Food Brick of Datrex food bars

Food Brick (Datrex Food Bar)

A food brick. Although the phrase doesn’t sound too appetizing, it does sound perfect for a survival kit. I’ll explain in a minute…

Way back when – many years ago – I decided to buy one of those so called food bricks. I had to find out for myself. Are they any good? Is there a place for them in my overall survival food plan?

There are many various categories of food ‘stuffs’ within a prepper’s overall stores. We sure have talked about lots of them here on Modern Survival Blog over the years. One of them is the practical, sensible, ‘food bar’.

They are not only good for storage at home, but they’re perfect for on-the-go, a hiking or camping trip, 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. I first bought the Datrex food bar as a food brick. It is a vacuum-sealed brick of several packages of the food bar. Looks kinda like a… brick.

Here’s why I like the them:

An ideal emergency food bar for survival is calorie-dense. Why? Because being dense with calories reduces the overall size and bulk of the product – 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 survival.

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. Though in my experience they’re fine beyond that time as well.

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.

Food Brick

Food 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 Each of the 18 are individually thinly wrapped, although once you open the sealed brick, the shelf life is no longer applicable (in other words, it’s time to eat…).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 food brick represents 3600 calories. While rationing 1200 calories per day (just as a minimal example), you’re looking at 3 days emergency food per brick. Otherwise 1 or 2 days depending on exertion and other factors requiring more calories.

They are dense.However, once I opened an individual food bar wrapper that was years old, it was slightly crumbly. But no big deal.

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 Calories (2-pack)

Also, the CLIF bar. I have those too. They do not come in food bricks, so they won’t last as long. However, they are convenient, and another great food bar for densely packed energy.

[ Read: The CLIF Bar – One of the best for a 72 Hour Kit ]

[ Read: 72 Hour Emergency Survival Kit ]


  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 shoe-box 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 .

    1. @Andy, I get them from the Datrex storefront on Amazon, and there’s a link at the bottom of the article underneath the photo…

  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.

      2. The semi-dwarf wheat was developed in Mexico in the 1940-50s through traditional selective breeding of thousands of strains from all over the world. The main goal was disease resistance and yeild increase. The resulting seed heads were to heavy for the long stalks. Therefore dwarfism was added to the breeding mix. The lead plant pathologist received a Nobel peace prize for his work in 1970.

  4. 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. unwrap and vacuum seal your clif bars. they’ll last longer.

  5. 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.

  6. They need to make one that’s gluten free for some of us who can’t tolerate wheat.

    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… ?

      1. since it’s been 7 yrs since this article came out–i googled glutin free protein bars.

        many options came up.

  7. 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 bag to carry it in after you open them up… it keeps the crumbs and the bulk bar contained and protected between meals.

  8. 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…

      [ Read: A Place To Store Food For 72-Hour Emergency Kit In Your Vehicle ]

      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

    1. Kulafarmer:
      Sort of like Sugar or Salt, if kept correctly and your starving ………
      Almost like chewing on a rock though HAHAHA
      Hell, even Ole Blue turns his nose up on them and walks away.
      BUT, again, they will save your butt If/When.

      1. Well, I disagree. Although I haven’t sampled any in awhile, they were not like a rock (except when they’re sealed up – then it’s like a ‘brick’). In fact, they were slightly crumbly. And I wasn’t pleasantly surprised at the flavor. I was expecting something not-so-good. But, they were not that bad for a survival bar. That said, I do like the overall flavor and texture of the CLIF bar, although they will not last as long.

    2. I’ve eaten many Datrex bricks that were 2 years past the expiration date and they tasted the same. No Ill effects from eating them either.

  9. “A food brick” is the exact description for these things HAHAHAHA
    BUT, they will sustain you for awhile, I have a couple of 18-packs in the vehicles for the Ohhhh POOP moment.
    One thing, make dang sure you drink a LOT and I do mean a LOT of water when you eat these things.
    PS: they do make a good improvised hammer for driving tent stakes LOLOL

  10. I keep these along with Clif and Gatorade energy bars in a plastic ammo box in our trucks and in my GHB. My original plan was to rotate them every year but I’ve found I will eat them when I’m out and didn’t pack a lunch so they get replaced before they go bad.

  11. me, i have always kept Payday bars in my “stuff”.
    energy packed with protein, carbs and sugar for a quick energy boost, plus they taste good. it’s a win win for me.
    depending on where they are stored they will last about a year. heat will shorten the life of anything like that.

    1. I love Payday bars. The problem I have with keeping them in my bag is that I know they’re there. And they don’t stay there long enough to get old. I bought a case of these a couple years ago.

      Little bit better taste than the Datrex bars I also get. Little bit of lemon tart taste like a shortbread cookie. A little crumbly so eat over the bag, or the dog. Way better than C Rats, but they don’t come with the 4-pack of smokes :-(

  12. I’ve tried the Datrex, you could survive on it, but the taste? Not for me. Power Bars, yep, got cases of them, they’re loaded and I got them on a close out for 4/$1.

    Right now I’m making pemmican for the first time. Got the meat powder, fruit powder, gonna get some beef fat and render into fresh tallow. Never tried it before, so we will see.

  13. I have one of these bricks that has been sitting open in the back of the shelf for over a year. I tend to forget it is there but when I notice it I take one out and have it as a snack or carry it hiking. I like them and have not noticed any loss of quality by just sitting open. Should have eaten or resealed by now. It’s expiration date is 7/2023.

  14. Are 10yr old Power/Clif Bars ok to eat. They seem a little harder than the new old ones…???

  15. I bought several a long time ago, still have four in an ammo can.
    I didn’t know they had a coconut flavor until I tried one, given the right situation I could tolerate them like if I was dying.

    Coconut anything makes me want to vomit, that goes back over 30 years to highschool, three female friends and a bottle of Malibu.
    I have mayday bars instead, not significantly better but no nasty flavor.

  16. I keep these food bars in our car for emergencies. They came in handy for my dog and myself when Old Man wound up in the emergency room in the VA on Veterans Day. They shut every eating place in the VA because of the holiday! So we had some of those bars while we waited there for hours. They were good, and the dog liked them but he upchucked them later. I read later that coconut wasn’t good for dogs.
    Since that worked so well several years later Old man and I tried to order a pizza as we waited outside the hospital for monoclonal antibodies for hours. We were on the outskirts of a small town, but they wouldn’t deliver there so we opened another set of bars. This time they weren’t so good. They completely crumbled and tasted funky. I believe they were way past their expiration date.

  17. The key thing here is “not thirst-provoking.” This is why they’re Coast Guard approved. Face it; in a lifeboat you’ll be surrounded by water you can’t drink. The lifeboat will be full of people, and there won’t be a lot of potable water to go around. These bars also handle climate extremes really well, making them great to have in that emergency pack in your vehicle!

    While on the tack of thirst, if you’ve stocked up on freeze-dried foods be sure to have enough water to deal with them; especially “snacks.” I have a freeze drier. Freeze-dried fruit tastes GREAT. It also makes you thirsty! The freeze drier takes the water out of the fruit. Believe me; it will tap your body to rehydrate when you eat it! The danger here is that freeze-dried fruit makes a great “trail snack.” Unfortunately, eating it will dehydrate you really fast!

  18. For those with gluten problems you can take oatmeal and mix it with honey and peanut butter. Let harden in a pan and then cut in to bars.

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