I’m continuing to replenish my disaster prep supplies, including my MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) stockpile. MRE’s are essentially what feed our servicemen in the field. They were originally developed for NASA in the 1970s and replaced the older canned meals for soldiers.
MREs are a staple of anyone serious about being out in the field (out of contact with the civilized world), disaster, humanitarian aid work, camping, etc.
Mathieu and I ate these everyday for nearly every meal. When I was getting ready for Japan, there was only one store on Maui that had them, and I was lucky enough to buy them out, but they only had 24 meals. I like to have at least 2 meals a day, and try to carry enough in with me to last 10-14 days (or 20-28 MREs). While I didn’t eat all of my MRE’s in Japan, I went through more than half of them as we would go out scouting all day, and often weren’t able to return to camp for lunch. I almost always had 1-2 main meal pouches with me in one of my pockets.
Why you should consider a small stock pile of MREs:
1. Super Long Shelf Life- We are talking between 5-10 years depending on the temperature they are stored in.
2. They are delicious. Most of the research that has been going on for these things in the last 20 years have to do with taste. USA MREs are the very, very best tasting bar none.
3. Cost- They are relatively inexpensive, if you buy in bulk, you can get them for about $7 per meal. This is much cheaper than most fast food meals or expensive freeze dried camping foods.
4. Cooking is not required. In fact, I never cook these anymore, I just cut off a corner and squeeze whatever I am eating into my mouth. There are some water based heaters (you add water and the pouch warms up) in full MRE kits, but I never use them. I personally immediately disconsider (yes that is a real word) any meal that requires you to add boiling water to the food itself. Who has time to boil water and pour it inside a pouch to warm it up?
5. Sanitation- MRE’s are clean food. They are cooked and sterilized right in the pouch immediately before they are sealed. I have never gotten sick from an MRE.
6. Nutrition- MREs are scientifically formulated to give you everything you need, assuming you eat everything in the meal.
7. Easy to carry- Flexible pouches fit anywhere.
While MRE’s traditionally come in sealed “complete meal pouches” (see image above), I prefer to buy the meal components separately now for a few reasons:
A. Some meals are (significantly) better than others. This allows me to pick exactly which ones I like and skip the “not as tasty” ones.
B. I rarely use the heaters, drink mix, accessory pack, crackers, spread, etc. If you buy an entree and side dish, the cost goes down to $5 per meal. When I order online, I buy my MREs from Long Life Foods MREs
If you have never tried MREs, I would highly recommend getting a sampler pack ($25) so you can see and taste what these are all about: MRE Sampler Pack