Found at: Max Velocity
Gear, Rucks & Living in the Field
Semper Fi, 0321April 15, 2013 at 2:24 PM
You are going to pay for boiling a plastic bag in water and then drinking it. The inside of the bag is lined, the outside is not. Poison, no matter how you look at it. It may not make you sick today, or tomorrow, but in the end you will suffer for it. Burn the plastic bag and stick your face over it, healthy isn’t it? Look at how many times we have changed plastic drink bottles over the last few decades, and they’re still not healthy. Same goes for aluminum cook gear. Don’t do it!
No matter what the internet experts tell you, it’s all toxic poison.
Stainless steel seems to be about the best there is, use it.
Great article though, M.
Ooops: the deal with the BritMil ’24 hour rat pack’ is that unlike MREs it comes in one box with a full day’s meals contained, breakfast, lunch snacks and dinner entree’s. Although every Brit only ever wanted to get hold of MREs, the ‘rat pack’ is actually pretty good. In the ‘old days’ it contained small tins for your entrees which were pierced and boiled in water in your mess tins to heat up when you did not have to eat them cold). Better, the food was mixed in either a mess tin or sometimes for team ‘scoff’ an ‘all in’ ‘airborne stew’ was created, better yet in an appropriated grenade tin. This would feed a team and was mixed with spices/curry powder. If available Ramen noodle type additions would be mixed in. This is the origin of the ‘racing spoon’ – every Brit will have a spoon attached to his gear, unlike in the US where there is a spoon in every MRE pouch. The racing aspect is because if you are not fast enough, you go hungry! You have to be ready to go with your spoon at any moment….
Mess tins and metal mugs and grenade tins are probably aluminum…..
The newer ‘boil in the bag’ rations look a little like MRE entree pouches. They are silver in color and may even be Mylar. No-one I know ever questioned drinking the water the pouches were heated up in. They were not plastic, but now you mention it it may be an issue….ooops. Sometimes the hot water was used for shaving, and sometimes water was heated up on its own for a brew, but given time constraints it was too convenient to heat your food and make a hot drink at the same time.
AnonymousApril 16, 2013 at 9:52 AM
My mom was the WO-5 (Health) inspector for the MRE program in the 80s-90s. She told me that the outer coating on the inner(food) bags in the MRE pouch is toxic, and to NEVER drink water used to heat MRE (food) bags.
Well, if Brit boil in the bags are made of the same stuff, someone better tell the British Army! It doesn’t look exactly the same though and I know that there are very similar (or were) commercial equivalents sold in hiking stores that are boil in the bag. I wonder if they have a warning about the water?
However, you would of course never drink the little bit of water used in the heater bags with the MREs, because that is toxic due to the heating chemical used….could there be a a little bit of confusion there?
Semper Fi, 0321April 16, 2013 at 11:26 AM
I ate some of the old Brit 24 hr meals when they still used cans. We did several NATO ops in ’75 with the Royal Marines in Italy and Turkey, ( I have a Donald Duck cap from the HMS Intrepid) what great meals! except for the mock turtle soup and kidney pie. Got my first big (P-51) can opener out of one too, still on my dog tag chain. The Italian meals had a small plastic bag of Cognac in them!!!
However, the plastic bags of US MRE’s are not fit to boil in water, and then drink the hot water from the cooking vessel. It emits chemicals into the water as it heats, same thing with the PBA water bottles that have disappeared from sport shop shelves. Many said ‘Do not microwave’ not just because they melt, but it gets toxic as it heats up, emitting fumes and chemicals. The new Brit boil bags may have that mylar layer that somehow protects the meal from the plastic, who knows.
I can’t imagine how much rusty metal went thru my guts from the old C-Rat cans and P-38 can openers. Ever look in the juice at the bottom of a fruit can? Lots of tiny metal shavings, straight down to my stomach. And nobody ever warned us not to eat those either.
AnonymousApril 16, 2013 at 12:58 PM
No sir no confusion, I called and asked her about it this morning, she says that until she retired in the 90s the shiny inner food bags were “treated” and listed in her guidelines as toxic. She told me that the water will draw the toxin out of the plastic when heated. She said this was a big deal to the brass in the 80s but when they invented the “flameless heater” they stoped trying to “fix” it.
AnonymousApril 15, 2013 at 6:10 PM
Yeah, my experiences of using water to cook food tins with, is that you never get off enough of the label and its glue off the tin. I wouldn’t consider drinking the water that heated up an MRE entree. But hot water is nice to have as a byproduct of getting warm food into the belly.
There’s a cooking solution for Spam lovers that I’d like to pass along. If eating Spam, save the can. You can fill it with dirt, add gasoline to the dirt to a level achieved by practice, and then put any vented can or any pot or cup on top of that miniature desert stove, and cook your meal or brew your beverage. Spam cans are good for mini desert stoves, because their shape accepts other shapes above them with ventilation. I have tried Jet A for this type of cooking, and it is not good. Diesel would probably not work either. But if you have mogas, a spam can, and some dirt to fill the can with, you have a decent dirty cookstove.
AnonymousApril 15, 2013 at 7:21 PM
Now a spam can, yeah, that is some useful info! All that other blather, nah. Texas Rangers made do with thin cotton clothing and some rudimentary cooking utinsils, and they whipped both the Mexicans and the Comanches! It’s the will to win that will win in the end, not all that hi-tech b.s. Oh, I didn’t see any mention of a poncho?
Semper Fi, 0321April 15, 2013 at 7:29 PM
We’ll be using that poncho for your body bag with that kind of attitude. Hope it keeps working for ya, your knowledge base sure won’t.
AnonymousApril 16, 2013 at 2:50 AM
SemperFido- We used the C-Rat cookie cans to make small stoves for heating coffee using sand and Huey fuel. (Jet A) maybe it is the difference between using sand and dirt that makes it work?
Semper Fi, 0321April 16, 2013 at 11:28 AM
Makes what work?
Semper Fi, 0321April 16, 2013 at 7:21 PM
I think you were addressing Prairie Fire, not me.
The original name for the sand and gas stove was the Benghazi Stove, from the Afrika Korps/Desert Rat fighting. Brits went apeshit trying to brew tea with little to no firewood, until someone came up with a simple sand and gas cooker. They work better with sand than dirt, sand breathes and doesn’t absorb the gas like dirt, which makes mud.
Another technique is to put a roll of toilet paper in a coffee can, soak it full with gas and light. Works on same principle.
DAN IIIApril 16, 2013 at 3:16 AM
Here’s a bit of post-injury advice: Wear arch supports when rucking. The other day I was doing my regular routine of 2 miles with a 50# ruck. Almost at finish and immense pain starts in arch of right foot. I’m wearing GI issue combat boots but no arch supports.
Consider arch supports. Take it for what it is worth.
Good advice. Consider arch supports and also ones that cushion your feet – shock absorbing ones. If you can get orthopedic ones that will support your feet in the right way, balancing them, that is even better – they do these for your running shoes at the running store (it may be runners world or the running store or some similar name, can’t quite recall), where they analyse your feet and create the supports. You can put these supports in your boots.
When I was an instructor at the Para Training Company, they had a specialist on staff at the physiotherapy department who would analyse recruits feet when they were injured. Apparently most people either pronate or antenate, feet leaning in or out. Over time and enough exercise, this can effect your whole leg. Imagine that if you pronate with your feet leaning slightly inwards, that will effect your whole leg and can even put twist on your knees. I even had some supports made up by that guy. I always have arch supports and put them in my boots. The more miles you do, the more relevant it becomes.
Semper Fi, 0321April 16, 2013 at 11:43 AM
Went on a backpacking trip in the Wind River Mtn’s here in Wyoming last year. My buddy and I were both turning 58, so we took off for 3 days to investigate some old indian archaeology sites above 11,000′ elev.
4 miles into a 6 mile hike, I twisted my ankle on a small rock, my 48 lb pack threw me down hill and I heard my ankle pop. Dislocated! I jumped up and walked it out, on arriving in camp, my ankle was bigger than a grapefruit and purple. Walked another 12 miles over the next 2 days, up to 11,600′ and down to the vehicles. It took about 4 months to heal. Also pulled the muscles from my hip up to my neck. Front to back motion was fine, sideways almost left me screaming.
Point of story. I was wearing near new mid height Asolo hiking boots, not enough ankle support. I now have taller Meindl Denali boots for this summer. My Meindl hunting boots are even taller. When carrying weight, tall fully supported boots are required, low or thin boots will set you up for injury too.
True. Particularly if you end up moving at night or over rough terrain not on trails, or both, as you will do tactically. There is the catastrophic ankle ‘twist’ but there is the lesser but painful ankle ‘turn’. Oh how I hate that! Once it starts, yo will keep doing it, until you go see a therapist and get to learn some exercises like the wobble board to rebuild the reaction to stop the turn from happening. I always wear high style combat boots.
I was once on a course in the UK which involved ruck marching at speed over hills. Long distances between check points with times marked out as 4 km/h as the crow flies. This means moving fast and running downhill to make the times. There was a lot of what we oddly called ‘babies heads’ underfoot – it’s where the grass grows in clumps making it very difficult underfoot, someone must have thought it was like walking on small heads…..hmmmmm. Following a sheep track was always a good idea if you could. Anyway, I would wear military style hiking boots and under my socks I bought some specially designed ankle supports. I’d tie down the boots snug over those supports and go for it. Always take care when running downhill, be ready to arrest with the other leg if an ankle starts to turn. It worked for me.