by John Boch
(Guns Save Life) – I found Heater Meals at a Bass Pro store in St. Louis and was intrigued by what seemed like a “civilian” MRE entree of sorts. The cost was about $6 or so, or about the price of a real, full MRE without the military look. This product is ideal for not scaring the sheep.
I took them to an Appleseed shoot where I wasn’t sure if there was going to be lunch provided and they saved the day.
My first impression was “wow” as I opened one up. It included everything from the meal, the heater, a sturdy utensil or two, a napkin, saltwater solution to activate the heater, salt, pepper and seasoning and a wet nap to clean up with. Everything from start to finish.
The food was above average. It wasn’t restaurant quality, but it was far better than any Subway sandwich and it was hot. The heater did a fine job of heating the meal to tongue-burning hot in just a few minutes.
My only “complaint” with this meal was a lack of parmesan cheese for my Chicken Pasta Italiana. Other than that, preparation and cleanup were complete in well under ten minutes total and all the waste fit nicely back in the cardboard box.
In terms of quantity of food, they contained about 360-400 calories in each meal. I felt full after eating it and drinking 16oz or so of Gatorade. I wasn’t hungry until dinner time, so it stayed with me. Your mileage may vary.
I’ve heard from others that the heater in these won’t bring the meal up to hot when it’s frozen solid, so keep that in mind for wintertime use.
However, for an event such as an Appleseed or similar event where you need a portable lunch or dinner and you don’t want to hassle with keeping something refrigerated or busting open a whole MRE, these meals seem perfect.
They would also serve you well if you bought a dozen or so to have on hand in case of an emergency if you didn’t have other shelf-stable foods that are easy to prepare. Their shelf-life is about two years or so.
The Heater Meal people also have a five-year meal in their “EX” series of product.
They also have a “Plus” series of product that seems to be in direct competition to military MREs, with upwards of 1200 calories per meal with all of the side items such as drink, snacks, side dishes, etc.
I have no experience with either the EX-series or the “Plus” series.
I would recommend standard Heater Meals if they could serve a niche for you.