Best Emergency Food Bars: Top 5 Reviewed, Buying Guide, Questions

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By Joel Jefferson •  12 min read

Emergency food bars are one of the best survival foods for land and sea survival, because a lot of times, cooking isn’t an option in a survival situation.

Best Emergency Food Bars

Most bars come packaged individually, don’t weigh much, and have long shelf lives.

In addition to packing enough energy to get you through a day in the wilderness or after a disaster, they also double as meals when hunting, camping, hiking, or fishing.

You can also eat them as a snack.

There are emergency food bars for every budget and diet available, but the vast number of options available is also a disadvantage – it makes finding the right emergency bar very challenging.

Not to worry, I’ve narrowed down the list to the best emergency food bars money can buy.

Best Emergency Food Bars: Top Picks

1. Datrex 3600 Emergency Food Bar Review – Best Overall

Datrex 3600 Emergency Food Bar

The lack of nuts, pleasant taste, and moderate pricing makes the Datrex 3600 Emergency Food Bar the best overall bar on this list.

The 3600-calorie bar is divided into 18 bars, with 200 calories per bar. The ”tabletized” packaging and sub-packaging of the bars make them easy to ration and store separately in different survival kits.

But what I like best about the bar is that no GMOs are used, and there are no nuts in the bar. This makes it suitable for most people.

If you’re allergic to tree nuts, however, this bar is not for you.

Also, there are no preservatives in the bar, and only natural ingredients are used. The ingredients include Wheat flour, Vegetable Shortening, Cane Sugar, Water, Salt, and Coconut.

The five-year shelf life ensures that it is still edible years after you buy it, and it’s advertised as non-thirst provoking, which can be instrumental to your survival.

However, customers report that the bar is very crumbly, which could make you reach for water so you can wash it down.

Also, customers find the packaging difficult to get off, which can be very frustrating when your life is on the line.

It tastes neutral, a hint of the coconut flavor is present, but in a survival situation, even this will feel refreshing.

The packaging reads that you must have a block every four hours when you’re on land, and one every six hours if you’re at sea.

So, assuming that you consume four blocks a day, this bar could last you up to five days.

But remember, you’re only getting about 800 calories a day if you follow the instructions, and you will start feeling very weak if you don’t find/use other sources of food.

Nonetheless, the bar is USCG certified for use as emergency rations, which is very reassuring, and since each bar weighs 25.4 oz, it won’t be trouble to carry around.



Datrex 3600 Emergency Food Bar - 3 Day/72 Hour Bar - Single Pack
  • Package of 18 survival bars with 200 Calories per bar, 3600 Calories per pack
  • Tabletized and sub packaged for ease of rationing and storage in your survival and disaster kit

Last update on 2024-06-18 at 06:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. SOS Food Labs, Inc. Review – Best Low-Priced Option

SOS Food Labs, Inc. Emergency 3600 Calorie Food bar

If you’re looking for a low-priced emergency bar that doesn’t compromise on quality, this bar from SOS Food Labs is the best option.

It’s priced a lot less lunch usually is and will last you three days when rationed as recommended.

The bar comes split into nine individually-wrapped blocks, and the company recommends that you eat three a day in a survival situation.

It’s also impressively energy-rich, at least more so than the Datrex bar, with every block supplying 410 calories. It’s also rich with vitamins and minerals that will keep you strong in adverse circumstances.

The US Coast Guard approves this bar, and having their stamp of approval is reassuring.

The package weighs 1.6lbs, which essentially makes it just as heavy as the Datrex bar.

The company uses a non-thirst provoking formula to maximize survival capacity when access to drinking water is restricted.

It tastes sweet and pleasant, and there’s no flavor associated with it as such. But the texture and taste can be compared to shortbread cookies.

While customers like that you can buy the bar in bulk and get more quantity at a reduced price, customers note that some packs come with tiny punctures or rips.

These compromise the seal and will reduce the shelf life. While it’s not a dealbreaker considering the low price and high calorie-count, you will need to take the trouble of checking every bar thoroughly if you order in bulk.



Last update on 2024-06-18 at 06:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3. Mayday Food Bars Review

Mayday Food Bars

The Mayday Food Bar is the best tasting food bar on this list. It comes with apple cinnamon flavoring, but the taste is not overpowering – it’s pleasant.

It comes in a case of 20 bars, which is perfect if you’re looking to stock up for a long while or have a big family.

The bars do not contain nuts, which makes them safe to eat if you have nut allergies. They do contain soy, though, which some people are sensitive to.

Other ingredients include reduced iron, high fructose, vitamin E, calcium propionate, and other vitamins and minerals.

Each bar supplies 3600 calories, but one of the main reasons why it didn’t make it to the top of my list is that it doesn’t come in precut portions.

While the emergency bar is scored, it’s too thick to be broken into the scored portions with bare hands. You will need a knife to cut it up, which I find inconvenient and disappointing – as do a lot of the customers.

The nine scored portions comprise of roughly 400 calories each, and it is recommended that you eat three of these a day.



Last update on 2024-06-18 at 06:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4. ER Emergency Ration 3600 Calorie Food Bar Review – Most Moist

ER Emergency Ration 3600 Calorie Food Bar

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say super dry, crumbly cookies are the worst – which is what most emergency food bars taste like, unfortunately.

But not the ER food bar – it’s sufficiently moist and tastes refreshing owing to the lemon-vanilla flavoring. Also, it comes cheap, which is what helped it make it to my top 5.

However, the bar is still very dense to be called appetizing (as are all other bars), so I can’t call it the best of the lot. But customers agree that it’s noticeably moist, which can count for a lot in a survival situation.

Another gripe I have with the bar is that just like the Mayday Food Bars, it does not come in precut pieces. However, the package is resealable, which makes storage post opening a little easier.

It comes packed with FDA recommended vitamins and minerals, and has a shelf life of five years, like all other bars on the list.

But it stands out from the other bars not just because of its moist consistency, but also because it does not contain coconut or nuts, making it safe to consume if you’re allergic to nuts.



ER Emergency Ration 3600 Calorie Food Bar for Survival Kits and Disaster...
  • Each packet contains nine individual, ready-to-eat 410 calorie rations; requires no preparation
  • Contain no cholesterol, coconut, or nuts which may cause dangerous allergic reactions when medical...

Last update on 2024-06-18 at 06:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5. Emergency Food Rations Bar Review

Emergency Food Rations Bar

The 3600-calorie bar from Emergency Food Rations comes in the lemon flavor, and won’t dry your mouth out.

The key selling point of the bar is that it can withstand extreme conditions, with its temperature withstanding capacity ranging from -22F to 149F.

It’s enriched with vitamin, is approved by the USCG, and has a five-year shelf life – checking all the boxes of a quality food bar.

However, it’s not precut and individually wrapped, and it’s a lot more expensive than most bars on this list.

But if you live where it’s too warm or cold, you cannot go wrong with the Emergency Food Rations bar.



Grizzly Gear Emergency Food Rations- 3600 Calorie Bar (Vanilla Poundcake) -...
  • Contains 9 pre-measured 400 calorie rations, to last one person up to three days. Natural Lemon...
  • USCG approved for 5 year shelf life within its durable, air sealed Mylar packaging to ensure...

Last update on 2024-06-18 at 06:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Makes a Food Bar Good for Survival?


While the weight of the bars doesn’t matter when stored in the pantry, it’s important to remember that in the event of a disaster, you may need to move around, and will need to carry some food with you.

Packs of emergency food bars weigh between one and two pounds, which means you will be able to slip at least one of these in your bag along with tools and medical supplies.

However, if you have many to care for, the weight can quickly add up. It’s always better to get the lightest pack of bars possible.

Shelf Life and Temperature Withstanding Capacity

Emergency food bars have a shelf life of five years and rarely any less, so you don’t really have to worry about the bars staying edible.

However, the temperature the bars can withstand varies. If you live in a location with a warmer climate, buy bars that can stay fresh for longer in warm conditions.

Likewise, if it’s cold where you live, get bars that will stay fresh in the cold. You can find an emergency bar’s temperature withstanding capacity on its packaging.

Diet Compatibility

The most important consideration on the list, you must make sure that the emergency bars you get don’t trigger health problems.

If you have diabetes, you must get emergency bars that satisfy your nutritional needs but don’t cause a spike in blood sugar. Look for bars that use natural ingredients and sweeteners.

If you have Crohn’s disease, its best to consult your physician about emergency food supplies, since emergency bars may not be right for you.

Lastly, if you’re allergic to soy, nuts, dairy, or egg, read the bar’s ingredients before you make a purchase.

If ever in doubt, check with your physician.

Caloric Density

Emergency food bars typically have a caloric density of 2400 or 3600, with daily recommended intakes usually capped at 1200 calories.

But the number of servings/meals you get per day varies from bar to bar. Emergency bars are typically divided into either 200- or 400-calorie blocks.

While there is no difference in the caloric intake per day, if you’re like me, you may find comfort in knowing that your next meal is sooner rather than later.

You may also like to keep your meals limited to three times a day with the 400-calorie blocks.

You can pick whatever option you like better.


Taste is the last thing you must consider – you shouldn’t nitpick if you intend to make it out of a survival situation alive. However, a pleasant-tasting bar is always comforting.

You can find emergency food bars in many flavors, from lemon to apple cinnamon to coconut.

You can choose based on your preference, but know that none of the products on this list taste unpleasant.

Open Questions about Emergency Food Bars

Where should I store these bars?

Having a supply of these bars in your pantry should suffice; however, you can also put these away in a bugout bag, your survival kit, car emergency kit, and even in your child’s school locker. A supply of these in the office may also come in handy.

The bottom line is, the bars must be stored in a cool and dry place. Keeping the original packaging in an airtight container or a zip lock bag will ensure that critters don’t get to it and that the supplies don’t get wet in case of a disaster.

How many of these bars should I store?

A three-day supply of these bars per person is minimum. Kids can be fed half of a bar, and babies can typically be fed emergency food bars by mixing them with water.

Those with sensitive digestion or missing teeth can also consume these bars mixed with water for survival.

How much of it can I carry in my survival bag?

A survival bag should weigh no more than a third of your body weight. Food and water are essential, but you will also need other tools and medical supplies.

Stuff as much of the food in your bag as possible, making sure it doesn’t get too heavy.


Lower prices means I can buy more of the bar and ensure the safety of my family and myself for longer. I’m not one to nitpick when it comes to survival, as most of us are.

Which is why I feel confident in recommending the food bar by SOS Food Labs.

It’s wallet-friendly, energy-rich, loaded with nutrients, and tastes like shortbread cookies.

I find the USCG approval reassuring. The lightweight packaging is a plus, and since the portions come precut and individually wrapped, carrying the bar by distributing it in different bags becomes easier. The five-year shelf life ensures that you get your money’s worth when it counts.

Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joel’s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here.