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Review: the 4Patriots food tub

The appeal of an emergency food stash is clear: if you suddenly can’t leave your house for a few weeks, how will you eat? Now, with COVID-19 lockdowns in our present and future, emergency food appeals more and more. But how do you know if the food tub you’ve purchased will work out when you need it? We bought a $197 four-week supply from 4Patriots to see if it’s worth the expense.

Our final verdict: maybe, if you have the cash.

To learn more about why you should keep a stash of food for emergencies, read our review of the best two-week emergency survival food for preppers. We also have reviews of the best meals ready to eat.

Who needs these sorts of products?

I’ve always been skeptical about prepared food storage products. Those food tubs are expensive and storing dry goods isn’t hard. But after two months of lockdown (I’d thankfully over-prepared for two weeks of lockdown), when I saw that Nashville-based 4Patriots had four-week emergency food tubs in stock for $197, I decided to buy one as insurance. Sure, you can store plenty of dry goods yourself. But for a premium, these kits offer both convenience and flavor.

4Patriots claims that their foods have a 25-year shelf life. They say the four-week tub can feed one person for a month. I have a family of four, so I doubt it’d last us anywhere close to that time. I’m also a bit skeptical that the kit could even keep one person fed for a full month. However, it was available and shipped quickly, unlike most food providers that are back-ordered for weeks right now because of COVID-19, so that’s a big win for 4Patriots.

The kit itself comes in a flat Sterilite container like you’d buy at Walmart. It’s about two feet long, 18 inches wide, and 7.5 inches tall. It’s flat enough to store conveniently and should be sufficient for most homes. That said, it’s not a hardened, sturdy bucket like some other food kits come in. The foods themselves come in white vacuum-sealed bags with cutesy names like Grammy’s Sweet Oatmeal, Fireside Stew, and America’s Finest Mac & Cheese.

Packets of 4Patriots food

What’s inside the 4Patriots tub?

Let’s take a look at what was in my kit. If you order the same kit as I did, however, you might not get these same things. The company says “We may substitute recipes of similar quality and caloric value in order to expedite your kit.” Compare that to Emergency Essentials, which clearly lists everything that comes in its one-month bucket, which provides 41 food packets for about the same price as the 4Patriots four-week kit at about $4.85 per packet.

But if you do happen to get the same things as I did, here’s what you can expect:

  • White rice x 4
  • Strawberry energy drink
  • Dinner bell broccoli bake
  • Mac and cheese x 4
  • Grammy’s sweet oatmeal x 4
  • Rice and vegetable dinner x 3
  • Fireside stew x 2
  • Buttermilk pancakes x 3
  • Powdered whey milk x 2
  • Vanilla pudding x 2

That’s 24 meals in total. If you ate three meals a day, that’d last you eight days at about $8.21 per meal. If you only ate one per day, the 4Patriots kit would still only last you 24 days, and one of those days, all you’d be able to eat is a smoothie.

The biggest disappointment is the four packs of plain white rice, which isn’t much of a meal. White rice isn’t exactly hard to stockpile, either. We have literally dozens of pounds of it in our house.

One of the selling points of these kits that they offer long-lasting, somewhat flavorful, easy to prepare meals. Anyone who can get their hands on rice can throw it in a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber. So I don’t exactly think plain rice packets are worth the money.

The 4Patriots Experience

One thing I do like about the 4Patriots kit: each package is self-contained. I also have a 48-hour Augason Farms food kit where the mac and cheese comes in separate noodle and cheese powder packets. Unfortunately, in the Augason kit, there’s one cheese powder packet for both noodle packs. If you decide you’re having mac and cheese, you’re committed to at least two meals worth. Not so for the 4Patriots kit. Each meal is packaged separately.

I decided to try a couple of the packs as a side dish to accompany a pork roast we were having for dinner. I chose the mac and cheese and rice and vegetable dinner.

Overall, the meals are easy enough to cook. For most, you just throw them in a pot of boiling water and cook for 20 minutes. However, the mixes are very thick—you’ll want to stir frequently to prevent sticking.

4Patriots mac and cheese

The food smelled good when cooking, and when it was finished, it looked and tasted good enough. Both the mac and cheese and the vegetable and rice dinner were a bit on the bland side, which I don’t think is a bad choice considering how sensitive many people, like children, are to strong flavors.

4Patriots mac and cheese, 4Patriots rice and vegetable dinner, with roasted pork

My oldest child barely touched his, but the baby seemed to enjoy it.

The baby eating some of the 4Patriots food

All in all, it was a pleasant enough, but expensive dinner.

So, should you buy?

In terms of flavor and ease of preparation, the 4Patriots kit seems like a winner.

But it’s a poor value when compared to the competition. It’s significantly more expensive than the Emergency Essentials kit. However, 4Patriots can ship within 5-7 days while Emergency Essentials is back-ordered by up to two months. The equivalent kit from Infowars is about $70 more expensive, is vague about servings, and won’t ship for 10-12 weeks. Augason Farms is out of one-month kits entirely, as is Mountain House.

Whether a 4Patriots food kit is worth it is up to you. The foods are easy to prepare and taste good enough. In my opinion, though, they’re overpriced. However, if you have money burning a hole in your pocket and you’re anxious about our food supply, it’s cheap insurance in the long run.


    • lemur

      Thanks for the write up. Those four packs of white rice in the kit are ridiculous.

      “and one of those days, all you’d be able to eat is a smoothie.”

      That reminds me of that time I looked at my emergency inventory and realized that if we had to live on that food, then for the last week we would have to live on nothing but bread and water. Oops.

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    • Downrange Patriot

      Thank you for this review. I purchased the same tub of food from 4Patriots but did not receive what you mention and have pictured here. Your pictures show a big slab of meat in gravy. The tub of food I received contained NO MEAT. Also some of the items of food they sent in the tub were substituted or something. Not what was on the list when I ordered. And my tub had three different types of packaging. Some all white. Those were not foods I ordered. Finally I checked the calories. Count those in this kit. If this is really a 4 week food supply as advertised be prepared to lose a lot of weight. The average for a day was just above 1,000 calories which really is lacking. This is more like a two week food supply. Anyways, thanks for the details and hope this rounds out the picture a bit more. Keep doing what you do.

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      • Josh CentersContributor Downrange Patriot

        The meat was not part of the kit. My wife cooked a pork roast and we tried the 4Patriots stuff as sides. Sorry if that wasn’t clear enough. I agree that it’s not nearly enough to feed one person for four weeks.

        9 |
    • Robert Tankel

      Oh really now. Buy a bunch of 5 gallon buckets that are Food Grade from Lowes or Home depot and wipe them out, Get some DE either food grade or not. Find a restaurant supply store and/or ask your favorite restaurant if you can go along next trip. Buy 50 lb bags of lentils, pintos, Black and garbanzo and any other beans. Popcorn or if you’re adventurous cracked corn for chickens (we have 4 and they still pay rent after 2+ years). Just be sure to wash the stones and other chaff in there…. Buy 25-50 lb bags of rice. Large containers of oats, barley, etc. A 50 lb bag of beans uses almost 2 5 gallon buckets. Mix it with the DE well when filling the buckets, it will rinse out later before cooking or kill parasites you have, it ain’t gonna hurt you. Rice and beans is a complete protein with amino acids. Buy hot sauce, soy, sauce, BBQ whatever. Buy cinnamon, maple syrup, honey never goes bad. Sugar too. My tastes run savory not sweet but whatever floats your boat…Buy spices. iodized salt black and red pepper, Adobo, garlic, onion, turmeric, curry powder whatever spices you like and try others. Olive oil, corn oil, Sesame oil. Crisco if you’re partial to it.

      $100-$200 will buy you a LOT of survival. It may lack in variety but it’s a damn sight better that the over processed, over salted junk you get from ALL these companies.. START A GARDEN

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      • Josh CentersContributor Robert Tankel

        I agree with you on doing your own food storage and having a garden. I bought this tub as a bit of insurance and for a little extra variety. We’re still working through literally dozens of pounds of rice and beans in lockdown. I haven’t heard of mixing DE with the dry goods, though I sprinkle it on my garden plants to keep bugs from eating them.

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      • Nomore Josh Centers

        DE or diatomaceous earth helps with the tiny buggy pests that can get into your dried foods, feast on them & ruin them.

        Also be sure whatever packaging you use is rodent proof (the 5 gallon plastic paint buckets & their snap onlids or the fancier screw on-screw off Gamma seal lids are rodent proof as well)

        If a bucket has a 2 in a triangle it’s food grade plastic.

        4 |
    • Mark Tsunokai

      I purchased this 2 years ago. Thank you for the insightful review. I just use this as a supplement to my regular food reserves, despite the cost I have liking for Mountain House and Augason. I was appalled at the waiting list and prices of some of these companies. I actually tried a subscription plan and it worked for awhile, until the packages were crammed in the boxes and burst while in transit. Food for thought 😉. Just my personal opinion. Take care and be safe. 

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    • Leone Thornton

      just tried the brocolli and cheese soup.  this is by far the nastiest, garbage like gruel ever tasted.  Do not buy or even receive patriot food.  a true rip off.   

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      • Nomore Leone Thornton

        If you hate this one, you’ll despise Wise’s version of broccoli & cheese ‘whatever the heck it was I tried (I think it was a rice-based broccoli & cheese ‘casserole’ type side/dish’) even more. Mushy, processed & super salty, yuck!

        I’ve personally tried the Patriots ‘free’ package they hype from time to time (it was $10 in shipping) with either 48/72 hours worth of food meals & it was edible-ish.

        While I didn’t get a bag of plain white rice (huzzah!) the 4 small mylar pouches of food included seemed chintzy to me.

        As it was for a taste test, it suited its purpose, but no I wouldn’t buy from them again. Very very pricey. Quality was at best ‘meh’.

        Are the 4 pouches of plain white rice included in the reviewed 4 week tub meant to be served with the 4 pouches of fireside stew? I can’t tell because the website doesn’t list ingredients (a HUGE minus if you have dietary concerns to manage) but from the picture on the website, I guess that would be like pouring a stew/soup with macaroni & kidney beans already in it over white rice so maybe not?

        Have thought of what you could store instead (up to you to package it for longer shelf life, the Sterilite tub or 5 gallon food grade paint buckets with either the cheap snap on lids or the pricier screw on Gamma seal lids, whatever makes sense for your budget & available storage space) and if you like add oxygen adsorber packets, etc.

        White rice: get this at grocery store, big box discounter, could be regular white rice or that minute rice crap that’s parboiled if speed in preparation is a concern

        Mac & cheese: get this at grocery store, big box discounter, little boxes of instant mac & cheese or get separate dried mac noodles anywhere + tastier cheese powder in bulk online

        Rice & vegetable dinner: get this at grocery store, big box discounter, this looks like white rice a la Rice-A-Roni type mix with peas (dehydrated/freeze-dried) & carrot dices (dehydrated/freeze-dried) + seasoning(s), you could instead store bulk white rice, separate dehydrated (or freeze-dried) peas & separate dehydrated (or freeze-dried) carrot dices plus fixings for a basic white or cream sauce aka non-fat or whole dry milk powder + thickening agent like cornstarch or flour + whatever seasoning(s)

        Dinner bell broccoli bake: this looks like potato dices which are either dehydrated or freeze dried, dehydrated or freeze-dried broccoli & some kind of white/cream sauce so that’s non-fat or whole dry milk powder + thickening agent like cornstarch or flour + seasoning(s). This one you might have to get the potatoes & broccoli from another emergency food supplier like Emergency Essentials or Augason Farms then combine them.

        Fireside stew: this looks to me like macaroni + dried kidney beans + dehydrated/freeze-dried carrot dices + chicken (or maybe veggie?) boullion + seasoning(s). You might have to get the carrots from Emergency Essentials or Augason Farms.

        Buttermilk pancakes: buy pancake mix from grocery store, big box discounter, you can make & store pancake mix as well, an old but excellent book called Make A Mix Cookery by Karine Eliason has great recipes for ‘convenience food’ mixes, there’s an updated version on Amazon as a $2.99 eBook

        Grammy’s sweet oatmeal: buy pre-sweetened / seasoned oatmeal mix from grocery store, big box discounter, possibly store instant (or regular) oatmeal + whatever flavorings & seasonings you like

        Vanilla pudding: buy vanilla instant pudding mix from grocery store, big box discounter, the Make a mix cookbooks may have a recipe for this too

        Powdered whey milk: I have seen powdered whey milk for sale online but if you’re not lactose intolerant or allergic to milk, powdered non-fat or whole dry milk could be stored, non-fat powdered milk is easy to get at any grocery store, big box discounter, whole powdered milk can be bought online

        Strawberry energy drink: buy an energy drink mix you like from grocery store, big box discounter or online

        The version of this 4 week kit I see listed today (October 30th 2020) for the same $197.00 has:

        America’s Finest Mac & Cheese (8)
        Buttermilk Pancakes (16)
        Creamy Rice & Vegetable Dinner (16)
        Dinner Bell Broccoli Bake (16)
        *Frank’s Favorite Alfredo (16)(this is different from what was reviewed)
        Fireside Stew (16)
        Grammy’s Sweet Oatmeal (32)
        *Old Fashioned Pudding (16) (chocolate pictured not vanilla)
        *Promised Land Powdered Milk (16)(replaces whey milk, not good if you’re lactose intolerant or allergic to milk)
        White Rice (32)

        Missing is the strawberry energy drink but you get alfredo pasta instead.

        For alfredo pasta: buy Rice-A-Roni type mix for alfredo pasta or buy bags of dried fettucini noodles from grocery store / big box discounter + fixings for white/cream sauce so that’s non-fat or whole dry milk powder + thickening agent like cornstarch or flour + cheese powder (buy online) + seasoning(s)

        Personally I think I could make an equivalent kit for between $50-$100 myself, no it wouldn’t have a ’25 year’ shelf life but properly packaged & stored it could be shelf stable for at least few years, it would be in my choice of packaging (possibly better than theirs) & I could upgrade some ingredients like better cheese powders where those are used, more seasonings & flavorings, & fewer potentially troublesome additives & preservatives. 

        I’m not convinced the ‘convenience’ & supposed shelf life which will be far shorter if the kit is stored in heat (like a car or an un-air-conditioned garage) or the factory packaging gets damaged of this particular emergency food kit is worth the $100+ premium to me.

        And I will add that in the case of some ‘mixes’ what shortens their shelf life is the life span of the ingredient that expires first (like pancake mixes, biscuit mixes, pudding mixes, etc). It’s definitely more work to make a ‘convenience’ mix closer to preparation & serving but 1) you may be able to extend the shelf life out by how you put together the mixes & food portions & 2) it definitely can be monetarily cheaper (the trade off is in your time spent making the mix yourself) and/or higher quality ingredients & therefore more palatable.

        I also note that in the fine print on the current webpage for this kit that the calorie portions are called ’emergency’ & come closer to 1200 calories per person per day rather than the more typical recommended 2000 calories per adult person per day the USDA & various dieticians & nutritionists recommend (USDA has a great chart that takes into account your age, gender & activity levels when you’re trying to figure out things like adequate food storage).

        I would think this kit would last me maybe a bit over 2 weeks (my personal RDA on calories is pretty close to the 2000/day) unless I’m doing nothing but the barest level of activity (sleeping or resting most of the day, getting up only to do the absolute minimum of daily bodily functions)

        And to get me to the recommended ‘normal times’ 2000 calories / day, they would want me to supplement the kit & their options again are pricey (though I think their freeze-dried / dehydrated fruit bucket is more along the lines of what I would buy from them, supplemental fruits & veggies are healthier & more nutritious, closer to the MyPyramid & MyPlate daily recommendations, those Datrex-type carb-loaded emergency food bars not so much).

        $100 per week buys me a pretty fancy diet in regular times (with working refrigerators, freezers, electric stove, microwave & other appliance cooking possible). I think it should go A LOT farther than on what I can see here which is heavily starches, grains & powdered dairy products (no meat, few veggies or fruits) with a smidgen of seasonings.

        This is like the preparedness version of SNAP/food stamp/USDA ‘Thrifty Food Plan’ version of the temporary emergency food assistance program (TEFAP), they too give out a lot of commodity starches, grains & dairy products which doesn’t fit with the more recent but also USDA nutritious food plans recommended to ALL Americans of MyPyramid (2005) or MyPlate (2015, half your plate should be fruits & vegetables whether fresh, frozen, dried, canned & without added syrup, sugar or salt).

        See here:

        I just don’t think this is a good food choice in a pandemic where the emergency is literally already a threat to your health, 2 weeks of this diet (or more if you try & stretch it out) alone could make you sick by itself & more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection, not less.

        My vote on this kit is a definite ‘no’, either make this kit yourself cheaper, or choose something else from the emergency food / prepper food suppliers.

        I second others recommendations for the Mormon / LDS food storage plan as modified to suit individual needs (for example, you can’t store all those wheat berries if you have issues with gluten) or get with the Old Order Amish / Mennonites who also store a lot of food but it generally has to be more shelf stable because they avoid being connected to electrical grids, their cookbooks like

        More With Less by Doris Jantzen Longacre


        The Basics & More by Virginia & Elsie Hoover

        are fantastic resources for simpler cooking.

        Peggy Layton in the Mormon LDS community published a lot of books on stored food recipes (like beans & rice, potatoes including the very popular ‘funeral potatoes’, dried eggs, etc) search for those on Amazon & other book selling sites if you opt to go the more old school storage ways, they’re very good resources as well.

        6 |
    • Doug L

      I spent quite alot of money on a 3 month food supply and some supplemental food. The experience was horrible to say the least. The customer service will tell you they are sorry, but they don’t do anything to make things right. No shipping updates and frequent excuses that differ by the day. And if you are thinking of calling their customer service line, be prepared to wait on the phone for at least an hour and a half. They have a call back option that will call you back usually the next day. This was not worth the price or the extended wait. Readywise shipped quicker!

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      • Isabel Doug L

        It’s always frustrating to deal with customer service when you don’t feel like you are being heard. Why were you contacting them, was the food bad?

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