Mountain House Freeze-dried Meals Review

While spending time backpacking in the wilderness, you have relatively few options for fine dining.
You can go the Bear Grylls method, and live off the land.  I however do not consider grubs and rabbit carcass a delicacy.
You can haul 10-15 cans of Stagg Chili in your pack, but you'd probably forget a can opener...not to mention the weight of each can.
Cannibalism is always an option if you have a chubby buddy along on the hike.  (Poof...is the sound of 90% of the readers bailing on this page after a cannibalism joke.  I'll see your taboo joke, and raise you a a child abuse quip if you don't stick around.)

The above options do not appear appetizing or practical by any means while back-country hiking.  So what to do when traveling the peaks of the Tetons?  Mountain House comes to your rescue!
Mountain House is a market "leader" in freeze-dried meals.  What's a freeze-dried meal?  Is this different than dehydrated meals?  I don't know.  What I do know, is that you only need to add hot water to the food, and you'll end up with an "appetizing" meal.

I'll be honest with you...I've never like dehydrated meals.  Ever since Gremlins, I've avoided things that say "Just add water."

Remarkably, there are dozens of different flavors of meals.  Based on previous experience eating dehydrated meals, I expected to purchase such freeze-dried titles such as:

Unrecognizable Goulash
Rice and Gravy-type substance
Also can be used as cat food

I will say that I was pleasantly surprised at the variation of meals.  For the sake of this review, I picked Vegetarian Lasagna, Beef Stroganoff with noodles, and Chicken and Rice.  They came in "pouches" like a bag of shredded cheese.

Preparation is very simple.  You rip off the top portion of the pouch, and add boiling water to the mix.  Stir vigourously, and then use the built-in zipper pouch to seal in the heat/steam.  In a matter of minutes, you have yourself a meal.  In fact, you can eat right out of the pouch, and then seal up your mess with the zipper seal.  If you're interested in "no-trace" camping, this is very beneficial.  You can haul out your trash without week-old Stroganoff sauce dripping into your pack.  The pouch might also work as a human waste transporter.  It depends on how well your aim is while crouching in the woods. (Poof....the sound of the remaining readers leaving the site after a poop joke...ironically, this is a very real scenario if you want to be a true no-trace camper.)

The Lasagna was actually very good.  I figured that a no-meat dish would work out well.  The sauce was tasty, and the noodles were not soggy as I expected.  The Stroganoff was decent.  I'm not a huge Stroganoff fan, but was surpised at how well the beef bits turned out.  They were not grainy or mushy as I thought, but actually meat-like.  No worse than Taco Bell's quasi-meat mix.
The Chicken and Rice was good, but needed more flavor.  Kind of bland.

Let me recap the postives and negatives with these products to end this review.

In comparison to restaurant quality food or a good home-cooked meal, the taste and freshness is definitely lacking.
If you don't stir your food good enough in the preparation phase, you'll end up with a grainy meal mush at the bottom of the pouch.  Yuck.
Not super cheap---$8 for a pouch that will fill your belly. (Note..I said your belly.  My belly requires 2 pouches as I am the chubby buddy listed previously in this review)

You get to eat out of a pouch.
The weight of the pre-cooked meal is next to nothing.  You could stick 10-15 of these pouches in your pack with very little notice of weight change.
Ease of preparation.
Cleanup--seal the pouch and you're finished.

Mountain House freeze-dried entrees are fairly tasty, easy to prepare, and perfect for camping.  If nuclear winter was approaching and I was down to my last 2 cups of water, I'd be perfectly happy to have one of these as my last meal.  4 meaty stars!!


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