When an emergency situation hits, you need to strategize every move to guarantee your survival.
Aside from having adequate water and durable shelter, you also need to consider food. The food you consume is not just about staying full. It is also about making sure it is packed with the right nutrients that give you the energy to outlast a disaster situation. You also need to consider what it will take to prepare this food. Chances are you won’t have access to conventional means if you have to up and leave your home. This is where MRE meals come in.
What Are MREs?
MRE stands for meals ready to eat and are made for the intention of having an extremely long shelf life. The average shelf life for MRE meals is five years if stored in warmer conditions. If they are stored in cooler and dryer conditions, they can last up to 10 years. Keep in mind that the date stamped on MREs are the inspection date, not the expiry date.
As for what they are for, they are MRE meals for the U.S. Army, but today they are also bought by civilians as a way to stock up on emergency food supplies should an emergency situation or disaster occur. From this standpoint, they are a great option since, if stored properly, you can have them in your bug out bag or in-home stockpile without having to worry about them going bad.
Why Are MREs A Must Have?
Emergency situations like natural or man-made disasters can either have you fleeing your home at a moment’s notice or have you stuck there for an undetermined amount of time. In both cases, you and your family will need supplies like clean water, medical supplies, and nutritious food to survive and maintain enough energy to outlast the situation. Here are the main reasons why MREs are always a good idea to stockpile on.
Better Than Canned Goods
If you are required to evacuate your home and all you have time to grab is the bug out bag you’ve prepared, then MREs are perfect. A bug out bag is something that needs to be lightweight and comfortable enough for you to carry for long periods of time. With that said, filling it up with heavy and bulky canned goods is not the best choice. After all, the goal of such a bag is also to be compact, so you have room for other survival essentials like first aid kits, clothing, shelter set-ups, and bottled water. Also, the shelf life for MRE meals is longer. Meaning, you don’t have to constantly replace what’s in your bag and waste food and money to maintain your emergency prep.
More Nutritious Than Dried Foods
Though freeze-dried fruits and vegetables can last up to two years, they are also not a very viable choice for emergency evacuations. Also, you will need plenty of water to consume them. Whether you stay at home or leave, water is a precious supply that should be used wisely. When city-systems go down, water supply is usually the first to be impacted, meaning you could be left without a running supply other than what you’ve stockpiled on. Since MREs don’t require water, they are a viable choice for these situations.
Comes With A Method To Prepare
Other forms of food require equipment, supplies, and fire to prepare. Worst comes to worst; items like fire starters or stoves may not be easy to come by. Since MREs come with their own flameless ration heater, eliminating the need for things like stoves. To prepare MREs, follow these simple instructions:
- Open the MRE bag
- Take out the bag labelled “heater.”
- Fill the heater with water up to the designated line.
- Let it sit for about a minute.
- Insert the food into the water
- Prop up the heater with the food inside
- Wait the instructed time, and it’ll be ready in a few minutes.
Lightweight and Easy To Grab-and-go
As mentioned above, canned fruits and vegetables are a heavy choice if you need to leave home. On the other hand, MREs are made to be compact, light, durable, and overall easy to grab-and-go. There is something to note about the durability of MREs. They are made to withstand a considerable amount of punishment. This means that harsh conditions like heat and cold will not compromise their quality. Also, they can survive being hauled around and moved around a lot too. All this and you still get a great hot meal when you need it.
More Easily Rationed
Food items like canned soups, canned meats, noodles, and the like need to be consumed immediately once prepared; otherwise, they will spoil. Emergency situations require you to ration your food, and with those listed, it is not as simple. Yes, you can opt to open one can a day for yourself, but as the day goes by, the quality will quickly deteriorate, and you’ll have to use more resources to re-heat or re-prep them. With MREs, each pack is designed for one meal per person. Meaning, leftovers will be prevented, and you can eliminate wasting your valuable food supply.
Plenty Of Recipe Options
MREs have come a long way in terms of variety and food tastes and are also a nutritious meal that will help keep your energy levels up so you can focus on day-to-day survival tasks. The wide selection includes choices that give a good source of protein like meats and beans or even heart beef stews and noodle soups. Food preservation for stockpiling an emergency food supply becomes a whole lot easier when MREs are put in as an option.
Where Can I Get MREs?
MREs are not hard to get for your stockpile. Though they are made for the military, civilian MREs are basically the same thing and are usually made by the same companies. The key difference between military and civilian MREs is the packaging and contents. Military MREs have the same stuff as civilian MREs plus tabasco, chewing gum, and toilet paper. In terms of packaging, military ones state they are for supply purposes and are not for resale. Keep in mind that purchasing military MREs is illegal, but veterans and service members can get them.
Ask Your Army Connections
There are many supply guys out there that can get their hands on a bulk case of MREs. This is because there may be an overstock, and with government agency codes being strict on throwing them away, the supply guys are where they go. In this case, your Army connected friends can get you some MREs on-field exercise weekends.
Army Supply Stores
If you know any good ones near your location, an army supply store make it very easy to get MREs. Chances are, you can also find legitimate and reliable ones online if you know how and where to look. Should you buy from these online stores, watch for the price they charge. Many sites overpriced their items. In this case, it is better to get them from someone around a military base, so you get a better price point.
Online Selling and Auctions
Online shopping platforms like Amazon and eBay sometimes carry MREs from manufactures as a surplus sale, but more often than not, the MREs sold are “expired” past their three-year mark in which the Army is allowed to give them to the troops.
When buying MREs online, you will technically be getting expired ones that are non-refundable because they are procured “illegally” since MREs are government property. That being said, be careful what you don’t by online from unknown sources since you may get the civilian version instead of the government issued ones.
Getting Your Food Stockpile Essentials
Since accessibility to MREs is much easier these days, and with the unpredictability of natural or man-made disasters occurring, having MREs in your bug out bag or emergency stockpile is a great idea. You can never be too prepared for an emergency situation. Having the essentials readily at your disposal will make outlasting any survival situation easier to manage.