Cheap MREs
Hiking Gear - Hiking 101

The Wonders of cheap MREs
meal, ready to eat

Click image to buy Sopacko MREs by the case


MREs (in military jargon, meal, ready to eat) are getting more attention than usual today, since we are dropping them by the thousands over Afghanistan, and with terrorist alerts and blizzards, they're just handy to have. MREs have a shelf life of 5 years for best taste, or 20 years at somewhat flavor.

What a lot of folks don't know, is that you can buy these delicious and nutritionally balanced meals for your hiking, backpacking and camping trips.

Why use MREs?

  • MREs are cheap . . . about $3-$5 each, for an entree, snack, and side dish. 

  • They are shelf stable, and will last without refrigeration for many years.

  • They're delicious!

  • With trioxane fuel bars, a camp stove or a flameless heater, they're quick and easy to heat. You don't need to build a large fire and risk burning down the forest.

Soldiers in the field heat their MREs one of two ways. The included flameless heaters of the Mil-spec variety use a magnesium powder to heat the meal to eating temperature. Another common method is to use a trioxane fuel bar under a canteen with fire ring. This method allows you to make a cup of coffee or tea at the same time. Of course, MREs can be eaten cold, too, or you can just let your entree sit out in the sun for a half-hour in the summer.

MREs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and there are 'true military' versions as well as 'civilian' versions. Online sellers like and eBay are good places to find them. Check our gear section for a review of various types and brands . .

Mil Spec MREs come with small bottles of Tabasco brand pepper sauce, but they're missing from civilian versions.  You can buy these little bottles online, and at 50 cents each, it's a great bargain.