Why Popular Survivalist Food Advice is a Disaster

Good Advice for Some is a Recipe for Disaster for Others

Most of us want to take action to mitigate the risk of trouble in life for us and our families. That is why most of us have home and car insurance, buy smoke detectors and gas alarms and have periodic safety maintenance of our homes and cars.

Yet when it comes to disaster preparedness only 7% are prepared. Why?

For most the perceived risk level is much lower than a house fire or other events that happen more frequently than a disaster so there are less desire and interest in taking action.

Another factor, however, is the perceived significant, huge, dedicated, effort involved to be “food prepared”. Where does this perception come from?

Do a Google search for survival food or food preparedness and you will find a lot of information from survivalists. Many of these survival sites provide good expert advice on survival and food preparedness.

However, much of that survivalist advice is for those who are committed and dedicated to spending a huge amount of time and effort to be prepared.

The advice you often see at these survival websites is to buy in bulk at big box stores. That is buy the grains, flour, and other food products in large 50 lb bags. Then you need to spend a lot of time dividing it into food storage containers, labeling those containers by date, use dry ice to increase storage life, the effort goes on and on.

What you need to do next is spend a lot of time to cook and consume that bulk food every day on a regular basis and periodically “stock-up” to keep your “not so fresh” inventory from going bad. You need to monitor your labeled, bulk food “home warehouse” and maintain a FIFO (first in, first out) inventory system to make sure the food you use today is the oldest in your home warehouse. Does this sound appealing? Will your current lifestyle easily accommodate this continuous effort to be prepared?

What if there is a shortage when you need to re-stock on bulk grain? Timing is everything in this system and you could be spending a lot of effort to be prepared but end up unprepared because of bad timing.

Do you think you are prepared to do all of the above to be “prepared”? Even if you are motivated now at this time and ambitiously say “yes”, what is the chance you will give up this “preparedness is my life” dedication and send most of the 200 lbs of bulk rice you just bought to the garbage dump?

While I can admire the dedication that these people follow to be prepared, I know that most of us are not inclined to go to these extremes to be food prepared. Not everyone wants to nor obviously will they, make a such a drastic lifestyle change to support food preparedness.

Is the above survivalist system the only way to be food prepared for months or even a year?

Is there an easier way that is not extremely expensive?

How can a much greater number of Americans than 7%, really become food prepared and thus decrease the burden relief agencies need to support in a disaster?

The simple answer is freeze dried food. Buy it once, Mountain House #10 cans can last up to 25 years. Store it in a cool dry place, forget about it till you need it. You can mark ‘Expires in 2033′ on the boxes in case you never use it in the next 25 years.

Then you won’t be clearing out pallets of rice at the big box every 6 months like the survivalist’s recommend you do. You won’t be caught off guard when there is a shortage at the time you need to re-stock your 200 lbs of bulk grain.


  1. As someone who is preparing for the very real possibility of a pandemic due to Avian or other flu, I’ve been looking into the best and most economical ways to store food. After hearing the stories about “rotating” other food, I decided and agree freeze dried or MRE food is best. It may not be the tastiest (at least not always), but considering the fact that during a pandemic you could be quarantined for 3 months or more, is a good idea. The hardest part for me is balancing paying for so much food for the future while having enough money to buy food for today.

    1. Hi Lynda,
      Great comment and glad to hear you think freeze dried and MRE food is best.

      Your concern about “balancing paying for so much food for the future while having enough money to buy food for today” is a real challenge most of us face.

      I think first priority should be taking care of the needs of today so I would not recommend eating less than you or your family requires now.

      If there is money that can be spent for food for disaster preparedness you can buy a little each time. The value of freeze dried food is that you can use some of it at any time in the future, if one experiences a temporary personal hardship and know you still paid a reasonable $3 – $4 per meal.

      As Macy said “i didn’t try to eat the whole elephant in one bite”. You can purchase Mountain House 6 Can Food Modules one at a time and build up a food reserve over a period time rather than all at once. It will take longer to be fully prepared and you will pay a little more per meal than if you bought all at once, but it is an option.

  2. i think it is best to have a good balance of long shelf life food storage, extra amounts of your regular food items, and bulk food items. It helps to maximize vaariety while control costs.

    especially right now when food prices are rising seemingly every week, and a short term trucker strike could empty the pantry shelves, it would really suck to buy a lot of long term, long shelf life food for storage and then need to eat it 4 months later.

    one week i would buy a case of #10 cans of freeze dried; the next week i would buy a big bag of rice or beans, the week after i would buy extra canned food. i didn’t try to eat the whole elephant in one bite. pretty soon i had about 3 months supply for me and my fiance and our neighbors.

    on top of that i added a few MREs, and some pouches of mountain house – both of those we rotate when we go camping.

    Also really important if you are going to rely on dehydrated or freeze dried foods is to consider your water source, and consider having stored water or a backup source, and a good water filter to filter rain water.

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