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Arctic Field Ration by Drytech

An Arctic Field Ration pack (Menu 08) by Drytech of Norway ~ it was slightly outside its Best Before range [© Mike Gormley]

This Menu 08 Arctic Field Ration by Drytech was picked up at OTS 2023 and tried out during a recent wet Dartmoor weekend, writes Mike Gormley.

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There are some really good ration meal pouches out there these days, and I get to try a few from time to time, but I have to say after taking this out on Dartmoor recently I would be a bit disappointed if this was what I was issued with when operating in The Arctic; and yes, I have been there.

It can get pretty cold in the Arctic and you need fuel, especially if active. To me, importantly, you need food that is good to eat, tastes good and is fulfilling. This really applies to anywhere but especially so in cold climates.

The pack contents provide 1300kcal plus include spoon and disinfectant wipe [©MG]

I’ll start with the good bit. The main meal was a REAL Brand salmon-based dish, Creamy Salmon and Pasta, just add hot water. It smelled good and really tasted good and once rehydrated, which did not take very long, was very tasty with chunks of salmon in it. I did not try it, but I am sure the accompanying sachet of Spicy Sauce would have killed the taste stone dead, but that is up to the user. Some like it hot and not everybody likes the taste of fish.

Getting the main meal rehydrated on a very wet Dartmoor where a warm meal was definitely required [©MG]

Then there was a piece of ‘bread’ in a vacuum pack which sort of looked a bit like a piece of cheap corner shop loaf. Not very appetising. To go with this there was some chocolate nut spread, which was okay but failed to make the bread good. I have to admit three of us tried this and eventually the accompanying dog finished it off!

As with many packet meals it looked rather unappetising when dry but once rehydrated this was fine, in fact perhaps surprisingly so, with the salmon chunks and veg looking as they should [©MG]

The REAL Brand “energy for every occasion” drink powder was peach flavour and quite tasty. This was a little unusual, as in a large packet to allow for re-hydration and then to drink from; not very much of the drink mix (add 300ml water) and so a large pack with not so much hydration. In my opinion better to have more of the drink powder and use your own mug. Hydration in any climate is important so needs to be encouraged and made appetising.

A sachet of Colombian coffee is provided, but just the coffee ~ no whitener and no sugar. I’m not really a black coffee person, but don’t mind and the coffee itself tasted fine. I am sure many would prefer white and probably with sugar, though Bob the Editor tells me that the Scandinavian soldiers this pack is intended for generally drink their coffee black.

Sadly the packet of Bridgford whole wheat bread was a bit of a fail with our little group [©MG]

Finally, the REAL Brand Cranberry protein bar. Okay, but not impressive in my view. I have had worse for sure but have had much better as well. The pack also contained a plastic spoon, disinfectant wipe and chewing gum

Sorry Drytech, in my view all in all not an impressive pack of food in this day and age and not to my personal taste.

[images © Mike Gormley]

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¤ Editor’s footnote: The pack Mike sampled is a 1300kcal single meal ration of the type usually issued to Norwegian troops; on a basis of one Light Meal (breakfast) plus two Full Meal (lunch or dinner) packs per day. The high fibre shelf stable whole wheat bread, produced in the US by Bridgford and imported to the EU by OrifO of Denmark, is frequently found in US MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) packs and occasionally in UK Operational Ration Packs.

For more on these Drytech ration packs see FR68 ~ Norwegian Arctic Rations Update

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