It goes without saying that proper nutrition is essential to mission success. While many of us in the military, public safety and emergency services have learned to perform at operational levels with little to no fuel, rest and for sustained periods, the community does attempt to instill in boots and recruits alike the understanding that nutrition and hydration are essential to performance. What that has looked like since wars were fought, was some form of ration or Meal Ready to Eat (MRE). At one point I actually researched what other countries use for their MREs. It was interesting to see how the warfighting philosophy, combined with “native” cuisine choices influences what goes into an emergency meal.
Like many who work in environments and professions where a solid meal may not be as accessible as needed, I have carried a deconstructed MRE in my ruck, kit or go-bag. Basically one or two key pieces of a meal which will do in a pinch. I have tried pouches of tuna, power bars, with some of the later adopting as MRE in their own right, and a variety of snacks.
When I found out about the RecPak meal replacement option, I was very curious. Where most of the above sustainment options fall short by providing only some of the nutrition, mainly protein or grains, RecPak strives to fill a complete meal, and is geared to the outdoor and austere environments, where other options may not be accessible. It also accomplishes this by combining an effective meal, with functional and efficient packaging.
To clarify, RecPak is not a traditional meal replacement in a sense that comfortably at home you use it instead of a full dinner, or fill your workout or dietary needs. At least not by design. The intent of RecPak nutrition is to be there when other options are not. Whether outdoors on a long hunt, extended patrol, or a long shift, RecPak “ultralight performance meal” is there. The key to this ultralight, is a self-contained pouch which is light, durable, and easy to use. The idea is to add water right to the meal’s container, mix it, shake it, use it and continue with the mission. Like most grunt-minded consumers, I did not read all of the directions before using, but also wanted to see and show the contents of the RecPak. As such, I used a blender bottle for my first try of RecPak. While that could certainly be an option, there is no need for any additional containers. Only a hydration source, which as we are taught, we should always have accessible. Deed – one of RecPak founders, gave me a heads up that should the mix be a little chalky, to let is settle. I had no issues with that, and enjoyed my first taste of Chocolate RecPal meal as the first meal of the day, prior to starting my shift. I specifically missed lunch, to see how long the nutrition in the mix would sustain me.
I found the taste pleasing and not overbearing in flavor. Like anything with flavor, it is truly a matter of taste. Whatever your opinion on that or consistency, it is specific to the end user, and the RecPak website offers a variety of reviews to help you choose. They all agree, much like I do, that any nuances in flavor are subtle compared to the benefits of the product. What I was really happy with, is that the meal did not make me feel overly full, but definitely filled. I have wondered why the shake I occasionally used doesn’t do that, and found the reason basic. Calories. Aside from a lower caloric intake, a typical shake lacks the complete vitamin, sodium, fibers, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, electrolytes and hydration offered by RecPak. Specifically, at 700 calories the RecPak meal will take place of approximately one can of coup, plus a pop tart and a serving or rice, or three packages of cooked ramen noodles. That is serious nutrition when you need to keep moving.
While I enjoyed the Chocolate flavor, I really enjoyed the Vanilla Chai. Actually more than I expected, as chocolate is kind of an all around safe flavor for most such meals. And I was really happy to see that there is a coffee flavor, which offers an additional 150 mg of caffeine. With the second taste of RecPak meal, I waited until a really cold day combined it with a long shift. Again, the meal did not disappoint. In fact, I immediately recommended the brand to another team mate, and an Army buddy who is tasked with challenging rescues as his primary job. At $12.99 per meal as a regular price, one serving of RecPak is still cheaper than a meal at Subway. However, if your job is the reason you’re looking at the purchase, the company offers a 20% discount. You can order a sample pouch, 6 pack or 12 pack, all with free shipping. There is also a subscription option, and I am curious about what additional flavors the guys at RecPak will come up with. As I said, most of us who carry some form of a spare meal, try to pack lite. The RecPak accomplishes that task as well, having two pouches placed together not much larger than one carton of an MRE’s main meal. A critical feature for those who travel, or already work with a heavy kit or ruck.
As a Marine and an emergency services specialist, Deed and Colin respectfully know what its like to miss a meal or two and be required to keep performing without complaints. They created the company with first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to perform with no fuel. Like so many veterans and servants of their communities, the charitable aspect is not lost on these guys. As of January 3, they donated 3282 RecPak pouches to the Ukranian frontlines. Sometimes if we can’t fight the evil directly, we will still fight the good fight, As of this writing, for every RecPak cold, one is still donated to Ukraine.
I give RecPak ultralight meals 5 out of 5 stars. For value, performance, appearance and presentation. I have not seen a better option for a complete meal, which would equal similar value, and with such a benefit to those who use it.
Notes: Whole Oat Flour, Maltodextrin, Whey Protein Isolate, Organic Cane Sugar, Coconut Oil Blend (Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Rice Syrup Solids, Organic Pea Protein, Contains 2% Or Less Of Each Of The Following: Sodium Citrate [acidity Regulator], Tricalcium Phosphate, Sunflower Lecithin), Sunflower Oil Blend (Sunflower Oil With Natural Tocopherols, Maltodextrin, Modified Food Starch, Mono & Diglycerides, Tri-calcium Phosphate), Bovine Collagen Peptides, Micellar Casein, Natural Flavor, Flaxseed, Vitamin & Mineral Blend*, Sea Salt
*Mineral Blend: Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Oxide, Magnesium Phosphate, Potassium Iodide, Magnesium Phosphate, Zinc Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Copper Gluconate, Manganese Sulfate, Chromium Chloride, Sodium Molybdate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Bitartrate
*Vitamin Blend: Vitamin A Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Ergocalciferol, Dl-alpha Tocopheryl Acetate, Phytonadione, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Cyanocobalamin, Biotin, Calcium D-pantothenate
Contains: milk, coconut
Coffee contains POWERED CAFFEINE (150mg)