Streamlight Siege

You guys remember Hydrox cookies? If you couldn’t pop for real Oreos, you bought Hydrox. Much like how if you’re on a budget, you don’t buy Frosted Flakes but rather the generic store brand ‘Frostie Flakes’ or some such (Slogan: “Theyrrrrrrrre….okay”.)

To me, Streamlight has always been the working-class version of SureFire. Yes, Streamlight has, as I read it, been around a tad longer than SureFire but SureFire gets the rep as the ‘high end’ tacticool product. (Interestingly, Hydrox came out before Oreos, as well.)

20160731_142828I’m kind of a gear snob, but I’m a pragmatists even more. A few years ago Streamlight came out with a product that, as far as  I know, has no comparable version from SureFire…the Streamlight Siege. (Although, to be fair, Eveready and a few others make a similar product but I don’t believe it to be as rugged and well thought out as the Streamlight product.)

The Siege is an LED lantern for area lighting. Nothing remarkable about that, but as you look the product over more closely you get the idea that it was designed for a very particular demographic….we happy survivalists.

20160731_143108The Siege runs on three D-cell batteries….one of the most common sizes of batteries around. Just about everyone has a couple D-cell MagLites floating around the house or car..the Siege takes advantage of that common battery. If you really want to streamline things, there are battery adapters that allow you to run one size of battery in devices meant for a larger size. Most often we see this with adapters that let you run AA-batts in devices that were meant for D-cells. But, my logistics revolves around three battery sizes (AA,D, and CR123) so I have plenty of D-batts laying around. (Interestingly, it seems like virtually the only thing I have that runs on D’s these days are flashlights. The days of radios and other devices running on D-batteries is coming to a close. )

20160731_142908The light source for the Siege is four white LED’s, and a fifth red LED. Holding down the one control button toggles between red or white. When the white LEDs are selected you have a choice of three brightness levels, starting with the highest. When the red LED is selected you have one brightness level, but double-clicking the button puts the red LED into SOS blinky mode.  The plastic ‘shade’ of the Siege diffuses the glow of the LEDs and is removable if you want more harsh lighting.

The top and bottom of the Siege has rugged rubber ‘bumpers’ making the light pretty resistant to being dropped, knocked over, or just banged around. Theres a foldaway clip on the underside of the light for hanging it upsidedown when you have the shade removed, and there’s a bail handle on the other end to hang it from whatever is handy when you do have the shade on.20160731_143039

The non-skid tread on the bumper-like bottom of the light keeps it from sliding on slick surfaces and provides an excellent grip for unscrewing the base to change batteries.

Light output on low is enough to illuminate a room so you don’t trip over anything, on high it’s bright enough to get things done but you’ll still feel like you’re in a power outage. Where this light seems to really shine (as it were) is as an emergency ‘area light’. When the power goes out its the light you turn on and stick high up in a corner of the room, hang in the stairwell, or put in your emergency gear storage area. It’s an awesome emergency light for when the power goes out and you need some light to get your gear together or start up your secondary systems (generator, transfer switch, etc.)

I haven’t beaten the crap out of it yet, but it has rolled off my desk a few times, and once bounced out of the truck….seems to still be doing just fine. Your mileage may vary. Personally, I’ve been very pleased with mine and will be getting three or four more as spares/backups/loaners.

They’re available at the usual sources, like Amazon, but once in a while you can find an outdoors-gear vendor having them on sale. Even at regular price, though, they’re a good purchase.

Streamlight Sidewinder cont.

When I was a kid, I loved playing with flashlights. One time I came across a military anglehead flashlight and I was a bit perplexed. All the flashlights I had played with previously were basically tube-shaped with the light coming out of one end of the tube. The GI flashlight was bent into an L-shape and holding the flashlight to get the beam pointed in front of you wasn’t as natural a movement as with the other kind. So…why the awkward design?

Of course, as a little kid it didnt occur to me that when your hands are full (as with a rifle or gear) you needed to hang the flashlight on your webbing and for it to point straight ahead the flashlight had to be in that L-shape.

Nowadays there are several ‘wearable’ flashlight for this sort of thing. A few years back I purchased a Streamlight Sidewinder. It’s been part of my casual everyday carry gear for a while now and it’s worth remarking on how it’s held up and how satisfied I am with it.

The Streamlight Sidewinder is, basically, a 2-AA battery flashlight with four different colors of bulb, and four settings of intentity, with a swivel head. That’s the short version. Longer version is that I’ve found it to be an immensely useful small flashlight. Many times I just drop a little 1-AA light in my pocket and go with that, bur for a more dedicated kit or layout of gear, the Streamlight is my go to.

First off, it’s available with four different color LEDs. You can do white/blue,red/IR or white/blue/red/green. I went with the IR model since you never know when you’ll need to have that sneak factor working in your favor.

The light has one knob with a push button that controls all functions. Push and hold to turn on, and continue to hold to cycle through four levels of brightness. Double-click for flashing strobe mode. Twisting the knob, rather than pushing it, selects which LED is active. There’s a tactile index point so you can select LED’s in the dark.

20160715_184035The Sidewinder has a captive battery compartment lid, which I think is an awesome touch and a sign that someone really sat down and put some thought into this thing. No need to worry about losing the battery compartment lid in the tall grass or in the dark if you’re changing batteries. There are also tactile indicators for battery polarity so you can, literally, change batteries in the dark or with your eyes closed.20160715_183954

The Sidewinder clips to your webbing or whatever using a spring metal clip on the back. In addition to the clip, there is an attachment point for a lanyard or keeper so your light doesn’t go missing if you take a tumble.

The base of the unit is flat, and in conjunction with the adjustable angles head allows you to set the light on a flat surface and point the beam where you want it. One disadvantage is the range of motion for the swivel head…if you have the unit seated on your webbing or otherwise on your shoulder/chest the head doesn’t swivel down enough to light the ground at your feet…it’ll light the area directly in front of you, but not directly beneath and in front of you. This can be remedied by carrying the light upsidedown on your person, but be careful it does’t slide off your gear and get lost.

It’s an excellent light for what it’s designed for – navigation and detail stuff. It’s not the sort of thing you use to light up a field or spotlight something, but for trotting down trails in the dark, navigating pitch black interiors, or examining things where you need both hands free, it excels. As of late, I’ve been spending time in a library facility two stories underground. I notices their emergency lighting is virtually non-existent, so this is the light I take with me in my bag…just in case. I can wear it on the shoulder strap leaving me both hands free to open doors, move obstacles from my path, etc, etc.

They aren’t cheap. In fact, they’re kind of expensive. But mine has held up virtually undamaged over the last several years and I have confidence that if I secure it to my bag and leave it there, it’ll always work no matter how wet things get or how much rough handling it experiences.

There are a few clip-to-your-gear lights out there using LED’s, and I have tried a few of them (and found them wanting) but so far the Sidewinder gets my nod for being the best one out there that I’m aware of.

CostCo hashbrowns

There are some combinations that are just counter productive – black Klansman, blind tattoo artist, deaf piano tuner, claustrophobic escape artist, that sorta thing. Sadly, my particular dead-end combination is that Im a person who really likes to eat but doesnt really like to cook. In short, Im a lazy cook.

For example, I can make a very nice red sauce from scratch. Fresh basil, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, a bit of onion, a long time on the stove and – voila – terrific homemade spaghetti sauce. But nine times out of ten, I’ll just crack open a jar of prepared sauce because I want to eat, not cook.

As a result of this, I’m always on the look out for food that tastes good, keeps well, and requires minimal effort. As I was strolling through CostCo the other day I came across these:

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Yup, another crappy cellphone pic. Brand is “Golden Grill Russet”.

Now, to my way of thinking, nothing is going to make an apocalypse more bearable than a decent breakfast. The cheap and easy way out for most of us is a bucket full of those little packets of Quaker instant oatmeal. And, yeah, its better than nothing in a pinch. But when you’ve got a long day shooting looters, moving debris, scavenging the ruins, and running for your life ahead of you it might be nice to have a real breakfast. Fortunately, with a little pre-planning you can have eggs, bacon, fruit, hasbrowns, coffee, and orange drink for breakfast.

CostCo had these hashbrowns in little pint-size cardboard cartons and, being a sucker for ‘individual serving size’ packages, I threw ’em in the cart. Figured I’d take a chance on them. The instructions say to open the container, fill with really hot water, close container, let sit for twelve minutes, drain, then fry in a pan. Okay, followed the instructions and twelve minutes later there was a huge pile of hash browns ready for the pan. I mean these things increased in size exponentially. I’m not a shy eater…. ‘two servings’ is what I’d consider single serve. But there was a lot of hash browns coming out of that container. Easily enough for two hungry guys and probably enough for at least three average people.

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Theres nothing in this pic for scale, but trust me…thats a LOT of hash browns. And they’re yummy.

Fried ’em up in butter, added some salt and some ketchup, and they were really good. Highly recommend. Im going to have to pick up another one or two packages of them. Eight cartons to package so one or two should handle most short- to mid-length crises. They’d also be an amazingly good choice for camping if you break it down to a smaller package.

The packaging is about the same as a pint of milk – a treated, coated cardboard container. Expiration date is about a year, but as is usual in these sorts of things that date is probably very conservative. Unless the packaging takes some damage these should have years on them. I found them at CostCo but it turns out they’re available on Amazon as well (where they get very high reviews.)

Case of these, a can of bacon, some freeze dried eggs, big tub o’ Tang, and a couple cans of fruit, and you’ve pretty much got the long-term-storage breakfast thing under control. But, they’re also quite good to the point you might just use ’em on a Sunday morning where you don’t feel like making a lot of effort. One of the rare ‘storage foods’ that really is good enough to eat during ‘normal’ times.

2014 in review

Well, 2014 hits its end in another few days. How did 2014 fare in terms of preparedness? Lets see…

It was a gun heavy year. At least four or five rifles and shotguns, and no less than a half dozen handguns. It wasn’t so much that I had any more money than usual, it was that I took advantage of some deals that came along.

Ammo was still a big deal with .22 ammo going from being ‘virtually unobtainable’ to simply ‘still overpriced’. The availability is there, if you’re willing to pony up about ten cents a round. I shot very little .22 this years, and with the acquisition of my Sparrow I now need to get a goodly stash of subsonic .22 as well.

In the centerfires I put back a little bit more .223 which is always good. I didn’t shoot very much centerfire ammo at all this year…probably less than 500 rounds total. Virtually all of that was used in function testing new guns.

Food levels remained pretty much the same. Went through one package of freeze drieds during hunting season and thats about it. Towards February we’ll pick up half a beef and restock the freezer. In short, the level of food around here stayed pretty constant.

Rotated some fuels during the year with fresher stuff. Again, zero-sum game. Fairly even amount of fuel as what the year started with.

A quick bit of math in Excel shows that the average cost, with premium, for silver acquisitions this year was $19.50 per ounce. Since the premiums can run anywhere between $1 and $3, depending on the form of silver, that would mean the spot price of silver purchased during the year was between $16.50-18.50.

Any consumables used during the year – batteries, toilet paper, soap, etc – were all replaced so we’re on an even keel there.

We did add fairly heavily to the supplies of first aid gear. That was the result of a lethal combination of eBay, a PayPal account, and late-night boredom. On the bright side 4,800 bandaids should last us a good while.

No major turmoil in the family, no job losses, dog is in good health, still married, truck still runs, house is still standing, so all in all I’d say that while 2014 wasn’t any remarkable advancement there weren’t any real losses…so I call that a win. Yay for homeostasis. Actually, thats not true…as I (poorly) proofread this, it occurs to me that we used a windfall to knock down almost 16% of our mortgage in one stroke. That shaved 2.5 years off the 15-year mortgage and really felt good.

There were no power outages or infrastructure failures that affected us this year, so it looks like the ‘fragile infrastructure’ that threatens to throw us into ‘grid down chaos’ at any moment might be a bit more resilient than we thought. Or, more likely, the appropriate challenge simply hasnt occurred yet. There was a little ebola buzz around here what with out local hospital being one of the handful of designated ‘ebola-ready’ hospitals. They are now backing away from that status and I suspect its because theyve discovered that all it takes is treating one ebola patient to bring a hospital to its knees in terms of function, readiness, and fiscal health.

I’m hoping 2015 will be a year of advancement. I’d like to make some progress on the mortgage towards paying it down early, I’d like to do some production-capacity upgrades at the shop, and a few other things. I dont do ‘resolutions’…I figure if something is a good enough idea, why wait until New Years to implement it? But I think 2015 will be a year with a focus on that ‘ol filthy lucre …. say what you will, money is the most concentrated form of energy available to the average joe and things go a lot easier with it than without.

Heavily armed nature hike

Went hunting yesterday, although  it might be more accurate to describe it as a heavily-armed nature hike, As the day went on, some weather moved in and it became prime hypothermia country – lowering temperatures (45~ degrees), freezing drizzle, and gusty winds. The classic scenario for hypothermia. I’d been wandering up and down the hills so I was pretty warm but I decided to find a comfortable spot under some cover and have some lunch and just wait a while and see if something walked by. Problem is, once you come to a stop you start to cool down.

When I was getting ready to leave that morning I was debating on what to wear. I didnt want to wear too much and overheat, or have to carry discarded clothing….but I didnt want to underdress and be cold and miserbale. I went with the ECWS undershirt with a Woolrich wool shirt over it. (And although they are expensive, and they require a certain degree of specialized care, everyone should have a couple quality wool shirts) I was wearing an orange hunting vest over that, so that was pretty warm. I was originally gonna wear the synthetic gloves but went with the wool mittens since I figured if they got wet theyd stay warmer. As it turned out, that was the good call.

So I found a comfy spot under some low branches and set up to have lunch.

IMG_1904[2]It’s hard to tell in the image, but it was a steady drizzle. Fortunately, it was time for lunch.

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Lunch was some Mountain House spaghetti which has either gotten spicier since I last had some, or my growing old has made me more sensitive to such things. Still, just about anything eaten out in the sticks tastes good. The Esbit stove worked well and got 12 oz. of water to boiling in a few minutes with time to spare. The Mountain House is in their Pro-Pack packaging. This differs from their normal packaging in that they vacuum seal it to reduce the overall size of the package…this makes it a bit smaller to pack into a bag. Other stuff: titanium spork and Snow Peak Hybrid Summit Cookset. The cup normally has a silicone lid with it and a silicone bottom cover to protect the hand from heat. Since I normally stuff a Nalgene bottle into the cup, that leaves no place for the lid. But, the bottom cover fits over the top to act as a lid, so I use that.

So I had lunch and sat around in growing cold waiting for Bambi to show up. No luck. So, I figured the day was pretty much a bust so lets take advantage of the crappy weather to test some gear.

I used to pack the classic mylar ‘survival blanket’ in my gear. You guys have seen them, right? They’re about the size of a pack of playing cards and gossamer thin. In fact, theyre packaged too well for such a thin material…try opening one up sometime with frozen fingers. Imagine taking a stack of Kleenex out of the box and soaking it in water…now try to peel away one tissue at a time….thats what its like. I went old-school to one of the older style ‘blankets’..specifically the older space blanket. It is a bit more bulky (you can see it folded up on the ground in the second picture, next to the binoculars on the ground) but it is a much more durable material. I figured I’d wrap myself up in this one and see how it fared against the wind and rain.

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It actually worked quite well. You have to understand, the material has virtually no insulative value. Wrap a piece of aluminum foil around your finger and then lay it atop an ice cube. Finger gets cold, right? The value of the material is in its windproofness and its reflective properties. Or, put another way, if you wrapped your finger in a piece of insulative material (a wool glove, for example) and then wrapped your finger in foil, you wouldnt feel the cold from that ice cube. So, in this case, draping the space blanket around myself, and drawing it closed around me created a nice pocket of warm air and the warm package of food held in my lap certainly heated things up nicely. (In fact, this sort of arrangement with a small tealight-style candle [or candle lantern] generates plenty of heat in that enclosed space. The space blanket did a very good job of keeping me warm and keeping the wind and wet at bay. Drawback: It would be nice if there were a velcro closure system..I had to grasp the edges of the blanket and hold it around me to keep the wind from pulling it open. In a real pinch, though, I could just use the medical tape out of my first aid kit. If you had some compact insulative layer like a Woobie or poncho liner with you, you’d be in awesome shape. The tradeoff, of course, is just how much crap youre willing to carry around.

So I sat around for a couple hours in the weather waiting for Bambi to show up and was pretty comfortable all things considered.

So there you go – minor field testing of some gear under the guise of a hunting trip. The next day, by the way, we had a blizzard-like weather system move through. Temperature dropped 30 degrees, powerful gusty winds, and a good deal of snow and sleet. So, good timing.

Review – CR123 Waterproof Delrin® Battery Locker from CountyComm

If you’ve never been there, Countycomm.com has an odd and eclectic mix of goodies that definitely have some merit for those who share our rarefied interests. I’ve never ordered from them before but I finally got around to picking up a few things and thought I’d mention at least one of ‘em here.

From their website:

 

We have a limited overrun of “waterproof Delrin® battery lockers”. The battery locker fits CR123 batteries perfectly. Brand new, never used overrun from government contract. Possible uses include: geo-caching, pet identification, emergency cash stash, water purification tablets, pill storage.

  • Delrin® is a lightweight, extremely stable space age polymer.

  • Overall length: 47.50 mm or 1.87″

  • External diameter: 21.10 mm or .83″

  • Internal opening: 16.80 mm or .66″

  • Internal depth: 33.30 mm or 1.30″

  • Weight 10.20 grams

  • Lid is secured via flange to cap seal internal o-ring)

  • U.S. Made / U.S. Issue Item

 

I dunno about you, but too much of my gear takes the CR123 batteries. Usually these batteries are limited to things like SureFire flashlights and weaponlights, but those are pretty much the high-end pieces of gear that you do not want to have crapping out on you when you need them.

Ideally, I want a battery carrier that is bombproof. Something that keeps things dry, protected, and free from accidental shorting. SureFire makes a Spares Carrier that is quite nice, but a bit bulky for some of my needs. There was, to me, a need for a method to carry just one or two CR123 batts in an absolutely secure manner. So, I ordered up a few of these battery carriers and figured I’d give my impression.

They’re pretty much exactly what I wanted. They are knurled at one end for a solid grip as you grasp the other end and unscrew them. Once open you can see the o-ring in the cap that contributes to the waterproof seal. A CR123 battery fits in there quite nicely with minimal room to rattle. I’ll wind up stuffing a tiny piece of gasket material or something into the bottom of the container to completely eliminate any noise. The cap the container is not captive, so there is a chance you could lose it. There’s a hole in the cap for a lanyard and I’ll wind up putting two of these on a loop of paracord and keeping them with my support gear for my 870, since I got the new SureFire forend for it and want to keep spare batts handy.

Construction is from hard plastic and short of stomping on one they look like they’d hold up quite nicely to the rough-n-tumble of being bounced around in my bag. These things are offered in AAA and AA batt size and I’ll be picking up a few of the AA sized ones as well.

Biggest drawback is that these things are about nine bucks a throw. There just isnt any way a plastic geegaw from a military contract overrun should cost that much. But…if it does what I want then I guess price isn’t worth complaining about.

A very good question to ask would be “Why do you need one of these?”. I don’t know about you, but my bag is loaded with all sortsa gear…lotsa little odds and ends that might come in handy. Things like zip ties, large paper clips (sometimes a small piece of wire is exactly what you need), spare ammo, pocket knives, lanyards, radios, etc, etc, etc. Throw a handful of AA or CR123 batts into that mix and at some point theyre going to contact something and short themselves..in the case of the CR123, possibly in a conflagatory way. Most of the time I segregate my batteries in the Maxpedition battery carrier (MAXPEDITION VOLTA Battery Pouch). As much as I like the Maxpedition carrier, it isn’t 100% waterproof and airtight. For stuff that is ‘mission critical’ (GPS and radio spring to mind) you absolutely do not want even the slightest chance of having you spare batteries being crapped out when you need them. So, most of the time my spares are in the Maxpedition carrier, but in my little survival kit that I take with me hunting and fishing, the extra batts go in these battery lockers from CC.

Too expensive for all-around use, but for those pieces of gear that absolutely, positively need to have the spare batteries kept in perfect condition these things would be hard to beat.

How’s that marker panel look?

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

Okay, time to play “Find the multicam hunting pack”. Ready? Go!

Ok, now lets try it with the marker panel in place.

Cool, huh? That’s the marker panel that was mentioned a few posts back. Here’s a comparison picture. Obviously, any object that is a bright day-glo orange is going to jump out at you. What I’m liking about this is that theres a velcro patch on either sidfe for glint tape for night/IR visibility, theres paracord loops at the corners for easy attachment, and the whole thing weighs less than an ounce and folds up to about the same space as a matchbook. When hunting season gets here I’ll definitely have this on my pack to keep my visibility high. And, as I said, it’s also handy for just marking where you left the dang camo gear that has a tendency to disappear into the background when you put it down and get about fifty yards away from it. I’m curious to see how long the color lasts before it fades away into a pale tangerine color. Given its use during the brief hunting season and the infrequent wilderness emergency, it shouldnt be spending enough time out in the sun for it to fade, but you never know. Like what I see so far, though. Definitely gonna stuff this into my hunting bag this fall.

Source: Battle Systems

 

Review – Streamlight Sidewinder 14032

Originally published at Notes From The Bunker. You can comment here or there.

I was fairly taken with the compact version of the Sidewinder but after playing with it a bit, I found it good but lacking. My biggest complaint was that when clipped to a piece of gear it would be unstable and sway around, unbalanced by it’s size and weight. I liked the features, I just wasn’t a fan of the physical envelope that contained these features. So…I bit the bullet and ordered the larger, but still fairly compact, full sized version. Big difference in my satisfaction.

The larger version (Streamlight 14032 Sidewinder) arrived just before I left for Glacier last week.

My biggest complaint about the Compact was that when you clipped it to a bit of webbing or what have you, it would sway about wildly. Let me try to describe it. Imagine you take a paperback novel and affix it to your shoulder strap so that the spine of the book is against you. The rest of the book juts out there and sways unsteadily as you move. Same thing.

This larger version of the Sidewinder, because of its large battery compartment, is  far more stable. A few other features separate it from the Compact:

  • It runs on AA batts, as opposed to the CR123 used in the Compact, so my logistics are streamlined a bit.
  • Has a lanyard attachment point.
  • The metal clip that you use to clip the light to your gear is removable. This is important because it you think the clip isn’t providing enough force to keep it from sliding off whatever you clip it to, you can remove the clip, bend it as necessary, and then put it back the way was. Couldn’t really do that with the compact.
  • Battery compartment lid is captive. No losing it in the dark or when your sitting somewhere changing batteries when the cover falls between your legs and into the tall grass. Nice touch.

I’m going to go ahead and give the non-Compact version of the Sidewinder a better rating than the compact version. Price isn’t too terribly different, and although it is a bit bigger I believe you will get better use out of it than the Compact.

Note that the SIdewinder series are available in different color-combinations…you can get, for example, one that has white, green, red and blue emitters. I went with white, red, blue and IR. I don’t have anything that let’s me take advantage of the IR (at the moment) but that doesn’t mean that someday I won’t.

As I said, only real drawback is price. There’s plenty of LED lights out there for less, but the features on this thing (clip, lanyard, flash mode, adjustable brightness, swivel head, subdued color, hands-free operation, waterproof, etc, etc.) pretty much fill all the requirments I wanted in a light that could be affixed to a vest or webbing strap (also darn near perfect for clipping to a vehicle visor for use within the vehicle cab). So, yes it’s expensive but to me it seems worth the money.

Bumble Bee ‘Prime Fillet’ packaged chicken breast

Im a carnivore and although a bowl of instant potatos, seasoned rice, or buttered spaghetti with cheese is a very warming, comforting thing I still need meat to make a meal feel like a meal. Unfortunately, meat doesnt have the stable-at-room-temperature life of, say, dried beans. Sure,you can buy canned meats and there are folks who swear Spam is actually tasty and yummy. I find all canned meats, except tuna, just a bit creepy. When you open the cans Im always reminded of cat food.

So…whats a carnivore to do for that quick fix of striated muscle tissue that makes any meal more pleasin’? Well, MRE’s usually have a meat component but lets be real – MRE’s are adequate for their task, they arent exactly so good youd eat ’em if you didnt have to. (Although some are pretty good.)

However, I found this new product in Super Wallyworld a couple months back and after staring at it in the cabinet for several weeks I finally decided to try it.

Linky

Instructions say to use a frying pan or a microwave. However, I dont normally carry a frying pan or microwave in my gear bag. I do, however, carry a canteen and canteen cup which fits nicely on a backpack stove. So….deposit pouch into canteen cup of boiling water and let sit for 5 minutes.

Pouch is of the heavy, metalized kind we’ve come to expect from MRE entrees. Heavy duty stuff. To be safe though, you probably donbt want to reuse the water youre heating it in since some inks or other nasties may migrate off the exterior of the pouch into the water. Six minutes was plenty of time to heat up. Removed chicken and put it on a plate. Looks good and smells pretty good. Texture is a bit soft…a little firmer than a chunk of chicken you;d get out of some soup. The cut of meat was trimmed pretty well and looked quite appetizing. Taste was better than anything Ive had out of an MRE pouch. The flavorings (in this case ‘garlic and herb’) were a bit strong but I t hink that would be greatly mitigated by serving it with the usual bland accompaniments like rice, potatoes, pasta, etc. Would make an excellent candidate for sandwichs or, since it shreds fairly easily, tacos/burritos.

Shelf life is approx. two years but I would be quite confident its as long as the average MRE entree….Can probably, although I havent tried it, heat it on any hot surface just like an MRE (exhaust manifold, engine block, hot conduit, pavement at noon, etc, etc.)

Not cheap, but really really convenient. A package of Idahoan just-add-water potatoes, this stuff, maybe a can of corn or other vegetable and you can have a decent meal using just water and a backpacking stove. Im going to have to see if I can find a price on these things in bulk to beat WallyWorlds pricing. Wouldnt mind having a dozen or so on hand. They’d also be convenient for quick meals at home.

More importantly, I dont have to become a vegetarian.