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Ration Packs and Emergency Food

What is a Ration Pack?

While the term ‘ration pack’ can include things like calorie or ration bars, people most often use it to refer to military-style rations. These are shelf-stable meals that are lightweight and portable. Perfect for soldiers on the move, but also great for first responders, emergency kits, emergency operation centers, and hiking. This style of meal can also be called: MRE – Meal Ready to Eat, field ration, combat ration, survival rations, or food packets.

Some ration packs come with canned goods, but many are packed in plastic and mylar pouches. Canadian military rations are packed into heavy-duty folding paper bags. Rations usually include several items like crackers, drink mixes, and an entree. Many countries have specific rations for their own military, though it can be more difficult to find these commercially.

Ration pack MRE meal ready to eat emergency food layout

Ration Packs for Emergency Preparedness

Many emergencies do not leave time for cooking. Power may be out, or kitchens may become inaccessible. In these cases, it is great to have ration packs on hand. Many countries use MREs and survival rations to supply people in need after disasters strike, and they are a favourite with people preparing their own households for emergencies.

A common practice is to store enough ration packs for the first 24-48 hours of an emergency. This gives you time to evacuate or set up alternative cooking solutions. After that, some people stick with MREs, while others swap over to freeze dried food. Ration packs are also popular with fire fighters during wildfire season, so they can keep their crews fed on the move.

Self-Heating Ration Packs?

Many of the MRE-style ration packs come complete with a Flameless Meal Heater. Just add water to the sachets and a chemical reaction creates heat! Watch your fingers during opening though, the steam is hot! The heater sits beside the sealed meal pouches and warms up the meal over several minutes. The heater itself produces warmth for quite a while after the meal is hot too, so they make excellent hand warmers. Since the heater never actually touches the food, you can use any type of liquid to activate it. Even snow!

When shopping for MREs and ration packs, keep in mind that some heaters produce a lot of odour, and some are hotter than others. Look for options that state low-odour and high heat in their descriptions.

Where to buy MREs and Emergency Food?

Total Prepare offers two great options for Meals Ready to Eat. We have our premium Total Prepare MRE, and the smaller XMRE. Both use low odour, high temperature heaters. Both options contain sides, drink mixes, accessories, a meal heater, and breakfasts/entrees. Want to see a Total Prepare MRE in action? Check out my lunch in the short video below!

Want to know more about the differences between our MRE brands? Check out the handy infographic below, or check out the product pages: TPMRE and XMRE.


MRE meals ready to eat tpmre XMRE comparison ration packs

*Please note that this infographic is correct as of posting and may not be updated (though we’ll do our best!) If you have any questions or concerns about MREs or other emergency products, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Thanks for reading!

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