Backpacking Food Mini Survival Pantry

Being an avid backpacker and camper, there a few foods I keep at home for that purpose, but also in case of emergencies. This last week, I was so glad I had dehydrated and freeze-dried stuff at home because my grocery store had none of the basics. Besides toilet paper (which thankfully we have bidets in all the bathrooms and Kula Pee Cloths for the girls), there were no eggs, potatoes or milk. This was just a great reminder to me that I need to a. stockpile dehydrated and freeze-dried ingredients, b. double my garden this summer and c. meal plan from my food storage for the next few weeks.

I have realized that I am so glad that I have backpacking skills because I can make a good meal out of just a few ingredients. On Friday I found an abandoned bag of potatoes in the baking aisle and scrambled for it because fresh is always better unless there isn’t any. I have not only learned from the current crisis, but also from bad Montana blizzards and camping trips went wrong, that it is always good to have an alternative on hand. I keep all of these staples at home, but also in the camper or car camping totes, just in case. This is low a mini-survival pantry. Here are some great backpacking/camping/survivalist foods to keep on hand in case of emergencies:

Dehydrated Hash Browns– This is one of my staples at home but also while camping and backpacking. Just add hot water and you have hashbrowns ready to cook in just a few minutes. I don’t have to worry about freezer space and depending on the size and brand, 1-2 packages feed a family of four. And, the one and only ingredient is potatoes!!!!

Powdered Milk – When I was a kid, we drank a lot of powdered milk. It was cheaper than real milk and lasted forever. Plus, it was great for baking, a creamer alternative, and perfect for hot cocoa mix. If we are backpacking, I’ll mix some together and add it to an instant cheesecake mix for special occasions like birthdays. I noticed it’s one of the only “baking” items left on the shelf at the store.

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Dehydrated Eggs – My dad dehydrated EVERYTHING, including eggs. (Let’s say it was a bit of a disaster). I like to keep dehydrated eggs at home and for camping for scrambled eggs and if I really need to, for baking as well. I think Fresh and Honest Foods do a much better job than my dad did.

Meat Shredz or Beef Jerky – Having protein on hand is important. I really like Meat Shredz because it is so versatile and can be added to soups, pasta, omelets, salad, etc. and is so delicious. Try out this Easy BBQ Sliders recipe made with Meat Shredz. Jerky is great for snacking but keeps fresh for a while and because it is normally considered a snack product, it rotates out of a pantry pretty quickly. Jerky can also be used as an ingredient as you can see in this Beef Jerky Stew Recipe.

Instant Rice – Instant rice is a great staple that lasts forever. I like to cook it in same type of broth or add Meat Shredz or Jerky with some dehydrated veggies.

Peanut Butter – It’s not just for sandwiches. I like to add peanut butter to my stir fry or curry. It’s also high in protein and fat. I really like the individual packets for emergencies. Try almond butter if you have a peanut allergy. Peanut butter was a staple in my military ration box when I was in the Israeli military. I also like to take a few packets while hiking or backpacking for an easy snack. This is also an easy food to rotate out of your storage if you have kids.

Dehydrated Vegetables – Add these to anything: soup, pilaf or noodles. I like to add a spoonful to ramen as a backpacking meal.

Ramen Noodles – Ramen noodles, like rice, can be added to lots of ingredients to make a meal. I don’t use the seasoning in the packages because of all the additives. I’ll add some dehydrated veggies and/or dehydrated meat to make a hearty soup.

Bullion – Bullion is great for broths, soup and also as a flavoring. I often use it in my rice or to flavor noodles. As a kid, I’d even sprinkle chicken bullion on my popcorn. I have vegetable, beef and chicken bullion in my pantry.

Drink Mix – Does anyone remember Tang? I was not a big fan but my kids are. But, I love the Mio flavor for water as well as the instant drink mixes. You can also find an instant drink mix that has electrolytes and vitamins too.

Pancake Mix – Not only is pancake mix for making pancakes, but I have adjusted it to make biscuits, dumplings, casseroles, muffins and even brownies. This is something we go through a lot of and I always keep a package in our camping stuff. If you are looking for ways to use your pancake mix, try a few of these recipes.

Honey – Honey does not go bad. My sister still has a bucket from when my grandpa had honey bees fifty years ago. It has crystallized, but when she warms it up, it gets all liquidy again. Honey is great for a sweet treat, sweetener, and even medicinal purposes. It is the best remedy for sore throats, cuts, and bruises. I really like the individual honey packets.

With any of these ingredients, you can make many different meals and even bake. It doesn’t hurt to ever have some type of food storage and all of the items are not only affordable but have a long shelf life. Overall, these are perfect ingredients to have for a mini emergency pantry. Be sure to have plenty of water on hand and you should be set. For recipe ideas, check out There are lots of recipes there, that can easily be made with ten ingredients or less and contain a good mix of pantry staples and fresh ingredients.

Don’t forget, any emergency pantry should have the food items rotated out. Remember, first in and first out or use the oldest first. I check my exploration dates once a month and if needed, use it up and purchase more. What other pantry basics can you think of that would be great to add to this list? Do you have an emergency pantry or food storage?

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  • Ruth Iaela-Pukahi

    4 years agoReply

    Wow, this is a great list! About half of these things I have never thought about but can see their value. I’m not even sure I can find some of these things in our local stores like dehydrated vegetables or eggs. But then again, I have never looked for them! When things started getting nuts and there was thoughts of starting stay home, I went looking for powdered milk. I was too slow and couldn’t find any! Thanks for such a great list!

  • jen

    4 years agoReply

    this is a really great list AND with even better explanations. Often I think that part is overlooked but it’s important to know WHY you include a product. This one is worth saving for sure!! 🙂

  • Debbie

    4 years agoReply

    So interesting. Wasn’t aware of several things. And honey never goes bad?!! That’s great!

    • admin

      4 years agoReply

      It doesn’t. It just crystalizes. But that’s only if it’s pure.

  • Holly

    4 years agoReply

    Great list.. Ramen is a must in our house..I have over 30 different recipes

  • Sydney

    4 years agoReply

    These are some good staples to have! Luckily my grocery store hasn’t run out of too much stuff!

  • Kendra

    4 years agoReply

    Great ideas to keep these on hand! I grabbed some dehydrated chipped beef recently too. That makes a great SOS!

    • admin

      4 years agoReply

      I love SOS!! My dad made it a lot, he learned to make it when he was in the Nay. And that is an excellent idea.

  • Sandi

    4 years agoReply

    We should all consider what items to have in our survival pantry. Thanks for sharing, it’s a good jumping off point list!

  • Marianne

    4 years agoReply

    Never knew pancake mix was that versatile! Will be looking through those recipes for sure!

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