DIY: Bug Out Meals Ready To Eat

I recently received a package in the mail that I thought was worthy of sharing.  I’ve got to give credit to Dutch from Texas for this awesome DIY Bug Out Meal idea!  When I opened the box I found a couple homemade vacuum sealed food kits.  UPS delivers here right before lunch so it was hard for me not to cut them open and gorge myself right then and there.  The enclosed letter explained a really cool concept: DIY At Home Bug Out Meals Ready To Eat Kits.



 My Opinion About Bug Out Meals

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of simple, “Open & Eat” Bug Out Meals.  I like the idea of being able to eat on-the-go versus spending too much time having to prepare meals.  Bugging Out is all about getting from Point A to Point B.  In fact, I currently only pack high calorie energy bars in my BOB but this recent package is making me reconsider.  Regardless, Bug Out Meals should meet the following criteria:

  • Long shelf life: ideally at least a year – minimum 6 months
  • Open & Eat: Nothing that takes too much time, energy or resources to prepare
  • Calorie Rich: Be sure to choose foods that are high in calories – our body converts calories to energy
  • As small as possible in both weight and size (remember, they have to go in your Bug Out Bag)

DIY At Home MREs

As Dutch mentions in his letter, traditional MREs can be very expensive and are jam packed with sodium and preservatives.  In addition, one single meal is rather bulky.  His solution is to gather meal items and snacks from a local grocery store and vacuum seal them into Full Day Bug Out Meal Kits.



Below is what Dutch puts in his meal kits.  This is taken directly from his letter:

  1. BREAKFAST: Qty 2 Kellogs Fiber plus breakfast bars.  I also use Instant Oatmeal or Oatmeal Squares.  Nescafe Tasters Choice Coffee, or if not a coffee drinker, throw in a tea bag.
  2. LUNCH: Crackers and SPAM or Kipper-Snacks or a can of Sardines.  All of which can be eaten cold and on the march.  Rspeberry Lemonade drink mix, just add to a bottle or canteen of water.
  3. SNACK: On grueling hikes, you have to keep your blood-sugar levels up, so these have 2 packages of peanut butter crackers and several packs of Peanut M&Ms to be eaten between meals.
  4. DINNER: I try to have a least one hot meal a day.  I advocate Ramen Noodles.  I also pack beef jerkey to break up and add to the soup.

*NOTE: The meals he sent me were almost 1 year old and they showed no sign of mold or spoilage.  Good sign!




With traditional MREs and camp meals, the selection is fairly limited.  And Dutch is right, they are packed full of salt and preservatives.  Furthermore, if you’ve ever eaten MREs for very long they’ll back you up worse than traffic during mass exodus.

I’ll admit that these are pretty lavish Bug Out Meals but I really like this concept.  It allows you a ton of creative freedom when prepping your Bug Out (or BUG IN) emergency meals.  You aren’t limited to ‘stock’ entrees and each meal can be tailored to fit specific dietary needs.  Gluten Free?  No problem – pack non gluten items.  Peanut allergy?  No problem – your meal kits get plain M&Ms.  You get the point.  Vacuum sealing the meals not only helps to preserve them longer but also waterproofs them.  The added bonus is that they are also organized and very compact – 2 Bug Out Packing essential qualities.




 The Expiration Date Marks a Camping Trip

Write the expiration date on the outside of the package with a Sharpie Marker (you choose the time frame but I’d be just fine with 1 year).  Don’t throw away the meals when they expire.  That expiration date marks a much needed camping trip and your meals are now already packed!

Does anyone do something similar to this?

Is this a Bug Out Meal concept that you will consider?

What types of items will your include in your Vacuum Sealed Bug Out Meal?


Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,



  1. Jesse E. says:

    I found that poking pin sized holes in somethings before vacuum sealing helps with the shelf life of the MRE.

    • haansgruber says:

      Most snack foods these days are robotically sealed in nitrogen instead of air, for instance potato chips. The inert gas prevents the item going stale longer. Poking holes to allow air in, in such a case will actually spoil the snack food faster than if it were left sealed in nitrogen.


      haans )

  2. Peter James Dallman says:

    spam comes in little foils packs now. I prefer to use healthy organic ingredients instead of snack industry junk. Why, the nutrient value in organics is higher and lower in sugar, less chance for a crash. I include both caff/non-caff Celestial Seasonings tea bags.

  3. The individual packs of tuna are also good.

  4. This is a really good idea! BTW, another use for those vacuum packing machines is to vacuum pack a spare fully lubed bolt & firing pin for your AR15. It works really well & can be easily carried.

  5. Lone Wolf (ED) says:

    A very good MRE the only thing I see I would for the spam I go to the pouch and I use cup of soup, but every one I remove them the packs and crush them up, then you can put them in sack baggie…I have done something like this for my BOB as of right now I have 5 days of Breakfast and Dinner in one gallon and each day is a one quart baggie as for Lunch & a Snack I have not make anything up right…I will be mixing up some trail mix and I will be getting items from
    they have Survival supplies and some thing I like PB in squeeze packs and many other items that can be used for a BOB and the prices are not bad and there this from there page::::
    Orders within the U.S. over $20 are shipped free via FedEx Ground…So this is my 2 cents

  6. John R Bowie says:

    Back in ancient times in the Army, we had access to LRRP's (long range recon patrol rations). They came in a sealed plastic bag similar to the MRE package of today. The bag contained one of several freeze dried entre 's such as scrambled eggs & bacon, corned beef hash & potatoes, and my personal favorite chili con carne. All you had to do was rehydrate it, or even eat it dry and drink some water. You could, and we did, rehydrate it in the morning and carry next to our body in a sealed bag all day to heat it up, it worked. They also contained gum, candy, peanut butter, coffee, tea and a breakfast cereal bar. All of which was far superior to C-rats or the MRE's of today. I've been toying with the idea of taking Zatarain's boxed beans & rice or such and placing it in a ziplock with water for the day to see how it works out. I don't see any reason why it wouldn't. I also carried a clean sock full of minute rice & snickers bars in my ruck. When I had to carry c-rats, I only carried the fruit and meat, everything else was discarded – thus the rice & candy bars. It didn't hurt me any, I had low body fat, and kept my furnace stoked. I don't think much of trying to carry crackers & such, they will get pulverized in the doing.

  7. Get some PB2 and put in a ziploc – it is easy to hydrate to make a PB paste. If you want to bring those crackers, you’re going to want to put the packages inside of another container. Try those cylidrical drink packet containers (think Crystal Light) that may protect the crackers somewhat in your bag. Vienna Sausages are another quick meat option that has a long shelf life. They come in small 4oz containers that will take up little room and will not require stopping to cut it into slices like the spam would (also, spam tends to have a gelatinous substance that often needs cleaning off, and if you are on the march, you won’t have time to mess with it).

    Make your own fruit roll-ups and replace them every few months – it is a pain, but homemade fruit roll ups will have actual fruit in them…you can even make them with added sugar for more energy (and taste). Just discipline yourself to check your bag every 2-3 months and replace the fruit roll-up (rolled up in wax paper and then vacuum sealed). It’s probably smart to replace all the food in your BOB every 6 months anyway. As the poster suggested, use it as an excuse to go camping or take it as your lunch for work or eat while hiking or what-have-you.

    HAVING SAID ALL THIS: please don’t live your life in fear or succumb to the fear mongering. The world is not out to get you. Think of the BOB as something useful in a natural disaster. Seriously, folks, there is *NO* benefit for the govt. or anyone else to come round people up. They need us to be working in our jobs. THINK ABOUT IT. Isolated issues may occur, but the odds are so astronomically low that a full-scale SHTF is going to come from anything other than a natural disaster. Plan for the LIKELY scenarios and keep a reasonable food storage on hand for things like cyclones, ice storms, etc. and a bit more in case someone in your home loses a job. Don’t let the conspiracy theorists have you living in fear.

    Be alert, not alarmed. The govt. and other people have done stupid things in the past and will do so again, but the majority of people in govt. and police forces actually do look out for the best interest of the people. There are bad eggs in every basket, sure. Remember, lots of people who love to scare you repeatedly often have something to sell, or direct you to products that give them a kickback. I’m not suggesting this author is one of those people. I’m simply saying, use your discernment. Think of the BS that happened in expectation of Y2K…it was a dud. Think about all of the companies who profitted off of scaring people about it.

    Be reasonably prepared for different scenarios, but don’t obsess to the point of high blood pressure and paranoia. We need reasonable people with a calm mindset to help this country during times of challenge…not trigger-happy nuts who have been on high alert for so long that they jump into crazy mode the second a problem arises. Use your head, not your adrenals. Take Care 😀

    • haansgruber says:

      You are correct, it is not the world that is out to get you. It is similar to the saying “guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people.” It is the sinister people with sinister plans which we each have to worry about and they absolutely do exist. Nazi Germany is simply one example of this taken to it’s absolute extreme… Death camps. 911 is another example of extremism regardless of who perpetrated the act.

      The Iron Mountain Report from the late 1960’s reveals the true nature of the power monger bureaucratic mechanism. Everything from economy to pollution and ecology are to be used as weapons in order to divide the populous. Oil and energy are to be used to finically control the entire planet’s population.

      As for the police, it is a jesuit/masonic con that they exist as a benevolent, altruistic organization, they pose as do-gooders, protectors and saviors. When in fact they are controlled by a much more sinister guiding force. It is about one thing alone. Power. An external force claiming dominion over others, usurping power where none really exists in the first place.

      Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

      The fact is, there has never been a golden age of liberty, and there never will be. People who value freedom will always have to defend it from those who claim the right to wield power over others.


      “A man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy.”

      “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

      “A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.”


      And the simple step of a simple courageous man is not to partake in falsehood, not to support false actions!

      One Word of Truth Shall Outweigh The Whole World.

      Russian Gulag Survivor – Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

      Be careful that no man deceives you — Jesus


      haans )

  8. Dr. Landers says:

    For the daily hot meal consider “Thermos Cooking.” Any dehydrated food can be combined together. The food can be prepared anytime during the day with boiling water and carried in the thermos inside the pack to be consumed with no further preparation. Vendors such as Harmony House provide endless varieties of dehydrated foods to combine together. You can also spice it up with jerky or packaged protein.

  9. Awesome idea.

    Like you mentioned these might be “lavish” food item choices but the idea to gather together meal items and vacuum seal the bag is incredibly flexible.

    I know you like “ready to eat” foods but I’m thinking of doing this with some foods more suited to a long term bug out situation. Rice and Beans anyone??

  10. ready to eat meals are the best way to have the food when you are very hungry or you are in ahurry for anything.Easiest option to have the food.

  11. I have a collection of ideas similar to this on Pinterest for DIY MRE style meals. There are some really great options out there.

  12. Great idea!

  13. Thx for the post Hugh great idea

  14. Doing a lot of survivalist / prepper research lately – all to do with the next book.

  15. What a great idea. My thought as the expiration date nears, you could always donate those bags to a homeless person on the street instead of going camping…..just a thought, an opportunity to give back to your community.

  16. I agree Peter. We eat almost all organic in our house. But some organic food does not have a long shelf life. The calories from the peanut butter crackers would far outweigh those from dried fruits. It would not be my first choice, but in an emergency…

  17. Lynn Mize says:

    I have done a few of these. Example: individual tuna Mylar pack., hot chocolate mix, couple of instant oatmeal packs, cliff bars, beef jerky, individual instant soup packs. They just look better and end up being less expensive than prepacked!

  18. yeah it has videos but not a one of them auto played while i was reading this. wonder why???

  19. Nice idea! This is the perfect buy in for my wife. She loved the idea too!

  20. These packs look like they will store very easily. I can imagine having them around even for emergencies of convenience…eg. forgot to pack a lunch, no time for breakfast, etc.

    Making them gluten free would definitely increase their cost, however. But YAY! for SPAM. Love it…

    If you eat the sardines, and also canned salmon, you’ll be getting your fish oil and even calcium, from the (edible) bones. Thanks for this post.

    Wes T.

  21. CentralPaSurvival says:

    I do bags very similar to these homemade MRE’s, except I will pre mark the food saver bag with the amount of water to use for any freeze dried foods (the ramen in this case). That hot water meal is usually the last of the day and it is nice to simply fill to the line then add the noodles. I also use rice and beans with goya abode seasoning packets inside (or bullion cubes), with some canned meat.

    Nice work-

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