Long Haul Food Storage

Storing Food for the Long Haullong haul

You’ve finally met your short-term food storage survival goal; you have a 30-day supply! Now it’s time you get busy storing food for the long haul. Foods for long-term storage are different than what you might choose for short-term survival. Food for the long haul should be stored at your retreat. It’s not the 30-day supply you might rely upon when bugging in. Timelines for TEOTWAWKI will usually be measured in YEARS or DECADES rather than WEEKS or MONTHS.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

Unless you have large amounts of surplus cash, food for the long haul isn’t something that you can do on a weekend shopping trip. Getting started NOW is critical to your prepping strategy. To accomplish the somewhat daunting task of putting together multiple years’ supply of food storage, I suggest a slow but consistent pace. A small amount of money budgeted each month for a few years will get you well on your way to building your long haul food supply.

Foods to Store for the Long Haul

Long-term food storage items can be broken into two groups:

  1. Those with shelf life from several decades to forever
    • Wheat
    • Rice
    • Dry Beans
    • Honey
    • CORRECTLY Canned Foods
    • Salt, Sugar
  2. Everything else
    • Brown Rice
    • Fats and Oils (liquid oil, Crisco)
    • Processed flour
    • Yeast
    • Dry Milk
    • Dry Pasta
    • Anything with a high fat content

There are many grains that can and should be a part of your long haul storage plan. Pay attention to which group food items should be in before storing them and forgetting about it. Grains don’t all have the same shelf life.

Think Long-term

To begin, I recommend starting exclusively with foods in the first group; however, you’ll want to have at least some yeast and dry milk on hand so you can make bread out of all the wheat you’ve stored. You can generally find these items fairly cheap in bulk. Once you have 6 months to a year of these items for your family, start branching out. It’s important to remember that you will need a variety of foods for long-term survival. You’ll need more than just beans and rice eventually.

Important Extras

When you start building up your supply of Foods for the long haul, there are a couple of essential tools to make these types of food edible. If you don’t already have a wheat grinder, get one! It will be very hard to make use of 1000-lbs of wheat as a whole grain. You’ll want to have a rubber mallet for seating lids on food storage buckets. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of dry ice, you’ll need oxygen absorber packets on hand as well. Buy food in bulk and wait to put it into buckets until you can do 6 or more at once. This will help prevent wasted dry ice or oxygen absorbers. Remember, if you buy oxygen absorbers in bulk, you must vacuum seal the extras quickly after opening the package or they will go bad.

Rotate Your Stores

As your collection of Food for the long haul grows, you will have to put effort into maintenance of any items that are not in group 1. Basically this means that you have to rotate through all your perishable items every few years (anything from group 2) and either use it or throw it out. I highly recommend keeping a spreadsheet and a logbook of what you have. As your collection of food for the long haul grows, it will become increasingly difficult to track inventory. It will likely be in identical buckets with little differentiation. Use a sharpie to write the date, contents, weight and sequential number on each bucket packed.

It Works

When I started putting together my Food for the Long Haul, I budgeted $50-100 per month. In about a year and a half, I had stored a 2-year supply of staples for a family of four (4). Even with today’s food prices, you should be able to store 1 five gallon bucket per month for less than $50. I recently used a bucket of white flour that I have had in storage for more than 5 years to make some bread. I used yeast and dry powdered milk that are both more than 4 years old. The bread was delicious. This is just a very basic outline of how to put together a food list for the long haul. Check the Survival Tactics NOW! blog in the future for more details on how to do-it-yourself or click here for a free initial consult.

About the Author


Aaron is an avid prepper living in a small town in the mountain west. When he is not busy perfecting his prepping strategy, he works at his day job as a nuclear engineer.