10 Best MRE Meals in 2020 For Survival Scenarios And Emergency Preparedness

In the last ten years or so, MRE meals gained a lot of popularity amongst preppers and survivalists. Even more, the average Joe has realized the usefulness of having a decent quantity of MRE meals in his pantry as these foods offer peace of mind when the brown stuff hits the fan.

Nowadays, looking for the best MRE meals available online to be prepared for a disaster scenario has become a real ordeal. There are so many types available that it almost seems impossible to find the best MRE meals for your family.

A history of MRE meals

Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) are meals developed by the United States Department of Defense designed only to feed soldiers during wartime. The main idea behind the MRE meals was to provide the troops with a highly mobile and low-cost, nutritional meal.

MRE meals were adopted as the Department of Defense combat ration in 1975, and the large scale production began in 1978. However, the concept of food ration for the troops is much older and can be dated back to the Revolutionary War. Back then, the meals for the soldiers had to include enough food to feed a man for one day. The initial foods were mainly beef, peas, and rice.

MRE meals evolved over time, and various military conflicts left their print on MREs. During the American Civil War, canned goods were being utilized on a large scale, and later on, the U.S. military provided self-contained kits with entire rations containing canned meats, coffee, bread, sugar, and salt.

A History Of Mre Meals

At the beginning of the First World War, the food rations of soldiers moved away from canned goods, and lightweight preserved meats (mostly salted and dried) were the best alternative to save weight but also allowed better mobility for the soldiers since they were able to carry more rations on foot.

During World War II, canned goods came back in force, and canned C rations were issued to U.S. troops regardless of their operating environment or mission.  During this time, Spam gained its popularity since it was estimated that more than 100 million cans were sent to the Pacific.

In 1981, MRE I was the first large scale production to be issued, and the long process of testing and improving the MRE meals started. With each armed conflict, the United States Department of Defense managed to gather data from soldiers in the field, and based on the results, the manage to increase the consumption and acceptance of MRE meals.

What are MRE meals? Can their content satisfy everyone?

While the first MRE meals (MRE I) had only 12 menus, since 1994 the Department of Defense started experimenting by increasing the menus from 12 to 18 to 24 in order to overcome food fatigue (or food monotony if you will) and allow MRE meals to be used for longer periods of times.

In 1998, they finally settled on a menu count of 24, and it still remains so till today, as you can see in the MRE meals menu of 2019.

General contents of a MRE may include the following:

  • Main dish;
  • Side dish;
  • Crackers or bread;
  • Spread of peanut butter, cheese or jelly;
  • Dessert or snack (usually a soldier fuel bar);
  • A powdered beverage mix (various types such as coffee, tea, sport drink, fruit-flavored drink) and a beverage mixing bag;
  • Utensils (most provide a plastic spoon)
  • A flameless ration heater
  • An accessory pack (may contain napkin and toilet paper, a moist towelette, seasonings, and chewing gum)

Even more, there is also a vegetarian option nowadays, with four different meals included. Over the years, I’ve tested various types, and if you are familiar with my website, you know by now that MRE meals were recommended for various SHTF scenarios and survival needs.

My Top-Rated MRE Brands: The ones recommended for your survival needs

Before we discuss more in-depth about various MRE meals, I think it’s important to list the most trust-worthy MRE brands available today on the market. Some of these brands have been around for a long time, while others made a rapid ascent in the last five years or so. They are all appreciated and recommended by consumers, but as you know, in the end, your own needs will decide on a single (or more?) brand.

MRE Meals Brands to keep an eye out for:

  1. US Military MRE

This is perhaps the best MRE brand, in my opinion, and I get a box or two whenever I get the chance. These are created by the US Department of Defense and are mainly available for our troops. However, they are sold to civilians when they are in surplus, and over the years, I’ve noticed them to be available during major holiday sales. I, for one, buy them during the Black Friday sale.

  1. Wise Company

These are also part of my survival pantry since Wise Foods has managed to create affordable and dependable dehydrated foods. These simple foods are of high quality and have great taste. However, the number one selling point for me was their shelf life of 25 years.

  1. Sopacko

Sopacko is one of the official MRE meals manufacturers for the US military. The sure-pack is their official civilian product, which is very similar to their US military counterpart. They created waterproof and shelf-stable meals, and as they state, “We employ the same technologies we use to make the military meals.”

  1. XMRE

This brand is a premium MRE option in today’s market. Although they are not manufacturing MRE meals for the US military, they focus on wholesome, affordable, and flexible buying options for you that have a long shelf life. As far as I know, they are using Military Grade Technology to ensure top-notch products, and even more, they are currently marketing their products for the government. They are trying to partner with FEMA in order to deliver their products to the general public.

  1. Datrex

Datrex is an all-American brand known to preppers and survivalists since they manufacture and advertise their emergency rations for the general public (preppers, survivalists, campers, etc.). Although not a classical MRE, per se, their food bars are of excellent quality with an impressive 5-years shelf life.

  1. Augason Farm

    Augason Farms

This is a respected brand that offers various survival products besides their freeze-dried and powdered foods. Perhaps one of the trusted brands on the market today and one of the pioneers in manufacturing survival food (since 1972), they are offering various food offers with a 25-year shelf life.

  1. Meal Kit Supply

This brand is manufacturing MRE meals for the US Department of defense, and all their ingredients are US military MRE ration components. They advertise their products as the closest thing to Military MREs you can get without breaking the law. I only got a three-course box of 12 MREs from them, and I honestly say the quality is excellent.

  1. Western Frontier

Another well-known brand, Western frontier, focuses on producing MREs, and their survival meal kits provide all the needed calories to sustain your energy during a time of crisis. Their products are marketed as all verified fresh, and this means you won’t have to worry about the quality. They are light, individually packaged, and an excellent addition to any survival bag.

  1. Mountain House

Just like Augason Farms, the Mountain House brand focuses on producing freeze-dried foods, and they have one of the most advanced production lines in the freeze-dried food industry. They specialize in all sorts of MRE meals to provide the best quality for their clients. One important thing to mention is that almost all their products have a 30-year self-life, which makes them a great option for the serious prepper.

  1. MRE Star

This brand does not manufacture MRE meals for the US military. However, they are supplying various US government agencies (DHS, CIA, and NASA) with MREs. Their products are developed to match the official US military MRE meals closely and their prices are affordable to the general public.

Also read: What You Need To Know About Meals Ready To Eat (MREs)

Best MRE Meals at a Glance

1. MRE Genuine US Military Surplus

Key Features:

  • Long shelf-life
  • Great taste
  • Genuine US military surplus
  • Proper nutritional value per meal
  • Lightweight

Our score: 5 out of 5

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2. MRE Star Kit

Key Features:

  • The best next thing to MRE Genuine US Military Surplus
  • 1250 calories per meal
  • 6 Types of Delicious Meal Kits
  • Excellent for all needs
  • Affordable price

Our score: 4.9 out of 5

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3. Sure-Pak MRE Case

Key Features:

  • Waterproof packing for each individual meal
  • 5-year shelf life
  • It comes with a flameless heater
  • 6 flavors available
  • Each meal provides between 900-1200 calories

Our score: 4.8 out of 5

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4. Meal Kit Supply MREs box of 12

Key Features:

  • 1250 calories per meal
  • 3-course meals
  • 5-year shelf life
  • Shelf-stable, waterproof and impact resistant
  • The marble cake is delicious

Our score: 4.8 out of 5

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5. Wise Company Long-Term Emergency food supply

Key Features:

  • Excellent for preppers with its 25-year shelf life
  • Different entrée recipes
  • 1080 servings
  • Portable (ideal for bugging out)
  • Affordable

Our score: 4.8 out of 5

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6. Mountain House Essential Bucket

Key Features:

  • Flavorful meals
  • Highly durable
  • 30-year taste guarantee
  • East to store due to custom packaging

Our score: 4.7 out of 5

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7. SOPAKCO MRE Case of 14

Key Features:

  • Decent taste
  • Low sodium content
  • Comes with a heater
  • Affordable

Our score: 4.7 out of 5

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8. Augason 30-Day 1-Person Emergency Food Supply

Key Features:

  • 20-year shelf life
  • A weeks’ supply for a family of four – 30 days for one
  • Stackable and easy to carry
  • Tasteful meals

Our score: 4.7 out of 5

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9. Western Frontier MRE

Key Features:

  • Contains 24 different entrees
  • Comes with an accessory pack
  • 5-year shelf life
  • 1250 calories per meal
  • Good taste

Our score: 4.6 out of 5

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10. DATREX Survival Food Ration Bars

Key Features:

  • A most pocket-friendly alternative
  • Low sodium content
  • Made with military preservation standard
  • Different varieties ( Italian, Asian, Indian, etc.)

Our score: 4.5 out of 5

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Top 10 MRE Meals Reviews You Can Buy in 2020

Now let’s get a more in-depth look at the best MRE meals you can buy today and find out how much each of these products will set you back.

1. MRE Genuine US Military Surplus

Mre Genuine Us Military Surplus

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This box of 12 military-grade MRE meals is in high demand, and it’s not always in stock. Each of the MRE meals comes with the following food items:

  • entree,
  • desert,
  • snack,
  • beverage powders

Each meal contains a water-activated flameless heater and an accessory pack. The caloric content of each meal is around 1250 calories, and the case menu content will vary.

These MREs are extremely light and are an ideal option for every survival bag. Besides having a good shelf-life, the food is quite tasteful, and you will not be disappointed.

The only disadvantage I could find for these is the price (might be expensive for some), and their availability is limited.

Bottom line: If you want the real deal, meaning what our US troops eat, this is the best thing money can buy. These MRE meals provide adequate nutrition, and they taste good (even the pickiest of eaters will like them). If you have the money to get them, this is just the right thing for you.

2. MRE Star Kit case of 12

Mre Star Kit Case Of 12

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With more than 30 years of experience, MRE star offers a 12 full meals kit that is similar to the Genuine US military MREs. These are the civilian type MRE meals, and re not for vegans or people with food allergies.

The MRE Star kits come with the following items:

  • 8 oz Entrée (6 varieties, 2 of each in every case)
  • 2 oz Dry Fruit (Banana, Papaya, Pineapple, etc.)
  • 2 oz Raisins & Mix Nuts (Peanuts, Raisins, Almonds, Sunflower seeds)
  • 2 oz Sugar cookies Drink Mix (Flavors: Orange, Lemonade, Pink Lemonade, Grape, Strawberry, Fruit Punch)

Each kit contains a flameless heater, and each meal comes with an accessory pack containing: spoon, coffee, sugar, creamer, salt, pepper, napkin, and a moist towel.

The aluminum thermostabilized pouches are designed to provide a long shelf stable without refrigeration. Law enforcement, FEMA, hospitals, fire departments, Red Cross, and government agencies’ storage depend on these MREs as a part of their emergency preparedness plan for food supplies.

Bottom line: These MRE meals provide adequate nutrition and taste good at the same time. My favorite entrees are the Cheese Tortellini with Marinara sauce and the Beef Stew with potatoes. These are the next best thing you could buy since their MRE meals meet the military specifications of the MRE industry.

3. Sure-Pak MRE Case

Sure Pak Mre Case

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Sopakco designed these MRE meals to meet the needs of users who require a top-of-the-line, fully-configured MRE meal. These are made in the United States, and each box contains 12 meals available in 6 flavors.

Each box contains the following: 12 Mains, 12 Sides, 12 Desserts, 12 Crackers, 12 Jams, 12 Spreads, 12 Beverages and, 12 Accessory Packs. With a 5-year shelf-life, you can eat these meals hot or cold, regardless of the environment you find yourself in.

Each meal comes in waterproof packaging, which makes this kit ideal for emergency preparedness.

Bottom line: The Sure-Pak MRE Case is a good choice for preppers and survivalists but also for backpacking enthusiasts. If you’re looking for the best MRE at an affordable price, make sure you give these a try.

4. Meal Kit Supply MREs box of 12

Meal Kit Supply Mres Box Of 12

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The A-Pack 12 MRE Kit is made in the United States, and it contains high-quality foods that taste quite good.

I find these excellent for stockpiling since they have a reduced sodium content

The pack containing 12 MRE meals weighs a total of 12lbs, which makes it easy to carry. These MREs come with several delicious recipes such as Black Beans, Beef Stew, Spaghetti, and Chicken Rice, etc.

The main selling point for preppers and survivalists is that these MREs don’t have an expiration date, which is amazing!

These meals also come with a self-healing mechanism, although I found this mechanism to fail on various occasions.

Bottom line: The Meal Kit supply box of 12 from A-Pack is a good option if you’re looking to get an assortment of cuisines that are easy to carry and provide the nutritional value you need. This pack is probably the best MRE if you are a backpacking enthusiast.

5. Wise Company Long Term Emergency Freeze-Dried Food Supply

Wise Company Long Term Food Supply

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I have many products from the Wise Company, and I love their quality. Although the price of this food kit may scare you at first glance, place keep in mind that this kit was designed for long-term survival.

The Wise Company Long Term Food Supply is one bundle you need to check out. The variety pack includes 1080 servings of freeze-dried food that comes with a 25-year shelf life.

These multi-use MREs make up for an all-in-one, all-you-need survival food kit that can help you fight off starvation for a long time during an emergency survival scenario.

This food kit is easy to store due to its stackable buckets that lock together without the need for shelving, and food stays safe and secure. They will be ready when SHTF, when you need them most.

These MRE meals are easy to prepare in any SHTF situation, and you just need to add water. Wait 12-15 minutes, and you will be able to enjoy delicious, hearty food. No cooking is necessary to enjoy these meals.

Bottom line: These MRE meals are ideal long-term food storage options at a fair price. The container is stackable and easy enough to carry around, which is a plus. These are designed to keep you fed for a long time, and you should consider this an excellent investment for your family

6. Mountain House Essential Bucket

Mountain House Essential Bucket

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The Mountain House Essential Bucket comes with 12 pouches (a total of 22 servings).

While the buckets containing these MREs aren’t of the best quality, the meals themselves are of excellent quality.

The meals that come in the Essential bucket are:

  • 4 Rice and chicken
  • 2 scrambled eggs with bacon
  • 4 beef stew
  • 2 breakfast skillet

All of these MRE meals come with a 30-year shelf-life and taste guarantee. This means that if the food doesn’t taste good or it has gone bad, the company will replace the product for you!

Just like all other MRE meals, these are easy to prepare. All you need to do when hunger lurks is to add hot water. You will get a perfectly good meal in a matter of 10 to 12 minutes!

However, keep in mind that these MREs are a little on the expensive side of things.

Bottom line: The Mountain House Essential Bucket is the perfect choice if you’re looking for tasty meals that will last a long time in your survival storage.

7. SOPAKCO MRE Case of 14

Sopakco Mre Case Of 14

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These MREs are strictly for survival or emergency preparedness use, and the Sopakco MRE Kit is definitely worth looking into if you want to add variety to your survival pantry. These MRE meals are low in sodium, they heat up quickly, and taste quite good.

In the case, you will find 14 packs of food, which include entrees such as Spaghetti, Chili Mac (my favorite), Spaghetti, Cheese Tortellini, Vegetable Lasagna (hate it, but my wife likes it), Ravioli, Penne pasta, etc.

These are definitely worth your money, and I bought a few cases during the last Black Friday sale. Even my camping buddies feel that this is probably the best MRE for camping and other outdoor activities.

Bottom line: You should choose the Sopacko MRE Meals if you’re looking for affordable, military-grade meals to supplement your emergency supplies.

8. Augason 30-Day 1-Person Emergency Food Supply

Augason 30 Day 1 Person Emergency Food Supply

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Augason Farms offers the 30-Day Emergency Food Storage Supply, which is a valued and appreciated survival food option that gained a lot of popularity in the last five years. This bucket contains 307 servings and is an ideal choice for any type of emergency situation.

The shelf life, which is an important selling point for preppers and survivalists, is 20 years for this product, which is amazing.

This watertight bucket is easy to transport, and it will help improve your food storage to be ready for anything. The menu contains various options to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters, and the company also offers a 30 Day and 45 Day Meal Planner to help you ration your food and stay on track.

Augason Farms, which is a reputable brand in the freeze-dried food industry, provides high-quality foods that can be stored for a long time.

One thing that I need to mention is that the meals come in large packs of about 6-12 servings.

Bottom line: For those looking to be prepared and survive hunger in case disaster strikes, this 30-Day Emergency Food Storage alternative from Augason Farms is the right choice for you and your family. The bucket is quite easy to carry and stackable, and most importantly, it’s affordable!

9. Western Frontier MRE

Western Frontier Mre

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The War Fighter MRE meals manufactured by Western Frontier come with 24 meals that are verified fresh by the company. These are ideal mostly for campers and other outdoor enthusiasts, but you can also store them for extended periods of time.

The pack contains 24 different and enjoyable entrees. The design behind this product was to cover the needs of troops in combat situations and assure all the nutritional requirements that such endeavors require. Each pack contains around 1250 calories and a great assortment of desserts, coffee, hot chocolate, milkshakes, snacks, etc.

The pack also comes with an accessory packet and each meal has a 5-years shelf life

Bottom line: The Western Frontier survival meals are a decent choice if you’re looking to get diverse meals in one box.

10. DATREX Survival Food Ration Bars

Dartex Survival Food Ration Bars

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These food ration bars packing around 2,400 calories were designed for emergency situations and various SHTF scenarios. In fact, these are the best-selling MRE bars, and they are in high demand. Dartex survival bars are ideal if you want to stockpile emergency food that takes up little storage space and is packed with nutrients.

Dartex survival bars are designed to be used both on land and or sea in scenarios where access to normal food supplies is restricted or unavailable.

The bars are manufactured and packaged in the United States, and all facilities are approved and certified by the FDA. One thing that is important to mention is that Dartex uses all-natural ingredients, and the use of preservatives (that often leaves you thirsty) is prohibited in the manufacturing process.

Considering the 5-year shelf life of these survival bars, I consider them a pretty good alternative for any survival bag. Outdoor enthusiasts love them, although a considerable water consumption is recommended since they taste dry.

Bottom line: For those looking for something that’s compact, easy to carry in a bug out bag, and tastes good, these survival bars made by DATREX are the ideal pick for you.

My tips for buying MRE meals

In the current climate where this new Pandemic is wreaking havoc, you will notice that some of the MRE meals listed in this article are in low supply, or might be temporarily out of stock. MREs have become an ideal choice for those that wish to prepare for the future, and they are in high demand right now. Even so, here are a few self-test tips for buying MRE meals:

  • Take advantage of seasonal sales. You will find great deals, and you will be able to stockpile MREs at low prices.
  • Make a wish list specifically for your MRE choices. You will be able to check availability and, most important, price fluctuations.
  • Try before buying large quantities. I’ve always eaten various MREs before buying considerable quantities. I do the 24h test, and this is a deciding factor for me. If after 24 hours of eating said MREs I don’t get an upset stomach, then I’m pressing the buy now button.
  • Let everyone in your family taste the MREs you intend stockpiling. You will notice that kids are very picky when it comes to MREs since the texture and consistency is not very appealing to them.
  • Check resellers as oftentimes, they have better prices than the manufacturing companies (which are also online vendors).Mre Taste Test


During the month of February, I’ve noticed an increasing purchasing trend amongst preppers and common folks. Almost all the MRE products I have listed on my shopping list are now out of stock or in short supply.

MRE meals are no longer used by the military alone, and more people buy them for their survival needs. These meals are packed with all the nutrients needed to survive the day; they have a long shelf-life and will satisfy your caloric needs.

Did this article help you find the best MRE meals for you and your family? Let us know in your comments what products you’ve chosen…

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