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Field Gourmet – Bag Rats

Bag Rats, the UK answer to box nasties. After our recent mention of Box Nasties, we received this report from a Royal Marine named Alex.


I saw your post about the box nasty lunches you guys get. They don’t look too bad to be honest!

Well, compared to the ‘bag rats’ we get over here in the UK. Typically a brown paper bag with a nasty sandwich, a yellowing apple, a bag of crisps (chips) and a cold cornish pasty (a type of savoury pastry) filled with some kind of ‘meat’.

The problem is, the civilian contractors who make them can be evil buggers. Case in point – the attached image of a so-called ham sandwhich. This sort of thing happens all the time!

Thanks for putting this into perspective for us. At least we get meat, even if we can’t figure out what type it is.

14 Responses to “Field Gourmet – Bag Rats”

  1. Name says:


  2. Stuart Neilson says:

    ‘Bag rats’ must be a Naval term. The army calls them haversack or haverbag rations or nose bags. Crab air usually issues them in a plain white box on their aeroplanes.

    They used to contain a boiled egg and an over ripe orange – impossible to eat without making a sticky mess and a chocolate bar that melted in the summer. Recently we’ve been getting sausage rolls, the latest ones were grey and had a best before date in 2015.

    About 10 years ago we got Virgin cola as Virgin had struck some sort of deal but now we usually get water or a very nasty generic fizzy pop drink.

    “I have no live rounds, empty cases or haverbag pasties in my possession…”

  3. Matt says:

    Depending on where you are in the RAF, the meals can vary – most are pretty awful.

    I have crunched into several pasties, the only cruch coming from the ice (yes, ICE) inside them. Put them in a sock and you have an ad-hoc hand-to-hand weapon.

    The sandwhiches were genuinely bloody awful, and involved some sort of “meat” – and not much of it.

    The crisps are invariably out of date and the provided drink used to be Panda Cola (The old joke being, they take normal cola, a panda drinks it, pisses it out, then they re-bottle it on the other side at great expense to the taxpayer). Nowadays its some sort of cheap capri-sun knock off or plain water. The fruit would be okay.

    We used to take extra bits of grub from the mess hall and swap out the contents of the bag. Some lads used to swap out the bacon from their hot breakfast with the meat in the sandwich, the idea being that you’d appreciate it more in the afternoon.

  4. John Smith says:

    I just finished reading a book called Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. It details the story of a downed pilot in the Pacific who ends up getting captured by the Japanese. Read that book and then we’ll see if you complain about the “Box Nasties” or “Bag Rats” you get.

    • SSD says:

      Agreed, but please, beat yourself senselessly daily, stop bathing, and eat a handful of rice and cockroaches for the next three years. Then report back to us.

      • MED says:

        Ha! That caught me off guard.
        Don’t forget to crap your pants with diarhea….

      • John Smith says:

        My point was that after reading that book, I don’t mind eating shitty food anymore.

  5. coops says:

    The British army call them ” horror ” bags and the worst thing you get in them is a D shaped paste even half starved Afghan kids wouldn’t eat them .

  6. BradKAF308 says:

    I was in France back in ’03 theirs weren’t too bad. It was in a bag, came with a tuna salad, mini bagette, bottle of water, a fruit and pate. LOL the cook on the station burnt the croissant every morning. You’ld think that would be a major crime there.

  7. Matthew says:

    Sigh… I said all this days ago, as a comment on the Box Nasties post. Any credit? Guess I should’ve added a photo.