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Every prepper needs to be familiar with the best foods to stock up on in preparation for a disaster. Here is a detailed list to help you get started.

RELATED: Storm Safety Kit 101 | Everything You Need To Survive 

37 Sure Bet Survival Foods to stock up on in Your Disaster Stockpile

1. Water

While water is not food, it is more vital for survival than any food. On average, the longest a human being can survive without water is only three days. It is therefore essential to stock up as much water as food or even more.


  • The easiest and safest way to store water is in the bottles you buy it in
  • If you decide to store tap water, buy your storage containers from camp supplies stores and thoroughly clean them before adding the water

2. Canned Food

Besides being ready to eat, canned foods have a long shelf when stored under the right conditions. What’s more, they are more convenient to store away, which allows you to get a wide variety.

Here, focus on getting canned foods with the most extended shelf life and ones that you can consume. It may include vegetables, soups, stews, and proteins.


  • Remember to stock up a can opener too
  • Since some canned foods have an infinite shelf life, expect a change in taste when you consume these. This doesn’t, however, mean that the food is spoilt.

3. Dried Beans

Any bean you can lay your hands on will do here. Beans can store well over a couple of years to as long as 30+ years, especially when stored in a cool, dark, and dry place in vacuum packaging.

This way, you will still use them for a considerable period even if they do not last as long as 30+ years. You are better placed if your favorite types of beans naturally last long, like pinto.

Note: Poorly stored beans are tough to cook and might need a pressure cooker which might not be accessible during a disaster.

4. White Rice

While its brown counterpart is more nutritious and packed with tons of minerals and vitamins, White rice is more convenient for survival situations. This is mainly because of its longer shelf life.

Unlike brown rice that will not last more than a year as its oils oxidize faster, white rice will still be viable for up to four years.

Tip: You can stock up on brown rice if it’s your family’s favorite. That way, you can rotate your supply frequently.

5. Pasta

You can pretty much expect your pasta to last for up to 15 years if you can store it in traditional Mylar bags that are equipped with oxygen absorbers. It is even better to freeze it for four to five days before storage to kill any larvae present.

Tip: It will also help to consume pasta that is closest to expiry.

6. Dried Hazelnuts

Besides being a great source of healthy fats and protein, hazelnuts have a relatively longer shelf life than other nuts. When stored in freezing temperatures, hazelnuts can go for as long as two years.

7. Whole Grains

Stocking up on whole grains is more convenient than flour due to shelf-life concerns. Flour can last as long as six months, while whole grains like rye, whole wheat, or barley can last longer.

Note: It is advisable to store the ingredients of a product instead of the processed product to increase shelf life.

Tip: Remember to pack a grinder to mill your whole grains.

8. Powdered Milk

You need this excellent protein source in your stockpile despite having other protein-rich foods because it is a complete protein. It, therefore, has essential amino acids that our bodies need for proper muscle regeneration, among other bodily functions.

9. Honey

Honey is a stockpile-worthy food for every day as well for a survival situation. With honey, you do not have to worry about shelf life, and it is a convenient energy source. What’s more, it is a versatile food that can be used for medicinal purposes.

10. Smooth/Crunchy Peanut Butter

Stocking up on some comfort is not such a bad idea, and peanut butter checks the box mainly because of its 10+ years shelf life. However, you have to store it in a cool, dry, and dark place to enjoy this benefit, not to mention that you only go for quality brands like Skippy.

Tip: check to ensure that it is still soft and creamy and that it has maintained its color before consumption.

11. Iodized Salt

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While most canned foods will not need salt, it is vital to stockpile your table salt. It provides us with iodine which is critical for our bodies and is an excellent method of preserving foods like meat. Another upside of stocking up on salt is that it can last you a lifetime.

12. Sugar

Sugar is also a great source of energy and can last you for a considerably long time. Store it in Mylar bags but skip the oxygen absorbers.

13. Freeze-Dried Foods

The idea behind freeze-drying foods is to remove any trace of water. It makes such foods ideal for survival in bugging out conditions due to their lightweight.

To consume freeze-dried foods, you need enough water to reconstitute them. Keep this in mind in case you need to stockpile more water.

14. Cocoa Powder

With a shelf life of at least two years, you are better off stocking up on cocoa instead of processed chocolate. What’s more, it is versatile and can be used to make a wide array of edibles that can come in handy during a survival situation like brownies, homemade chocolate, brownies, chocolate fudge, and more.

15. Pink Salmon

Of all canned fish foods, pink salmon has the most extended shelf life of three to five years. This is, however, only if it is stored in the right conditions and remains unopened.

When you open it, consume it in two to three days and keep it frozen between consumptions.

16. Cooking Oil

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Besides cooking, oil can be used for emergency lighting. The best part is that most of the oils used for cooking, like olive, sunflower, and coconut oil, have a long shelf life. It is, however, vital to consider the expiry dates during purchase.

17. Hardtack

Hardtack is a type of cracker that is also known as sea bread or sea biscuit. It is made of water, salt, and flour which you can choose to store as individual components to make the hardtack anytime your want.

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18. Spices and Herbs

Just because you are in the middle of a disaster doesn’t mean that your food should be bland. Consider storing away your favorite spices and herbs in a Mylar bag with oxygen absorbers.

Anything from basil, oregano, rosemary, or cinnamon will do. Remember to remove the herbs from their packaging.

19. Jams and Jellies

Nothing beats homemade jams and jellies with the freshest fruits like strawberries and blueberries. Though most sources suggest consuming these within a year, you can expect a 5+ years shelf life.

20. Protein Bars

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In addition to having a relatively long shelf life, protein bars are convenient to add to your bug-out bag. Whether you stock up on protein or energy bars, only use them as emergency food as they contain preservatives and are relatively expensive than peanut butter.

There is a wide variety of protein bar brands that you can choose from. Millennium bars have a long shelf life and a variety of flavors.

21. Popcorn

Popcorn is yet another comfort food that people are bound to crave and enjoy during and post-disaster. Lucky for you, it has a long lifespan when adequately stored except for already popped corns or microwave popcorn.

22. Juice Powders

The list of the available options for juice powders is endless. Getting as many as you can to diversify and add to your pantry will be great in the long run, especially with stores closed.

What’s more, certain meals only pair well with juices. The best part is that they can last for a very long time.

23. Hard Candy

Trying to maintain a sense of normalcy during a disaster is crucial, especially if you have kids around. Store some hard candy in an airtight and treat your family to some now and then.

As long as you keep them away from light, heat, and moisture, you can skip the oxygen absorbers for this one. The best part is that choices for hard candy are endless, with some like skittles and candy canes lasting between two to three years.

24. Baking Soda

Besides using it as a raising agent in your cakes and pancakes, you can use baking soda for other household uses like making homemade toothpaste and cleaning purposes. In some cases, you can also use it to treat heartburn.

25. Powdered Cheese

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Dehydrated cheese has a shelf life of 10+ years and is an excellent addition to your pantry to make comfort foods like Mac n’ Cheese.

26. Powdered Eggs

It’s easier buying these than making them at home, as store-bought powdered eggs can last for at least five years. Consider adding some seasoning and pepper to make your omelet taste great. Luckily, there are several brands in the market.

27. Multivitamins

Most minerals and vitamins tend to react with themselves when stored away for long. However, stockpiling them in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers makes them viable for a couple of years.

Try storing each vital vitamin supplement separately and rotate them as often as possible. This doesn’t translate to relying on supplements for your daily micronutrient needs.

28. Coffee

Coffee is an excellent energy source, but you are better off stockpiling on green unroasted coffee beans as these have a longer shelf life than processed coffee. Pack them in Mylar bags with Oxygen absorbers, and do not forget a grinder.

29. Tea

Tea has a relatively long shelf life, but it helps to store it in a Mylar bag with Oxygen absorbers. This way, you can still have your favorite drink even with stores closed.

30. Vinegar

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Vinegar is a must-have in every household because of its versatility. Add a tangy flavor to your soups, or use it as a cleaning and disinfecting agent around your home. Due to its acidic nature, you do not have to worry about it going bad.

31. Instant Potato Flakes

Instant potato flakes are okay being stored as you would your white rice. In addition to a Mylar bag and oxygen absorbers, consider keeping them in a cool and dark place.

32. Seeds

Stockpiling on seeds ensures that you have a way to start up a survival garden after a disaster. To narrow down your choices, consider seeds that will thrive in your climate zone and then familiarize yourself with how to store and grow them.

33. Bouillon Cubes

Though they will likely go rancid past their one-year shelf life, they are a great way to spice up your meals during and after a disaster. They also contain a salt level that is ideal for our bodies.

34. Pemmican

This is a blend of protein and fat from large game animals like deer or buffalo. Its shelf life will depend on the quality of the ingredients used and storage conditions. Though not necessary, chilling it in the fridge makes it last longer as it prevents the fats from going rancid.

35. Yeast

Photo by Alex Yeung / Shutterstock.com

Nothing beats the calming feeling of fresh and warm homemade bread or dinner rolls. If anything, these might not be available during a disaster. Freeze your yeast, and it can last for more than three years.

36. Hard Liquor

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Several glasses of vodka are a great way to escape reality during a disaster—stockpile on as many distilled beverages including whisky, scotch, or vodka. Steer clear of beer as it does not have a long shelf life.

37. Dehydrated Fruit

Various dehydrated fruits have a varying shelf life, but they should last for at least a year in proper storage conditions. The best part is that you can dehydrate practically any fruit you wish in the sun if you do not have a dehydrator.

38. Granola Bars

Though granola bars have a relatively short shelf life, they are stockpile-worthy because you can safely consume them past their expiration date, are convenient for your bug-out bag due to their small size and weight. Lastly, you can extend their shelf life through proper storage in a dark, cool, and dry place.

39. Pet Food

Pets will be a source of joy for you and your family when there is no electricity or internet for entertainment. The catch is to rotate your pet food as often as possible due to its high-fat content.

Watch this video by PBS Terra on disaster preparedness 101: don’t miss these go-bag and pantry essentials:

There you go, preppers. Being self-sufficient during a disaster calls for significant preparation. It, however, doesn’t have to be financially draining because you do not have to buy all these foods at once. Also, it will help to be on the lookout for promotional discounts to get the best economical deals.

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What other food do you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comment section below!

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