Either for emergency situations or just to make things easier when camping during those multi day hikes, self heating food is the ultimate convenience in fast food. This technology has been with us for many years and is used extensively by many of the worlds military to deliver hot rations to their soldiers in the field.
The heat is generated by mixing two solutions that react and produce the heat needed to warm up the food, even though the chemicals used have changed over the years to make the heat production more efficient with less release of odor the basic mechanics of the process has stayed the same.
It was our love of coffee which first introduced us to this self heating tech when off wild camping for a few days. We love our real fires and don’t carry a stove so any coffee would always take at least 30 minutes by the time we got a good enough fire going to heat the water.
Some of the brands we tried where not the best tasting coffee we have ever had but being able to get a hot drink in a couple of minutes made up for it, so many nights huddled under a tarp while the sky fell in made us appreciate it even more.
Food in a Hurry
Always preferring to eat off the land when camping and never being a big fan of ready meals it took us a long time to regularly make the self heating rations part of our normal camping equipment but after spending 3 days walking mountains in Wales during some unexpected heavy snow it seemed like a good idea.
Not wanting to get the point where all we had to eat were untested rations we bought a few different types and tried some at home. Some tasted like they had way too much salt but were passable with one or two almost like a thick tasty stew.
We still rather get a nice big fire going when we can and the self heating meals are only the ultimate backup when we cant get any cooking done but its comforting to know we have them. We still go through more than enough of the instant coffee cups, its good they don’t weigh much or hiking would be a struggle.
The great thing about these meals is how long they last if unopened with some staying edible for 5 years, this makes them ideal for storing at the bottom of a rucksack or in the car just in case the worst happens and if you shop around you can find a good variety of food and drink to eat in this way.
Self Heating Can photo courtesy Wikipedia