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Mountain House Food Review : Camping and Survival Meals Ready To Go

When you ask avid campers what their favorite aspect of camping is, you will likely get a wide variety of answers. Some may cite the views or getting closer to nature, or the solitude of the wilderness. 

However, there is one factor in camping that everyone can agree on loving: the food. Food always seems to taste just a little bit better in the great outdoors. However, carrying and preparing food while camping can become a difficult process.

Many newcomers make the mistake of over-complicating their cooking situations. Carrying a cooler full of assorted food and a full complement of cookware may seem like a good idea at home, but this can quickly become burdensome out on the trail. Thus, freeze-dried meals have become increasingly popular amongst casual campers and trail hikers alike. Among these camping meals, no brand is more popular than Mountain House. 

Today, let’s take a look at what Mountain House has to offer and explore some of our favorite options with a few Mountain House food reviews.

But first lets take a quick look at who Mountain House are and where they started.

What is a Freeze-Dried Meal

The logic of freeze-dried food requires understanding what causes food to go bad. Food spoilage is typically caused by a combination of moisture and oxygen. Thus, if you remove the moisture and air from food, you dramatically increase its shelf stability. 

Mountain House foods are made using a rapid chilling process that removes the moisture from the food. Further, Mountain House meals are sealed in an air-tight pouch. This process not only makes the food last for years, but it also makes it extremely compact and lightweight to transport.

This process has been used by NASA for years to provide shelf-stable and convenient food to astronauts. The brilliance of the process is that by removing the moisture as rapidly as possible, the quality of the food is preserved. More importantly, the nutrition is retained as well.

How Long Does Mountain House Food Last?

The lifespan of freeze-dried food is frankly staggering. How long do mountain house meals last? Mountain House guarantees the quality of their food for thirty years. That’s right. The mountain house food shelf life is three decades. 

This incredible stability is one of the main reasons why freeze-dried food is such a popular choice not only for camping but for preparation as well. Even if you do not rely on these options as your primary food source, knowing that you have a supply of delicious and almost indefinitely storable food can become a point of great security.

Mountain House Directions

Another significant advantage to Mountain House food is the ease of preparation. While cooking at a campsite can be fun, it can also become a hassle quickly. Thus, it is nice to have the option of a quick and easily prepared meal at your disposal. While the directions can vary slightly depending on the meal in question, the vast majority of Mountain House meals can be made in under ten minutes. Better yet, you don’t need a complicated cooking setup to complete them.

To turn a Mountain House kit from a shelf-stable pouch into a warm meal requires only boiling water. Even if you only have a minuscule backpacking stove, this is a trivial task. Then, you can either mix the hot water and food in a bowl or pot, or you can pour the water directly into the pouch.

Quite simply, there is not a way to eat without less equipment.

How Heavy is a Mountain House Meal?

With any camping or backpacking equipment, few considerations are more crucial than weight. Weight savings is another key benefit of freeze-dried food. Of course, the specific numbers will vary slightly from meal-to-meal. 

However, most packets of Mountain House food include two servings and weigh under five ounces. In other words, a meal weighs only about two ounces. By eliminating unnecessary packaging and moisture, freeze-dried food amounts to the most space-efficient ways to get the nutrition you need.

But the weight of the food itself isn’t the only consideration. As mentioned above, freeze-dried food requires precious little equipment to properly prepare. Thus, not only are you eliminating the weight of the food itself but also of the equipment, you need to prepare it. No longer will you need to carry knives, cutting boards, pots, or pans. 

Because of this efficiency, a week’s worth of food for a solo-backpacker can take up as little as two pounds in your pack.

It Doesn’t Have to Be a One-Stop Solution

When I mention freeze-dried meal solutions to other campers, I often get a response akin to “but I love to cook while camping!” And frankly, so do I. Doing some basic cooking can be a fun and rewarding experience while camping. 

However, I always stress that prepared meals do not have to be your only solution. Certainly, I enjoy cooking. But after a long hike when the sun is starting to set, I do not always feel inclined to go through the process of preparing a meal from scratch.

In these moments, I am always glad that I keep a pouch or two of Mountain House food stashed in my pack. It takes up so little space that you can forget it is there until you remember that you need it. It is no different than cooking at home. There is a time for cooking an elaborate meal, and there is a time for making a quick sandwich. 

Luckily, with Mountain House, I have consistently found that convenience and taste can co-exist.

Mountain House Meal Reviews

I have been an avid camper for most of my life, and have gotten increasingly interested in lightweight backpacking over the past decade. Thus, I have been exposed to every imaginable facet of camping gear, including Mountain House foods. I can’t guarantee that I’ve sampled every single variation they make, but I have certainly tried the vast majority. As with any food, there are some that I prefer over others. However, even if a meal wasn’t my favorite, I have been consistently impressed by the overall quality of the food. I have never had a meal that wasn’t at least somewhat enjoyable.

On the other end of the spectrum, I have had countless meals that genuinely surprised me with their flavor and quality. When I’m not camping, I like to consider myself to be somewhat of a cooking enthusiast. I will not pretend to know the details of their process, but it is always impressive to me that so much of a food’s original flavor and texture can survive past the freeze-drying process. 

Often, if you weren’t already aware that a meal was freeze-dried, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

Although I’ve enjoyed most of the Mountain House meals I’ve tried, there are a few stand-out options. I always carry a little journal with me when I’m camping, and a page or two is devoted to my favorite camping meals. I looked back over my notes, and these are the Mountain House options that earned their place on my “favorites” page.

Best Mountain House Freeze Dried Meals

Mountain House Pad Thai with Chicken

The Pad Thai with Chicken is one of the first Mountain House meals I ever tried, and it is still one of the best mountain house flavors made. Even in the best contexts, Pad Thai can be a difficult meal to prepare properly. Certainly, this is not the best Pad Thai I have ever had. Yet, for a camping meal, it is staggeringly good. 

The aspect that impressed me most about this meal is the chicken. Having tried other brands of freeze-dried meals, meat seems to always be a sticking point.

Mountain House Pad Thai with Chicken | Freeze Dried Backpacking & Camping Food |2 Servings | Gluten-Free
  • DELICIOUS MEAL! Rice noodles, chicken, garlic, carrots, and bell peppers all blended together in a deliciously sweet and savory sauce. Freeze-dried to lock in nutrients and freshness. No refrigeration needed.
  • NO ARTIFICIAL ANYTHING - Made with no preservatives, artificial flavors or colors, and certified gluten-free by GFCO. Case contains six 2-serving pouches. A pouch is great for one hungry backpacker or can be shared with your camping buddy.
  • QUICK PREP - Just add hot water to the pouch & eat in less than 10 minutes, with no cleanup. The pouch has a shorter, wider, more bowl-like shape for an easier eating experience. Eat straight from the pouch and skip the dishes!
  • EAT ANYTIME, ANYWHERE - Pouch is lightweight & portable providing you with a deliciously, tasty meal perfect for camping & backpacking trips! Eat well in the backcountry or in your tent. Also great for emergency food storage & survival.
  • RECYCLABLE - Recycled used packaging with TerraCycle to reduce waste.

Last update on 2020-06-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

While pasta and other foods seem to withstand the freeze-drying process admirably, chicken is often left dry and spongey from the experience. Not so in this case. The chunks of chicken retain their original texture and are juicy and tender. Further, the sauce is very well done. It’s slightly sweet with just a little hint of spice. I often add some hot sauce to mine, as I prefer my food a little on the spicier side. 

However, I think they were smart to keep the spice level low to make it a more versatile meal for more people.

My only complaint with this meal is the noodles. They taste good, and the texture is perfect. However, the noodles tend to get broken into small fragments. Instead of long noodles, you occasionally end up with many smaller pieces. Of course, this will have a lot to do with how the food is handled before being rehydrated. 

Maybe I just pack my bag a little too tight. In any case, this issue does not affect the flavor of this otherwise excellent dish. As a bonus, it is gluten-free as well!

Mountain House Creamy Macaroni & Cheese 

While I am not vegetarian myself, I have many friends who are. They have often expressed a general frustration at the lack of vegetarian options on the camping food market. I appreciate that Mountain House has addressed this issue with a variety of meatless options.

Mountain House Macaroni and Cheese
  • Macaroni noodles in a smooth, creamy, and very cheesy sauce.
  • Just Add Water. Plan Easier. Travel Lighter. Eat Heartier.
  • Three 1-Cup servings
  • Allergens: Milk, Wheat
  • 30 Year Taste Guarantee

Last update on 2020-06-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Among the ones I have tried, the macaroni and cheese is the best mountain house option. Freeze-dried meals tend to do a fantastic job of preserving heavily sauced “one-pot” meals. Thus, macaroni and cheese is a natural fit.

When you think of instant mac and cheese, your mind likely trails to a certain blue box you had as a child. The Mountain House option is fairly different than that neon-orange classic. Mountain House mac and cheese replicates a pasta dish more oriented at an adult palate. 

The cheese flavor is sharper and the sauce is a little bit more substantial. It’s a refreshing twist on the classic.

Mountain House Biscuits & Gravy

When I go on group camping expeditions, I am often designated as the “food guy.” Thus, I commonly ask my friend group if there is anything, in particular, that they’d like me to bring. The Mountain House biscuits and gravy are consistently on that list. 

I found myself buying this product so often that I was relieved when I discovered that you can buy mountain house meals in bulk!

Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy 4.94 oz. Pouch 2-Pack
  • Quick prep! Just add water to the pouch and you're good to go in less than 10 minutes, with no cleanup!
  • Two 1-Cup servings
  • Allergens: Milk, Soy, Wheat
  • 30 Year Taste Guarantee

Last update on 2020-06-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

At first, biscuits and gravy seem like an odd food to freeze-dry, given the individual components. However, Mountain House took a clever approach. The base of the meal is a thick white gravy with pork sausage. 

However, having whole biscuits wouldn’t be practical. Thus, Mountain House includes bite-size biscuit chunks among the gravy. This not only tastes great, but it makes it a lot easier to eat as well.

Mountain House Chicken & Dumplings with Vegetables

Camping on a warm and dry day is normally the preferred option. However, anyone who has spent any length of time camping will know that timing the weather is a fool’s errand. When you find yourself in the wilderness on a cold or damp evening, there are few things more comforting than a warm meal.

Mountain House Chicken & Dumplings with Vegetables 6-Pack
  • Enjoy 6 pouches of your favorite entree in one easy to store bulk case
  • Quick prep! Just add water to the pouch and you're good to go in less than 10 minutes, with no cleanup
  • Two 1-cup servings per pouch
  • Allergens: Milk, Wheat
  • 30 Year Taste Guarantee! Great for camping, emergency preparation, and RV expeditions

Last update on 2020-06-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Among those, nothing knocks the chill away quite like chicken and dumplings. The Mountain House chicken and dumplings represent comfort food at its finest.

This meal includes a thick stew base with chunks of chicken, peas, and carrots. Then, pillowy little dumplings are nestled among the broth. As a slightly soupy dish, chicken and dumplings was an excellent choice for a freeze-dried meal. 

Once rehydrated, the chicken is admirably tender and juicy. Further, the dumplings have an extremely pleasing texture. Overall, a fantastic meal for a cold night camping.

Just Some of the Mountain House Range

The meals I mentioned above are just a few of the best mountain house meals I have tried. Yet, the catalog of options is vast. Below are a few other options.

Last update on 2020-06-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2020-06-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2020-06-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Conclusion

I can remember the days of being a freeze-dried food skeptic. I had tried other brands and was rarely impressed. Yet, I read several mountain house freeze dried food reviews and finally tried it for myself. Frankly, I haven’t looked back. As I mentioned, Mountain House is not always my primary camping food. 

However, it is always there as a welcome supplement. Mountain House ingredients are always a welcome sight to read, and Mountain House avoids using unnecessary synthetic ingredients. Rather, it is the process itself that gives the food the famous mountain house shelf life.

Whether I am camping solo or in a group setting, mountain home meals are always a success and a welcome source of warmth and comfort. It is funny to think of myself as writing my own mountain house food review, as I remember reading another mountain house survival food review with great suspicion. However, once I tried them for myself I was immediately convinced.

If you are on the fence about freeze-dried food, I implore you to not just trust this mountain house review. Rather, get out there and try it yourself!

Matthew Russo
Hey, my name is Matt, an avid outdoorsman, prepper and action taker. If you have found this article informative please feel free to leave a comment below and share it with your friends and family, it would make my day!

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