Recently I wrote a post on my belief that most preppers would end up having to bug in. Now even though I believe that, I still have a bug out bag and a get home bag in my car. Always have as many options as possible. A question that always seems to come up on bags that are kept in the car is what type of food will withstand the changes in temperature.
Over the years, I have seen all types of suggestions, from just a plain sack of whole-wheat berries to freeze dried meals. Now where I live foods in the trunk of my vehicle will be exposed to 100 degree F plus temperatures in the summer to below freezing in the winter. This is very hard on your food. Now there are several ways to handle this problem, you can carry the bag with you when you leave your vehicle. Personally, this does not work for me. A second choice is to rotate the food on a regular basis. How often depends on the type of food you carry. I have tried that and I guess I am not quite that well organized. My choices run towards foods that will last for a reasonably long length of time.
Here are some possible foods for you to consider.
Lifeboat rations – These bars are designed to withstand extreme temperature changes and still be good for years from the date of manufacture. They are Coast Guard approved for a five year shelf life. They come in packages of 1200, 2400 or 3600 calories and are designed to provide you with three meals of 400 calories each a day. Personally, I am not a fan of their taste, but they will keep you alive. Because they are inexpensive, you can afford to carry a couple of rations a day for extra calories.
Millennium Bars – I have had some of these in my bag for several years and they seem to be holding up well. They cost about a dollar each and come in several flavors. They are Coast Guard approved for a five year shelf life. Each bar has 400 calories and they taste better than the lifeboat rations.
Freeze Dried food – I have eaten Mountain House foods that have withstood the temperature variations for over 5 years and were still fine. Mountain House is one of the very few companies that I would trust to consume after this type of extreme abuse. Unfortunately, it is the most expensive of the three choices that I recommend. But it probably provides the best nutrition, depending on the meals you choose to carry. One newer company, NuManna, sells freeze-dried meals that are non-GMO, no high fructose corn syrup, and no soy.
Here are some foods I would not use.
MRE’s – They do not withstand heat well and unless you are prepared to rotate them at least every year, I would not use them.
Trail mix, nuts, and other foods commonly used for hiking – Most of these contain nuts, oils or chocolate. The oils in these foods will go rancid in the heat. You will not like the taste of rancid foods and it is carcinogenic.
Canned foods of any type – They are subject to damage from both freezing and heat. They need to be rotated on a regular schedule and if there is any damage or bulging from the cans, they should be thrown away and not consumed.
Whatever choice you make be sure and make sure your food is in good shape and not spoiled. The last thing you need in an emergency is food that is not edible or can make you sick.