Everyone loves food, but is the MRE (Meal, Ready to Eat) a worthy military surplus topic? Absolutely! After all, our uniformed soldiers have to eat something to sustain them while carrying out their duties. Granted, if a soldier is living on a base, he’s not going to be eating many MRE’s. But, an MRE can come in handy when away from the base on a mission.
To discover when MRE’s first originated, we have to go way back into the first days of this country during the Revolutionary War. Colonial soldiers were given food to eat on the battlefield, mostly made up of peas, beef, and rice. The MRE contained a wider variety as it made an appearance during the Civil War. It continued to evolve throughout the wars of the 20th century, containing lighter meats, potatoes, fruit bars, and more. Finally, standard issue dehydrated MRE’s went into service in 1986, being stored in plastic pouches.
The MRE currently can include a wide variety of contents. Here are some of the most common items: main course, side dish, desert, bread, spread (cheese, peanut butter, or jelly), and beverage mix. The MRE also has an all-important eating utensil, a flameless ration heater, and other miscellaneous items (seasoning, napkin, chewing gum, etc.). The ration heater is a small pouch that emits no flame, and it allows soldiers to heat their meal. There are currently 24 main course dishes available, including chili and macaroni, beef stew, and chicken and dumplings.
The MRE is obviously not the best-tasting meal you will ever eat, but it certainly can come handy in a pinch. It works great for camping trips by limiting dishes and utensils needed. It’s an easy way to carry food that doesn’t take much preparation while hunting. And even when you’re at home, it’s a quick way to get the energy you need when on-the-go. The shelf life of the MRE is three years, so you can stock up without worrying about letting any go to waste.
Just reading about all this food makes me hungry! If you want to get some of these tasty meals for that camping trip, or just to keep with you in the case of an emergency, check out Amazon’s great selection. And if you’re looking for a great way to sleep in style, check out our Family Coleman Instant Tent review.
Written by Craig Kent, member of the Best Military Surplus team.