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Old 04-10-2010, 12:49 PM
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Default MRE's vs Mainstay 3600 v. what you reccomend?



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How do the MRE's stack up against Mainstay 3600? I like the main stay because its 3 days of food and is smaller than one meal of MRE's. How many days can you survive on Main Stay 3600's? Im 6'2 240 can I live on one bar for 3 days? What other options are there out there? Would it help to carry a pack of multi vitamins?
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Old 04-10-2010, 01:47 PM
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Does it have to be one or the other? Each Mainstay cube may give you all the calories necessary for a day (AND without making you thirsty, a point they really like to emphasize); but I imagine a steady diet of them would be rather dull, and it's not as if they fill you up. MREs, on the other hand, provide more variety in taste and texture, and are quite filling. Especially those with low fiber content which can lead to constipation. I also imagine the MREs provide more vitamins and minerals. I prefer to use both as they're intended: The ration bars are just that, emergency rations to keep you going in a crisis (and if you're not burning calories, logically you'll be able to stretch each bar our further), while MREs are meals ready for you to eat.

As for other options, I've heard (but never tried to find out for myself) that a slug or two of olive oil a day straight from the bottle will provide enough calories to keep your body functioning for as long as the oil lasts. Frankly, I'll pass.

For any time short of a month, I doubt vitamin definciency will be a problem.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:09 PM
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I agree with Moccasin! I have a good supply of both for short term emergencies. I also have food tabs( found on many emergency food websites) and vitamin supplements. For long term I have MRE'S and freeze-dried.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:16 PM
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Default MRE vs Mainstay 3600

MREs have a short lifespan, especially if you keep them stored in a shed, or somewhere where it gets hot. MREs are also expensive, 12 meals for about $75. I think its something like 1 day over 100 degrees takes 1 month off the life expectancy.

All of that combined means that the MRE is not a very good choice as a long term survival food. Sure you will hear people talking about eating MREs that are 20+ years old. But I have seen MREs spoil after 5 years.

On the other hand, I have heard that some of the mainstay bars are well suited for hot weather, their cheap, and can be stored in adverse conditions.

I like to have a few MREs at the house, they make it easy to grab food for a hiking or camping trip. If your stocking food for a retreat, camp or remote bug out location, the mainstay bars might be a better choice then MREs.

Mainstay bars take up WAY less room then an MRE.

Lets use an example - if I was going to box up some food at the camp and not plan on using it for the next 10 years, I would go with Mainstay.

Your going to have less trash with a mainstay bar, as compared to an MRE. Mainstay bars are wrapped in foil, where each part of the MRE has its own packaging.
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Old 04-10-2010, 03:01 PM
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You can use other foods to fill you up while the mainstay gives you what you need. I make my own "energy bars" which are just a mish-mash of whatever I feel like adding in, and then freezing it and cutting into bars. It's all dehydrated berries, random food items, nuts, things like that and I use those for fill and for nutrients. Basically melt some almond bark (white or chocolate, whatever you want) because it seriously is invincible to spoiling as far as I can tell. I've eaten almond bark from the 80's just to test it and I was fine. (please don't do that, though) Then add in whatever you want that sounds like it would be good together and fill you up. I prefer banana chips, raisins, oats, mixed berries, peanuts, cashews and corn flakes all mixed together. Your goal is to have a rather thin "glue" of the almond bark holding everything together. Then put it into a tray, freeze it and slice it up. If you can, vacuum pack them individually or as a pack. (wax paper to separate)

Don't ask me the shelf life, I have NO clue, but I do know they store for a long time. It's ultra-rich and you won't be able to eat more than one because all of the dried stuff will expand in your stomach as soon as it can. You'll be full in no time! So far I've made the above mix, I've had ones that have dried veggies, some rice and other things like that, I even had one that was just seriously different kinds of salted meats and stuff. I used honey in the meat one and put flour all over the outside to keep it from sticking. That one did spoil and it was visible, but it took it some time to do so.
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Old 04-10-2010, 03:43 PM
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Default MRE vs Mainstay 3600

Here is something for you to consider - each serving of a mainstay contains about 23mg of sodium, which is 1% of your recommended daily allowance. If you eat all 9 portions, that equals 207mg of sodium.

The MRE main entree Iam looking at right now Meatballs in Marinara Sauce has 1,620mg of salt, which is 68% of the recommended daily allowance of salt.

207mg of sodium, or 1,620mg of sodium, take your pick.

For people on salt restricted diets, the sodium content alone is of great importance.
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Old 04-10-2010, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by FloridaState View Post
How do the MRE's stack up against Mainstay 3600? I like the main stay because its 3 days of food and is smaller than one meal of MRE's. How many days can you survive on Main Stay 3600's? Im 6'2 240 can I live on one bar for 3 days? What other options are there out there? Would it help to carry a pack of multi vitamins?
Are you talking about long term or short term? Home use or bugout bag?

A 3600 Mainstay (or Datrex, my personal preference) spread out over 3 days is only 1200 calories a day. That might get you by if you're sedentary, but if you do much activity it's woefully inadequate.

MREs don't last as long, especially in the heat, so they're not very good for a bug out bag kept in the car. They're also very bulky for what little food they contain. On the positive side, they do give you more calories and fill you up a bit better.

For long term use, there are MANY better and less expensive options in food storage.

My take on it is MREs are good for grab and go, camping, hunting, etc. Datrex is what I keep in my bug out bag in the car, along with a few other snack type items. Freeze dried entree type foods are good for short term emergencies of a few weeks duration. Dehydrated seperate ingredients are my choice for eating long term because of the versatility and value.
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Old 04-10-2010, 04:37 PM
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At least with MREs..Your surviving with style and taste
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:51 PM
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I'll sit back enjoying my MRE's and keep my Mainstay bars for a real bad situation where they may work better. I just can not imagine living on those little portions and being able to do more than sit around and do only very limited excercise.

Keep your MRE's in a cool place if you don't have a cool place store them in buried containers in the ground.

Red
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:09 PM
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Also, I thought of something. Ramen noodles + Mainstay. That would fill you up and also let you survive, so I think that combo would work. I'll see if I can get an exact recipe for my bars and post it sometime. Really do fill you up pretty good and go just fine with a Mainstay.
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by kev View Post
Here is something for you to consider - each serving of a mainstay contains about 23mg of sodium, which is 1% of your recommended daily allowance. If you eat all 9 portions, that equals 207mg of sodium.

The MRE main entree Iam looking at right now Meatballs in Marinara Sauce has 1,620mg of salt, which is 68% of the recommended daily allowance of salt.

207mg of sodium, or 1,620mg of sodium, take your pick.

For people on salt restricted diets, the sodium content alone is of great importance.
sodium is one factor I haven't really considered when manufacturing my own MREs. Calories, proteins, vitamins and fats- yes. Guess I'm mimicking real MREs a bit too much, cause canned/pouch food tends to have a lot of it. I'll keep sodium in mind next time.
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Old 04-11-2010, 12:19 PM
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Also, I thought of something. Ramen noodles + Mainstay. That would fill you up and also let you survive, so I think that combo would work. I'll see if I can get an exact recipe for my bars and post it sometime. Really do fill you up pretty good and go just fine with a Mainstay.
The problem is that neither supplies much in the way of vitamins and minerals. Mainstay is fat/carbs/protein and ramen is carbs. But you'd need a suppliment of some type or other foods to go very long on them.
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Old 04-11-2010, 12:21 PM
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I keep a packet of vitamin supplement powder in each MRE you can add to the main dish. its designed to be a fat burner but it has quite a list of vitamins to it.
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Old 04-11-2010, 08:55 PM
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The problem is that neither supplies much in the way of vitamins and minerals. Mainstay is fat/carbs/protein and ramen is carbs. But you'd need a suppliment of some type or other foods to go very long on them.
Get some vitamin pills and you're good to go. All of these items are low space food items, and ramen doesn't provide very many carbs, by the way. So Mainstay for the fat/carbs/protein, ramen to fill you up and make you feel good inside (high personal morale is key) and the pills for everything else.

Flawless plan. Flawless.
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Old 04-11-2010, 09:47 PM
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Try both, not everything works for everyone.

I'd go with mres. If you store them in a cool dry area they can last a long, long time. I've eaten ones that had candy with contests from the 80s. So 15+ years old. The candy was grainy, the meal tasted a bit off but it didn't kill any of us or make anyone sick. Some people have issues with mres because there is a ton of nondigestible stuff in them. Anyone that's lived off of 2 mres a day for months on end knows about the enormous craps you can have. Make damn sure that mres do not make you crap your pants.

Make sure you can actually stomach the mainstays for a couple days. When I eat wierd foods like that I get the runs. Olive oil was mentioned above. That might work for some people, but when I did a modified fast and add in flax oil it went right through me. I was this || close to not making it to the bathroom in time. I use flaxmeal now instead.

Personally if I went anywhere more than 6 miles from where I lived I'd just pack a couple homemade cliff bars/trail mix. You really don't need food, it's water that is the problem.


You should probably specify if that's for a bob or for long term food. I wouldn't use either for long term food and am operating on the assumption that you are sticking it in a bob.
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Voracity View Post
Get some vitamin pills and you're good to go. All of these items are low space food items, and ramen doesn't provide very many carbs, by the way. So Mainstay for the fat/carbs/protein, ramen to fill you up and make you feel good inside (high personal morale is key) and the pills for everything else.

Flawless plan. Flawless.
If I had to live on Mainstay and ramen for very long, I'd definately need some pills to make me feel good inside, but they'd hafta be a lot stronger than vitamins!
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:02 PM
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Try both, not everything works for everyone.

I'd go with mres. If you store them in a cool dry area they can last a long, long time. I've eaten ones that had candy with contests from the 80s. So 15+ years old. The candy was grainy, the meal tasted a bit off but it didn't kill any of us or make anyone sick. Some people have issues with mres because there is a ton of nondigestible stuff in them. Anyone that's lived off of 2 mres a day for months on end knows about the enormous craps you can have. Make damn sure that mres do not make you crap your pants.

Make sure you can actually stomach the mainstays for a couple days. When I eat wierd foods like that I get the runs. Olive oil was mentioned above. That might work for some people, but when I did a modified fast and add in flax oil it went right through me. I was this || close to not making it to the bathroom in time. I use flaxmeal now instead.

Personally if I went anywhere more than 6 miles from where I lived I'd just pack a couple homemade cliff bars/trail mix. You really don't need food, it's water that is the problem.


You should probably specify if that's for a bob or for long term food. I wouldn't use either for long term food and am operating on the assumption that you are sticking it in a bob.
That's exactly why the food storage mantra "store what you eat, and eat what you store" is so important. During a crisis is no time to try and adjust to foods you aren't familiar with. Last thing ya need is a case of the trots when it's your turn at watch or something.
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Old 04-12-2010, 01:26 AM
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As mentioned, there are some significant benefits to Mainstay's. Low sodium, compact, light (sort of!) But it is a good point about not trying to change up your diet in a high stress, survival situation. Food can be a great comfort and stress reducer in those times. I go with Mainstays, Mountain House freeze dried meals, and multivitamins. I try to rotated the stock best I can, though that is tough to do with the Mainstay's.

Another idea is to keep some of your preferred comfort food stocked to go along with whatever you choose. Bad excuse for me to keep a case of frozen pizzas in the freezer! lol
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Old 04-12-2010, 01:35 AM
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The best food pantry is one that is varied, (just like the human diet-some of everything). MRE's are handy, light, and a complete package. However, if you are looking to store food inside your house, a case of canned vegetable stew is a lot cheaper and tastes better.
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