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Survival Gear Review: Mainstay 3600 Food Ration

When we started researching emergency food more than two years ago we found that most foods out there fit into 4 categories.  Freeze Dried, MREs, Long Term Staples (rice, beans, flour, etc) and Food Bars.  In the Food Bar category we found one that stood out.

By the Team

The Mainstay line of emergency food bars by Survivor Industries exceeded our criteria to be included in our 72 hour kits and Bug Out Bags (long shelf life, lots of calories, fortified with vitamins & minerals, and it does not taste like a cardboard sandwich).  The Mainstay food bars come in three different calorie sizes, 1200, 2400, and 3600.  The nice thing is that you can buy them by the case or the individual bar. The packaging around the food bar seems very tough and durable. Based on Survivor Industries’ claims these emergency food rations meet or exceed DOD/Coast Guard standards and can withstand temperatures from -40 degrees F to 300 degrees F.

What About the Taste

I was really surprised at the taste.  We were shooting a video review of this product and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect on camera.  We did the shot in one take and I was surprised at how good it tasted (all things considered).  I am not going to tell you that the Mainstay 3600 bar is my new late night snack that I have before I go to bed but I can tell you that you will not be disappointed if it is your food of last resort.  The best way I can describe it is a lemon “girl scout cookie” flavored hard cake.


5 year shelf life
Non-thirst provoking
Meets Coast Guard and DOD standards for packaging and stability
Ready to eat with 400 calorie sections
Fortified with vitamins and minerals that exceed RDA requirements
Made in the United States of America
It beats eating bugs and grass


The one thing which I did not like with the 2400 and 3600 calorie food bars is that the food sections are not individually wrappedMainstay Emergency Ration Review within the main package.  Let me explain this a little better.  When you buy a 3600 Mainstay bar you are basically getting 3 x 1200 Mainstay bars hooked together (with the 2400 calorie bar you get 2 x 1200).  Imagine buying a super pack of snickers bars and when you open the package all three of your snicker bars are exposed.  Not a big deal if you are feeding a small family or you can crush a large pizza and a side of bread sticks by yourself.

But if you are in a bad situation and you are trying to conserve your food for as long as you can, the individually wrapped 1200 calorie Mainstay bars are the way to go in my mind.  Are they a little more expensive per calorie?  Yes, but we are talking about a few dollars that will provide you with peace of mind in an emergency.  Also you will have the ability to spread load the bars in different parts of your pack, emergency car kit, or on your person.  If you do go with the 2400 or the 3600 bars, maybe have a ziplock bag so that you can reseal the partially eaten bar to keep it fresh and dry.

A Second Review

Popular Mechanics Emergency Food Bar Taste Test (Click Here)


We hope you never have to eat one of these bars but if you do then at least you will not be grossed out.  For their size and weight vs the amount of calories in each bar, they are pretty tough to beat.  Make sure you rotate them every 5 years.

Where to buy Mainstay Emergency 3600 Calorie Food Bar
Amazon $8.49
Emergency Essentials $6.95
Camping Survival $6.95
Forge Survival Supply $5.86

See the whole selection of Mainstay Food Products (click here)
Mainstay Emergency Water (click here) Video Review


Visit Our Survival Gear Store – Forge Survival Supply