Treesuits FSR: A chairborne ranger´s review!

Reviews of Civilian MREs (Sure-Pak, aPack, etc.) as well as other civilian ready-to-eat food
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hOMEr_jAy
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Treesuits FSR: A chairborne ranger´s review!

Post by hOMEr_jAy » Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:37 pm

Following Norges good review of Treesuits FSR I decided to create one, too. Unlike Norge I won´t eat the FSR during one day under field conditions, but I rather go for Britmans way of eating the constituents during the week. I spend my week in the baracks and after duty I´m often too lazy to go to the mess hall especially during the cold winter ( :) ) so the FSR is a perfect way to replace my dinner.
I won´t do a review of the aleady well-known things that can be found in usual MREs, such as PB, crackers etc. (everyone knows already that PB and crackers are just plain awesome! ^^), but rather concentrate on the FSR constituents. Unfortunately I won´t be able to test the FSR under field conditions, but I´ve eaten some rations in the field, so maybe I can say a thing or two about that.

General overview
This is an image of what Treesuit has sent me:
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His self-made FSR and some hot sauces and other MRE stuff I haven´t seen before. The size of the FSR can be compared to a German EPA box and weight is around 1,5 kilos. So it would easily fit into a standard rucksack (mine has a volume of 65 litres and holds a standard load pretty good) and because it´s not packed in a box it´s flexible, too. Another thing is that you could most likely put all of the constituents into a smock or your webbing, so you wouldn´t even need to put that thing into your rucksack.

The FSR. It came in a plastic bag which again hold a reclosable Ziploc-bag which holds the constituents.
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The FSR´s constituents:
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Accessory packet Crackers
Spoon Peanut Butter
Cinnamon Bun Nut-Raisin Mix
Pocket Sandwich x 2 (BBQ Beef and chicken) First Strike Power Bar x 2
Tuna, Retort Pouch Dessert Bar (FSR version)
Fat Free Mayonnaise Caffeine Gum
Beef/Cheese Snack Sticks x 2 Applesauce, Fortified
Tortillas Cocoa, Hot
Electrolyte Drink Mix Recloseable Bag
MRE Kool Aid Drink mix


Taste test
During the weekend I already tried the Nut-Raisin mix and the coffeine gum. To my surprise the Nut-Raisin mix was really good. Lots of nuts but unfortunately I hate raisins, so I did not eat those. Nevertheless the nuts were more than enough to fill me for the evening. The caffeine gum was nice, too. It comes in a cinamon flavour and wow! Those things are strong! I tried one and it had me "alerted" for 3 hours or so. Unlike energy drinks like Red Bull it was just the right ammount of caffeine so I was not "hyped" and had no caffeine overdose. "Alert" is just the right word and, although I was just gaming my senses were sharp. I wish I had these gums during basic training!

Now to todays dinner:
I ate today the BBQ Beef pocket sandwich, one of the cheese and beef snacks and the cran/raspberry First Strike bar:
Image

The pocket sandwich was alright. It reminded me of a similliar beef snack you can buy in Germany. The "bread" was alright, relatively soft and it did not crumble. The filling was....alright, too, I guess. I expected a bit more beef or sauce, so I was kinda disappointed. On the other hand one sandwich was already quite filling with ~300 to 400 calories.
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Next was the "Jack Links All American Beef and Cheese" snack:
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It consisted of a strip of beef and cheese which are probably supposed to be eaten together, side by side. Since it´s a civilian product it did not say anything about calories, but I guess it´s a small snack so don´t expect to be full after one. Anyway, the taste is good, the beef is hearty and fine while the cheddar cheese tastes good, too. All in all a nice little snack that fits qell into the "eat on the move"-concept.


As desert I had the cran-raspberry FS bar.
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Once I opened the package my first thought was "WHAT is that?". It looked entirely different than what I expected (I expected some sort of trekking bar) and more like vomit than an energy bar. It looked rather disfigured and had a waxy texture. But well, I took my first bite and.....was positively surprised!
The taste was really fruity and the bar had a nice little crunch because of the apple nuggets and crisp corn. Also that thing is packed with vitamins and I can imagine that it´s pretty good as breakfast.
That´s my first part of the review and I must say so far it was quite good. The pocket sandwich was unfortunately a bit dull, but the rest was just fine (especially the FS bar). With just these things I consumed around 500 to 600 calories which is really good for one meal. Another plus is the nearly non-existant preparation time that is typical for FSR rations. You´re hungry and don´t have much time to stay at one spot? Just tear some stuff open and eat while moving. Fortunately I almost always had enough time to prepare my meals during training but I can clearly think of situations where you can´t wait for your cooker to eat a meal, so that concept is atleast for a short period really good. Of course the FSR is no long-tern substitute for standard MREs, especially when it´s cold outside, but it´s only designed for the first 72 hours of a campaign. And when it comes to easy preparation and an enourmous save of weight the FSR is clearly a good thing.
Alright, I hope you enjoyed the first part of my review and as the week continues I´ll add more.

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Treesuit
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Re: Treesuits FSR: A chairborne ranger´s review!

Post by Treesuit » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:18 pm

Homer Jay,

Glad you like most of the items so far. My suggestions for you would be for the pocket sandwhiches: try some tabasco or next time I will send some cheese spread along. I found a little cheese spread globbed on the sandwhich can make it more appealing. The First strike bars....well not much I can do about that. They are what they are... :lol:

The gum is a eye opener. And I just found out that STAY Alert makes two more flavours for the caffiene gum. I ordered some and will be putting them into future FSR's. :) So if you want to try a pack please let me know.

That and I am curious to see the rest of your reviews.

hOMEr_jAy
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Location: Southern Germany

Re: Treesuits FSR: A chairborne ranger´s review!

Post by hOMEr_jAy » Sat Feb 12, 2011 5:50 am

Sorry for my longer absence, but the last weeks have been busy. :|
Anyway, your idea of adding the cheese spread and Tabasco to the FSRs sounds pretty good. I really have to try that next time! Jalapeno cheese spread should work, too. The FSR bar I tried was really good, but it was the first look that gave me an odd feeling. Once I´ve eaten the whole thing I had a positive oppinion about it.
I´ve already checked amazon.com (they advertise with it on the gum package!) and found the other two types of it. I really like the cinamon ones, but if you might want to add another taste I´m fine with it.
I´ve just seen that you could fit two FSRs into a medium box, so once I get my paycheck in a few days I´d probably order two more for the full price.
Alright, here´s the 2nd part of my review:
The other day I had for dinner the tuna mixed with mayonese in tortilla wraps and as dessert I had the chocolate banana nut bar.
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If I remember correctly the whole "meal" had around 500 to 600 calories, just enough for dinner.

First I opened up the tuna pouch, added the mayonese and mixed it with a spoon. After mixing it I put the whole mix onto the tortillas:
Image

All in all the taste was ok. The tuna smelled and tasted like....tuna. So no big surprise here. Mixed together with the mayonese it tasted quite good and the tortillas were alright, too. Interestingly this meal was the only one that needed some preparation time. Still I had it done in only a few minutes. So again, another meal that fits into the "eat on the move"-concept.
I also found this video of a Marine preparing the tuna tortillas and followed his instructions:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUGPfZ2WhU4

After eating the "main entree" it was time for dessert:
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The chocolate banana nut bar was really good, again. It was relatively soft and had small nut pieces in it, which made it quite crunchy. It was pretty sweet, and tasted like sweet chocolate with a small hint of banana and nuts. Lots of calories and sugar, too and once again no preparation time, except for tearing the package open. If your sugar level is low and you need a quick energy boost this little candy comes in quite handy. It always amazes me to have such good candies in a military ration.
Also I already had the MRE Kool Aid drink which had a really, really good lemon flavour and the Electrolyte Drink mix, which had orange taste. I really liked the former, but the latter looked a bit like orange nuclear water and was pretty, pretty sweet. Nonetheless a good change if you have to drink water all the day. Usually I´m not a big fan of such drink mixes because they mostly taste quite stale but the ones that were in the FSR were good.

I will finish this review later, when I´ve uploaded the rest of the pictures. I hope you guys liked it so far.

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Treesuit
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Re: Treesuits FSR: A chairborne ranger´s review!

Post by Treesuit » Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:04 pm

Homer Jay,

I appreciate the time you take to make the reviews, it helps me out as well as everyone else. For the tuna and mayonnaise, I am not a big fan of tuna so I try and get some chicken when I can. Same goes for the mayo, not a big fan so instead I will get some salsa or picante sauce. I can always put some chicken or some different flavoured tuna in with some future orders.

The dessert bar is one of my favorites. I have had the PB and mocha versions and think the mocha is by far the best one. PB is good if you have it with some chocolate. Mind you for some reson the mocha bar is so rare and hard to get, why, I don't know.

The drink mixes: well, I have to change those. The MRE versions are compact and the civilian stick is fairly inexpensive to get and goes well with people who need to watch there blood sugar/glucose intake so this why I put that in there.

hOMEr_jAy
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Re: Treesuits FSR: A chairborne ranger´s review!

Post by hOMEr_jAy » Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:17 am

Chicken sounds quite good. Maybe you could add BBQ sauce, instead of mayo? I really like the MRE BBQ sauce and I guess it would taste quite good with chicken. Thanks to your package, btw, I also started to love the picante and salsa verde sauce, granola bars and peanut butter! :D
When I´ll order two more FSRs, you could add different dessert bars, I´d really love to try as many different things as possible. If you can´t get the mocha version, it´s not that bad. Just see what you can find and add it.
I actually liked the MRE drink mix, but since original FSR drinks are hard to get I guess these should work.

Alright, here´s the last part of my review now:
The next day I ate the rest of what I´ve brought to the barracks:
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Apple sauce, cinnamon bun and a apple-cinnamon FSR bar.

First I ate the apple sauce (production date was either 08 or 09, so it was very "frehs", unlike some of my other MRE stuff ^^):
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Nothing to complain about. It´s basically apple sauce so I knew what to expect. It tasted good and even though there were no nutrition facts I´m quite sure that it´s a vitamin bomb. Good appetizer.

Next was the cinnamon bun:
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The bun had the same consistency and taste as the shelf-stable sandwiches but it had those dark cinnamon spots you can see in the picture. The filling looked red-brown and the taste was a mix of sweetness and cinnamon. All in all quite good, eventhough the taste was quite new for me. Together with the crackers and pb this would make quite a good (and sweet!) breakfast.

As dessert I had the apple-cinnamon FSR bar:
Image
Again it had a waxy texture and looked odd at the first glance. It had small crunchy bits and tasted slightly like apple with a small hint of cinnamon. I didn´t like this one as much as the cran-rapsberry FSR bar. It was still edible, but the latter had a more fruity taste.

Final conclusion:

After eating the greater part of Treesuits FSR I now want to analyse this ration from a practical point of view. The FSR was designed for the first 72 hours of "highly intense and mobile combat" where a soldier doesn´t have much time to prepare his food.
Also its size and weight have been scaled down which is a pretty good thing. Usually a soldier would have to carry 3 MREs for one day, now with the FSR he has to carry a smaller and lighter package and gets nearly the same amount of calories.
The size and weight of a 24-hours FSR is comparable to other nations 24-hour rations, like German EPAs or French RCIRs. The fact that it comes in two plastic bags is in my eyes an advantage over the former rations, because it´s easier to pack them into your rucksack. In basic training I was issued a small 25-litre rucksack and it was just not possible to get a complete EPA into it. Even now that I have the bigger 65-litre rucksack it´s still difficult because the card board isn´t very sturdy. So we had to go through the contents and pack them into our webbing pouches, smock pockets and most of the stuff into our sleeping bag.
The FSR on the other hand is more flexible since it´s easier to stuff a plastic bag into a rucksack than a cardboard box.

Also, the "eating on the move"-concept works really well with the FSR. Almost all of the constituents can be prepared and eaten in under 5 minutes. Most of the food just needs to be unpacked and voil, you have a snack you can eat while being on the move. At first it was a bit confusing which items "havee" to be eaten together, but most of the things make sense and I think there´s no real rule that tells you what to combine. If you want you can dip you crackers into apple sauce or eat a cinnamon bun during the night. It´s really flexible and you can literally munch through the food whenever you feel hungry.

The only major negative thing I´ve found yet is the lack of hot beverages and meals. Treesuit has sent be a FRH which I didn´t use, though, but if I recall correctly the original FSRs come without a heater. So if the weather is really miserable, cold, windy and wet a warm meal or even a warm cup of tea (or coffee, if you´re into it) would be a real morale boost, but the FSR won´t come with warm meals or beverages. So unless you´ve got another heat source such as a fire you´re stuck with eating cold food. 3 days might not sound like much, but in the field this can be a long time, especially if the weather sucks (during MP basic training we had cold and wet weather, too for the whole day and have been issued with EPAs and I was damn happy to eat a warm meal).

When it comes to Treesuits constituents they were as close to the original as possible. If you´re not affraid of the shipping costs go and buy some, even if it´s only for trying them. It´s a unique experience and a special 24-hour pack and with 10 Dollars per pack they´re even the cheapest 24-hour ration you can get. Now someone just needs to lower shipping costs to Germany! :D

Treesuit, thanks for the good offer, your time and work you´ve put into designing these civilian FSRs and your fast and uncomplicated shipping! I´ll get my paycheck in a few days and might contact you then to order two more.

I hope you guys liked my review, even though I don´t have such spectacular photos as Norge ;)

Apollo-11
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Re: Treesuits FSR: A chairborne ranger´s review!

Post by Apollo-11 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:17 pm

Thanks for the great review! Liked the pics.
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