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VA-food Stove
Eating from a bag Food in a stove

Arctic Rangers eat a variety of food. The requirements placed on the food are that it be light and have a high energy content. Due to the cold climite you burn a lot of extra calories just to maintain body temperature. In order to make the food light and full of energy, it is generally low in water (dehydrated) and high in fat. This way you don't have to carry around a lot of extra weight, since water is very abundant north of the Arctic Circle - in the winter you simply melt snow, and in the summer there are small streams and ponds everywhere. The food comes in many types:

main meal:

This accounts for most of the food you eat warm, and you generally eat 3 of these each day in the field. It is freeze dried and vacuum packed, and is called VA-food (VA=vacuum) for short. It consists of a mixture of powder and small pieces of food. There are two types of VA-food, and both come in small bags weighing around 120-140 grams. The ordinary type you have to boil in water for 5-8 minutes (see picture at top right). The second, newer type comes in small aluminum bags (see picture at top left) that you fill with boiling water and let it soak for 3 minutes. This way you can eat your food quicker, and you don't have any pots to clean afterwards (it's hard to clean your pots in -25 C since the water freezes quickly). Regardless of what type of VA-food you are eating, you have to make sure that it is thoroughly boild/soaked in water before you eat it, since half-cooked dehydrated food is very bad for your stomach. The food comes in a variety of flavors (spicy chicken, yum!) and contains a balanced mixture of carbohydrates, protein and fat.

Dehydrated soup:

Like the above mentioned main meals, except it only consists of powder. It comes in small bags that weigh 65 grams. You usually fill your thermos with hot water and add a soup (and shake) which you then eat during a break. Consists mainly of carbohydrates and comes in a variety of flavors, such as blueberry, cherry or orange. It tastes pretty good for army food.


These come in 100g packages, and are an important part of your diet. You usually keep a package in one of your uniform pockets, so you can eat them during a quick break. The crackers are very hard, and are therefore sometimes called "armor crackers". Consists mainly of carbohydrates. Don't eat too many of these or you will be shitting bricks.

Energy bars:

These are small bars containing a high-energy mixture of various ingredients. Contains mostly carbohydrates, and doesn't taste very good.

Chocolate bars:

These come in small 60 gram bars, and contain mainly fat. The chocolate is very hard, especially in the winter, but at least it tastes good.

Dextrose powder:

This is basically finely powdered sugar (and some salt) that comes in a 60 gram bag, that you mix with water. Used during long marches when you need extra energy.

Chocolate powder:

This is a finely powdered mixture of cocoa and sugar, and comes in a 45 gram bag. You mix it with hot water and drink it. Tastes good.

Hard candy:

This is the standard hard fruit candy of the brand "Nickel". It tastes good, but has no real energy or nutrients in it.

Chewing gum:

This isn't realy food since you don't swallow it. You chew gum in the field to keep your jaw muscles fit, since all of the food you eat (with the exception of the crackers) is powdered food that you never chew. It also helps with your dental hygiene.

Canned food:

This comes in the standard gold colored cans, and is therefore called "goldcan" for short. It's not used very often, since it isn't dehydrated. This means that it contains a lot of water and therefore weighs a lot, and in the winter it turns into ice. It comes in a variety of flavors and is very salty, but usually tastes good.

Emergency ration:

This is basically a hard lump of concentrated food in the shape of very hard and dry crackers. It weighs 200 g and comes in a small watertight bag. Tastes pretty good, but you have to drink a lot of water with it. Only to be eaten if you have no other food and are seperated from your unit for more than 24 hours.


This isn't food, but I have included it here anyway since it is food related. Puritabs are small tablets that you add to dirty water to purify it. You don't have to use these very often, since all the water you drink in the winter comes from snow, and most of the water you drink in the summer comes from streams that are very clean. Puritabs are only used to clean water from such water supplies as dirty ponds or swamps.

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