Option 1: Canned Foods


  • Price: $0.06 – $0.15/oz
  • Days of Survival per $100: ~ 12 Days
  • Cost Per Day of Survival: $7 – $10
  • Official Shelf Life: 1 – 4 Years
  • Storage Conditions: 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit

Note: In multiple studies, canned goods that have been properly stored for over 40 years have shown to have close to the same nutritional content as when they were first sealed and be safe to eat. Only the foods’ texture and taste seem to degrade after the expiration date. 


General Projected Shelf Life

Foods with a high acidic content (juices, fruits, pickles, vinegar based products etc) – 1 YearFoods with a low acidic content (meat, vegetables, spaghetti, potatoes etc) – 2 to 5 YearsHome Canned Foods (all types) – 1 Year* Note: These projected shelf lives are for the canned food to have the same texture and taste as when they were produced. Generally, canned goods remain edible far past their expiration dates (they just may not taste as good). These shelf life numbers are assuming the can is stored at room temperature (65°  – 72°F).


  • Inexpensive when compared to many alternatives
  • Huge variety of products are available
  • Many items can be consumed directly from the can
  • An empty tin can may be used for a variety of other purposes (i.e. to cook with)
  • Usually contains a considerable amount of water in the can
  • Available almost everywhere groceries are sold


  • Heavy and sometimes awkward to carry in a pack
  • Shorter shelf life than the alternatives
  • A can opener is often times required

A Note About These Calculations: The numbers reflected here for “price”, “days of survival per $100”, and “cost per day of survival” are based on my research and are a result of averages. They are by no means exact and are only meant to be used as a general guideline and overview of each option for long term food storage. One “day of survival” is based on a 2000 calorie per day diet. If you eat more, make adjustments accordingly. Shelf life is based on storing the food at room temperature (widely considered to be 65°F to 72°F) unless otherwise noted. The Dehydrated Foods Section calculations are considered extremely general at best. Dehydrated food can be produced at home fairly inexpensively or in a professional factory where additives are put into the foods to preserve freshness for a longer duration of time. This is what accounts for the broad number ranges in this section.

Option 1: Canned Foods

Option 2: Dehydrated Foods

Option 3: Freeze Dried Foods

Option 4: MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat)