Mainstay Emergency Ration Bar Test Drive

Discussion in 'Food' started by andy.t, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,809
    Likes Received:
    8,015
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    I bought a 1200 calorie Mainstay Energy Bar to try out tomorrow. These are designed to be used as emergency rations. The label says that it's a balanced food product.

    Initial observations: The bar is vacuum-sealed in heavy duty foil packaging. The production date (02/16) and expiration date (02/21) are stamped on the back. It feels like very dense, like a brick. The packaging says that it contains three 400 calorie bars, and I can feel the separation between them through the packaging. I am wondering if the bars are already separated, or if I will have to break them apart.

    I have heard that these taste like lemon cookies. The manufacturer (Survivor Industries) says that Mainstay Bars won an emergency bar taste test conducted by Popular Mechanics. That contest was between ER Bars, Datrex, and Mainstay.

    I was under the impression that Mainstay had some sort of US Coast Guard/SOLAS certification for use as a life raft survival ration, but I don't see that on the product packaging or listed on the manufacturer website. In fact, the manufacturer website says that Mainstay bars are formulated for "land-based high stress situations." Datrex says their bars are USCG/SOLAS approved, and their bars also have a National Stock Number.

    Since I am land-based, and Mainstay won the taste test, I figured it was the right bar for me to try out.

    Here's the plan: tomorrow I'm going to have a 400 calorie bar at each meal. I won't eat anything else. 1200 calories is a little lean for a full day, but we'll see how far I get. Beverages will be water and black coffee.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Usingmyrights

    Usingmyrights Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    7,526
    Likes Received:
    15,351
    Probably come out the same way they go in. Like a brick.
     
  3. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,809
    Likes Received:
    8,015
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    ...if they come out at all.
     
  4. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2015
    Messages:
    8,494
    Likes Received:
    69,945
    Location:
    The Wet Side of WA
    Thanks for running this test for us. There are lots of calories in a small package, but they are arguably the worst possible calories you could consume. The bulk of the energy comes from hydrogenated vegetable oil which wreaks havoc on the whole body.

    I know... there's all kinds of controversy surrounding what's healthy and what's not but if there's one thing that all sides agree on, it's that these industrial factory produced fats are horrible for you.

    They might make sense as life boat rations, but I definitely wouldn't stock up on these for long term sustenance. I think one of Cody Lundin's books advocates storing Crisco which is basically the same thing, but it's definitely not what I would want to feed my family.
     
  5. grendal

    grendal Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2015
    Messages:
    414
    Likes Received:
    335
    Location:
    Sitting in my tin can, far above central ohio
    I tried a UST "Apple Cinnamon" bar from walmart once, while camping. They werent fantastic. Eagerly awaiting your results andy.t!
     
    vyking, Pastor Chris and Crick like this.
  6. ridge rover

    ridge rover Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    260
    Location:
    Nashville Tn
    I've tried those bars while experimenting with survival camping. They do taste good. But to feel satisfied, you will eat more than you expect.

    I have Gout that is controlled. But for some reason, those bars gave me attacks of Gout. Then I took Colchicine for the Gout, then I wished I had brought a case of toilet paper with me!
     
    designtom likes this.
  7. TarHeelBrit

    TarHeelBrit Lowly Backgarden Bushcrafter.

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2014
    Messages:
    1,407
    Likes Received:
    1,994
    Location:
    Lonely Now.
    I couldn't agree more about the chemical plant produced fats, the worst thing for the body. After my wife had her MI a Radiologist friend told her to avoid Trans fats like the plague. Sure as short term survival food in a SOLAS situation and it's the only thing you have it's better (marginally) than chewing on your shoe.

    When we started gather out supplies for prepping we noticed that 99% of the commercially available 72hr kits came with several Trans fat loaded bricks. Survive the emergency situation only to die of a heart attack later because of the trans fats. Now when we go to the store I scan the ingredients looking for Trans and PHO's any anount and it's back on the shelf.

    Yeah like a piece the size of a large Lego brick will satisfy me. 400 calories or not it's lacking in bulk. Ohh Gout, sorry mate, my wife says you have her sympathies. She had a bout of it a while back and said she wouldn't wish it on her worst enemy .
     
  8. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,809
    Likes Received:
    8,015
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    Well, my 400 calorie breakfast is over. Some similar bars are marketed as "non-thirst provoking," so I didn't drink anything yet but a cup of coffee. I am substantially more thirsty now than I was before eating the bar. Mainstay does not market these bars as non-thirst provoking, so I guess there's no surprise here.

    The three 400 calorie sections are already separated in the packaging. The bar tastes sort of like a shortbread cookie. It is dense and a little gritty. It took me maybe 4 minutes to eat the 400 calorie section.

    I am not hungry at all now, and have no appetite at all. I have that feeling you get in your stomach when you eat something you wish you hadn't. I made the kids breakfast and packed their lunches, and none of their food was appealing. I do want water and another cup of coffee, though.

    In reading the packaging, I think you would pretty quickly run a nutritional deficit with these, even if you were getting enough calories. I have a 1200 calorie pack, which isn't really enough energy for a moderately active adult. Their nutritional information is based on a 2000 calorie diet. If, God forbid, I ate 2000 calories of these in a day, I would have gotten only 10% of recommended daily iron. Most other vitamin values are at 50% or below.

    Per 400 calorie serving:
    Total Fats: 23g (36% of recommended daily value)
    Trans Fat: 0g
    Saturated Fat: 7g (34%)
    Cholesterol: 0
    Sodium: 23mg (1%)
    Total Carb: 46g (15%)
    Dietary Fiber: 2g (9%)
    Sugars: 14g
    Protein: 3g

    After we get the kids to school, we'll go for an hour-long hike and then putter around the warehouse until lunch. I will try to note when I start to feel hungry.

    IMG_0246.jpg IMG_0247.jpg IMG_0248.jpg IMG_0245.jpg
     
  9. SoreFeet

    SoreFeet Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 12, 2014
    Messages:
    950
    Likes Received:
    2,733
    Location:
    Texoma Area, Texas
    You're a brave man Andy!
    Willingly risking your innards in the interest of bushcrafters everywhere!
    :35:
     
    Primordial, vyking and Pastor Chris like this.
  10. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,809
    Likes Received:
    8,015
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    It's been about an hour and a half since I ate the first bar. That thing is sitting in my stomach like a rock. Definitely the kind of food that doesn't let you forget you ate it.
     
  11. Badey

    Badey Bushmaster Bushclass I Bushclass II

    Blog Posts:
    3
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    5,329
    Likes Received:
    24,247
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Thanks for doing this experiment.

    I used to keep a pack of these in my pack, but they were very heavy and bulky. These do seem to be a handy source of calories in a compact package though.
     
    vyking and SoreFeet like this.
  12. Pastor Chris

    Pastor Chris Keeper of the T.Darrah Tenkara Pass-Around Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass II

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Messages:
    14,175
    Likes Received:
    48,908
    Location:
    Chester, NJ
    I was thinking the same thing. Interesting thread Andy and thanks!
     
    vyking and SoreFeet like this.
  13. Gii shi kan dug

    Gii shi kan dug Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
    4,320
    Likes Received:
    6,328
    Location:
    3rd planet from the Sun
    I tried the apple cinnamon ones from Wally world. Two bites and the rest went to the birds.they didn't want them either
     
  14. Twistokane

    Twistokane Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2015
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    174
    I keep a package of these the 2400 calories one in the pack. They are my last resort after slugs, grubs and worms. Hell I would eat opossum before these and I HATE opossum.
     
    Lichen and vyking like this.
  15. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,809
    Likes Received:
    8,015
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    Coming up on lunchtime. Not hungry and no appetite at all. Energy levels are fine.

    Am feeling sad about eating another one of these for lunch. I'm not going to eat until I'm all the way hungry.

    I always thought that I would be indifferent to these. My assumption was that they would be basically fine for use in an emergency, and I guess they're probably better than nothing. But I am much farther toward active dislike than I expected.

    I am not convinced that this is the best way to spend your survival ration money. Survival rations need to be as close to nutritionally complete as possible. They should make you feel satisfied, and they should not require additional water. They should also have relatively high caloric value for the amount of storage space they use. These bars are dense and so meet the storage requirement, but I'm not convinced about the other aspects. MREs meet the other requirements, but they take up a surprising amount of space. MRE entrees may be a better option than full MREs or these ration bars. Pemmican is supposed to be a great option as well, but I'm not sure how commercially available it is. I'm going to poke around and see if I can find a source for it.
     
  16. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2013
    Messages:
    13,142
    Likes Received:
    54,833
    Location:
    Kansas
    Man, that's taking one for the team!
    If it was a survival situation I wonder if that could be mixed up with other, more palatable foraged stuff as a kind of supplement rather than a meal?
     
    vyking, grendal and SoreFeet like this.
  17. PMSteve

    PMSteve Old Timey Outdoorsman Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    6
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Messages:
    8,825
    Likes Received:
    14,256
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I've used these before with good results. The ones I had, had a mild lemon/coconut flavor and were semi-moist but dense. I found that the more water you drink while eating, the more filling they were. They seemed to 'swell' with the additional moisture.

    I keep several in my car kit as well as in my bug out bag.

    Steve
     
  18. grendal

    grendal Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2015
    Messages:
    414
    Likes Received:
    335
    Location:
    Sitting in my tin can, far above central ohio
    They burn fairly well tho. not fire starter quality but 5 minutes of light or so.
     
  19. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    4
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Messages:
    41,705
    Likes Received:
    15,153
    Location:
    Texas
    An awful lot of sugar calories there. I have some of another brand, tastes like a sugar and coconut grease cookie. Edible, and yeah, in an emergency it would be good to have. Not a good choice for diabetics though.
     
    Paulyseggs likes this.
  20. R_W

    R_W Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,068
    Likes Received:
    126
    They are just.... weird. Kind of cookie like, but not really. Definitely sit like a rock in your stomach. They definitely are calorie dense.

    I used to carry them in my emergency kit, but switched to more natural food. Jerky, dried fruit, nuts or peanut butter, honey, a bottle of coconut or olive oil-basically the ingredients for pemmican.
     
  21. DKR

    DKR Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2014
    Messages:
    1,079
    Likes Received:
    4,214
    I went to the local certified liferaft service facility and purchased some Seven Oceans lifeboat bars. These were certified for liferaft Chow.
    [​IMG]
    We get foreign vessel here (Anchorage AK) so the facility carried these - as they are called out specifically for some raft packages.

    • Each 500g gives 10,300 kJ or 2,500 kcal and contains the highest possible ratio of balanced nutrition compared to volume
    • Each package of SOS (500 g net) contains 18 tablets packed in 9 bars with grease-proof paper. (One person for 3 days, 3 biscuits per 'meal' )
      500g is about 1 US pound.

    Dry, crumbly and lemon flavored. 2,500/3 = 834 calories per day. I found them suitable as a snack, held up well in the kind of cold found here in Alaska.
    Would recommend these only as a last resort.

    A CLIF bar will provide 230 to 250 calories per bar ($1.50 / bar) so not low cost food, by any measure. Lots of flavors to choose from. low sodium

    Pemmican bars - meatless.
    Fruit and Nut has 2 servings: 210 cal, 8 grams protein, 5 grams fiber, 29 grams carbs each. $2.00+ each depending on vendor. low sodium

    Or make your own - The Paleo Mom Pemmican (a.k.a. Caveman Protein Bars) - The Paleo Mom - for home made pemmican with a fruit component.
     
  22. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,809
    Likes Received:
    8,015
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    I have decided I do not like this Mainstay bar. I would be glad to have it if I couldn't get anything else, but right now is my big chance to prepare and I believe I can do better than these emergency ration bars. It is too much sugar and not much else. Mainstay doesn't even have a lemon flavor; it's straight sugar and shortening with a little corn syrup thrown in.

    I found Beef Pemmican from a company called US Wellness Meats, and I will be ordering some to try. In the meantime, I will be grilling burgers for supper. Experiment concluded successfully, and lesson learned.
     
  23. Jean

    Jean Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    Messages:
    2,068
    Likes Received:
    1,973
    It's not over yet, when you eat MREs all weekend on an FTX, it's not over till Tuesday.
     
    andy.t likes this.
  24. R_W

    R_W Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,068
    Likes Received:
    126
    Not liking it is a benefit in my book if it needs to be a last resort, not raided as a snack.
     
  25. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,809
    Likes Received:
    8,015
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    Maybe. I recommend that folks try these out for a day before they need to rely on them. My goal is to find a better alternative. I did not feel too good after lunch. I think it was too much sugar and vegetable oil and too little of everything else. Should have done another hike after lunch, but there was too much desk work.
     
  26. The Woodsrunner

    The Woodsrunner Possum Hobbyist

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2015
    Messages:
    2,852
    Likes Received:
    7,052
    Location:
    Ohio
    I tried the Ultimate Survival Technologies knock off of these. About 50% the price and about .5% as good. Try these before purchasing folks!
     
    andy.t likes this.
  27. duckear

    duckear Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    38
    I think if you were in a true survival situation, you would feel a bit differently.

    Skip eating for a day or two and then try one. ;)

    It is has been awhile since I looked at it, but the modern concept of a 'survival ration' goes back to WWII. The goal was to provide enough sugars and fats to keep you in a controlled starving mode, gradually burning stored fat instead of muscle.

    The intent of a survival ration isn't to mimic three nutritionally balanced, hot meals from all the food groups, but to keep you alive and 'healthy' for a relatively short time. They are not to stock for long term use.


    The greatest advantages to these rations are, to me:

    Shelf life of five years in less than optimal conditions. About the only thing you can toss in the trunk of your car and forget.

    Compact. A 3600 kcal Datrex and a few 4oz 'survival' water pouches fit perfectly in a Trangia large mess tin. Seal the edge with duct tape and you have a protected food/water ration that is easy to pack or store in your car.

    Heavy? Yes. But the most concentrated 3600 kcal you can easily source and pack. Look at the volume you would need to pack 3600 kcal of Mountain House, rice/beans, etc.

    Cheap. All in all, for what you get, yes. $8-12 for a 2400/3600 kcal bar delivered to your door.

    They are certainly the right answer to the right question, but not all questions.
     
    blind & lost, WY_Not and TN_Woodman like this.
  28. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,809
    Likes Received:
    8,015
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    I agree with everything you say here, except for one aspect. These ration bars are certainly a better option than starvation, but that doesn't make them the best or the optimal product for the job. If you are planning in advance, you can make a better selection than these bars. For instance, MRE Entrees are fairly dense, have high calorie content, better taste, better nutritional value, and more variety. They may not pack the same number of calories per cubic inch, but they go a lot father toward mitigating misery than these ration bars.

    By the way, when I say MRE Entree, I mean the actual main course from the larger MRE package. The complete MRE pouch takes up a lot of space. Isolating the entrees goes a long way toward saving space and maximizing the number of calories per square inch.

    I still want to try real pemmican, but haven't pulled the trigger on that yet.

    My conclusion on these ration bars is this:
    Could they prolong your life in a starvation scenario? Yes.
    Are they the best tool for that job? I don't believe so.
     
    Paulyseggs and WY_Not like this.
  29. JAY

    JAY Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    2,035
    Likes Received:
    5,582
    Location:
    Blue Ridge Mt's.
    I don't know about the nutritional thing with energy bars, ect, but I was just looking at the emergencyessentials site that I have bought from before, and found energy / food bars there. seems to be a little high in price, but again, I haven't compared with other products. The company also has individual mre pkgs as well.
     
    andy.t likes this.
  30. duckear

    duckear Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    38
    "My conclusion on these ration bars is this:
    Could they prolong your life in a starvation scenario? Yes.
    Are they the best tool for that job? I don't believe so."


    Survival rations aren't meals. They are for surviving.
    MREs are meals, meant for short-medium term sustenance.

    While you can extrapolate survival at sea to land based survival, there are certainly differences.

    No experience with Mainstay or the UST stuff. Datrex are SOLAS/USCG approved.



    I guess I don't understand your point?
     
  31. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,809
    Likes Received:
    8,015
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    There are a lot of different ways to prevent starvation. Based on my experience eating this bar, I do not recommend it for that purpose. It is my opinion that there are other products that are better suited both nutritionally and from the morale perspective.
     
  32. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    4
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Messages:
    41,705
    Likes Received:
    15,153
    Location:
    Texas
    When you look at these, for people with diabetes, they can be real bad news. However, if not eaten all at once, but nibbled on through out the day, they are easier on the stomach, and easier on blood sugar.
    I keep a couple of datrex bars in my food bag for trips. Not at all interested in eating them for a snack, but if we get locked in by rain/ floods (as happened to me a few years ago) or by snow, these can be worthwhile if waiting for things to clear so you can get out. Also good if you end up injured somewhere in the woods and have to wait for rescue or even to be found.

    Now, for my normal back up use, I keep some honey/oatmeal bars and fruit power bars that are more edible and can be a decent snack on the trail.

    I like to have a pound or so of trail mix and another pound of jerky. Real pemmican, I have had, and not to favorably impressed. Pinole (parched corn) on the other hand, I tend to like, Makes a decent porridge, can be eaten cold with water, pretty versatile.
     
  33. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,809
    Likes Received:
    8,015
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    When I was at Philmont as a kid, I used to grab the freeze-dried creamed corn from the swap boxes. I ate it dry, right out of the pouch. It was a pretty tasty snack on the trail. I had a bottomless appetite on that trip.
     
  34. captbrian

    captbrian Bush League Urbanite

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    Messages:
    992
    Likes Received:
    375
    Location:
    USA
    just fyi, a youtuber named Urban Prepper did a couple good 3 day challenges and reviewed ration bars pretty thoroughly, may be of use to anyone else out there with questions or want to compare those types of bars. I enjoyed the videos he did, don't mean to hijack your thread Andy... just wanted to (hopefully) add to it. Thanks for the post!
     
  35. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,809
    Likes Received:
    8,015
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    I haven't had time to watch those, but I think they should make a good addition to this thread. I did find a link to his full collection. He tries Mainstay, Mayday, SOS, Tac-Bar and Datrex. You can watch them here.

    There was a Youtube review that I saw where a guy taste-tested three different bars and hated them all. At the time, I felt like these ration bars should be a great solution, and that's what prompted me to try them. Turns out that I agree with that guy, but now I can't find his video anymore.

    That guy really strongly recommended LRRP rations as emergency food. The down-side to those is that they're dehydrated so they don't really count as a stand-alone ration. Also, they're difficult to find. I called Mountain House to see if they still manufacture these (or could), but it sounds like a no-go for now.
     
    Paulyseggs, Primordial and captbrian like this.
  36. Kenneth

    Kenneth Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 1, 2017
    Messages:
    1,423
    Likes Received:
    6,298
    Here is a UST Emergency Food Ration Bar 2400 Calorie. I checked the nutritional info 0 trans fat, but it does have High Fructose Corn Syrup which my wise wife likes to keep from the kids as see keeps an eye out for healthy snacks. I got this at Walmart for $4.97.
    20190820_221812.jpg

    20190820_221803.jpg

    GOD Bless you and your families

    Kenneth
     
  37. rhino on INGO

    rhino on INGO Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2017
    Messages:
    285
    Likes Received:
    1,136
    Location:
    Indiana
    Some years ago, I did a taste test of SOS, Datrex, and Mainstay emergency ration bars. Mainstay was like eating a block of vaguely lemon-flavored sugar. Datrex was okay if you had plenty of water to drink with it. By far the best was SOS. If I could eat carbs like that, I would eat SOS as a snack if it was available.
     
  38. TRYKER

    TRYKER Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2017
    Messages:
    2,963
    Likes Received:
    14,576
    Location:
    MASSHOLE
    HAS anyone tried to break it up into a cup of tea or joe ???
     
  39. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,809
    Likes Received:
    8,015
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    A few weeks ago I bought this "Food Packet, Survival, Abandon Ship, Type II" ration. These are packaged by NewView Oklahoma (an Industries of the Blind organization). The ration itself is manufactured by SOS Food Labs. They printed this ration with a manufacture date that I'm not sure how to read. It's probably something like the 251st day of 2008, but I just don't know which part is where. Any consumable product manufactured for the government is supposed to have some sort of labeled shelf life, so it's a little hinky that there isn't one on here. Especially considering that I bought this on Amazon, and the product image there DOES show an expiration date.

    Each foil packet contains six individually wrapped bars. Each bar is approx 400 calories. You're supposed to eat two food bars per person per day. That will substantially extend your life.
    66608824_2547000901977311_2577319568347234304_n.jpg

    These are the bars inside the pouch. You can see that each one has its own cellophane wrap. Those aren't airtight wraps, but the larger foil pouch was vacuum-sealed, so there's no moisture or air infiltration.
    66613211_2547000808643987_4252010076782460928_n.jpg

    These are very crumbly, producing a lot of crumbs. They taste ok. If you had a spectrum with Finnish coffee cheese on one end and a Kobe ribeye on the other end, these bars would be near the middle, slightly toward the coffee cheese end. Imagine a shortbread cookie, but with the texture of a dense sugar cube. I had one of these bars and a pot of coffee for breakfast, and that got me all the way through to lunch with no problem, except for topping up on coffee a few times.
    66432216_2547000975310637_5151909298430803968_n.jpg

    My kids also tried the bars. My son said the bar was "fine." He did not care to give it any more thought than that. My daughter was somewhat resistant to the idea, but finally agreed to try it. She seemed to really like it. She also came up with the idea to put grape jelly on these, which she said was a big improvement. Someone should let the SOLAS and USCG people know about that.

    65254973_2547001068643961_3057855567579054080_n.jpg

    They were not thirst provoking at all. When I tried the Mainstay bars (up at the top of the thread), they wrecked my appetite for the day, almost to the point of queasiness. These did not do that. I wouldn't say that they're satisfying, per se, but I felt pretty done with eating after I had one.
     
  40. Jacob

    Jacob Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2016
    Messages:
    1,179
    Likes Received:
    7,054
    I’ve tried a few of these types too and have come to the same conclusion. There are better options, especially if your willing to rotate your food. I still keep a few stashed in my truck bag because they don’t take up a lot of space compared to the freeze dried stuff and don’t need to be rotated. After a year or so in the heat and cold the foil wrapper loses its vacuum, I don’t know if the “food” is rotting and putting off gas or the foil fails but I’ve been throwing them out at that point. When the last of them gives up the ghost I’m just going to go back to dense backpacking snacks and rotate them out depending on weather.

    Even freeze dried stuff screws up my guts after a few consecutive days. So it’ll be nuts, crackers, PB, oatmeal and coconut chips for me from here on out.

    Thanks for the test and write up, never know until you try right?
     
  41. duckear

    duckear Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    38
    Of course there are.
    But you seem to be confusing survival rations with an emergency food supply.
    Considering caloric density, size, packaging, shelf life, adverse condition storability, and cost, I'm all ears if you have something better than COTS life raft rations.
     
    rsnurkle, andy.t and Muskeg_Stomper like this.
  42. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,809
    Likes Received:
    8,015
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    There’s another thing to consider as well. These life raft style rations are designed not to provoke thirst. Most other food types will make you thirsty. That’s bad in an environment with limited drinkable water. MRE entrees would be my first choice, but they’re full of sodium.

    There’s something called a GP ration that could maybe be a better option for non-SOLAS applications, but they may not be in production anymore. I talked with a guy from Oklahoma League for the blind, and he says they have some in stock but not available for resale, and plan to stop assembling them moving forward.
     
    rsnurkle likes this.
  43. PMSteve

    PMSteve Old Timey Outdoorsman Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    6
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Messages:
    8,825
    Likes Received:
    14,256
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    The Mainstay, Datrex and SOS survival rations were developed as emergency rations for storage in military and civilian life rafts and life boats. Also as part of survival rations for military air crews. These were never intended for use as snacks or trail mix but as an adjunct against starvation.

    Situations which would require strict rationing of foodstuffs and water are where these supplies would shine. They provide the maximum amount of calories in the most compact package. They supply simple and complex sugars that when rationed, provide the survivor with necessary carbohydrates (sugars) to keep the body operating at a sustainable level. Our brains need sugars to operate. No sugars; no thinking. No thinking; no living. In a scenario where a person is trying to simply survive, even a diabetic would have little trouble eating these rations.

    Steve
     
  44. rhino on INGO

    rhino on INGO Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2017
    Messages:
    285
    Likes Received:
    1,136
    Location:
    Indiana
    That was worth repeating, so I quoted.
     
    PMSteve and andy.t like this.
  45. dial1911

    dial1911 Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2015
    Messages:
    563
    Likes Received:
    2,720
    Location:
    Middle Georgia
    Very good thread! I hadn't seen this before.

    Thank you for posting the comparisons and the discussion.
     
    andy.t and Metaldog like this.
  46. Metaldog

    Metaldog Just chasing my tail... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2018
    Messages:
    2,566
    Likes Received:
    18,039
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Mmmm. Ain't nuthin' like a heaping helping of compressed gritty sawdust to satisfy. [​IMG]

    I'm not myself, lately. I think I"ll go get that Snickers bar now. :oops:
     
  47. Geneh

    Geneh Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    562
    Location:
    Mpls area
    Something else to watch for when attempting to gather emergency rations: there is some information (google this to validate/invalidate of course) that we should have a balance roughly of the same calories of fat, carbs, and proteins. If I'm on a 14 block diet, that comes out to about 1200 calories a day. (slightly off topic, I should be at about 2000 calories, so I lost weight between Feb and July.)

    You can break that down into "blocks" and we should have roughly the same resulting number for fat, carbs, protein. The calc goes like this:

    fat grams / 3
    carb grams / 9
    protein grams / 7

    So that 2400 calorie bar above would be
    19 grams - 6.3 blocks
    51 grms 5.7 blocks (a little low)
    7 grams 2.3 blocks (very low)

    Getting a protein balance is really hard to do.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019 at 4:24 PM
  48. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Messages:
    3,809
    Likes Received:
    8,015
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    I have some Datrex bars at the house. Will break into one of those sometime soon.

    @PMSteve has it right—these are simply meant to prolong life while the survivor awaits rescue, tapped in a raft. Set your expectations and make your plans accordingly.
     
  49. Geneh

    Geneh Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    562
    Location:
    Mpls area
    I just got to thinking - if by total luck you caught a fish while on the raft you would have a balanced diet while getting sunbaked.
     
    rsnurkle, andy.t and Woodsman Wannabe like this.

Share This Page