Sometimes you’ll arrive at your campsite too tired to cook and too far from a place where you can get a meal. That’s where MREs come in. MRE is a military acronym for “meal, ready to eat,” a phrase many armed-forces vets dismiss as “three lies in one.” Tracing its ancestry back to the field rations of World War II, the modern MRE has been dressed up in civvies and marketed to hunters and other outdoors enthusiasts as a handy and portable meal that can serve as either primary or backup nutrition. Commercially available MREs come packed in plastic pouches, and depending on what brand you buy, typically contain an entrée, a side dish, crackers, instant coffee or tea, applesauce and a cookie for dessert, salt, pepper, sugar, creamer, a book of matches, gum, a plastic spoon and a moist towelette. The entrée pouches can be placed in boiling water to heat them, or eaten cold. MREs aren’t great eating by anyone’s standard, but they beat going to bed hungry and make decent roadside fare in the middle of a long ride through empty country. When purchased in bulk, they are as cheap as a convenience-store microwave burrito, and they have a shelf life measured in years.