The Post-Apocalyptic Pantry
Food is the essential element in your post-survival kit. Without a proper stash it is unlikely that you will last more than a few weeks – and that’s assuming that you’re able to scavenge from the remains of local supermarkets. Simply stockpiling food, however, is insufficient to ensure long term survival. In addition to considering basic nutritional needs in the immediate aftermath, you should also have a medium term strategy in place to hold you over until you are completely self-sufficient.
The key to building the perfect food stash is diversification. Don’t rely too heavily on one type of food or on a group of foods that require the same resources to prepare. A diversified food stash should be equipped to handle any possible post situation – bugging in or bugging out, loss of electricity, limited access to fresh water, etc.
Here are some of the basic item to consider when planning your food strategy:
Pros: It has an extremely long shelf life and is very lightweight, thus ideal for bugging out scenarios. Long-lasting freeze-dried meals provide an excellent back-up food source while you hone your survival skills and build a new stash.
Cons: As pointed out in “The Post-Apocalyptic Gourmet” by io9, freeze-dried food is expensive and requires a lot of water to be rehydrated before consumption. Clean water is likely to be difficult to find in a post-apocalypse world, limiting the usefulness of freeze-dried food.
Verdict: A critical element for a bugging out strategy and good overall longer term emergency strategy. Add some to your survival pack but be careful not to become overdependent on this source, especially if your pack contains other food items that require water to be edible.
Pros: Good variety (beans, vegetables, fruit) that help meet your nutritional needs for protein, vitamins and minerals. Vegetables stored in water are especially valuable as you can reuse the water for cooking other foods or to drink for hydration. Cheap, with a very long shelf life, and easy to store.
Cons: Heavy. Do not plan on relying on canned food if you have to bug out. High sodium content can contribute to dehydration so be sure to check the labels before you buy.
Verdict: Definitely a necessity in every survival kit. Buy a good variety of food to keep your meals interesting and meet as many of your nutritional requirements as possible. However, you need to be prepared to abandon significant quantities of canned goods if forced to bug out on foot and should have additional food sources in place to address this likelihood.
Pros: The high sugar content is good for a quick energy boost. Lightweight and keeps for extended periods of time. Good source of vitamins when fresh produce is not available.
Cons: Minimal. Not suitable for meals on its own.
Verdict: Excellent for snacks and a must have in your kit. Try storing it in several smaller containers instead of a single large one to prevent spoiling. Fruit leather is another good option.
Pros: Relatively light, quick source of energy. Choose protein bars for the greatest nutritional value. Available in a variety of flavors.
Cons: Can be expensive, depending on the brand. Stay away from granola bars or snack bars that are glorified desserts. These can be high in sugar – good for a quick rush, but not the best choice for the long term.
Verdict: A very good addition to your kit. There are lot of options to choose from so spend time to compare the labels and pick the ones with the highest protein content. These will keep you the fullest for the longest period of time and will help maintain your strength.
Pros: High in protein and relatively light. Good for bugging out.
Cons: Can go rancid fairly quickly, making them unsuitable for most long term food stashes. Can be expensive, depending on what type of nut you buy.
Verdict: Nice to have on hand, but don’t add a huge amount to your stash unless there are very clear signs the apocalypse is near (they will most likely go bad on you).
For any item in your food stash, and in particular processed foods such as energy bars, we recommend conducting a taste test before committing to a product. Although the taste of food probably won’t be the first of your concerns during the apocalypse, a little pre-planning means you won’t get stuck eating a pile of energy bars you can’t stand to survive.