The Best Prepper Food Kits for Long Term Storage

When things don’t go as planned one of the first things to sell out are prepper food kits. Supply chain disruptions cause chaos and panic at the grocery stores, and food becomes scarce. This is why long term food storage buckets have been a mainstay of preparedness for over 50 years. Whether it’s a regional disaster or a national catastrophe, a prepper food kit as part of your food storage plan can keep you fed through it all.

There are many different brands, flavors, and sizes to pick from. The number of prepper food kit choices can be overwhelming. This is where we can help. We have plenty of combined experience with pre-made food storage kits and have put in the research and testing. We pinpointed three brands that rose above the rest, with good value, reliable shelf lives, and best of all: they actually taste good.

Contents (Jump to a Section)

The Best Prepper Food Kit

Legacy Food Storage

Great value, high calorie content, and best taste.

Weather any emergency with a great-tasting versatile food kit that covers all the bases.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Legacy Food Storage is one of the leading freeze-dried emergency food manufacturers. They offer samples so you can inexpensively explore their options, and their 30 day food bucket is reasonably priced. Legacy has phenomenal price breaks for bulk purchases, so if you are stocking up for over six months you can find bulk kits that easily cost less than $10 per pound.

Legacy also has great customer service and is known for their quality control. Other brands can have busted bags or packing errors in their buckets – something you don’t want to find out in an emergency. Taste-wise, we agree that Legacy has the best flavor we have tried and it does not need much seasoning/condiment support like other brands. The 25 year shelf life is standard for Legacy, where you will find some other brands reducing that all the way down to just 7 years. If you are serious about your food storage and preparedness, you can’t go wrong by going with the brand the pros prefer.

Budget Prepper Food Kit

Augason Farms

Cost effective, long shelf life, and large variety.

Pack your pantry with one of the cheapest prepper food buckets that will provide good tasting calories during any disaster.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Augason Farms provides one of the cheapest 30 day food buckets you can find. Because they are less expensive, they are manufactured in higher volume and are usually one of the last brands of emergency food kits to sell out in an emergency. Along with backpacker’s favorite brand Mountain House, you can find Augason Farms at many Wal-Mart locations. Being widely available and lower cost makes Augason Farms an excellent choice for last-minute preppers or preppers on a budget.

Gluten Free Prepper Food Kit

NorthWest Fork

Gluten-free, vegan, yet still delicious.

For those with allergies, sensitivities, or a gluten-free/vegan preference, this kit will carry you through a catastrophe well fed.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

We have plenty of friends and loved ones with gluten sensitivities, food allergies, and alternative preferences. There is no shortage of brands that offer solutions for this crowd too, which is great. But many of these alternative foods become extremely bland one is is freeze dried for long term storage. Not so much for NorthWest Fork- it checks the boxes of being gluten-free, vegan, and health conscious while somehow still being absolutely delicious.

It is baffling how one company can get a robust taste out of their products while other brands consistently taste like what I could only image would be served to war prisoners. The only complaint about NorthWest Fork is the box storage over the air-tight bucket storage for extra protection. If you or anyone in your family go gluten-free or are eating vegan, or if you just want to vary your food storage options (always a good idea), the NorthWest Fork 30 day box is an excellent choice.

Everything We Recommend

Legacy Food Storage Bucket

Legacy Food Storage

Weather any emergency with a great-tasting versatile food kit that covers all the bases.

Where to Buy

$180* at Legacy Food Storage

*at time of reviewing

Augason Farms Food Bucket

Augason Farms

Pack your pantry with one of the cheapest prepper food buckets that will provide good tasting calories during any disaster.

Where to Buy

$136* at Amazon

$78* at Walmart

*at time of reviewing

NorthWest Fork Gluten Free

NorthWest Fork

For those with allergies, sensitivities, or a gluten-free/vegan preference, this kit will carry you through a catastrophe well fed.

Where to Buy

$148* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

The Kits We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to several contenders that we tested: Mountain House, Legacy Food Storage, Readywise, 4Patriots, Emergency Essentials, Ready Hour, Wise Company, Augason Farms, NorthWest Fork, and more. Once we got past the numbers, such as cost, calories, estimated shelf life, and nutritional content, we went into our taste tests. People’s individual taste preferences can vary, but it is still easy to tell when the whole group decides that one brand tastes better than the other brand. All of this information together helped us inform our recommendations.

Freeze Dried vs Dehydrated

You may of noticed that all of the kits that we considered use freeze dried foods. This is important because of the longer shelf life freeze drying can provide. Freeze drying removes 98% of the water content from food, making it extremely shelf-stable. For comparison, dehydrating only removes 80% of the water. Canning removes none.

We still recommend canning and dehydrating for long-term food storage, but freeze dried kits are still the best ‘fire and forget’ way to be prepared for an emergency. When an air-tight bucket with mylar-wrapped freeze dried food can last well over 30 years in the right storage conditions- you won’t find a better option for long term food storage.

What to Look For

The best prepper food kits have several important features to look for:

  1. Cost
  2. Calories
  3. Nutritional Content
  4. Shelf Life
  5. Taste

Below, we break down what each of these mean for the best prepper food kits. When you get the right blend of these, you get the best overall value. Each one is important- it would be a mistake to prioritize cost over taste, for example.

Cost vs Serving Size

There are two main factors that affect how much your long term food storage kit will cost: brand and quantity.

Brands charge different amounts for the same product on paper, but they use a clever marketing trick to make cross-shopping quantity harder. This trick is the serving size. Most brands advertise dollar per serving, when a more accurate measure could be dollar per pound. The problem with measuring how good a cost is by weight is that manufacturers start adding fillers to reduce cost and increase weight. Their products are lower calorie, and have much less nutritional value.

This is why it is important to compare cost to all of the other factors, not just one.

Calories per Pound

To really cut through the BS marketing above, with serving size tampering and extra fillers for weight, you need to look at calorie weight.

Calorie weight is a great measure of how much energy a food packs per spoonsful. The higher, the better (in most instances). It is also good when you are eating in a hurry or on the go. Higher calories means that every bite brings that much more energy.

Weighing some apples
Quantity isn’t everything. Nutrition, and especially calories, are important for long-term food storage.

Calories are king when it comes to survival food, but they still don’t show the total picture. Without nutritional content, your survival food kit will leave you malnourished and unable to process those calories.

Nutritional Content

Proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals work together to keep your organs healthy and working properly. When you create a long term food storage plan, you will want a wide variety of food types to create balanced meals. Stocking up on one type of food is ill-advised, even if it is a freeze dried food kit. Many brands offer varieties of buckets and kits, and you should get a mix that will give you and your family balanced nutritional rations.

Freeze Dried Food Shelf Life

Shelf life for freeze-dried foods typically vary from five years to thirty- depending on the contents of the food and the packing methods. Besides foods that do not have a shelf life, this is as good as you can get. If you are lucky enough to get close to your emergency food expiration date, you will want to re-order to replace your stockpile. This is a good chance to crack them open and eat what you would have during an emergency.

Legacy Oxygen Absorber
Oxygen absorbers can help air-tight buckets improve even freeze-dried shelf life beyond 25 years.

Whenever you do a taste test or use any of your emergency food, be sure to restock quickly so you aren’t caught empty handed during an emergency.

The Issue of Taste

Nobody expects freeze dried food to taste like a perfectly cooked steak from your town’s best steakhouse. But, taste still matters- just ask any soldier that was tossed one of the worst MREs in the field. As I quickly learned from MREs, condiments can definitely help food kits with bland flavors.

Why Prepper Food Kits are Important for Survival

Food is an important part of our daily lives. It is one of the five pillars of survival, and the survival rule of three says we can’t live long without it. Our research shows that you can’t go much further than three weeks without food, and even that is without expending much energy.

Most food we eat throughout the week can’t last more than a few days on its own. Food goes bad- decomposition is just how the world works. Humans have had many accomplishments over the years attempting to improve the shelf life of food. We’ve salt-packed meat and invented refrigeration, freezers, and supermarkets. The latest and most profound innovation? The freeze-dried food kit.

Freezing meat makes it last 1,500 times longer than it would at room temperature.

Freeze dried foods can make meat last up to 100 times as long as freezing.

So, freeze dried foods can extend your period to eat that food by 150,000 times!

A few centuries ago, people would have marveled at this achievement. We send astronauts to space with freeze dried food. The military uses the food as standard issue MREs in deployment zones. The only downside is cost- otherwise there would be no hunger for anyone on the planet. The freeze drying process is manufacturing-intensive, using expensive machinery with high energy costs.

Astronaut Freeze Dried Food
Astronauts actually bring food preserved by several different methods. The longest lasting though? Freeze Dried.

Some may balk at the cost of survival food kits, but the kit is assurance that you can feed yourself and your family any time you need to for up to 30 years. The costs, when compared with the risks in this world of grocery supply chain disruption, are miniscule. There are many, many reasons why the delicate supply chains that bring food around the world could be destabilized. There is on good way to prepare for this eventuality: getting a prepper food kit.

Who Needs Food Kits?

Everyone eats, and everyone can benefit from a prepper food kit stored away for an emergency.

Most preppers store these food kits at their primary residence, along with their tools and other contingency supplies:

Emergency food buckets (because of their sturdy design with handles) can also be used in this kits if you are using a Bug Out Vehicle (BOV):

If they are able, many preppers keep prepper food kits stored at their Bug Out Location (BOL). Anywhere that you could be spending time in an emergency would be a good option for storing extra food with an extremely long shelf life.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

Our analysis of the best prepper food kits would be useless without crediting our sources and references. We leaned on these resources for the book knowledge that we paired with our practical military and emergency management experience. If you would like to learn even more about prepper food kits, how freeze-dried food works, and research studies conducted on food shelf life, dig into our sources:

Denkenberger, D. & Pearce, J. (2015). Feeding Everyone No Matter What: Managing Food Security After Global Catastrophe. Academic Press. (Source).

Ratti, C. (2008). Freeze Drying and Vacuum Drying of Foods. Drying Technologies in Food Processing. Blackwell Publishing. pg 225. (Source).

Subramaniam, P. & Kilcast, D. (2010). The Stability and Shelf-Life of Food. Woodhead Publishing. (Source)

The Final Word

Food is one of the most important things a prepper can stockpile, and food kits make it easy. A hundred years ago people spent a considerable amount of their life planning and preparing food storage, yet today we can preserve food for an extremely long time with freeze drying technology.

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing settled on Legacy Food Storage as the best option based on their quality, selection, nutrition, taste, and value.

As always, I suggest that you try your food kit out. Make sure you know how to cook it, that it is being stored properly, and that it has enough calories, nutrition, and variation in taste. If you’ve had it for a while, be sure to check the expiration date and cycle your inventory if you have to. If you are looking to learn more about food storage, check out these articles we’ve written up:

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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The Best Prepper Food Kits for Long Term Storage

Rusty Collins

I am an engineer by day, but a prepper 24/7. I am an Air Force veteran that developed emergency and disaster plans as an emergency manager and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters worldwide. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

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