Survival food is a big enchilada. It includes pretty much any non-perishable food that won’t spoil without refrigeration. Dry staples like white rice, canned foods like vegetables, fruit, meat, freeze-dried backpacker meals, MREs (meals ready to eat), and commercially packaged emergency kits. All of them are emergency food, and each has a special place in your long or short-term emergency food storage.
Buy emergency food like dry staples, canned vegetables, fruit, and meat, freeze-dried backpacker meals, MREs (meals ready to eat), and commercially packaged emergency kits online or at brick-and-mortar stores that specialize in these foods.
Ready to start buying precious emergency food to protect your family and friends? Read on to get a more in-depth discussion of where to buy based on Scott’s personal experience.
Dry Emergency Food
Dry staples like dry white rice, dry beans, and wheat berries are the bulk of most serious preppers’ long-term storage. They are the key to long-term survival. Repackaged or purchased in oxygen-free storage containers, most dry foods have a 30+ year shelf life.
They are hands down the least expensive way to build a massive stockpile of emergency food, proven generation after generation across multiple cultures.
Where To Buy Dry Survival Food: 15 Locations
Rice and beans are usually easy to find in bulk 25lb or 50lb bags, but dry foods like wheat have been more challenging to find locally. I have ordered my bulk wheat on Amazon Prime and repackaged it into Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. I’ve also purchased dry foods pre-packaged in #10 cans through the Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder Day Saints, online store products, and materials. (You don’t have to be LDS to order through them, I’m not.)
- Walmart (Augason Farms Collection, Palouse Brand, bulk hard white and red wheat)
- Sam’s Club Wholesale
- Costco Wholesale
- Amazon (wide variety of emergency foods including bulk dry staples-sign up for Amazon Prime for free-shipping
- Local grocery stores and online
- International Grocery Stores
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Online Store Products and Materials. (You don’t have to be LDS, I am not and have made multiple orders. They offer most dry foods packaged in #10 cans.) This is a good way to purchase if you don’t want to repackage dry foods into oxygen-free storage.
- The Ready Store (bulk dry goods, freeze-dried foods and emergency food kits
- Westaurant Store (50lb bags of rolled oats)
- Central Milling Distributors (Grains like wheat, locations nationwide, if you have a distributor close pick-up your order to avoid shipping.)
- Lehman’s.com (Homesteading site with dry foods & prepping supplies)
- Augason Farms (4-gallon pails, #10 cans, Ready pouches)
- The Grain Mill Co-op (Grains & Beans)
- Target (Augason Farms 4-gallon wheat pails)
- Country Life Foods (grains, beans, dried fruit, nuts and seeds)
Save money, I tried ordering high-quality bags of hard-white wheat directly from a grower for a good price, but they wanted almost $400.00 for shipping. Try to find a location where you can pick up your order or get free shipping. I couldn’t find whole wheat berries locally, so I ordered them through Amazon Prime. I didn’t pay for shipping through Amazon.
I recently went to Sam’s Club for general grocery shopping and found that they offered 50lb bags of white rice and 12lb bags of black beans at a good price. I purchased 100lb of dry white rice for $37.54 and 24lb of dry black beans for $15.88, a total of $53.42 with tax for 124 pounds of emergency food. You can get good bulk deals at retailers you just have to look for them.Scott, Ready Squirrel
Where To Buy Canned Emergency Food: 14 Locations
You can find canned foods at most grocery stores, Walmarts, and even at some gas stations, but what you want to look for are good bulk sales. Some canned foods are easy to find, and some are a little more challenging. For example, Some types of canned meat are only available online.
- Sam’s Club (Sam’s Club Plus Memberships gives free-shipping on most online items)
- Costco Wholesale (bulk Spam, Kirkland canned chicken, white albacore tuna, canned fruit and vegetables)
- Amazon (Take advantage of free-shipping with Amazon Prime Membership)
- Webstaurant Store
- Survival Cave Food (canned Pork, Chicken and Beef)
- Lehman’s Hardware Store (Homesteading site with canned foods, prepping supplies and survival tools)
- BJs Wholesale (similiar to Costco and Sam’s club-requires membership
- WinCo Foods
- Stop and Shop
- Giant Food
- Shop Rite
Canned Food makes excellent survival food, especially for short-term catastrophes or power outages, because it is ready-to-eat and doesn’t require additional resources to make edible.
The best place to purchase canned foods is local to avoid high shipping costs.
12 Places to buy Freeze-dried Backpacker Meals
Freeze-dried meals are outstanding for survival situations where keeping things lightweight is paramount. Think Bug-out bag or a situation where you are on foot. These meals are also excellent to use as one main meal per day because they offer a host of ingredients that give a bountiful, full meal and would be difficult to make from scratch.
- Walmart (Mountain House Freeze-dried meals & Backpacker’s Pantry in the camping section)
- Mountain House (popular with hikers and outdoorsman full meals & emergency food kits)
- Backpacker’s Pantry (popular with hikers and outdoorsman)
- Packit Gourmet (trail food for backpackers and survivalists)
- Goodto-go (Vegan and Gluten-free options)
- Food For The Sole (Healthy, no indication of non, GMO, Vegan or Gluten-free, low protein)
- Mary Janes Farm (Outpost Meals-Dehydrated-Not Freeze-dried so less shelf-life)
- REI (Patagonia Provisions)
- Alpineaire (Handy Menu Planning on the site)
- Peak Refuel (free shipping to the lower 48, advertise 2x the protein in their meals)
- Trailtopia (gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan and no sodium added options)
- Cabelas (Offer AlpineAire freeze-dried meals and Wise Emergency Food kits)
To prepare: add boiling water to the packet, wait ten minutes and eat. The shelf-life of freeze-dried meals is 25 to 30 years.
Freeze-Dried Meals require boiled water and do not reconstitute well when “cold-soaked.” Plan to boil water in a single-walled container on a portable stove or campfire. I suggest using a long-handled titanium spoon so you can get down inside the bag without getting food on your hands.
Where to buy Meals Ready To Eat (MREs): 9 Locations
An MRE (Meal Ready To Eat) is the U.S. Military’s current combat ration, a shelf-stable, self-contained, pre-cooked meal with accessories that do not require refrigeration. Each MRE contains, on average, 1250 calories.
Many companies offer civilian versions of these meals. MREs are an excellent choice for a bug-out vehicle or stored at a bug-out location or a food cache. Not ideal for bugging out on foot as they are relatively heavy.
100% self-contained, no water required except for drink mixes and to heat the main course with a flameless ration heater.
- Sure-pak-12.com (Manufacture-Sopakco, one of largest suppliers of Military-grade MREs)
- MRE-meals.net (MRE-Star Manufacture,one of largest suppliers of Military-grade MREs )
- US Meal Kit Supply (Manufacture and supplier of military grade MREs)
- Eversafe MRES (EVERSAFE)
- Ready Meal (Apack- Manufacture-largest provider of MREs to U.S. Military)
- XMRE (XMRE)
- My Patriot Supply (Star Civilian MREs with heaters)
- Grainger (sell SOPAKCO Civilian MRes, no heaters included)
- The Prepared Bear (sell Star Civilian MRes with heaters)
The U.S. military suggests MREs be eaten for no more than 21 consecutive days. A Daily ration of 3 MREs weighs 3.375 to 4.875 lbs, relatively heavy for a bug-out bag.
Warning: Avoid using Military surplus MREs for emergency food. You have no idea how they have been stored, which drastically affects the maximum 7-year shelf-life.
To Learn More about MREs, check out the comprehensive Ready Squirrel article, “What is a Meal Ready To Eat (MRE-Military Combat Ration)” link
Where To Buy Emergency Food Kits: 16 Locations
Most of the following locations (online or brick and mortar) sell professionally packaged emergency food, including dry foods, emergency food kits based on X number of days, bulk freeze-dried ingredients, dehydrated foods, and any food you could want for short and long-term emergency food storage.
In the case of pre-packaged emergency food, you will pay more for convenience.
- The Ready Store (emergency food kits, freeze-dried meals, bulk ingredients)
- Ready Wise (emergency food kits, freeze-dried foods, Bulk Ingredients)
- My Patriot Supply (emergency food kits, MREs, bulk ingredients)
- Mountain House (emergency food kits, freeze dried meals, LRP meals)
- 4patriots .com (emergency food kits, Emergency Food Bars, Dehydrated foods, butter and milk powders)
- Augason Farms (emergency food kits, grains and beans, dairy, drink mixes, soups, meat and protein)
- Thrive Life (No preservatives, non GMO, Fresh Dried)
- Legacy Food Storage (Emergency food kits, Bulk Meal Packages)
- Ready Wise Company (Emergency food kits, hiker bundles, Long-term food supply, dairy, powdered eggs,)
- Survival Frog (Readywise, Survival Cave Meat, Nutrient Survival #10 Cans, Backpackers Pantry, Legacy)
- Be Prepared (Survival Food kits, MRE’s Emergency Essentials freeze-dried foods, Ready Hour Meals)
- Walmart (Augason Farms Collection, Palouse Brand, bulk hard white and red wheat)
- Sam’s Club Wholesale (Augason Farms Emergency Food Kits, bulk oats)
- Costco Wholesale (Mountain House freeze-dried& 1 years food supply, Chef’s Banquet food buckets, Nutristore)
- Mother Earth Products (Freeze-dried fruits, vegetables and soup mixes)
- Alpineaire Foods (free shipping lower 48, advertise 2x the protein in their meals, NRG-5 Emergency food ration)