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  #1  
Old 07-08-2011, 11:31 AM
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Default MRE Meals?

I'm planning a 2 day hike with one night of camping with a good pal who's a former Marine. he emails me yesterday with the idea of 'roughing it' and instead of us cooking, we only use MRE meals (he found a deal on sportsmans guide)

Is there anyone out there who's done something like this? the last thing i need is to wind up in the middle of the woods starving.
this is the deal he found:

Military Surplus, Food, Mre Meals at Sportsman's Guide

your opinions are greatly appreciated

J
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  #2  
Old 07-09-2011, 06:56 PM
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Default MRE meals

I haven't got the courage to risk the money. Way too many negatives for risking $5+ per meal plus shipping.
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  #3  
Old 07-10-2011, 06:29 AM
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I don't know if these are the same things - but years ago me and the wife backpacked with the freeze dried meals. You just boiled some water and added. They were pretty tasty (and very light weight).
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  #4  
Old 07-10-2011, 11:29 AM
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I've used both... MREs are not dehydrated and therefore heavier than dehydrated backpacking food. MREs also have a tremendous amount of waste packaging. The meals can be emptied into a pot or pan and heated, or you can purchase MREs with a "heat bag". The heat bag is a large bag you put the MRE inside that has some kind of magnesium packet inside, that when you add a special salt water solution (included with the heat bag) the chemical reaction is VERY HOT and heats up your meal quite nicely.

As for the meals, many of them can take some getting used to. Each meal is about 1,000 to 1,300 calories so that you will get a meals worth of salt, fat, protein and "Stuff" that will keep you going during a strenuous day's activities. The meals are very heavy and thick and I prefer the Italian stuff, but they might take some getting used to. But out in the wild, most things taste pretty good.

They are too heavy and too bulky for a long backpacking trip, but can easily satisfy the meal needs for an overnighter.

You gotta try everything at least once, and I'd trust your former Marine friend on this one as long as he has the same meals! Don't be your friend's Guinea Pig. LOL

It's worth the expense at first. If you start to enjoy them buying in bulk (they make great emergency meals for storage) is the way to go. You will also find variety packs with pretty good prices too.



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  #5  
Old 07-12-2011, 12:46 PM
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if the mre are the same as the Army ones and they seem to look the same. the mre pack a ton of calories 2k+ and are really tasty depending on which ones you get. Most of the mre's are really good. I would not worry about starving at all with mre's.
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  #6  
Old 07-14-2011, 02:45 PM
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Do you have a Meijers or somewhere close to you? While out shopping last night in Wal*Mart in their outdoor section- they had single packages of them for sale. Why not go try one of those and see if it's something you can deal with instead of waiting until you're stuck with no other choice? lol

Then you don't have to pay shipping or anything.
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  #7  
Old 07-20-2011, 11:49 AM
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Not all MREs have the heat pak and I don't remember having to fill to a water line. The heat pak comes with a small salt water solution you drop into the bag and the magnesium starts a chemical reaction that gets incredibly hot. The bag is folded over and this allow some very hot (and smelly) steam to get released.

I suppose if you fill the heat pak with water and seal it up pretty good the pressure will cause an explosion, but my wife made me promise to keep my face aging naturally so I'll forego this method. And I need my hands and limbs for other things.



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  #8  
Old 07-20-2011, 12:16 PM
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The military ones require water in a pouch and that is what I assume he is referring to.
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  #9  
Old 07-21-2011, 09:46 AM
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That's correct Joe, but it's only a small amount of 'salted' water that creates the chemical reaction with the chemicals in the bag to heat the food. You can't just use any water. I would say it's only about 3 or 4 ounces of water, that is poured into the bag and this creates the necessary chemical reaction with the magnesium (or whatever it is) and generates some phenomenal heat. Seal it up with the meal pouch and in 10 to 15 minutes you've got a HOT meal - and can be tricky to take out when it's boiling hot which is to open the bag, DRAIN the water first, THEN remove the bag with tongs or wear gloves. I was trying to be clever and leave the water in the bag to throw the whole thing away, but that's difficult. Just let the hot water drain (it's only salt water), then let the heat pak cool and carry it back out with you. These would be great for 1-2 days of meals and you aren't as concerned about weight.

I just finished off a few of these MREs recently, of three different types (Chili, Spaghetti and Chicken of some kind) to test them for an upcoming backpack. The heat pack works great, but overall the MREs have too much packaging, weigh too much and I would have a lot of difficulty carrying 7 days worth of meals using MREs. These days with minimalist thinking, it's about keeping the weight and the waste down and MREs are very counter to that.

I give credit to our military if they have to carry some into battle because MREs are light in comparison to weapons and ammo. The military also trains with them constantly. For an occasional backpacker wanting to keep a weeklong backpack under 35-40 lbs, not so much. I remember when my backpack used to weigh 50-60 lbs (and still didn't use MREs), but with technology and experience, EVERYTHING has gotten lighter, except MREs. Fortunately, dehydrated food has gotten so much better much more variety and to save even more money there are many prepackaged foods at the grocery stores that are suitable.

So for me, they have been reduced to tailgate style base camping, but in this case I prefer bringing food I make myself which can taste a whole lot better than MREs. I'm saving MREs for disaster food. They will become part of my long term storage of emergency supplies for when the big Earthquake comes.

I'm curious what JGPR80 experienced? Did the hike occur? Were MREs used? If so, what flavors and how'd he (or she) like them? The first concern - will I starve? - is definitely a non-issue since MREs have 1000-1300 calories PER meal (and I think, plus the other stuff that comes with the meal, like the snacks, the dessert and whatever else accompanies them (the energy bar is wierd WICKED but so are most of them). But in a hiking or backpacking setting this is important. These calories will get worked off easily.



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Last edited by artmart; 07-21-2011 at 09:49 AM..
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  #10  
Old 07-21-2011, 10:32 AM
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I remember in the service we used to crush up the magnesium into a powder and put it in a coke bottles add water and then replace the cap tightly and toss far away(or close to scare your buddies) and 20seconds later boom! Its pretty funny and I'd imagine it would scare off any rodents and animals near by.
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  #11  
Old 07-21-2011, 10:35 AM
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LOL.... This was funny!!! Why am I somewhat not surprised!!!

I'm just trying to imagine what would happen to that yokel who did that in a crowded National Park. The Nat PArks I go to Rangers carry guns and us civilians aren't allowed to. ROFL!



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  #12  
Old 10-25-2011, 12:04 PM
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Hmm I have eaten plenty of MRE's but never had to use "special water". I always just used water straight out of the canteen. Perhaps those with the special water were some kind of aftermarket MRE knock-offs.

According to Wiki, the MILSPEC MRE's usually come with:
Quote:
General contents may include:
Main course (entree)
Side dish
Dessert or snack (often commercial candy, fortified pastry, or HOOAH! Bar)
crackers or bread
Spread of cheese, peanut butter, or jelly
Powdered beverage mix: fruit flavored drink, cocoa, instant coffee or tea, sport drink, or dairy shake.
Utensils (usually just a plastic spoon)
Flameless ration heater (FRH)
Beverage mixing bag
Accessory pack:
Xylitol chewing gum
Water-resistant matchbook
Napkin / toilet paper
Moist towelette
Seasonings, including salt, pepper, sugar, creamer, and/or Tabasco sauce
What the main meal is usually determines the other things in the kit.
I have to say, when you are hungry and exerting yourself, these are great. No need to bring pots and pans etc to cook them with, you can eat the food right out of the envelope. Just need a cup for the drink. The old school military 1 qt A.L.I.C.E. gear canteens came with a folding handle coffee cup in the bottom of the canteen pouch. For backpacking, these might be impractical for the long haul, if you planned to eat them for every meal, because of the bulk. For base camping and lounging around the campground not doing a lot, they are a lot of calories to choke down. Also not as fun to cook as hotdogs and marshmallows. If I was going solo, or backpacking for a max of three days, I would definitely bring along one for each day, along with some lighter freeze dried food or granola bars.

Also on a cold day, those heating pouches are nice handwarmers after the food is eaten, and the cardboard boxes make great tinder for a campfire.
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