Military grade MREs (meals ready to eat) are an extremely popular choice among those seeking to stock up in case of an emergency. After all, if the contents meet the nutritional requirements of a member of the US army engaged in military combat then they should be more than adequate for the average civilian, right? Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find a supplier of military MREs, as they are generally not available to the public. However, many online army surplus online stores are selling military grade MREs to the public.
Due to the popularity of military grade MREs among the general public, manufacturers started producing civilian versions of the meals. The defining feature of these convenient meal packages is that each individual packet includes a FRH (flameless ration heater), so people can enjoy a hot meal without requiring an external heat source. So, how do civilian XMRE differ from their military grade counterparts? To be honest, there is not really that much of a difference beside the calorific value of each package. The military version contains 1200 calories, whereas the average civilian package contains around 900 calories.
The main reason why many would recommend the civilian version to the general public instead of the military grade version is because the civilian version is stored and distributed in and from known, non-extreme conditions, so the self-life will be as close to manufacturer’s guidelines as possible. When you buy military grade MREs online as a civilian, there is no way to know how the product has been stored or where it came from. The reality is that while a typically MRE packet can last over a decade when stored in an ideal storage environment, if the packet is stored in an extreme environment, such as in a soldier’s bag as he treks across scourging deserts, the self-life is reduced to less than 8 months.