Home » Mylar Bags For Food Storage (high-speed bulk food containers)

Mylar Bags For Food Storage (high-speed bulk food containers)


Mylar bags rock. There isn’t a better way for the do-it-yourself prepper to store hundreds or thousands of pounds of dry staple foods for pending doom. I’ve accumulated hundreds of pounds of dry staples using sealed Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers, and I’m still going. Below I’ll help you choose Mylar bags, and I will provide links to articles and videos that will teach you how to use Mylar for long-term food storage. Ok, let’s get to it.

What are Mylar Bags?

Mylar bags are food storage containers made from thin layers of aluminum-coated plastic sheets of Polyethylene Terephthalate, also called PET plastic. This combination of materials makes Mylar strong, light, and flexible and protects dry foods from oxygen, light, and moisture.

Unlike regular plastic containers that allow for the slow transfer of oxygen, i.e., plastic buckets, Mylar is an actual barrier to oxygen and moisture.

If it’s thick enough, Mylar will also protect food from light oxidation and, with the application of oxygen absorbers, will kill bugs, eggs, and pupae within two weeks.

The only other food container that provides this level of food protection is #10 cans.

When planning to store emergency food the ability to store foods for decades and forget about them means you don’t have to rotate foods as you do with canned food or other shelf-stable foods with a shorter shelf-life.

Scott Ready Squirrel

Why Mylar: Food Storage

Mylar protects food from everything that destroys it: moisture, light, and oxygen.

For the price, Mylar protects dry foods better than any DIY container and allows the average person to build an emergency food supply that will last 20 to 30 years and doesn’t require rotation.

The two alternates to Mylar are #10 cans, the best container for storing food but challenging at home, and glass ball jars. Ball jars don’t protect food from light; they are super expensive and too small for bulk food storage.

Learn more about food storage containers. Read Ready Squirrel’s comprehensive article, Supreme Long Term Food Storage Containers and Gear.

Mylar Bags For Food Storage:4 characteristics

There are several things to consider when purchasing Mylar bags for rice storage. Namely, Mylar thickness, bag size and dimensions, the cc of oxygen absorbers needed, and whether or not you want a zipper top on the bags.

#1 Thickness

For food storage, the optimum Mylar thickness is 5mils or thicker. Thinner Mylar is weak and may be see-through, allowing light to filter into the bag and oxidize rice or other dry food. Below is a list of Mylar bag thicknesses and what they are typically used for.

Chart #1 Mylar Bag Thickness & Use

Bag In MilsCommon Use
1 MILTransparent/ Light oxidation of dry foods in Long-term storage, weak
2 MILTransparent/ Light oxidation of dry foods in Long-term storage, weak
3 MILTransparent/ Light oxidation of dry foods in Long-term storage, weak
4 MILSemi-transparent/ Light oxidation of dry foods in Long-term storage, easily damaged
5 MILProtects food from oxygen, moisture, and light, stored inside a protective container
6 MILProtects food from oxygen, moisture, and light, stored inside a protective container
7 MILIdeal For Long Term Food Storage/ Store in a lidded food-grade bucket for rodent protection
8 MILSuper Heavy Weight, Expensive, Difficult to seal

#2 Bag Size and Dimensions

The best bag size(s) for long-term dry food storage is the 20″ x 30″ or 18″ x 28″ Mylar bags. Either will work for lining 5-gallon buckets. The 20 x30″ is typically used for 6-gallon pales but will work in 5-gallon buckets.

If you are storing enough dry food for a family of four, you are looking at 2,176 pounds of rice and other dry foods.

The large 18″ x 28″ or 20″x 30″ Mylar bags used with buckets are the cheapest, easiest, and most effective method of storing this much food for emergencies.

I use five-gallon buckets, 18″x28″ mylar bags, and 2000cc oxygen absorbers for the bulk of my rice. Because a bucket and Mylar bag will only hold 36 pounds of rice, I use smaller one or two-gallon Mylar bags for the overflow. Ideally, these overflow bags are stored in plastic bins; most sit on shelves.

#3 Zipper Top

You can purchase Mylar bags with or without a zipper top. They are a significant pain to seal if you use a household iron, but I can see how they would be handy for storing food in smaller bags.

To or not to use the zipper is a personal choice and doesn’t affect the bag’s quality. If you want zippers for convenience, go for them.

I purchased 50 18″x28 inch bags and ended up cutting the tops of all the bags off to get rid of the Ziploc tops. I like to reuse bags by cutting them down and cleaning them; you have less material to cut down with zipper tops.

Scott, Ready Squirrel

#4 Size of Oxygen Absorber You Need (cc’s of absorption)

Below is a chart that matches food type, Mylar bag size, and oxygen absorption in ccs. When packaging white rice or wheat in 18″x”28″ bags, I use 2000 cc of oxygen absorption. For dry beans and pasta, I use 2500 cc’s.

Chart #2 Mylar Bag Size, Food Type, Oxygen Absorption In Cubic Centimeters

Mylar Bag SizesCubic Centimeter(s) cc Oxygen Absorption Required
Foods are more compact, with less air volume

Cubic Centimeter(s), cc Oxygen Absorption Required
Foods are Less Compact and/More Air Volume
——————————Wheat, Flour, Grains, White RiceBeans, Dry Pasta
20″x30″ for lining a 5 and 6 Gallon Bucket(s)20002500 to 3000
18″x28″ for lining 5 and 6 Gallon Bucket(s)20002500 to 3000
14″x20″ (2 gal)10001500 to 2000
14″x18″x6″ (2 gal)10001500 to 2000
12″x18″ (1.5 gal)8001200
12″x16″x6″ (1.5 gal) 8001200
10″x14″ (1 gal)400400
8″x12″ (1/2 gal)200400
6″x10″ (1/4 gal)100200
6″x8″ (1/4 gal)100200
Information Compliments of USA Emergency Supply.

Mylar Bag For Food Storage:

The best Mylar bags for food storage are 5mil or thicker, flat without a zipper top, solid, not transparent, and do not have the stand-up gusset on the bottom.

Transparent bags allow for light oxidation of food. Stand-up pouches don’t work in buckets and have more failure points. As already mentioned, I’m not too fond of zipper tops because they are painful to seal.

Following is a list of good Mylar Bags. If you purchase through the links, Ready Squirrel gets a cut of Amazon’s profit at no extra expense to you. It helps us buy beans and bullets. We appreciate the support.

19″x28″ 5-gallon Mylar Bucket Liners (kit)

Amazon| PackFreshUSA

This Mylar bag kit is excellent for starting for food storage adventure. It comes with (10) 7 mil Mylar bags, (10) 2000 cc oxygen absorbers, and (10) 500cc oxygen absorbers.

Each bag will hold 36 pounds of rice. You can store 360 pounds of white rice with this kit.

19″x28″ are ideal for storing a year’s supply of dry foods like white rice, dried beans, wheat, and rolled oats in 5-gallon buckets with a cheap lid.

The LDS church suggests storing a year’s supply of food for each person in your household which comes out to 484 pounds of dry food per person. (400 pounds of grain, 60 pounds of dry beans, 16 pounds of powdered milk, and 8 pounds of salt per person.) For a household with 4 people, a year’s supply of emergency food weighs 1,936 pounds.

Scott Ready Squirrel

Depending on your goals, this may be overkill, but remember that these foods can be incorporated into any emergency or survival situation, including family emergencies, job loss, economic downturn, or glitches in the food supply chain.

Check out Ready Squirrel’s comprehensive article, “Mylar Bags For Food Storage: Beginners Guide.”

1 Gallon Overflow Mylar Bags (kit)

This Mylar bag kit includes (100) 1-gallon Mylar bags and (100) 500cc Oxygen Absorbers. Fill the bags with leftover rice that won’t fit in your food grade-buckets, drop in an absorber and seal the bag with a household iron.

These 1-gallon bags are the size I use when packaging 5-gallon buckets. Any food that doesn’t fit into the buckets goes in the 1-gallon bags.

If you are storing bulk food, I suggest getting 5-gallon and 1 or 2 gallons bags. You could also cut down the 5-gallon bags, but you’d be wasting a lot of Mylar.

If you have a small amount of rice left over, you can cut these bags down with scissors but make sure to leave enough room to seal them with your iron.

One-gallon bags are excellent for small quantities of food. They are small enough for storing gear when you need a waterproof container, i.e., for bugout kits or for breaking bulk ammo into manageable quantities.

Smaller bags are also ideal for keeping packaging lightweight and easy to move around. Ideally, smaller Mylar bags will be stored sealed inside a hard-shelled plastic container like under the bed bins or lidded plastic buckets. Packaging this way will keep chewing rodents and insects from infesting your food bags.

Amazon| PackFresh USA

5-gallon food-grade buckets

You want to use 5-gallon food-grade buckets with your Mylar bags. The cheapest buckets I’ve found are in the paint section of Walmart. The white buckets and cheap lids they sell are marked “Food Grade.”

Why use buckets with Mylar bags?

Mylar sitting in a food pantry for 30 years, needs armor from chewing rodents, insects, and physical damage. Plastic buckets are like armor for Mylar bags.

Plastic food-grade buckets allow oxygen transfer through the bucket’s wall and lid seals tend to fail. Mylar and plastic used together for food storage are almost the perfect food storage system.

*Salt and sugar can be stored in a food-grade bucket with a lid. Both foods are impervious to oxygen and will turn to stone inside oxygen-free packaging. No oxygen absorbers are suggested.

When sealing food in Mylar bags, you don’t need high-speed lids; cheap ones without seals work fine.

If you are like me and want to order everything and have it show up, you can order the quality buckets listed below via Ready Squirrel’s Amazon links. Ready Squirrel gets a cut of Amazon’s profit at no additional cost to you, and it is appreciated.”

Amazon| epackagesupply

What is the difference between food and non-food-grade buckets?

Gamma Lids for 5-gallon Buckets

Gamma lids give an outstanding seal on food buckets, but you don’t need to use them to cover all your food storage buckets: they are expensive.

Instead, use Gamma lids on specialty buckets like those in your working pantry.

Gamma lids are also ideal for waterproof tool buckets for the range, vehicle bugout kits, potty kits, or to store communication gear.

2000 CC Oxygen Absorbers

This oxygen absorber kit from Freshus includes (50) 2000 cc oxygen absorbers.

These are ideal for storing food in 5- gallon buckets. You drop one in the bag with rice or wheat before sealing it, and you are good to go.

You will want to absorb more if you store larger foods with more airspace (dry beans and pasta).

See the chart for absorption requirements.


500 cc Oxygen Absorbers

This oxygen absorber pack contains (50) 500cc oxygen absorbers.

I use 500 cc absorbers for the 1-gallon Mylar bags, and for extra absorption over the 2000cc absorbers, I throw in the 5-gallon Mylar bags. When packaging dry foods with more airspace, such as dry beans and pasta, you want to use more than the 2000cc packet.

See the chart for recommended amounts.

Amazon| 02frepak

100 CC Oxygen Absorbers

This package includes (110) 100cc oxygen absorbers. These are ideal when you want the exact amount of suggested Oxygen absorption placed into your Mylar bags. Remember, you cannot use too much oxygen absorption. You can only use too little.

Amazon| O2frepak

See Chart For Recommended Amounts of Oxygen Absorption.

Food For Mylar Bags Using Oxygen Absorber

Foods packaged oxygen-free inside Mylar bags should be low fat and less than 10% in moisture. Warning: Foods stored oxygen-free with more than 10% moisture increase the chance of botulism food poisoning.

  1. White Rice
  2. Dry beans 
  3. Dry Pasta
  4. Hard White Wheat berries 
  5. Hard Red Wheat Berries
  6. Emmer
  7. Teff
  8. Spelt
  9. Rolled Oats
  10. Steel-cut Oats
  11. Flour
  12. Hard and Soft Grains
  13. Dried Lentils
  14. Split Peas
  15. Powdered Milk
  16. Dry Cereal
  17. Home Freeze-dried food
  18. Dried Apple Slices
  19. Potatoe Flakes
  20. Dried Pearled Potatoes
  21. Dried Onions
  22. Cornmeal
  23. Oat Groats
  24. Oat Bran
  25. Grits
  26. Flax
  27. Rye

Check out the Ready Squirrel article, “Best Wheat Berries For Long-term Storage.”

What Food Should I “Not” Store In Mylar

Do not store foods high in oil or more than 10% moisture content in Mylar bags with Oxygen absorbers because there is a risk of botulism food poisoning.

  1. Wet Food
  2. High Fat Food
  3. High Lipid Food
  4. Food Above 10% moisture
  5. Pearled Barley
  6. Dehydrated Eggs
  7. Whole Wheat Flour
  8. Milled Grains (rolled oats ok)
  9. Granola
  10. Beef Jerky
  11. Dried Meat
  12. Nuts
  13. Brown Rice
  14. Brown Sugar
  15. Home Dehydrated Food
  16. Raisins
  17. Chocolate

For other food storage options, read Ready Squirrel’s article, “Supreme Long-Term Food Storage Containers & Gear.”

Thanks for hanging out with Ready Squirrel! Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Keep on prepping!

Best Regards, Scott

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