Ration Packs – A Primer


Are pre-made Ration Packs worth spending the money on?

Ration Packs are also known as an MRE, Field Rations, Combat Rations, IMP and many other things depending on the country and military group involved. These are packs of food that are designed to be used when away from ‘home’ when fresh food isn’t available but more nutrition is desired than survival bars and packs. Each country has its own take on the concept and will often have different packs made up to suit specific situations and operational needs.

Essentially, we are talking about 24 hours worth of food and accompaniments, nicely packed together in one bag and ready to go. In the past, ration packs have been military in nature but there are now civilian options also coming out. Some even include their own cooking equipment in the bag, although we won’t be covering those in this comparison.

Ration Packs are designed to have a long lifespan. Not to the point of Survival Bars, but longer than fresh food. This is achieved by a combination of vacuum packing and sometimes dehydration. As such, they are also often used by preppers and survivalists as emergency food. Ration packs that use dehydration will help to reduce your pack weight.  Depending on your situation, how many days you are headed out for and your mode of transport, you may need to consider weight.

While I know I should spend more time preparing my own meals, using our dehydrator and generally ‘doing it myself’ – the reality is usually don’t have the time and will admit to just grabbing a pile of Back Country Cuisine ready meals on the way out to the bush. These ready-to-eat meals are light, generally good tasting (everyone has their most and least favourite), and offer good value.

The idea of having everything for an entire day, ready to go, is just a continuation of that desire for ease of use. Additionally, packing it all together like this also ensures that you actually have the expected/required amount of food and don’t end up forgetting to put your breakfast supplies in your pack. The idea of having a single bag that I can grab as I head out the door for one of those not-overly-planned expeditions is great!

You needs may vary, so I would strongly suggest getting a couple of these, in the different flavours available, and trying them out. Ideally before you head out for the weekend.