Best Survival Foods – For the Survivalists and Bug Out Preppers

Best survival foods


Whether a natural disaster occurs or another catastrophe such as a war breaking out, we all need to be prepared.

Surviavl bug out

You might have some survival gear designated for such an incidence, but what about food?


Do you have the proper high shelf life foods to keep you surviving?


You probably don’t. So, in this guide I’ll be discussing some of the best survival foods that will last you a long time whether you’re stocking up at home or throwing it in your bug out bag.



You probably already figured rice would be on this list, but it needs to be included. White rice, jasmine and basmati rice have an indefinite shelf life. That means that if stored in an air-tight and waterproof container, it will never go bad! For how inexpensive rice is and the indefinite shelf life, it should be one of your highest priorities.


Rice is mostly full of carbs, which is great for an energy source for your body. However, you also need lipids and proteins, which white rice just doesn’t have.


Brown rice offers so many benefits compared to white rice. Brown rice can boost your heart health, decrease cholesterol levels and lower the risk for diabetes. However, the shelf life is drastically lowered. It’s only good for 6-12 months.


If you want, switch to brown rice for your normal diet. But when it comes to survival, stock up on white rice.

  • Shelf life- Indefinite
  • Availability- Just about everywhere
  • Price- Inexpensive


Dried Beans

Beans are an excellent source of protein. They are also very inexpensive, and should definitely be a part of your survival food stock.


They also have an indefinite shelf life, so long as you buy dried beans. They need to be stored in an air-tight and waterproof container.

  • Shelf life- Indefinite
  • Availability- Any grocery store
  • Price- Inexpensive



Nuts are also a great source of protein, but they also have healthy fats and other nutrients.

Best survival foods

Pecans, pistachios, almonds, cashews, walnuts and peanuts are amongst the healthiest nuts for you.

Though their shelf life isn’t very high, it’s a great addition to your bug out/survival bag as a snack. They usually stay good for 6-12 months when in an air-tight and waterproof container. I’m sure you’re seeing the trend here. Store all of your foods in these containers, and away from excessive heat or cold.


Keep in mind that the best by date printed on foods is not the expiration date!


  • Shelf life- 6-12 months past best by date
  • Availability- Any grocery store
  • Price- Some nuts can be expensive, but peanuts are rather inexpensive


Peanut Butter

I can’t include nuts on here without also including peanut butter. Peanut butter is high in protein and contains healthy fats.


Peanut butter has a shelf life of 1 year past its best by date when stored properly. Natural or organic peanut butter can only be stored for a few months, so try to avoid that for survival stocking.


You can have a scoop (or two) of peanut butter for a snack, or mix it with other foods.

  • Shelf life- (Unopened) 1 year past best by date (Opened) ~4 months
  • Availability- Any grocery store
  • Price- Inexpensive



Oatmeal is another top pick for best survival foods. It tastes great and is also cheap. It’s also very easy to cook outdoors.


Oatmeal is a well-balanced food. It consists of lots of carbs, low fat and some protein. They are a slow digesting food which is ideal for energy in a survival situation

  • Shelf life- 2-3 years past best by date
  • Availability- Any grocery store
  • Price- Inexpensive


Dried Pasta/Noodles

Another high carb food with a high shelf life. Pasta will take a while to cook, especially outdoors but it’s still a great survival food.


Some pasta actually has high amounts of protein as well. This would be ideal.

  • Shelf life- 1-2 years past best by date
  • Availability- Any grocery store
  • Price- Mostly inexpensive, until you start getting into the fancy pasta


Tuna and Alaskan Wild Salmon

You may hate the taste of canned tuna and salmon, but you can’t deny its very high lean protein content.


Eating too much tuna, too frequently is not a good idea as it could lead to mercury poisoning. Though eating it every once in a while as a protein source will help more than it’ll hurt.


Wild salmon instead, especially Alaskan salmon has much lower traces of mercury. It is much safer to consume and I prefer canned Alaskan wild salmon over tuna any day.


Just make sure the cans are not damaged or warped in any way, as that will completely compromise the shelf life of the food.


I always have a few packets of tuna in my survival/bug out bag.

  • Shelf life- (Canned or packets) 2-5 years past best by date
  • Availability- Any grocery store
  • Price- (Tuna) Inexpensive (Salmon) A little more expensive than tuna


Spam/ Canned Chicken

Yes. Spam.


Both canned spam and chicken have a shelf life of about 2-5 years. They are both high in protein, though spam has a lot more fat content.

Best survival food

Again, just make sure the cans are in a good condition before storing them.

  • Shelf life- 2-5 years past best by date
  • Availability- Any grocery store
  • Price- Inexpensive


Beef Jerky

Most if not all jerky is another great survival food. They have a high shelf life, high protein content and taste great!


On top of that, you can get deer jerky, alligator jerky, duck jerky, etc. You can even make your own jerky.


My survival/bug out bag wouldn’t be complete without beef jerky. It is a very convenient and nutritious snack.

  • Shelf life- 1-2 years
  • Availability- Pretty much anywhere
  • Price- They can get somewhat expensive


Protein Bars

Protein bars are another great snack to quickly get some protein. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of good tasting ones, and even fewer that won’t just melt in storage if they get even a little warm.


Let’s be real here, though. This article is about the best survival foods, not the best tasting foods.


You can’t expect a chocolate or caramel protein bar to not melt. They have protein bars that are dry, that can last for quite some time. Get those instead.

  • Shelf life- 1-5 years (Depending on which ones you buy)
  • Availability- Any grocery store (Or you can buy bulk online here)
  • Price- They can be quite expensive



I could write a whole article about honey itself, but I’ll keep it short.


Honey can be used as a snack, condiment or a sweetener. It is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!

Bug out list food

Since honey has antioxidant properties, it is irreplaceable for your survival stock. Throw a small bottle in your bug out bag, and you won’t regret it.

  • Shelf life- indefinite
  • Availability- Any grocery store or local (Preferable)
  • Price- Expensive but worth it


Instant Coffee

If you’re big into coffee, you don’t necessarily have to give it up in a survival situation. In fact, it would be a horrible idea to quit it.

Ground coffee doesn’t last very long, unless you freeze it. Then it’s shelf life goes up to about 1-2 years.


Just the sound of instant coffee can make people hurl, but it can get the job done. As I stated earlier, this is for survival not taste. You’ll get over it.

  • Shelf life- 2-20 years past best by date
  • Availability- Any grocery store
  • Price- Inexpensive


Just to “spice” things up, I want to also mention that dried herbs and spices have a high shelf life of up to 1-2 years past their best by date. Sugar and salt have an indefinite shelf life!


Now if all of this is too much for you, you can always buy premade survival meals.


Mountain House

Mountain house makes several great tasting flavors that are extremely easy to use. You just add boiling water to the pouches, stir, wait 8-9 minutes then eat it right out of the pouch.

Mountain house survival food

It doesn’t get much easier than that, and they are packed with needed nutrients.


They sell individual pouches or  boxes of emergency food supplies.

  • Shelf life- 30 years
  • Availability- Walmart or through this link here
  • Price- $7+


SOS Food Bars

Now these were made for when shit really hits the fan. They are made for the situations where you cannot access anything such as water or any way to cook.


They are packed with just enough nutrients and 3600 calories to sustain life. Nothing more. These are a great back up to have. Not great in taste.

  • Shelf life- 5 years
  • Availability- You can buy them through this link here
  • Price- Expensive (Keep in mind they’re for when SHTF)


I hope you all enjoyed this guide on the best survival foods! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment!


Next, I will be talking about outdoor cooking kits so you’ll be able to cook the survival foods mentioned here.