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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Mainstay Energy Bars for SHTF

"Hey Urban man, why do you recommend the survival bars? They taste like crap warmed over. Why not some granola bars. Some of them are pretty yummy.  They are cheaper too, especilly if you buy in bulk.  Why not also add granola mixes or trail mix? TC"

UrbanMan responds: The Mainstay Energy bars are just one of many food items I have.  My stored food plan is fulfilled by stocking food in several different categories:

  • Pantry items - dry, boxed and canned goods. Includes the cereals, granola mixes, nuts, honey, peanut butter, crackers, canned and dry soups, pastas, etc.  Although these foods are usually heavier and bulky for the quantity of food they provide, they are often the easiest to start stocking a survival supply with through getting the "on sale" deals at grocery stores, buying extra cans, boxes or packages - and using them from your pantry in the first in, first out mode.   

  • Long Term bulk items - dehydrated, freezed dried and/or vacuum packed bulk foods items such as grains, vegetables, powdered eggs eggs, rice, beans, etc.  These items, along as you have water, provide the most easily transportable food items, stored in #10 cans in durable cardboard boxes, and in small and larger buckets and barrels, which incidently have additionally uses after you use the food.   

  • Long Term or Medium term Prepared meals such as MRE's, Wise and Mountain House meals.  MRE's of course can be used without preparation while the Wise and Mountain House (and other similar type) need water to re-constitute.

  • Survival Foods such as the Mainstay bars.

I have a good supply of Mainstay Bars, manufactured by (surprise) Mainstay Products, Inc. I mainly have the three serving bars, which is one bar that you can break into three pieces.

Each serving or 1/3rd of the overall bar provides 400 calories, which 210 are from fat:

23 gram of Fat
23 milligrams of Sodium
46 grams of Carbohydrates
2 grams of Dietary Fiber
14 grams of Sugar
3 grams of Protein

Each serving provides the following pecentage of nutrients according to the FDA's Required Daily Allowance of nutrients (%DV):

Vitamin A 50%
Vitamin C 60%
Calcium 50%
 Iron 10%
Thiamin 15%
Riboflavin 25%
Niacin 30%
Vitamin D 50%
Vitamin E 25%
Vitamin B-6 90%
Folic Acid 35%
Vitamin B-12 20%
Phosphrous 40%
Magnesium 30%
Pantothenic Acid 100%

Mainstay Energy Bars have a five year shelf life. I'll bet they'll keep longer if stored correctly. They come in a 1200, 2400 or 3600 calorie packages. I have several of the 1200 and 3600 bars in my Bug Out Kits. I have included these into my food plan to provide food/energy on the go, when stopping is not an option, and, to provide food for when a cold camp or maximum light, noise and scent discipline is necessary.

I also have small bags of various nuts and raisins in my Pantry food group that I would ensure gets distributed into our Bug Out Bags.

While I do not count on these food bars providing the stated % daily Value that is advertised, they are not bad tasting and will provide the two things required of food: nutrients for energy and to maintain life, and, the emotional upswing when your are very hungry and can put food into yourself.

Finally, no survival food plan is complete without a stockpile of seeds to grow your own produce. Obviously the non-hybrid seeds are best so you can continue to grow your own seed stock. I also have cheap packets of vacuum packed hybrid seeds which I can grow vegetables from and use for barter.


  1. I like the Cliff bars. Look at the info on nutrients and you will see Cliff goes the extra mile to provide a complete food in a bar. My advice is to buy one of each and taste test them. Some are clearly better tasting then others. The granola bars I see are not complete in nutrients or even close to it. To be honest this is the problem with the fruit, nuts and flakes crowd. It may all be natural and cool and everything but it isn't complete in it's nutrients. If you just want good taste and energy go with a candy bar.

    1. CLIF bars are great, but no one packages like Mainstay. They are rated for five year storage under basically any conditions. I live in TX and need to store food in my car (GHB). Not too many products will stand up to long term storage under the prevailing conditions here. These will.

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