Treknologies is a blog about nifty gadgets for outdoor travel. The author has an interesting post about MREs, those packaged meals made for the U.S. military.

Each meal typically contains around 1,200 calories in a 13 to 18oz package. An individual MRE contains a main course, crackers, cheese, peanut butter or jelly spread, a dessert or snack, cold beverage mix & coffee, an accessory packet, a plastic spoon and a flameless ration heater for heating the main course or for use with coffee. The typical MRE is capable of lasting more than 5 years at room temperature.

I definitely wants me one of them flameless ration heaters. Check it out:

Requiring no external flame or heating mechanism, the flameless ration heater uses a chemical reaction to create boiling heat instantly. Drop the flameless ration heater into the original MRE packaging, wait a few minutes and enjoy a piping hot meal.

Tempting. Like anything built for the miltary there is some, shall we say, markup: each meal costs 8 to 12 bucks. What do they taste like? The author says they’re edible but gives few details. (The folks at Hiking HQ, many of whom are current/ex-military, have this topic covered. Bottom line is that MREs can be OK in the taste department but are really too heavy for backpacking compared to freeze-dried or dehydrated meals).