Packaging Details of Freeze Dried and Dehydrated Food
We offer a variety of packaging types for our food products. Products packed in pouches, #2.5 cans, #10 cans, and 6 gallon buckets contain an oxygen
absorber. See this link on Shelf life and storage conditions for the different products available and how you can dramatically increase your food storage shelf life.
For best storage and longest life, either cans or buckets are recommended. Paper bags and "boxed" products are NOT recommended for long term storage unless you repackage these yourself into airtight containers with oxygen absorbers. We also sell buckets and oxygen absorbers so you can do this yourself. Pouch products have a more limited recommended shelf life due to the packaging (pouches are not hard-sided like cans or buckets).
Periodic inspection of your food storage is highly recommended to ensure proper storage conditions.
Important notes on buckets:
SP = Superpail: This is a heavy food grade plastic bucket with the added insurance of a metalized nonporous mylar bag. The bag is filled with the product and an 1500cc oxygen absorber
packet to remove oxygen. The bag is vacuum sealed and the bucket is sealed with a
gasketed lid. The mylar bag protects the product from light, moisture and oxygen. Because of the air proof nature of the mylar bag, your product will remain 99.5% oxygen free.
RB = Ribbed Bucket: This is the same bucket as the Superpail, but without the insurance of the mylar bag. Ribbed Buckets are generally cheaper than Superpails, but the tradeoff to this cost savings means that they have a shorter shelf life due to the lack of a mylar bag. Secondly, in the event that the bucket is punctured or damaged, there is no 'second skin' to protect your food. Ribbed buckets must be inspected periodically to ensure integrity. For ultimate long term storage, we strongly recommend that our customers choose the Superpail buckets.
Buckets are "made to order", ensuring the freshest possible pack date. No date codes are used on buckets, the ship date should be used as their packaging date.
Buckets are 17.5" tall, 12" in diameter.
- Buckets may be dented upon arrival. This is the affect of barometric pressure differential and is a "good sign", since it indicates a tight seal on the gasket lid. Not all buckets will dent, head gasses vary depending on product. If these are SP buckets (the food is in a sealed mylar bag inside) and you want to remove the dents, you can crack the lid open and allow in some air, but this is not necessary or generally recommended. Dents can be ignored unless they are problematic and threaten the integrity of the bucket. In the case of severe dents the lids can be removed on SP buckets (products with mylar bags) and the sides pushed out and the lid replaced. Do not do this on RB (ribbed) buckets as they do not have a mylar bag inside. We always recommend the SP buckets over the RB buckets since the mylar bag provides an extra layer of protection.
- Products containing leaven (yeast) such as Biscuit Mix can expand due to activated leaven. If this happens, carbon dioxide gas is created (CO2), expanding the container. C02 is harmless and is actually used to preserve food in the "dry ice" method (adding dry ice to a bucket), a common food-storage technique. Excess CO2 can simply be bled off and the mylar bag resealed (tape or use a hot iron on a mylar bag). Products containing leaven have a shorter shelf life, see our shelf life page for further information.
Can products - there are two types of cans we use. The #10 can is the large coffee can size everyone is familiar with (1 gallon). The #2.5 can is the smaller can, the size of a large soup can.
Each can has one oxygen absorber packet which insures that contents remain 99.5% oxygen free. #10 cans use a 500cc absorber and #2.5 cans use a 300cc absorber.
6 #10 cans in a case (box), boxes are 13" x 19" x 7.5".
All cans are shipped dent free from the cannery. We do not ship out dented cans. Any can that is received severely dented on the seam or fold of the can is considered damaged and is caused during shipment mishandling. Any minor dent elsewhere on the can is not considered damaged because the food is dehydrated and has different guidelines than other canned foods such as wet-pack foods found in the supermarket.
Pouch Products are available from Mountain House, Alpine Aire, Survival Cave, and Survivor Industries. Rainy Day also offers some 5 lb mylar bags that are "pouches". They all use a heavy foil / mylar pouch with or without ziplock openings, and are all date coded. 2 person and 4 person sizes are most common, there are larger sizes too depending upon the product (read the descriptions to determine sizes). We have found that pouch products can usually be eaten well beyond their expiration dates by several years.
Survival Cave uses buckets to protect their pouches, increasing shelf life to decades.
Pouch products are also available in buckets from Mountain House and Survival Cave. These type of buckets are not airtight (no square lid bucket is airtight), but the pouches inside are. They store sealed food pouches in a durable hard sided container that has the added benefits of being portable, stackable, and keeping the pouches dry and protected.
Survival Cave Bucket Dimensions: 16.75" x 13.75" x 13".
Mountain House Bucket Dimensions: 10” x 9.25” x 13”.
Rainy Day uses the 5 gallon Ribbed Bucket (RB) bucket (airtight) for their Quick & Easy Entree kit which contains sealed mylar pouches.
Information on Date Codes
Rainy Day: All of our cans are date coded. Rainy Day use Julian date codes on their cans. This is an ink stamp on the top of the can.
Example: 10303 Cabbage 32809. The first set of numbers is the product code. The second set of number is the Julian date (packing date). This can was packed 328th day of 2009.
Buckets - see bucket pack date comments above, buckets are "made to order", ensuring freshest possible pack date.
Signature Meats - Cans are date coded as follows:
The top set of numbers is the date, for example: C0173.
The C is the product (chicken), the 1st number is the year (2000), the last 3 numbers are the day of the year in Julian date (173rd day of the year). The bottom set of numbers is the USDA number.
Alpine Aire : They also use Julian date codes for their products. Pouch products are date stamped.
Example: 92-992 Instant Milk 05310-4045. The first set of numbers is the product code. The second set of numbers is the Julian date (packing date). This can was packed on the 53rd day of 2010.
Survival Cave: Production dates are stamped on the cans. Pouches are also date coded in buckets.
B = Beef, 2 = 2012, 201 = the day of the year of production out of 365.
Mountain House: The
product manufacturing code appears on the back of Mountain House
pouches and on the bottom of Mountain House cans. The date in the code
represents the date on which the product was packaged. As of January 2001 they are now printing BEST IF USED BY
dates on the back of each pouch.
Mountain House Pouches will last 25+ years if stored properly.
We have the tests to prove it!!
1989 and after:
Example: 99028 CIA
||Julian Date (example = 28th day of the year = January 28)
||Production Operator's Initials
Prior to 1989:
| T =
||Year (example "T" = 1987; see below*)
||Julian Date (example = 203rd day of the year = July 22)
||Internal tracking system code number
*The year code can be understood as follows: