The Value of Dehydrated Foods & MRES in a Prepper’s Food Stockpile


So I’ve spoken about this briefly before, but basically my opinion on rotating through a food stockpile has actually changed since I first began prepping.

I used to think that – in an ideal situation – I 100% wanted to rotate through every single item in my prepper food stockpile.

It made sense to me from so many different angles. If you rotated through all your food: your food had less of a chance of expiring, you wouldn’t be wasting as much food compared to if you never rotated through, you would be saving money on buying replacement food for your stockpile, and you could spend that money on other preps that could also help you out in an emergency.

meal-ready-to-eat-mre-review-more-than-just-surviving-survival-blogSoPakCo MRE Meal Ready to Eat Sure-Pak – Amazon / eBay

But one day my opinion changed, and hasn’t changed back since, all due to a single comment on our forum by Mike Ash:

I don’t totally agree with the “store what you eat, eat what you store” philosophy guys. It sounds nice, succinct and rolls off the tongue pretty. But a survival food storage goes further than that. It is a good basis yet not overall strategy IMO.

Don’t get me wrong, not saying that you should go out and buy a shit ton of canned spinach and yams if your family hates them. Things that you can rotate is a great goal, but sometimes you will need to store a lot of something that you could never rotate totally with normal eating habits. But if you are thinking survival nutrition then you will just have to store them anyways. And if you think they are going bad, but not bad yet, give them away to families on an eat soon basis or add to compost. It would suck but it may be necessary to be truly prepared.

FIFO is definitely the best way to go but in some cases FI is far as it goes because you barely ever eat that product, but due to nutritional value or supplimental meal filler you should be storing for extended survival situation even of you never get to rotate.

A few examples: dry beans, rice, milk, ramen. I store more of this than anyone (other than an Asian food aficionado) would or could ever rotate or eat in a non survival situation. Im might store powered milk but i ain’t drinking that shit. I’ll get used to it and be happy with the change from smoky water if shtf happens. Although it breaks the rules on store what can eat, it is a nice source of protein, calories, and it is  culinarily quite versatile. So I store it. Being dry foods, I’m guessing in my dark, semi-dry, stockpile they will safely last for over a decade with little or no deterioration.

I very rarely eat any of these items but I still store them and here’s why. Not to be preachy but in an extended bugout/bug in situation I receive per serving:

Dry milk: 80 cal, 8g protein, and vitamins and minerals. Not to mention ability to make bugout butter and cheese.

Beans: 70 cal, 8g protein, 22g carb, vitamins and minerals.

Rice: 160 cal, 3g protein,  35g carb, vitamins and minerals.

Ramen: 190 cal, 70 cal from fat, sodium 790mg, 26g carb, 4G protein, vitamins and minerals.

So I hope everyone sees that we can’t prep by just following a pretty statement. I personally feel that “store what you eat; eat what you store” is a great and the most efficient theory for stockpiling, it should be your core philosophy but not not a steadfast rule/law of stockpiling food. Other items should be in consideration to have a well-rounded overall diet and plan for survival.

If shtf happens we could end up eating a lot of things we aren’t used to or even comfortable eating, but that’s why it called surviving not camping. Otherwise I’d be eating steak, shrimp, hamburgers, and hot dogs on a daily basis.

He made so many excellent points in that comment, but what I took away that forever changed my opinion was what should have been obvious to me from the start: your food stockpile should eventually get to the point where you’re stockpiling more than what you could be able to rotate through, and in those cases (definitely not as a beginner prepper who’s just starting out their food stockpile, but later) – it’s important to stockpile food you likely won’t be able to or maybe won’t even want to rotate through.

This lesson sort of echoed when I ended up with a Legacy Food Storage bucket to review.

legacy-premium-survival-food-storage-reviewLegacy Freeze-Dried Emergency Food Bucket – LegacyFoodStorage.com / eBay

Could I use Legacy’s food, eat it on a regular basis, and rotate through it as it neared expiry date? Yes, it’s tasty enough. But would I? No, I probably would not. There’s plenty else I’d rather eat that didn’t include dehydrated foods, but luckily – that no longer bothered me. Actually, having that food bucket gave me a peace of mind I didn’t have when I was convinced it was better to eat through my entire food stockpile, a lot of which has to do with the fact that, left untouched, I couldn’t be miscalculating how much food I had left and depleting my stockpile without even noticing.

After putting together a cheap 1-2 year food stockpile made up of long-shelf life foods from the grocery store (which I have), what I’d want to further increase the length of time I could live on my own stockpile is definitely something that I know I won’t bother to eat through. Past the 1-2 year stockpile mark, what I’ll want are food items that will live a really, really long time, will be easy to to transport in case of an emergency, and will be easy to store out of sight and out of mind, so I don’t have to constantly be fretting about the fact that I don’t have a back up to my 1-2 year food stockpile. And that includes foods like MREs, dehydrated foods, and freeze-dried foods.

Benefits as I see them are:

  • Freeze dried foods, dehydrated foods, MRE packs, etc. are easy to transport (throw into a backpack, the trunk of a car, etc.)
  • They’re much easier to store, and much easier to protect from rodents and insects than grocery store stockpiles.
  • They have an incredible shelf life.
  • There is a mental separation between them and your day-to-day food stockpile rotation – so if you slack a little on your 1-2 year food stockpile calculations and your replacement the items you’ve eaten through, you’re still okay because you have an untouched long-term stockpile made up of MREs and freeze dried foods as a replacement.
  • They take zero time and effort to put together (which can be hugely beneficial for preppers who have a shortage of time on their hands).

Obviously, the enormous downside is:

  • They’re expensive. Especially when you consider cost per calorie.

My conclusion is that if you can afford them, if the upfront cost is not really an issue for you, and you have that 1-2 year food stockpile put together from grocery store foods, it makes sense to invest in these.

taste-test-valley-food-storage-mango-habanero-chili-reviewValley Food Storage Mango Habanero Chili Packet – Amazon / Valley Food Storage
VFS’s Website Coupon Code: morethanjustsurviving10 (10% off – enter at checkout)

But I could really be missing something here, and obviously, I’d love to hear your opinions.

What do you think about dehydrated foods, MREs, freeze-dried food and the like? Have you ever bought any? Do you prefer one type over others? Do you think they’re worth investing in even though they can be fairly expensive? At what point would you consider stockpiling them? Are there any upsides or downsides that I’ve missed?

Let me know in the comments section down below.



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