For years, the military has used Meals Ready to Eat or MREs to feed troops deployed to combat locations. Today, MREs aren't just for the military. Many civilians are choosing MREs to stock their emergency pantries and survival kits. Recent natural disasters, terrorist threats, and even Y2K have created the demand for civilian MREs. While military MREs would be a good choice, they cannot be sold to anyone other than the military, so a civilian version had to be created. These meals have a long, stable shelf life and are easy to eat anywhere. These are two more reasons that MREs are popular with campers and survivalists.
MREs are easy to prepare in the field. They don't need refrigeration or stoves and aren't dehydrated. They are simply opened and eaten which makes them a perfect choice for anyone caught in an emergency situation and can't get to their food supply. It is much easier to pack MREs than to carry cans of food around in a backpack.
While MREs issued by the government aren't technically allowed to be resold, they can often be found in military surplus stores and other resale stores. The military doesn't really oversee the resales of their MREs and it is possible to find them if you want to stock up. Additionally, civilian knock-off MREs are also becoming popular and cater to people who don't trust resellers or just want to have different options.
The Differences Between Military And Civilian MREs
There have been major improvements in the quality of civilian MREs and now many varieties rival military MREs in quality and variety. There are still differences between the two and before you purchase either type, it's important to understand how they differ from each other.
Civilian MRE Pros
– This type of MRE is often fresher than a military MRE. You may find these types of MREs online and as long as they are stored correctly, they will be good for a long time.
– Civilian MRE bags are often wider than Military MREs which makes them easier to pack. They tend to lie flatter and fit more easily into a bug out bag or a backpack.
Civilian MRE Cons
– They may cost more than a Military MRE.
– May not have the same variety as a Military MRE.
Military MRE Pros
– This type of MRE is the real deal. They are what troops are given to eat when they are deployed and have been used to feed military members for generations.
– Military MREs can be purchased on Ebay and can often be found for less than the civilian MREs.
– If you purchase a case of Military MREs, you can usually get a better assortment. A case will typically have a menu that tells you what you are getting.
– Military packaging is of better quality and tends to be more durable.
– When you purchase a Military MRE, the eating utensils, condiments and sides are included. Also included is a heater for heating the entree.
– Buying Military MREs usually offers more variety.
Military MRE Cons
– It can be difficult finding Military MREs.
– If you do find them, it may be on Ebay or another online reseller. You can't be sure how the seller has stored the food, so be careful when purchasing.
Tips For Buying MREs
Depending on the type of MRE you want, Ebay may be your best bet. They usually have some type of Military MREs available for sale and often have Civilian MREs as well. Always check the package for an expiration date and to see what is inside. Also, check to ensure the package contains the entree heater, condiments, and utensils.