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Military Mess Kits - The Break Down

"The Mess Kit" - A former staple of the US Military and often used by campers and survivalists. Although no longer an issued part of the Military Issued Field Gear since 2002 because of the MRE, the mess kit remains an iconic & functional tool in your mess gear.


The US Military Mess Kit retained the same design from WW2 to Vietnam - a deeper "pan" bottom & a shallower lid that doubles as a plate. The lid fits on top of the bottom where the pan handle can be folded over to hold both pieces together. This picture shows the design of the M-1932 and later on M-1942 mess kit. Although the design stayed the same, there are a few small differences.

US Military Mess Kit

The M-1932

  • The style that was in used during World War 2

  • Narrow Steel Handle attached by a cast hinge.

  • Material: Galvanized Steel

The M-1942

  • In use after WW2, during the Korean and Vietnam Wars

  • Thicker and Wider handle made of same material as body and attached by a stamped part, not a cast hinge

  • Material: Stainless Steel

Along with these differences, you can often tell the mess kits apart by the stamps on their handle. As long as the stamp is not corroded or rubbed off, military mess kits are stamped with the manufactured date and their manufacturer, as seen below.

Beware of fake military mess kits, which are often made of lower quality materials, like aluminum, which bend, break, and dent easily.

All our mess kits are authentic military and are of the highest quality and cleaned and inspected. Take a look at our mess kits, which you can shop by war and date.


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