Best Mountain House Meals
One of the trickier aspects of activities such as camping, backpacking, and hiking can be what kinds of foods to pack for yourself, especially if you have limited space. Mountain House is a powerhouse when it comes to providing camping, backpacking, and dehydrated, lightweight meals. They are constructed and made for campers and backpackers, which make them ideal for travel. These quick convenience meals that can be easily prepared in the wilderness. They sell everything from beef stew to scrambled eggs with bacon. Enjoy the top 10 of what they have to offer below.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Offers a great taste for the product
The package includes 800 calories
It genuinely smells fresh
Top 10 Picks
Offers a great taste for the product
The package includes 800 calories
It genuinely smells fresh
Does contain common ingredients in food allergies
The sodium content is a bit high
This meal seems to be universally recognized as one of the best from Mountain House. Clearly, its most crowning achievement is it actually tastes like something you would want to eat.Read more
This is as close to the real deal as you are going to get and this meal is comprised of hash browns, scrambled eggs, a pork sausage patty, peppers, and onions.
As a number of testers claimed, this is one of the best tasting Mountain House meals in the world. While some meals do not replicate the taste of the real deal, this does.
Even though the sodium content could be seen as high, with 920 milligrams, the vegetable content is going to provide your body with the energy it needs.
Due to the hash browns, the breakfast skillet is going to fill you up. Plus, with 800 calories per package, you really do get your money’s worth.
For the right people, this is going to be amazing. We say “the right people” as there are a number of ingredients that are quite common with food allergies including milk, wheat, and soy.
Look, not all of these types of meals are going to taste good so when you come across one that does, it is worth mentioning. Well, in short, this is worth mentioning.
2. Chicken a la King
Offers 18 grams of protein per serving
Comes with 11 one-cup servings
Quite delicious for what it is
One user noted it was a bit too salty
The Chicken A La King with Noodles just about cracked the number one spot on this list because of its value and protection-to-carbs ratio. Oh yeah, and it is a mixture of chicken and a bunch of vegetables.Read more
While the primary components of this meal are chicken and noodles, it is also comprised of a wonderful cream sauce, green peppers, mushrooms, and even celery.
By itself, the flavor provided is surprisingly good. Yet, what is really nice about chicken and noodles is you can add extra seasonings to enrich the flavor even more.
If you are looking for an optimal amount of protein, this is the ticket as there are 18 grams per each serving you eat. In addition, it is loaded with carbs at 29 grams a serving.
Per serving, there is one cup of food provided and 280 calories. Yet, what is nice is that there are 11 servings per can which means there are 11 cups of food altogether.
For all of you with lactose intolerance and Celiac disease out there, be wary as this contains both milk and wheat (on top of eggs).
For such a small can, it is literally astonishing how much food you are provided with. When talking about bang for your buck, this is what you are looking for.
3. Chili Mac with Beef
Each pouch contains 32 grams of protein
Made with real beef and macaroni noodles
An ideal meal to be freeze-dried
It can be tricky to get the noodles just right
At the end of the day, is there anything that sounds better than some chili mac with some extra beef? Sure, it would probably taste better at your favorite restaurant but this will still suffice.Read more
Given the fact that this consists of pasta noodles, beans, sauce, and beef, it is a fairly hard meal to mess up. After all, it is chili mac with beef.
While some buyers have alluded to the fact that the noodles can be difficult to cook to the right texture, the meal itself is loaded with flavor.
Each individual pouch you purchase is packed with 32 grams of protein and, in addition, you are provided with the nutrition you will need for daily activities.
For the most part, this is probably a one-off meal. It comes with 2.5 one-cup servings but if you planned it outright, it could last for a couple of meals.
Due to the addition of both wheat and soy, this is practically poison for anyone who suffers from Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Despite the fact that you may need to contend with the noodles not being of the ideal texture, this is a meal that is jam-packed with protein and flavor.
4. Granola with Milk & Blueberries
It can be consumed without rehydrating
There are 5000 calories per can
Includes wholesome foods
It may be too sweet for some people
Very simple meal
Most of these meals will only be eatable with the addition of water but what is unique about this is it can be a sufficient snack when it is dry. Plus, each can has 20 ½-cup servings.Read more
Instead of being a main-course meal, this is merely just granola with some added blueberries. Their granola is made out of brown sugar, coconut, oats, natural vanilla, and sesame seeds.
Again, you can actually snack on this without rehydrating it. However, note that the meal as a whole is pretty sweet and maybe a little overbearing.
The entirety of this meal is packed with fiber, unsaturated fats, energizing dried fruit and even wholesome foods such as the granola and non-fat milk.
Each serving size is half a cup and overall, there are 20 servings in each can. The entire can is made up of 5000 calories and is one of the better values out there.
Again, as this is made with wheat, soy, milk, and coconut, people with common food allergies need to be cautious here.
Even though it is easier to pack snacks than it is full-course meals, this meal is still nice as you get a ton of value for your buck. Plus, it can be consumed with the addition of water.
5. Beef Stroganoff
It is a warm and hardy meal
The noodles add carbs and the meat adds protein
Comes with 2.5 servings per pouch
The aftertaste can be unpleasant
It is high on sodium
A classic backpacking meal will always be beef stroganoff with noodles as it really sticks to your insides. However, the aftertaste of this meal does leave a little to be desired.Read more
Lots and lots of beef are in this and in addition, you are also provided with onions, mushrooms, noodles, and some touch of garlic.
As some testers have alluded to, despite an overall strong flavor, the aftertaste can be unpleasant. In specific, it can cause a filmy taste in your mouth.
Be aware that the sodium intake from this meal will provide you with 33 percent of the required amount daily. But, the meat and noodles do combine together to increase the number of carbs and protein.
In the entire bag, there are two servings and each serving is one cup. Due to the pure amount of beef, though, it will stick to your insides and be very filling.
It seems like a theme with Mountain House meals as, once again, it does include wheat, soy, egg, and milk.
This has actually been known to be several buyers’ favorite meal. Perhaps if the aftertaste was not so potent, it could have ascended even higher on this list.
6. Scrambled Eggs with Bacon
It is gluten-free
Has the taste and smell of bacon
Provides you with the carbs and calories you need in the morning
The texture can be hard to handle
Could be too rich for some people
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and when you are in the wilderness, this could not be more spot-on. As such, consider this meal an ideal way to start your hike in the morning.Read more
This one is pretty simple and for those of you who desire bacon, you will be “eating” this up. It is comprised of bacon bits combined with scrambled eggs.
While the bacon does not have that classic crispy texture, it still possesses the natural flavor of good old bacon. Yet, this meal may still be too rich for some people’s preferences.
With right around 20 grams of protein and 10 carbs, this is an ideal way to kick-start your long day of adventures.
Overall, this could be considered a moderate meal with a cup and a half of food per each pouch you invest in. For the morning, this should be just enough, though.
With what is somewhat of a rarity for Mountain House, this meal has actually been certified gluten-free. Of course, be cautious as it still does include egg and milk.
If you are accustomed to the normal texture of bacon, this might end up being too much to bear. However, those who can live without the crunch will certainly enjoy.
7. Biscuits and Gravy
Ideal for camping
Has a great taste and texture
It is made with real buttermilk biscuits
Does not offer many nutritional benefits
Could biscuits and gravy actually be eatable when served in this manner? Though many may not believe so, you are in for a shock when you try this. Of course, it can make you feel bloated afterward.Read more
As opposed to the other meals on this list, this is utterly and 100 percent unique. It is made with pork patty crumbles and real genuine buttermilk biscuit pieces and topped off with peppered gravy.
In a surprising turn of events, several testers actually were quite fond of both the texture and flavor delivered from this meal after being quite skeptical at first.
While the flavor is better than many will expect, this meal does lack in nutrients. In fact, it is one of those meals that will make you feel bloated afterward (not ideal when looking for energy).
The calorie content is on the lower side of the spectrum and overall, there are two, one-cup servings in each pouch.
The three granddaddy’s (milk, soy, and wheat) are all present in this meal and that means that those who suffer from common food allergies must be aware.
For backpackers and hikers, this may not be the most ideal meal on this list. But, due to its flavor and taste, it is still one that is recommended.
8. Scrambled Eggs with Ham & Peppers
The taste and texture of the eggs are excellent
Made using whole eggs
Can last you up to a week
Quite difficult to split up the contents into multiple meals
The ham can be a little tough
This is another meal that consists of scrambled eggs but this time, both ham and peppers are added to the fray. Due to the number of servings that are in one can, also, it can last you several days.Read more
Staying on the theme of breakfast, this packs some of the most popular breakfast items together in one groundbreaking meal. Of course, this includes smoked ham, scrambled eggs, green peppers, and red peppers.
Most testers speak highly of the texture and the taste of the eggs, but not so much so with the ham. While the flavor is not awful, the ham can be a little tough.
Do not worry; the eggs used in this meal are whole. On top of this, you receive 15 grams of protein and seven grams of total carbs with this meal.
There are an astounding 15, 2/3-cup servings packed into this can. If you wanted to make this last as long as you possibly could, you could get a week’s worth of breakfast.
Those allergic to gluten out there, rejoice as this is another rare Mountain House meal that is actually gluten-free. Again, though, it does consist of egg and milk.
Despite the fact that the ham can be a little tough, what is truly astounding here is the amount of food you receive. For around a week, your breakfast will be covered.
9. Rice & Chicken
Chicken and rice will fill you up
Can last for several years if not opened
The flavor is not overbearing
There needs to be more chicken inside
Chances are the combination of rice and chicken is already a staple in your home. Why not bring the meal with you on the road? Of course, the chicken-to-rice ratio could be improved.Read more
As the name suggests, this is nothing more than chicken and rice (with a savory sauce that is accented with pimentos). Then again, it is more like rice with a few chicken pieces.
Rice and chicken are fairly mellow tastes and because of this, this should be a meal that the entire family can indulge in.
The combination of chicken and rice is ideal for nutrition and on top of this, it provides you with complex carbs to make up for what you lose throughout the day.
With three one-cup servings, you already get quite amount of food. Yet, because we are talking about rice, it will be very filling and could feed multiple people.
While it seems this is free of lactose, it does contain both soy and wheat. In other words, those with Celiac disease should stay far away from this one.
What easily would have helped propel this to higher heights is the addition of more chicken. Nearly every reviewer out there agrees that the chicken-to-rice ratio is way off. Still, it is chicken and rice.
10. Beef Stew
Very hearty and filling
It is made with a plethora of vegetables
Even if it is soupy, it is okay as it is a stew
Fairly high on sodium
What most people will appreciate about this beef stew meal is it is loaded with vegetables such as carrots, green peas, and potatoes. Then again, this means nothing if you do not like beef stew.Read more
As this is beef stew, you get all the goods you would expect including natural beef, green peas, carrots, and (of course) potatoes.
A bonus to beef stew is even if it ends up being runny, it is still eatable. However, this is bland overall. In addition, do not eat it dry as it is repulsive.
In spite of the fact that the sodium content is quite high (850 milligrams per serving), this consists of healthy ingredients such as green peas, corn oil, potatoes, and carrots.
Again, given this is beef stew, it will fill you up very quickly. Inside one pouch, though, there are 2.5 one-cup servings.
With the addition of both soy and wheat, there will be those of you who will consider this poison.
Beef stew should be a fan favorite as it packs several nutritional ingredients into a meal that is going to leave you satisfied. Yet, the rather bland flavor and high sodium content do bring this down a bit.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
To start off, what exactly is a Mountain House meal? Well, it is a meal that is made by Mountain House. Okay, the sarcasm aside, it is a meal that is intended to be made in situations where your resources are limited. For all of the meals, all you will need to do is simply add hot water to the contents. After which, you can indulge. It really is as simple as that but do not worry, as the ingredients and contents inside are real. The meals themselves are freeze-dried and actually made for the United States Special Forces. Because of this, you can expect the meals to taste somewhat close to the real deal.
But, what exactly do you like to eat? See, you will never like their beef stew meal if you do not like a beef stew, to begin with. So, the most critical aspect of choosing one of these meals is to decide what sounds good to you. Thankfully, as you have seen, there is a strong variety. They make popular breakfast meals (such as scrambled eggs and bacon), dinners (such as chicken with noodles and beef stroganoff) and even snacks (such as granola with blueberries).
Taste and Texture
One of the more important facts to realize is that these types of meals will never taste as terrific as they would if they were made fresh by a professional chef. However, in situations where you are trying to pack as little as possible, they can deliver an exceptional amount of flavor. It is all about how you perceive the flavor as if you go in expecting a flawless meal, you will probably be disappointed with the results. Yet, some of these meals have been known to taste quite wonderfully. No matter, see what others have to say about the flavor to gauge its effectiveness.
Okay, but what about the texture? Here is where things get a little dicey as these meals are designed to be made with the addition of hot water. As such, the texture of some meals can be a little hard to handle. For example, with bacon, the normal crisp will not be present and that may be enough to prevent you from eating it. The texture is nearly just as critical as flavor and there are just some items that you will need to be crunchy and/or not mushy.
When you go shopping, how much mind do you pay to the nutritional label that is mandated for foods? You will not be judged based on your answer but the reason that is being asked is it is the best means to determine the nutritional value of any food. Then again, if you blindly assess the label without any prior knowledge of what you should be looking for, you are all-but wasting your time anyway. As such, let’s dive into the briefing of sorts when it comes to nutrition.
Before we begin, note that the following recommendations are based on the findings of the American Heart Association. They provide essential information on what should be your daily intake of fat, sodium, fiber, sugar, and cholesterol. For fats, it should actually be 25 to 35 percent of your total calories. Yet, stay away from the bad fats (such as trans and saturated) as much as possible. For sodium (which can be high with these meals), keep it under 2300 milligrams daily. In terms of sugar, it should be kept under 100 calories for women and 150 calories for men.
For the most part, the pricing of these meals is fairly consistent. Because of this, you need to pay attention more to the overall value you are receiving. To gather up this information, you need to assess the serving size of the meal and how many servings you are provided with. If you are aiming to feed several people for several days, you will need more servings and a larger portion of the meal. This is actually where it becomes essential to decide on which style you want. See, Mountain House typically sells their meals in a plethora of styles. Two of which are either in a pouch or a (for example, the granola) can.
Out of these two, the #10 can contain more servings and will feed a larger amount of people. Of course, the price jumps up considerably when you switch from a pouch to a can. As such, determine beforehand how much you will need because as you will learn later, once you open up the contents they need to be consumed shortly after.
Count yourself lucky if you never have to deal with food allergies. For those less fortunate who do suffer from common food allergies, such as lactose intolerance and Celiac disease, you need to be careful when you invest in any types of foods. Even items you would never expect to have milk or wheat (or modified food starch) could have it. Well, Mountain House makes it abundantly clear what specific food ingredients (that are associated with food allergies) are in their meals.
For those with lactose intolerance, the issue is with milk. More specifically, the issue is with lactose which is the main sugar in milk and various other dairy products. However, the issue turns to wheat with people who suffer from Celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Wheat and other ingredients, in short, might as well be poison as when digested, the body will mount an immune response and attack the small intestine.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Do not forget to always use purified water to rehydrate your meals. This is especially important if you will be soaking the meal in the water ahead of time. This water will not be boiling and could still have bacteria floating around.
This may sound obvious but after we have done something a few times, sometimes we start to consider ourselves experts. The thing is with Mountain House Meals is that each pouch requires a different amount of water. Some of them need to be drained afterwards and others do not. Long story short, read the directions each time for better results.
Other Factors to Consider
It is important to know the date that the item was released so that you know until what date it is still edible. In terms of the expiration date on all of these meals, it has been moved to 30 years for both the cans and the pouches. However, what happens if you forget when you purchased the meal and want to know how many years are left?
To begin, you will need to locate the actual manufacturing date of the meal as this is essential. Once you have that, simply add 30 years to that date and that is the shelf life. With that date, you can then determine how much time is left. Of course, 30 years is quite a long time so you should be fine either way.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How does the shelf life compare with other brands?
What is so awesome about these meals is that they sport a shelf life that few can compete with, let alone be in the same ballpark with. The company behind the magic is confident that their meals sport the most impressive lifespan on the market and quite honestly, it is difficult to come up with a rebuttal to argue against that fact. However, that is not even the most impressive aspect of these meals.
As a huge bonus and to put it over the top, any of their pouches are backed up by the industry’s 30-year taste guarantee. It goes without saying that they are extremely confident that the meals they are producing are top-of-the-line in comparison to the other brands and rivals out there.
q: What happens after the shelf life has passed?
Alright, so with all this talk about the unbelievable shelf life that accompanies these meals, what happens if it does reach the expiration date? Well, this can be answered with a question. Have you ever consumed a bag of chips that was past the expiration date? Perhaps you bought them with a discount from a specialty store. For those who have, most would agree that the flavor provided is still terrific. While not stale, the texture may be a little off but that is about it.
The same applies to these meals as even after 30 years, the food should still be consumable. Much like with the previous analogy, the flavor and/or texture may change slightly. But, even Mountain House has tried their meals after 30 years and claim they are still good.
q: What is the difference between standard pouches and the Pro-Pak?
As you may notice when you view one of these meals on Amazon, there will typically be options for either a pouch or a Pro-Pak. On the surface, the difference seems minimal so that leads a lot of consumers to ask this very question. For the most part, the Pro-Pack and the standard pouches offer the same value but the primary difference is the former is vacuum sealed to prevent any expansion (especially at higher altitudes).
However, the slight tradeoff is they will generally have less food than the standard pouches. Even so, though, they still have the same 30-year shelf life that the pouches have.
q: Could you store the contents in a freezer bag?
It is critical to note that the 30-year lifespan only applies when the meal has not been opened. As soon as the seal has been cracked, all bets are off. In fact, it is recommended by the company to eat the contents within a week of opening them. But, what happens if you want to extend that a bit longer, could you store the food in a freezer bag in the freezer? Well, what is fascinating to point out is that Mountain House themselves have claimed they have heard their customers state that they have vacuum sealed the contents right after opening the meal. The customers then claim this extends their lifespan a bit.
However, take this with a grain of salt as the manufacturer has not tested this themselves (as they claim).
q: Is hot water required?
Do not let this become more complicated than it is. Remember that these meals have been frozen beforehand and because of this, do you think you need to use hot water? The point is to make an eatable meal and to do that, hot water will be all-but required to speed up the hydration process. This will also produce the best taste and overall flavor.
But, these meals will hydrate in colder water if you have no physical means of heating up your water beforehand. However, it will take much, much longer.
- How to Use Mountain House Freeze Dried Meal Pouches, Preparedness Blog ,
- The 8 Best Mountain House Meals Worth Trying, Buying Guide ,