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#158283 - 12/05/11 10:39 AM what to take
kevbo610 Offline
member

Registered: 11/27/11
Posts: 17
Loc: columbus georgia
howdy. just a ? for ya. i will be leaving here soon. though i am hitchhiking, not hiking backcountry, this ? still applies. i ussually take very little food with me when i hitch, p-butter, granola, whatnot. my ? is; since i live near a military base, should i go to surplus stores and get MRE'S? are they really as simple as adding hot water? i will still have my regular food to carry(p-butter, crackers, etc.) but i plan on doing a lot of camping this trip. thanx for the help.
_________________________
i have been terrified of many things, but i never let that stop me from doing anything

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#158287 - 12/05/11 12:09 PM Re: what to take [Re: kevbo610]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2835
Loc: Portland, OR
You asked two questions. I'll answer the second one first.

Yes. MREs are as simple as meals where you add hot water. You don't even need to add hot water to an MRE. As the name suggests, they are ready to eat without doing anything except opening the packaging. They even contain a chemical packet that will heat them up before you tuck into them.

You also asked if you should get some. The answer to that is "it depends". If your main concern is simplicity, then they are probably at or near the top of the list for that quality. As for other qualities, like weight, price or taste? Probably not your first, best option in that regard.

I'd suggest you try a couple of them before you commit to relying on them. Some people like them. Others can't stand them.

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#158290 - 12/05/11 02:11 PM Re: what to take [Re: aimless]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
MRE's do have their place, but there are cheaper foods that are lighter and just as nutritious, Very basic cooking (boiling water) is pretty easy in most situations.

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#158293 - 12/05/11 02:36 PM Re: what to take [Re: oldranger]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6369
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Lots of recipes using supermarket ingredients on TrailCooking.com. Most just need rehydrating with boiling water. They will be lighter than MRE's and taste a lot better. There's a reason MRE's are known in the military as "Meals Rejected by Ethiopians."
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#158294 - 12/05/11 03:28 PM Re: what to take [Re: OregonMouse]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
When you join the US Army, you take an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies domestic and foreign and to complain incessantly about the chow,whatever its source...

I was drafted during the C ration era and even they were edible under the proper conditions (facing starvation). MRE's are infinitely better. I tasted a few of them when working on fire lines. The current ones sound like they are actually rather good. Who of my generation would have thought of non-pork MREs and the thoughtful inclusion of something spicy (tabasco sauce).

I'll bet not many Ethiopians would reject the current MREs....


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#158296 - 12/05/11 04:16 PM Re: what to take [Re: oldranger]
kevbo610 Offline
member

Registered: 11/27/11
Posts: 17
Loc: columbus georgia
whenever i take off and go hitchhiking i ALWAYS have a bottle of tabasco in my pack! i just want to take some mre's and try them this time. i like oatmeal, but not everyday. i guess i will go to the surplus store and see what they got. thanks for the info everone.
_________________________
i have been terrified of many things, but i never let that stop me from doing anything

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#158808 - 12/16/11 11:47 AM Re: what to take [Re: kevbo610]
PappyBanjo Offline
member

Registered: 12/16/11
Posts: 20
Loc: Maryland
I like MRE's. When I was in the army, I preferred them to eating in the chow hall. However, for backpacking they are NOT my first choice for 4 reasons:
1) expense -- I've seen them sold for $6-$8 per meal, while this is competitive with prepackaged food like Mountain House, you can buy ingredients from any grocery store that are cheaper;
2) weight -- almost all of the entres are ready to eat (they do not require hydration), which makes them heavier than dehydrated food;
3) bulk -- each meal measures about 2" x 6" x 10" so just a few days worth will fill a backpack;
4) excessive packaging -- each meal is in a thick plastic pouch, each dish is in a foil packet, most packets are also in a thin cardboard box, resulting in a ton of trash that you have to pack out.
_________________________
"Just enough to stay warm, dry, hydrated, and fed."

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#158837 - 12/16/11 10:02 PM Re: what to take [Re: PappyBanjo]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
Pappy my old friend who hadnt backpacked in close to 30 years took mres along on a trip we took two years ago. He couldnt eat them fast enough. He also still had to carry out the packageing. To Heavy, better ways to go!

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#158874 - 12/17/11 07:18 PM Re: what to take [Re: Kent W]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Mark Allen who wrote "Extraordinary Trail: Ordinary People" used MRE's almost exclusively on the Appalacian Trail.

If you like them and can afford them, go for it. Weight isn't as big a deal hitch-hiking. To save weight, search field stripping MRE's on Youtube. There is a video which shows how much can be taken out and still keep the food.

From what I've read, the vegetarian ones are better.

Last military food I had was C rations in a can and K-rations which was dehydrated meat bars and cereal bars. For a stove we used the peanut butter.

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http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#159274 - 12/27/11 09:00 AM Re: what to take [Re: kevbo610]
Blue_Ridge_Ninja Offline
member

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 98
Loc: North Georgia
I liked MREs in the Army, and I still do. I often take them if I'm only doing one or two nights. Definitely recommend ditching some of the excessive packaging and components that you don't need/won't use. Cheaperthandirt.com has decent prices and good selection of full MREs and individual entrees, sides and such.

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#160782 - 01/21/12 05:49 PM Re: what to take [Re: kevbo610]
Barefoot Friar Offline
member

Registered: 01/23/09
Posts: 175
Loc: Houston, Alabama
My area was affected heavily by the April 27 tornadoes. Since I work for a local charity, and since we have been very hard at work in the middle of cleanup, we got several pallets of MREs and several more of the civilian versions.

We keep a box or two in our work van for those days when we're out working and too far away to come back to the ministry center for lunch. They're darn helpful like that. Most of them are decent, much better if warmed up. I will say that I like the civilian versions better than the military ones, but they're all ok.

I was able to get a couple cases for my own use, and my plan is that I have something to eat in an emergency (which, given the fact that we do get tornadoes every spring and often in the fall, is a pretty good chance), and also that I can take one or two if I decide to go on a last-minute overnighter. I do generally try to keep some things around to take if I go out, though, so the latter case is probably not going to happen.

The only other thing is that my little brother is 13 and loves everything military. I may grab one for him for the first day out on our March trip. He gets to carry it and then the trash, though.

They do make a ton of trash. And it seems that the trash is bigger than the original sealed bag. I'm sure that has to do with vacuum sealing. And I haven't weighed one yet, but I'm pretty confident they weigh about a pound each.

They're free for me, so they're probably going to make an appearance at some point. But I wouldn't pay for them otherwise, since I can get better tasting, lighter offerings at the grocery store.
_________________________
"Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls."

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#164893 - 04/11/12 12:13 AM Re: what to take [Re: kevbo610]
lostagain Offline
member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 48
Loc: DFW, Texas
just stumbled into this thread. MRE's are OK an dhave become exptremely edible. However, the newest ones have been designed to support a soldier in a combat situation where he/she is expending a lot of calories. If you look closely, the entire calorie count for them is around 6k. Apparently research has shown that the stress of combat produces a caloric loss of around 6K per day. One other thing. As others have said, they come in a cardboard package. If you've gotten these you've no doubt figured out that once you've opened them they are uniformly the same in the sense that you've got an entiremeal in that package. For hiking's sake, take out only the entree and maybe one or two of the extras. Trash the rest before leaving home.

Also like others sad, you can heat these up by simply holding them under your armpit for a while. But, I'd recommend the heat tabs taht come with them. wink
_________________________
Awwww...go take a hike!

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#164897 - 04/11/12 09:34 AM Re: what to take [Re: lostagain]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
There's a reason each one has a little piece of gum that helps with constipation....

Just sayin'.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#164899 - 04/11/12 12:03 PM Re: what to take [Re: lori]
PerryMK Offline
member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1153
Loc: Florida panhandle
Originally Posted By lori
There's a reason each one has a little piece of gum that helps with constipation....

Here is another nugget I stumbled upon that not many people know.

You know the old MRE heater envelope? It was designed to be folded around a meal packet, add water to it, and a chemical reaction generated heat. The main chemical reaction is water and magnesium forming magnesium hydroxide (and hydrogen and heat). Ironically, magnesium hydroxide is the active ingredient in some antacids. So heat your meal and have an antacid waiting for you. I don't know that it's food grade though.


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#164901 - 04/11/12 12:12 PM Re: what to take [Re: PerryMK]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6369
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
MREs are really heavy compared to dehydrated food. I far prefer my home-prepared-and-dehydrated meals!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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