Any good Bug Out Bag should include a minimum of gear, most of which would be similar to the gear you would take on a backpacking trip.

Just for starters, you need necessary prescription meds; shelter items; 2 to 3 quarts of water, and purification equipment to disinfect more water; fire starters; first aid supplies; spare clothes; and, of course, some food. But that’s where all of the experts’ opinions diverge from a recognizable average into wildly different food lists based on personal preference and influenced by tastes.

MREs are popular for Bug Out Bag food, and they definitely have the high calories and long shelf life that you need. But they are also bulky and heavy.

Freeze-dried backpacking food can be a lighter-weight choice over the MRE, but they may not work for everybody. The calorie content can be much lower than in freeze-dried meals. They also require extra water and a heating source, and either or both of those could be in short supply during a bug out.

Don’t be skimpy with your meal plan. Running around in the woods can require a lot of energy and you may find yourself blowing through 5,000 calories or more per day. The best foods for that level of exertion are quick-and-easy carbs (starches and sugars) and food high in proteins and fats that provides you with more long-term energy.

So what do you really want to have with you?

You need to stay hydrated while bugging out, and you need calories. Packets of apple cider mix, instant teas, and powdered lemonade can add some sugars and keep you drinking.

Granola bars, trail mix, dried fruit, breakfast bars, and protein shakes can provide you with ready-to-eat or just-add-water nutrition. Skip the powdered instant scrambled eggs, as they require getting a heat source going, waiting for water to heat up, and waiting for the nasty stuff to cook/rehydrate.

No-cook foods are best, so stick with stuff that’s ready to eat. Tuna pouches, trail mix, peanut butter, jerky, and a host of other lunch snacks can be great choices. Maybe you can treat yourself to an MRE entree with the water activated heater pouch. This eliminates the need for fire or stove, and gets you a hot meal without the bulk and weight of a full MRE.

Your dinner might need to be more substantial than your lunch, but still be something reasonable. It should also serve the purpose of boosting morale. If you’ve had to bug out, something bad has happened. If you are eating dinner from your BOB, you are probably bedding down in a strange place under uncertain circumstances. Have a high calorie can of your favorite stew or chili. Yes, canned food is a little heavy, and you’ll have to find some way to heat it up. But a belly full of calories that you actually enjoyed eating will help you stay warm at night and help you better cope with the situation at hand. Have some crackers and other snacks with your meal, and pack your favorite candy bar for dessert.

Let us know in the comments what tasty vittles you have packed in your BOB.