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Best Survival Bars: Maximize Your Nutrition

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Survival situations often escalate quickly. That is a concept that our stomachs fail to understand.

There is a reason that we preppers say that society will start to collapse after nine missed meals. Since every event isn’t a world-ending crisis, it’s best to balance your preparations for emergencies both big and small.

For the minor situations that cause one or two missed meals, it’s often only necessary to prepare yourself with the best survival bars.

Regardless of whether you call them energy bars, emergency food rations, or just plain ole food bars, these quick snacks fill the belly and take the edge off of a souring attitude.

Even though most of us can go days or weeks without food, a missed meal can drive us to distraction with hunger. A quick and filling snack is usually all we need to keep going to reach our next goal.

Let’s look at the best survival bars to store in your bag, car, or bug out location to top off your emptying tank!

best survival bars

Why Emergency Food Bars Should Be In Your Prep

As I mentioned, it is much more probable that you will encounter a minor event that changes your schedule than you will encounter “The Big One.”

Even if you encounter the life-altering event we all plan for, there will be times when you may miss a meal. It’s these little food gaps that we prepare for with pre-packaged individual portions of high-calorie foods.

Today’s standards are a far cry from my early camping days and a baggie of GORP (Good Ole Raisins and Peanuts) that you had to swap out every other week for fear of off-flavors. Now it’s easy to source bars up to 3600 calories that can stay in your pack a long time.

A convenient meal that is as compact as it is calorie-rich is an advantage to those on the move and those that may not know the source of their next meal. A survival bar is equally at home between meals and emergency rations, and the perfect food for your bug out bag.

Qualities of a Good Survival Bar

What should you look for in the best survival bars? Calories, stability, and finally taste.

Survival bars are emergency food. Little more. Little less. When you are dipping into your emergency kit for a survival bar, you need calories to get you through a pinch.

The more calorie-dense the better. In some of the following bars, you will find 200 calories of stomach-filling carbohydrates and fat. Energy first, taste later.

Next is durability. Survival bars are designed to last through time, extreme temperatures (e.g., the trunk of your car), and maintain their ability to fill your stomach.

The gold standard of survival bars will be packaged well and durable. Leave them for a full cycle of seasons in your pack and they should still be intact and edible.

As I said, taste later. You need to sample your survival bars to make sure they’re edible. They don’t have to be gourmet. Just good enough for you to get them down when it counts.

Best Survival Food Bars

You can fill short-term emergency kits or bug-out bags that are part of your daily life with temporary foodstuffs.

This includes protein bars, granola bars, and the like. When you need to leave calories in the bottom of your bag for months on end, or you want to put away a few cases for years next to your survival food, you need survival bars.

Let’s look at the best on the market!

1. Datrex

Datrex Survival Bars
1,364 Reviews
Datrex Survival Bars
  • Pack contains Twelve 200 kCal bars
  • 5 year Shelf Life
  • Approved by U.S. Coast Guard

First are Datrex Emergency Food Ration bars. There are a few gold-standard ration bars and Daytrex are top members of that pack.

A pack of Daytrex bars includes 12 individual bars. Each bar is a little larger than a box of matches and packs 200 calories. Each vacuum-sealed pack has 2,400 calories.


I find these bars sweet and not unlike a shortbread cookie, with a hint of coconut. Each bar at 200 calories has 26 grams of carbohydrates for energy. They come with a 5-year expiration date, so get a few cases and forget about them for a while.


Datrex bars are dry and a bit crumbly. Pack extra water if you have a few cases of these in your preps.

2. Mayday Food Bars

Mayday Food Bars come in up to a 3,600 calorie package and the bars are double the size of the Datrex bars. They are 400 calories and 56 grams of carbohydrates.


Mayday bars are calorie-dense and available in different “configurations” (e.g., 2,400 and 3,600 calorie packs). Each pack has a 5-year “best by” date. They will most likely last longer assuming that packing is kept in good condition. If in doubt, double-pack them with your own vacuum packaging.

Mayday bars are among those with the highest protein content.


Bars are not individually wrapped. Keep the outer packaging in good order so that you can continue to carry them throughout the day.

3. Mainstay Emergency Food Rations

Mainstay Survival Bars
577 Reviews
Mainstay Survival Bars
  • One pack of 3600 calories emergency food ration (9...
  • Meets the US Coast Guard standards. Meets SOLAS 74/83...
  • Halal and Kosher Certified. High in Vitamins and Minerals.

Similar to Mayday bars, Mainstay Emergency Food Rations comes in 400 calorie bars. Mainstay bars focus on calories rather than taste and smell (they are tasteless and without any aroma). When you just need calories, Mainstay bars are the way to go. 


Bland and easy to get down if you are sensitive to off-flavors.


Dry and brittle. Not individually packaged. Be prepared to eat the entire pack within a day of opening. Lower in protein than some of the other bars.

4. Millennium Energy Bars

Millennium Survival Bars
1,370 Reviews
Millennium Survival Bars
  • LONG SHELF LIFE - It is strictly made with long expiration...
  • VARIETY FLAVORS - These are very tasty and filling it comes...
  • DURABLE PACKAGING - The packing is absolutely Mylar vacuumed...

Millennium Energy Bars come in an assortment of flavors and are individually wrapped. With the range of flavors, you are bound to find a few that you like.


Each bar comes individually wrapped and contains 400 calories. Each case contains 18 bars (three each of six flavors).


Some flavors may not be to your liking. Save these for other members of your group or as barter.

5. SOS Food Labs Survival Bars

SOS Food Labs Survival Bars
3,690 Reviews
SOS Food Labs Survival Bars
  • Each Packet Contains 9 Fortified Food Bars Providing 3682...
  • Us Coast Guard Approved For 5 Year Shelf Life Under All...
  • Country Of Origin : United States

Finally, we have S.O.S. Rations. S.O.S. ration bars come in a 3,600 pack of individually wrapped 400 calorie bars.

The mix of flavors is similar to a Christmas cookie. They won’t replace grandma’s cookies, but they will keep you alive for a few days.


Individually wrapped within the vacuumed-pack case. Better flavor than most. 5-year shelf life.


Lots of sugar! But sugar is energy!

DIY Your Own Survival Bar

If you wish to take better control of your survival, then make your own ration bars! It’s easier than you think.

The key components to making a long-lasting bar are minimizing fats, keeping them dry, and packaging them properly.

Most survival bar recipes include oats, wheat flour, a little vegetable shortening, a sweetener (e.g., honey), and a flavoring component.

Check out our recipe to make 3,000 calorie survival food bars. Feel free to experiment, especially with flavorings, to find the best survival bar recipe for your taste and your needs.

Final Thoughts on the Best Survival Bars

We can’t be ready for 100% of possible events 100% of the time. It’s just not possible.

We can, however, be ready for the most probable events that life can throw at us. This includes being prepared for a few missed meals. 1,000 and 1 situations can cause a missed meal.

Too much time traveling, a minor power outage, or life just gets in the way. While we can all stand to miss a meal or two, that doesn’t me it has to happen during times of stress.

Prepare yourself for these minor bumps in the road as well as for the big ones with a case or two of the best survival bars!

guide to the best survival bars