Introduction: DIY MREs.....a Tutorial...

Picture of DIY MREs.....a Tutorial...

I'm gonna be showing you a way to store meals at a fraction of the cost of commercial or even surplus MRE cost....

Your average MRE will run you between 5 and 8 bucks....My MREs cost under 3 dollars each, and are customized to my taste....

Step 1: Shopping List...

Picture of Shopping List...

***Step 1...gather your fixins....anything that can be eaten either raw or cooked, using ONLY water...nothing requiring refrigeration or milk, butter, etc...

*packaged snack crackers....PB on wheat, cheezy, etc., etc...
*bagged/canned tuna, chicken, spam, sardines....whatever meat you prefer....
*packaged instant rice and potatoes...
*instant drink, crystal light, whatever.....
*tea bags....
*bullion cubes.....
*ramen noodles...
*single servings of salt, pepper, sweetener, or whatever your taste....
*granola/cereal bars...
*candy bars...
*instant oatmeal packets....
*dried fruit...
yadah, yaddah, yaddah....

Step 2: Menu Preparation...

Picture of Menu Preparation...

***Step 2.....Dig through your stockpile and arrange the types of meals you want to package...remember to diversify if you don't want the same, boring meal every time you crack one open...

Step 3: Packaging....

Picture of Packaging....

***Step 3...Break out the vacu-suck and shrink-wrap your goodies into nice li'l packs....rinse and repeat....*NOTE...don't forget to pierce your packs of rice, potatoes, noodles, and crackers w/a thumbtack or something, or they'll bloat under vacuum and cause your MREs to be bulky....piercing won't harm the contents, as you're delivering them to a vacuum state, and contamination is not a factor........

Step 4: And Viola!

Picture of And Viola!

Choose your foods wisely and you should end up w/a 3-5 yr. shelf life, when properly stored. The line of DIY MREs pictured(18) cost me about 2 hrs and $60 to make (including vac bag rolls) that to a sh*tty tasting, $7 per commercial MRE with a comparable shelf-life, and you figure the savings....

BTW...I also pack a couple of multi-vitamins with each meal to guard against deficiency...

You can view a bunch more survival and preparation info at an online community I belong to...

Also, please take the time to check out my personal site, for some interesting reading, pro tips, and just plain bullsh*t....thanks!

Thanks for checking out my first "Instructable."


dazzer1975 (author)2013-10-20

Now this, this is cool.

Thanks for sharing, I am interested in wild camping/hiking prepping and this is right up my street, thanks mate.

vondonna (author)2013-07-11

I do my prep bags in a similar way. I live in northern Indiana so I swap things out between winter (hand/feet warmers, dry socks, hot chocolate) and summer (instant cold packs, extra water). Thanks for showing us your MREs.

Da_Newf (author)2017-03-29

Great idea. I've started prepping for weekend getaways. Quick and easy for those days when you want to leave civilization behind.Thanks for the info

Da_Newf (author)2017-02-21

Good ideas here look forward to trying out this on an excursion this summer.

ChristiE2 (author)2015-12-20

This is great. Definitely going to put this in my plans for bug out kits.

Street-Wise Irish (author)2015-12-07

I love Survivalistforums !!!

4WantofaNail (author)2015-09-18

Nicely done mate. Great info. I'm very much into preparedness and I think this is s great bit of kit. Cheers

azurelupine (author)2015-09-01

No-one has mentioned this, but the same process can be used for meal-specific menus, ie: a breakfast-only ration, or a poor-man's LRPR (Long Range Patrol Ration). If you want to get creative, visit your local Chinese, Hmong, or Thai market and make a version of the 'Nam issue PIR (Patrolling, Indigenous Ration). These consisted of rice, noodles, dried fish and shrimp, various curries, soy sauce and/or nuoc mam (fish sauce), dried mushrooms, dried sausages, and dried vegetables.

HTWTUSA (author)azurelupine2015-09-02

What a great input on the subject I've heard so far.

GTOGreg (author)2015-06-08

False economy. Others are $$$ for a reason. They will last 25 years. Also it is extremely important to watch ingredients and labels. You don't want all those preservatives and sodium! It will increase your need for water, which will in all likelihood be in short supply due to weight. If you're bugging out you shouldn't need a lot of the $7 meals - maybe 10-12 per person AT MOST, could be less. The difference for that small amount is a couple boxes of ammo. You SHOULD have had the good stuff (raw ingredients) squirreled away at your BOL or at home (bug-in) for preparation there. The meals should just really be for camping, or on the move and under duress until you can forage, hunt, and/or cook the raw ingredients you hopefully have. Lot of people want ready-made/convenient survival. Doesn't work that way.

LadyA1 (author)GTOGreg2015-08-16

In the author's defense, they didn't write this tutorial with bugging out in mind, although many preppers have read this article through prepping blogs or site. The author never mentions survival, we can assume these MREs are meant for more mundane purposes such as hiking.

AirbourneNation (author)2015-07-16

Before posting this, you should've known that MRE means Meal Ready to Eat, which means that whenever you unpack one, you should be able to eat its contents without the need of cooking the food.

SandyR5 (author)2015-06-18

RobbM (author)2015-06-18

I just keep these in my bag with a couple packets of mayo and make single serve tuna salad simple, easy and they take up far less space than an MRE

RobbM (author)2015-06-18

bssquilter (author)2015-06-14

jbrown47 (author)2015-06-02

$60 for a bunch of tuna and spam?

codzilla1211 (author)2015-06-01

Is there a way to vacumseal water and make DIY water packets sorry for spelling

station730 (author)2014-08-04

Just a question because I'm new to this and want to start making these. Do you have to pierce all packs of food before vacuum sealing? Mainly I'm asking about if you have to pierce the single serve coffee pouches, and the single serve you mix for 16 oz bottles of water and also granola bars

dmccorkle (author)station7302014-08-24

NO! Do not do that. I realize that this person is using all dry goods, but do not do this. I like to pack wet single serving packets of tuna, salmon, chicken, etc and if punctured it will cause your entire MRE to spoil. If you poked a hole in a packet of crystal light or ramen noodles, the space saved will be little to none.

station730 (author)dmccorkle2014-10-21

Will the Raman noodles stay good for 3 years. And do you know the shelf life of them and the wet single serving tuna?

gaieb (author)station7302015-05-31

read the good to - on the packs before you buy them, then mark the shortest on on the outside of your vacumn bag, that will be your best way, but most dry foods will keep for several years past their best used before date.

HTWTUSA (author)station7302014-08-04

I helps to compact size, reduce ambient moisture, and limit oxygen exposure in pretty much every dry food package I've used so far...

station730 (author)HTWTUSA2014-10-21

Thanks..I'm getting mixed opinions on this but I guess the point of this is for trial and error. my main concern is the shelf life of these. Because I do know some of the food doesn't have real good shelf life before you put it in and seal it. Have you tried any after 3 years. I guess I need a list of things you actually NEED to pierce before sealing.

DanielO9 (author)2015-02-05

Real commercial MRE 's are freeze dried meals that have a 20-25 year shelf life freeze drying and packaging is expensive thats why they cost so much also they are rated for protien and calories you buy them once and your good for 25 years no rotating food or worrying about experation dates" just saying " they're a little more expensive but you do it once and forget about it til disaster strikes also most real mre's have a fuel source in the package just add water yours are cool too but the other has a much loinger shelf life

frankie.campos.35 (author)2015-02-04

great idea! got myself a food saver. Going to try this out. The part about the water is no biggy, I have two life saver jerry cans that can filter out viruses go to the nearest lake, pond stream whatever and you have cleaner water than tap.

middlekid89 (author)2015-01-27

Awesome! I love it. Easy prep for lots of situations. Easy to work into or spread out over several weeks of grocery budget.

camalo171 made it! (author)2015-01-27

nice. i just whipped out a few of these for my storage. each one is a full days worth of food.

jessica.piniero (author)2014-08-20

I actually got a few of the little can burners from the dollar store for some of my MREs that I want to heat water or such. for a dollar, ya cant beat it!

dominator_13 (author)2014-05-04

I would totally make that! I call Mine E.a.T. Rations( Edible and Tolerable Rations). There is nothing i could think of to add to make this better

djwoodbutcher (author)2014-03-20

MRE stands for "Meals Rejected by the Enemy". That's why I want 2 make my own. These are great guidelines. I like to canoe camp so keeping the food dry is an issue. Kids don't try it at home. Actually do try it @ home so you know it works..

az420rebel (author)2014-02-20

or "My Rations Eitherway

az420rebel (author)az420rebel2014-02-20

or "My Rations for Energy"

az420rebel (author)2014-02-20

Great ideas, thank you for sharing. & for the ones bickering over the post title, well then think of it as Meal Rations for Emergencies (MRE). LOL the point here is the ideas, & good ideas they are. Keep up the good work HTWTUSA & keep the ideas coming.

NamOoni1974 (author)2014-02-10

Oh the sodium! This is an awesome idea, however I would be so sick if I ate this food for 1 day let alone 3. I'll stick with all homemade stuff.

jtmcdole (author)2013-11-14

Nicely done. I would suggest people total up the calories of each pack and plan in accordance with your needs. Camping & waiting for help is going to be lower calorie requirements than say hiking to safety / find help. I think the commercial meals have higher calorie foods for that reason.

egtact (author)2013-10-25

MRE's... "Meals Ready for Emergencies"

Now y'all whiners quit splittin hairs and thank this great guy for educating you!

I'm getting started on some of these for sure.

Stay young and be prepared!

roxbox (author)2013-10-07

Nice Job!

Firewolf13 (author)2013-09-08

Great instructable. I'm gonna go try this!

pparish2 (author)2013-03-23

Great post

pparish2 (author)2013-03-23

It is not viola, It's Voilà ;-)

louisecross (author)2013-03-06

Excellent packs and instructable, I have no idea what folk are complaining about, I guess the only 'ready to eat' they are capable of dealing with is via drive thru at the golden arches. Yes in a survival situation you will actually have to 'do' something in order to eat, and if cooking noodles is too hard? then I'm afraid you are doomed.

HTWTUSA (author)2012-12-10

"...ramen noodles are not ready to eat."

Tell that to my kids...they prefer them dry.

Now let's just get the water question out of the way:

If you can't supply yourself with enough water to boil a small pot of noodles (or whatever) in a survival situation, you're going to die. You are not a skilled 'survivalist'...improve your skill-set and stop limiting yourself, or maximize your preparations and overcome your skill shortcomings.

I am what you'd call a skilled outdoorsman. These will provide me enough time to establish an area for hunting and gathering in a survival scenario, and with 6 months of them stored at home, they will provide "fall-back" provisions in a disaster scenario...that is their purpose.

If anyone is butt-hurt over the title, bummer...keep wasting your time and money knit-picking until the lights go out...just don't bug me when you're hungry 'cause, "by-gawd..those ain't 'real' MREs..."

("you" is a general term, of course...I'm not trying to single anyone out..)


LiftAndLove (author)HTWTUSA2013-02-23

Who would think you cant eat ramen dry?

OrangeCrusader (author)2013-02-08

While it would add a some cost, you could even package individual sealed fuel tablets (esbit or similar) with the meals to provide a way to cook food or to boil water with.

I'd also throw a few pieces of jerky (also great homemade) into each MRE, it's satisfying to eat when little else is available, great for morale, and can be eaten dry or re-hydrated and added to other dishes. Shelf life is already good, but individually sealing them with a silica pack should improve it in extreme situations.

kmiksch (author)2012-11-30

MREs are good to me at least. Just saying ramen noodles are not ready to eat

sbrown57 (author)2012-11-16

That is so cool!! I'd much rather make my own MRE than those nasty military ones (had my fair share while hubby was in the Army...nasty "meals rejected by everyone"). I'm SO going to be doing this, with what I can find...but I'm wondering, I should be able to seal them alright with those Ziploc vacuum seal bags right? Just use a gallon size? Keep up the great ideas, look forward to finding more!!

Ghosthost5468 (author)2012-08-08

Think about it,you and all your MRE's and what do you have to start a fire?Nothing,
Best to put 5-10 matches,9 volt or a magnesium fire starter to get that fire going.
And always kepp your mess kit and at least 5 L with your MRE's

HTWTUSA (author)Ghosthost54682012-09-16

Matches, I got...magnesium, I I can caveman it...but I would never recommend the battery method as a preparatory unless the rest failed, or were'd run out of juice or steel wool before you know it.

Better to use long-lasting and time-proven methods.

Matches are nice, but delicate and limited...a magnesium bar is supreme, but a bow and drill or fire plow have been available and effective since time immemorial...learn them, master them...never be cold.

chris73044 (author)Ghosthost54682012-09-16

Look next to the knife.... looks like a magnesium fire starter. I have used his idea for home made mre's since we live in the middle of tornado alley. I have used 5 gallon buckets that store all my supplies and they will double as camp toilets. I have also added wax fire starters and moved all the ammo for my weapons into one army ammo can.... makes bugging out into the basement much easier.

About This Instructable




Bio: Carpenter, handyman, husband, dad, buddy...
More by HTWTUSA:Scratch-built R/C Fanboat, Part 1: Construction.The Bucket Vac...Fun With KYDEX!!!
Add instructable to: