MREs? Opinions…

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  rob stef 1 month ago.

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  • #3473

    Osito Arelano

    In the previous thread, I didn’t see a lot of mention of MREs, which surprised me.

    So, I have to ask, what is everyone’s thoughts on Meals Ready to Eat. Worth it? Not so much?

    I’ve never eaten them. And the only ones I have seen are the super pricey backpacker fare at the outdoors shops. I’m cheap, so I didn’t buy any.

    I have heard there are some that don’t require potable water. Which is fascinating.

    And that’s where my knowledge stops.

  • #3489


    I like them for the most part. They’ve come a long way in the last couple decades as well. Nice varieties, nice accoutrements, and enough calories for the most part. I think they’re great for a temporary situation where a decent full meal is in order in the field, without all the mess of cooking, let alone time involved. I’ve chosen an MRE over “local” food on more than a few occasions. And I’m far from a picky eater, I’m open to all kinds of food. We take them on short ATV excursions regularly.

    I’ve run into gut issues/serious constipation for any longer than a week on a diet of straight MRE’s. Granted, I haven’t done that for some time now, thankfully.
    They’re not organic or probably even close and are loaded with preservatives I’m sure.
    And finally the price per MRE can be quite high compared to a homemade meal.

    I’ve never heard about not needing potable water. I’ve never come across any like that either and I would question any(one) that made that kind of claim. In fact I would say the cleaner the water the better.

    My all time favorite is the shakes. They came out with them years ago, then recalled them, then re-introduced them, then? I’m not sure where they are with that currently. I bet those shakes are poison, but… hey whad’ya gonna do when it’s hot out.

  • #3495


    Pro and Con , I don’t like MRE’s because of the short shelf life , plus they are not all that good . Look for the LLRP or MCW’s . They are the same thing with different color packaging , they are very tasty , and with a 15 year shelf life for the mains . They run around 15 for the whole ration . Water is dependent on your location . In Maine , no worries . Price ? Depends on how you look at it . Whats your life worth ? With such a long shelf life , getting them little , by little , shouldn’t be an issue . If you don’t already have one , I would very highly recommend getting a vacuum sealer . You should be able to get a decent one for under 100 . With that , you can make some of your own items . One favorite of mine , is dry roasted peanuts and dried cranberries , 50/50 mix , perhaps a little heavier on the berries . Let the sit on the shelf for about two weeks , and the moisture , with the flavor of the cranberries migrates into the nuts . Good recharge when you start to ” drag a$$ ”

  • #3498

    Osito Arelano


    I’ve never heard about not needing potable water. I’ve never come across any like that either and I would question any(one) that made that kind of claim. In fact I would say the cleaner the water the better.

    I think the water doesn’t go IN the food, only outside the package to warm it up. That’s my understanding of why potable is not required.

    Ya, I would be looking for aquire little by little. a 15yr shelf life would help that process. So, do you just pop over to Amazon and search MCWs?

    I was thinking of these as an interim solution, like grab and go, or in case of total garden failure these could suppliment.

    I had a vacuum sealer once. Sealed some backpacking snacks with it. Had a couple that didn’t get eaten and forgot about them in the back of the cupboard. It didn’t end well. Then the sealer broke and I never replaced it.

    • #3652


      You can get them on ebay ( LRP’s or MCW’s )

  • #3499

    Crow Bar

    To quote Crocodile Dundee,

    …Well, you can live on it, but it taste like shit.

    Yeah, they have gotten better in taste, if you find the ones you like.
    They are very high is sodium. And you have to drink a lot of water with them or you may experience a bowel blockage. I seen it more than once out in the field. I fully expect to see/hear about some survivalist who has a years worth of MREs to die of a bowel blockage in a post SHTF world.

    They are not meant for long term consumption. It is kinda like eating fast food, and super sizing it everytime.

    Post SHTF, I would not be surprised to see someone willing to trade a case of MREs for some fresh food.

    Concerning water, the heaters that come with them, you can use nearly any water to make them work. Work better with clean water than using mud, but you get the idea.

  • #3847


    Gotcha on the water. Good point. I still wouldn’t.
    Everyone seems to want to get technical real quick on a lot of subjects. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m trying to consider my audience.

    Well, again from my experience, I wouldn’t use anything but clean potable water if at all possible for any part of them. That water for the heating pouches gets on your hands, clothes, utensils, etc., all while eating. And while you may have the wrought iron stomach, consider your kids, spouse, long lost nephews’ friend? And then in a post SHTF scenario to boot? Well, again I wouldn’t, then again I’ve never been so hungry I’d seriously consider it. If you don’t have enough potable water for any part of an MRE, I’d venture to say you have greater immediate concerns than just consuming one.
    As CB hit on, most folks will find they’re no substitute for fresh food on any kind of regular basis in any circumstance.
    If you’ve got the money and the space to get dozens of cases, they’re gonna come in handy, no question. But for most folks 1 dozen cases is going to seem like a lot.
    In substantive post SHTF, my bet is MRE’s and their variants, will disappear way before any expiration is of any concern.
    As has been stated across many of these topics, the UN-experienced gardener and even those with stores of canned/dry goods will probably be in for a rude awakening in an extended SHTF.

    I’d recommend getting some. At some point you or someone you know will be glad you have them.

    As far as tasting good, well I know more than a few people that don’t like tomatoes, peppers, bananas, cow, spinach, seafood, etc. In SHTF? YMMV.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by  DB.
  • #5630

    Preppy Squirrel

    Meeting, ready to eat.  These can be eaten cold.  No water is required for preparation.

    They are expensive on a money per calorie basis.  They are heavier than dehydrated or freeze dried rations. But they are ready and cooking optional.

    I keep a few for bug out bags, car kits and potential need to eat on the move or without cooking.  They are a medium term prep for special circumstances.

    I do not store then for long term preps or for everyday food distribution issues. They are simply too expensive for that.  For the cost of a single case of mre rations I can buy

    20# of rice, 20#of pasta, 20 pounds of beans, 60 cans of veggies and tomato sauces, 30 cans of fruit, and a little meat and condiments and feed a family of four for a month.

    So except for special circumstances I  not a fan of MREs, but they do play a role in preps, a small role.

    For bug out food I lean towards backpacking type foods as they are lighter.  You will need water sources while traveling anyway but am mre could give you a break.

  • #8048

    Halle Corrine

    I’ve not invested in MRE’s simply because of the price; however, I was reading one of Selco’s books where he briefly mentions the need to relocate often and prepare food quickly.   I have never thought of that possibility.  I have always imagined myself sheltering in place and staying put.   For that reason, I am rethinking the need for MRE’s, and I am researching putting my own together.  I’m trying to come up with a suitable alternative that is suffcient in calories, nutrition, portability, and being cost-effective.

    • #8072

      James Mitchner

      Everyone who ever has eaten MREs has their own opinion.  They actually are not too bad… at least the ones I’ve eaten.  They are not dehydrated nor freeze-dried.  They are just packaged (and likely irradiated) to extend shelf life and not require refrigeration.  (You can eat them right out of the package since they are already cooked).  The package is heavy (water weight of the contents) and bulky.  Most who ever have to carry them strip them down, tossing the packaging, and just carry the items they want or like.  A MRE provides over 3,000 calories per meal.  It sounds like a lot except when you consider that who those MREs were designed for (military) are under heavy mental and physical stressors from combat.  Much like those who might experience an acute SHTF event.  Most of the advertised “emergency” long-term storage foods are only about 1200 to 1500 calories per day, which likely could be a slow starvation diet without adding other foods during a SHTF event.

      Not sure how one would go about duplicating MREs.  At about $6 per MRE with its 3,000+ calories doesn’t seem like a lot of $ for a days nourishment.

  • #8055


    Thing to remember , is that a post SHTF diet , will not be balanced . It will be more a situation where its what you have , or what you can come across . People with fussy diets , will learn to get over it real fast . If you look at a lot of MREs , especially Western countries , you will quickly notice that they have a large amount of ” crap ” food . Mostly in the form of candy and other junk food . This is strictly for calorie count and shelf stability . Its also for expediency , aside from the drinks , they require no water . Its a trade off , junk food that you can eat at any time , with no prep, or more substantial , healthy ,  better food per weight ratio , dehydrated items , that do require water and cooking time .

  • #8097


    There are a number of YouTube videos on duplicating or improving the MRE.

    I used to keep some around but gave up as the Mountain House stuff was better tasting and longer lived.

    Way back when, we kept two “issue” MRE’s in our ‘situation’ bags in the patrol cars, in case something happened and we were stuck for a long period of time.

    I don’t keep any around any longer, my money is better spent on better food. And you can slurp a can of spaghettio’s cold right out of the can. Personally I find it more appetizing than the MRE spaghetti.

    I have friends who existed on MRE’s for long periods of time, one commented that the only hot meals he got were when he was out with the natives, and then you just didn’t ask what was for dinner.

    I am reminded of the POW’s in the concentration camps and military camps. When liberated, a number of people died from the richness of the food they were given. Their systems couldn’t handle it yet. 3000 calories is quite a bit more than some can handle now.


  • #8185

    David Piekny
  • #8186


    This tastes better and is smaller, I managed to get some chinese stuff it was descent for what it is. Will never beat fresh. Most of the space stuff from China has edible packaging. The dim sum was interesting.

    The French rcir thier mre is way better tasting, they would trade 4 mre to one rcir in feild.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by  namelus.
  • #8188


    Please note the rcir have special and officer rations that are even better

  • #29571

    rob stef

    Don’t plan long term use or you’ll have dietary deficiencies after about 30 days or so. I do recommend having a couple cases around for days where you really have to move or are unable to stop and cook for some reason.

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