What Are Your MRE Alternatives?
Kevin Felts 05.01.17
I was recently on a forum where people were discussing MREs. Everyone had negative things to say about them. And everyone kept talking about how there were better, more nutritious, cheaper alternatives. But when pressed, nobody could name any. What do you guys think? Are there better, more nutritious and cheaper alternatives?
In all honesty, the MRE receives a lot of undeserved hate. They are bulky, heavy, and expensive. However, how many pre-packaged meals are available in such a wide range of options?
The MRE can be opened, picked through, mix and match the stuff you like, then trade with other people in the group the stuff you do not like.
Several years ago two of my sons and a buddy of mine went on a three day camping trip on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas. Rather than a sons buying food for the trip, I handed them a case of MREs and said, “There is your food for the next three days.”
How many complete self-contained meals are there on the market that can be handed to someone and it is ready to be eaten? Something that has a main meal, desert, snacks, and is ready to eat straight out of the package? The only ones that come to mind are the Humanitarian Daily Ration (HDR). MRE and the Eversafe.
- HDR – Vegetarian meals with no animal by-products. Designed to be air dropped into remote locations or disaster areas.
- MRE – Designed for military applications.
- Eversafe – Civilian version of the MRE. They have a clear package and are a slimmed down version of the military MRE.
All of those can be eaten straight out of the package with no preparation at all.
With freeze dried foods, hot or boiling water needs to be added to make the meal edible. I have heard room temperature water can be added, it just takes a lot longer for the meal to become ready to eat.
Maybe one reason why the MRE receives a lot of hate is because of the lifespan? Also, they are very temperature sensitive. Being stored for one day over 100 degrees, takes something like one month off the life expectancy.
Some of my MREs are a decade old and are still good to eat. They may not taste the best, but they keep the hunger pains away.
Lifespan is determined by how the MREs are stored. Keep them in a cool place, such as a closet or basement, and they should last for years.
Will MREs last as long as freeze dried? Of course not. The meals are canned foods in a pouch.
A lot of it depends on what you are doing or need from a meal.
If I am going on a day hike and do not want to boil water to prepare a freeze dried pouch, I bring stuff from an MRE.
In all honesty, I do not have a full replacement for the MRE.