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personal cooking\Brew kits-Whats everyone using?

MG34 said:
I find brew kits to be too time consuming,and take up too much space. I carry a couple of MRE heaters,a 500ml Nalgene bottle and biola instant hot coffe when needed. Place coffee fixings and water in the Nalgene,put bottle in Mre heater,add water to heater (it doesn't even have to be potable)  in 5 mins hot coffee,plus the same heater will also heat your rations.
I've sold off  or traded away my MSR stoves as unpractical..besides who wants to carry a bottle of naptha/gas with them when it's not needed. The Mre heaters are not affected by wind,altitude,or temp as an added bonus.

Iv'e been using that technique as well. You can also heat the water first, and add coffee while the meal pack is cooking afterward, as some of that water can be used to cook the MRE rice packets as well (assuming you dont add them directly to the meal), then when the meal is cooked, dump the water out and use the heater to warm your hands etc... The MRE heaters really are versitle, assuming you get the good ones.
PhilB said:
I completely agree with MG. I used to carry an MSR stove on most res weekend ex's however it is completly impractical. Resup of fuel is an issue, adverse weather conditions are an issue, and most importantly the weight and space needed to pack in comparison to how much it was actually used has led me to sell it off and just carry either heat tabs or mre heaters. While nice for civi camping not overly practical in a military context in my opinion


If I may offer some advice from my experiences.  Firstly, you should always have some form of brew kit with you, be it heat tabs and canteen cup or MRE heaters.  Keep it in your fighting gear along with some candy bars and hard candy.  On exercise in Canada, there is always a degree of artificiality in the design and conduct of the exercise....but on operations, things happen, like resupply doesn't take place or the ammo arrived but not the rations.  Having been on that side twice, once in Somalia and once in Afghanistan on the side of a mountain, the little ziplock with some stuff paid off.  The US folks that were with me and consequently MRE heater based, found then self a bit short when rations did not arrive.  I "brewed up" some soup and passed it around to the troops.  It was worth every day that I humped the heat tabs, nesbit stove and soup through out my career.  We did get the rations in time from breakfast but my supplies did the business.  So I always consider having a very basic, heatable drink.  My time on exchange with 2 Para in the UK before Somalia also taught me that once the weather gets cold, "brewing up" is extremely important to keep you going.  So however you do it, it is a must.  Alot of people forget that on operations, the enemy often gets a vote which sometimes interfers with our brillant plan.

Now, lets talk about having a stove.  I have through out my career had a stove in my ruck.  It might get left in the barrack box at times overseas but it has paid dividends making tea/coffee or soup in austere locations of the world.  2 am in the morning, trying to write orders, it is real nice to have some hot soup or coffee/tea/mocha....etc.  Heck for the first two months during Apollo, I lived on tea at night.  I like the MSR international mulifuel....you can use just about whatever the military has on hand.  It can make the stove dirty as hell but it gives you some chores to do along with weapon and gear maintenance.  Don't discount a stove because of training in Canada.  Trust me on this....

So to sum up....brew kit, a must on you.....good idea to have access to a stove for the long haul. 


Jeff, I must wholeheartedly agree.

Unfortunately, I get a bit religious and misty eyed when the subject of brew kits comes up (OK, so I've lived a small life). Having served for several years in the Paras in the UK, many ops in NI that I was involved in were made more successful by the hexi stoves & brew kits we were carrying in our belt order (here's a hint: any operation that relies on insertion/ extraction by the air force can involve starvation for the infantry). When working with other units, it was clear to me that our guys were more sustainable than many, largely because they could brew up and look after themselves just about anywhere, a skill which we drilled into our recruits from Day 1. Many colleagues of mine who fought in the Falklands War (didn't make it down there myself) also recalled the lifesaving qualities of a hot mug of tea/coffee/hot choccy/porridge during the long marches, and even while engaged in the multi-hour fight throughs at Goose Green and Mt Longdon. For example, the current Regimental Colonel of the Parachute Regiment was shot through the elbow while handing a mug of tea to his signaller at Goose Green during the 11 hour fight through (his greatest personal achievement? Successfully handing over the slightly spilt brew before collapsing in pain).

Anyways. I was impressed by the ingenuity shown with the ration heater. A great practical example of why Canada produces some of the finest infantry in the world! Regardless, I'll hang onto my hexi burner, brew kit, snacks and metal mug (fighting order) and MSR stove & mess tins with 2 meals (marching order).

Out of curiosity, who was CO 2 PARA when you were there?

Must head off for a brew now....