We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.


Written By
Updated Jun 1, 2022 11:24 AM

Can we all agree that if you’re eating freeze dried food, you have enough problems on your plate already? When you’re stuffing your cupboard full of emergency supplies for the end of times, do yourself a favor and pack something you’ll actually want to eat.

Heavy canned goods are great as long as you don’t plan on going anywhere. MREs are fine if you enjoy scheduling survival activities around your weekly toilet devotionals. Freeze-dried food is better than both of those options, and we found options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that you can actually look forward to eating. There might even be a little bit of POG-ey bait in there for dessert.

Now, pour a glass of wine and join me on this culinary adventure through a day in your post-apocalyptic life with the best freeze dried food worth noshing on.

Whether you measure your emergency food supply by sheer volume or price per meal, this kit from Wise Company is a winner. The plastic bucket is easy to store and can be used to carry water in an emergency. Survival is all about maximizing opportunity, after all. Inside are 60 servings divided among 13 entrees so you can enjoy a little variety in your diet, even if the rest of the world seems like it’s falling apart. Each meal can be stored safely for 25 years without refrigeration. When you’re ready to eat, just add water, heat, and eat. This food supply is designed to help you survive everything from a natural disaster to societal collapse, but the price per meal makes it an affordable option for camping, too. One thing to keep in mind is caloric intake. These meals aren’t very calorie-dense, so plan on doubling up or supplementing with additional food if you plan on sustaining yourself long-term.

While you’re adding fruit to your food supply, don’t forget to include some kind of greens like this vegetable soup from Mother Earth Products. This stuff isn’t filling, so even vegetarians need to use it as a supplement rather than a primary source of calories. What it can do is add much-needed vitamins and fiber to your emergency-stricken diet. These vegetables are similar to what you’d find in a cup of instant noodles, but more of them and much higher quality. When combined with water, they make a healthy soup or a fresh garnish for the rest of your meal. Mother Earth Products prepares its food in a way that retains almost all of its nutritional value and even color. Their food is Kosher and GMO-free. It’s great to see people making survival food so wholesome and tasty.

Congratulations! You made it to the end of our list and can reward yourself with the world’s finest dairy dessert product: Astronaut Ice Cream. Maybe this is specific to children of the 1990s, but this stuff is like catnip. There’s probably a table of nutrition facts on here somewhere, but who really cares? It’s delicious. The way it transforms from chalky bricks to the creamiest dessert on earth is frankly beyond scientific explanation if you ask us. If you ever do end up needing to break open your emergency food supply, imagine how stoked you’ll be to find a package of these. In fact, if you’ll excuse us, it’s time to place an order.

Rise and shine with an actual breakfast like this Mountain House Breakfast Skillet before taking on the wilderness or zombie hordes. Each pouch serves up freeze-dried hash browns, eggs, sausage, peppers, and onions. Food can be hydrated, heated, and eaten from the pouch for easy preparation and cleanup. These meals are safe to eat for up to 30 years, although we hope you hit the trail and enjoy them on a camping trip long before then. With recyclable packaging, you’ll feel even better about your food choice. Too many survival companies overlook breakfast, so we were glad to find a good old-fashioned breakfast scramble for this list. It sure is better than checking deadfall traps for mice, if you ask us.

Best Lunch or Dinner

When you spend all day hiking with a pack, you deserve a hearty meal; and that’s exactly what Backpacker’s Pantry delivers with this lasagna. To hell with squished peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and trail mix. If you put in the work to disappear into the backcountry, you owe it to yourself to refuel that body of yours. This recipe is vegetarian, but it still provides 19 grams of protein. Backpacker’s Pantry takes a different approach to their food; they freeze-dry ingredients without cooking them, so your boiling water cooks them fresh for a vastly improved taste. They also create flavor with herbs and spices rather than over-processed mystery ingredients. Then, when you’re full and satisfied, they donate one percent of their sales to conservation efforts. Not bad, not bad at all.

It’s easy to get carried away with main entrees, but anyone who’s torn open an MRE knows that snacks like these Augason Farms strawberries are where it’s at. For one, it’s nice to have something to munch on between meals, and these strawberries make a delicious and relatively healthy dessert. Another thing to keep in mind is that there’s more to dietary health than carbs, fat, and protein. Fruit provides lots of vitamins that you aren’t likely to get from lasagna and breakfast scrambles, so make sure you supplement your diet with fruits and vegetables. Pro tip: If you run across someone who packed only MREs and happens to have a piece of pound cake, the two of you can team up to split the apocalypse’s best strawberry shortcake. Here’s to new best friends!

Why should you trust us

I try to be a responsible adult. I go to the dentist, pay my taxes on time, and stay prepared for the unexpected. I’m also a bit of a foodie, so I don’t plan on surviving on canned beans and leaves anytime soon. Even when I go backpacking, I take pride in jazzing up my Ramen a little bit and pairing it with an appropriate flavor of Rip-It. You can bet that my survival plan accounts for these proclivities, and I’m here to help you find options that aren’t just sustenance — they’re food. 

Different kinds of freeze dried food

Depending on what you’re up to, you might want something specific from your food. If you’re prepping for some kind of disaster, you need to prioritize sheer volume. If you’re heading into the backcountry for a week of hunting, fishing, or camping, you can afford to plan each meal individually. If you’re planning for long-term survival and need to factor in morale, it wouldn’t hurt to squirrel away a birthday treat or two.

Bulk survival meals

Buying in bulk is a fantastic way to save money, and prepping your food supply is no different. Freeze drying food is an expensive process and it can hit your wallet hard if you don’t shop carefully. If you do a lot of short trips, buying in bulk can still save money since there’s no rush to eat all of it.

Bulk survival meals typically come in some kind of waterproof container and are separated into individual or family-sized meals. We recommend choosing a kit that includes a variety of food to keep mealtime from getting too monotonous. One kit might include as many as 60 servings and have a shelf life measured in decades. 

Single-serve meals

For short, infrequent trips, buying meals individually is the way to go. You’ll appreciate being able to pick each meal and account for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This is also the easiest way to satisfy the individual tastes of everybody in a group.

Single-serve meals are also the best way to branch out and try something new. Even though they cost more than buying in bulk, it might be smart to try something and make sure you like it before loading up on a huge supply of the stuff. Go ahead and sample different brands and different menu items to see what you prefer. 

Novelty items

I know, we’re all super hardcore and never eat anything sweet because we’re such vicious killers and we train our bodies like Spartan warriors. Alternatively, we’re human beings who only live once and might occasionally want to brighten our day with something fun.

Freeze-dried fruit and desserts can do wonders for lifting spirits in a survival situation. Besides, you’d be lying if you said you’ve never haggled for a slice of that coveted MRE marble pound cake. Things like freeze-dried ice cream are downright delicious, and you’d be doing yourself a favor to include some in your survival kit — for bartering purposes, of course.

What to consider when buying freeze dried food

Take a minute to consider why you’re shopping for freeze dried food in the first place. If you’re about to enjoy a long weekend of backpacking and camping, this is a great time to plan individual meals and treat yourself a little bit. Look for single-serve options that will let you enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the trail.

If you’re stocking your home for a possible disaster, you’re better off buying in bulk. This approach doesn’t afford you the opportunity to hand-pick each meal, but it will save a significant amount of money and the better bulk options include enough variety to keep you interested in the next meal.

Remember to plan ahead and give yourself an adequate supply of carbohydrates, fat, and protein as well as vitamins. Mac-and-cheese can only sustain you for so long.

Benefits of freeze dried food

Freeze-dried food is incredibly popular among survivalists, rescue teams, campers, and preppers for several reasons. First, it’s about as low-maintenance as food can get. Because freeze dried food is almost impervious to spoiling, it can last as long as 25 years. You can stockpile once and never have to mess with keeping track of a first-in-first-out inventory system.

This style of preservation also creates meals that are incredibly light. Compared to MREs and canned goods, freeze-dried food weighs almost nothing and won’t weigh you down when you’re on the move. All you need is clean water to rehydrate the food and create a healthy, enjoyable meal that doesn’t have to be pumped full of nasty preservatives.

Finally, small serving sizes let you pack enough variety to keep mealtime interesting. Admit it; canned goods and rice would get awfully boring after a while. You can also accommodate different tastes and requirements within your group so everyone can get what they need and want.

  • Safe, nutritious food
  • Incredibly long shelf life
  • Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available
  • Plenty of variety
  • Bulk options are surprisingly affordable

Pricing ranges for freeze dried food

  • Less than $10: You can pick up a serving of freeze dried food for less than $10 and actually enjoy a quality meal on the go.
  • Between $10 and $30: For a little more money, you can get freeze-dried fruits and vegetables that provide the vitamins you need to stay healthy long-term.
  • More than $30: It’s quite a jump, but survival kits provide days or even weeks of food for around $100.

How we chose our top picks

Your friends here at Task & Purpose have eaten plenty of freeze dried food and MREs, but we couldn’t test all the options out there. Besides, there are some cut-rate products you really wouldn’t want to eat. Luckily, there are several established brands with a proven record of providing nutritious, tasty meals with a seriously long shelf life. We consulted the thousands of satisfied customers who have used these products to find the best brands and meal options to recommend to you.