Here's what you need in your emergency go bag (yes, you need an emergency go bag).
I’d like to get one thing out of the way: MREs creep me out. “MRE” stands for “Meal, Ready to Eat” and refers to individual rations originally distributed to solders by the U.S. Department of Defense. These days, civilians can purchase MREs online—but they’re insanely expensive, and a lot of MRE branding errs on the worrisome side of individualistic patriotism. You can keep your freeze-dried carrots, weirdos. The everyday disaster nut has plenty of options, including:
- Beef jerky: I’m not a huge jerky person, but I received a shipment of Stryve Beef Biltong last year and was very impressed. It comes in tons of different flavors, and the texture is pleasantly crumbly in a way that feels more convincing than the rubbery jerky of yore. Plus, it’s a killer protein source.
- Mountain House meals: You won’t catch me springing for MREs, but I’m a big believer in Mountain House’s line of “Adventure Meals.” The freeze-dried entrees each contain two servings, and they’ll run you a good $10 to $15 less than a .
- Dried fruit: If the grid goes down and I’m stuck living off the land, I’m gonna need some vitamins and minerals until I can plant my own apocalyptic orange grove.
- Protein bars: I’m not a huge fan of standard CLIF bars, but CLIF Builders are some of the best protein bars I’ve tried. My favorite is the Chocolate Mint flavor, which boasts a whopping 20 grams of protein per bar. I’ve got three or four shoved into my go-bag as we speak.
- Fruit Gushers: It takes every ounce of my willpower to avoid dipping into my emergency Gusher supply. I regularly have to remind myself that those aren’t everyday Gushers—those are nuclear war Gushers and must remain untouched.
- Instant coffee: My esteemed colleague Dennis Lee got me into Maxim coffee pouches, and I’m never looking back. Ever. These things are tiny, incredibly easy to prepare, and offer just enough caffeine to support post-apocalyptic athletic pursuits—like sprinting through the woods to escape a horde of zombies.
- Bottled water and LifeStraw: My LifeStraw is probably my most paranoid purchase to date. Will I need to use a tiny portable water purification to sip from puddles any time soon? Probably not, but it’s good to have around and costs less than $20.
- One can of generic green beans: I initially put these in the pack as a joke. Then, I realized that somebody’s gonna have to host Thanksgiving dinner when the world ends. Might as well be me and my small can of beans.