How important is a long-lasting, calories and nutrition-laden food source for survival/emergency situations? Very.
by Leon Pantenburg
Disclaimer: I was not paid to do this review. At the time of publication, mealkitsupply.com has no advertising or sponsorship relationship with SurvivalCommonSense.com.
My association with MREs goes back to my Army days. Though I was a civilian, as a public affairs specialist I sometimes accompanied soldiers on field exercises. Breakfast, lunch and dinner was a MRE, an acronym for “Meals Ready to Eat.” Or “Meals rejected by (starving) Ethiopians. Detractors claim here are three lies in the title.
Generally, I was hungry enough that anything tasted good. My favorite meal was chicken stew, followed by beef stew. The ham was another favorite, and I frequently made a ham sandwich with the crackers.
After moving to Idaho, my brother Mike Pantenburg and I did a lot of backpack elk hunting. We’d be gone for several days, and weight was at a premium. I’d buy several cases of MREs at the PX at Mountainhome Air Force Base, and those fueled the hunt.
We’d take out all the non-essentials, and pack the entrees, bread, peanutbutter and instant coffee. In these instances, food was fuel, and taste was secondary. Neither of us liked the scrambled eggs, so we’d loot those packages for the goodies. Eventually, we ended up with a case of nothing but scrambled egg entrees.
Today, I pack MREs in my car kit, bug out bag and hunting fanny pack. There are several in the hunting rig.
Here’s the specs on the mealkitsupply.com MRE:
- Five year shelf life
- More than 1,200 calories per meal
- Each MRE weighs 20 ounces
According to the website, Meal Kit Supply MREs are the freshest military MREs for sale commercially, with 100 percent military MRE components – as close as is commercially available to real military Meals Ready to Eat! meal Kit Supply provides one of the highest calorie counts commercially available for MREs, according to the website, which means more food energy, cheaper.
Each three course meal includes an entree, side dish, bread, spread drink mixes, dessert condiments, instant coffee, a spoon and napkin. It also contains a water-activated flameless ration heater.
An often overlooked, important component is the flameless heater. Hot food is more than a nice ammenity – in some cases, it could be a lifesaver. To a cold, chilly skiier, a hot meal can help bring up their core temperature. And don’t underestimate the morale-boosting effect of warm food – check out what this World War II infantry veteran of the Battle of the Bulge had to say about cold, frozen chow.
And think about this – if you get stranded in your car overnight this winter, a hot meal might make the inconvenience more bearable. In a cold, windy duck or goose blind, hot food will be most welcome.
The heater works well. All you do is fill the bag to the marked line and wrap the entree package in it. Make sure the bag is resting on something that is safe for heat. The water rapidly heats up, and steam soon comes out of the end of the bag. After about 10 minutes, you have a piping hot meal. There’s no mess, and cleanup is easy.
A quick caution about buying MREs: Make sure they are from a reputable company, and that they are fresh. While shelf life varies, depending on a lot of variables, such as where they are stored, consistent temperatures etc. , you can expect a MRE to last about five years. Make sure the MREs you buy are not already four or five years old!
So are MREs the best choice for outdoor emergency food?
Not for me. Not in every instance. In camp, after a cold, wet day out hunting, fishing or hiking, I want real food cooked in a Dutch oven. (Here’s one of my go-to camp meals. Or if you’ve had a good day fishing, here’s how to cook fish in aluminum foil over a campfire.) But on the trail, food is fuel, and I need something that is quick, nutritious and (hopefully) tasty. In those instances, MREs may be the best choice. As long as you don’t get the scrambled eggs entree.
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