The 7 Best Emergency Food Kits of 2022, Tested by Experts

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Emergency preparedness isn’t a sexy topic. But, it is a necessary one. That’s especially true if you live anywhere where earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, locust swarms—just about any emergency really—are a real threat. Take one look at a map of the US, and you quickly see that that includes the majority of the country.

There are, of course, typical items that most of us have on hand for such emergencies. Most households keep flashlights, extra batteries, matches, candles, and other essentials. But, what about food? Canned chili, tuna fish, and trail mix are good in a pinch, but way better options are available these days, especially in the event of an extended emergency. We’ve rounded up the best emergency food kits to keep you and your family (and maybe even your neighbors too) well-fed if the unthinkable should happen.

Best Overall Emergency Food Kit

124-Serving Ultimate Preparedness Pack
ReadyWise

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Best Value Emergency Food Kit

Lunch and Dinner Variety Pail
Augason Farms

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Best 72-hour Emergency Food Kit

Just in Case 3-Day Emergency Food Supply
mountain house

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Best Gluten-free Emergency Food Kit

Long Term Gluten Free Food Storage
Legacy Premium Food Storage

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Best Certified Organic Emergency Food Kit

Survive2Thrive Organic Emergency Food Kit
EnerHealth Botanicals

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Read more: How to Handle Emergencies

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Best Overall Emergency Food Kit

124-Serving Ultimate Preparedness Pack

  • Great variety of meals
  • Drinks and desserts included
  • Some meals require no prep work
  • good customer service

ReadyWise has a history of great food kits for survival, backpacking, and emergencies. The brand’s Ultimate Preparedness Pack includes 124 servings with a solid mix of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. The included drinks and desserts are a welcome addition that sets it apart from other family-sized kits. Everything from pasta alfredo to apple cinnamon cereal to vanilla pudding is in a single, ready-to-go pail. Our only real quibble is that instructions for some meals are unclear or non-existent, which required a bit of trial-and-error on our part to prepare. There are more affordable options, but this one is priced right at less than $120.

  • Number of Servings: 124
  • Shelf Life: 25 years
  • weight: 14 pounds
  • Dimensions: 14.75 x 11.75 x 9.75 inches

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Best Value Emergency Food Kit

Lunch and Dinner Variety Pail

  • Good variety of meals
  • Convenient watertight carrying pail
  • 30-year shelf life
  • Servings not individually wrapped
  • Mediocre flavor and texture

For less than $100, Augason Farms’ aptly named Lunch and Dinner Variety Pail offers a good mix of—wait for it—lunches and dinners. The 92-serving kit will keep one individual fed for a long while or a family of four sustained for about a week. As with some other emergency food kits, the servings are not individually wrapped. That means having to prepare large batches at once and planning a way to store leftovers which could be an issue in a true survival situation. Still, for a large pail with more than 20,000 calories worth of food, it’s our pick for the best value emergency food kit

  • Number of Servings: 92
  • Shelf Life: 30 years (maximum)
  • weight: 13 pounds
  • Dimensions: 11 x 14 x 11 inches

Best 72-hour Emergency Food Kit

Just in Case 3-Day Emergency Food Supply

  • Tasty, high-quality food
  • Compact, portable size
  • Two-serving individual pouches
  • Good variety for a small kit
  • Ready in less than 10 minutes
  • Can be made with room temperature water in a pinch
  • No included carry case or pail

A three-day supply of food is enough for most emergencies. With 18 total servings, Mountain House’s Just in Case kit provides just enough food—three breakfasts, lunches, and dinners—to feed two people for 72 hours. We’ve been buying Mountain House backpacker meals for years, largely due to the brand’s surprisingly tasty dehydrated meals. This emergency supply kit is no different. Calorie-for-calorie, it’s pricier than comparable food kits, but we think it’s worth it based on the quality alone. If we have one complaint, it’s that this kit lacks a carry case or pail, so you’ll need to provide your own backpack to get this one ready to go.

  • Number of Servings: 18
  • Shelf Life: 30 years (maximum)
  • weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Dimensions: 12.8 x 9.9 x 8.9 inches

Best Gluten-free Emergency Food Kit

Long Term Gluten Free Food Storage

Legacy Premium Food Storage

  • great taste
  • Extra-large (1.5-cup) servings
  • Certified non-GMO
  • Stackable, flip-top pail included
  • Vegetarian and soy-free

Until recently, finding gluten-free emergency food kits was almost impossible. Legacy Premium’s latest Long-term Gluten-free food pail is our favorite option. Every meal is hearty and gluten-free, making this a perfect choice for families with celiac sensitivities. The food is also vegetarian, soy-free, and surprisingly good—not just good for gluten-free food, but actually good—with hearty flavors like creamy potato soup and enchilada with rice and beans. It’ll keep for up to 25 years under ideal storage conditions, and prepares easily using only hot water. On the downside, it’s the priciest on this list which isn’t surprising given the higher price of gluten-free foods. Although, the extra-large serving sizes are generous (1.5-2 cups each) compared to those found in almost any other emergency food kit.

  • Number of Servings: 60 large servings
  • Shelf Life: 25 years
  • weight: 16 pounds
  • Dimensions: 12.75 x 11.88 x 14 inches

Best Certified Organic Emergency Food Kit

Survive2Thrive Organic Emergency Food Kit

  • Certified USDA Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • vegan
  • No preservatives
  • Sealed pail included
  • Not individually packaged meals
  • Requires more prep than other kits

EnerHealth Botanicals takes a different approach than the ready-to-eat meal kits on this list. Its Survive2Thrive Organic Emergency Food Kit packs large, vacuum-sealed bags of shelf-stable ingredients like rolled oats, garbanzo beans, and powdered milk into a single, reusable pail. The foods are raw and require traditional cooking and preparation methods, so they’re not as convenient as the dehydrated food options mentioned here. But, they are vegan, non-GMO, and Certified USDA Organic so you are getting purer and purportedly healthier ingredients. On the downside, there are no individual-sized serving bags included, so you’ll need to plan a way to store the food once each ingredient bag has been opened.

  • Number of Servings: 298 large servings
  • Shelf Life: 20 years
  • weight: 36 pounds
  • Dimensions: 12.75 x 11.88 x 14 inches

Best Freeze-dried Fruit Emergency Food Kit

Freeze Dried Fruit Bucket

  • Clean ingredients
  • Non-GMO
  • Resealable storage bags
  • Reusable 5-gallon, food-grade bucket
  • Pouches not individually packaged by serving
  • Can’t choose individual fruits (selection depends on the season and availability)

Sometimes a comprehensive emergency meal kit with breakfasts, lunches, and dinners is too much. Valley Food Storage’s Freeze Dried Fruit Bucket packs nearly 100 servings of freeze-dried fruits, including bananas, apples, berries, and pineapples, into a single, food-grade bucket. The company picks its fruit at peak ripeness and minimally processes everything so it tastes great without a ton of preservatives and unnecessary additives. We found the fruit to be rich and flavorful enough to take backpacking or keep on hand for legit emergency situations. The fruit isn’t packaged in individual serving-sized bags, but the bags are resealable to keep them fresh.

  • Number of Servings: 96 servings
  • Shelf Life: 25 years
  • weight: 4 pounds

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Best No-cook Emergency Food Kit

Ultimate MREs

  • Included chemical packet heats food without external heat source
  • Multi-course meal in each pack
  • Individually wrapped servings
  • military-approved
  • Looks and tastes like military food
  • pricey
  • Shorter shelf life than other options

The original MREs (meals ready to eat) inspired the modern-day emergency food kit, and they’ve had a loyal following for decades. Originally designed for the military, each individual packet includes a complete, multi-course meal. That means an entree (a protein or vegetarian base), bread, a beverage mix, a snack or spread, chewing gum, a spoon, and a nutritional insert all wrapped in a waterproof, go-anywhere bag. An included heater packet inside each MRE also allows for “cooking” the meal without an external heat source. That makes them more versatile and reliable than any other emergency food kit on this list. The downside, however, is that they look and taste like military food, which is to say not that great. They’re palatable, but nothing to blog about. At more than $15 per pack, they’re also pricey. Still, if you’re looking for hardcore prepper food for serious emergency preparedness, it doesn’t get any better.

  • Number of Servings: 6 servings
  • Shelf Life: 3-5 years
  • weight: 0.25 pounds

Read more: Best Healthy Meal Services

How Much Emergency Food Do You Need?

Experts agree that three days’ worth of supplies, including food, is enough for most people to weather an unexpected emergency. After that, the worst of any disaster will likely have passed. Still, it’s not a bad idea to prepare for at least two weeks without electricity, water, and access to roads. A family of four needs 12 meals each day to keep going, so it’s wise to keep at least 168 total meals in your cabinets at all times.

What Type of Emergency Food Should I Buy?

Emergency food kits are available in various sizes, flavors, and dietary needs. A comprehensive family-sized kit with a good mix of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners might be all you need. But, consider any special restrictions like gluten allergies, vegetarian or vegan preferences, or whether buying an organic kit is important to you.

Where to Store Your Emergency Food Kit

Like all foodstuffs, the best place to store emergency food kits is in a clean, dry place. Most kits are designed to last for decades but will spoil prematurely in hot or humid conditions. A basement or temperature-controlled cupboard is ideal. Keep in mind the potential for other threats like water damage, insects, rodents, and the like. The best option is to split your supply among two different locations—half in the basement, half in the kitchen, for example. Stashing at least 72 hours’ worth of food in an easy-to-grab backpack or “go bag” is a good idea too.

We tested more than two dozen emergency food kits at home in a decidedly non-emergency situation (COVID doesn’t count). We evaluated everything from taste and ingredient quality to ease of preparation and per-meal cost. The list above represents our honest picks for the best emergency food kits to shop for home preparedness and unexpected survival situations in 2022.

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