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New to MRE's
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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 with a t
(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.