Best Emergency Ration Bars

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best emergency ration bars

Last Updated August 2019

Emergency ration bars are also known as power bars, nutrition bars, or energy bricks. A high-calorie food product, these bars are individually packaged for easy consumption. Initially developed for military applications, emergency ration bars are portable, non-perishable, and lightweight — a great way to quickly replenish energy when food preparation isn’t an option.

Emergency ration bars are suitable for sea or land survival. They are also enjoyed as a snack or meal replacement when hiking, hunting, camping, fishing, boating, skiing, studying, or traveling. There are emergency ration bars for every taste, nutritional need, and budget. If you follow a weight loss diet, are a diabetic, or need to gain a few pounds, these bars provide a nutritionally balanced amount of calories and carbohydrates and serve as a quick energy boost.

Read on to learn more about the different types of emergency ration bars. When you are ready to make a purchase, consider our recommended choices.

Students, elderly, athletes, busy parents, and any number of people can satisfy hunger pangs with energy bars rather than a fat-laden fast food meal.

Key considerations

Disaster readiness

Natural disasters can strike anywhere and at any time. Are you prepared? The primary purpose of emergency ration bars is to store them for use in times of trauma, when food may be unavailable. These bars are a staple for survival packs and shelter-in-place kits.

When stocking a family emergency kit, include enough bars to meet your family's nutritional needs for a minimum of three days. Disasters never seem to be of short duration. When determining the amount of emergency bars, water, and other food staples required for survival during an emergency, a good rule of thumb is to hope for the best but plan for the worst.

Caloric density

Quick-energy, high-calorie bars are available in several calorie densities. Most common are bars with 2,400 calories, 3,600 calories, and 3,800 calories. In most cases, when we think of calories, we think of them as a "bad" thing associated with obesity. However, when it comes to survival, calories are crucial.

Energy bars high in calories can sustain life in survival situations with unreliable food sources. We need calories to maintain energy, stamina, and bodily functions. We cannot survive for long without calories. Calories provide instant energy and the fuel to keep our bodies optimized in a "fight or flight" survival situation. If you have safe drinking water and a supply of emergency rations, you can maintain your energy and will to survive.

Sustainability and extended shelf life

Packed with nutrition, children love these bars. They’re easy to carry and easy to store. You could put them in your family disaster survival kit, and you could also bring them along on your travels. For example, some consumers find them to be a flavorful snack during camping trips.

Features

Texture and consistency

There are many different brands of emergency energy bars with similar ingredients and calorie counts. Taste and texture make the difference. Some are gooey and a mess to eat. Others may be dry, brittle, or crumbly. Still others crunch like cardboard and are tasteless.

Nutritional value and taste

Pay attention to nutrition labels to find out about nutrient, calorie and carb content. Taste matters, too. Emergency energy bars are available in a seemingly endless combination of flavors that include fruits, seeds, spices, nuts, grains, honey, coconut, and chocolate. Popular salty and sweet flavor blends include the following.

  • Lemon blueberry

  • Caramel/chocolate/walnut

  • Strawberry

  • Chocolate peanut butter

  • Honey almond

  • Chocolate raspberry

  • Hazelnut coffee

  • Apple cinnamon

  • Pineapple and chia seed

  • Date/honey/sesame seed

  • Pear and pumpkin seed

  • Mango and white chocolate

Shelf life

Authentic emergency ration bars are easily distinguished from granola and fruit bars. Emergency ration bars have a long shelf life while granola and fruit bars do not. When purchasing emergency energy bars, be sure to check the “best if used by” date. The best emergency ration bars have a shelf life of more than five years.

DID YOU KNOW?

Bars baked with all-natural food sources and organic ingredients, such as coconut and almonds, are high in fiber and allow you to curb your sweet cravings naturally.

DID YOU KNOW?

Caffeine and dark cocoa, in moderation, are primary ingredients in many emergency ration food bars.

DID YOU KNOW?

Blueberries, cranberries, dates, honey, or cacao chocolate often supply a natural sweetness to emergency food ration bars. What’s more, these ingredients contain potent antioxidants.

Emergency ration bar prices

Consumers purchasing emergency ration bars can be somewhat confused by the difference in price between products. Emergency ration bars are meant to provide the protein, calories, and carbohydrates required to sustain life during an emergency when other sources of food are unavailable. However, those nutritional needs can vary greatly between individuals due to weight, age, gender, and energy expenditure.

Here’s a breakdown of general price ranges you can expect to see when shopping.

Budget-friendly: A 12-count box of emergency ration bars with less than 10 grams of protein usually costs $5 to $8.

Mid-range: A 12-count box of emergency ration bars with 10 to 20 grams of protein may range in price from $10 to $25.

Expensive: A 12-count box of emergency bars with 25 grams or more of protein may cost anywhere from $30 to $60.

Five-year shelf life

These survival bars are packed with nutrition to help sustain energy during times of food shortage. They’re ready to eat and have a five-year shelf life. You can also take them along when camping, hiking, or traveling.

Tips

  • If you haven’t purchased the brand before, try a sample before taking advantage of the considerable savings of buying in bulk. If you are buying in bulk, look for brands that offer a money-back satisfaction guarantee.

  • When purchased in bulk, emergency ration bars should have the ingredients, calories, and nutritional information printed on the packaging of each individual bar. If you have soy, nut, dairy, or egg allergies, check the ingredients on the emergency rations you are considering.

  • Choose bars that can withstand extreme temperatures and thus be stored anywhere, such as in a garage, basement, attic, survival bunker, tornado shelter, or lifeboat.

  • Purchased in bulk, emergency food ration bars can be an economical and tasty addition to your daily food pantry as well as your emergency kit. Stash a few in a desk drawer at the office or in your automobile for a handy snack when there is no time to stop for a meal. You can also pack energy bars in children's lunch boxes.

  • Energy bars, typically high in fiber, are a “crunch-satisfying” way to up your daily fiber intake.

  • Emergency food ration bars are perfect for including in your purse, briefcase, backpack, or carry-on luggage for times when the certainty of the next meal is unpredictable and you need a quick pick-up.

Other products we considered

The Tac-Bar Rations Kit from Expedition Research LLC provide five days of survival food rations, water-purification tablets, and a helpful free survival kit. It’s an excellent addition to any family’s shelter-in-place disaster plan.

Survival Tabs Eight-Day Food Supply provides nutrition that is concentrated into tablets. Gluten-free, the tablets have a 25-year shelf life. Convenient and easy to store and take along when camping or traveling, these survival tabs will help you make it through an unpredictable food shortage. They’re an excellent value.

People with diabetes should avoid energy bars with excess carbs in favor of ones with high lean protein content.

FAQ

Q. Are there emergency ration bars for people on special diets?

A. Yes. Maybe you’re restricting carbohydrates on a ketogenic diet. Maybe you’re eliminating animal by-products on a vegan diet. Regardless, you are likely to find emergency ration bars to fit your needs. Consider choosing a bar that is more than 75% nuts and seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, or flaxseed. Because nuts and seeds comprise the “granola” in these type of bars, they are also likely to be free of gluten.

Q. What about diabetics? Can they eat emergency ration bars?

A. If you are diabetic, it is important to find a bar that satisfies your nutritional needs without excess calories that could cause an unwanted spike in blood sugar. Emergency ration bars that contain natural ingredients and natural sweeteners are less likely to raise blood sugar levels. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) diet recommends limiting carbohydrates for a snack to 15 to 30 grams. Check the package label: net carbohydrates in your emergency ration bar may be a lot lower due to high fiber content.

Q. My son is allergic to peanuts. Is there an emergency ration bar that he can safely consume?

A. Yes. There are special emergency ration bars that are free of tree nuts or peanuts. If you have any doubts about a product’s safety, consult a healthcare provider before adding a particular emergency bar to your kit.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Marlene
    Marlene
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Ola
    Ola
    Writer

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