MRE Camp Meals and Army Rations Review

MRE Camp Meals and Army Rations Review

On Track Meals - Hungerbuster - Back Country - Outdoor Gourmet. All of these brands were tested and reviewed by our customers at our tasting day. Rations and Meals come in two basic forms, MRE or Meals Ready to Eat and Freeze Dry. 

The menu for the tasting consisted of the following meals; 


MRE Rations


The MRE meals come packaged so that you can eat the meal directly inside its own packaging. Simply place the entire package in boiling water for a short period of time to heat the contents. The meal can then be consumed directly from the packet or served on a plate/dish, they are extremely simple to prepare and come in a variety of flavours. Generally they have a two year shelf life however it would appear that they would last a lot longer. 

The freeze dried meals are different in that you add water directly to the meal so it rehydrates the contents. An important note about freeze dried meals is to ensure you leave it long enough to absorb the correct quantity of water you have added.  We did note that adding too much water reduced the quality of the end result and not adding enough water fails to hydrate the meal completely. There is a obvious benefit to the freeze dried meals in that they are extremely light to carry.



We found obvious differences in people's tastes but perhaps a little more different than expected. Some customers preferred freeze dried meals over MRE meals and others preferred MRE meals over freeze dried meals, furthermore even between the two styles of meals some customers preferred one flavour from one brand over a similar flavour from another brand with about 50/50 split. What was clearly obvious by the end of the day is that choice of meals we had on offer was resulted in various opinions with people citing texture, flavour, and familiarity as reasons for their choices. 

For example there was a close comparison between the On Track Beef Bolognese and the Hunger Buster/Portion Pack Spaghetti Bolognese. These are two very similar products by name but it was clear once opened and cooked, they were different in appearance, texture and taste. About half of the customers preferred the Portion Pack Spaghetti Bolognese and the other half preferred the On Track Beef Bolognese. 



Overall the On Track meals that were tasted were very well received and as an Australian company they have produced a high quality product. Most significant and as a complete standout amongst all of the meals tasted was the Slow Cooked Australian Steak with a side dish of Pumpkin and Potato Mash. The high quality of this meal is obvious on all levels. Unanimously it was was the standout hit.   

Previously our team had trialled some of the Back Country meals, in particular the Breakfast meals which proved a little disappointing at the time, however upon tasting a much wider variety of Back Country meals on our tasting day, flavours such as beef teriyaki, nasi goren and chicken tikka masala were well received. These are good meals and as stated above light to carry. If left for enough time to rehydrate with the correct amount of water they do make for a great camp meal

We tasted the Butter Chicken as part of the Outdoor Gourmet freeze dried range which was very impressive. The Outdoor Gourmet range attracts a slightly higher price however it is clear that the quality and taste matches that price

Most people who consume MRE's or military ration packs would be very familiar with flavours such as, chilli con carne, chunky chicken and vegetable, beef ragu, spaghetti bolognese and chicken italiano as provided in their ration packs. These are good meals and as many military personnel would know, can be eaten cold. With On Track Meals serving the MRE style of camp rations and meals there is clearly competition, particularly with the Slow Cooked Australian Steak, Sweet and Sour Pork and All day breakfast meals which were all impressive.



What our tasting day demonstrated clearly was that the meals and range we have at Cadetshop satisfies a wide variety of individual tastes. The two styles of meals have pros and cons depending on the intended activity and within those two different styles the flavours that we have on offer with all our brands provide something for everyone. 

We would like to thank specifically Back Country Cuisine and the Australian made On Track meals who provided a wide variety of samples of their product for the day.  

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