake as a reference.


Most experts recommend eating a filling breakfast, snacking to keep your energy up, and eating a decent dinner at night. Doing so allows you to focus on reaching your destination opposed to frequently stopping for food breaks.


If you can carry it, it’s wise to pack a few extra meals worth of food per day. It’s always great to have a buffer in case of an unexpected situation. Although it’s possible you’ll find food during your journey, it’s better to pack enough food to last from beginning to end. Additional food is an extension, not a supplement, for packing. In the event you do come across extra food, it’s great to carry a hunting and fishing kit.

Common Bug Out Bag Food Items

Now that you understand how much food to pack, it’s time to discuss what types of foods you should bring along. Since you’re carrying a bug out bag throughout the entire trip, you’ll need to pack lighter items. Popular bug out bag foods include:


Pasta 
Pre-cooked pasta noodles are relatively light. The only thing you’ll need to make pasta is water. If you like, carry seasonings to improve the taste.


Peanut Butter 
Carrying peanut butter is great based on its high protein content. Whether you eat it with crackers or on its own, peanut butter is a great energy source. Instead of carrying the jar, separate it into individual serving sized bags for more room.


Dehydrated Foods 
Freeze dried and dehydrated foods are great bug out bag items because they’re lightweight. If you want to rehydrate them, all you need is water. Dehydrated foods also have a long shelf life, meaning they’ll last longer than they would in their hydrated state.

Some of the best dehydrated foods include meat jerky, fruit and vegetable chips, and herbs. The key to ensuring a longer shelf life is proper storage, so make sure you keep them in a cool, dry place.


Rice 
Who doesn’t love rice. It’s lightweight in its pre-cooked form, yet filling once you add water. You can also add rehydrated items and seasoning to give your rice some flavor.


Trail Mix 
Trail mix is great, not only because it's lightweight, it is packed with nutrients. The nuts and seeds have healthy fats and a high protein content. Dried fruit is great because it has a high amount of fiber as well as antioxidants. You can either purchase a pre-packed trail mix or make your own.

If you store them in a cool, dry place, trail mix can last up to six months. To extend its shelf life, freeze your trail mix and take them out when you’re ready to put them in your bug out bag. Otherwise, be sure to rotate them every few months to maintain their natural freshness.


Candy 
While candy isn’t the healthiest food choice, it’s a great way to get an energy boost. Candy is also easy to eat on the go. Consider adding chocolate bars to your bug out bag. Bars with peanuts are especially great because they have both sugar and protein. Tootsie rolls are another great option because they have up to a two-year shelf life.

Hard candy is also an energy booster. Most hard candy lasts for a while, so throwing a bunch in your bag makes it easy to fuel up between meals.


Meal Replacement Powders 
These are great if you need some energy but don’t have time to stop for a meal. Simply add some meal replacement powder to a cup of water and you’re good to go. Another benefit to replacement powder is that they’re lightweight and oftentimes pre-portioned. Store them in a plastic bag with as little as air as possible to maintain freshness.


Caffeine 
You’ll already have water, so why not carry around instant coffee or tea packets. That way, you can add them to some hot water, stir it up, and you can power through your journey with some extra energy. Drinking caffeine is also a great way to save food. Caffeine is a temporary appetite suppressant, which means you’ll still have energy without eating as much food. Bring some sugar or cinnamon for additional flavoring.

Cooking During a Bug Out

Although you’re most likely focused on getting to your destination, it’s good to know how to cook during your bug out. Heating water to rehydrate or cook dried items will help keep you full as you travel.

Even if you don’t make many meals, you may need to boil water, which makes it safe to drink. Cooking cuts into your drinking supply, so it’s wise to bring a pocket stove and cooking set as a mini purification system. Carrying these additional items are more convenient and safer than cooking with natural materials like sticks or rocks.

Packing a bug out bag is always a great way to store food in case of an emergency. Thanks to people like Napoleon, we have numerous food preservation methods that work perfectly for traveling. When packing a bug out bag, it’s important to keep two things in mind: what it requires to keep you energized throughout the day and the amount of food you’ll need to make it to your final destination.

There’s a variety of bug out bag food options, ranging from dried options to candy. When packing food, consider the amount of days as well as how many people are coming on your trip. A common bug out rule is to eat a decent breakfast and pack enough food for snacking and major meals.

Since it's likely you'll be traveling for the majority of your trip, pack lightweight foods like rice and pasta. Use some boiling water to heat your food, but make sure not to deplete your water supply. In addition to your water and food supply, it's wise to carry a water filter to purify any additional water you find. You'll also want to carry a pocket stove and cooking set to easily cook your meals.

Keep in mind, some items have a shorter shelf-life than others. Therefore, rotate your items to ensure freshness in case of an emergency.

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