This Military Kit for Cooking and Heating Meals from BCB International was originally designed for Polish ration packs which include tins, writes Bob Morrison.
Those who keenly read this section of JOINT-FORCES will be aware that there are three types of providing main meals in ration packs; ‘wet’ retort pouch, ‘dry’ freeze-dried pouch, or canned. The Polish Armed Forces, sometimes use cans in their mainstream Individual Food Ration (Indywidual Racji Żywnościowej) 24-hour packs, though wet pouch meals are also issued.
Unlike pre-cooked wet pouch meals, which although they can be eaten cold taste better when heated for several minutes using the ‘boil-in-the-bag’ process, canned meals are usually heated in their tin (pierced first to prevent pressure build-up) over an open flame and because the metal used conducts heat well it usually does not take so long to heat them to an acceptable temperature. Ethanol-based BCB FireDragon non-toxic solid fuel pods, which do not pose the same potential health risks as hexamine (hexamethylenetetramine) tablets, are ideal for heating canned meals but just like the older type of fuel tablet they require a mini-cooker to keep the can (or canteen cup if boiling in the bag) slightly above the flame.
This particular FireDragon heating kit fold-up Mini Cooker is sized for the flatter round cans found in Polish ration packs and has a hole in the base designed to accept the smallest size, i.e. seven gramme, fuel pods produced by the Welsh manufacturer. Metal cans heated over an open flame not only get very hot but retain their heat for some time, so in addition to heater a folding metal handle, which can be adjusted to different depth of can, is included in the BCB Heating Kit along with eight fuel pods, a book of 20 matches, a pack of 3 waterproof matches with striker, and a black refuse bag.
The BCB Heating Kit in the lead image, which I photographed on my last trip to Poland, has both contents and instructions printed in Polish but the detail shots are of an identical English language pack. Both packs indicated they contained three Waterproof (and Wind-Resistant) Matches but mine actually had six of these very handy fire-starters. The Mini Cooker metal is malleable enough to be folded with the fingers, but I used a BCB multi-tool to bend mine into shape; this a low cost belt tool and therefore possibly less likely to grow legs than my valued Leatherman Super Tool when taken into the field.
[ images © Bob Morrison]
For more on BCB FireDragon see:-
- FireDragon Mini Heating Kit With 7g Fuel Pod
- FireDragon Mini Cooker From BCB
- FireDragon Wins New UK MoD Contract