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....
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

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."
1-40 of 166Next »
dazzer19751 year ago
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.
vondonna1 year ago
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.
DanielO91 month ago

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

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.

middlekid892 months ago
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!2 months ago
nice. i just whipped out a few of these for my storage. each one is a full days worth of food.
station7307 months ago

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

HTWTUSA (author)  station7307 months ago
I helps to compact size, reduce ambient moisture, and limit oxygen exposure in pretty much every dry food package I've used so far...

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.

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.

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

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_1310 months ago

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

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..

az420rebel1 year ago

or "My Rations Eitherway

or "My Rations for Energy"

az420rebel1 year ago

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.

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.

These ARE ready to eat. Everything is. Does all this taste good raw? not exactly...
jtmcdole1 year ago
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.
egtact1 year ago
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!

roxbox1 year ago
Nice Job!
Firewolf131 year ago
Great instructable. I'm gonna go try this!
pparish22 years ago
Great post
pparish22 years ago
It is not viola, It's Voilà ;-)
louisecross2 years ago
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) 2 years ago
"...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..)

Who would think you cant eat ramen dry?
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.
papabob565 years ago
Good Info... I use the Tilla vac packer to seal up my meals, thats some tough plastic. The posters that are knocking you, about having to add the water are missing the point. You've assembled easy to use (ration) food stores in convenient packages. The big bonus thats being missed, is that if required, you can hand these packages out to neighbors in dire need during in an emergency. I'm in the process of doing the thing and I stumbled across your instructable, I got a couple good ideas from your posting. Thanks
Dude! I agree that this doesnt work without a lot of water, but who goes dry backpacking that much anyway?
MRE'S is something anyone from the military recognizes ... And no they do not have water packaged in them... Yes you have to "cook" them and yes most things you can eat cold out of them but trust me dehydrated pork patty is not super palatable but will keep you alive with less than a 1/4 cup of water Re-hydrating them.... The matches are a great idea along with maybe a wax lint starter block, as well as some basic salt and pepper or ketchup .. ( The dehydrated ketchup was nasty stuff but great when Re-hydrated on the pork patty ) over all its a great instructable .. Keep up the great work!
HTWTUSA (author)  papabob565 years ago
Good attitude, and I'm glad to see more and more folks who "get it"......for the longest time I thought I was gonna be one of a very few "Omega Men" if the fecal matter ever did well and truly hit the atmospheric impeller......
EleriK HTWTUSA5 years ago
The thing is, this kind of stuff is good to know and have even if things never fall apart. Look at the people using it for bike trips, almost everything you learn for survivalism is either fun or good stuff to know when camping or saving money on fixing things, and so on.
kmiksch2 years ago
MREs are good to me at least. Just saying ramen noodles are not ready to eat
sbrown572 years ago
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!!
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)  Ghosthost54682 years ago
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.
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.
HTWTUSA (author)  omnibot3 years ago
Aha! Omni gets it...Kayla, not so much...xD
1-40 of 166Next »