Difference between camping Freeze Dried Foods MREs

Military MRE

Military MRE

While camping, freeze dried foods and MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) are your best friend; especially if you are going on a long trip with limited space. There is a difference between freeze - dried foods and MRE’s making them suitable for various occasions. This post will explain each of their advantages.


Meals Ready to Eat

MRE’s are a package including a full course meal. They include mains, sides, dessert, snacks and even a drink. There are special Military MRE’s that offer a wider range of entrees and meals. Some of these include Pasta, Chicken and Dumplings and Stews.

These ready to eat meals are different to freeze dried foods, as it does not need hot water to prepare the food. MRE’s come with a ration heater that allows you to make food even when there is no water and little resources. This is perfect for backpacking and hiking and they have a shelf life of around 3 - 5 years.

When buying MRE’s you should ensure that you look carefully at the expiration date and ensure that it is at least 3 years away. Also look at the packaging description of the contents and whether it includes the ration heater. 


  • Immediately ready to eat. No boiling water needed.
  • Full course meal
  • Easy to carry around
  • Good for trips with little resources


Freeze Dried Foods

Freeze dried foods go through a process of drawing out moisture through ice evaporation. To reconstitute the food, you need to add boiling water to the packet. This kind of food is extremely lightweight and you are able to carry around a lot more rations. The taste of the food is very good and almost exactly like the real thing. This is one of the reasons people like freeze - dried foods.

However, freeze - dried foods cost a lot more than MRE’s, but are said to be a lot healthier. As well as this, there is more variety as you can purchase separate sides and mains to create your own meal. This gives a lot more freedom that MRE set meals.

Since freeze - dried foods are a little more expensive, it’s a good idea to buy in bulk and also to buy different combinations of food. Different foods vary in shelf life (eg. Fruit lasts 2 years, while wheat can last up to 30 years), but it’s recommended that they are kept in cool dry places to maximise shelf - life.


  • Very light
  • More variety of foods
  • Tastes great. Almost like proper food.
  • A healthier option


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