ER Bar Review- Emergency Rations and Survival Bars

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Which survival bars are best? As a family, did a taste test a few of the most common survival bars. Read about the pros and cons of 3 common ER bars

As a family, we decided to taste test a few of the most common survival bars.  This way, we would know which ones WE enjoyed, and which ones our kids would enjoy and be more willing to eat.

To be honest, I had never tried ANY type of ER or survival bar and was pretty nervous!  I had always has this impression that they were gross and I would never eat them even if I was dying.  Well, I am here to tell you… I don’t feel that way anymore!

There are a few reasons we are switching to survival bars in our 72-hour kit, and I suggest you think about it too.

  1. Small and compact- this will allow you extra space in your pack for kids stuff
  2. You get A LOT of calories for the price
  3. In an emergency situation, the first few days will be stressful trying to find where to stay, finding family members, and keeping kids calm.  We don’t want to focus on limited energy on trying to cook a meal.
  4. These are much lighter compared to other food items.  Unless you are using Freeze Dried, but in that case you’ll need lots of extra water which will add to your weight or increased time to prepare.

Overall, we were pleasantly surprised with the way these bars tasted.  Our tasters include:  Myself, husband Will, our 4 and 2 year old boys.

Survival Bar Taste Test

Emergency Ration Bar (ER bar)

This bar came in one of our pre-married life, store bought, 72-hour kits.


  • Came in an easy-resealable package
  • Easy to score and break apart
  • Cheaper in price than others


  • Very dry.  Most of us went back inside to grab some water before trying the other ones.   If you are planing on using this one, be sure to store some extra water because you’ll be thirsty all day long.
  • Crumbly.  Although it was easy to score, it did crumble a lot when trying to eat it.
  • Thick, this made it difficult for little kids to take bits from without getting overly messy

What did it taste like?

  • Charisse- tasted like dried raisins
  • Will- a sweet cracker
  • 4 year old- a tree branch
  • 2 year old- applesauce

Mainstay Emergency Rations

This is another bar that came with a pre-made 72-hour kit.  Our 10 month old (at the time) approvesd of this one!


  • Easy to score and break apart
  • Sweetest tasting of all three
  • Looked appetizing
  • Fairly cheap price


  • Not a resealable bag
  • Again, thick.  Difficult for little kiddos to take good bites.  You have to keep breaking it into smaller pieces for them or they may just nibble at it.

What did it taste like?

  • Charisse- a shortbread cookie with a hint of lemon
  • Will- a lemon cracker
  • 4 year old- graham cracker
  • 2 year old- applesauce

Download your 72 hour kit guide here.

Millennium Energy Bar- Vanilla

My husband has been using these bars in his backpacks for a few years.  He doesn’t eat them very often, but has enjoyed the vanilla flavor.  Pretty soon, we are looking to buy a variety back and compare those flavors to find our favorites.


  • Convenient packaging (400 calories per package)
  • Thinner bar, so it is much easier to eat
  • Comes in a variety of flavors


  • Not a resealable package
  • More expensive than others

What did it taste like?

  • Charisse- grahm cracker, felt like it was as dry as the other bars
  • Will- a stale granola bar
  • 4 year old- cherry
  • 2 year old- applesauce (are you seeing a theme?)

In conclusion

At the end of the day we were all pleasantly surprised!  These survival bars, were eaten, and liked!  Our 10 month old, even had fun gnawing away on the Mainstays ER Bar. 

Right now, our first choice is the Mainstays ER bar.  It was sweeter, and had a lemon cracker taste.  All of us enjoyed that flavor.  We are planning on buying an Millennium Energy Bars Assorted Pack to find more flavors we enjoy.  For our complete 72-Hour Kit, it will most likely have a combination of Mainstays ER bars, and New Millennium ER bars.  

Which ER or survival bars do you have?

Further Reading

72-Hour Kit Food Options
DIY 72-Hour Kits
Survival Moms- Comparing Emergency Ration Bars

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This post contains affiliate links.  Read my affiliate link disclosure here

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