NRG-5 Emergency Rations: What do you think?

Some time ago I was talking to a friend of mine who had recently bought a box of BP-ER Emergency Food.


By this time I was doing my research on emergency food as well, but I thought that NRG-5 Emergency Rations where better:


My friend got the BP-ER because he had read that they tasted better and had better long-life (Althought the lot of NRG-5 I bought lasted even more than him’s). I bet for the NRG-5 because they had better nutritional values that other rations (I mean, minerals and vitamins).

We could met and tasted them. My friend was right, BP-ER are tastier (as long as emergency food could be) and they had better looking than NRG-5. We tried to feed the ducks at the park we were meeting and they seemed to dislike both of them. On the other hand, my 2-year-old girl, love them.

I’m still with the NRG-5 because of the nutritional values. The only thing that really bothers me about the NRG-5 is that they are not Coast Guard approved. I checked this using the instructions you gave in this post:


Resuming: Does anybody tried NRG-5 and, if you do, what do you think about them?

Thank you very much.


  • Comments (39)

    • 6

      Hi Cesar and welome!

      I haven’t tried them, but I did look for information for you. From what I could find, it looks like NRG-5 is NATO approved, which should mean a very good item.


      I hope this helps.

      • 7

        Hi Ubique and thank you for your answer!

        I’m glad to hear that this is NATO approved. I saw this are used by the German Army.

        Thank you very much.

      • 5

        Hi Cesar,

        I just noticed that you are joining us from Spain. You are welcome to join in on the linked thread if you would like to:

        Prepping around the world – How other cultures use their natural resources

      • 5

        I’m very glad you encourage me writing on these post. At this time, I think I have nothing to contribute with. Althought I was in prepper philosophy since years ago, I am starting to take it seriously right now, so I am a newby here.

        On the other hand, the post you talk about is huge, I am still reading it…XD

        Thank you very much, by the way.

      • 5

        You are welcome, Cesar. There is a lot to learn.

        Even though you consider yourself a “newby”, you also have a prepper philosophy from years ago and a fresh perspective and can offer insight for the rest of us.

        Yes, some of the posts do get huge (one almost needs to prepare to read them lol 🙂

    • 8

      Good morning Cesar,

      I’m only replying to the USCG “seal of approval”.  Haven’t tried the product nor would I rely on them for my needs and wants.

      USCG approvals are not a universal standard any more.  Use other criteria such as what the SOLAS committees recommend or even other criteria.

      My philosophy is to UPGRADE diet during stress events.  I’ve survived on the C-rations, a little of the older K-rations and consider MREs like hemlock – not a survival food from my perspective.

      • 5


        I had checked out USCG products a month or so ago. I noted that in the two products I looked at with that designation, they were very high in fat and not so much with respect to protein.

        If, for example, one had to walk a great distance or split a pile of wood by hand, then one is using muscles. So wouldn’t protein be an important nutrient as much as fat? I didn’t understand that part of their thinking on the nutritional side unless, they are high fat because the USCG is used to extracting people of out of marine situations where there is hypothermia (need the fat) and hunger. Maybe that’s why?

        In starvation situations they bring in protein formula from what I understand. I look for protein, carb and fat in that type of product. I think mountaineering considers that combo. I have/had a recipe for a protein bar that they used on Mt. Logan. A small piece was meant to sustain a person for a day.

      • 5

        I agree with what Ubique said, these bars do not have much protein in them.  They were created as a ration on a lifeboat when people need as many calories in a small package as possible. They won’t be rowing or doing much of anything beside sitting there and trying and conserve energy until they can be rescued. 

        While these ration bars are great in a pinch to provide a large amount of calories, they aren’t the best for long term use and won’t sustain you as well as other food sources for strenuous work like chopping wood.

      • 6

        The reason I “choose” NRG-5 rations is because they had micronutrients instead just calories. Now I’m realising that SevenOceanS had them too, maybe they are better choice. I just checked SevenOceans nutritional values, they are low in proteins and micronutrients but higher in calories and fats, compared with NRG-5.

        To be honest, I didn’t compare calories, fat and protein because I thought they would be more or less the same.

        I do not want to rely on this kind of food, I’m just want one to be in my (future) bug out bag and one more in the trunk of my car.

      • 2

        Good afternoon Ubique,

        At one time USCG provided the world class standard.  Matters change,

        Difficult to reply to above para 2.  Key word: politics.

        Besides starvation situations, there’s also the situations involving the injured. Only the healthy who are not injured can open the USCG approved water in the pouch.  It does require 2 hands.  Must wait for the sea to calm down a bit before a sip.  A gulp is not practical.

      • 2

        Good afternoon Bob,

        Understood on the USCG – triage. Not good for arthritic hands.

      • 6

        I realised with both NRG-5 and BP-ER that they were hard to open, even with both hands intact. Nevertheless where this rations will be placed (trunk and BOB) there will be a multitool or even a knife, which can be used for help. Moreover, I will consider attaching some sort of “survival card” like the one below, directly to the ration itself, just in case. I already have one of this in my wallet, and they are inexpensive:


        I really appreciate Bob focusing on this matter. Never thought about it. Thank you very much.

    • 8

      Cesar, how do you plan on using this food?  I use Mainstay Energy Bars in my get home bag, as they can handle the high heat found inside an auto in out hot summers.  I keep enough to feed me for two days.

      I certainly wouldn’t use such food as a main prepper item.  It is way too expensive and not that tasty.  I store the staples, such as rice, beans, pasta, wheat berries, oats, salt. sugar, etc., inside mylar bags which then go inside 6 gallon sealed plastic pails.  If you have limited storage, you can put several different items in the same pail.

      • 6

        I just want one to be in my (future) bug out bag and one more in the trunk of my car. I want them to be use in REAL emergency situations. That is other reason I want this kind of food, I would like to put them wherever I want and forget about them for the next 20 years.

        I do not (already) have long term food storage. I keep my pantry well supplied for more or less two months of lack of supplies. I do not have very much space to store supplies.

      • 4

        Cesar, One of the difficulties being neglected is that in 20 years … usually much earlier … your dietary requirements could change.  Another difficulty is that over time your ability to open certain types of packaging could change.

        If realistic, conceding that it’s not, a team of TP forum members could visit your dwelling and show you the extra space you do have.

      • 6

        I would really appreciate you guys coming to my place, but I can not afford to pay you a flight to Spain XD.

      • 4

        Two months is a great step and something many people (including myself) don’t even have. Props to you and keep up the great work!

      • 8

        Thank you very much, I just follow the principle of First-In-First-Out and having the shopping list up to date. Is not rocket science as you get used to it.

        If you do this well you can go shopping less frecuently a save some time. Here, in Spain, we used to go shopping once a week, whether in the US is common to do it monthly, am I right?

      • 5

        Since I cook from scratch & almost always use fresh ingredients, I shop normally 3 times a week.

      • 3

        I’m sure its different for each family, but for my family we do one large shopping trip a month to get bulk items and then a smaller quick trip every week and a half for fresh things like milk, bread, fruits, veggies.

        Having a good food storage certainly does cut down on your trips to the grocery store, which is nice.

      • 4

        I suggest you verify these rations can easily handle the high temps that can be found inside a car.  Some of these bars can… and some can’t.  

      • 3

        This blog post about baking ration blocks was a real eye opener for me. I’m glad I don’t have any of the SOS bars.

      • 7

        Thank you Gideon, I’ve came across this post, but forget about it. Maybe I will made this experiment with a NRG-5. I will tell you if I do.

      • 2


        I have a small home. I was able to use vertical space and Ikea cabinets to build in more space. This type of cabinet works if you are in a rental or own your home. Also, there is under bed storage that can be used.

        You would be surprised at the extra items that you can store this way if you look at all the vertical space on your walls that can be used.

        Hope this helps. 

      • 4

        Thank you Ubique for the advice on using “extra space”.

        The thing is that I became father two years ago, moved to a new house at the same time tried two new jobs and now I’m studying to became civil servant.

        Last two years were absolute madness, I said that “I have little space” just not to beat around the bush.

    • 7

      Cesar Lopez, are you trying to use these ration bars as long term food storage or to just sustain you for a day or two?

      I am using a similar lifeboat ration as an emergency food source in my car and in my bug out bag. I might change that up in my bug out bag though because these rations just don’t provide the balance of protein and vitamins that are needed to sustain the survival lifestyle of running, climbing, and just working hard. It might not keep me going as well in a bug out situation as other foods may.

      • 4

        As I told to redneck, these are just for REAL emergency, just like you seem to do.

        So, as far as I understand, are you thinking of changing  lifeboat emergency rations for other option or are you thinking of changing the rations your are using now?

      • 4

        Sounds good. These will be a great solution to your car and bug out bag. I love that you can just put them in and forget about it. And if you need to use them, there is no cooking required. 

        I would like something a bit more nutritious for my bug out bag, but that will then probably involve including a cooking kit. My best other option I think would be an MRE. I haven’t been able to find one for months though with them all bought up during the pandemic. I will have to rotate through MRE’s more often than a lifeboat ration too.

    • 7

      Hi Cesar,

      In Europe our options are pretty limited compared to the US. For my BOB I went for Seven Oceans. Waterproof packaging, very neutral taste, and reasonably cheap. Packs the maximum (healthy) calories per gram. Guaranteed not to create thirst (which is the reason for the low protein content).

      If you need more fat and protein, throw in a small pouch of peanut butter, but use only if water is the least of your problems. 

      For other long term prep needs the place that survival rations like these should occupy is a topic of much debate… Personally I think there are tastier options out there!


      • 5

        Thank you very much, UKSeb, for your advice on SevenOceanS.

        I recently found that SOS rations had micronutrients too, so I thinking of using them instead NRG-5. The reason that I still think of NRG-5 is because they have even more micronutrients than SOS (BP-ER had none, SOS had some, NRG-5 had lots)

        When I tried NRG-5 and BP-ER I didn’t feel that they make me thirsty, but I ate a single biscuit of each, maybe if I you have more things will change… 

        As I tried, BP-ER were tastier than NRG-5. Looking of SOS is similar to BP-ER so I bet they taste similar (and so, better than NRG-5)

        The packaging I think is not a problem, as long as all 3 have similar one and they follow military standars. I’m think on “backing” them 3 in the oven, just as the preppared did, just for the benefit of knowledge.

        Talking about protein and fat, you said “throw in a small pouch of peanut butter”. I don’t want to do this because I don’t know a pouch of peanut butter (or similar tipe of food) with the same expiration date as emergency rations had (I didn’t do the research though) If you know some, I’ll be very grateful if you let me know.

      • 6

        Good suggestion on the peanut butter for fat and protein. I believe I saw small individual packets of it at my grocery store, throw a couple of those in a bag and you would be golden.

    • 3


      I have now tested the NRG5. They are extremely dry, and cannot reasonably be consumed without an ample supply of water. That is probably the reason for the exceptional 25 year shelf life. I would question the value as an emergency food, except if really you plan to bug in and have a guaranteed water supply.

      In comparison, the Seven Oceans are lifeboat rations specifically made for situations when water is scarce. Shelf life is shorter, they are slightly less nutritive, but far better value for a bug out bag or short term emergencies in my opinion! 

      • 1

        Thanks for the update. I would go for the Seven Oceans over the NRG5’s then with that added knowledge of water requirements. Not a fan of eating drying foods.

      • 3

        I did not notice the need of drinking any water when I tasted the NRG-5, but it is true that I only ate a single “block” of the 9 that are stored in the box. I am planning of getting some NRG-5 and SevenOceanS and cook them in the oven, just as theprepared did.

        I will try them again if I did.

        Thank you UKSeb very much for the point.

      • 3

        Keep us posted on the results! I didn’t expect the outcome of our initial test to be as interesting as it was, but the Datrex held up while the SOS melted. Beforehand, I assumed that they’re all basically the same, but that isn’t the case.

      • 1

        Posting for the first time here: Has anyone tried Survival Tabs? I got them over Dratex / SOS ration bars A. for shelf life considerations (25 Years vs Dratex’ 5 years) and B. most reviews and comments on the ration bars are pretty negative on taste – “eat them if you have to” kind of comments.  The Survival Tabs are in my get home bag and emergency BOB as an immediate source of food/nutrition, whereas for most of my nutritional needs I’m relying on Mountain House foods and of course having access to water and the time and attention to prepare a meal (even if “prepare a meal” only means boiling the water). 

        The Survival Tabs seem to have good nutritional value and calories compared to their size. Has anyone tried these? 

      • 1

        Good morning Falcon,

        No, never tried this product. There’s a reason. The reason relates to field called “comparative studies”.

        This product is not showing up in the inventories of industry’s life boats and life rafts. I had basically an open account budget for emergency evacs from oil rigs and the ship chandlers and specialists on rig never even touched something like these tabs.

        Note the sugar content.  Note the quantity of calories. Remember, you are making a purchase for an emergency situation and this environment might require substantial activity.

        I personally go on alert when I read a shelf life beyond a few years.  One’s body could have different dietary requirements well prior to 25 years after purchase.

        A quality chocolate bar can work better and the chocolate has caffine for some additional alertness.

      • 3


        Good evening Falcon,

        Had neglected to welcome to the forum.

        Thus, this late “welcome”.

      • 3

        Hi Bob, Appreciate your comments and the welcome! I’m going to have to try some of these other bars and form my own opinion of them as a source of nutrition on a hike etc.  I’m not a fan of sugar content in general. At the same time as a source of “instant energy” it has a place, even if a very small one.