7 Survival Foods You Should Always Have in Your Car

woman in a heavy coat and hat on the phone as she stands in front of her broken down car with the hood open in a snow storm

Keeping an emergency food supply in your home is important. But have you thought about stocking up for your car too? Roughly 69 million vehicles break down each year, according to a 2019 report. The odds of you breaking down next to a supermarket are probably not in your favor.

Whether you get caught in a snowstorm, stuck on the side of the road, or stranded in the countryside from a breakdown, you’ll be glad you packed a few essentials in your trunk. Stay prepared for whatever is down the road by stocking these seven survival food essentials in your vehicle.

7 Essential Survival Foods to Pack in Your Vehicle

Your vehicle doesn’t have as much room as your home. That’s a given. This means all the survival foods you need to pack in your car have to be able to fit in a much tighter space. 

And suppose you keep other essentials in your vehicle, such as blankets, emergency repair kits, survival tools, firearms, and more. In that case, it’s even more imperative that your food items take up as little space as possible. 

So, while there are plenty of good food sources you can pack in your vehicle for survival, like ready-to-eat meals, our picks for the seven best emergency foods to pack in your car were chosen for their shelf life, nutritional value, and slimmer packaging. 

1. Bottled Water

If something is going to take up a lot of space in your vehicle, it should be bottled water. Studies have shown that humans can survive up to 2-3 months without food. But without water, that drops to about five days.

Humans need anywhere from 91 to 125 ounces of water a day to stave off dehydration. That’s around 5-8 water bottles a day (16.9 fluid ounces each bottle). 

You may be able to survive on less — around 32 ounces a day — but you can quickly risk becoming dehydrated. When packing water, make sure you have enough for the recommended amount for at least 3-4 days.

Avoid using your bottled water for things like powdered milk or instant coffee to conserve your water supply and stay hydrated.

2. Trail Mix

Trail mix is more than a go-to snack. It can also be a great emergency food for your car. Trail mix can pack easily, taking up little room, and it has infinite possibilities of things to combine.

Add more nuts for good carbs and fats, raisins or craisins for healthy antioxidants, and even some chocolate for a sweet pick-me-up.

3. Granola, Protein, and Emergency Food Bars

Food bars come in many varieties and flavors and are typically small enough to pack a lot of them in little space, making them a great food to keep in your car for emergencies. Both granola and protein bars can come packed with protein, fiber, and carbs to help keep your hunger at bay and give you some necessary energy for other survival tasks — whether you’re hiking to a nearby gas station or digging your car out of the snow.

4. Freeze-Dried Fruits

Freeze-dried fruits can come in pretty slim packaging and make great snacks when in a pinch. Keep some dried blueberries on hand as a quick superfood snack, or go for some dried apricots and figs for extra fiber and essential vitamins.

5. Dried Meats

Dried meats like beef jerky are one the best foods to keep in your car for emergencies. They’re an excellent protein source and have a year-long shelf life in some cases. Beef jerky and other dried meats like turkey, venison, or even chicken jerky can all be a delicious and easy way to add a complete protein to your survival foods list.

Best of all, you can pack plenty of jerky packages in your vehicle with room to spare. Save even more space and keep your jerky fresher for longer by vacuum-sealing smaller, single-serving portions. That way, you can finish a full serving and avoid the rest sitting in an open package.

6. Assorted Nuts

Nuts are a great source of protein, fiber, and fat. And with a ton of different kinds and flavors, it’s hard to get tired of them. Buy your nuts in bulk and make your own seasoned nut blend at home to save some money. 

Try a spicy chili-seasoned blend of almonds, walnuts, and peanuts or a savory and salty mix of cashews, pecans, and shelled pistachios. Vacuum seal single portions of your nut mix to keep the rest as fresh as possible.

7. Nut Butter Pouches

Nut butters are a great way to get some quick protein and fats. Plus, they’ll help keep you full. Easy-open, single-serve peanut butter or almond butter packs take up considerably less space than jarred nut butter and make a better long-term food source since you don’t have to deal with an open container. 

Stock Up Your Vehicle With Help from 4Patriots

Ready to start stocking your vehicle for emergencies? Whether you’re stocking up your trunk or home, you can order essential survival foods from 4Patriots and have them all shipped straight to you. Shop for 1-year survival food kits, grab-and-go emergency food bars, and more.