Best MRE (Meal Ready to Eat)

Although not recommended for most people, here’s everything you need to know about buying the right Meal Ready-to-Eat.

[See the full post at: Best MRE (Meal Ready to Eat)]

  • Comments (15)

    • 9

      Good article. It had never occurred to me “. . . don’t actually fit very well into modern prepping” but you’re right. I think many of us have a few cases sitting around somewhere, and 1 or 2 in our kits, but they’re not the best and don’t last that long. People frequently have the misconception that just because it’s used in the military its quality and/or good for preppers — both of those assumptions are commonly wrong.

      Best advice I got to avoid “digestive problems” with the MREs was when I was a young USMC private. My squad leader told me to always drink a full canteen (1qt) with each meal, that definitely helps.

      • 3

        Same here. When I started my prep journey, I picked up a few MREs because it seemed like the thing to do. They just kind of floated around for a while, never feeling quite right in the kits.

        I can see using them in a go-bag instead of something freeze-dried, if someone cared about not needing to deal with fire/stoves (ie. can eat on the go) + has the discipline to rotate them out every ~3 years.

    • 11

      I get this question sometimes, and I always say “if you aren’t going to eat these on a regular basis, you shouldn’t own any”. An emergency situation is not when you want to try and figure out if the cheese spread is still edible. I have a number of cases because I love long day hikes/overnight camping and its easy to toss a MRE or two in my pack (plus it appeals to my love of surprises – what is in the bag this time?!?), so I keep them rotated and fairly fresh. If you aren’t going to do that tho there are much better options for long term food storage.

      • 9

        Ha! So what brands or flavors make you happiest and saddest when you randomly pick it out of the bag?

      • 7

        Well, obviously I know what the “main” is since its listed on the outside of the bag on the US military MREs and I genuinely like most of them. Except menu #14. I’m currently working thru a 2017 “B” case and that Creamy Spinach Fettuccine is staring at me. Being on the trail all day makes most food taste better but I don’t think there are enough miles I can hike that is going to make that one taste edible. I’ve tried!

        In terms of surprises – the Santa Fe rice and beans side dish is surprisingly good. I also enjoy pretty much any of the fruit stuff they put in there with one exception. “Osmotic” raisins are the devil and I throw those away. Osmotic cranberries on the other hand are delicious. I also enjoy pretty much any cookie because I never get cookies anywhere else, and the lemon poppyseed pound cake.The best part tho is when the menu actually makes sense…which sometimes isn’t the case. Peanut butter, jelly, and tortillas? The turkey nuggets, while looking like something you’d pick up with a bag while walking a dog, are actually really good.

        Oh yeah, and the sour skittles are not good. When its cold they are hard as a rock and you have to heat them up in the FRH, which is just weird. And kid me would probably like the tartness, but adult me…not so much.

      • 7

        Some of the menus are a tad…odd! I love the aroma of the grape jelly. Tasty as well, especially after a 12 mile ruck.

    • 7

      Costing roughly $10 per meal, this is a cost prohibitive option, in my opinion. Especially since there are other means to the same end.  However, you pay for the convenience of get and forget. If the costs were half this, I’d give this a try. Not questioning the value, just facing the reality of the cost for a retired, limited resources dude like me.  Excellent article and extremely informative.  Thanks!

      • 7

        Thank you for the kind words. Hope this finds you well.

    • 7

      One of my biggest concerns about prepping as a college student who is in a dorm most of the time is not announcing to people around me that I have food after the SHTF. If you use the heat packets on these do they let everyone know you are heating food or something resembling food by the smell? Also, would the recommended civilian alternatives to MREs be less covert, because of having to heat water etc?  I plan to bug out early and not ride out an SHTF event here in the dorms but that won’t happen if the fellow students figure out too quickly that I prepped and they didn’t. I think all things considered they might just try to take my whole bug out bag if they figure out that it’s not just “ a normal backpack”. ( I use a wheelchair too. So I know I probably look like an easy target. So my best bet is to look clueless, scared and as unprepared as possible.

      • 5

        Hello Angela,

        When you use the heating element, there is a slight odor that can easily be removed by a fan or an open window. The food itself will have normal food smell, but it will not be as strong as cooked or microwaved food. If you are worried about odors giving away your position, and since all the food in an MRE is cooked, you could eat it cold or snack on the components like the cookie, candies, jelly, spreads, etc. Most MREs, including the civilian models, have a heating element. I think you are tracking with your bug out early plan. It is not a bad idea to find some like-minded individuals in your town, just in case you get trapped in your local area.

        Thank you Angela. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have more questions. I hope this finds you well.

      • 5

        When I was talking about civilian alternatives I meant the non-MRE meals the article recommends instead… the freeze-dried mountain house stuff. I would think that one huge advantage of MRE is that it’s more covert because you could eat it just straight from the package. Am I thinking about it correctly? There must be a reason or a few reasons why the military uses them instead of other prepper/ camping food.

        I saw a documentary on the British SAS and being on the hard routine while at an observation-post ( intelligence mission). The documentary was simulated but in between some of the simulation footage the guys were talking about various past experiences in the SAS. One of them said that when I mission went a week over they lived on the powdered milk packets in their MREs for the week because everything else was gone. This gave me the idea to put toddler formula and medical nutrition shakes as a key part of my preps but other food has been difficult to figure out.

        As far as a group, it’s been difficult. There’s a group run by a national network of Preppers but without actually saying it, they have made it clear that they think I would be more of a liability than an assault to a team because of my chair. Okay their loss.  There’s advantages in using a wheelchair too. Like most places where they check bags, like fairs, theme parks, they don’t check mine quite as completely. And on camping trips with groups usually 2 or three people pile their stuff on my chair because they don’t want to carry it. So, then I have my stuff and theirs and it’s not a problem ( just a bit annoying if I end up carrying gear for people I don’t know).

        Besides the physical stuff, I think growing up differently-abled most kids become experts at improvised problem solving. I am working on less physical skills like navigating and knot tying that will hopefully increase my ability to be of equal help to a group. The only thing is finding a trustworthy group who won’t write me off because of the chair…

      • 5

        Hello Angela,

        You are correct, Mountain House is freeze-dried food, which can be reconstituted with hot, or even cold tap water. Due to it being lightweight and nutritious, we feel that it is a superior alternative to MREs. We wrote about food preps in this article.

        You seem really intelligent. I think if SHTF, you would be a good teammate, plus survival is a conglomeration of skills and tactics.

        Hope this finds you well!


    • 2

      Old guy here. I’m not trying to disparage the author of this article but it needs a correction. “K” rations were used during WWII initially by our Airborne Paratroopers. They had to bring everything with them and had no resupply until their objective was taken or they died trying. US Army general issue and use came later. “C” rations were used in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. There I fixed it for you. 😉

    • 2

      Another vendor that sells civilian grade MRE’s (and seems quite legitimate) is https://theepicenter.com

      They sell separate components of the MRE, so you can choose which entrees and snacks you want. Here is the link for entrees: https://theepicenter.com/mre-meals-ready-to-eat/mre-entrees-sides.html

      • 1

        They look to have a large selection at reasonable prices. Will be bookmarking this site!