72 Hour Emergency Food Bucket

We live in a world where food it literally at our fingertips everywhere we go. We can hit up a drive thru on our way to the membership store and stock up on bulk tuna, turkey and frozen meals, then stop off for a nice meal on your way home – and maaaaaybe popping into the ice cream parlour for a little treat.
What we don’t often consider though is just how fragile our food supply chain is. Without power – you can’t buy anything. Registers don’t work and credit and debit are useless. Your freezer starts to thaw, and without power – you’re limited in what you can cook with. Basically BBQ or bust.
So what do you do?

You set up an emergency 72 hour food supply. As usual, we’re going to store it in buckets for ease of use, and ease of transport. Plus if things get really dire – you can never have too many buckets. This guide is going to be for a single person’s rations, so double up the numbers for two people. It’s a good idea to mark the date everything was packed and try to replace certain items every 12-18 months.

Before you begin.

Our emergency food kits are setup assuming you have a heat source, water, and a vessel to heat liquids in. Keep this in mind if you plan to follow along exactly – OR you can make cold food only kits. These kits aren’t going to leave you stuffed either. They’re just going to be enough to give you some much needed energy and stave off hunger pains for a few days. A bit of warm food can be just enough of a morale boost to keep you going to hit your next milestone goal as well. If you set up multiple buckets and plan on including a pot/pan/bowls/plates/utensils Store them in one bucket and mark it. Then use the extra space in the other buckets for some extra provisions or nonperishable comfort foods to help get you through.

Make a list

Make a list of what’s in each kit, as well as anything that may be needed (heat source, pot) as well as a few simple survival recipes to print out and store in the top of your completed bucket. If you can – print them on a laser printer instead of an inkjet so that an errant drop of water doesn’t mess up your list.

Food Items:
You’ll want to pack at a minimum these items for a single person. Make substitutions where required, and add in extra high energy items wherever you can if you have some space left over in your bucket.
72 hour emergency food bucket

  • 2 packages of chewing gum
  • 2 packages of hot chocolate mix
  • 2 cups of trail mix or peanuts
  • 2 sticks of beef jerky
  • Small can of apple or fruit juice
  • 2 packages of cider mix
  • Small bag of hard candy
  • 2 packages of fruit snacks
  • Sleeve of soda crackers
  • 1 can of Ready made soup
  • 2 packs of instant soup mix
  • Box of chocolate covered granola bars.
  • 2l Water (for soup)

Depending on what you get and where you get it (be sure to check your local bulk food store and dollar stores) each person’s food ration should only cost about $10-15 for the listed ingredients. Make substitutions for your diet as needed just be sure to exchange it with an item that has a similar caloric value.
Keep the granola bars and trail mix for breakfast. They take a while to digest and will provide you with energy for the day. Follow up with some soup for lunch, and some jerky or more granola bars for supper. Supplement with hard candies or fruit snacks through the day for a small boost in energy. Chewing gum after you’ve eaten will trick your brain into thinking you’ve eaten more than you have – so if your ‘meal’ of beef jerky leaves your stomach rumbling, chew some gum for a few minutes and the growling should subside.
Store bought rations and prepackaged meals will do the job, but they often require a lot of water to prepare. Military rations are a good option if you can get your hands on some – but the selection is limited and if you DO get them, they’re probably pretty close to their best before date.

In addition to the items we listed above a few more low weight, high calorie items to consider supplementing or substituting in your 72 hour bucket.

  • Dried fruit & fruit bars
  • Clif bars
  • Pop Tarts (the best before date is legally required – they’re fine for half a decade at least)
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned tuna, chicken, corned beef & spam
  • Canned stew
  • Canned fruit & canned custard