Mountain House Emergency Meal Review

I’m always on the lookout for good trail grub as well as good bugout options.  Mountain House consistently puts out some pretty good products, but I’d never seen this one before, so I gave it a whirl.

My main complaint with Mountain House is usually serving size.  The food quality, except for the scrambled eggs, is just fine.  The Beef Stew and the Granola with Blueberries are actually very tasty.  But to me, the serving size for all of the lunch/dinner entrees except for the Pro-Pak meals is too large.  I can never eat the whole thing and then I’ve got a storage/disposal/potential varmint problem – plus I’m wasting food.  I don’t like wasting food.  I think this is an unusual complaint because many of the reviews I read on Mountain House say the portions are too small.  I tend to eat several small meals a day instead of 3 larger ones.  I’ve been that way forever.  The regular size (Serves 2) meals are just way too big for me, even on days when I’ve hiked 10-12 miles and my body is screaming for calories.

The Pro-Pak meals, on the other hand, are the perfect size for me and I like that they’re vacuum sealed and take up less space, but they usually cost $7-8 per meal around here and 90% of the time I can only find Chili Mac or Beef Stew.  That’s just not cost effective, especially when I can make my own meal for just a few bucks and improve on both the food quality and the taste using my trusty dehydrator and vacuum sealer.

Well, the other day, I was at a local camping store – Rusted Moon Outfitters – and stumbled across Mountain House Emergency Meals (pictured above).  I’d never seen these for sale anywhere before, and I can’t find them on the Mountain House site now. But, the store had  3 varieties: Chicken & Rice, Beef Stroganoff, and Chili Mac.  I’m not a big fan of Chicken & Rice as a rule, and nothing will ever beat the Chili Mac I make at home for camping, so I went with the Stroganoff.

Here is what it looked like before cooking.

Here is what it looked like after cooking.

  • Taste: Not bad.  Nothing offensive.  The mushroom flavor really comes out – maybe even too much.
  • Texture: A bit mushy for me.  The egg noodles have no discernible texture at all and at times it felt like I was eating a can of cream of mushroom soup.  The beef, however, at least had some substance to it.  For stroganoff, it wasn’t bad at all – just a bit mushy.
  • Serving Size: Perfect for lunch for one.
  • Price: $4.50 per meal.  I can still do it better and cheaper at home, but these store longer come in better packaging and give me the ability to just “go” without planning much ahead of time.  The price is right on these.
  • Preparation: Tear open the bag, remove the oxygen absorber, add 1 cup of boiling water to the bag, stir, zip-up and wait 8-9 minutes.  Couldn’t be much easier than that.
  • Nutrition: 320 Calories, 12g or protein, and 37g of carbs.  10% of RDA for Iron, Vitamin C, and Calcium.  4% RDA of Vitamin A.  I’d actually like to see it a bit more calorie dense.  For a long day of intense hiking, I’m usually looking to put around 500 calories into my body at meal times.  I could (and do) augment with nuts, berries, jerky and so on.
  • Packability: Very good.  Package is maybe 6×8×1 when full, but you could pack two of them in that same space because the bulk of that 1″ is in the bottom half … so just put two together, with one upside down and you’ve got two meals in a 6×8×1 space.  The packaging is not burnable or biodegradable, so you do need to pack it out, but it’s easy enough to use one of the bags as a trash bag for the other meals you eat – and it has a sturdy zip-loc closure to make sure it doesn’t get crap all over your pack.  Stroganoff was 2.47 oz (70g) Net wt, but the bag weight .55 oz (15g), so you’re at about 3oz altogether.  Not bad at all for a meal.

All together, I like this product – even though I’m not a fan of this particular variety.  If I see them again, I will buy a few.  It’s an all around good option for me for both hiking and the bugout bag.

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