Mainstay Emergency Food Rations - 3600 Calorie Bars
|Price:||$13.08 - $105.75|
- Ready to Eat: Each package contains 9 pre-measured 400 calorie meals.
- 5 year Shelf Life, Non-Thirst Provoking, Withstands Temperatures of -40° F to 300°F (-40°C to 149°C)
- Individualized portions eliminate the messy breaking-up that occurs with other bars, Allows for on-land emergency consumption in a high-stress active situation
- Contains no cholesterol or tropical oils., Enriched with vitamins and minerals exceeding the RDA requirements, Pleasant lemon flavor which appeals to everyone.
- MainstayTM is Kosher and meets the dictates for Halal.
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Mainstay is an emergency food product unlike any other. Before it came into the picture, emergency food bars were only being made for short-term use. Survivor Industries changed all that when it created a great-tasting, non-thirst provoking product with an extraordinary five-year shelf life. Mainstay is specially formulated for land-based high stress situations. Each package contains 9 pre-measured 400 calorie meals, which allows a person to get their full nutrition in a challenging situation.
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Starting with the packaging, the case of 10 packs came double boxed, presumably to avoid any potential shipping damage. Crushed bars are less of an issue as these are very durable, not to mention, dense. But severe damage could potentially rupture a pack, killing the shelf life. Always examine each pack individually before caching it or adding it to an emergency kit. The actual product box is extremely compact for a month's worth of rations, and is easily stored or cached virtually anywhere for emergency use.
Each pack has indentations formed in the brick for easy portioning and is vacuum sealed in a durable, non-resealable foil/mylar wrapping. Packs are compact and small enough (24 oz weight) to be thrown into any bag of emergency supplies, be it car kit, marine kit, or even at the bottom of a backpacking pack to be used in emergencies if caught stranded out in the woods, desert, bush, etc. beyond what was planned.
The taste of these rations is surprisingly pleasant, perhaps a bit too sweet for some tastes, while others may have issue with the lemon flavor. While not overpowering or artificial tasting, it is clearly lemon flavored. A more neutral flavor might be preferable if one had to subsist off these for more than a few days. For reference, the nearest comparison to a common food stuff would be lemon sugar cookies, albeit much denser.
Compared to ER Bars, I would personally say the taste is better (more like a cookie and less like a biscuit) although a bit stronger (sweeter, stronger lemon flavor). Texture-wise, the Mainstay bars are not as hard (easily bitten) and much less crumbly and powdery. Overall, they are much easier to eat, perhaps even a bit too easy to consume if one were in a legitimate emergency situation where they will be subsisting off 3 squares a day. ER Bars generally have to be ground down slowly or pre-crumbled; Mainstay bars can easily be chewed up in a few bites.
Nutrition-wise, they are enriched to provide the basic vitamin and mineral nutrients and are composed primarily of flour, vegetable shortening and granulated sugar. On a caloric basis, over half come from fat, followed by complex and simple carbohydrates with only 3 grams of protein per serving and 2 grams of fiber. Like ER Bars, Mainstay rations are extremely low in sodium/electrolytes, making electrolyte replacement a potential issue under high heat exposure environments. This likely contributes to the "non-thirst provoking" characteristic of the rations, which I will generally agree with; eating these do not cause dry mouth.
Make no mistake; these are Emergency Rations, not nutrition bars or backpacking food. With any luck, one won't have to rely upon subsisting off these for any length of time (ideally, never), but given the compact packaging and very efficient nutrient to volume nature of these rations, paired with a 5 year shelf life (rations received were manufactured less than a month ago), these are an ideal addition to any car kit, marine kit, go-bag or emergency supply cache.
The FedEx package arrived with the rations packed loosely (allowing them to rub against each other during shipment). Three of the packages had lost their seal, resulting in a product that can't be used for it's intended purpose.
I wanted to open one package to taste anyway, and and have tried to contact Big Fly Sports for replacement of the other two. To date, I've left several voice mail messages and still haven't heard back from them. Can't say I'd order from Big Fly Sports again.
Other than this slight problem, I'll add the good rations to survival kits and use the bad packages for friends to sample. Survival rations are an essential item for many, especially here in Alaska. I've no problems with the Mainstay product itself, as long as it's properly preserved & sealed.
UPDATE: I received voice mail from Big Fly Sports yesterday. Email sent with hopes of a "fix"...to be updated.
FINAL UPDATE: Big Fly Sports passed me back to Amazon.com customer service. Amazon.com customer deserves a big THANK YOU as they took care of me and resolved the problem immediately, despite the lack of action by Big Fly Sports.