Most preppers and survivalists are familiar with these excruciating exquisite packages of dag-nasty necessity called MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat. You love ‘em you hate ‘em, you can’t live without ‘em… I remember when MREs were fairly new, and unlike today, you could only get them at the PX/BX of your nearest military installation – meaning you had to be active service or knew somebody who was in order to get your hands on some.
At least I don’t think they were sold anywhere else. We didn’t have the internet back in those days and I had a friend who was stationed at a nearby A.F.B. who used to pick them up for me, so I never had to look around for them.
If you think MREs are bad now, they were slightly worse back then… Well, ok, they were more than slightly worse… They were awful… Everything except the main entree was dehydrated. The fruit, the pudding, the crackers…
Oops, sorry, the crackers were dehydrating, not dehydrated.
And they didn’t have any fancy entrees like they do now. I think there were only like 4 flavors:
- Ravioli-ish in tomato sauce
- Beef something-or-other
- Chicken slurry
- and….. uh… I wanna say… Meatloaf?
I don’t really remember the last one, but I do remember how revolting they were. And I loved them!
I loved the fact that they were compact and easy to pack for camping and backpacking trips, or to keep in the car in case you get stranded. I loved the fact that they would last for 15-odd years (and I wasn’t even a prepper back then), and I loved the fact that it was a no-hassle method of bringing food with you in a hurry (sometimes I would bring ‘em to work with me if I didn’t have time to make a lunch… Should have seen some of the looks I got!)
It’s not surprising that MREs are popular with preppers and survivalists, and the food really isn’t that bad . When you’re starving, everything tastes better anyway. But the full meals can be a little bulky and they cost between $7 and $9 each, (a little cheaper by the case) depending on where you get them.
You can save quite a few dollars by making your own MREs at home. They won’t have nearly the shelf-life of a military MRE (maybe about 2 years if you seal it up), but for about $3.50-$4.00 each, you can’t really go wrong.
In the amusing video below, a former Marine builds his own MRE from items purchased at a dollar store and compares it to the military MRE.
Hey Folks.. I made a HOMEMADE Equivalent to the real military MRE’s..fun times. now build yer own for fun and profit,or further your ability to establish a storage medium
Dollar stores are great places to find packaged food items that you can keep in your bug-out bag or use in a homemade MRE. I typically don’t recommend eating processed food as part of your regular diet, but in this case, I make an exception. In a survival situation, a few single-serve containers of beef stew or pasta will do the opposite of kill you.
I also like to get the 4oz. tins of Poland brand smoked kippers (that’s Herring folks) at the dollar store in my area. They’re thin and lightweight and you can slide a bunch of them into all kinds of spots in your BOB, pack or car. There’s a day’s worth of protein right there. And they’re tasty… I eat them all the time with wheat thins. Mmmmm-boy.
The only other recommendation I would add, that wasn’t mentioned in this video is the use of a vacuum sealer, rather than a ziplock bag. That will keep the baked items from going stale and molding.