What Are The Best Emergency Food Rations To Have On Hand?

How long does it take before you start to get hungry? The chances are that after three or four hours without food, you’re starting to wonder if there are any decent snacks around. After twelve hours, you’ll definitely be feeling the urge to eat. Two days after your last meal, you’ll be pretty uncomfortable. In a week it’ll be having a serious effect on your health. So, what if you find yourself in a SHTF (Shit Hits The Fan) situation and the grocery store is closed until normal civilization comes back from the workshop?

Obviously, if you’re at home, your first resource will be the food you have in the house plus anything you can scrounge up locally. That should keep you going for a few weeks, even if some of the meals start to get a little bizarre towards the end. If the situation goes on longer than that you’re probably going to have to hunt and raise some crops, but growing vegetables takes time and hunting might not always be possible. What if a hostile group is nearby and you can’t risk moving around? Or perhaps you have an illness or injury that puts you out of action for a few days. That’s when you’re going to need some emergency food supplies. You could save an extra stash of canned food and keep it for times when you really need it, but even cans have a limited shelf life. You’re better off getting a storage supply of proper emergency rations.

There’s a wide choice of emergency rations available; the most basic is lifeboat rations: high energy food bars with an extremely long shelf life. These include fortified chocolate bars sometimes issued in military survival gear, or hardtack like the popular Sailor Boy Pilot Bread. These aren’t very exciting, but they will keep you alive for a few days.

A traditional MRE

If you’re going to be relying on your rations for a week or more, it’s good to have something tastier and with a better nutritional balance. A common choice among preppers is a survival food supply. These usually come packed in a heavy carton or, more usefully, in a big plastic bucket that can also be used for storing water. They have a long shelf life and are often advertised as being enough to feed you for a long time – from two weeks up to six months or more. But there’s a problem. Almost all of these packs are based on large cans of freeze-dried foods and, while the serving count might match up to the claimed number of months, it’s unlikely you’ll get anywhere near that long out of it. A ten-serving can isn’t going to stay good forever once it’s opened and, if you’re on your own, eating the same meal for ten days is going to get dull. Packs like this are better for a larger group, but they also need a lot of water to prepare.

A better option is military-style Meals Ready to Eat (MREs). These are pretty notorious and have plenty of derogatory nicknames – Meals Rejected by Ethiopians, Meals Resembling Excrement, Might Regret Eating- you get the idea. The truth is that they’re actually pretty good if you avoid a few of the earlier menus. They also don’t need water to prepare and, if necessary, can be eaten cold straight out the bag.

Not long ago, the only way to get MREs was to track down (oftentimes expired) military surplus, but now they’re easily available brand new and reasonably priced. There’s also a huge variety of menus, and you can get a case of a dozen assorted meals to keep your diet interesting. MREs are long-life, come in a durable package and have a much higher nutritional value – especially calorie content – than the survival food supplies. They’re also portable; it’s easy to slip one into your pack, or even a large pocket, when you go on a trip. Forget the old jokes about how vile they are; these are good meals and unbeatable in a survival situation.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Fergus Mason

Fergus Mason

Fergus Mason grew up in the west of Scotland. After attending university he spent 14 years in the British Army and served in Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq. Afterwards, he went to Afghanistan as a contractor, where he worked in Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif and Camp Leatherneck. He now writes on a variety of topics including current affairs and military matters.
Fergus Mason

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