The survival food market is dominated by freeze-dried foods today, and with advantages like a 25 year shelf life (depending on the food) and low cost, it’s not hard to see why. However, freeze-dried food does have some drawbacks. Many brands require the addition of water to serve them, and you can only carry so much in your pack. When you add up the requirements of extra water and storage space, you can only take so much of this food with you in a bug-out situation or as an emergency supply.

The Survival Tabs address the drawbacks of freeze-dried food by offering a tablet alternative. Instead of offering an energy source in the form of a pouch you need to mix with water, the Survival Tabs are just as the name suggests, survival energy tablets. These tablets are small and lightweight, and they still come with that all important 25 year shelf life. We recently had a chance to test these new tablets in a variety of situations. So before you buy, check out our review below.

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Overview

The Survival Tabs were first developed for the space program, and they were created to provide a reliable source of protein, carbohydrates and fat. The goal of Survival Tabs was provide the body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs to function while absorbing each tablet quickly. Anyone who ingested a Survival Tab would be able to function like normal, even in demanding tasks, and they would absorb almost all of the food without the drawback of excess food passing through the body without proper digestion. The company claims that when a tablet is eaten it is digested quickly with a 99% absorption rate, and within 5 minutes, 97% of the protein in the tablet is available to repair and replace body tissues and fluids.

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One of the main goals of a Survival Tab is to make your body more efficient in absorbing and ingesting food. In an emergency, this is a very valuable effect for a survival food to have on any subject. These tablets can be effective as anyone’s primary and only food source, and the company claims to have tested this claim for a period of 4-5 months successfully. However, the company also acknowledges that anyone in a survival situation should seek alternative food sources, be it through hunting or gathering. So the Survival Tabs are most effective as a supplement to those efforts rather than an exclusive food source. The advantages of using these tablets with other foods are clear, as you’d get all the vital vitamins and minerals you need in a survival tab, but not exhaust your supply of the tabs quickly when you’re eating other foods.

Usage

Survival Tabs are designed to be taken every hour for up to 12 hours a day. You can eat more of them than that safely, but you won’t receive much more of a benefit. You can also stretch the dosing out if circumstances are dire, which would work out to 6 tabs per day worst case scenario. You’ll eat one tablet at a time, and you’ll want to have a sip of water afterward. The tablets are subject to heat exposure, and you need to keep them stored in a cool place and in a sealed package when possible. Survival Tabs come in 24 tablet packages and larger 180 tablet jugs.

Ingredients

The ingredient list of a Survival Tabs isn’t exactly simple, but that is to be expected from something that is designed to be an all in one nutritional solution. The lay person isn’t going to be familiar with some of these compounds, but this list is certainly different than what you’d find in junk food for example. The ingredient list is as follows:

“Non-fat dry milk solids, Sucrose, Vegetable Oils (including sunflower and/0r safflower oil), Calcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin E Acetate, Niacinamide, Ferrous Fumarcate, Zinc Gluconate, Calcium Pantothenate, Potassium Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamin Hydrochloride, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3, Folic Acid, Potassium Iodide, Cyanocobalamin.”

Unless you’re a chemist, you’re not going to be familiar with most of those ingredients. However, it is important to note the first ingredient, non-fat dry milk solids. If you’re lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy, these tablets are not going to work for you. Dairy can also be an issue in some freeze-dried foods, but it’s hard to get the full nutritional requirements like calcium and protein without milk in many survival foods.

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Testing

We tested the Survival Tabs on a weekend backpacking trip, which is a perfect scenario to check out a lightweight survival food like this. Weight restrictions and plenty of exertion with a heavy backpack make a lightweight food source a welcome addition on a trip like this. We tested the butterscotch flavor, but right now it is also available in chocolate, strawberry and vanilla malt flavors.

The strategy was to eat them every hour or so on the hike up the first day, which was demanding mountain terrain at an altitude of 8000 feet or above. The taste of the tablets was surprising pleasant, something that most would worry about when they thought about when eating a “food tablet.” We later tested the chocolate and vanilla malt and they have a similar pleasant flavor. Do these taste good? Well they may not be something you end up craving, but they taste good enough to get them down, which is all that really matters. You will want to have water on hand as you’ll find yourself wanting a drink after you eat each tablet. This is something to keep in mind if you ever use them in a survival situation, although worse case you could get them down without water if needed. Of course you’re going to need to find a proper water source in a survival situation anyway, so this is a non-factor when it comes to “survivability” when using the tablets.

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The tablets really do keep you going, and you can definitely tell a difference when you’re using them and when you haven’t had one in a while. The evening after the hike ended in a full backpacking meal, and with the addition of the tablets during the day, there was no want for food or energy. The Survival Tabs really do exactly what they advertise, and if you were ever curious about survival food alternatives, now is the time to try a package. A 24 tablet package retails only at $7.95 MSRP, so you’re not risking much financially in trying one.

Final Determination

The Survival Tabs represent an excellent survival food option, and it helps that they are generally less expensive than other freeze-dried survival food options. The shelf life matches other long term survival food options, and the manufacturer suggests that although not guaranteed, these tabs should be effective for longer than 25 years. The weight and packaging is the true advantage of this product, and you can take far more Survival Tabs along in a just in case or emergency situation than you could any other food source.

It’s hard to say how you’d really feel if you had to result to eating only Survival Tabs for a long period of time, but the alternatives of starvation or burning excess calories hunting or gathering would be worse than a sustained diet on the tabs. Better yet, a diet of tabs could help you continue hunting and gathering or help get you to a place where you could be rescued. All in all these tabs offer an unique advantage not found in many other survival foods. You can eat them without preparation and they weigh next to nothing.

These are a must try for any backpackers, skiers, preppers or other outdoor enthusiasts who may ever need an emergency food option.