Best Civilian MRE Brands 2019

Best Civilian MRE Brands

MRE is an initialism that means Meal, Ready-to-Eat. There are a multitude of corporations that make MREs, and even the government manufactures them as well.

Government-manufactured MREs are mainly made for the military, but there are branches like the FBI and Forest Service that also use them.

Field service operations like firefighter crews can make use of MREs. The government also gives MREs to civilians after a natural disaster or attack.

There are a few basic elements of your average MRE. The most important component is the full meal that’s ready to eat right out of the pouch.

It’s usually sealed in durable and waterproof packaging, to make sure it won’t get damaged in any kind of disaster.

Quick Comparison: The Best Civilian MRE Brands

Product Name Calories Per Meal Flameless Ration Heater Number of Entrees
#1. US Military MREs
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1200 Yes 12
#2. Ameriqual APack Ready Meal

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1075 Yes 6
#3. Wornick Eversafe

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1200 Yes 6
#4. Meal Kit Supply

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700/1200 Yes 6/12
#5. Sopakco Sure-Pak

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1075 Yes 6
#6. MREStar

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1250 Optional 6
#7. XMRE

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1000/1300 Optional 12

The average MRE is made to last for about five years. Some will continue to be edible for longer than that.

There have been reports of MREs being good for ten years, although it’s not advisable to eat them once they’ve passed the expiration date.

There are multiple ways that an MRE functions as a survival kit. It has many of the items you’d need to survive following any kind of catastrophic event.

The biggest exception to this is that an MRE does not have drinking water; if you’re gearing up for a disaster, you’ll need to get drinking water from another source.

Many MREs have non-food items as well. They’ll come with condiments and seasonings like salt, pepper, ketchup, and mustard.

They also tend to have plastic spoons and may contain other plasticware. You’ll find a napkin and moist towelettes in the majority of MREs.

Some even have hot sauce, especially the ones designed to closely mimic the US military MREs.

#1. US Military MREs

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When it comes to MREs, it’s hard to compete with the standard MREs distributed by the United States military. These MREs tend to be manufactured by Wornick, Sopakco, or Ameriqual.

There are a number of government and military branches that utilize these MREs, including the Forest Service. As such, the meals need to meet a high quality standard.

In addition, they’re designed to be used in combat conditions, which means that the pouches are durable and waterproof. The MREs also include toilet paper and waterproof matches.

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Civilian MRE brands are frequently made by the same companies that manufacture MREs for the military.

Alternatively, they’re made by companies who attempt to emulate the military MREs as accurately as they can.

This is because military MREs are the highest quality, and civilian MREs strive to replicate their quality.

Civilian brand MREs don’t include the same non-food items that military MREs do. For example, you won’t find waterproof matches or a ration heater in many civilian brands, but you will find them in the military brands.

Military MREs also have a much wider menu item selection. There are 24 different types of meals to choose from. Civilian MREs have a maximum of 12 different meals.

US military MREs typically have the following contents:

  • An entree
  • Dessert
  • Bread or crackers
  • Spread of jelly, peanut butter, or cheese
  • Powdered beverage mix
  • A flameless ration heater
  • Plastic spoon
  • Beverage mixing bag
  • An accessory pack including seasonings, coffee powder, water-resistant matchbook, chewing gum, toilet paper, and a moist towelette
  • A durable, waterproof plastic pouch

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#2. Ameriqual APack Ready Meal

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Ameriqual is one of the three companies that officially manufactures MREs for the US military. The APack Ready Meal is the MRE they’ve designed for the civilian market.

As such, it’s very similar to military MREs, but you won’t find toilet paper or matches. There are other minor differences in the menu composition and presentation.

The APack Ready Meal has an average of 1075 calories in each meal. This is a fairly low amount in comparison to some other MREs.

In spite of this, the Ameriqual website says that only two meals per day will satisfy an individual’s caloric needs.

The marketing for this MRE says that it’s a “self-eating emergency meal.” This is the precise type of meal that you need if you’re living in a survival situation.

To be properly prepared for an impending disaster, every household should have 3 days worth of food and water. Ameriqual recommends that every two people have a case of 12 meals.

The usual features and contents of this MRE include:

  • The entree
  • Dessert
  • Bread or crackers
  • A crisp challenge bar or spread of sunflower butter
  • Sweet potato grape smoothie or an apple banana smoothie
  • A plastic spoon
  • A flameless ration heater
  • A moist towelette
  • 6 distinct menus

This MRE does not come with an accessory pack.

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#3. Wornick Eversafe

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Wornick is another one of the main three companies manufacturing US military rations. The Eversafe product is their civilian marketing equivalent.

The packaging is very similar to military MRE packaging. Unlike military MREs, though, the Eversafe package doesn’t have toilet paper, gum, or matches.

There isn’t a great deal of information on Wornick’s website about the Eversafe. If you want to purchase this product directly through the manufacturer, you must do so by the pallet.

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Amazon and other websites do act as resellers, though.

The typical features and contents of this MRE include:

  • An entree
  • Spread and/or snack
  • Flour tortillas or crackers
  • Dairy shake or fruit flavored beverage mix
  • A plastic spoon
  • A flameless ration heater
  • An accessory pack including a napkin, moist towelette, sugar, pepper, salt, creamer, coffee, and soon
  • 6 distinct menus

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#4. Meal Kit Supply

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Every MRE from Meal Kit Supply is made using a contractor from the US Department of Defense. All the food components are military ration components.

The meals are as close as you can get to a military MRE without actually being in the military.

It should be noted that there are no actual laws preventing military MREs from being sold to civilians, but they cannot be sold by military personnel.

There is a warning label on official military MREs saying that they are the property of the government and not meant for commercial resale.

Meal Kit Supply comes with two different varieties. One variety has three-course meals totaling 1200 calories. Another variety has two-course meals totaling 700 calories.

The three-course MREs have the following:

  • An entree
  • Side dish
  • Spread and bread
  • A beverage mix
  • A dessert

The two-course MREs have these features:

  • An entree
  • A dessert
  • An electrolyte beverage mix

Three-course MREs come with 4 breakfast meals, along with 8 lunch and dinner meals. Two-course meals have 6 lunch and dinner meals.

Both MREs come with a flameless ration heater. The two-course meals have a spoon and napkin. The three-course meals add condiments and coffee.

The three-course meals have 12 meals, while the two-course have 6. The two-course meals are significantly less expensive than the three-course ones.

If you purchase the two-course MRE, you should make sure that you get enough to cover your calorie content for 72 hours.

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#5. Sopakco Sure-Pak

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Sopakco is the final one of the three manufacturers that make MREs for the US military. The Sure-Pak is the product they make for civilians.

It has many things in common with the US military MRE. The SurePak is made for civilians to consume by using the same technology used for the military meals.

There are two main options. One includes self-heating, while the other does not. The self-heating option comes with ration heaters. Other than that, both options are very similar.

Both MREs include the following elements:

  • An entree
  • A side dish and dessert
  • A spread and bread item
  • Beverage powders
  • A spoon
  • A moist towelette
  • Coffee
  • Condiments

The flameless ration heater option is not significantly more expensive than the non-FRE version, so unless you already have a ration heater, it’s worth buying.

The main differences between the military MREs and the Sure-Pak MRE lie in the calories. Sure-Pak meals have between 900 and 1,250 calories, while military MREs all have about 1,250 calories in a meal.

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In addition, military MREs come with toilet paper, hot sauce, candy, and gum, which the Sure-Pak does not have.

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#6. MREStar

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MRE Star is not a company that manufactures military MREs. With that said, MRE Star is known for supplying government agencies including NASA, DHS, and the FBI.

Their product is very similar to military MREs. You can find a box of 12 meals sold with a flameless ration heater, or a box of 12 without the flameless ration heater.

These MREs come with 6 menus. Each meal has an average of 1250 calories.

The typical features include:

  • An entree
  • A starch and side item
  • A dessert
  • A fruity beverage powder
  • An accessory pack including hot sauce, sugar, napkin, creamer, pepper, salt, and spoon
  • Candy
  • A packaging bag
  • The master case holding all 12 meals

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#7. XMRE

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XMRE is not one of the official manufacturers of US military MREs. They do tend to resemble the contents of official MREs, though.

In addition, their products have been marketed toward the government in the past. In comparison to other civilian MRE brands, XMRE has the most flexible options.

There are a number of different product lines for XMRE. You have the option to make individual purchases or to get them in cases.

The product lines include 1000, 1300, 2200, and 3000 calorie meals. For Muslim consumers, there’s a line of halal meals.

The product that resembles the military MRE most closely is the 1300XT. The 1300XT includes:

  • The main entree
  • A dessert
  • Bread or crackers with a spread
  • Fruity beverage mix
  • A snack
  • A plastic spoon
  • A flameless ration heater
  • A bag for beverage mixing
  • An accessory pack including seasonings, coffee powder, a moist towelette, and a napkin
  • 24 distinct menus, with each box of 12 having 12 unique menus
  • Sealed, durable, and waterproof plastic pouch

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Final Thoughts

MREs have been manufactured for decades. When it comes to the best MREs on the market, the ones made for the United States military are the best in the business.

All civilian MREs seek to emulate the military MREs in some way.

There are three main companies that make military MREs. All of them have created products for civilian consumption.

If you’re a civilian, you can buy any of these lines and be confident that you’re getting the same technology used in military packaging.

Some other MREs are high quality as well. If you want a wide variety in your product lines, your best bet is XMRE. These MREs have multiple calorie options to suit your needs.

It’s also helpful to look for MREs that have a flameless ration heater, unless you already have a heater yourself. In a disaster, you can’t always guarantee that you’ll have access to a stove or fire.

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