MRE's - good? bad? OK? - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV
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Old 03-11-2016, 04:33 PM   #21
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Floyd and Debbie mentioned these "Compleat" meals last month, so we tried some and liked them. They do include lots of sodium though.
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Old 03-11-2016, 05:00 PM   #22
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Wow, what a response, learning a lot about those things. Thank you all. I'll consider bringing some along, mostly to try them out. We do pack frozen "rations" and leftovers for those times when we want to make a simple, quick meal. Maybe it is best to take it easy, and spend the time to prepare what we really like.
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Old 03-11-2016, 05:05 PM   #23
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An option: buy a dehydrator; inexpensive, great for meat jerkey and the extra garden veggies/fruitsl Or try making jerkey in your oven - lots of great recipies on-line...and no sodium or nasty preservatives. Smoked salmon lasts. For first couple of days travel, pick up salads, fresh meals at Trader Joe's.

Lots of items come in pouches now that don't need refrigeration - fishm soups, etc.

I don't have a microwave in my Scamp, but do carry a one-burner chef's butane stove for the picnic table - heats one pot meals quickly, butane cans are long lasting, and there's nothing better than the smell of fresh coffee....
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Old 03-13-2016, 11:12 PM   #24
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Look at backpacking chef.com
You can make your own shelf stable quick meals.


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Old 03-13-2016, 11:31 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by monB View Post
Forgot to say, you DO need a microwave or oven for most meals. Buying off Craigslaist is cheaper than MRE's.

Mon
Tuff soldiers that carry a microwave oven around with them.
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Old 03-14-2016, 07:24 AM   #26
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He's talking non-MRE meals. People are mixing talk about true MREs with "backpacker meals" or similar freeze-dried food, and other factory prepared ready-to-eat meals. As I think someone already mentioned, MREs have a water-activated pouch which puts off a lot of heat and warms up the food. No microwave necessary.
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Old 03-14-2016, 07:28 AM   #27
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I retired from the military in 2003. up until that point, they were not that good. Although they had gotten better than they were in the 80's and 90's.
We always called MREs "Meals ready to excrete" or "meals rejected by Ethiopians"!
Sorry if that inappropriate!

Back in "the day", they came with cigarettes!
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:20 AM   #28
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Tuff soldiers that carry a microwave oven around with them.
The REALLY tough ones have a pink microwave.



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Old 03-14-2016, 09:41 PM   #29
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In California we always need to be ready to sustain ourselves after an earthquake. The BIG ONE is due any time now! Ugh! Our camping food is actually our earthquake food supply which we rotate. For us this is mostly canned meats, fish, SPAM, chicken and pasta, rice, dehydrated potatoes. For camping we do bring lots of fresh food, as well. There are emergency food kits like this Food Pantry for 2 Weeks, 5-Year Shelf Life #250-14 | Earthquake Supply Center - Your Disaster Supply Store but I've never tried them.

Anything tastes better after a rigorous day of hiking! ...probably anything tastes good after an earthquake too! :-)
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:00 PM   #30
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This web page will get anyone started with the basics of one pot cooking backpacking-style and you get all your ingredients from the grocery store! Homemade Backpacking Meals, Just Add Water - The Summit Register
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:09 PM   #31
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You might what to check out the food section at REI.

While kayaking I normally do a lot of dehydrating ahead of time and make up the meals but I do often carry an extra meal or two from REI - just in case. My partner does a lot of back country skiing trips and has been pretty happy with the MaryJanesFarm brand - its organic and he has a few Mountain House Favourites as well.

Suspect they may be a bit better quality/taste than the real MRI's.
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Old 03-15-2016, 08:04 AM   #32
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Suspect they may be a bit better quality/taste than the real MRI's.
Yes, waaaaay better.

The backpacker meals are really pretty good. Depending on how "processed" you normally eat, they might actually seem completely like real food to you. For me, I actually get excited about backpacker meals. So long as I only backpack 2-3 times a summer.

Summers that I've backpacked 5 or more times, the novelty wears off and I start getting really sick of those meals. Mary Janes are definitely better. In the end it's all freeze dried food and is a "substitute" for the real thing, good for temporary use.
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Old 03-15-2016, 10:43 AM   #33
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Yes, waaaaay better.

The backpacker meals are really pretty good. Depending on how "processed" you normally eat, they might actually seem completely like real food to you. For me, I actually get excited about backpacker meals. So long as I only backpack 2-3 times a summer.

Summers that I've backpacked 5 or more times, the novelty wears off and I start getting really sick of those meals. Mary Janes are definitely better. In the end it's all freeze dried food and is a "substitute" for the real thing, good for temporary use.
LOL Freeze dried or dehydrated food are actually "real food".
As far as "processed" goes both processes simple remove water from the real food, nothing more.

Of course depending on which manufacturer you go with, it will impact how healthy all the other added items (salt, spices, colour dyes etc) they put in the product/recipe are. As with all meals check the labels to see what else they have added.

Have found the key to how good the pre-packed meals sold for backpacking taste or do not taste often depends on whether or not you took the time to allow it to completely rehydrate. They will always taste better if allowed to completely rehydrated. Dehydrated foods take a couple of hours to rehydrate - which can be a pain if your in a hurry. Freeze dried foods normally only take about 5 min or so in hot water to rehydrate.

Its my understanding that the Freeze dried process actually results in a bit higher nutritional value as well, the dehydrating process takes longer resulting in some additional nutritional loss. Freeze dried products also pack down smaller, but both processes result in the same end process weight.
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Old 03-15-2016, 11:06 AM   #34
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Yes, I throw around "real food" pretty loosely. Eating canned food all winter, before fresh vegetables were available to us all year, certainly people were eating "real food". But does it really compare to fresh food? Yeah there are things you can do with canning/jarring that makes the food more exciting that it was originally, and can be a treat. But there's really no comparison to fresh food.

Even with the most natural ingredients, all I have to do is listen to my body to know that it knows the difference between a freeze dried meal and a fresh meal, mental reasoning/rational thought aside. There's a difference.
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Old 03-15-2016, 12:20 PM   #35
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Modern MRE's are excellent. Many years ago they were pretty iffy but the DOD decided to up their food game some time back. They can get a bit monotonous if you're stuck with no other options for an extended time, but people get creative in those situations, mixing different ingredients from different meals to make custom dishes, e.g. the venerable Ranger Brownies.

They are not the cheapest nor likely the healthiest options out there, but if you want something that you can stick on a shelf for years but is ready to go instantly, they are a great grab and go option.
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Old 03-21-2016, 05:46 AM   #36
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I had some power bars in the glove box for over 10 years; they had the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics advertising on them. These were subjected to Las Vegas heat (110+, glove box likely hotter), and Calgary winter cold (-30? a few times).

After 10+ years and probably 150,000 miles they seemed a bit worse for wear, but I went ahead and tried them. They were pretty hard but with a good chomping were edible. I had no physical problems after eating them. They tasted like a new one, just a bit more brittle.

So whatever recipe PowerBar was using back in 2001 lasted a long, long time.
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Old 03-21-2016, 06:11 AM   #37
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I'm finding that truck stops and mega gas stations are serving healthier alternatives to fast food. Fresh fruit and yogurt and veggie trays are now being sold. Stopping for gas and food is becoming better, health wise.
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Old 03-21-2016, 09:15 AM   #38
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MRE's are designed to have max calories in a package and to last a long time - so, high fat content, high salt, high preservative.
If you're determined to go that path, buy rice and/or pasta, mix it with quality freeze dried veg from the bulk food stores.
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Old 03-21-2016, 12:20 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by sclifrickson View Post
Modern MRE's are excellent. Many years ago they were pretty iffy but the DOD decided to up their food game some time back. They can get a bit monotonous if you're stuck with no other options for an extended time, but people get creative in those situations, mixing different ingredients from different meals to make custom dishes, e.g. the venerable Ranger Brownies.

They are not the cheapest nor likely the healthiest options out there, but if you want something that you can stick on a shelf for years but is ready to go instantly, they are a great grab and go option.
One of the ideas behind MRE's is they can be eaten right as the are, no cooking, no hot water, actually no added water except for the instant coffee. That was the Ready part of the name. I was also why they were originally known as three lies in one package. Not Meals, Not Ready, and Not Edible.

They did improve a lot over the years, are expensive even from military surplus stores but if you are talking about having a few on hand for power outages or storms and use them camping for the quick and convenient factor you will at least rotate new stock in which is good. Weigh less than canned goods and I think they pack better in a camper.

I would think there is enough room in a camper to take better food for most of the time, just having MRE's for those times you want something quick and without cooking or dishes. I think Freeze dried tends to taste better but requires the addition of water. Dry camping or dry backpacking that not needing to add water can be a bit of an advantage.

The water activated heat bags are pretty good, maybe not like cooking it over a fire but certainly enough that you will feel like you have had a hot meal.
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:25 PM   #40
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Here's another great option: six instant meals on the go

6 Instant Meals-On-The-Go| Just Add Boiling Water
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