Freeze Dried vs. MRE
The unit I currently am assigned to requires all personnel to qualify every 6 months with their personal weapons. This past week was one of those qualification weeks. And we stayed in the field for 3 days, mostly because we were running a range. Either way, I thought it was a good time to compare freeze-dried foods to MRE’s. I took two different kinds of freeze-dried foods: Wise foods and My Patriot Supplies. The results that I got were amazing.
MRE’s are meals ready to eat. This is the go-to meal for the military and is suppose to have a long shelf life (somewhere between 10-15 yrs). However, if you’ve ever eaten one you can testify that they are not the best tasting in the world. Army doctrine actually forbids soldiers to consume MRE for more than 21 days straight. A little fun fact I wish someone would have told my platoon on my last deployment. I learned the hard way. After 21 days your digestive system is so screwed up you can’t handle real food. Diarrhea is the nice way of putting what you’re experiencing. I have watched other soldiers start out for the latrine and end up in the shower. I’m just blessed I was always close enough when that moment came.
So what are the pros? Compact, waterproof seal, long shelf life, comes with a flameless heater to heat your food with, and some kind of beverage powder. The package is tuff as nails and guarantees you that you don’t have to be gentle with it. However, this also means that you either need to file down your teeth or carry a knife to get into the thing. But the package itself can be used for all manner of things: occlusive dressing, to carry water in, a small sandbag, etc.
Wise Foods have been around for a while now and make some pretty good stuff. Their packages also are waterproof and most come in a 4 gal bucket that is sealed. They have a choice between a 7-year shelf life and a 25-year shelf life. Not sure why you would ever go with the 7-year life but to each their own.
The idea they had with the packaging is to make it so the food could sit in water for 25 years and still be good. One of the first things I noticed was that the freeze-dried foods were significantly lighter than the MRE’s. They packed smaller and I didn’t even notice the weight of them in my pack. Unfortunately, they didn’t come with any type of heater, spoon, TP, gum, seasoning, or moist towels. All of these things come with the MRE. I had no real way to heat the water up, as range control frowns on having a bond fire on a live range, so I just added cold water and moved on. I figured if I was ever in a real situation I wouldn’t use a fire to heat the water then either.
The taste was better than that of MRE’s. I had Beef Flavored Stroganoff, Chicken Alfredo, and Chilly Mac. Honestly, the Chilly Mac straight sucked. I made sure to share with the guys so I could get a solid assessment of the food. I probably shared with 6 to 7 other guys on each meal. All of us concluded the Chilly Mac sucked. However, the other two meals we liked. Aside from the noodles not softening up like they would have with hot water, they were good. The seasoning was spot on, so no need to carry extra seasoning. The instructions were easy to follow and was a 4 step process. In all, I’d take the Wise food over the MRE’s any day of the week.
My Patriot Supply
My Patriot Supply is a new company that also makes freeze-dried foods. These guys strive to make quality food with no preservatives. I decided to take a package of honey coated bananas for this field experience. I found it to be perfect for the occasion. They also have water and air sealed packages and they come in a small stackable plastic box. The seasoning is also already added and no real need for alterations.
You can reseal the packages. This is perfect for the field. I didn’t need to add water or do anything other than eat; I had a hard time sharing and putting the bag down. This is the one product I wanted to keep to myself. Everyone else that tried it also agreed that it was the best tasting out of the lot. Amy, my wife, also ate some here at the house while I was in the field and she wrote a review about it. She too concluded that the My Patriot Supplies tasted better and was more pure than the Wise Foods. My Patriot Supplies also makes full meals; unfortunately, we have not tried that. We did, however, try their corn and loved it. It is almost as fresh as straight off the stalk.
So out of all three of these candidates, the conclusion was that the My Patriot Supplies was the best for backpacking and in the field. I feel that they’re meals are safer than the MRE’s, which are loaded with preservatives, and defiantly lighter. The single items meals like the honey coated bananas are perfect for in the field. However, I still think Wise Foods makes a good product. Please try both and yall be the judge. Let us know how yall like each product. Thanks so much for reading and as always, please shop at Tackleberry Solutions.