Best MRE Meals For Emergency Preparedness and Survival

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An MRE meals guide for long-term survival and food storage.

MRE Meals

After water and shelter, food is one of the most fundamental long-term survival necessities.

Food is fuel that keeps your body running like an engine.

It sustains you and keeps you energized. It’s a survival necessity from the day you’re born until your final breath – no exceptions.

Sure, it’s true you can survive weeks without actually eating something. But going even a single day without eating has a discernible effect your energy levels.

And after two days, your cognitive abilities to think clearly will begin to suffer. And we all know, in a real emergency, a clear mind and ample energy are critical for successful survival.

That’s why it is so damned important to keep a stockpile of emergency survival food!

Heck, it may even end up being the best investment you ever make.

Now, ideally, you’ll want stockpile something lightweight, calorie dense, and nutritious. And, most important of all, it must be NON-perishable food.

Lots of non-perishables do not taste very good. In fact, lots of nonperishable survival food tastes like crap.

Foods with extreme shelf lives are usually full of preservatives. Let’s just say these foods don’t make for a great gourmet dining experience.

But, there are some survival rations that DO taste fairly good. Some might even say they taste exceptional (especially relative to other nonperishable foods).

One of the best, nutritious, longest lasting, tastiest survival foods, are MRE meals.

So we’re going to dive into MRE’s and how they can be used for emergency preparations:

  • What Is An MRE Meal
  • What Makes MRE Meals Great
  • Best MRE Meal Deals
  • How To Heat An MRE
  • Maintaining Your MRE Stash
As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Family First Food Planning Guide. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

mre's for food stockpileWhat Is An MRE Meal?


MRE stands for Meal Ready to Eat, as in, it’s ready to eat straight out of the packaging.

They come in sealed airtight packages to prevent them from drying out or going bad.

These survival rations were originally designed by the U.S. military. MRE’s were developed in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. They replaced the MCI rations (Meal, Combat, Individual rations). MCI rations were the ones used throughout WWI and WWII.

MRE’s were lighter weight, cheaper, easier to transport, and more nutritious than MCI’s.

MRE’s were for soldiers who got trapped without food deliveries, or mess halls. MRE’s kept those stranded warriors fed, and living to fight another day.

While MRE’s are still relatively new, the need for portable nonperishable military food goes back thousands of years.

“The generally awful reputation of military food dates to ancient times.” – Rebecca Rupp

Providing a supply of nutritious food for soldiers on the move has been an epic challenge throughout history.

The logistics of keeping an army fed on the move often made the difference between winning a war or losing it!

One of the ancient options was to scavenge the local areas, depleting farmers and small towns of their meager food supplies. This practice was frowned upon back then, and even more so today.

Hence, the modern day armies figured out a new means to feed an army on the move without stealing from civilians. MRE’s are the most recent solution to this ancient problem.

MRE Mass Popularity

However, with the insane utility of MRE’s, they quickly became popular among the civilian world as well, especially with:

  • Hunters
  • Backpackers
  • Campers
  • Hikers
  • Bikers
  • Fishermen
  • Etc.

Basically, anyone and everyone who spends long hours outdoors.

They’re still one of the most popular forms of survival food today.

Even humanitarian and government disaster response groups have adopted MRE’s. They hand them out to victims of natural disasters and national emergencies.

MRE’s are fantastic, and you should take advantage of the fact that they are so readily available today. So stock up because they may not always be as cheap, and as abundant.

Here’s an interesting video of 5 Things You Don’t Know About Military Rations:



What Makes MRE’s Great?


There are a lot of reasons why MRE meals are great.

First: they have a very long shelf life.

They can last for up to seven years on their own, and if kept in cool conditions they can last even longer. Theoretically, if you freeze them, they can last indefinitely.

This long shelf life makes MRE’s decent choice for emergency preparations.

You can store them with your survival gear, in your food cache, in your car, at your bug out location, anywhere! And you can be sure that they will be good when you come back in a year to eat them.

They’re cheap.

Most of the places online that sell MRE meals do so in packs. Usually, you can get between four and twenty per package. And the more you buy in bulk, the cheaper they are on an individual basis.

A single MRE costs around $6-7, but if you buy that same MRE in a pack of twelve, it will cost closer to $4 or $6.

That’s great incentive to buy a lot of these things. The more you have, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

Transportation and portability are critical when it comes to MRE’s.

These things were designed to be carried by soldiers over long, hard distances. So, weight and packability are significant factors.

MRE’s are engineered to be light, while still packing a big nutritional punch.

And because of the way they’re packaged, they’re easily stored in a backpack, glovebox, or pocket.

No spilling, molding or mess.

They taste pretty damn good for military/survival rations.

These things do not taste like dried cardboard caked in mud, like a lot of non-perishable meals. Many companies offer different meals and flavors, so it’s not difficult to find one you like.

Some offer full MRE meals (with a variety of flavors), including:

  • entrees
  • side dishes
  • sandwiches
  • sandwich bread
  • desserts and snacks
  • sauces and spreads
  • and even drink mixers

MRE’s make survival a tasty experience. Just because you’re in a shit hits the fan scenario, does not mean you have to eat crappy food.

Best MRE Meals Deals


There are a lot of different MRE meal companies out there, and they all make a similar product. So I have put together the following best MRE Meals Deals going on out there.

Western Frontier 12 Meal Case

These genuine US warfighter rations offer about 1250 calories per meal.

These cases also include flavorful spices, matches, toilet paper, and other survival accessories.

The meals are randomly selected from two different menu options, but come with a variety of

  • Asian
  • Mexican
  • Italian
  • Traditional
  • Vegetarian

There’s even an assortment of snacks, dessert, coffee, milkshakes, and beverage powders.

While the packs have an inspection date of 2019, there is no official expiration date. This means that they’ll likely last about 5-7 years on their own.

Check Out Today’s Price


Captain Dave’s 12 MRE Meals

This pack comes with 12 entrees (not complete meals, just the main dishes).

There are at least six different meal flavors included with this case. Some are chicken based meals; others are beef based.

This government-approved manufacturer guarantees quality products.

Check out Today’s Price


Western Frontier Ultimate MRE 6 Pack

This case of 6 MRE meals is enough to get anyone through some tough times.

There are approximately 24 different meal flavors that are randomly selected.

They range from chicken and noodles to beef chili, and potato hash browns with bacon.

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Rothco MREs Box A, Genuine U.S. Military Surplus

These MRE’s are genuine US War Fighter Rations with 12 different Meals per Case.

Making this ideal for hunting, camping, hiking, fishing, boating, and emergency food supply.

Each MRE meal contains a flameless ration heater for a hot meal anywhere you go.

The meals also feature an accessory pack with coffee or beverage powder, matches, seasonings, gum, wet wipe, tissue.

Designed for maximum endurance and nutrition with average 1250 calories per meal.

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X MRE Meals 1300XT Single Meal with Heater

If you’re just looking to buy a single MRE this is your best option.

Each meal packs a calories punch per meal of over 1,300 calories.

The shelf life states it’s good for at least 5 years or more depending on storage temperature and conditions from date of pack.

Each MRE meal provides the nutrients & caloric value of a complete meal. XMRE can be eaten anytime at any place.

The food is pre-cooked and can be eaten hot or cold, with a flameless heater included – just add water.

Check Out Today’s Price


Genuine U.S. Military Surplus Assorted Flavor (4-Pack)

This MRE claims a long shelf life if stored per manufacturer’s directions. Each MRE has a 2012 or newer pack date.

Again this option (as are all the others) good for hunting, camping, hiking, fishing, boating, and emergency food supply.

Designed for maximum endurance and nutrition with average 1250 calories per meal.

Check Out Today’s Price

At the time of publishing, you could get a FREE 72-Hour Survival Food Kit from Food4Patriots when you cover shipping. Supplies are limited so claim your 72-hour survival food kit right now.

Modern MRE Taste Test

Here’s a video of a modern MRE review. This video gives a solid overview of what you can expect from your MRE’s nowadays:

How To Heat An MRE


Of course, as the name implies, you can open the packaging and start chomping away at one of your MRE’s right away. But a lot of MRE meals suggest you heat the meal before chowing down.

There is nothing wrong with eating them cold and fresh out of the wrapper they just tend to taste better warm.

Some MRE cases will include a heating system; others leave it up to you. So, I thought it might be useful to list a few different methods for heating an MRE up.

Flameless Retention Heater

These nifty little ovens were explicitly designed for MRE’s. If your MRE includes a method for heating it up, it’s probably going to be a flameless retention heater.

It works without the need for matches tinder or fuel.

Just slip your MRE inside of the flameless retention heater pouch, add a teaspoon of water seal it up. Now step back and let the magic unfold.

The water starts a reaction inside the pack and generates heat to warm your meal in minutes.

Boiling Water

Most MRE’s are packaged in a material that is both water and heat resistant, so boiling them is no issue whatsoever. And it’s an easy, efficient method for quickly heating up your food.

Allow water to come to a boil in a pot, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Place the MRE inside of the boiling water and allow it to soak in there for 5-8 minutes.

Pull it out carefully so as not to burn yourself, and you’ve got a hot and ready meal!

This method is particularly useful in survival situations. That way you don’t require a fancy chemical heating package or a butane stove.

If you have got fire, water, and a pot, you can get that MRE warmed up, no problem.

The Saucepan

Get your hands on a saucepan and a heat source (a fire will do, a stovetop will do better).

Open up your MRE, pour the contents into the saucepan and allow it to heat to the desired temperature. DONE!

The Oven

If you have access to an oven (rare in an actual survival), you can use it to warm your MRE’s.

Just get an oven-safe pan, open your MRE into it, and cook it in the oven at 350-degrees. It takes about ten minutes (or until it reaches desired heat).

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Family First Food Planning Guide. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Maintaining Your MRE Stash


Unfortunately, no survival meal is going to keep indefinitely. Even military designed long-lasting MRE’s come with an expiration date.

Knowing this, it’s vital that you keep a close eye on when your MRE’s go bad.

The last thing you want is to bust into your survival food rations only to get food poisoning via a bad MRE. The food you were counting on to stay fresh. Do not let it happen!

The problem is when you are dealing with foods that last for up to 7 years it can be hard to keep close tabs on it. It’s hard to know the precise date when it goes from edible to poison.

You can’t mark an exact date on your calendar.

So what do you do?

You should keep a running list of what you have, when you got it, and when it’s likely to go bad.

A simple spreadsheet will suffice, and you can keep it in your cache of survival foods.

Mine is on a clipboard that I reference every time I add something new to my survival food supply. Be it canned foods, dehydrated goods, bottled water or MRE’s.

Then, when some of your foods are approaching the expiration date, you can single those out. Eat them before they go bad, and then replace them.

In this way, you cycle through the older food supplies and have fresh survival food at all times via rotation.

Also, keep in mind, where you store your MRE’s makes a big difference in how well they keep.

If you stash them on a windowsill in direct sunlight and leave them there for three years, don’t expect them to last. They won’t be good when you eat them.

Cool, dark, dry areas are best for storing foods like MRE’s – think root cellar. You can help them to last even longer than their usual shelf life just by where you store them. Pantries, garages, basements, and closets all work well for this.

At the time of publishing, you could get a FREE 72-Hour Survival Food Kit from Food4Patriots when you cover shipping. Supplies are limited so claim your 72-hour survival food kit right now.

The Final Word


Adding MRE’s to your survival food stockpile is a major step towards self-reliance.

MRE’s ensure that, no matter what happens, you will have food that you can eat to survive. You can rest easy knowing you have an MRE safety net waiting to catch you in a long-term disaster.

They enable you to story savory, high-calorie meals for long periods of time. That way when the moment finally comes you’ll not be the family that goes hungry.

Will Brendza

P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?

There are a lot of natural nuclear shelters in the US that are absolutely free. And one of them is near your home.

Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.

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