Monday, August 5, 2013
Review: Mainstay Emergency Food Rations
I've been feeling really remiss as a prepper without a stock of MRE's and other per-packaged survival food. Like a cowboy without a Stetson, or a fisherman without a line. Military style MRE's are not easy to come by in Australia, but I was lucky enough to spot some silvery packets of goodness in the display window whilst visiting Global Gear (who have supplied me with some fun kit in the past).
I did some research online and it seemed that these were the real deal. These are the Mainstay Emergency Food Rations. These high density food bars come in three varieties, in 1200, 2400 or 3600 Calorie packs. Each of the three varieties consist of a vacuum sealed foil sachet, with extensive nutritional information, and contains a block of very solid food.
The 1200 weighs 228g (1/2lbs)and breaks into three measured blocks.
I grabbed a sample in the "Energy Bar/1200" size from Global Gear and opened it up to see what I got.
It's always a good idea to test out something like this, before you commit to perhaps a box full of something awful, but I was pleased to find that the Mainstay bars were quite palatable. A solid, slightly brittle block that for all the world felt and tasted like a coarse, buttery shortbread, with a light lemon flavour and scent. I ate a block of it, and whilst not filling, was certainly a hunger stopper.
Quite palatable, if crumbly, I can see these being a fast and easy way to keep your energy up in a challenging situation, especially if water was available. I was distinctly aware of the gritty texture, much like a very sweet, hard cornbread.
I found that I left the uneaten portion in its wrapper and came back to it a couple of weeks later, to no noticeable effect. Properly sealed, they are designed to have a 5 year shelf life, but I expect they would still be edible long after this.
This ration is marketed as a "complete food" meaning that no other food intake is needed to meet all nutritional requirements in a survival situation. Having a look at both the ingredients, and the "percent daily values" listing, it is possible to determine that these bars are indeed jam-packed with nutrition, and trace elements. Certainly not something you'd want to LIVE off, but life FROM, for sure.
Based on USCG and SOLAS standards, two blocks suffice to sustain life in "maritime settings" whilst three (a full packet) are recommended for land survival. Given the insights I made in looking at survival nutrition, and the availability of the 2400 calorie Mainstay ration in bulk from SurvivalStorehouse.com, I opted to buy a number of these from , as "get out of trouble" supplies.
I plan to stash some in my car, in my bug-out-bag, for when we go hiking or camping, and at work, for those times when I just can't get out because of marauding hordes ...