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  • D.I.Y. M.R.E. - My $0.02....

    Well, it's that time of year for me and mine....every 3 years, we rotate out the D.I.Y. M.R.E.s, and upgrade, if we can.

    Having been a private spook in the field, and being married to a former Marine, I try to make our M.R.E. contents as reasonable as possible, while still not having to survive on utter crap in the event that the hunt goes bad for a couple of days. We've both lived on M.R.E.s (both civilian and military), and have agreed to forever hold it against the a-holes who invent that garbage....lol.

    We try to limit our budget to around $100 worth of food per BoB, and have had no trouble at all keeping well under that, thus far.

    I'm just gonna start with some basic guidelines here:

    -Try not to get anything that has to have more than one thing to cook it-water.
    -If possible, get stuff that's ready-to-eat, or can be warmed, if desired.
    -I favor bag food over canned, when possible, cause it's lighter and usually adds less bulk to the end product.
    -For once in your life, go crazy on the high-calorie, high-fat food...especially when choosing your snacks.
    -Don't skimp on spices...crappy food makes for crappy mood.
    -If you're vacuum sealing your M.R.E.s (who isn't?), pay attention to your bagged dry foods (instant potatoes, ramen noodles, etc.)...they usually have a little inflation in the bag. I use a thumbtack to pinhole the bag so my vacuum sealer can suck the air outta them, too (when storing long-term, air is your enemy).
    -Mix it up....the same thing every meal, every day quickly becomes gruel.

    I'm goin' shopping tomorrow for our rotation...I'll post with pics and prices, and some menu suggestions you might like.
    15
    Beef...it's what's for dinner.
    40.00%
    6
    Poultry/fowl...it all tastes like chicken to me.
    6.67%
    1
    Pork...the other white meat.
    6.67%
    1
    Fish...the waters' bounty.
    13.33%
    2
    Mystery....surprise me!
    26.67%
    4
    Meat...what's that?
    6.67%
    1
    "I Have Sworn Upon the Altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." -Thomas Jefferson

    "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." -Frederic Bastiat

  • #2
    I look forward to seeing your pictures. thanks

    do you keep your MRE's in the house supply too, or just for the BoB?
    "Be Excellent to Each Other"

    Comment


    • #3
      Okay...here's what we're packin'....

      BTW - No, I pack for the house in extreme bulk, by way of flash-freezing and/or vacuum, in large, stainless steel containers...I really only store things such as wheat, flour, powdered eggs, meats, rice, and dehydrated foodstuffs and water. This guide will serve only to discuss methods for packable M.R.E.s. ;)

      First, we have our meat selections (1/2 of my entree)....I try to choose meats which can be easy to mix w/other foods, like rice, stew, or salads. I also choose meats which are ready-to-serve, and require no refrigeration.

      Bagged tuna, canned chicken, potted meat, and spam singles are my favorite choices this year, as they are all versatile products, with great shelf-life. Sardines may not be at the top of your favorites list, but if you need an awesome nutritional food that's easy to pack and store, there are few better. I also pack some bullion cubes for two reasons: they make a great alternative beverage, and if you grab some game that might not be very tasty (like, say...skunk...hey, when you're hungry, meat's meat), a little bullion makes for a decent stew broth, and will make your kill more tasty.



      Second, comes the other half of our entree....I like rice....my wife likes rice... my kid loves rice.....so we eat a lot of rice, you get it. Anyway, these bagged rice varieties will add a bunch of different options to your menu, and add essential starches and other nutrients to your regimen. Once again, I opt for the bagged variety. On a personal note, I prefer the dry variety, as opposed to the Ready-Rice stuff. I've found that the dry stuff stores longer, and can be packed flatter under vacuum. I also add about 5 Lbs of raw, white rice to the bottom of each BoB, so I don't have to dig into my MREs when supplementing a kill for dinner.



      Next, we move to my family's other favorite carb: potatoes. Once again, bagged, dry, and a few different flavors.



      Moving on, the bread group...the best thing I've found for this is the snack cracker sandwiches....I swear, whoever invented these things needs their own book in the Bible. They last forever, they're tasty, loaded with calories and carbs and fat and yummy goodness.....'nuff said. Salted peanuts provide you with a few good things: salt, fiber, protein, and variety. BTW, I also pack some jerky snuff, separately, 'cause it lasts longer in vacuum than Copenhagen, and I'm gonna need something when I have no Cope, or I'm liable to go native.



      I'm gonna pause here, so I don't flood the page, and I'll continue this in the course of the next few days...working up to the finale: The Assembly....

      Hope it's informative, and look forward to your comments/questions.

      'SAW
      "I Have Sworn Upon the Altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." -Thomas Jefferson

      "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." -Frederic Bastiat

      Comment


      • #4
        execllent! keep up the good work, looking forward to seeing the rest
        WHAT IF THE AMERICA YOU KNEW, WAS ABOUT TO CHANGE?

        The best thing you can do to support the site is pass it on to your friends and fav sites like other forums, facebook, twitter etc. Let people know about us! :)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Diesel View Post
          execllent! keep up the good work, looking forward to seeing the rest
          +1 on what Diesel said :)
          73

          later,
          ZA

          Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to
          beat you to death with it because it is empty.

          The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.

          Comment


          • #6
            I am loving your DIY MRE idea, keep the pictures coming!

            I've got the individual tuna and chicken salad containers put aside for the kids, I like the idea of having whole, easy meals put into a bag for them, into their own BOB. God forbid we get separated.

            I'm a little afraid to ask- exactly what kind of meat is the Armour potted meat? I don't think I've seen that before.

            I'm anxiously awaiting the picture for my next question- how are you cooking this stuff (rice and potatoes).
            "Be Excellent to Each Other"

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Brosia View Post
              I am loving your DIY MRE idea, keep the pictures coming!

              I've got the individual tuna and chicken salad containers put aside for the kids, I like the idea of having whole, easy meals put into a bag for them, into their own BOB. God forbid we get separated.

              I'm a little afraid to ask- exactly what kind of meat is the Armour potted meat? I don't think I've seen that before.

              I'm anxiously awaiting the picture for my next question- how are you cooking this stuff (rice and potatoes).
              Potted meat is basically the spiced leftovers from meat processing.....think of it as ground up bologna: lips, a**holes, hooves, eyes, intestines....you name it - it's all meat.

              It sounds nasty, I know, but it's actually pretty good on crackers, with rice or fried with mashed potatoes.

              Armour is the only brand I buy, 'cause they don't taste like garden hose. Also, they use less bone than their counterparts.
              "I Have Sworn Upon the Altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." -Thomas Jefferson

              "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." -Frederic Bastiat

              Comment


              • #8
                And now for the next installment....

                Okay...we've covered a lot of ground, so let's carry on....

                Next...the beverage list. Believe me, you're gonna get real tired of straight water all the time. Powdered, single-serving drink mixes are worth their weight in gold, and you can pack a zillion of 'em outside your MRE's, too. Single-serve instant coffee is also easy to make and pack (remember: caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it will cause you to lose hydration. Be careful, if dehydration is a concern). Tea bags.....same warnings as coffee. ;) I also pack some Splenda sweetener, and non-dairy creamer packets. I use these types because I've found that they won't rot - even without vacuum. One thing not pictured (because I'm still trying to find my case), is honey packs. Honey's also a good source of nutrients, absolutely will not rot, and can actually be used as a topical bacterial shield for minor cuts and abrasions. ;)



                On a side note, if you're at camp, and fire is an option, I recommend boiling water for purification purposes, but if you're on the move, or fire is not an option, pack some of these babies. They do not remove chemical impurities, only bacteria, and will come in handy in a pinch. (Remember: only fill your canteen from running water sources, if possible.) ;)



                I also include a daily, all-inclusive multivitamin in each MRE, as well as keep a large bottle in each BoB. Whether you're munching wild game and roughage or prepared chow, you will be vitamin deficient if you don't supplement. (One of the cardinal rules of survival: Your MRE's are not to be used as your main source of meals....they're for when you can't procure any other means of nourishment.)

                One thing I've not posted pics of is the sweets and desserts menu...I figured this would be pretty obvious to most....
                I pack a bite-sized candy bar and a granola, oatmeal, or some other snack bar in every MRE.....and a piece of chewing gum.

                Now, for the flavor....if I can't have some salt and pepper, etc. - I'd rather chew bark, so along with pilfering those little packets at the fast food restaurants and loading a couple in every MRE, I pack one of these little gems....


                It contains all the basic table spices, and is pretty compact. And, should you be eating "a-la-hunt", you won't have to bust open a ration for some spice.

                Don't be afraid to get creative with your condiments. If there's something that you're particularly fond of, find it - in a non-perishable form, and pack it.
                Just try to steer clear of anything that's already in liquid form, like hot sauce packets from Taco Bell and the like. These things may look durable, but really only have about a 3 month shelf life, when not refrigerated. If you want something like hot sauce, get some cayenne pepper and make your own field-expedient version when you hump out. One example of mine is butter. I like the flavor, but probably won't get good results from packing little pats of butter in my MRE's. So I go the dry route.



                Some folks like to pack plastic flatware in their MREs, but I've found them to be troublesome for a couple reasons: I can't cook with plastic, and if your fork breaks, you either eat with your hands, or a stick, or you crack another ration just for a fork. I prefer to pack either a camp set or a hobo tool (see pic). The hobo tool is more durable, reusable, and only costs about $5.00 anywhere.



                A buddy of mine actually made his own hobo spork, copying this design:


                You can cook w/it, eat w/it, it won't melt or break.....I rest my case.

                Another item that I haven't posted pics of is Ramen noodles....a meal unto themselves, and very versatile, durable, and packable. When I post the assembly and menu portion of this guide, they'll be included.

                That's it, for now....my fingers hurt and I need to prep for the assy.

                Carry on. :D
                "I Have Sworn Upon the Altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." -Thomas Jefferson

                "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." -Frederic Bastiat

                Comment


                • #9
                  The Piece de Resistance...

                  Here are some pics of menu suggestions, and the final assembly of my dinner MREs (yes, I make separate MREs for breakfast, which include just instant oatmeal, coffee, beef jerkey, an energy supplement, and a multivitamin.)

                  First up....The Beef? Dinner:

                  1 Spam single; 1 bag ramen; 1 bag roasted garlic instant potatoes; 1 bag mushroom rice; 1 instant coffee; 1 instant drink mix; 2 tea bags; 1 bullion cube; 1 pack crackers w/PB (4 count); 1 candy bar; 2 salt packets; 2 pepper packets; 1 packet crushed red pepper; 4 packets splenda; 1 multivitamin.



                  Next, the Tuna Dinner:

                  1 packet tuna; 1 bag ramen; 1 bag cheddar & sour cream instant potatoes; 1 bag creamy chicken rice; 1 instant coffee; 1 instant drink mix; 2 tea bags; 1 bullion cube; 1 pack salted peanuts; 1 candy bar; 2 salt packets; 2 pepper packets; 1 packet crushed red pepper; 1 packet parmesian cheese; 4 packets splenda; 1 multivitamin.



                  And the Chicken Meal:

                  1 can chicken; 1 bag ramen; 1 bag creamy butter instant potatoes; 1 bag chicken fried rice; 1 instant coffee; 1 instant drink mix; 2 tea bags; 1 bullion cube; 1 pack cheddar crackers w/cheese (4 count); 1 candy bar; 2 salt packets; 2 pepper packets; 1 packet crushed red pepper; 1 packet parmesian cheese; 4 packets splenda; 1 multivitamin.



                  Mix and match to your preference, or make some just like mine, so when we run into each other in the woods, you can invite me to dinner.... :D

                  As mentioned before, I make separate packs for breakfast, which are smaller, easier to stow and pack, and just provide the basics for the morning jump start.

                  Remember also; While you want to enjoy your apocalypse as much as possible ;) , try not to get crazy with your meal sizes....stick to the basics, pack for content, and pack reasonably light. Also, avoid the diet food whenever possible. You do not want to try surviving on low-carb or low-fat food. Trust me on this....you will be burning a lot of calories when you're not able to hit the couch after work, and diet food will absolutely not support survival activities. And I can't stress this enough: Your MREs are never going to support you in a long-term scenario. If you have to bug out, you need to hunt, fish, trap, forage, and scavenge as much as you possibly can. An MRE is emergency food, and the only reason to break one open is eminent starvation. Once they're gone, there's no more, and your situation will become quite a bit more desperate.

                  I have a handbook in my BoB which helps identify edible wild foods, and how to harvest and prepare them. Get one....now. It also provides great methods of improvised trapping, hunting and fishing.

                  Now GET PACKIN'





                  Good hunting...
                  'Saw
                  Last edited by Big_Saw; 12-22-2008, 11:33 AM. Reason: Added photos
                  "I Have Sworn Upon the Altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." -Thomas Jefferson

                  "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." -Frederic Bastiat

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    BTW....I pack 10 dinners and 20 breakfasts in each of my BoBs. ;)
                    "I Have Sworn Upon the Altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." -Thomas Jefferson

                    "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." -Frederic Bastiat

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Do you include any vitamins in your BOB?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by snal View Post
                        Do you include any vitamins in your BOB?
                        Yup, I put one multivitamin in every breakfast and dinner MRE, and keep a 500 count bottle in each BoB, so I can use 'em when I'm not relying on MREs.

                        "I Have Sworn Upon the Altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." -Thomas Jefferson

                        "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." -Frederic Bastiat

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          excellent. thank you. My son is looking over my shoulder, and we've decided that this will be this weekend's project. It's a lot more compact than what I've got going on.

                          I was thinking of adding this to each BOB, I already own 2, I'd just need 2 more. I think they were under $10 at walmart. very lightweight and compact.



                          I'd also bought a little utensil set, it was a knife, spoon and fork, and they snapped together. My son used these sets a few times camping with the Boy Scouts.
                          "Be Excellent to Each Other"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Brosia View Post
                            excellent. thank you. My son is looking over my shoulder, and we've decided that this will be this weekend's project. It's a lot more compact than what I've got going on.

                            I was thinking of adding this to each BOB, I already own 2, I'd just need 2 more. I think they were under $10 at walmart. very lightweight and compact.



                            I'd also bought a little utensil set, it was a knife, spoon and fork, and they snapped together. My son used these sets a few times camping with the Boy Scouts.
                            Yeah, I bought a few of those at Wally-World for 4.99 each. :)

                            I actually use my mil-spec mess kits primarily, but got the Wal-Mart set up for the pot and coffee cup in 'em. Plus, it can't hurt to have some extra cookware. ;)





                            Glad you enjoyed the guide. :D

                            Good hunting.
                            'Saw
                            "I Have Sworn Upon the Altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." -Thomas Jefferson

                            "When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." -Frederic Bastiat

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Wow , thanks for this great post. I've got some MRE's around but find your ideas a lot better. What do you figure it costs per meal?

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