There’s a reason why Mountain House Meals are so popular with hikers, camping lovers and all sorts of adventure lovers and that’s because they’ve perfected the art of creating freeze dried meals that are not only nutritious but really tasty. That’s why we’ve curated a list of the best Mountain House meals you should try on your next trip.
Mountain House has an extensive list of meals to enjoy including two desserts and knowing which meals are the right ones to splurge on can be tough. So, here’s the data we used to compile our Top Ten:
- Customer ratings & number of reviews
- Value per serving
- Average monthly sales
Plus, we tested each product for ourselves to check if it lived up to its promise of great taste and if it really deserved its ranking. They were ranked based on texture, aroma, flavor, prep time, nutritional content and number of servings. So, here’s our review of the ten best Mountain House meals that deserve the top spot.
Best Mountain House Meals for Hiking
1. Mountain House Breakfast Skillet
The ideal start to a long day ahead, the Breakfast Fillet has hash browns, sausages, veggies and scrambled eggs. In short, it’s packed with flavors and has around 14 grams of protein.
Why It’s Good- For starters, this is a gluten free product so it suits a number of diets. In terms of taste, the addition of real pepper and onions gives what could have been a bland dish some real zing. The pack is easy to carry in your backpack and the portion size is generous (it serves two).
The fact that this is Mountain House’s number 1 product says everything about the quality and popularity of this breakfast meal. It’s affordable and is a must have in every adventure lover’s backpack. It’ll give you enough fuel to enjoy your adventure activity without being heavy on the tummy. I loved that this meal is easy to prepare and tastes just as good as a freshly prepared American breakfast.
- Only 10 minutes to prepare
- No artificial colors or flavorings
- Contains milk so it’s not for the lactose intolerant
2. Mountain House Biscuits & Gravy
Another great breakfast meal from the brand, in this pack you get real buttermilk biscuits, sausage patties and gravy which gives you a total of 560 calories. Packed with 22 grams of protein, this meal doesn’t need more than ten minutes to get ready for eating!
Why It’s Good – The brand doesn’t scrimp when it comes to going the extra mile to make their freeze-dried meals genuinely tasty, and you can bite into real pork and sausage crumble along with melt-in-the-mouth buttermilk biscuits. Plus, with added natural flavors like thyme, ginger, sea salt and sage, this is the right snack to have when you get tired and need to refuel.
This pack is easy to carry and doesn’t take up any extra space in your backpack. We loved the texture of the food and the best part is that the biscuits retain their shape even after hot water is poured into the pack. It did not turn to mush at all. The flavoring is adequate and there’s no need to add anything extra.
- No artificial colors or preservatives
- Great as a snack or as a breakfast meal.
- Sausages are Spicy (This could be a Con for some people)
- The meal contains milk and is not meant for lactose intolerant people
3. Mountain House Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken
For a celebratory dinner, dig into tender pasta with real butter, real parmesan, romano and mozzarella cheese topped with pieces of chicken. It takes just 9 minutes to prepare and is the number 4 best selling Mountain House freeze dried meal.
Why It’s Good – This pack which can be purchased online packs a full 820 calories and has two servings. Flavored with onion powder, sea salt, garlic and black pepper, it tastes just as good as pasta prepared from scratch. I was surprised to find that the quantity was really good and there was plenty of chicken too.
Upon adding hot water as required, the chicken cooked fully and did not taste chewy. If the pasta feels a bit undercooked, just let it steep in the water for a bit longer. One pack is enough for two adults, depending upon how much one person eats. Since it is a flat pack, it is easy to carry and I suggest packing at least two of these when you go camping or hiking.
- Great quantity
- Tastes delicious
- No artificial preservatives
- Contains milk, egg and wheat. Not suitable for those with food allergies.
4. Mountain House Creamy Macaroni & Cheese
Mac and Cheese is a favorite with kids and adults alike and this creamy macaroni with a rich cheddar cheese sauce is worth purchasing. This pack has two servings and packs a total of 620 calories.
Why It’s Good – The 5th best-selling freeze-dried product from the Mountain House brand is a must buy if you’d like to take along some comfort food that won’t let you down. I suggest letting the contents of the pack steep in hot water for a full ten minutes and eating directly from it because you will want to eat every last drop of the rich sauce.
I suggest going easy while pouring the hot water into the pack and adding more water only if it’s really necessary. There are no added spices in this (probably keeping the tastes of kids in mind) and so if you want to make it more enjoyable, throw some bits of tinned spam in the pack. This easy to store pack is ideal for a snack in between meals.
- No added spices and bland in taste
- Enriched with riboflavin and folic acid
- Contains milk and wheat so its not advised for those will allergies.
5. Mountain House Granola with Milk & Blueberries
What’s the best way to start the day than with a bowl of rich granola that has real blueberries in it? With hints of vanilla, this 6th hot-selling Mountain House product is a favorite with both kids and adults alike.
Why It’s Good – The right way to enjoy granola is with some cold or hot milk, but when you’re on an outdoor adventure, fresh milk is the last priority in mind. Not to worry however, because this pack has nonfat dry milk so all you need to do is to add some hot water and hey presto- you have a bowl of goodness ready to enjoy.
I loved that it is sweetened with brown sugar and also has real coconut in it with plenty of real freeze-dried blueberries too. If all you want is a light meal at the start of the day, then this granola pack is perfect. It has two servings and each serving gives you a full 260 calories.
- It has zero artificial preservatives, artificial colors or flavors
- It’s a flat pack which can be placed easily in a backpack.
- It contains dairy milk so it is not advised for people who are lactose intolerant or who are on a vegan diet.
6. Mountain House Rice & Chicken
A heartwarming and wholesome meal packed with the combined goodness of carbs and protein; this pack of flavored rice is really tasty. It has real chicken in it and the addition of pimentos gives it a savory twist.
Why It’s Good – When you’re tired from hours of hiking or rock climbing, you want food that tastes good and fills you up in no time. That’s exactly why I highly recommend this freeze-dried food pack which has three servings (270 calories per serving) in it. Just like for most other products from the same brand, this one too requires a full ten minutes of steeping in hot water.
If you find that the rice is a bit undercooked, just let it remain in the water for another two minutes and that should be enough. Chicken lovers will find that the rice to meat ratio is appropriate and it’s great soul food for either lunch or dinner.
- It’s not spicy so even those who like milder flavors will enjoy it
- It contains soy and wheat so those with allergies may want to avoid this
7. Mountain House Pasta Primavera
One of Mountain House’s much loved only veg options, this pack has real veggies with macaroni that is served with real Parmesan cheese sauce.
Why It’s Good – If all you really want to do is to dig into some wholesome veggies in the outdoors, then I highly recommend this pasta pack. It has real broccoli, green peppers, green peas and cauliflower in it. What makes the dish actually tasty is the hearty parmesan cheese sauce which gives it the right amount of tang.
It has around 440 calories but hey, since you’re outdoors, working off the extra calories won’t be a problem. It also has a hint of garlic and white pepper besides some natural flavoring. We felt that this pasta works well for brunch or as a late evening snack. This too is a flat pack and doesn’t take up extra space in your backpack.
- Tastes as good as freshly made pasta
- No added preservatives
- It’s not recommended for people on a vegan diet or are lactose intolerant
8. Mountain House Chili Mac with Beef
If you are in the mood for a tangy savory meal, then this chili macaroni with beef is just what you need. Loaded with plenty of beef and kidney beans, this meal with a Mexican twist is guaranteed to be a hit with adults and children alike.
Why It’s Good – This pack has two servings and gives you around 460 calories. I found that the pack needs to be steeped in hot water for a full 10 minutes and if you like your beef to be a bit more tender, then let it remain in the water for an additional two minutes more. The chili sauce made with tomatoes is well-seasoned and you don’t need to add anything extra.
It has the right combination of spices and garlic to make this dish taste really good. I recommend eating this pack for lunch because it is quite filling and if you’re planning on doing some more hiking before sundown, a hot bowl of pasta will give you the energy you need.
- Well seasoned so you don’t need any extra flavoring
- Its not spicy either so it works well for those who prefer a milder flavor
- Contains wheat which is used as a thickener
Mountain House Multipack Meals to Consider
If you’re planning an outdoor trip with the whole family or with a bigger group, then I highly recommend the Mountain House Multipacks. Here are the best three:
1. Mountain House Expedition Bucket
The most popular bulk freeze-dried food pack has the perfect assortment of meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You get a 15 pack combo of:
- 3 packs of Gluten Free Breakfast Skillet which is the perfect breakfast meal
- 2 packs of granola with milk and blueberries
- 2 packs of beef stroganoff in a rich creamy sauce
- 3 packs of gluten free Chicken Fajita with vegetables
- 3 packs of chicken fried rice with vegetables
- 2 packs of spaghetti with beef and marinara sauce
Why It’s Good – If deciding what kind of food packs you would like to take along seems rather confusing, then this bucket of top quality freeze-dried food which will last you a full 5 days is all that you need. It packs a total of 8,200 calories and all the packs have a minimum of two servings. Eating the same kind of food every day can become monotonous but with a mix like this, you’ll stay motivated to enjoy your outdoor trip without going hungry.
2. Mountain House Essential Bucket
22 whole servings of delicious freeze-dried food which are all certified gluten free are what you get in this bucket. You get a 12-pack combo of:
- 4 packs of Beef Stew which includes cubes of beef with veggies
- 4 packs of Breakfast Skillet which includes hash browns, scrambled eggs, pork patties and onions
- 2 packs of scrambled eggs with crispy bacon for a good protein kick
- 4 packs of Rice and Chicken combined with veggies and sauce
Why It’s Good – A lot of Mountain House products use wheat as a natural thickener and the first thing I like about this bucket is that all the food here is gluten free, so that’s a huge plus. Besides, if you are looking to go camping or hiking for just 3 days and you don’t want to pile along more food because that adds up to unnecessary weight, then this is the perfect purchase for you.
Gluten free food takes the same amount of time to get ready for consumption as freeze-dried food that contains wheat and allowing the pack to steep in hot water for a minute or two will not turn the contents to mush.
3. Mountain House 14-Day Emergency Food Supply
42 pouches of wholesome freeze-dried food is what you get in this 14 day emergency food supply bucket. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are taken care of for a full two weeks though of course, all packs need to be placed for a minimum of ten minutes in hot water before they can be consumed.
Why It’s Good – We live in uncertain times and that’s why it comes as no surprise that this bucket has been flying off the shelves online and, on some websites, no further information is given about its availability. However, if you have a longer trip planned in mind, then don’t think twice about taking this pack along.
Outdoor adventures can be unpredictable so even if you have a 10-day trip planned, I highly recommend buying this bucket so that the availability of food is one less thing to be stressed out about. Like in most other Mountain House packs, you get two servings each in every pouch.
4. Mountain House Classic Bucket
The bucket has 12 pouches (2 servings each) of freeze-dried food which is an assortment of meals that can be consumed for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The meals include:
- 3 packs of gluten free Beef Stew with veggies
- 3 packs of Beef Stroganoff with Noodles and mushrooms in a sour cream sauce
- 2 packs of crunchy Granola with Milk & Blueberries
- 2 packs of Spaghetti with Beef in marinara sauce
- 2 packs of gluten free Chicken Fried Rice with eggs and veggies
Why It’s Good – This is without doubt a very cost-effective purchase for your outdoor trip. The bucket has a good variety of well-seasoned meals which contain real veggies, sauces and chunks of meat. Each pouch has two servings in it and contains a total amount of 6120 calories. The bucket itself is so easy to carry by hand and can be easily stored in any vehicle too.
With a taste guarantee of up to 30 years, the meals need around 18 cups of water in total for preparation and can easily feed two people for a minimum of 3 days. Our favorites were the granola and the Beef Stroganoff in terms of taste. Packed with real blueberries and natural sweetness, the granola was delicious on its own. The stroganoff too, did not disappoint.
What To Consider Before Buying Freeze- Dried Food
If you are lactose intolerant or have other food allergies, make sure that you scan the ingredients closely. Wheat is used to thicken sauces in freeze-dried meals and milk is often used for cheese sauces and with eggs.
The Net Weight
Since you don’t want to be carrying a lot of extra food on any outdoor trip you go on, ensure that you check the net weight of any product you buy so that you can plan the weight distribution properly. Serving sizes need to be taken into account as well.
Buy A Smaller Size
Let’s assume that you have a long trip planned and you’re considering buying a bucket. If you’ve never tried Mountain House before, buy a single pack so that you can see if the food agrees with you or not. Then buy a bigger pack.
Avoid Opened Packs
If a pack is visibly damaged or is torn anywhere, do not buy it. Only a fully sealed vacuum pack guarantees food freshness and quality.
Check The Date
Mountain House guarantees that their products taste fresh for up to 30 years. Check the ‘use before’ dates before purchasing for your trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are freeze-dried meals healthy?
Freeze-dried meals do retain much of the same nutrition as freshly made food. However, they also tend to be high in sodium and salt and often one pack of food contains a single day’s permitted sodium intake. Consuming such meals every day is not advised and the best brands to buy are the ones that don’t contain additives, flavorings or preservatives.
Is freeze-dried food safe for my food allergies?
Many freeze-dried meals contain some form of gluten, egg and wheat. Scan the ingredients on each pack carefully before buying one.
Can kids eat freeze-dried meals too?
Of course, they can! That’s why it is important to make sure that the food is as healthy as it can be minus extra chemicals and preservatives.
Are they rich in vitamins?
Freeze-dried foods retain the nutrients just as they are found naturally in meat, fruits and veggies. However, since Vitamin C breaks down easily, freeze dried food contains a lower proportion.
Can freeze-dried food be cooked directly?
Of course. The pack can be steeped in hot water just as it is or the contents emptied into a pan and then heated till it is ready to be eaten. Since the food is already pre-cooked, it does not need to be cooked again.