If you’ve ever done a multi-night backpacking trip (or spent any amount of time hanging out in REI), you’ve probably heard of Mountain House meals.
However, here’s what you might not’ve heard….
The genesis of Mountain House actually dates back to the Vietnam War, when US special forces needed a better option for their rations. Rations in use were far from savory, and the quality hadn’t improved with the years. An old joke about MRE’s was the acronym stood for “Meals Rejected by Everyone.”
So the military sent out contracts to companies, seeking rations that would better suit the soldiers’ needs, and keep vital funding from going to waste. After Mountain House’s parent company won a government contract, the rest was history. For almost half a century, Mountain House has filled the armed forces’ needs as well as a spectrum of civilian customers.
Outdoors enthusiasts rely on Mountain House because, in addition to the convenience of only needing water, the meals taste amazing. In the world of emergency food, this is a home run! But everyone from backpackers and hikers to those preparing for emergencies like storms or pandemics trust Mountain House.
The Short Answer
With close to 50 different entrees and meals from MH, there is definitely “something for everyone.” But if you’re looking for the absolute best of the best, here you go:
Why It’s The Best:
- 24 servings
- Great for large groups or long travel
- Great deal at just under $110
- Ideal for emergency preppers
The Mountain House Classic Bucket is the perfect meal kit for anyone who might need emergency food for an extended time. This meal kit is a favorite among outdoors people and emergency preppers alike. It’s compact and easy to store, meaning it won’t take up space in your storage areas or backpack.
With 24 servings included, the Classic Bucket is such a great deal that we had to make it the first option. There are two pouches of five different meals, meaning you won’t get bored eating the same meal night after night. This feature is the deal-breaker for us because having to care for a family in an emergency is bad enough. You shouldn’t need to dread every meal.
You only need a small amount of water for each meal, which means you’ll be able to conserve water easily whenever it’s necessary. And even though these meals are freeze-dried, you’ll enjoy every bite from the Classic Bucket.
The beef stew comes with tender slices of high-grade beef, potatoes, carrots, and peas. While the beef stroganoff comes with the same high-quality meat, noodles, and mushrooms covered in delicious sour cream sauce. And the granola comes with taste granola, milf, and blueberries.
The other meals include spaghetti with meat sauce soaked in amazing marina sauce. And the chicken fried rice meal contains long-grain rice, seasoned chicken, scrambled eggs, onions, mushrooms, and peppers and carrots.
Mountain House sells some of these products alone, and we’ve reviewed the meals more in-depth below. Together this is the perfect product for anyone that wants delicious MRE’s between access to regular groceries.
Other Great Mountain House Meals
What Makes It Great:
- 13 pouches of breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrees
- Insane price at less than $100
- Convenient for hiking at only 4.9 total pounds
Mountain House’s Adventure Meal Kit is a smart option for those looking to travel in groups. With 13 pouches of entrees for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this will keep an entire family happy and fed for a whole camping trip. However, the kit weighs less than five pounds, meaning you won’t have a sore back trying to lug around over ten pounds of food in your backpack.
When you purchase the meal kit, you’ll receive two breakfast meals of granola with milk and blueberries, two meals of biscuits and gravy, two chili mac with meat sauce meals. You’ll also find two dinner meals of chicken teriyaki with rice and vegetables, two lunch or dinner meals of lasagna, and three snacks with beef stroganoff with noodles.
The Adventure Kit is also the right decision for anyone preparing for an emergency or foot-shortage. A couple of people could stretch these meals out across a week or so if you need to. Furthermore, the lightweight and compact nature of this meal kit mean you can buy a couple that won’t take up much room in your storage area.
Best of all, you can trust Mountain House’s 30-year shelf life guarantee. You’ll also have more room for other necessities like water and other non-perishables.
What Makes It Great:
- Hash browns, scrambled eggs, and pork patty crumble
- Two 1-cup servings in the pouch-size
- Five convenient sizes for other needs
Mountain House’s Breakfast Skillet comes in four convenient sizes, with one serving equalling one cup: the Pro Pak (1 serving), the pouch (2 servings), the #10 Can (10 servings), 4-Pack (4 servings), and the 6-Pack (15 servings). This product is great for campers and backpackers, emergency preparedness, hunters and fishers, and remote travelers. The diversity in sizes means you can use this product in any emergency circumstance.
Start your day in the woods with some tasty hash browns, scrambled eggs, crumbled pork patty, peppers, and onions. If you’re camping during a hunting trip, you can prepare breakfast in less than ten minutes. The dense concentration of nutrients gives you the fuel to face any obstacle in your way.
Mountain House thoroughly cooks their meals before freeze-drying them, so your breakfast skillet meals taste fresh and home-cooked. If you need this MRE when preparing for an emergency, the proper storage of Mountain House’s meals can make them last over 30 years.
What Makes It Great:
- Great dinner option
- Park, rice, onions, green and red peppers
- Added pineapple sauces to enhance the flavor
Once you’re tired and sweaty from a hard day’s hike, Mountain House’s sweet and sour pork with rice is a great all-around meal to replenish vital nutrients. Even if there wasn’t the delicious pineapple sauce, you could tell how far Mountain House’s freeze-drying technology has advanced.
The pork, rice, onions, green and red peppers taste as they would if you made them in your kitchen for a dinner party. If you’re hiking with a group, the pouch size contains 2 1/2 servings to feed the whole camp. And it comes with a 30-year taste guarantee.
If you’re preparing for an emergency, these entrees will last until you need them so long as you store them correctly. We’ve included information after our list, which covers the best ways to save your meals from going sour in the meantime.
Why It’s Great:
- Spaghetti pasta with chunks of beef and marinara sauce
- Great value for a low price
- The pouch can feed up to two people
Like all of Mountain House’s foods, the tender spaghetti noodles and beef in the marinara sauce taste as they transported from an Italian restaurant. For nature addicts like me, this meal feels like a luxury as you’re worn out from the day and watching the sunset. Meanwhile, there’s no cleanup required, meaning you can zip it up and huddle in your tent for the night.
Mountain House’s redesigned their trademark food pouches to resemble more like a bowl, which means that eating directly from the bag is easier than ever. Just pour in the boiling water, and you’re good to go in ten minutes or less.
Why It’s Great:
- The pouch comes in three 1-cup servings
- Seasoned rice and chicken
- Additional sauce made with pimentos
As part of their reputation, this Mountain House meal comes with chicken and rice that taste amazing. They perfected the chicken and rice seasoning, which almost freaks you out because the food tastes fresh as if a cook made it today.
The pouch size comes with three 1-cup servings that can feed at least three hungry friends. With a great deal for that size, the rice and chicken meal is excellent for families looking to explore the outdoors, all while being lightweight. However, if anyone in your group has allergies, this product contains soy and wheat.
Emergency preppers will find this product extra helpful in preparing because it won’t take up much space on your shelf. Just store it in room temperature somewhere dry and sanitized, and it’ll be ready when you need it most.
What Makes It Great:
- Real blueberries, dried fruit, and fiber
- No preservatives, artificial flavors or colors
- The pouch contains two servings
This entrée is a great morning option for backpackers because Mountain House’s granola with milk and blueberries contains 34 grams of carbs. The pouch holds two servings, but if you’re spending an extended amount of time in the wilderness, this will serve as a meal for one hungry hiker.
Mountain House shaped this pouch short and wide to make it act more like a bowl, which means a more relaxed experience eating straight from the bag. Also, be sure to hold onto the used pouches since the packaging is recyclable.
The granola comes in sizes specific for this product: the 1-Can (10 servings), the pouch (2 servings), the #10 Can (20 servings), and the 6-Pack (12 servings). Mountain House’s granola meals are one of our favorites because we can eat breakfast food anytime, but keep scrolling for more delicious dinner options!
The Beef Stroganoff with Noodles is a great dinner to watch the sunset. You only need a pot and some water, and after about ten minutes, you’ll have a fresh meal of high-grade beef, noodles, and mushrooms soaked in a delicious sour cream sauce.
The pouch size feeds up to two people, and it’s great for backpackers because of the rich nutrients and lightweight nature. If you’re traveling in a group, other options like the classic 1-can and #10 can feed more people.
But if you’re hiking solo, the pouch is an ideal option because there’s that need to conserve water. What makes the pouches so great is that you can pour the boiling water directly into the pouch. Other MRE’s cook in pots and pans, which means carrying more gear and wasting more water during cleanup.
What Makes It Great:
- Tasty, lightweight dessert
- Premium raspberry sauce with chocolate cookie crumbs
- 30-year taste guarantee
Depending on the size, this is an excellent option for backpackers and hunters as a desert. The raspberry sauce and cookie crumbs taste fresh as if you bought them from the farmer’s market, and the size makes for light traveling.
With just a cup and a half of boiling water, this is an excellent option for a side meal. Or if you need a mid-afternoon snack to energize you, the nutrient and carb-rich raspberry meal help to push you through to get that last mile before setting up camp.
However, if you’re looking for a dinner option, obviously this ain’t it.
What Makes It Great:
- Buttermilk biscuits & pork sausage gravy
- A fantastic side for dinner
- No cleanup needed
Mountain House’s biscuits and gravy are a perfect addition to dinner, especially when you’re camping with the kids. When you pour the water into the pouch, the biscuits come out hot and fluffy.
Meanwhile, you can taste the flavors locked in creamy pork sausage gravy when its hydrated, making for a meal that tastes homemade. Like some of the other products we’ve listed, Mountain House engineered the pouch to act more like a bowl. This design helps make eating more comfortable while ensuring you don’t have clean up anything besides zipping up the used contents.
Mountain House’s scrambled eggs with bacon are the perfect meals to meet the sunrise. The smell of the bacon will bring you back to your kitchen, wondering how an MRE of scrambled eggs tastes like your grandma made them in her kitchen.
This meal is an ideal option for hikers and hunters since they lose many calories and nutrients throughout the day. When it comes to the scrambled eggs with bacon, you can start the day will a full stomach.
If you’re planning an extended stay in the woods, Moutain House’s six-pack comes with six 1-serving pouches and is so light you won’t notice it in your pack. All you need is some water and a pot, and you’re ready to face anything in nature.
What To Look for In Your Mountain House Meals
Mountain House food serves a variety of customers, from campers to emergency preppers. Initially developed for foot soldiers who can burn over 4,000 calories a day, these meals are a great backup plan for everyone thinking about storing or rationing food.
Mountain House products’ long shelf life means you don’t have to worry about the contents expiring. As long as you store the meals at an average temperature, they’ll be ready when you need them most. Plus, these products are great for anyone needing to conserve water since the meals require little boiling water to rehydrate.
The Purpose of Mountain House’s Meals
Whether you’re climbing Mount Everest, exploring the poles, or even the moon, Mountain House has you covered. They continue to create meals for the troops, while campers and hikers have found these meals to be great alternatives to the effort of lugging around fresh food.
However, the nature of MRE’s means they aren’t ideal for daily consumption. Mountain House’s MRE’s come loaded with carbs and sodium because people spending a long time in nature need to replenish their bodies with these. When the arm is able, they’ll send down other food and the food rations since the rations are a short-term solution in between providing soldiers with freshly prepared meals.
You should still bring along fruit or something fibrous to add variety to your diet and aid digestion.
Long 30-Year Shelf Life
Since 1986, Mountain House allows independent researchers to conduct studies on the shelf-life of their products. After 30-years, the products Mountain House tested were still edible. One spokesman from the company even said meals made 30 years still tasted fresh when he tried them for an experiment. When Stored Properly, you can always rely on Mountain House products.
How Much Food Do You Need?
I know this sounds obvious, but you should purchase according to how much food you’ll need. If you’re planning for two weeks or more, consider buying the Classic Bucket or Adventure Kit because a couple of these products can last a family for a month or more.
If instead, you’re planning a single night camping in the woods, the lower-priced individual meals will better suit your needs. What’s so great about Mountain House is that their products aren’t a one size fits all in terms of sizing–you can customize your orders to suit a spectrum of needs.
Remember however, that it isn’t meant to be your sole source of emergency food. For longer term disasters, you should carefully work through our survival food list to assemble a well-stocked pantry.
How do I prepare the meal?
Mountain House designed their meals to have the most straightforward preparation process.
- Boil 1.5 cups of water over a small fire.
- Unzip the package and remove Mountain House’s oxygen absorber. It’s a small square that keeps your meals fresh. It won’t kill you if you forget to remove it, but it’s a nasty surprise when you’re chowing down.
- Carefully pour the boiling water into the package and stir for half a minute before zipping the bag up.
- After four minutes, you can unzip the package and stir it again. It’s not mandatory, though.
- Overall, you want to let the zipped up bag sit for 8-9 minutes (though you will be tempted to try to eat it earlier, it will still be crunchy I promise). You can eat the contents right out of the package, or bring along your bowls, plates, and silverware.
How much does a Mountain House classic bucket usually cost?
Mountain House’s classic bucket will cost you a little over $100, but the contents make this a worthwhile investment:
- 3x Beef Stew (Gluten-Free) – Tender dices of all-natural beef, potatoes, peas, and carrots.
- 3x Beef Stroganoff with Noodles – Savory beef, noodles, and mushrooms smothered in a creamy sour cream sauce.
- 2x Granola with Milk & Blueberries – Crunchy granola, milk, and real blueberries.
- 2x Classic Spaghetti with Meat Sauce – Spaghetti pasta with chunks of beef in a creamy marina sauce.
- 2x Chicken Fried Rice (Gluten-Free) – Long grain rice, delicious chicken, scrambled eggs, chopped onions, mushrooms, green peas, red peppers, and diced carrots.
How much water do you need for a Mountain House meal?
You only need a cup and a half of boiling water! The great thing about Mountain House meals is that you don’t need much in pots and pans. All you need is a single pot for boiling water.
If you pour the water into the bags, all you need to do is dry off that pot, which means less wasted water in the long run.
How long do Mountain House meals last?
This shelf-life surpasses any nearby competitors, but you still need to store Mountain House meals in a dry and clean house. Exposure to extreme temperatures (hot or cold) or damage to the packaging can spoil them. A suitable temperature to keep your meals at is 75 degrees F.
As long as you follow these guidelines, your MRE’s will be ready to eat whenever they’re needed. Once you open the packaging, you want to finish the food quickly and treat any leftovers like regular food. Once you hydrate the contents, the food inside will act just like a daily meal regarding spoilage.
Where can I buy Mountain House meals?
You can buy Mountain House meals on the their main website, or on Amazon (like we listed above). You can also check brick and mortar vendors near you such as Walmart or REI.
If you’re planning an extended stay in the wilderness, Mountain House is an excellent investment. When you’re exhausted from a day’s walk, the last thing you want to do is go through preparing a meal from scratch. With these meals, all you need is the meal and water to boil.
Mountain House is peerless when it comes to producing high-quality meals for soldiers and civilians alike. Their low price for quality emergency meals has cemented Mountain House’s reputation as the best company in the industry.