DIY MREs.....a Tutorial...

428,914

965

179

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

About: Carpenter, handyman, husband, dad, buddy...

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....

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: 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 mixes...coffee, 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...

***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....

***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!

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)....compare 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...

Survivalismforums.com

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

Thanks for checking out my first "Instructable."

2 People Made This Project!

Recommendations

  • Tiny Speed Challenge

    Tiny Speed Challenge
  • Trash to Treasure Contest

    Trash to Treasure Contest
  • Woodworking Contest

    Woodworking Contest

179 Discussions

0
dazzer1975
dazzer1975

6 years ago on Introduction

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.

0
vondonna
vondonna

6 years ago on Introduction

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.

0
DanielO9
DanielO9

5 years ago on Introduction

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

0
wjf213.
wjf213.

Reply 2 months ago

The shelf life on these is good enough for what you're making them for. When they start to get to the point where things are expiring in a few years, what I do is I hand them out to the homeless, and then take a tax deduction, and make fresh ones. Keep your receipts of course.

If you're smart, A LOT of prepping can be done like this and used for tax deductions for homeless shelters and what not. Take in your can goods and they'll give you a receipt for taxes, and you always come out better than when you started. If you have a bunch of real MRE's you bought several years ago, instead of trying to eat them all, hand them out to the homeless or take them to a homeless shelter and explain your idea of handing them out, and again, get a receipt and buy new fresh MRE's.

Once these shelters get to know you, they can become a REAL asset. Back in the 90's I took things in all the time, and then when Y2k came around and nothing happened, the shelters were flooded with literally 1,000's of cans of freeze dried food that people no longer wanted. The shelter could not use them, but they knew I would take them, and they called me, and I forgot how many pick up truck loads of freeze dried cans of food I was given for free. I of course returned the favor by going out and buying a lot of fresh food that they could use.

It's all about developing working relationships with people.

Back to the topic here, another thing I do when I make mine is, I wrap things up in paper towels so sharp edges don't poke holes in anything, and the towels can be used while eating as well as TP later on. The other thing I pack is a wet wipe.

I also place inside each MRE is my use by date, and a list of items inside since some may be wrapped in paper towels, and the label is visible after sealing.

0
FlyinngDolphin
FlyinngDolphin

Reply 1 year ago

Decades ago, MRE's used to be freeze dried. Not anymore.

0
Muharem77
Muharem77

Reply 1 year ago

MREs do NOT last for 25 years. They will spoil faster than canned goods even under perfect storage conditions. Some freeze dried food will last that long, but you are lucky to get 2 or 3 years storage from an mre. They were never designed for long term storage. They are designed to be a convenient way to feed operational troops in the field. The supply chain is such that most mres do not linger in storage more than a year. MRES are NOT freeze dried. Ask me how I know. If you want long term storage, yes freeze dried foods are the way to go. MREs used to have select components that were freeze dried, but I cannot think of one currently issued meal that has any.

0
djwoodbutcher

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..

0
Muharem77
Muharem77

Reply 1 year ago

I always said they should have been called MRRs- meals ready to regurgitate .

1
jonathank9
jonathank9

Tip 1 year ago on Step 2

Try and add at least 2 sugar items and 1 high calorie item in each meal.

1
RobbM
RobbM

4 years ago on Introduction

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

Starkist Tuna Sensations.jpg
1
velojym
velojym

Reply 2 years ago

I used to hit Wendy's for chili at lunch, and my co-worker (armored car) always asked me to bring out some extra chili seasoning packets. He loved the stuff on his tuna pouches.

0
Da_Newf
Da_Newf

2 years ago

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

0
Da_Newf
Da_Newf

3 years ago

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

0
ChristiE2
ChristiE2

4 years ago

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

0
4WantofaNail
4WantofaNail

4 years ago

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

0
azurelupine
azurelupine

4 years ago on Step 4

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.

0
HTWTUSA
HTWTUSA

Reply 4 years ago on Step 4

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

0
GTOGreg
GTOGreg

4 years ago on Introduction

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.

0
LadyA1
LadyA1

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

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.