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Gregory Petliski
(gregpphoto) - F
New to MRE's on 12/29/2012 18:36:26 MST Print View

Posted this on backpacker but wanted all your input too, cuz im really blown away by these MRE things!

For christmas, my sister and her husband gave me two MRE's they got from hurricane sandy relief (i kind of feel guilty about it but hey i didnt ask for em). I had no idea just how jam packed full of calories and nutrients they are. 1200 calories, massive amounts of carbs, proteins, vitamins, and even fiber. And thats just the entree, it also comes with another 700 calories or so of goodies like a cookie and a pop tart. Anyway, is this too good to be true? You can seemingly buy them for about the same price as one mountain house meal which has probably 1/4 the calories and requires a stove. I also see they sell MRE style heating elements online, so I could also dehyrate at home, but the meals I make dont have the crazy amount of cals and nutrients as the real MREs. Anyone have experience with MREs, are they worth it? They taste good enough, I just wonder if the nutrition is sufficient. I would also add fresh veggies and fruits to my pack, just using the MREs for dinner basically.

Pros seem to be lightweight (15 oz for 2000 calories), nutritious, easy to use, sheds weight and saves space in the pack and bear can, and isnt terribly expensive if bought in bulk (12 for $70). Am I dreaming?

Edited by gregpphoto on 12/29/2012 18:39:42 MST.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
RE:... MRE's on 12/30/2012 08:57:00 MST Print View

The thing about MRE's is you are mostly carrying the additional water weight. These maybe good in arid temps where you may be carrying water anyways but probably too heavy for other uses. Also the taste is rather bland as not to be rejected by most populations + the menu is limited and only changes every several years ... but eventually the palate tires of this. The Army introduced the MRE to my platoon in Korea in '84 back when I was enlisted but the novelty wore off quick.

Maybe a company needs to make gourmet MRE's??

(Add: Probably a good addition to a bug-out bag for natural disasters too; just don't store them in the trunk of your car in the summer)

Edited by hknewman on 12/30/2012 09:21:01 MST.

spelt the enigmatic
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: RE:... MRE's on 12/30/2012 09:04:39 MST Print View

I might take them for convenience; can be eaten cold, no extra water needed, but otherwise they're pretty heavy. They are certainly better than MH though, if for no other reason than they aren't as lethally salty.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
mre on 12/30/2012 09:48:35 MST Print View

They are just plain heavy. Also, you can get lighter, better gazing, cheaper food from any grocery.

Gregory Petliski
(gregpphoto) - F
re on 12/30/2012 10:12:16 MST Print View

Not to sound defensive but how are they even remotely considered heavy? an 8 oz entree with 1200 cals. Thats 150 calories per ounce, about the same as peanut butter (even ultralighters eat peanut butter), but with more nutrients (14g fiber, 30g protein, 54g fat). Add to that, the fact that I can save stove and fuel weight, which for me is 13 oz, and just how is it heavier than traditional backpacking foods?

Also, as far as the grocery store goes, show me to how jam 30g of protein, 14g of fiber, 54g of fat etc into eight ounces of food? I would love that!

@HK Not following you on that. As it is I dont "carry" my dinner water, I get it from a stream or lake when its dinner time.

Edited by gregpphoto on 12/30/2012 10:21:51 MST.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Re: re on 12/30/2012 10:22:20 MST Print View

"Also, as far as the grocery store goes, show me to how jam 30g of protein, 14g of fiber, 54g of fat etc into eight ounces of food? I would love that!"

Peanut butter eclipses it.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Moisture in most MREs on 12/30/2012 10:35:04 MST Print View

Greg

Most MRE entrees* are not dried or dehydrated in any sort of way, thus the water (and therefore the water weight) is locked into the food item already, which can add up depending on the number of meals. Contrast this to most backpacking meals which require the user to reconstitute the meal with boiling stream or river water.

*There used to be a quite tasty salisbury steak dehydrated entree but think they discontinued it as heating water for troops is a PITA.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
heavy mres on 12/30/2012 10:50:05 MST Print View

I have a box full of these. An army guy gave them to me because he knew I backpacked and was convince they were light. The first one I picked out is an 8 ounce entrees at 240 calories. That's 30 calories per ounce. That's heavy. Its vegetable lasagna. The other packages are similarly heavy. I have not seen any carrying the calories you mention.

If yours have 1200 calories in an 8 ounce packet, I would consider them. I have never seen an Mrs in that range, though, unless you consider the M&M packets, etc.

Based on my numbers, almost anything at the grocery is lighter.

The water weight might be OK if you're desert hiking and carrying all your water anyway. They might be a better option there.

Edited by alexdrewreed on 12/30/2012 10:56:04 MST.

Gregory Petliski
(gregpphoto) - F
re on 12/30/2012 11:23:45 MST Print View

@ Ben C: I have the nutrition info right in from of me. It says 1230 calories, and I weighed the entree myself at just over 8 oz.

"Also, as far as the grocery store goes, show me to how jam 30g of protein, 14g of fiber, 54g of fat etc into eight ounces of food? I would love that!"

Peanut butter eclipses it.

Correct, but just barely. And while I dont mind eating peanut butter for breakfast lunch and dinner, I bet a lot of the "ultralight sissys" as I refer to them would object. MRE's stack up against peanut butter, which is the gold standard for hikers. Besides, even if they are comparable, ones a hot meal and ones not. So that right there gives the MRE an edge.

Edited by gregpphoto on 12/30/2012 11:57:20 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: re MREs on 12/30/2012 12:18:45 MST Print View

If your entree says it has 1230 calories by itself, then it must be some commercial equivalent to a military MRE. Each military MRE 'bag' contains, on average, 1250 Kcal (13 percent protein, 36 percent fat, and 51 percent carbs), all inclusive.

I know there are companies who also make MRE-type meals for the disaster-preparedness crowd. Perhaps you have an MRE made by one of them.

More than you ever wanted to know about MREs procured by DoD: http://nsrdec.natick.army.mil/media/print/OP_Rations.pdf

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
MREs @ 150C/oz??? on 12/30/2012 13:28:39 MST Print View

WOW! 150C per OUNCE!!!
Where can I get these? That's almost 20C per ounce better than I do.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
More info on 12/30/2012 14:03:37 MST Print View

Will you post more info on these mres. I have looked into this in the past and they were heavy and bulky. Can you post a pict of the labels. Almost sounds like the calories are for the whole meal not the entre. No way they come close to pnb

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
heavy mres on 12/30/2012 14:07:00 MST Print View

Greg, I haven't seem mres with numbers you mention. Is it possible that the 1200 calories is for everything in the bag and not the single entree? The numbers you mention are not consistent with what I have heard others mention or what's in my box of mres.

John Whynot
(jdw01776)

Locale: Southeast Texas
MRE calories on 12/30/2012 14:12:24 MST Print View

Every on-line source I find gives an average of 1250 cals per entire MRE, and a weight of 18 - 26 ounces (depending on menu).

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: New to MRE's on 12/30/2012 14:28:47 MST Print View

MRE packs are moderately new (last twenty years or so). Before that, we had C-rations, and those were mostly canned foods. I actually gained weight on that stuff. If you keep going back in history, the army has always needed to make its meals easily available for the troops. Now, General Grant always provided salt pork and crackers for us.

Ahh, you young whippersnappers!

--B.G.--

Gregory Petliski
(gregpphoto) - F
re on 01/01/2013 10:49:20 MST Print View

http://www.readymeal.com/store/home.php

I have the nutrition info for homestyle chicken in front of me. It says "Serving Size 1 package; 1190 calories" The cookie, pop tart, peanut butter and crackers it comes with also have their own individual nutrition infos on their packaging (between 200-300 calories each). So im pretty positive the 1200 mark is for just the entree. I know, so sorry to disappoint, folks here usually think im wrong right off the bat. Must suck to know Im actually right sometimes.


BTW, the A-Pack meals claim "Just one meal meets an individual's full daily caloric needs" so if indeed I am wrong and 1200 is for the whole package, thats a bunch of BS then, whos living on 1200 cals a day?

Edited by gregpphoto on 01/01/2013 10:50:25 MST.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Still think you're wrong :) on 01/01/2013 13:42:01 MST Print View

After reading the nutritional label it seems the 1180 calories for the spaghetti dinner is for the whole meal including the pop tart etc. there are much denser meals out there than this.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
MREs on 01/01/2013 14:21:46 MST Print View

MREs work well if you have the logistical support and motorized access of the US Military.

So, if you are car camping, by all means take the MREs. :) (I would argue that some inexpensive canned goods and instant brown rice makes a better car camping meal, though!)

When the US military 'backpacks' though, they take meals not far removed from the commercial freeze dried meals many people use.

http://www.troopsupport.dla.mil/subs/rations/programs/mcw/mcwabt.asp
http://www.mreinfo.com/us/older/lrp-dscp-archive-page.html
http://www.mreinfo.com/us/current/current-us-rations.html

In fact, Oregon Freeze dried (the maker of freeze dried Mountain House meals) makes the LRP/MCW freeze dried rations for the military:
http://www.ofd.com/food/military/military.cfm

So, if the military does not takes MREs when "backpacking", why should we? :D

Edited by PaulMags on 01/01/2013 14:25:12 MST.

Gregory Petliski
(gregpphoto) - F
re on 01/01/2013 14:30:38 MST Print View

Im talking about using them for overnight trips, two nights at the most, not regular backpacking, and only at times where I want to go ultralight and not carry a stove. Can you use dehydrated stuff without a stove, using the MRE heater? If so then of course I'd be all for it. But again, if the entree I have is 1200 cals (why would they print the info for the cookie and pop tart on separate packages but also lumped onto the one thats on the entree?), dehydrated is not coming close to that in terms of calories. Mountain house meals that supposedly serve two give you like 300 calories per person!!

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
MRE on 01/01/2013 15:58:28 MST Print View

you will find this list of ingredients with the calorie info.
The 1190 calories is for everything. Misunderstanding the label could leave you hungry.

INGREDIENTS: HOMESTYLE CHICKEN WITH NOODLES AND VEGETABLES IN SAUCE ENTRÉE: WATER, CHICKEN, CARROTS, ENRICHED PASTA (DURUM FLOUR (WHEAT), EGGS, EGG WHITES, GLYCERYL MONOSTEARATE, NIACIN, IRON (FERROUS SULFATE), THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN AND FOLIC ACID), PEAS (PEAS, SALT), MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, RENDERED CHICKEN FAT, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF THE FOLLOWING: CHICKEN BROTH, RED BELL PEPPER, SALT, GARLIC POWDER, ONION POWDER, SPICE. OATMEAL COOKIE: SUGAR, ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (BLEACHED FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), VEGETABLE SHORTENING (PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN AND COTTONSEED OILS), OATMEAL, CORN SYRUP, SPICES, SALT, BAKING SODA. FROSTED BROWN SUGAR TOASTER PASTRY: ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACINAMIDE, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), BROWN SUGAR, VEGETABLE OIL (SOYBEAN, COTTONSEED AND HYDROGENATED COTTONSEED OIL WITH TBHQ AND CITRIC ACID FOR FRESHNESS), SUGAR, CORN SYRUP, DEXTROSE, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CRACKER MEAL, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF SALT, CORNSTARCH, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA, SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE), CINNAMON, WHEAT STARCH, GELATIN, CARAMEL COLOR, SOY LECITHIN, NIACINAMIDE, REDUCED IRON, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, RIBOFLAVIN, THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE, FOLIC ACID. PEANUT BUTTER: ROASTED PEANUTS, SUGAR, HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (RAPESEED, COTTONSEED AND/OR SOYBEAN OILS), SALT, VITAMIN C*, VITAMIN A*, VITAMIN B6, THIAMIN. *INGREDIENTS NOT IN REGULAR PEANUT BUTTER. CRACKER: ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), VEGETABLE SHORTENING (PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL WITH TBHQ TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS), YEAST, CALCIUM CARBONATE, SALT, SODIUM BICARBONATE, EXTRACT OF MALTED BARLEY AND CORN. PEPPERMINT: SUGAR, CORN SYRUP, NATURAL PEPPERMINT OIL, RED 40, BLUE 1. LEMONADE DRINK MIX: CITRIC ACID, SODIUM CITRATE, ASPARTAME**, NATURAL FLAVOR, LEMON JUICE SOLIDS, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM, TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE AND YELLOW 5. **PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: MRE on 01/01/2013 16:06:36 MST Print View

Darn. They could save a lot of weight by just cutting the ingredients down to three-syllable words.

--B.G.--

Gregory Petliski
(gregpphoto) - F
re on 01/01/2013 22:16:47 MST Print View

Yeah but most of those ingredients are "less than 2% of" so they probably dont weigh that much :)

If thats indeed the case, then Im pretty bummed. I dont understand why theyd print it all under "1200 calories" but also print each of the calories of the pop tart, cookie, etc, on their individual packages. A phone call tomorrow will hopefully sort it out for sure. I understand they are emergency rations, per se, but even in an emergency, 1200 calories a day is not very substantial. The military style MREs have to contain way more calories right?

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
MRE's on 01/02/2013 06:57:40 MST Print View

"If thats indeed the case, then Im pretty bummed. I dont understand why theyd print it all under "1200 calories" but also print each of the calories of the pop tart, cookie, etc, on their individual packages. A phone call tomorrow will hopefully sort it out for sure. I understand they are emergency rations, per se, but even in an emergency, 1200 calories a day is not very substantial. The military style MREs have to contain way more calories right?"

If you are in a defensive position, ie, sitting still and simply manning an emplacement, sleeping, reading, etc...1200C is about right for this sedentary activity. Hiking will burn upwards of 3-5 times more, depending on the nature of the hike...3500-5500C. Canoing/kayaking all day (12hrs) will burn about 3500-4500C/day. Climbing will use somewhat more, flatland hiking over well groomed trails, somewhat less.

The individual labelling lets a military person pick and choose high density foods. 300C for a 2.5oz chicolate chip cookie is not too bad. After deducting all the add- on's (crackers, cookies, cheese-whiz, etc) I believe you will find the entrie is about 60-70C/oz. I did this about 25years ago and haven't checked it recently. Food hasn't really changed in the past few thousand years...water weight still has no calories.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: MRE's on 01/02/2013 07:37:28 MST Print View

"If you are in a defensive position, ie, sitting still and simply manning an emplacement, sleeping, reading, etc...1200C is about right for this sedentary activity"


For a physically fit, under 35 year-old, the "just lying on the couch with the remote" number is somewhere between 2000 an 2400 calories per day.

Green Thumb
(greenthumb)
Two a day on 01/02/2013 16:48:32 MST Print View

That's why two a day is the usual issue for MRE in the field.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
MRE or HDR? on 01/12/2013 05:10:52 MST Print View

Greg,

You may have a civilian MRE or a Humanitarian Daily Ration (HDR) since you say it came from a Hurricane Sandy relief effort. HDRs conatin 2200 total calories and are meant to be a full day's worth of calories, etc for an average person. Conversely, military issue MREs are usually only one meal of about 1200-1500 total calories, so a military person would be issued at least 3 MREs per day.

Also, to answer your question, if I'm not training for something, then my average caloric intake per day would be about 1200 or so. So depending on the age, height, weight, activity level etc of the person, 1200 is not that low. Remember, we Americans are the proud owners of the most obese population per capita on earth precisely because our sense of portion control and realistic approach to how much food, or calories, we actually need to eat daily to support the physiology of our body's systems and functions are completely skewed towards a more is better mentality.

BL: chose the food you want to eat and are willing to carry.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: MRE's on 01/12/2013 06:41:09 MST Print View

2000-2400C/day sounds like a lot. I gain weight at 2000C per day except when I am out paddling or camping. I usually get by on about 1100C/day just sitting around the house. But, I agree this number varies wildly. I think that WWII germany showed that you could not starve someone at 2500C/day in a year doing hard labour, on average. They did some really terrible things to people...that was one of them. 1200C/day is bare subsistance level doing nothing but being a couch potatoe. MRE's were designed for bare subsistance. Leave it to the military to make sure you starve a little. It actually heightens awareness...

As far as lightweight food goes, you can get stuff that is very calorie dense. Parified butter or ghee is about 240-25C/oz. Olive oil is about the same. But, it is hard to eat large amounts of fats per day. I usually limit this to an ounce or two mixed in with other stuff. Fats/oils are good at calorie density and fat soluable vitamins.

Macedamia nuts, almonds, peanut butter rate close seconds for calories per ounce.

Pemmican is a mix of stuff and makes a good trail food at about 120C/oz. Lots of dehydrated foods are around 110-125C/oz. Dried sausage, salami, dried hot dogs (done in a microwave) supply lots of protiens, vitamins and other nutrients besides just fats and oils.

Good semi-sweet chocolate bars, honey, etc are down on calories a bit but still have lots of other nutrients that are hard to get otherwise. I avoid most sugars but carry some hard candy for quick energy.

Rice, pasta of any kind, flours (bisquick) etc are good for calories at around 100-110. Some protiens and other nutrients.

Cocoa mixes (skim milk, chocolate, sugars) are good. Fats and sugars. some other nutrients.

Generally, I pack about 130C/oz in about 18oz or about 2300-2400C/day. I have plenty of reserve, so I don't worry about loss of weight, I am rarely hungry but have been if I am out for a month or so.

Along with salt (a mix of lite salt and regular salt,) spices, and a few packets of gravy mixes/sauce mixes, this adds up to about 1.2pounds per day. Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. I eat late, usually close to bed time. This keeps me a bit warmer at night.