Canned Food Or Rations?

I've seen a lot of videos and sites that discuss bug out bags and what you should pack in them. One of the most important items you can have in your bug out bag is food. But which kind of food should you go with is the question? Many argue that canned food is the best option; others argue that rations are the better answer. Whichever option you choose you need to consider what your budget is and what advantages and disadvantages both types of food have over each other. Remember before buying anything to weigh all your options. Here are some things to consider with each of the two.

Canned Food

The advantage of using canned food for your bug out bag is that it's cheap and plentiful. Canned soup for instance can sell for under a dollar a can. Canned food also ranges from everything from canned fruit, meats, fish, and vegetables. The other major advantage of canned food is that with the food is the water used to help preserve it that can be consumed to help keep you hydrated. This water also will not need any special treatment such as having to be boiled or filtered like river water or other sources of drinkable water.

The disadvantage to using canned food after the apocalypse or disaster is the cans size and weight. While smaller cans take up little space they also offer little food, almost forcing you to keep larger cans in your bug out bag. The other problem is salt content. Many canned foods have high levels of salt which helps preserve food. This means that in a disaster or post apocalypse scenario consuming food with a high salt count will dehydrate you faster, something that you can not afford.

With cans you also have to be aware of possible contamination, this will come in two forms rust and air. Obviously a can that has rust will contaminate the food inside making it unsafe to eat. For air leakage you might not know until you crack it open only to discover your food inside is covered in mold. Remember to check the top of the can by pushing down on the lid. If the top is firm and does not move then the food is still safe to eat. If the lid is flexible meaning it can be pushed down then avoid it because it's been compromised.


Rations are an excellent source of food in the event of a disaster or the apocalypse. While not as available as canned food, rations can last for years and come in many varieties. Where rations have an advantage is their size. Unlike canned food that comes in one size, a ration pack can be broken down, rations like those that I had while in the Canadian army come with two meals (One main meal, one desert) cutlery, napkins, bread, gun or a chocolate bar, and all the other items you need such as salt and pepper. These items can be taken out of their packs and stored individually. This means that in a space that could only hold 4 or 5 cans two to three times that of rations could fit in the same space. This will dramatically extended your range while not loading you down with extra weight.

The disadvantage to rations is that there not as common to find which makes them more expensive to buy. You can not go into a regular grocery store for example and buy a box, most of the time you have to order them online or through a catalogue. The other is that the bags can be punctured easier then cans resulting in food going everywhere. Whatever rations you have you need to ensure they are sealed in a clear plastic bag, this way they do not spread onto your clothes or other gear you have with you. This will also allow you to remove them easier if they do burst.

Whichever kind you choose again depends on personnel preference and your budget. Hopefully this should give you some information to consider when deciding which option is best for you.

Source by Gerald Thomson

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