Does anyone have any good leads on self heating MREs for passenger train trips...

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Does anyone have any good leads on self heating MREs for passenger train trips...
Posted by divebardave on Friday, January 31, 2020 2:14 PM

The ones that I see online are beyond my budget and are high in sodiom for my BP

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Posted by aegrotatio on Friday, January 31, 2020 4:18 PM

I've used MREs from here before, but if it's an MRE, it's the same MRE no matter who makes it. Check out their other survival foods, too.

https://www.beprepared.com/

I'm not sure the chemical packet is allowed onboard the train, though.

 

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, January 31, 2020 6:31 PM

aegrotatio
I'm not sure the chemical packet is allowed onboard the train, though.

I think the product for Dave is here (with a convenient how-to video):

https://www.beprepared.com/mre-heater

They bill it as 'Great for use in situations where fire is prohibited or not recommended' and that its peak temperature doesn't go much above 100 degrees F.  It occurs to me that anything you can put in a relatively waterproof enclosure and seal into that $1.95 pouch could be heated ... not just the packaged MREs.

From the description given (iron filings, magnesium, sodium) I think you have a reaction similar to those one-use handwarmers, made to release energy a little faster but still not too fast. 

 

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Saturday, February 1, 2020 12:47 PM

The MRE that site mentions is fairly high on sodium (20% of daily requirements) for anyone on a low-sodium regimen. 

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Posted by divebardave on Saturday, February 1, 2020 2:24 PM

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, February 1, 2020 2:56 PM

Overmod
aegrotatio
I'm not sure the chemical packet is allowed onboard the train, though. 

I think the product for Dave is here (with a convenient how-to video):

https://www.beprepared.com/mre-heater

Notice that financing is available for the $1.95 purchase.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, February 1, 2020 8:02 PM

Can't help you there, MRE's are after my time, we still had C-Rations in my day.

Building a C-rat stove out of an accessories can so you could ignite a heat-tab in it and not have it stink was an art form I haven't forgotten, however I'm sure Amtrak might take a dim view of someone warming up a can of "Ham and Muthas" in the aisle!  

"C-rats, C-rats are all I eat, got an achin' back and tired feet!"  Dinner

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Posted by bartman-tn on Saturday, February 1, 2020 8:32 PM

Another option is a small plug-in coffee pot that simply makes hot water. There are plenty of good backpack meals out there that need just a cup of hot water. I always carry a few and can get boiling water, or I just heat up some of my own.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, February 1, 2020 8:59 PM

Ok, I feel compelled to issue two cautionary notes here as someone with experience with MRE's.    First they are intended for someone with heavy caloric expenditure per day.   A full MRE is probably northward of 3500 calories, that is why they are handed out in the Armed Forces.   If you consumed them before they would caution you to pace yourself and balance the intake with your caloric burn for the day........though they would phrase it a lot less PC.   If you eat several MRE's in a row and do nothing but sit on a train your going to gain several pounds on just one trip on the train.    You will be lucky if it is only a few pounds.

Second and most importantly for Amtrak, they are not intended to be consumed indoors and the heating element is not intended to be used indoors.   In fact I suspect your going to run in violation of Amtrak rules if you bring a full MRE on board because of the heating element.    I would not do so myself

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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, February 1, 2020 9:06 PM

aegrotatio
I've used MREs from here before, but if it's an MRE, it's the same MRE no matter who makes it. Check out their other survival foods, too. https://www.beprepared.com/ I'm not sure the chemical packet is allowed onboard the train, though.

I would not bring that on a train or anything else that heats by chemical reaction.   MRE's are really designed for outdoor use and for people at an athlete level of caloric burn.    Not for folks sitting on a train.    If you have a heart condition or BP issues (as the OP states).   I would steer clear of consumption of MRE's or at least consult with your Doctor first.

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Posted by alphas on Saturday, February 1, 2020 10:16 PM

I only had C rations too and many of them were surprisingly good.    The one exception I still gag when I think of was the Ham & Eggs which had all the taste of sawdust.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, February 1, 2020 10:58 PM

Much as I loved those Esbit hexamine fuel tabs as a kid (they were the fuel of choice for my model stationary steam engines) I can't imagine Dave using them successfully (at least for long) on an Amtrak train -- he might as well use Sterno fuel.

C4 will get something hot a lot faster than 'trioxane' but if he has any left over when discovered he may have more than a little 'splainin to do...

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Posted by samfp1943 on Saturday, February 1, 2020 11:17 PM

Flintlock76

Can't help you there, MRE's are after my time, we still had C-Rations in my day.

Building a C-rat stove out of an accessories can so you could ignite a heat-tab in it and not have it stink was an art form I haven't forgotten, however I'm sure Amtrak might take a dim view of someone warming up a can of "Ham and Muthas" in the aisle!  

"C-rats, C-rats are all I eat, got an achin' back and tired feet!"  Dinner

 

 
C-rat stove!!  You guys in the artillery had all the bennies!  Mischief   We used to tear off pieces of C-4 to make a fire...They'd cook up a steel pot full of water, and chicken noodle soup powder for a hot meal in the field, in a short time.
   C-rats were available, but most were post-Korea; until we found the Army had those new pouiches of MREs, and would trade them for VC souvenirs. Whistling               A little hot water, and we was eating good in the neighborhood...Dinner Mischief
 
P.S.  Cooking MRE's in a Superliner would be the fastest way to find one 'shanks mare' ... If they'll put someone off the train for smoking in the wash room...I'd bet cooking MRE's would get one put off, for sure... They might even just slow down as they put you off...OopsWow

 

 


 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, February 2, 2020 8:26 AM

Mod-man, you had one of those toy steam engines too?  No kidding, so did I!  When I ran out of the Esbit tabs I used chunks of Sterno, it worked just as well.

Sam, I wasn't a cannon-cocker, I was a tactical air controller, but same C-rats for everyone you know.

Now from what I've heard the artillery guys in 'Nam really  had fun with the C-rat cans.  They'd punch them full of holes, place them on the fuse end of the shells, and when they fired them the shell would make a weird howling noise on the way to the target!  Scared the hell out of the VC!

Trouble was, it scared the hell out of our own grunts too if the shells passed overhead!  

I was in the Corps when they started leaving the cigarettes out of the C-rats.  Man, you should have heard the screams!  Even from the non-smokers, the cigarettes made good trading stock if you saved up enough of them.  

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Posted by 54light15 on Sunday, February 2, 2020 10:23 AM

Down in the engine room we would occasionally eat C-rats when the food on the ship was inedible. You'd put a can on a steam drain and it would heat up real quick but you had to punch a hole in the top to keep the can from exploding. One day a guy tried heating up a can of beans and forgot to punch the hole. You can imagine the rest. One thing, those key-ring can openers, we would call them a "grunt key" but the Marines called it a "John Wayne." Can you corroborate, Flintlock? 

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Posted by samfp1943 on Sunday, February 2, 2020 10:58 AM

54light15

Down in the engine room we would occasionally eat C-rats when the food on the ship was inedible. You'd put a can on a steam drain and it would heat up real quick but you had to punch a hole in the top to keep the can from exploding. One day a guy tried heating up a can of beans and forgot to punch the hole. You can imagine the rest. One thing, those key-ring can openers, we would call them a "grunt key" but the Marines called it a "John Wayne." Can you corroborate, Flintlock? 

       Similarly, wiring the C-rat cans to an engine powered 'anything' would cause the contents of the can to be 'warmed'! 

       In USMC jargon of the 'time', the C-Rat can opener was called a 'P-38' [indicative of the 38 punctures it took to open a C-Rat can(?)]...  Many are still carried by ex-service members, after 'too many years' Sigh

    Many 'grunts' referred to the small pack of T.P. supplied in the box of C-rats, as "John Wayne"....'cause it was said:"...not to take any 'stuff' off  of anybody!  Huh?

   One of the things that was inculcated into the combat soldier[army and marines];  was to be constantly, on the look-out for 'opportunities' to trade for items that would help make the individual(s?) life a little easier....Those opportuniies would present themselves at the weirdest of times!  Whistling    Smile, Wink & Grin

 

 


 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, February 2, 2020 11:00 AM

Absolutely 54!  The P-38 can opener, and we did indeed call them "John Waynes."  I still carry one on my key chain, well, you never know when you might need one, right?

My father still has one on his key chain, his dates from when he was in the Army in the late 40's!   He loaned it to me when I went on a camping trip in high school and said I'd be in BIG trouble if I lost it.  Needless to say, I didn't lose it!

We also called the C-rat crackers "John Wayne crackers," and the round chocolate candys "John Wayne cookies."  Either that or we called them "S**t discs."

To expound on what "alphas" said, in all fairness most of the C-rat main meals really weren't all that bad.  The beef and ham slices were OK, the tuna tasted like tuna, the turkey tasted like tuna as well, can't get it all right I suppose, and I found the "beef with spiced sauce" pretty tasty.  The ham and eggs, on the other hand, I concur with "alphas."  Yuck!  The "ham and lima beans," the aforementioned "ham and muthas,"  double-yuck!

I do remember popping open a can of C-rat pineapple and drinking the juice after a forced march on a hot day.  You know, that was one of the best drinks I ever had! 

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Posted by PJS1 on Sunday, February 2, 2020 6:56 PM

divebardave
 The ones that I see online are beyond my budget and are high in sodiom for my BP 

Maybe I am missing something, but why in the world would you want to take an MRE on a passenger train?

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

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Posted by 54light15 on Sunday, February 2, 2020 7:32 PM

Thanks, Flintlock and sampf1943- I have always gotten the impression that the guy who played Sergeant Ryker was the patron saint of the Corps and not a thing wrong with that! The Duke was the man! Cripes, I miss him. 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, February 2, 2020 9:10 PM

Don't we all?  Since the Duke died I can count on the fingers of one hand all the decent Westerns I've seen since.  Almost a lost art form now. 

PS:  Actually, it was Sergeant Stryker,  but that's OK, I know what you mean.

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Monday, February 3, 2020 12:22 AM

Flintlock76

Mod-man, you had one of those toy steam engines too?  No kidding, so did I!  When I ran out of the Esbit tabs I used chunks of Sterno, it worked just as well.

Wayne,

I had three of them at one time or another. Two used Esbit's and one used sterno.

I've heard about using C-4 being used as emergnecy campfire fuel, with the warning that it best left to burn out by itself as opposed to trying to extinguish the fire. An amusing comment about C-4 from one of the local bomb squad guys was that C-4 was designed for use by army grunts and for some strange reason most of the production in the Vietnam era was done in Texas...

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Monday, February 3, 2020 8:51 AM

Erik, the only time I ever ran into C-4 was during a training exercise at the Basic School, it was kind of a familiarization exercise with military explosives.  To demonstrate how safe it was they indeed peeled off a chunk from the block and put a match to it, showing that when it was exposed to flame it would burn and not explode, so I can see why it was popular as a a C-ration heating fuel. 

With a blasting cap in it hooked up to a "hell-box" it was another matter!

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 3:49 AM

samfp1943
Similarly, wiring the C-rat cans to an engine powered 'anything' would cause the contents of the can to be 'warmed'! 

Dave has probably forgotten this (yet another reason I'm sad our 'community search' is deflicted...)

http://www.nebraska-locksmiths.org/articles/ManifoldM.pdf

I believe most Amtrak power has 7FDLs, for reference... do we need to add a chapter to the guide for various kinds of prepper meal?

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 8:58 AM

Well wasn't that interesting?

I might have known there was a present-day equivalent of frying bacon on the backhead!

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Posted by Deggesty on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 2:25 PM

In the last days of the Peoria Rocket, the engine crews would cook their suppers on part of the engine as they went to Peoria--and would share with regular passengers, who would share their evening meals with the crews. Of course, non-regular passengers would have difficulty in doing the same on Amtrak trains.

Johnny

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 10:57 PM

Flintlock76

To demonstrate how safe it was they indeed peeled off a chunk from the block and put a match to it, showing that when it was exposed to flame it would burn and not explode, so I can see why it was popular as a a C-ration heating fuel. 

That makes sense, even more so than civilain explosives, military explosives are made to go off only when intended. A military demolition team may be facing risks, such as getting shot at, that are not faced by civilian demoltion teams. There are applications where the process of desensitizing is taken to where the explosive won't go off at all.

I did think it ironic that Esbit's was brought up (N.B. Esbits is NOT an explosive).

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Posted by Metro Red Line on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 12:20 AM

Why don't you just go to a sporting goods store and buy some "just add hot water" meals intended for camping/hiking?

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Posted by 54light15 on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 8:58 AM

It's been a long time since I've taken an Amtrak. Is the food that bad? Wouldn't it be possible to load up a small cooler with grub from say, a New York deli? Cold cuts, cheese, mustard, rolls, beer? If you're leaving NYC, that is. 

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 9:35 AM

If you're in Chicago Union Station,  Manny's Deli is nearby.  Comparable to the best delis in New York. 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 10:24 AM

The last time a good friend of ours came for a visit he came on Amtrak, which he enjoys more than driving, although there's nothing to eat on board.  He packs a few sandwiches for the trip, and we make sure he's well-supplied for the trip back.

He's diabetic, so he HAS to have something to eat so he won't have any incidents.  He had an incident on one visit here, scary as hell let me tell you, and we want NO repeats of the same!

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