When it comes to camping and trail rations, there's always a balance that must be found. Whatever you bring with you is going to weigh you down so it needs to be lightweight. However, you also need to ensure you have enough calories to survive!
Meals Ready to Eat were developed by the United States military and were not available to civilians for a number of years. Recently, a number of companies have begun making civilian MREs. While these don't match the exact nutritional content of the military grade options, they contain the same nutritional value.
So what about civilian MREs? Is it worth it to look around for a civilian MREs ?
Information About MREs
MRE stands for meal ready to eat. It’s a simple acronym, but it revolves around decades of chemical research done on behalf of a number of government entities. Much like ARPANET that gave rise to the modern internet, MREs are a military creation that eventually found use among civilians. Though MREs are not quite as ubiquitous as digital devices connected to the internet, they have found plenty of uses that have nothing to do with war or preparations for it.
The MRE began its journey around the 1970s. During the Vietnam conflict, American troops found themselves relying on the same style of military rations that relied mostly on canning and 1940s era preservatives that were used in the Second World War. Unfortunately, these rations proved impractical in the sweltering jungles of Southeast Asia and the US military put a number of its chemists to work trying to solve this complicated problem.
Making an incredibly easy to preserve yet nutritious meal capable of being painlessly carried around was easy enough. The chemical technology that made it possible was developed incredibly quickly. However, making it not only edible but palpable was the true difficulty of this technology. The chemists on the project first decided that they needed to find a way to heat up this meal to make it both capable of being chewed and more pleasant to eat. The scientists eventually found a number of chemical reactions that could combine with water to create a way by which the entire meal was heated up in a matter of minutes and could be eaten as soon as it cooled down to the individual’s preference.
Unfortunately for American and later other allied nations’ soldiers, these meals tasted terrible. They lasted for years on end but giving them a taste and texture that a person could painlessly eat was another matter entirely. By this time though, the MRE chemical heating technology had filtered down into the civilian markets, where the task of making new types of MREs feel into the hands of cooks rather than chemists. The result was that after a few years, the average MRE was easily both filling and tasty enough that eating it was pleasant rather than the ordeal it was of MREs of years past. In time, a wide range of new MRE recipes hit the market, some of which were actually picked up world militaries to replace less palpable MREs.
In the hands of civilians, though, this technology quickly became a favorite of campers and other outdoors enthusiasts who needed something light on their packs that were still good to eat no matter what the terrain was, be it the misty jungles of the Amazon or just a pleasant weekend trip in the Appalachians. Another use of note was in the field of disaster relief. A number of natural disaster relief efforts of the past two decades have featured MREs being passed around to the victims of these disasters. This technology has allowed for warm, pleasant meals to be provided without the apparatuses that would enable any kind of cooking.
So, when considered deeply are MREs the wonder ration they sound like? They absolutely are! Not only are they lightweight and easy to carry, but they stay edible under most storage conditions a civilian might use. You can toss them into the closet or leave them in the garage, and they're fine!
So if you see a civilian MRE for sale, you should buy something immediately. You'll be glad you have them laying around!