Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Product Review: TAC-BAR Tactical Food Ration



Safety, planning, and survival are terms we hear and see all over these days. Survival is a major one. Have you thought about surviving 'the big one' or a catastrophic event? Would you have enough supplies for you and your family to survive? I am going to focus on survival food as I review the TAC-BAR meal supplement bar. 


The TAC-BAR comes in a plastic ammo can with five bars, a pouch of 10 water purification tablets, and a tactical belt. When I contacted Expedition Research about the ammo can, it was shared with me that they decided to use that to protect the bar from damage during shipment. It is a good solution. The ammo can is reusable and the belt is a nice touch. If you remove the belt, there is some room inside the ammo can if you want to add a small first-aid kit or added food.


Packaging is a big deal to the folks at TAC-BAR. Each bar is sealed in an airtight pouch that keeps freshness for up to five years. There is an area at the top where it looks as though your can use your fingers to open the package, but that is incorrect. You must use a sharp object to open the package below the seal. In a survival situation this may or may not cause problems. If you didn't have a knife or something sharp, opening this would be very difficult.

UPDATE: After talking with Aaron at Expedition Research, he informed me that the charity version (orange packaging) does have the easy open notch. After I saw that, I made a small notch in the tactical packaging I have and they opened with no issue. You may want to do the same thing when you are stockpiling your TAC-BARs.


The TAC-BAR is split into threes, one for each meal of the day. Each section is 840 calories. You can eat the entire portion at once or spread it out. It is very crumbly and does make a mess. You will want to take care when breaking it up so you don't lose any portion of it. The lines that 'separate' each meal portion of the bar are deep enough that you can use your hands to slowly break the bar at the seam. This method works well and you don't lose much of the bar at all. It's when you start to eat it that it can crumble. I recommend cutting it into manageable sections to eat. I tried eating a section for breakfast as a single bar. It crumbled easily. I did the same thing at lunch, but took better care. That worked fine, but the best result I had was cutting it into four smaller sections and eating each of those. I lost very little this way. Each portion is actually quite filling, too. Now, it's not the perfect solution for a meal, but this is meant to be a survival bar and it works well as such.

The flavor of the bar is interestingly good. There is citrus in the bar to aid in a longer shelf life, but you don't taste it much. In fact, I was quite pleased with the flavor and the aroma. It tastes very close to the flavor of raw cookie dough. More specifically, like chocolate chip cookie dough (minus the chips). It was very tasty. I had my seven year old try it, knowing she is very picky. She liked it as well.

I tried the bar by itself and I also dissolved portions of each section in hot water. As a chunk, it takes much longer to dissolve, as with anything, but if you crumble it up a bit and stir it dissolves well. In water, the flavor isn't very strong at all and tastes almost like an oatmeal tea. Weird, yes, but if I were surviving on this alone I would be delighted!

This bar is definitely not low on sugar. It's actually the first ingredient! The sugar make the bar a bit gritty due to the sugar, but it will keep your energy level up if you are active or in a dire survival situation. I tested it out while working out and while working at my desk. I do not recommend eating it while sedentary. While the TAC-BAR tasted great and filled me up, I was pouring sugar into my body and not doing anything to burn it off. This is definitely meant as a survival meal bar.

One suggestion that I would make is to have a resealable pouch for the remainder of the bar. No one is going to sit and eat the entire days worth of calories in one sitting and currently the pouch will stay open unless you have tape to close it. It would be better for freshness and to keep crumbs from getting all over your pack, too.

I have tasted similar bars that come in individual (400 calorie) servings from other retailers. They are a bit harder, but they have more flavors to choose from. Also, the bars from other retailers come in packaging that are easily opened without the need for a knife. This might be something TAC-BAR wants to look at in the future.

When you order, keep in mind the TAC-BAR is not sold individually. Again, they are shipped in cases of five due to their ease of crumbling or being mishandled in shipping. The ammo case that they come in is well designed and works great in my opinion. They box retails for $69.99 on Amazon (ships free with PRIME) and includes 10 water purification tabs and a tactical belt. For survival planning, this is a nice short-term survival kit. 

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