As you may already know, keeping a few survival food kits stashed away is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself and your family. When the worst happens, a survival food kit can prepare you to face any challenges.
The best survival food kits take up relatively little space, last many years without expiring, pack plenty of nutrition and calories, and taste great. Where dehydrated survival food kits of the past tasted like dry cardboard and didn’t contain nearly enough calories or nutrients to be practical for survival purposes, modern-day survival food kits are convenient, healthy, practical, and even delicious.
That said, not all survival food kits are made to these standards, and quality varies significantly. To help you make the right choice, we have provided this straightforward buyer’s guide, highlighting the best options and explaining some critical information about purchasing survival food kits!
Why Are Survival Food Kits Important?
Before we review the best options on the market today, it is helpful to pause for a few moments and explain why investing in high-quality survival food kits is important in the first place.
The Ability to Focus on Survival
The truth is, without food and clean drinking water, your chances of survival plummet drastically. In a disaster or emergency situation where survival is not guaranteed, most people panic. If you know that you have an adequate supply of calorically-dense, easy-to-prepare foods, you will be far more confident than those that did not prepare.
This sense of confidence that you have prepared appropriately for any scenario will help you focus on the task at hand, which should be to either hunker down or move towards a safer location.
The Option to Avoid Crowds
When disaster strikes, one of the first things people do is seek out food, which is why grocery stores become overwhelmed at the slightest hint of an impending disaster. You can avoid these crowds if you are already prepared with a food supply.
As any urban survival specialist will tell you, you want to avoid crowds whenever an emergency occurs. Panicked and desperate groups can be incredibly dangerous, so avoiding high-traffic locations like grocery stores is better.
For More Information
For a more detailed breakdown of why it is essential to keep survival food kits on hand, we recommend reading our informative guide – Why You Should Have Survival Foods Ready.
The 6 Best Survival Food Kits
To make it easier for you to choose the right survival food kit, we have reviewed hundreds of options and come up with our list of the top six. Each kit contains nutritious foods not packed with empty calories and unnecessary preservatives.
The foods within each kit have an outstanding shelf-life, and the freeze dried food kits are designed to be as compact and practical as possible. So, let’s get to it!
- 40,836 Total Calories - 31 lbs - 183 Large, Hearty Serving Sample Pack: 4 Breakfasts, 15 Lunch & Dinner Entrees, 6 Sides / Snacks, 2 Drinks
- Compare Legacy to other food storage products: Lowest cost per day (2000 Calories) - Lowest cost per pound of food
- Largest Serving Size in the Industry: Serving Sizes 1.5 to 2 times larger than competing packages - Voted Best Tasting Food Storage
- 100% Certified GMO Free - 25-year shelf life - Meals come in 4-serving Mylar pouch with an oxygen absorber and nitrogen flush - Packed in 1 Large Bucket
- Made in the USA - Simple to prepare meals: just add water - Perfect for Hiking, Backpacking, Camping, or Long Term Emergency Prepartations
This impressive survival food kit from Legacy Premium Food Storage offers everything we look for. Despite only weighing 31 lbs, the kit contains a whopping 40,836 total calories.
The calories are distributed across 183 large and hearty meals, all individually packaged for convenience. You also get various meals, including multiple breakfasts, lunches, dinner entrees, and even an assortment of energy-packed snacks.
What we like about this particular survival food kit is that each dehydrated meal expands into a large and satisfying meal. Unfortunately, most of the “meals” we see in survival food kits would hardly qualify as a snack in most cases; however, Legacy Premium Food Storage made sure that their meals were 1.5 to 2 times the size of dehydrated meals offered by their competitors.
In addition to offering a nice variety of meals and satisfying serving sizes, the meals actually taste quite good. While they might not be on par with a gourmet meal, you won’t turn your nose up at them.
As for the technical specifications, the kit is designed to have a 25-year shelf life, which is accomplished thanks to a built-in oxygen absorber and nitrogen flush. The individual meals are also packaged in unique Mylar pouches, which prevent premature spoiling. This packaging also means you can take individual meals with you if you need to leave your shelter.
The meals are easy to prepare, as they only require hot water. Everything is also 100% GMO-free and made in the USA. It comes in a convenient bucket, making it easy to stash away for emergencies. Overall, it is an outstanding survival food kit!
- 140 servings
- 1,877 calories per day (26,280 total calories)
- 9 meal varieties
- Easy to Prepare. Just add water
- Up to a 25 year shelf life
The next survival food kit on our list is this two-week, 1-person emergency kit from Augason Farms. While it is quite a bit smaller than the Legacy Premium Food Supply Kit, it is an excellent option for those on their own.
As the name suggests, this kit is designed to last for two weeks. During that time, the equipment supplies 1,877 calories per day for 26,280 calories in the kit. Despite its relatively small size, you still get nine different meals to choose from, which is a reasonable degree of variety for a smaller food supply kit.
The entire kit is designed to have a 25-year shelf life, so you can easily store it until it is needed. Each meal is prepared by adding hot water, which is incredibly easy to prepare.
While the convenience and low price point were undoubtedly the first things we noticed when reviewing this particular kit, we were also impressed with how flavorful the individual meals were. You definitely get a nice balance between flavor and nutrition with options like cheesy broccoli rice, creamy chicken rice, hearty chicken soup, and more.
The entire kit comes in a convenient bucket that only weighs 14 lbs, so storage is very straightforward. In fact, it’s so compact and lightweight that you can even keep one in the trunk of your vehicle in case a disaster strikes while you are on the road.
While it will not be the ideal choice for larger families, those looking for a short-term food supply for one or two individuals will be impressed by what this affordable survival food kit offers. Given that it is a two-week supply, it is perfect for any natural disaster survival kit!
- EMERGENCY FOOD SUPPLY - Designed to provide 1,706 calories per day for 72 hours. 12 Cups of water is needed to prepared all meals in this emergency kit.
- NO ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS OR COLORS - Made with no artificial flavors or colors. Meals included: (1) Biscuits & Gravy, (2) Granola with Milk & Blueberries, (2) Chicken Fried Rice, (2) Chicken & Dumplings, and (2) Beef Stroganoff with Noodles.
- QUICK PREP - Just add hot water to the pouch & eat in less than 10 minutes. Power outage? No problem. Mountain House meals can be made with room temperature water, just double the hydration time.
- LIGHTWEIGHT & COMPACT - Kit is easy to carry & store. Emergency kit weighs 3.6 lbs & is 13"(L) x 10"(W) x 9"(H). Perfect for emergency food storage or survival rations.
- SHELF STABLE - Longest proven shelf life in the industry! Backed by a 30-Year Taste Guarantee. Meals are freeze-dried to lock in nutrients and freshness.
As the name implies, this is a much smaller survival food kit, but it certainly has its place for those looking for a short-term option. After all, the first 72 hours are often considered the most important during any sort of survival situation.
Each meal pouch contains 1,706 calories, and they are prepared with water. Preparation is one of the highlights of this meal kit. Where most survival food kits need to be prepared with boiled or very hot water, it is possible to make these Mountain House meals with room-temperature water!
We were also impressed with the 30-year shelf-life, the longest proven shelf-life in the entire survival food industry. Mountain House even backs the kit with a 30-year taste guarantee, which means the meals will be safe for consumption in 30 years and will still taste great!
The meals are made without artificial flavors and colors and are packed with nutrients. You also get a nice variety, as there are five different meal types. While the meals are all individually vacuum-sealed for freshness and portability, we would have preferred if the kit came in a more durable package than a cardboard box. With that said, it is a convenient and impressive short-term survival food kit.
- ESSENTIAL SURVIVAL KIT: Each bucket contains 60 servings of meat with a 15-year shelf life.
- JUST ADD WATER: Each entrée is easy to prepare in any emergency circumstance using just water.
- LONG-LASTING STORAGE: Durable, storable food pouches keep rations fresh for up to 15 years.
- VARIETY PACKS: Get a selection of 6 different ready-to-eat freeze-dried meat meals in each bucket.
- BE READY: From emergency food rationing to hiking and camping, our shelf-stable food is there for you.
This convenient and compact emergency food supply kit from ReadyWise contains 60 servings. It is a great short-term option for a family or a useful medium-term kit for an individual.
Each individually-packaged meal within the kit is prepared with water and can be made very quickly, as the water does not have to be boiled. While we would have preferred if the kit had more variety, you still get six options to choose from, so you would not have to eat the same meal every day.
ReadyWise uses an innovative type of packaging to ensure the freshness of its meals. This unique packaging relies on multi-layer protection, which helps protect the food from the elements. A water vapor and oxygen-proof barrier mean these meals are great for outdoor survival, as they will not rip or tear accidentally. This also explains why ReadyWise survival meals are popular for backcountry campers and hunters.
What stood out to us about this kit was the amount of protein packed into each delicious meal. Because many survival meal kits are extremely heavy on carbohydrates, as they are less expensive and easier to preserve, this ReadyWise kit contains meat-heavy meals like teriyaki chicken, southwest-style chicken, cheesy beef, and savory chicken roasted beef.
While we can’t argue with the flavor, protein content, and rip-proof packaging, we would have preferred if the kit had a longer shelf-life, as it is only designed to last 15 years. With that said, it is a decent trade-off when you consider the shorter shelf-life because the meals contain more dried meat. It is a great option for those looking for meals that pack a protein punch.
- This is high quality food you can enjoy tonight or 25 years from now
- Same chemical free recipes as the regular buckets but without wheat gluten or soy
- Soy free, GMO free, no MSG, no aspartame & no high fructose corn syrup
- Pasta primavera, classic chili, sweet habanero chili with pineapple, enchilada, beans and rice, Italian pasta with marinara sauce
This survival food kit from NuManna combines an impressive 25-year shelf life with various nutritious and delicious meals. Each meal is also free from soy, GMOs, MSG, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, and other low-quality ingredients in dehydrated meals. Those with gluten allergies will also like that every meal is completely gluten-free.
At just 19 lbs, it is also a relatively lightweight kit, which makes storage and transportation much easier. The meals also taste great, especially if you enjoy pasta and Mexican food. Meals like pasta primavera, sweet habanero chili with pineapple, and Italian pasta with marinara sauce are much more flavorful and complex than you typically get with survival foods.
Like the other kits, meal preparation is also a breeze, as you simply add hot water. Overall, it is an excellent option for those looking for a relatively large food kit that combines variety, flavor, and practicality.
- Patriot Pantry has set the industry standard for for delicious emergency food supplies. This Gluten Free Emergency Food Kit provides 120 servings of foods that last up to 25-years in storage. Prepare for a crisis knowing the foods you have in storage are gluten free. This hand-picked GF kit comes packed in a rugged, slimline tote (measures 18 x 12 x 7 inches) for easy, long-term storage.
- That's 120 total servings of gluten free and delicious meals, drinks and snacks. Resealable, Mylar pouches Up to 25-year shelf-life unopened Up to 1-year shelf-life after opening Includes 12 varieties 18 x 12 x 7 inch tote for storage included Requires no refrigeration Easy to prepare Great for camping trips
Patriot Pantry is one of the more recognized brands within the survival food industry, so it is no surprise to see one of their survival food kits on our list. As you can probably guess from the name, this kit is 100 percent gluten-free.
It contains 120 individually sealed meals designed to last for at least 25 years in storage. Like the other kits, they are easy to prepare by adding warm water. One feature we liked is that the individual packs are resealable, so you are not forced to consume the whole meal if you are rationing your supplies.
Everything is contained in a slim and rugged tote, which makes storage easy. In terms of variety, you get 12 meals, and there are some truly delicious options. While it is not our top pick, it is the ideal option for anyone with a gluten allergy or sensitivity.
For More Information
If you want to know more about survival food kits, we recommend reading our list of the Best Emergency Food Kits for 2022.
If you are interested in putting together your survival food store, we recommend reading our list of the Best Survival Food Storage Containers.
Our guide to Everything You Need to Know About Mylar Bags with Oxygen Absorbers is also helpful.