Primarily designed for military use. MREs, or Meals Ready-to-Eat, are becoming increasingly popular with the general public.
As their name suggests, MREs are self-contained complete meals that don’t require any extra preparations. This makes them popular with emergency preparers, survivalists, and campers.
A typical MRA meal may consist of anything from lentil stew to spaghetti and meatballs, chicken burritos, cheese tortellini, or much more, providing you with a delicious, nutritious meal.
Available in lightweight, vacuumed sealed packaging ensures easy portability and can last up to five years.
While militaries aren’t allowed to sell their MREs to the general public, a few companies have brought out civilian MREs that everyone can purchase.
With a wide range of variety and different brands, it can often be hard to choose which ones to buy. Luckily for you, we have created a guide to the best MREs.
ReadyWise Emergency Food Supply
Whatever situation you find yourself in, ReadyWise is the solution. They provide innovative and delicious easy-to-prepare grab-and-go meals that are perfect for emergencies, camping, or hiking expeditions.
With a shelf life of up to 25 years, it is practical and dependable for storage and uses when needed.
With 104 servings, each meal is packed in individual balanced portions, these include breakfasts, lunches, dinners, vegetables, fruits, snacks, and milk.
All meals are packed securely in airtight Mylar pouches inside a stackable polyethylene bucket, this ensures the meal’s quality and freshness.
The bucket produces easy storage and prevents any rodents from reaching the food. Make sure to store your food in a cool, dry area.
The meals are easy to make and prepare; all you have to do is add water. You can either use hot or cold water and re-hydration should happen within 15 minutes to 30 minutes!
Hot water allows the food to hydrate quicker; however, this isn’t required to prepare a meal. This makes it perfect for whatever environment you are in.
- 25-years shelf life – If stored properly, this MRA can last up to 25 years, perfect for emergency preparedness.
- Just add water – No cooking is required, all you need to do is add whatever temperature of water you have.
- Storage included – Keep pouches secure and safe in a durable and stackable box.
- Packets can’t be resealed – Any leftover food cannot be resealed in its original packaging to be used again.
Mountain House 3-Day Emergency Food Supply
A favorite for hiking or camping expeditions. The Mountain House emergency food supply is designed to provide you with 1,706 calories for 72 hours.
With no artificial coloring or flavoring, all freeze-dried meals are rich in flavors and offer a home-cooked taste to help power you through any situation.
In this kit, you will find biscuits and gravy, granola with milk and berries, chicken fried rice, chicken and dumplings, and beef stroganoff with noodles. Offering a huge variety of food, you won’t get bored of these anytime soon.
To cook your meal, all you have to do is simply add hot water to the pouch and it will be done within 10 minutes. Power outage? No need to worry! Room temperature water will work just as fine – just make sure to double the hydration time.
Mountain House features the longest proven shelf life in the industry with a 30-year taste guarantee! Making this food supply perfect for emergency food storage or food rations. All meals are freeze-dried to help lock in nutrients and freshness.
- Variety of meals – Ensures that you won’t get sick of eating the same foods over and over again.
- Easy to prepare – All you need to do is add water to your meal pouch and it should be hydrated within 10 minutes.
- 30-year taste guarantee – Perfect for emergency preparedness, freeze-dried meals ensure freshness and nutritional value over time.
- Cardboard box packaging – When storing your kit make sure it is off the ground as rodents can easily get through cardboard packing and to your meals.
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Augason Farms Emergency Food Supply
Augason Farms’ mission is to ensure every family in America has an emergency food supply to provide them with the necessary resources they need to survive a crisis, anywhere.
Complete with a 30-day QSS-Certified food supply, you can rest assured that you will be well nourished. Providing you will 1,854 calories and 47 grams of protein per person, per day. That’s more than the QSS (Quality Survival Standards) minimum requirement of 1,800 calories!
You will receive great-tasting meals that are filling, satisfying, and great to eat. This ranges from macaroni and cheese to maple brown sugar oatmeal. Better yet, you also get a complete 30-day meal plan, helping you ration out your foods and get enough calories per day.
All of this comes in an 8.5-gallon watertight pail with handles for easy transportation and storage. Made out of quality plastic, you don’t have to worry about rodents trying to eat your food. With a shelf life of 25 years, you can easily store it in your garage and use it when need be.
Likewise, all meals are freeze-dried to ensure freshness and flavor, and are easy to prepare; all you have to do is add water! It couldn’t be easier.
- Meal plan – This makes planning and organizing your meals much easier, making sure you get enough calories for that.
- High-calorie meals – Ensures you get enough energy and nutrients to power long and strenuous activities.
- Strong handle – Provides easy portability.
- Multi-serving packages – The meals come in large multi-serving packaging which makes it hard to split meals.
4Patriots Emergency Food Supply
This 4-week survival food supply gives you peace of mind no matter what happens.
Featuring 196 delicious servings, with approximately 1,357 calories per day, including family-favorite meals such as America’s finest macaroni and cheese, granny’s sweet oatmeal, fireside stew, and much more.
You’ll have enough food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Designed to last up to 25 years; however, storage conditions can impact shelf life. For best results, store in a dry, cool area. Disaster-resistant packaging, including a Myler pouch to help protect your food, and a large plastic box for storage.
Using high-tech, high-capacity oxygen absorbers to suck out any excess air to lock in taste and flavor.
To prepare the meals, all you have to do is add boiling water, simmer, and serve. It takes 15 minutes from start to finish. Proudly packaged in the USA, with no added MSG, to provide top-quality meals.
- Range of meals – With lots of variety, you won’t get bored of eating the same meals every day.
- Long shelf life – With a 25-year shelf life, you are prepared whatever the situation.
- Storage – A large plastic box ensures easy storage while protecting food against any rodents.
- Need boiling water – To cook meals you have to use boiling water, which, depending on the situation, may not have access to.
- Meals aren’t resealable – Each meal contains a large portion; therefore, you can’t easily split up meals if need be.
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XMRE 1300XT Meals Ready To Eat
XMRE meals are battle-tested, packed fresh, and follow standards set by the U.S. Army Natick Soldier RD&E Center. The kit contains 12 rations, and 6 menu options, with 1,200 – 1,500 calories of high-quality nourishment. A guaranteed shelf life of 3 years, with proper storage, can be extended.
All meals included are nutrient diverse and can be heated in the pouch by a portable flameless heater, no need for water to rehydrate your food!
Designed for taste and nutrition, unlike dehydrated foods. Packaged in a cardboard box, each meal kit is lightweight, self-contained, and pre-packed with utensils in a portable tamper and waterproof pouch.
All kits contain an entree, bread item, spread, beverage, snack, dessert, utensils, and a flameless heater pack.
Specifically designed to exceed the highest military standards and requirements of government institutions, emergency preparedness, global humanitarian relief organizations, outdoorsmen, survivalists, and first responders.
So you can rest assured that this kit is trusted by experts.
- Utensils included – You don’t have to worry about forgetting your utensils at home as this kit includes all the utensils you need.
- Flameless heater pack – This allows you to cook easily and quickly, without having to need water.
- Great taste – As meals aren’t dehydrated, it ensures great taste and freshness.
- Cardboard box – All meals are contained within a cardboard box, however, this makes it vulnerable to rodents who could easily get into the box.
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Before purchasing an MRA, there are a few things to consider first to get the best MRA for you.
Due to their long expiration date, some people may think MRAs are indestructible; however, this is not the case. Below, to help you find the best MRA for you, we have created a complete buyer’s guide for MRAs.
Storing your MRA correctly could mean the difference between it lasting a few months to over a decade. Therefore, the type of storage your MRA includes and where you then store this is important.
Some MRAs come in cardboard boxes while others come in hard plastic boxes, each has its positives and negatives. While a cardboard box is more lightweight than a plastic container, it will not protect your meals as securely.
This is because cardboard is a weak material and easily damaged. Rodents would be able to gnaw and chew the box to get to your meals inside. Likewise, cardboard can soak up water; therefore, potentially damaging all your meals.
Therefore, it’s best to get an MRA with plastic storage containers. These are much more durable and longer-lasting and will prevent any outside forces from getting in.
An MRAs shelf life can be determined by many factors. Whether this is temperature, storage, or damage. For some people, the aim is to store a food supply for emergency preparedness; therefore, the proclaimed shelf-life needs to be longer.
While others may be using an MRA as food for camping trips or hiking expeditions where the shelf life doesn’t need to last years. Depending on your circumstances, different MRA shelf lives will suit your needs.
It’s important to purchase MRAs from a reputable source. One thing to remember is that the military is not legally allowed to sell their MRAs, so any MRA that claims to be from the military should be avoided as these may be fake.
When buying online, make sure to read any reviews and ratings from verified sources. Likewise, make sure that your MRA has a packaged date, this will give you an idea of how long the MRA should last. If it doesn’t include a packaged date, the MRA should be avoided.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below, you will find some frequently asked questions concerning MRAs.
What Is An MRA?
MRE stands for Meal Ready-to-Eat. Primarily designed for innovative military use to keep soldiers well-nourished out on the field – keeping troops’ stomachs full without compromising mobility with any extra food preparations.
While MRAs were designed with military combat in mind, they are becoming more and more popular with civilians, including survivalists, and emergency preppers.
However, these are not the only people who buy them. Families have begun buying emergency food supplies to help prepare and be equipped for natural disasters. Whether this is earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, blizzards, or anything else.
MREs have evolved drastically over the years and have become far more advanced than their predecessors of canned ham or crackers.
Today meals can range from anything like chicken burritos to lentil stew. Long gone are the days of bland, tasteless foods, with more and more options invented over the years.
Best Ways To Store An MRA
When making the most out of your MRA’s shelf life, storing it properly plays a massive role. MREs are required to have a 3.5-year shelf life if stored at 81 degrees Fahrenheit; however, this can be increased or decreased depending on the environment it is subjected to.
If stored in direct sunlight with a temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, your MRA will only last a few months.
Generally, the colder it is, the longer your MRA will last, anything under 60 degrees Fahrenheit will ensure longer shelf life. Below, you will find the best way to store an MRA to optimize its shelf life.
As previously mentioned, keeping your MRA colder will generally ensure that they last longer. Not only does a freezer extend your MRA’s shelf life.
But it also prevents any rodents from reaching your MRA. When stored for long periods, freezer burn shouldn’t be an issue unless you notice any tears or breakages in your food packaging which could spoil the food.
Although, the main problem with this storing method is that if the power continually goes out, the MRA will thaw and freeze over and over again, causing the shelf life to shorten. Likewise, you would have to dedicate a lot of space in your freezer to fit your MRAs.
Another method is to keep them in the refrigerator. This is a great way to keep your MRA cool while keeping it out of direct sunlight.
However, the only issue, again, is that you would have to dedicate a lot of space in your refrigerator to accommodate your MRA.
If you’re short on space, storing your MRAs in your garage is another great option. Having a temperature-controlled garage would help the MRA last longer.
When storing it in a garage, ideally, make sure to keep them off the ground and in a plastic container to prevent any rodents from reaching your precious stockpile.
If you have enough space, again, this would be a great option. Not only would it be temperature-controlled but it would also be out of any direct sunlight which could cause the foot to spoil quicker.
Keeping them off the ground would deter any rodents. However, if kept in a strong plastic container, rodents shouldn’t bother as they are securely sealed.
If you’re following the stereotypical emergency preparedness plan, storing your MRA in a temperature-controlled bunker, inside a freezer powered by a solar panel generator would be the best storage option.
This way, if your power goes out, you have a backup generator that will keep your emergency food supply frozen, in a safe location, until needed.
MRA is the perfect emergency survival food. What makes them perfect is their long shelf life, little to no extra food preparations, and their delicious meals filled with all the nutrients you need to survive.
With the proper storage, MRAs can last years and years until you face a situation where you need them most. Hopefully, this guide has informed you of all the best MRAs on the market – so you can have peace of mind that you’re prepared for whatever situation you may face.