January 16, 2018

Backpackers Pantry vs Mountain House – Best Freeze Dried/Outdoors Food!

The outdoors can be an amazing place that everyone should enjoy and explore.  That being said, it can also be the most unforgiving place on Earth.  When you venture out into the outdoors you need to be supplied with anything and everything that will keep you safe.  Now, there are hundreds of different types of tools and weapons that might keep you safe.  But to simply survive you need something much simpler than that; food.  When you are spending a few days in the outdoors you need food to keep you around.  Thankfully, there are pre-made backpacking and hiking foods available to bring into the wild.  That being said, after growing up camping and hiking, I got quite used to bringing these field food packs, and I have tested quite a few different brands out.  In this article we will be talking about my personal review of Backpackers Pantry Back Packing Food vs. Mountain House Freeze Dried Food!

What is Backpacking Food (Freeze Dried or Dehydrated Food)?

As an outdoor enthusiast, you need a source of food that is easy to carry, easy to make, and full of nutrients to keep you safe out in the outdoors.  This was a struggle that many people had, but based off of Military Ready Made Meals (MRE’s) many companies have created food options for those who are going hiking or camping.  This “backpacking food” is really designed to be extremely resilient against spoiling and extremely easy to prepare.  The main way this is accomplished is by freeze drying or dehydrating the food.  Freeze drying and dehydrating the food makes it able to be stored in compact and easy to carry pouches, which makes it perfect for hiking and camping.  Along with this, although each pouch might be a little bit different, the general way to prepare these pouches is to simply add boiling water to the pouch and stir.  This makes not only the storage and carrying extremely easy, but it’s also very easy to prepare your meals when all you need is boiling water.  Overall, this type of food is an absolute must if you are spending a few days in the wild!  Overall Freeze Dried or Dehydrated food is a better outdoor option that frozen food like Atkins.

Backpackers Pantry Food Pouches vs. Mountain House Freeze Dried Food

Backpackers Pantry vs Mountain HouseI’ve had the pleasure and maybe also the displeasure of testing out a huge amount of these types of foods, and some are great and some taste like sludge.  That being said, two of my favorites and also some of the most famous brands in the industry are Backpackers Pantry and Mountain House.  I thoroughly enjoy both of these companies and I think their food tastes great and is easy to prepare.

Along with this, I think they are both great options that not only have good taste, but they also provide you with the nutrients and protein that you need to be safe in the outdoors.  That being said, if you are looking for which one is better, then this review is for you!  Below in this article I will go through reviews of both Backpackers Pantry and Mountain House, and I will share what I enjoy about each and what I dislike.  After that I will share my personal preference on which one is better!

Backpackers Pantry Freeze Dried Food Review

Backpackers PantryOne of my very first experiences with this type of freeze dried outdoors food was with Backpackers Pantry.  Backpackers Pantry was originally founded in 1951 as a type of food to give to Girl Scouts to help give them the energy and nutrients needed to be out on the hiking trails.  Based out of Boulder, Colorado Backpackers Pantry is run by outdoors enthusiasts for outdoor enthusiasts.  Their ultimate goal is to provide easy to carry, easy to prepare, tasty meals that not only satisfy your palate but your nutritional needs as well.  Along with this, this company strives to only manufacture their meals with local all-natural USA ingredients.

Backpackers Pantry has two main types of food categories.  These are their Adventure Food, and their Emergency Preparedness Food.

Adventure Food:

Their adventure food category is their mos popular of food categories.  This type is really what their company was built off of, providing outdoors enthusiast with easy to carry and prepare food for the outdoors.  In this category they have foods for the following:

  • Breakfast
  • Light Meals
  • Entrees
  • Side Dish
  • Desserts
  • Snacks

All of these different types of meals come in different sizes and portions.  As for the entrees, they usually come in pouches of 4 servings which makes it great for family and group camping trips.  As for the types of entrees they offer… They have a huge selection of types of proteins including chicken, beef, salmon, vegetarian, and vegan.  They literally have a meal for people of any taste preferences or dietary restrictions!  ALong with this, the shelf life for these pouches is 7 years!

Backpackers Pantry Outdoor FoodAs for some of their most popular dishes, both the Polar Bear Ice Cream Sandwiches and the Fettuccini Alfredo with Chicken are some of the most recommended.  Overall they have some great dishes and the taste is really a lot higher quality than with a lot of MRE’s you will find on the market.  I definitely believe that their use of higher quality ingredients and spices increases the flavor your get with these pouches.

Emergency Preparedness Food:

The second category of food provided by Backpackers Pantry is their Emergency Preparedness Food.  This is a newer category line, and it really is for those who are looking to be prepared for in case of a natural disaster or some other unforeseen event that could leave them fending for themselves.  The Emergency Preparedness Food category is sold in large bulk quantities of food than the Adventure Food, and it generally has a longer shelf life as well.  This makes it perfect for those who are looking to outfit a survival bunker or are looking to have enough food readily on hand in case something terrible happens.

This category of food offers the same types of food that the adventure food comes in, offering breakfast, entrees, light meals, ect. but they just come in larger quantities.  Usually these foods come in large cans and they usually offer 36 servings as compared to the 4 servings that the Adventure Food offers.  Note: Once the can is open the contents are good for about 7 days, and should be consumed before that.  That being said, these cans have a shelf life of 25 years, so you don’t have to worry about them spoiling!

Overall if you are looking for food that you can store in your basement or your bunker for a time that you and your family needs it most, then the Backpackers Pantry Emergency Food is a great option.  They offer extremely tasty and nutritious food that has a long shelf life, and can very well save your life!

Mountain House Hiking/Camping Food

Mountain House FoodAnother extremely popular outdoor prepackaged food brand is Mountain House.  Founded in 1969, Mountain House finds their inspiration from the Military Special Operations ready made meals.  They strive to produce a food that not only tasted better, but also lasted longer, and weighed less than the old K and C rations used in the Vietnam War.  They soon began being one of the main providers for the United States Military, and their popularity spread to outdoor enthusiasts as well!  Mountain House even boasts that their prepacked food has been used on the Moon!

Mountain House offers the following type of food:

  • Breakfasts
  • Entrees
  • Desserts
  • Sides & Meats
  • Emergency Prep Food
  • Military Rations

Outdoor Trips Food:

Similar to Backpackers Pantry, Mountain House provides everything you might need for an outdoors adventure.  Their entrees offer an extremely easy to prepare meal that all you have to do is add boiling water!  Some of their most popular options for entrees for camping or hiking trips are Chicken with Dumplings, Lasagna with Meat Sauce, and Beef Stroganoff.

For their outdoor trips they offer two different types of packaging.  They offer the “Original Pouches” and the “Pro-Paks”.  The Original Pouches are prepacked meals that are 2.5 cups serving size, and are 8 inches wide by 2 inches high by 11 inches long.

The other option is the Pro-Pak which offers the same 2.5 cups of serving size, but in a vacuum sealed package that brings the size down to 7 inches wide by 2.5 inches high by 6.8 inches long.

As you can see the Pro-Pak is a better option for those who are looking for save as much space as possible.  If you are on a longer camping trip and trying to pack light and save space then these would be a great option.

Overall these offer great outdoor meals in slightly smaller serving sizes than Backpackers Pantry, but actually have a shelf life of 30 years for pouches compared to 7 with Backpackers Pantry.  I think the taste of these pouches is pretty much on par with Backpackers pantry, and the easy of preparation is just as easy!

Emergency Preparedness Food:

Mountain House Emergency FoodSimilar to Backpackers Pantry, Mountain House offers larger cans designed for long term storage.  Mountain House offers the same variety of entrees and food in a #10 Can option.  These large cans contain 10 servings, and an extremely long shelf life of 30 years.  Similar to the pouches, you essentially just need to open the can and add boiling water.  Although there are a few more steps including removing the oxygen absorber.

These cans are great options for those who are looking to stay prepared in the end times or after a natural disaster.  These cans are truly an option that you only have to buy once, and you will be prepared for the next 30 years.  That being said, these cans offer slightly smaller food portions than Backpackers Pantry, but their cost is lower, so it about evens out in the end.  That being said, if you are looking for food that will last you as long as possible, then these #10 cans take the advantage over Backpackers Pantry!

Backpackers Pantry vs Mountain House Food – Final Reviews and Thoughts

As someone who has used both of these brands for the past 10 years or so, it’s incredibly difficult to flat out pick a winner.  I truly enjoy the variety that both of these brands offer, and I definitely recommend you try the Backpackers Pantry Shepards Potato Stew or the Mountain House Lasagna with Meat Sauce, as those are my favorites from both companies.  That being said, the best company is… It depends.

Each of these companies have their own pros and cons.  And it really depends on the type of situation you are looking for, on which one is going to be better for you.

Looking for Outdoor Meals for a Hiking/Camping Trip:

If you are looking for food for a quick trip, maybe you’re spending a few days or a week or two in the outdoors, then I think Backpacker Pantry is the way to go.  They offer extremely portable and easy to use food.  Along with this, their quality of food is extremely high and it will provide you with the nutrients and protein that your body needs when you are in the outdoors.  Along with this, I’m really fond of a few of their entrees, so I might be a little biased.

Looking for Emergency Preparedness Food:

That being said, if you are looking for food to outfit your bunker or basement for a disaster, then I think Mountain House is the way to go.  Mountain House offers the industry longest shelf life, which allows you to truly buy these #10 cans of food, and you can literally leave them for 30 years and they still will be there for you.  Along with this, their long term food solutions is extremely easy to prepare, and it actually tastes pretty great for being a life saving food.

Overall, my decision is truly based on my personal experience, and I can definitely be biased.  That being said, these are both extremely high quality companies, and you can’t go wrong choosing outdoor prepacked foods from either of them.  Along with this, start testing out their food, they both have a huge variety of types of food, and you might be fond of some but not fond of others, so give them all a try!  That being said, the answer of Backpackers Pantry vs Mountain House is definitely up to you!




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