Meals Ready to Eat or MREs were originally developed for the army. These rations are designed to meet your daily nutritional requirements while being easy to store, transport, and prepare. You can buy MRE meals online to stock up on food that would come in handy in case of a natural disaster or for your next camping trip. Here is what you need to know about shopping for MREs on the Internet.
What Is An MRE?
A Meal Ready to Eat is made of several elements individually packed in plastic pouches. Each pouch will either contain a dish that can be warmed up, or a food item such as a piece of bread. You will usually find extras such as beverages, napkins, and plastic cutlery to eat your food.
Most MREs also include a flameless heater you can use to safely warm up your food. A single MRE should weigh around 20 ounces. An adult will typically need two meals ready to eat in a day. The purpose of these rations is to meet your daily nutritional requirements while being easy to pack and transport.
Being able to make food on the go is a real advantage when you go on a long hike or plan a camping or fishing trip. You will be able to eat warm meals even though you don’t have access to a cooking range.
MREs are also interesting because of their extremely long shelf life. While canned foods typically won’t last for more than four years, the shelf life of an MRE is five years. An MRE also contains a much wider range of food items compared to what you will find in the canned food section of your grocery store.
The Advantages Of Shopping For MREs Online?
You can buy MRE meals online at an affordable price. Shopping online means you will have access to a wider range of sellers and items than you would locally. Some military surplus stores sell MREs, but you will find that their inventories are very limited. This might be an item that your local military surplus store doesn’t carry all the time.
On the other hand, there are several online stores that specialize in selling MREs. You can buy MRE meals online by visiting the official website of the manufacturer and ordering an entire box of MREs. This is the most affordable way to purchase meals ready to eat.
Shopping online also gives you access to a wider range of product. Most MRE manufacturers will offer a dozen different menus at any given time. If you shop around, you will find MREs that are a few years old with different menus that manufacturers might not currently offer. You will also find more options, such as vegetarian MREs.
You will also have more choices regarding the quantities of MREs you can order. If your goal is to stock up as many MREs as possible for a preparedness scenario, you can save money by shopping for MREs in bulk. You will also find sellers who offer single MREs so you can relive this experience if you used to be in the army. Purchasing a case of twelve MREs is probably your best option if you want to bring these meals on your next hiking or camping trip.
You can usually find good deals when browsing for MREs online. The most affordable meals ready to eat are the ones that are a few years in their shelf life. These meals have a shelf life of five years when properly stored. You will get lower prices if you purchase MREs that are one or two years away from their expiration date. This isn’t ideal if you want to stock up food, but this will help you save money if you want to bring some MREs on an upcoming RV trip or on a trip where you won’t have access to food-prep facilities.
What To Look For When Shopping For Meals Ready To Eat
This checklist will help you find the best MREs possible when shopping online. Take the time to do some research and contact sellers to ask more questions if needed. Stay away from websites and sellers that offer very little information about their products and the origin of the MREs.
The U.S. Army uses three different manufacturers for its meals ready to eat. You can buy MRE meals online directly from these manufacturers, but the product will be slightly different from the MREs made for the U.S. army.
Ameriqual, Sopakco and the Wornick Company are the only brands who make MREs for the U.S. Army. The MREs produced for the U.S. Army will only have the Department of Defense seal on their packaging. There is no way to identify which manufacturer made the MRE if it was produced for the army.
Ameriqual and Sopakco have a line of civilian MREs. These are some of the best MREs you can buy online, but there are other manufacturers to consider. The products sold by Sopakco are known as Sure-Pak MREs while Ameriqual sells APack MREs. The Wornick Company makes a product called Eversafe.
Stay away from sellers who claim to have army-grade MREs even though their products don’t have the Department of Defense seal on them. If you can see a brand on an MRE, you are not looking at a product that was made for the army. You will typically find army-grade MREs in army surplus but most online stores won’t carry these products.
Ameriqual, Sopakco, and the Wornick Company are excellent choices since these reputable brands have been making MREs for years. Brands like MRE Star and Meal Kit Supply are other good options to consider. These brands offer products with a quality that is similar to army-grade MREs, even though there are a few differences.
If you encounter other manufacturers, take the time to do some background research. Find out for how long they have been making MREs, read through their official websites, look for reviews, and use message boards to find people who have bought their products and ask them about their experience with the meals ready to eat.
What Is Included In The MRE
Pay attention to what is included in an MRE case when you buy MRE meals online. Civilian MREs typically have fewer extras than the MREs produced for the U.S. army.
There is no need to buy MREs with a several extras if you plan on eating these meals at home. However, extras such as napkins and toilet paper can come in handy during a hiking trip.
The flameless heater is an important extra to look for if you need to prepare food outside. Some MREs are more affordable because they don’t include this accessory. This isn’t a major issue since you can easily purchase a small heater and bring it with you on your next camping or fishing trip.
Beverages are another thing to take into consideration. Military-grade MREs include coffee and other beverages, but most civilian MREs will only include water and juice. This won’t be an issue if you are able to transport coffee with you, but this could be an interesting extra if you can shop for MREs at an army surplus.
Menus And Calories
MRE manufacturers typically offer ten or twelve different menus. Some brands will rotate their menus so you will be able to find more diverse options if you shop for MREs that are a few years old. Don’t expect to encounter a lot of variety when it comes to menus, but some brands area making real efforts to develop new menus and even offer vegetarian options.
Pay attention to the number of calories included in the MREs you are interested in. The U.S. Army uses MREs with a total of 1,250 calories. A soldier will need two of these field rations a day.
Most civilian MREs contain fewer calories and the caloric intake actually varies from one menu to another. Some of the menus from the Sure-Pak MREs sold by Sopakco actually contain 900 calories. If possible, look for MREs with at least 1,000 calories so you can get by with two rations a day.
Pay attention to the number of calories coming from the main dish included in the MRE and to the number of calories coming from the snacks, bread, and other extras. Ideally, you should eat most of the MRE during a meal and get through the day with the snacks and other extras. An MRE might deliver most of its calories via a large dish and contain very few snacks and extras.
The shelf life is the most important thing to look at when you buy MRE meals online. You will probably pay anywhere from $3 to $7 per meal depending on how old an MRE is. It is common for resellers to ship MREs that are three years or more into their shelf life while manufacturers will typically ship fresher products.
Meals ready to eat have a shelf life of up to five years. Some brands make MREs with a shelf life that is slightly shorter. Look for a seller who is transparent about how old the products are.
It is important to make sure the MREs you purchase have been properly stored. An MRE should be stored at around 55℉. MREs come in waterproof packaging that will protect the food from humidity, but an MRE exposed to extreme temperature will have a much shorter shelf life and might be inedible when you receive it.
Ideally, the seller you order your MREs from will be able to tell you where the MREs came from and can guarantee that they have been properly stored. Purchasing army surplus MREs can be risky since it is often difficult to trace where the items came from and to make sure they have been properly stored.
You can save money when you buy MRE meals online by choosing products that are close to their expiration date. You will still get high-quality meals as long as the MREs have been properly stored. However, if your goal is to stock up on food for a preparedness scenario, it would be best to look for MREs that are towards the beginning of their shelf life.
Keep in mind that MREs don’t have an expiration date. Instead, you will find a manufacturing date on the product. If you shop for military MREs, you will probably notice an inspection date on the packaging of the MREs. The army typically inspects MREs three years after they have been packaged and can use inspection codes instead of writing an entire date on the packaging. You can look up these codes online to find out when the MRE case was inspected.
Eating an MRE that is past its expiration date is usually safe, but you will definitely notice a difference when it comes to how the food taste. You can usually tell when an MRE hasn’t been stored properly or is past its expiration date because the food won’t have any taste or the texture of the food will be different.
Military Vs. Civilian MREs
There are small differences between military and civilian MREs. Meals ready to eat produced for the army typically have more extras and a higher calorie content compared to some civilian products.
There are no differences in quality as long as you choose a reputable civilian MRE brand. The same thing is true of packaging and shelf life. It is important to pay attention to the extras included and to the menus you will get.
However, military MREs tend to be more expensive. If you want to save money, it might be best to shop for civilian MREs even if it means getting fewer extras.
You can easily identify real military MREs. The packages will only have the Department of Defense seal. You won’t be able to find any logos and other signs that would allow you to identify a manufacture. If you find a seller who claims to offer military MREs, ask to see images of the product. It will be easy to determine if the seller is telling the truth.
Some sellers offer military-grade MREs. This isn’t an official designation, but this is a term used to indicate that the MRE meets quality standards similar to military MREs or contains similar items.
It might be best to shop for civilian MREs due to lower prices and to the wider selection that is available. You can buy MRE meals online that were made for the army but will typically pay more. You should also know that military MREs that end up online or in army surplus store are typically towards the end of their shelf life. You can save money and get MREs with a longer shelf life if you shop for civilian MREs.
This doesn’t mean you should completely avoid military MREs. The extras included make these MREs interesting, and you will definitely get a high-quality product. However, you might not be able to find military MREs at an interesting price when shopping around.
You can read more the difference between military and civilian MREs here.
How To Shop For Civilian MREs
There are different options available if you want to order civilian MREs online. You should take the time to shop around to compare your options and find a good deal on MREs.
Start by checking the official websites of different well-known brands. Sopakco has an official Sure-Pak website where you can order cases of 12 MREs. However, the Wornick Company and Ameriqual don’t directly sell their products. You can find several resellers that carry the APak and Eversafe MREs.
We also talked about MRE Star as being one of the best civilian MRE brands. This company has an official website where you can order MRE cases, individual MRE meals, and individual MRE items.
Amazon and eBay are worth checking out if you want to purchase MREs. You can usually find cases of MREs from all the brands mentioned above. Contact the seller directly to find out about the shelf life of the product since some sellers will create a single listing to sell MRE cases that might not have the same provenance.
If you decide to order MREs from an Amazon or eBay seller or from another website, take the time to look for reviews. Make sure shoppers received a product that corresponded to what the seller described. Look for sellers that include a comprehensive list of everything included in the MRE as well as images of the different items.
Most sellers will tell you that menus will vary. If you want to select the menus you will receive, it is best to order your MREs directly from the website of the manufacturer, or from an online store that specializes in selling MREs.
Look for sellers who take the time to answer your questions and who can provide you with a full list of everything included in the MRE. Ask if you can get a picture of the manufacturing date of the MRE you will receive.
Unless you buy MREs directly from the manufacturer, you will probably get MREs that are a few years old. This is an item that sellers typically store for a long time and might not sell very often unless they specialize in preparedness products. This should be reflected in the price.
How To Shop For Military MREs
You can find genuine military MREs online. However, most of the products advertised as military MREs are actually civilian products made by the manufacturers that have contracts with the U.S. Army. You can easily recognize real military MREs by looking at images of the product. The only logo you will see on military MREs is the seal of the Department of Defense.
You will occasionally find military MREs sold in online auctions. This is not the most affordable way to shop for MREs, and these auctions might be few and far between.
Some websites that specialize in selling MREs and other preparedness products will occasionally get military MREs in their inventory. Prices will vary in function of how old the MREs are.
The best way to find military MREs online is to check the websites of different army surplus stores. Some army surplus stores operate entirely online while some large stores have a brick-and-mortar location as well as a website. You might be able to find a nearby army surplus store with a good selection of MRE to save time and money on shipping.
Online army surplus store typically have a good selection of MREs, but you need to pay attention to the manufacturing and inspection dates when shopping for military MREs. Army surplus stores are the best place to buy MRE meals online if you want genuine military MREs since the people who work in these stores will know how to identify real military MREs.
Army surplus stores typically carry U.S. Army MREs and will sometimes sell MREs used by foreign armies. Trying the MREs used in different countries can be an interesting experience, but keep in mind that the army surplus store selling these products might not be able to help you with translating the menus and list of extras included. You should also know that quality and menus will vary from one country to another. Foreign military MREs won’t be necessarily more affordable since they are somewhat of a rarity.
Foreign MREs can be fun to try, but this isn’t something you should purchase if you want MREs for an upcoming camping trip. It is best to stick to a U.S. Army or civilian MREs since you will know exactly what is included in these meals ready to eat.
Buying MREs online is a great way to save money and to get access to a wider selection of products. However, it is important to choose a reputable seller and to stay away from sites and listings that claim you will get a military MRE even though the product is clearly made by a different brand. Take the time to compare your options to find the MREs with the longest shelf life at the most affordable price.