Canned, Rationed, Or Dried

For your bug out bag one of the most important items you need is food. But what type of food should you pack? The choices you have when packing your bug out bag are canned and rationed food, you can also go with dried food, but which is the best for you? All three are excellent choices and can be used together to help keep you alive after the apocalypse.
Canned Food

This is probably the most easily accessible type of food to find, not only in your home but anywhere where you need to loot for food. Canned foods can range from soups, to meat, and fruits. The benefit of canned food is two fold, one is the food packaged itself which can last for years. The second is the water used to keep that food moist, which can be drunk to help keep yourself hydrated.

When choosing canned food there are two things you have to keep in mind. First many canned goods such as soup contain high levels of salt; this is to give the food flavour and to help preserve it. Consuming food high in salt will result in you becoming dehydrated, and unless you have access to water this could prove fatal in the wasteland.

The next thing you have to remember is to check the cans themselves for signs of air leakage or contamination. Obviously you want to avoid cans that are rusted as those foods will be contaminated, but what won’t be as obvious is cans that have an air leak. They may look fine right up till the point you crack them open only to find your dinner covered in mold. So how do you check for an air leak, simply push down on the top of the can. If the cans lid is firm and doesn’t move then no air has penetrated inside, if the cans top feels flimsy and can move easily then it’s compromised and should be left alone.


Rations like the ones I had while in the military are excellent for survival and can last for years. While these aren’t as accessible as canned food they have a couple advantages over them. The first is their size; a ration meal can be broken down into its separate components. The rations I had in the military contained two meals (One the meal, a second as a desert), bread, gum or a chocolate bar, and fruit drink crystals. All these items can be taken out of their original packages and placed in something like a clear plastic bag. This will allow you to store far more food then you can with canned food, a pouch in your bug out bag may be able to hold 4 or 5 cans, but can hold 2 or 3 times that of rations.

They have two disadvantages compared to canned goods and that’s the packaging itself. While it does allow you store more food if you break them down the packages themselves can be punctured much easier, resulting in food getting everywhere unless their placed in a plastic bag, I recommend a clear bag to check for any leaks without having to actually tear through everything. The second is constipation, in my experience the rations I ate caused many people to become constipated usually for a few days at a time. This can become an extremely painful condition, so make sure you drink lots of water when you can when consuming rations.

Dried Food

Another route is dried food; this is excellent for snacks in-between meals to keep your strength up. Foods such as dried fruit or granola bars are both excellent choices when it comes to dried food. Another option is jerky which can be made from every type of meat imaginable. Again be careful in regards to salt content as this will cause you to dehydrate faster.

Foods To Avoid

Gum - Chewing gum though it will keep your mouth busy when you can’t eat or find food will mask some of the tell tale signs of dehydration

Junk Food - Realistically you might not have any choice in the post apocalypse and food is scarce. Keep in mind though that food like chips are empty calories that will leave you feeling hungry.

Pop - For every can of pop you drink you need the same amount of water to keep from getting dehydrated. In the post apocalypse while pop can give you a quick boost of energy it will drain you faster. Also the high amounts of sugar can attract insects which only adds to your problems.

Remember like anything involving the post apocalypse use your head, stupid moves will result in things happening to you that you don’t want to happen.


  1. Basically, don't eat or drink anything with a lot of salt in it is what you're saying. Plus stay away from contaminated food and/or drink. It's always made me laugh when I see people bring soda, which is usually loaded with salt, to the gym to hydrate themselves. Don't they get that these spit suckers drain you? That's what I call them... Spit Suckers. I usually take water to the gym. Sure, even water will have traces of salt, fluoride, and chemicals that haven't been completely filtered out (assuming you're drinking city/tap water) but it beats pop, for the most part. Of course, the ability to get clean water might change during the apocalypse. I imagine well water will be pretty popular soon after all hell breaks loose. Hahaha.

  2. This is one reason why I like the settle down out in the wilderness idea. Especially if you're with some people who know about wild edibles, hunting, gathering, and gardening.

    Fresh or near fresh veggies and hunted game will always be superior to processed/preserved food in terms of absolute health.

    Given the circumstances though I'm a big fan of canned tuna ;)