What rations should I carry in a car survival kit?

What rations should I carry in a car survival kit? The Editors Santa Fe, New Mexico

Tony Nester

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Here are a few I have used over the years. Whatever grub you carry, keep in mind that you are striving for around 1200 calories a day minimum to sustain yourself, and you’ll want much more in a cold-weather environment where the body requires both calories and fat. I am not a fan of MREs so they are not on this list.


Myoplex, Met-Rx, & Meal-Replacement Bars

Don’t think lightweight granola bars. These are meal-replacement bars that bodybuilders use. They are packed with calories, high-protein (30-50 grams) and lots of vitamins and minerals. The Myoplex brand are preferred as they are the tastiest (like chocolate cake) and provide nutrients to last a few hours. There are also Met-Rx bars, PowerBar Hi-Protein, and Pure Protein bars. Try out a brand first as some of these have a gag factor.


SOS Rations

The best commercial rations on the market. Sometimes called LifeBoat Rations, these vacuum-sealed food rations are compressed wheat, vegetable protein, sugar, and fat. They have a five-year shelf life and hold up in extreme heat and cold. Because they contain very little salt or topical oils, they don’t make you thirsty. What I like about the SOS rations is they actually taste good- much like shortbread.


Dehydrated Foods

These have come a long way in the past ten years. Mountain Home is one brand that I have used on the trail and they have fairly wholesome meals ranging from lasagna to Thai dishes. The only drawback is that they require hot water.



Few foods for the pack fit the bill like jerky. This is homemade jerky or quality packaged jerky and not the processed stick jerky you find at every gas station checkout counter. Look in the whole-food stores for the good stuff. I make my own jerky (only 24 hours hanging in the Arizona sun!) out of venison or store-bought strips of stir-fry beef. You can also use an electric food dehydrator.



After a few days without sleep and proper nutrition in a survival situation (urban or wilderness) your body is going to be suffering. It doesn’t take up much space to pack in some multi-vitamins to supplement your diet so throw a dozen chewable vitamins in your kit. These can even be used to flavor iodine treated water.