The MRE food pack is awesome ... they provided over 1,000 calories (enough to keep a soldier going) in a very easy to carry, small package and the food doesn't require refrigeration. Heck, they even came with mini-heaters so you could warm up the food. I ate many MREs while I served in Korea. I enjoyed every single one.
While considering our food options, I've come to the conclusion that there is no reason why we can't take MREs with us. They have a very long shelf life and they taste really good. We could even throw a few into our ditch bag (our "abandon ship" bag). MREs wouldn't be our main staple, but they could supplement nicely.
Researching MREs, I learned that they are not directly for sale to civilians. I could buy them from an Army/Navy store, but I wanted to get them from the manufacturer or supplier. This lead to 3 main brands that make them for the military and sell their equivalents to civilians.
After reading all the reviews of those who've tried both military MREs and Civilian MREs, it looks like we will be going with Sure-Pak 12 MREs from SOPAKCO. The variety of meals is fantastic, and they can be purchased from TheEpicenter.com.
The Sure-Pak 12 is exactly like the military MREs including the utensils, napkins, main meal, plus desert and drink flavors. Here is an example listing of contents in one Sure-Pak MRE:
- Chicken Breast Strips with Salsa
- Crackers (and these aren't grandmas crackers either ... these are hefty!)
- Grape Jelly
- Cherry Blueberry Cobbler
- Oatmeal Cookie
- Sqwincher Beverage - Orange (this is power to add to water)
- Instant Coffee (strong stuff)
On the low end (e.g. without heaters included), you can buy 12 full on make a soldier go 1,000 + calorie good tasting self contained meal box for $65 (at the time of this writing). This comes out to about $6 per MRE (when you include shipping). Given our targets of only spending $10 per day as a family of 4, this is steep, but considering the convenience, change of pace of food, and its self contained nature, this is a fantastic option as a supplement to any boat provisioning strategy.