Living off a Datrex ration block for 2 days

Before investing the Datrex lifeboat ration block to my bug out bag, I wanted to see if I could even stomach the taste and if my body would do well on it. Putting my body out there for science, I only ate these rations for two days. Well, I’m proud to announce that I survived and am writing this now.

The ration block was easy to tear open using the ‘Tear Here’ line at the top. Inside you could see that the packaging is a foil material which looks to be airtight. Cookies are individually wrapped in tight plastic wrap and two are the same length and width as a playing card and are about ¾ of the height.


The cookies were extremely crumbly, so make sure to collect all those crumbs and not waste them. The flavor was very subtle which I liked and if I had an upset stomach I could probably still eat these. To me, they tasted like a soft, crumbly, powdery, dry, graham cracker. They were very dry in texture and taste, but surprisingly not thirst promoting like you would normally think with dry foods.


The instructions on the packaging say that if you were on a lifeboat at sea, to eat one bar every 6 hours, which equals out to 800 calories a day. There are also instructions for an emergency on land and it says to eat one bar every 4 hours which equals out to 1200 calories a day. That makes sense because you most likely are burning more calories on land than if you were sitting in a lifeboat.

For my experiment, I wasn’t going to wake up every four hours though to eat a cookie, and I wanted to maintain my about 1700 calorie per day diet as to not stress out my system too much. Here are the options I thought about running:

Screenshot from 2022-11-17 09-59-24

S  o every four hours that I am awake, I need to eat 2 cookies to get 1600 calories a day. This is an example of crunching the numbers and trying the product before you need to rely on it. Depending on the situation, you may just want those few calories to survive, and if you were not in a dire circumstance then you probably could splurge a little more like me and maintain the amount of calories you are used to.

It felt I was in a futuristic sci-fi movie where they get their nutrient pill ration. I enjoyed these past two days though, no cooking, cleaning, or time spent eating. It took me about a minute to eat two cookies and I was done. The ingredients and nutritional value is very low so this isn’t going to be a regular meal, but it was nice for two days.

About 30 minutes after each of my little meals I would get a sudden burst of energy that would last for for about 3 hours. The 30 minutes before my next meal would seem like a drag. This implies to me that these are fast burning carbs and give you a lot of energy for a short period of time. Probably another reason why they space them out every 4 hours.

I was craving some homemade potato fries cooked in the oven coated in coconut oil. I don’t know what that means, but I think these Datrex cookies are fast burning and my body needs more slower burning fuel from fat. These cookies were great for breakfast and lunch, but come dinner time I wanted some real food. I probably will store a few multivitamin pills along with future Datrex ration blocks to even out the nutrients.

I was glad to have this experiment over and to go back to normal food. I could go more days on just Datrex, but I just feel better with more variety. That gives me a thought to not only have these ration blocks in a bug out bag but also include some variety granola bars to vary things up. I am glad that I did this experiment and have more confidence in my future preps.


  • Comments (7)

    • 4

      Thanks for the thorough experience report. I’ve linked to this from the main emergency rations review thread.


      • 2

        Thank you for sharing that over there Eric! I hope it is useful to people.

    • 4

      I currently store and have tried Datrex before. They definitely have the calories to sustain life in such a small and shelf stable package.

      What I found interesting from your experiment was that you noticed the nutrient deficiency in your body after eating them for two days. Your concluding thought of including variety to even out the drop of nutritional deficiency is a good idea.

      How are you feeling being back on a normal diet again?

      • 3

        Back on my normal diet, I am finding myself craving carbs more unfortunately because that is what the Datrex cookies mostly consisted of. I’m forcing myself to not go down a spiral of too many carbs, especially with Thanksgiving around the corner.

    • 3

      When I tried them I ate some every couple of hours to actually hit 2000 calories for the day and they felt fine.

      I would probably add a fiber supplement to these just for efficiency sake. I don’t recall any down the line issues but they’re low in everything.

      I thought they tasted and textured like pie crust.

      I think I would prefer pre bottled soylent, but the bars are far cheaper.

    • 2

      Thanks and very well thought out test. Very good to know.

    • 3

      I love how scientific you were about this!  Great writeup. I personally can’t eat the Datrex bars (wheat allergy) so I rely on Kind bars in my go bag.  Not as durable but since I go through them quickly I just rotate.