Every prepper knows that one of the most foundational elements to getting ready for hard times is having a lot of food and water on hand and properly stored.
If you need it, but don’t already have it, you’re going to be out of luck and things are going to get a lot worse before they are through.
And while it is true that establishing a truly well-rounded food and water survival stockpile is a surprising amount of work, it is also one of the easiest long-term preps to put together, and one of the best investments you can make no matter what sort of situation you’re preparing for.
But there is an awful lot to consider, from what kind of food you keep on hand and how much, to how you will store, treat and inspect your water supplies.
It can feel like chaos if you are untrained and unprepared, and even if you are you’ll still have your work cut out for you.
But we are here to help you do it all in stride with 17 stockpiling downloads that will help you get ready for a long-term survival situation.
1. Food and Water in an Emergency, FEMA
A great ground-floor overview of the fundamental importance and considerations of food and water supplies for survivors.
If you don’t even know what you don’t know when it comes to the topic, you’ll need to get oriented and fast.
This is a great first step for brand-new preppers, but also has some considerations that make it a good reference resource for veterans.
Especially important is the section that will tell you what specific foods to use out of storage in specific situations, like when the power goes out.
This might sound elementary to you now, but when you are stressed out of your mind in the aftermath of a disaster or other crisis it is easy to make mistakes that are both wasteful and costly and could cost you your health or your life down the line.
If you are brand new to prepping and brand new to the idea of stockpiling, start here. Download.
2. Emergency Preparedness Stockpile, American Public Health Association
Colloquially called “Set your clocks and check your stocks”, this is another great entry-level guide that has a surprisingly good resource in it, and even a section that will help your kids get into the right mindset without scaring them out of their heads with doomsday predictions.
This guide from the APHA will help you get rolling with more basic inclusions into your stockpile, how to stockpile them properly, and also introduce you to the idea of rotation.
Rotating your stockpile is the process of removing and using or discarding older stock and then replenishing it with new stock so that your supply on hand is always fresh enough and unspoiled for you to eat. It’s a chore, but one you’ll have to do.
Also, make sure to check out the small collection of crosswords and other games in the back of the book, all prepper themed! Get it right here.
3. Food Storage in the Home, Utah State University
Another excellent and not to link the guide on food storage, is this one from Utah State University.
This guide covers such intricacies as partitioning food storage, dealing with pests, and utilizing more specialized preservation methods, including deep freezing, heat treating, and debunking food storage myths.
It also includes a super handy guide for the storage conditions, temperature, and recommended storage area along with shelf life for many common pantry and fridge staples.
This is a great guide for any prepper, but an especially good one for newer preppers who are a little seasoned.
If you understand the basics of rotation and are looking to take your stockpiling game to the next level, this is the guide for you. Get it here.
4. Refrigerated and Frozen Food Storage Life, USFDA
Maybe more than any other download we are sharing with you today, this is the one that you should print out immediately, laminate, and keep handy in your kitchen.
If for no other reason than it will keep you from making a terrible mistake with those mystery hot dogs that have been lurking in the drawer of your fridge for an indeterminate period of time.
Unlike dry goods, refrigerated and frozen foods require extra special attention paid to both their storage conditions, and storage life, and even in the case of frozen foods they don’t last forever in storage.
Your frozen food can go bad, or deteriorate to the point where you just shouldn’t eat it, in a matter of months and you might not know until it is too late when you pull it out.
Get this super handy one-page guide from the FDA, read and heed! Download it here.
5. Food Safety Emergency Assessment Guidelines, University of Massachusetts Extension
This is a great companion piece to the previous one; an assessment guide for refrigerated and frozen food quality during, or after an emergency, specifically one that results in a power outage.
This is invariably a rough time for individuals and families alike who are painstakingly going through food in the refrigerator that might be on the verge of.
Is it still good? Is it not? Even if it’s still safe will it still be good to eat?
You are definitely rolling the dice with a lot of items, and there is a ton of inherited information and “folk wisdom” out there that is anything but wise.
But not to worry, as the brain trust at the University of Massachusetts developed this guide that will definitively tell you at what point you should definitely discard refrigerated or frozen items, and at what point you can consider keeping them if you’re willing to put up with a loss of quality.
This will do a lot for your peace of mind, and can help keep you or someone you care about from getting food poisoning or worse! Link.
6. The Ready Citizen Manual, Paul T. Martin
An excellent, down-to-Earth guide for food storage as part of prepping. More than most others writing about the topic, author Paul T. Martin really understands preparation for “normal Earth people” who still want to live normal lives in or around society.
Trust me, even I can admit to getting a little lost in the weeds on some of my preps in the past and becoming obsessed with edge-case scenarios that actively took me away from more important and practical work to be done.
In this excellent guide, the author blends together considerations for practically scaling your supply, what to focus on, and what you should get that is available now and cheaply to meet basic survival requirements.
He then goes on into a thorough discussion of historical assessments of recent mega-disasters, contingency planning, and other survival considerations.
A wonderful front-to-back guide for any prepper who wants to establish their stockpile right away and rest easy knowing that they are at least comfortably prepared for a 30-day situation. Downloads are at the bottom of this link.
7. Your 3-Month Food Storage and Prep Plan
A purely functional item on our list, this 3-month food storage, and prep plan will help you simplify the process of buying, storing, and rotating the food you have on hand as well as planning what meals you can make out of it.
Remember, buying the food is one thing, but it needs to be something that you’ll actually eat or something you can use as an ingredient in a dish that you will actually eat!
This can help you keep track of how much you have on hand, or how many you’ll need to buy to establish your 3-month supply and is invaluable for budgeting and managing your finances on a weekly or monthly basis.
Super simple: it is three pages front to back and is a great resource for preppers! Find it right here.
8. Principles of Home Canning, USDA
For many preppers, the Rubicon of personal food preparedness is at home canning.
Yes, this skill used to be far, far more common way back in the day, and even though it is done all right job of being handed down as a family tradition or rite of passage, it is severely underrepresented today.
Luckily, this is not one of those skills that you must learn by oral tradition exclusively.
There are plenty of straightforward, easy-to-understand guides and books on the market today, and even this resource from the USDA is a great place to start.
This will bring a complete neophyte up to speed on what you need to know to get started with at-home canning, particularly the foundational principles of why it works and how you do it. Download here.
9. Canning Food Guide, First Nations Health Authority
Following our established crawl, walk, run methodology, once you have the principles of canning under your belt and have perhaps made a few successful jars, it is time to step things up.
This in-depth guide from the First Nations Health Authority covers everything from the various types of canning equipment to failure points, limitations, and specific requirements of certain types of food, and much, much more.
Canning is deceptively simple once you have done it a few times, but like most things, it is just the tip of the iceberg and there’s a lot more you’ll need to know if you really want to implement canning as a reliable, and safe, component of an at-home food storage plan.
This guide will help you get there. 62 pages of extensive and in-depth info. Get it here.
10. Vegetable Storage in Root Cellars, University of Alaska
You might be noticing a trend when it comes to prepping and food storage in particular, and that trend is that primitive (or at least old-fashioned techniques) are still in vogue.
But this isn’t mere fashion we are talking about, and there’s a good reason for that observation.
Root cellars, for instance, are once again becoming the talk of the prepping town for food storage, and even the most modern homes are starting to feature them again. Why is that?
It turns out that many of the skills and techniques our grandparents and great-grandparents and everyone else before them relied on are still useful to preppers because they work without dependence on fragile, intricate modern technology.
When our complicated machines break down, when the electricity that they rely on disappears, these techniques will still work just as they have for centuries.
Root cellars are one such technique that is still a great option for food storage. Learn more here.
11. Meat and Poultry Smoking Guidelines, USDA
Smoking meat is a great way to impart a lot of nuanced, delicious flavors, but it’s also a good way to help preserve food and a viable method for post-disaster cooking using minimal equipment.
But, like many forms of long-duration, low-temperature food preparation it is easy to make mistakes that could wind up giving you and others food poisoning.
Unfortunately, smoking is a more nuanced process than just firing up your backyard grill and slapping a few pieces of meat down on a screaming hot grate so details matter.
You’ll need to pay attention to proper procedure, and if you want to make smoking part of your survival food prep plan you can do a lot worse than starting with these smoking guidelines issued by the USDA. Download.
12. Water Storage
Even more important than food in the short term is water. You can go without food for weeks before you starve, though you’ll be terribly weak and probably incapacitated before that.
However, you can only go a few days with no water before you perish.
In a survival situation, and especially a long-term survival situation, you’ll need water for a lot more than just drinking. You’ll need it for hygiene purposes, cleaning, cooking, and more.
It is usually possible to get water from the environment around you but this almost always entails a significant investment in time, effort, and resources to make it safe to drink.
A far better plan for the dedicated prepper is to keep a truly immense amount of water on hand for various purposes. But this is almost a subject unto itself.
Get this huge book containing everything you could ever want to know about water storage for any conceivable purpose, and a whole lot more. Download here.
13. Storage of Food Grains in the Tropics
Agricultural technology changed the face of the world and altered the trajectory of human history.
That is no understatement, and now as then, grains keep the world fed in one form or another.
You will not be wise to omit grains from your survival stockpile, and they are certainly convenient to store.
But they aren’t always easy to store, especially for the long term, even though they require no refrigeration.
Keeping mass quantities of dry grains and other goods in hot, humid, insect-laden climates is tough, and you’ll need to adapt accordingly.
Spoilage from moisture, bacterial or fungal blooms, infiltration and reproduction of insects, and attacks by rodents will all be a constant peril.
The very environment is literally out to get your grains if you don’t stop it. Worse yet, the greater the quantity you store the harder your challenges become.
But you can’t give up just because you live in such a place; you must learn to overcome. This guide will tell you how.
14. Cookbook for Building a Food Dehydrator
Food dehydration is one of the most accessible forms of extending shelf life. Fruits, veggies, and even meats can be made suitable for long-term storage through dehydration.
But dehydration as a technique, traditionally, has many problems associated with it.
Namely, old-fashioned techniques are entirely dependent on the climate, the sun, and a lot of time.
These are all resources you might not have in abundance when you need to get down to the business of actually preserving your food.
A better bet for most preppers is to invest in some sort of dehydration appliance or other technology.
These little gadgets can get expensive and complicated, but the principles of dehydration are quite simple.
They are so simple, in fact, that it is entirely possible to craft your own food dehydrator from common components, either before or after a disaster.
This short pamphlet will tell you how and give you plenty of other tips for ensuring success whatever you are dehydrating with it. Get it here.
15. Basic Rules of Hygiene for Food Processing, The Schumacher Centre for Technology and Development
It is easy to spoil, literally, the hard work you put into prepping your food for a long storage life through improper practices.
I’m always amazed at what a careless attitude most people seem to have when actually doing the work of food preservation.
From a lack of equipment sanitation to a complete disregard for personal cleanliness and even for efficiency in workflow, this type of carelessness greatly increases the chance of failure in whatever you are trying to preserve and however you’re trying to preserve it.
Now is a great time to take a page, or three, from industry-wide best practices when it comes to food preservation.
This pamphlet will sum it up in concise terms that are easy to understand, and even though they are intended for use in industrial or commercial food prep settings, they make just as much sense when you are doing the same on your kitchen countertop or in the garage. Link.
16. Emergency Food Preparation
Storing the food is one thing, making it might be another especially if your usual kitchen is out of action.
Sure, I think we all mentally prepare ourselves for eating a can of cold beans if we really get in a pinch, but have you ever considered what you’re going to do with the disparate items that you have available to you after eating your core foods?
How are you going to make a jar of instant grits, a bottle of ketchup, and grape jelly into a meal that isn’t a culinary abomination?! And even if you can, how are you going to cook it?
You can avoid such a demoralizing fate in the middle of a survival situation by getting educated ahead of time on alternate methods of food prep and modified but still palatable recipes using common prepping staples. Download here.
17. Food Minimum Safe Internal Temperature Guide
Even the newest of new cooks usually knows that all meat must be cooked to a specific internal temperature in order to be truly safe for consumption.
Failing to reach the prescribed temperature means that potentially harmful bacteria, viruses, and other foodborne pathogens might persist, and make the people that eat the meat sick.
This is usually how people come down with a crushing case of salmonella, E. coli, or some other bug that is sure to make your life a living hell.
Properly cooked meat is safe and delicious, but not all meats, and not all cuts, need to be cooked to the same temperature or for the same length of time at that temperature.
In this case, knowing exactly what internal temperature is required, and for how long, makes determining when your food is truly done with a meat thermometer a breeze.
This here is a helpful guide that goes way beyond the usual recommendations for fish and meat. Get it here.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.