Food Storage Food (Datrex Food Bar)

Food storage food comprises many different categories, one of which is the practical ‘food bar’. They are not only good for storage at home, but they’re perfect for an emergency kit designed to travel (or your 72-hour kit in your vehicle, at work, etc..).

One such food bar is the Datrex food bar – which I personally keep a supply for my own needs.

Here’s why I like them:

THE CALORIES in a small package.

An ideal emergency food bar for survival is calorie-dense to reduce the overall size and bulk of what you’re carrying. While some of the food bars that you’ll see at grocery stores are either marketed towards supposed reduced-calories (100-150 calories) or others which are simply loaded with sugar, there are better purposed food bars for your emergency food storage…

Datrex Food Bar

The Datrex food bar contains 200 calories each.

They have a high energy value, are ready to eat, and they are not thirst provoking.

They have a 5 year shelf life.

They are United States Coast Guard approved (used on lifeboats in their emergency food storage).

They are made from all natural ingredients and have a bit of a coconut aroma and flavor.

They taste pretty good for an emergency food bar, kind of like a shortbread cookie.

They come in ‘bricks’ of 18, vacuum sealed in a heavy duty waterproof Mylar wrapper. Each of the 18 are individually thinly wrapped, although once you open the sealed brick, the shelf life is no longer applicable (in other words, it’s time to eat…).

Each brick represents 3600 calories. While rationing 1200 calories per day, you’re looking at 3 days emergency food per brick (e.g. while in a lifeboat waiting for rescue – low energy conditions). Otherwise 1 or 2 days depending on exertion and other factors.

Once an individual food bar wrapper is opened, it can be slightly crumbly, but that has its advantages for consumption.

TIP: I had a half dozen of the bricks, and while re-organizing my food storage – one of the vacuum seals evidently leaked (probably a corner). So I subsequently vacuum sealed each brick with a FoodSaver vacuum sealer (for double protection).

TIP: These bricks are perfect for keeping in my truck for emergency, along with the other items in my 72-hour kit. They happen to fit perfectly underneath the back seat which has a small compartment area for storage. Good during summer AND winter.


Datrex Food Bar Ingredient List

Wheat Flour, Vegetable Shortening, Cane Sugar, Water, Coconut, Salt

Calories (200)
Protein (7%)
Carbohydrate (65%)
Sugar (5 gm)
Salt (0.75 gm)

Total Fat (23%)
Saturated (21%)
Mono-Unsaturated (65%)
Poly-Unsaturated (14%)

Cholesterol (0.378 mg)

Here’s a picture of an individual Datrex food bar to show how relatively small they are compared to other food bars.

Datrex 3600 Calorie Emergency Food Bar Bricks

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  1. Years ago I worked for an outfit in Miami that did a lot of work on cruise ships at various dry-docks in various countries around the world. Most of the ships were performing upgrades required for Safety of Life At Sea regulations adopted nearly universally in the industry. In dry-dock, a lot of times they would rotate emergency rats and change water in all the life boats. We got hold of a bunch of these bricks and opened one to try it out. It does taste kind of like a macaroon, but unlike your bars, these were pretty dense, very solid and they had carob in them, which really helped the overall flavor. I kept about three of those bricks in a shoebox until Hurricane Andrew blew our home in to the Everglades. I never found them, but I didn’t forget them either.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I probably should’ve described them as ‘almost’ crumbly. They still held together nicely. The Datrex bars that I sampled were not extraordinarily hard or dense, but were easy to chew.

  2. Ken , where do you get yours , and do they ship to you ? I have been looking for these but can’t really find them . Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .

  3. I wish they made a gluten-free bar – for some reason I can not do wheat since 1998 – additives? spraying? China produced gluten? Had bleeding colon for two years before I dropped gluten.

    1. Around that time they genetically changed the wheat plant in order to be easier to harvest and process. Prior to that wheat used to be like four or 5 feet tall now it’s about a foot and a half tall. I believe the Genetic modification also change some properties of the wheat kernels.

      1. The earlier alterations (primarily breeding with wild grasses) drastically increased the gluten levels, reduced the size of the plants and increased the amount of wheat per stalk.

  4. I recently bought some similar bars being sold under the Camillus/MayDay brand and they were actually pretty good. The taste reminded me of the dough used in Poptarts.

    They come 6 “bars” (They look like a square biscuit) to a package, each bar is 400 calories, and it’s supposed to be a 3 day supply for one person.

    Coast Guard approved, 5 year shelf life.

  5. According to a lot of the reviews, the packaging is the weak link. Many people said that they received their packages with broken seals. I think I will stick to my Clif bars and Power bars. I can usually get 2 years out of them, before I have to replace them.

    1. One of my 6 bricks lost vacuum due to a small puncture in the Mylar foil – but after about 2 years and a few moves. It makes me wonder about my Mylar vacuum sealed bags in all of my 5-gallon buckets of other food storage products and supplies. Probably a good idea to check them all for a good seal. Mylar is fairly thin, and will puncture if jostled or poked enough.

  6. I have considered these but they just wouldn’t be practical in our situation. AT least once a month we end up being in the car longer than we anticipate, and with my husband being diabetic, he is always into the power bars that I keep in the car because his sugar gets low. So once a brick is opened we would feel the need to use them up quicker. At least with the protein bars I can just buy one or two to replace the ones eaten which averages about once a month.

    1. Yup, and that’s why I keep both types around – ‘regular’ food bars (of various brands and flavors) and the sealed Datrex bricks. They each have their purpose. The sealed bricks are for a true need (SHTF, emergency, etc..) while the regular food bars are also in my kits (and my vehicle) for less than emergency (e.g. getting hungry while traveling ;) ).

      1. Good article — your reasons for keeping a few different bars are my own. Our Datrex stay in the car in our Get Home bags for true emergency. The Datrex aren’t adversely affected by hot/cold temps so they stay in the bags in the vehicles. We also keep the Millenium bars and they are for hunger when on short trips. We swap them out about every 18 months.

        We also store some of each in food storage and they are for a temp energy boost/snack if there was some type of emergency that prevented a meal from being prepared.

    1. If anyone knows of one, please chime in. I personally am not aware of a food bar without wheat-gluten, etc.. But it’s a matter of looking at the ingredients list posted on the food bar itself. Unfortunately for you though, I have a feeling that most have some amount of wheat-flour-gluten filler in them… ?

  7. Survival Tabs is a GF option with a 10 year shelf life; 1 year shelf life after being opened:

      1. If you look at the ingredients/nutrition facts, you will see they use dry milk solid proteins and vegetable oils, but no grain protein (gluten).

  8. Impossible to find a GF Emergency Ration Bar. I think best bet would be a DIY kit. Just replace each year. LARABAR seems to be a good product, highly recommended for flavor, GF with one year shelf life. Please check their products page and FAQ for more info.

    1. Hi, Me again. I checked out GNC for protein/energy bars that might be Gluten Free. I read a link to Hammernutrition. ALL bars are listed as GF with an 18 month shelf life. Hope this helps

    2. While these other bars will remain good for a year, probably more if stored in ideal conditions, room temp or below. Stored inside of a vehicle in the summer would probably substantially reduce their lifespan. Daytrex and the other brands of survival food rations can last in your vehicle summer and winter for a minimum of five years. As far as gluten free, I am surprised that nobody make them, if I remember correctly, rice is gluten free, so that would be an easy fix, change the wheat flour to rice flour and that would fix that. Maybe if enough people requested this from Daytex they would start manufacturing them.

  9. Datrex, Mainstay, SOS and Mayday all make similar bars in various sizes. EBay has tons of them. Marine catalogs also sell them. Make sure you are not buying old stock. If you are you might be able to get a discount. We had a couple of the 3600 calorie bars in our abandon ship kit. after about
    10 years or so I decided to taste it and it was not very palatable. The seal on the package was intact but I suspect the oils had gone rancid. I chewed a bite up but couldn’t bring myself to swallow it. No ill effects from chewing though.

    1. @me: Keep it for bait, catfish seem to love it as do crayfish, that’s where I use my expired bars.

  10. Keeping items for long term storage, like Datrex Bars, that contain oils would be best kept in the freezer for the time before TSHTF. Once the crapo flies and we all go back to the ice age than the clock would start ticking on the “going bad, or rancid”. As with a lot of items we store that contain oils, cooking-oils/Crisco/nuts/butter/whatever, your going to get a lot longer “shelf-life” frozen. And lets face it a freezer full of “stuff” that has a life of 2-10 years after it hits “normal” temperatures is going to be well worth the cost of freezing it for a few dozen years while we cycle it through our normal yearly usage. Remember store what you use, FIFO, and “use one buy two”


  11. I’ve been using these for years (we sold them as part of our earthquake kits that we sold at our camping / mountaineering store in Kalifornia in the mid 90’s), and as a reservist who was activated at the beginning of the war, I issued them to my team to carry as E&E rations while in Afghanistan.
    I have done and still do what Ken suggested, and that is to double the package and vacuum pack with a FoodSaver and also, I highly recommend a zip-lock freezer weight bag to carry it in after you open them up… it keeps the crumbs and the bulk bar contained and protected between meals. (I now buy the Camillus brand bars at W-mart for around $6.50ish each.)I /we don’t have any food allergies, so I haven’t botherd to check ingrediants for fats / glutin / etc. I also carry Cliff Bars, Power Bars and Gu energy-gel along with jerky, single serve SPAM and tuna in foil pouches as part of my E&E / survival rations.

  12. Uh, shortening? In other words, hydrogenated oil. That will probably kill you almost as fast as starvation. No thanks, I’ll create my own organic survival food storage.

    1. That’s funny. Ihave been eating shortening for the last 30 years or so and I still haven’t died. Must be a slow starvation.

  13. Working on a vehicle storage prep. My concern is leaving these food bars in the car long term and if summer/winter weather will effect these bars and shorten their life? My vehicle prep is just to get me home or out of danger and have something with me if I don’t have my bug out bag. Because of the type of storage I’m only considering these bars for the car.

    Any input appreciated.

    1. @Vehicle Storage, as a general practice, I change out my vehicle’s 72-hour kit food storage at least once a year due to summer time heat which reduces shelf life. I then consume the food which I’ve stored so it doesn’t go to waste. Depending on your climate, you might figure that food stored in a vehicle might have a shelf life reduced by half, given summer time temperatures (on average with the other seasons). More or less…

      With regards to the Datrex bars, their stated shelf life is evidently 5 years, so depending on how hot it gets will determine an expected reality.

      Here’s an article about temperature vs. shelf life:

      Temperature Versus Food Storage Shelf Life

  14. Also lack a vacuum food saver ATM, would a few layers of Saran Wrap work as extra protection ? Just wondering.

    1. The wrap might help against water. Getting the air out and a better seal are the strong points of a Food Saver.

  15. ah….screw that mate. get clif bars! they’re cheaper and if you unwrap and vacuum seal them, they last longer than they normally would.

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