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Best Civilian MRE Brand

When members of the military are out on deployment, access to healthy food or water may be limited, and so one of the solutions comes in the form of the MRE. This stands for Meal, Ready to Eat, and it is usually comprised of food that will be easy to eat on the go while also having a long shelf life.

While this is great for soldiers, this kind of food pack can also have civilian uses. These kinds of rations can be great to keep for survival food in situations so that you can be prepared for disasters that come out of nowhere or even just when you’re camping.

But which MRE packs are best and which would work for you and your family? These and more questions will be answered in this overview as we look at some of the best options available that you can consider. By the end, we’re sure you’ll have a better idea of which options would work best for you.

Key Takeaways

  • MREs, or Meal, Ready to Eat, are easy-to-prepare, long-lasting food options favored by the military.
  • Emergency preparedness is important, as emergencies can come out of nowhere and leave you in a desperate situation.
  • MREs are useful as they last a long time, are ready to eat with little preparation, and can serve as useful nutrition in an emergency.
  • We based our picks on the quality of the brands producing them, their nutritional value, shelf life, portability, and other aspects that would make them useful for everyday people to use for emergencies.
  • We will cover 10 of the best MRE brands for you to consider for emergency preparedness.
  • MREs should be stored in cool, dry places in sealed containers to maintain freshness for as long as possible.

What Are MREs?

MRE stands for Meal, Ready to Eat, and that name sums up the concept nicely. These meals are designed to prioritize easy preparation and long shelf lives over anything fancy. They are designed mostly with soldiers in mind so that they can carry food and supplies that will stay edible for long periods when out in the field.

They also have civilian applications and can make great supplies for emergency situations.

Why Is Emergency Preparedness Important?

The very nature of emergencies is that they happen suddenly, and often without warning. We can never predict emergencies all of the time, so the next best thing is to plan for potential ones as best we can.

One of the first things you may struggle with when cut off by an emergency would be food and water. Having supplies that you can keep stored for just such an emergency is always a good idea, as you will stand a much better chance if an emergency occurs.

Benefits Of MREs

While designed primarily for military use, regular people can make good use of MREs, as their design gives them some practical use. When storing supplies for emergencies, it can be difficult as the food can spoil or you may not have the tools and supplies you need to prepare it.

MREs are a critical component of any emergency preparedness plan, offering a reliable source of nutrition when traditional food sources may be unavailable. With the U.S. Department of Agriculture reporting that food insecurity affects over 38 million Americans, having access to MREs can be a game-changer in disaster situations. The best civilian MRE brands provide not only sustenance but also variety and taste, ensuring that families can maintain a balanced diet even in the most challenging circumstances.

Eddie Penney Emergency Prep Expert

MREs help negate these issues, and companies design civilian variants that may even have some nice variety and tasty alternatives.

How We Made Our Choices For Best Civilian MRE Brands

Brand Reputation

Brand names aren’t anything, but a brand’s reputation, whether good or bad, can give you some indication of what to expect. For this list, we took the reputation of each brand into consideration, choosing ones that provided consistently great experiences.

Nutritional Value

Perhaps the most important aspect of MREs is that they should have good nutritional value, and that is something we considered highly when considering different products.

Shelf Life

MREs should be designed to last a long time, as they need to be ready in the case of an emergency. That’s why we considered the shelf life of each option to make sure each one would last a long time if need be.


While the priority of MREs is not necessarily enjoyment, we still wanted to find some good variety in the options so that they could be enjoyable as well as nourishing.


While MREs will spend most of their existence in storage, at least most of the time, they should also be portable in case you need to evacuate your home or property in an emergency and need supplies for the road.


MREs may be handy, but it’s worthless if they’re so expensive that no one can afford them. That’s why we tried to find options for every budget so that anyone can find an option they can go for.

Best Civilian MRE Brands

Nutrient Survival: Best for Family MREs

The next product is a variant of an MRE called an NRE, or Nutrition Ready to Eat. The product is the Black Scout Survival NRE By Nutrient Survival.

About The Brand

Nutrient Survival was started by a New York Businessman who moved out West and later endeavored to create a brand focused on nutrient-rich food and survival supplies. As the name suggests, the products are focused on health and nutrients, so you know you’re getting something hearty and healthy here.

Key Features And Benefits

In this pack, you will receive a few healthy, easy-to-eat action packs. This will have 66 servings, and the meals include Hearty Lasagna, Hearty Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal, Creamy Chocolate Shake, and Peanut Butter Bar-Meals.

The shelf life is up to 15 years, and each one is packed with helpful calories and nutrients that are all contained in a convenient, safe bucket.

Pros And Cons

This is a fantastic overall pack of easy-to-eat, nutritious energy packs that taste great and present wonderful variety.

These wouldn’t be ideal as a full meal and would be best used as a high-energy snack or meal complement.

Survival Frog: The Best Bundle For Starters

We’re going to provide an overview of each product on this list, but sometimes the best way is to try for yourself. That’s where the Survival Frog Sampler Food Bundle comes into play, as it features a sampler platter of sorts featuring some of the best survival food options.

About The Brand

Survival Frog is one of the most well known suppliers of survival food and supplies, and they produce their own products as well as supply some of the top brands. No matter which facet it is, you can be assured of the quality on display.

Although, the focus is less on Survival Frog and more on the brands that they feature in this sample pack.

Key Features And Benefits

In this pack, you will receive a product from 6 of the best survival food brands. These include canned meat by Survival Fresh, pasta primavera 4 pack by Legacy, chicken risotto by Backpacker’s Pantry, and chili mac by ReadyWise.

All of this comes packed in a convenient carrying bag to keep everything safe and fresh.

This is a great selection of food in itself, but you will also be able to see what each brand offers and try other products from your favorites.

Pros And Cons

There are some great meal options to try in this pack, and even if used as an actual emergency food supply instead of a sampler, you would have some nutritious samples.

Seeing as it is a sample pack, the pack wouldn’t last as long as more involved survival food packs, so you should certainly buy other products to complement this one.

QuakeKare: Easy Packing MREs

Our second option is the QuakeKare Emergency Food Ration. Let’s see what this product has to offer as we take a closer look.

About The Brand

QuakeKare was founded in 1982, and they endeavor to create some of the best emergency supplies for families, schools, and communities in general. This has given them a good grasp of how to make excellent survival food and tools to help you prepare for any emergency.

Key Features And Benefits

This product is nothing fancy, but it certainly gets the job done when it comes to a great all around MRE option. It comes in the form of food bar rations that are light, compact, and easy to transport.

They’re ready to eat straight out of the packaging, and they have a pleasant shortbread flavor. The shelf life is up to 5 years, and they have been used by the US Coast Guard and other emergency service personnel.

Pros And Cons

This is a robust, affordable option when you need calories and nutrients in a pinch, and the portability along with their fairly long shelf life makes them practical in many situations.

They should probably be paired with other food when possible, and they may make you more thirsty, which could be a problem in situations where water is scarce.

Legacy Food Storage: The Best Brand for Gluten-Free MREs

We have another sample of survival food with the Legacy Food Storage Gluten-Free Emergency Sample Pack. This is another selection that shows you some products you can try out before committing to a larger batch, and it’s all safe for people with gluten intolerance or with dietary requirements that prohibit gluten.

Key Features And Benefits

With this pack, you will receive three easy-to-make meals. These include enchiladas, beans and rice, cheese and broccoli bake, potato soup mix, and classic chili mix. These can all be prepared simply with hot water.

If you like any of the products, you can buy them in greater quantities to make sure your food supplies are stocked with options you know you’ll like.

Pros And Cons

It’s good to know that people who can’t or don’t eat gluten for whatever reason will still have tasty and reliable food options in an emergency.

This pack has the same problem as the previous sample pack; however, you will need to buy other products to complement this one, as these are meant as samples.

4Patriots: Best MREs for Strength and Stamina

Next up, we have the Lumberjack Survival Food Pack by 4Patriots. This pack contains some hearty options that provide plenty of servings that are good to go for up to 25 years.

About The Brand

4Patriots started in Nashville, and they have created many quality products ranging from survival food to tools that can be used outdoors or in an emergency. They also distribute many of the best survival products as well as produce their own.

Key Features And Benefits

This pack features 80 servings spread out over 9 different meals. These include some really tasty options such as fireside stew, cowboy rice and beans, and Nonna’s secret recipe spaghetti. You can tell from the names and the food itself that they’re going for hearty comfort food that emulates home-cooked meals.

The food has a shelf life of up to 25 years, and it’s really easy to prepare each option.

Pros And Cons

This is a great selection for anyone who enjoys hearty food options. There are enough options that there is something for every taste, and the long shelf life and sturdy packaging make it a practical option as well.

There aren’t too many downsides to this one, but the selection may not appeal to some people’s preferences.

4Patriots: Best Brand for Protein-Packed MRE

We have another offering from 4Patriots up next, the Gold Medallion All-Meat Survival Food Kit. As the name implies, this one is for meat lovers, and would make an excellent companion pack to other meals to add some protein.

Key Features And Benefits

The idea behind this product is pretty simple. In this pack, you will receive 34 servings each of freeze-dried chicken and beef, for a total of 64. These can be eaten as is, but they are at their best when used in other meals for a tasty protein boost.

These also feature a 25 year shelf life and come in a durable, portable package.

Pros And Cons

This is a simple yet handy pack for some quick and tasty protein to add to any meal.

The obvious downside to this pack is that it would not be ideal for vegetarians or people who don’t like meat, and it’s best paired with other products.

Mountain House: Best for Assorted MREs

We have a selection of different MRE survival foods with the Moutain House classic bucket. This bucket has some great variety to keep you fed and happy even in an emergency.

About The Brand

Mountain House specializes in freeze-dried food, and they started out producing food for the US military. Now, they produce healthy, convenient survival food for anyone to enjoy, and they have a wide range of products for many tastes.

Key Features And Benefits

This pack contains 24 pouches for 12 servings of meals that can be prepared merely with hot water. These meals contain beef stew, beef stroganoff, granola with milk & blueberries, classic spaghetti with meat sauce, and chicken fried rice.

These cover a range of meals with something for every taste. Each of these comes in a convenient, safe package and allows for up to 30 years of shelf life.

Pros And Cons

There are a few downsides here, as this is a really solid collection that would make a great emergency supply.

Once again, it’s a pack that would not be ideal for vegetarians, however.

LoJo Surplus is Best MRE brand for Flavor

The Lojo Surplus 2022 Genuine Military MRE meal pack is perhaps the closest product to the military origins of MRE food we’ve seen so far, but it still packs some flavor and options for a comprehensive meal kit.

About The Brand

LoJo provides all manner of military surplus meal options, as can be seen on their Amazon product homepage. We will be focused on one of these products, but it’s well worth checking out the others if this particular one doesn’t appeal to you.

Key Features And Benefits

This meal pack is a single meal serving of a beef patty with pepper jack. Each pack also comes with a side dish, dessert/snack, crackers or bread or peanut butter, powered beverage, utensils, gum, napkin, towelette, and seasonings like salt, pepper, and sugar.

With all of these sides and supplies, you would have everything you need to stay well-fed in an emergency, and it all has a shelf life of 10+ years.

Pros and Cons

This is a great all-rounder meal option that has different options and implements to make a full and nutritious meal.

It is designed for one meal, however, so you would need to buy a large supply for prolonged situations.

Sopacko – Best Reduced Sodium MRE Brand

The next product, the Sopacko MRE Case With Heaters, would be perfect for survival situations where you’re left without power to cook, and they would also be great to take on camping trips or hikes.

About The Brand

Sopacko is another brand focused on military grade MREs, but their products are not only good for that purpose. They create products for general emergencies, but they can also be a great products to bring on a camping trip for easy and nutritious meals.

Key Features And Benefits

This pack is not only nutritious and convenient, but it is also low in sodium, which is great for anyone with a low-sodium diet. This kit comes with 14 servings comprised of Cheese Tortellini, Chili-Mac Vegetable Lasagna,  Vegetable Barley Stew, Beef Ravioli in Meat and Textured Soy Protein Sauce,  Spaghetti with Meat and Textured Soy Flour Sauce, Peas in Tomato Sauce,  and Penne with Vegetable Sausage Crumbles in Spicy Tomato Sauce. Heaters are included to cook the food without the need for fire or electricity.

Pros And Cons

There is a good variety of the meals on offer here, and the heaters are handy for many emergency situations.

The meals are fairly basic, however, as they are military-grade rations and not designed with taste as a main priority.

Augason: Best all-around MRE Brand

Our final product is the Augason Farms Lunch And Dinner variety pail. This is one of our top picks for an all around MRE solution, so let’s see what’s on offer.

About The Brand

Augason Farms started out in 1972, meaning they’ve been in the business for a long time and really know what they’re doing. In that time, they have created some of the best survival food and supplies on the market, and they’re usually one of our top picks when considering different survival food brands.

Key Features And Benefits

This comprehensive kit comes with 11 varieties of meals for a total of 92 servings. These include soups such as chicken and noodle and corn chowder along with heartier options like mac and cheese and creamy stroganoff.

You even have a dessert option with chocolate pudding. Each is easy to prepare in a few minutes, and you have a shelf life expectancy of 5-30 years depending on the conditions and particular food type.

Pros And Cons

Overall, there is little to complain about here. You have some amazing food options to choose from, and they’re all easy to prepare with a great shelf life.

Perhaps the only downside is that there are no breakfast options included, so you may need to purchase an extra breakfast pack to go with it.

Best Tips For Storing MREs

MRE supplies should ideally be stored in a cool, dry environment to maintain freshness for the longest time possible. If the packaging isn’t rodent-proof then you should definitely store your food in robust containers that are safe from rodent infestation.

Best Tips For Preparing MREs

Each MRE food type will have its own preparation method, but most are designed to just need hot water. That doesn’t mean that you can’t spruce them up a bit, though! Some can be mixed or eaten together even if not packed together.

If you have it available, adding spices, cheeses, and other extras can make it even tastier and more nutritious.

Final Thoughts

When going through this list, you may have been surprised by how varied and tasty MREs can be. There’s something for everyone, showcasing that just because food is made for survival it doesn’t mean that it can’t be good to eat!

We hope that you found a few options that appealed to you so that you can begin the journey to being more prepared for any emergencies that come your way.

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