Prepping 101 | Putting together Homemade/DIY MREs

In my last article I spoke about what an MRE is. I do hope you have a better understanding of them and see the importance of them for prepping and having them in your BOBs.

This is only our second attempt at putting together MREs for the family. We just kind of went out there, grabbed what we thought would work and what each individual person would like. And got to work on putting them together.

It is definitely a trial and error thing. I bet by the time we get together enough for at least 30 days we'll have it down! At least I hope so, lol.

Items ready to bag for an MRE
Items ready to bag for an MRE

The picture above is one homemade/DIY MRE ready to be put in a vacuum sealer bag and packed away. I will list the items below:

Far left: zip lock gallon size vacuum sealer bag for packing the MRE.

Left row, breakfast: starting at the top there is a package of PopTarts; instant oatmeal; dried fruit; paper towel and a heavy duty plastic spoon.

Middle row, lunch: At the top is a Hormel Completes Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, below that is a serving of dehydrated corn in a vacuum sealed bag.

Right row, supper: At the top is Great Value Premium Chunk Light Tuna, and a package of crackers and cheese.

Bottom row (left to right), snacks/condiments: Rice Crispy Treat; two miniature Hershey's chocolate bars; Tootsie Roll Pop; baggie with Great Value Trail Mix; baggie with coffee drink stick and sugar packets, two flavored drink packets, hard candy, 3 Slim Jim beef sticks, and 2 sticks of gum; next to that baggie is a packet of hot chocolate mix (which should have gone in the breakfast row, lol). You'll also notice at the very bottom, beneath the snacks are 2 alcohol swabs. Those are for cleaning hands or whatever they might be needed for.

Just a note: I did cut a slit in the top of the pre-packaged items (except the hot chocolate) so that the air would be sucked out of them and left the baggies unzipped for the same purpose.

Vacuum sealed homemade MRE in a zip lock vacuum sealer bag.

I weighed the MRE after everything was put together in the bag and vacuum sealed. It weighed close to 2 pounds! That is still too heavy. We had already decided to drop the Hormel Completes and I will dehydrate some meals like spaghetti, mac and cheese, etc. That should save some weight. I'm also going to look into using some Knorr side dishes as some of our lunch choices. The only problem with dehydrated meals and the Knorr sides is that they will all need water to re-hydrate or cook; whereas the Hormel meals can be eaten as is. Our initial goal was to have foods that would not need water, but I'm finding that will be near to impossible if we want to keep the weight of the MREs down. And we need to keep the weight down so they don't make our backpacks too heavy to carry.

I noticed when looking at the picture of the stuff that goes into the MRE that we may have just a wee bit too many snacks and sweets there. I didn't really think much about it until I saw the picture, lol. So, we will be eliminating some of those items in the upcoming MREs. Snacks, and even chocolate are important boosts to get through the day, but as much as we have here isn't really necessary.

All in all, we did make improvements over the first MREs we made, but we still have some learning to do. Hopefully, you all can learn from our mistakes and avoid making some of them yourselves. That will make the mistakes all worth it. Of course, having lighter MREs to carry will make it worth it too. I will probably put our first MREs in with our pantry items. Those are definitely too heavy to carry.

That's it for now. If you have any comments, suggestions, or ideas please feel free to comment below. You will need to sign up to the blog site in order to comment, but please be assured I will only use your email address for periodically sending out an email update. Currently, I am only sending 2 or 3 a month.

Until next time...happy prepping and God bless!