Mountain House Classic Assortment Bucket Review

Mountain House Bucket From Amazon.com
Mountain House Bucket From Amazon.com

Over the last few decades, I have been more invested in long-term supplies for survival and prepping. After all the evidence shows that it is not a matter of if an event will occur but rather when. By event I mean; flooding, wildfire, home fire, windstorms, hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides and even the dreaded fabled collapse of our current society. ¹ Now it should be noted that I have invested many thousands of dollars over the years in long-term storage foods, specifically Mountain House. I was contacted to review Mountain House brand foods and sent two packages of food recently. So this review is a mixture of paid and not, the latter being far greater in quantity.

Facts and data, regardless of what we want to believe facts and raw data is always what it is. It is only when we interpret these things that they become “evil or good”. My goal with the reviews I have done is simply to interpret the data and facts I have regarding products I use and either like or dislike.

Mountain House brand foods are hands down the best I have personally tested.

It should be noted that I have tasted and tested several other brands as well, from Wise through Augason Farms and have always come back to Mountain House foods for my personal and family use.

So why do I choose Mountain House foods for my family and self,

  • Ease of preparation (each container is effectively its own serving or dinner dish just add hot or cold water and mix)
  • All of their products are peanut free in fact, entirely nut free (except for coconut which is an ingredient in some meals)
  • Mountain house offers a vegetarian menu as well!
  • Each meal is set up to provide a maximum amount of beneficial calories for the ACTIVE individual, if you are eating these while hiking, camping, and “surviving” they will be quite healthy for you!
  • Cost per meal is actually very good considering what it is you are buying and getting as a benefit!

What are the drawbacks of Mountain House foods and other similar freeze dried meals and long-term food options?

  • High in carbohydrates, unless you are active I would not suggest eating these as a regular meal!
  • Cost per meal is around 50% to 100% higher than meals you could prepare yourself depending on where you shop.

Why do I prefer Mountain House foods over the others, it is simple for me personally. Some of the others do not offer REAL MEAT in their meals, Mountain House does. Taste is also an extremely large concern as well as serving size and amount per sealed container.

I have a family of four with between 2 and 4 other people always joining us. Other manufacturers make much smaller size portions, Mountain House packages full meals for 2 – 4 people per package and the overall package size is still similar to the sizes offered by their competition. Taste of these is considerably better in my opinion than Wise foods for instance. While I carry spices and at a minimum salt and pepper, I prefer to not season my pre-packaged survival/ camping foods.

As with Augason Farms, the large cans of food from Mountain House must be used within a week to 2 weeks after opening. For myself this is never an issue as again, we have 4 – 8 people at all times in and around our house and or campsite! If you are an individual or person preparing for yourself and one other the smaller meal packages will be your best approach to long-term storage and use.

They are easy to use and work well for one or two people! I find that when camping (and yes I have tested and tasted many brands while camping and while at home) Mountain House individual meal packages work great for me and my daughter. We rarely need more in a single sitting meal. As we are relatively active, for instance, we have learned gold panning, trapping, shelter building and much more on our expeditions, higher carbohydrates do not pose a great issue. Again, I would not suggest eating these if you are sedentary (not extremely mobile or active).

Would I recommend these to my friends and family?

Absolutely and without reservations, I highly recommend purchasing one of their Classic Buckets for one person which will work great for two people for 36 to 48 hours if you stretch it. The bucket runs $77 on Amazon and I personally purchase one every 3 or 4 months to continue adding to my selection and replenish used materials. Use my personal approach as someone on a fixed income for prepping your homestead!

Also, be sure to take a close look at the “Recommendations Page” for M.D. Creekmore’s most recommended items and gear

Free the mind and the body will follow!

¹ Letzter, R. (2016, August 29). This is what it looks like when society collapses. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/what-happens-society-collapses-2016-8

BJ Campbell. (2018, June 08). The Surprisingly Solid Mathematical Case of the Tin Foil Hat Gun Prepper. Retrieved from https://medium.com/s/story/the-surprisingly-solid-mathematical-case-of-the-tin-foil-hat-gun-prepper-15fce7d10437

41 Comments

  1. Jesse, Thank you for another good review. I ate mountain house some years back and was impressed with their quality also. I had not tried any in a long time, so good to hear they are still a quality product. I have some for my “reserves”, but had not tried them. Thanks for being our “guinea pig” so to speak.

  2. I do like MOuntain House too. I’ve also had good flavor with some Wise Foods products.

    When purchasing a bucket, I do not get ones with the breakfast in them. I can get instant oatmeal for $0.15/packet and the average works out to more than that in the bucket pack. (I do have buckets of instant oatmeal stored because of that.)

  3. Our long term food storage comes from a variety of sources. I always add something every pay period and monitor my email – I subscribe to all the freeze dried vendors I can find that have good reviews. MH is excellent, but a little more pricey that others. The serving size is a deal breaker in most cases. My wife laughs at the 1/4 cup serving size per adult with some packages. My opinion, the MH brand is great because it is a full meal with real meat/veggies/etc. With many vendors your having to buy each individual food item and then “create” a meal. It’s fine if you’re good with that, but most prefer to grab, heat and eat. Good review and appreciate your honest opinion.

  4. I concur with the better taste and better serving sizes of the MH products. I do not have a huge amount of them, About 3 to 4 weeks supply assuming three meals per day. I don’t plan to do that, however. I’m thinking along the lines of one or two meals per week as a change of pace. I have several days worth in my BOB too. I will be getting some more for my stash in the near future.

  5. Any word on lactose content?

  6. Since I try to keep my youngest in mind when buying food for long term storage, I tend to read labels and avoid the kits as I have yet to find a kit that is certified gluten free. The hubby and I also avoid gluten. That said, I have purchased some #10 cans of Mountain House foods that are gluten free, so I am happy to hear that they do taste good. They are what I call my super-duper emergency long term food storage. I do try to do some long term storage of the every day foods we eat and keep them rotating, as well.

    One other thing I’ve noticed in reading labels is the types of additives some companies use. When I was searching for freeze dried bananas, I noticed that some of them are high in fat and have refused to buy those. When I did find a well known brand that didn’t have added fat, they were nearly always out of stock. When I was able to order them, I never got them and had to ask for a refund. I was told they were out of stock again. I finally found a brand I had never heard of on Amazon and ordered a two-pack. I haven’t opened them yet, so I can’t give a review, although I do LOVE freeze dried bananas.

    On another note, I have managed to locate some freeze dried fruit in individual serving packages at Big Lots. They aren’t cheap, but they do work out to be about $1 each when I have a Big Lots coupon. They are Crispy Green Inc brand of Crispy Fruit, per the label.

    Thanks for the review!

    • Jesse Mathewson

      GA red, sounds like a plan! I’ll check out big lots/ for some things I’m a dollar store guy also!

      • Anonamo Also

        Jesse, Dollar tree has some dehydrated pineapple with papaya that are awesome. I pack 6 bags in a pint jar with oxygen absorber for longer term storage…

  7. Hi Jesse. Good review. Thanks.

    We like Mountain House as well, and have stocked some of the cans of entrees we like, and a bucket or two of the packets as they can serve slightly different purposes: staying in place vs bugging out on foot.

    Before we stocked up, tho, we bought samples in the foil packets and tried them while camping. A couple we like a lot, several were ok, one or two..not so much. The only one I disliked was a blueberry granola which I found sickeningly sweet, but at least one other person was okay with it. So: individual tastes vary.

    With that in mind, I am a BIG believer in actually trying each product before stocking up on it, because it is a big waste of money to buy food you find out too late that someone in the household seriously dislikes. It also doesn’t help much. Mountain House has too many palatable meals to stock up on ones we dislike.

    One issue we have found with almost all the freeze dried foods is that they trend bland for our taste. (also true of many canned goods like canned chili). This is generally pretty easy to remedy by adding spices to taste, but you need to know ahead of time that you should have some spices. Bland isn’t a deal killer, though. Better bland than something one dislikes, or nothing at all.

    Whether a particular company uses real meat or a meat substitute, the meat dishes can be greatly improved by adding a can of meat. Again, you have to sample the stuff in order to know that.

    Our conclusion for ourselves, in our particular circumstances, is that freeze dried foods are a very useful part of our third ring of disaster food supplies. First ring -the core- consists of our normal everyday canned goods, plus rice and pasta. We can get by just fine for quite a while on those.

    Second ring is largely LDS Church ingredients canned for long term storage. In our case that is mostly beans, rice, and quick oats, which don’t need further cooking. Also powdered milk.

    Third ring, as I said, is freeze dried. This can also be used for convenience after or during a long hard day of dealing with a disaster, and for variety. It can also be used for bugging out, or any situation which requires minimal cooking or fire.

    While we are inclined to prioritize stocking those supplies in order: ring one, then two, then three, for some people there are good reasons to add some freeze dried fairly early on for convenience and bugging out/evacuating. However, in most situations, I’d be very comfortable with a large stock of Ring One with little or nothing from the other rings. The great advantage of Ring One foods is that it is basically cost free: they are our everyday foods so we will eat them anyway, first in, first out, so they never go bad.

    I think freeze dried foods definitely have a place in disaster supplies. Exactly what that place is, and how important that place is, must be decided by each of us individually.

    Thanks again, Jesse.

    • Jesse Mathewson

      Penrod,

      I love the LDS store and miss the local ones that they opened from time to time

      • I’m not sure how many of the local LDS stores do any of their own canning, but some of those which do can products which are not available through the national website. Hours are quite limited, so it is important to check the schedule before stopping in, but they can also be cheaper than online. We like their goods a lot for quality and price. They are open to all, not just LDS members.

    • One year later but always good information. I like the three ring description and thanks for the LDS info. Just happens I have six neighbors within 2 miles of me, five are Mormons. I went to school with their parents or older relatives.

  8. I am glad folks are able to buy and use / eat the prepackaged premade foods. It will make life much simpler for you. However, those of us on a low-sodium diet will have to avoid prepackaged meals. Sodium content on that stew with beef was almost 1200 milligrams. I try not to eat anything over 50 milligrams. Yes, that means I make almost everything I eat from scratch. I have found non-sodium alternatives to baking powder and baking “soda” so I can eat baked goods. I have stocked up on those alternatives. I have canned a lot of meals with meat in them without adding salt, and continue to do so. I have dry ingredients from Saratoga Farms for making food from scratch. I have a stockpile of dehydrated fruits and vegetables, flour, sugar, and other cooking / baking essentials. I also have some long term storage meats from some Amish company and some other company. I also have 4 or 5 different sources for cooking meals. There is not much that could happen around here (natural disaster wise) that could wipe us out other than a tornado or a fire, so we are not planning on bugging out. (We live in a fairly remote, unpopulated area.) Good luck to all, and be ever vigilant!

    • Anonamo Also

      Debra L
      , Don’t feel like the lone ranger! We have same issue and similar response to it.
      You are not the only one with the need to work around diet considerations. Y.ou might consider, when working outside in the summer you may require more salt/potassium. I have two mixes, red beans and rice type, I am using for seasoning packs primarily. both are rice based dishes. I add 1/2 cup of cooked rice, and 1-1/2 lbs of meat, some more onions and garlic, possibly some dehydrated okra,… and it is a meal in a pot. I take the beans out of mine and put in DH’s portion…he lkes them and I end up with gastritis when I eat them.

      I have to have lactose free, and have various intolerances in addition, soy and MSG, I also tolerate few beans/legumes. DH can not have but 3 servings of Vitamin K foods a week., can not eat bell peppers or cumin.- that means ones with southwestern chili he can’t eat. (.make him sick for days).
      We like a variety of things, but have not found a kit of anything we can eat half of.

      My method is more like Penrods… but at the present time we do have only one 72 hour kit… and only ONE of the meals I will be able to eat…out of four. I have a good supply of dehydrated foods I have done. and will be buying some more… definitely need to check out the LDS store, and explore to see if I can get a limited selection of a few meals we can both eat.. for a quick meal.
      We have added meat sources and egg production for now.

    • Debra L,

      I really shouldn’t eat foods with a lot of sodium either at my age and I do not add extra salt to my food. The average person, if eating regularly, should consume more than adequate amounts of sodium even if working hard in a hot environment. Adequate hydration is crucial, however.

      The military used to shove salt tablets down our necks every time we turned around in hot weather. They believed it prevented dehydration casualties. Wrong. Now salt tablets have to be issued only by medical personnel and only in extreme circumstances, what ever that is. One needs to drink lots of water with salt tablets too. But, the military did finally learn that adequate meals with lots of water, did the trick better than salt tablets. NCOs now monitor water consumption instead of issuing salt tablets. The attention paid to water consumption in boot camp now is like night and day compared to when I went through.

      Of course, adequate meals are not always available in combat (both lack of supply and lack of appetite), and neither is water. So one has to do the best one can in those circumstances. Given a choice, I would pick water and maybe add a little salt to what food I did eat.

      • I don’t use much added salt (after cooking), but did learn something that’s a good way to know if you need extra sodium after prolonged sweating. If you do a lot of sweating then cool and notice what appears to be a white powder on your skin, it’s a good bet you need to replace some sodium in your system. This happens to me when I do a LOT of sweating, especially in the summer. (Intense sweating also tends to cause me to have a headache.) After reading the tip, I started drinking sports drinks (or I add a little salt and sugar to my water) and the headaches subside without taking any pain relievers.

    • Jesse Mathewson

      Debra and anonamo,

      I do understand eg., the sodium constrictions- remember increased water and sodium while expending greater amounts of energy is not always a bad thing. That said, work within your physical needs and requirements – my parents are on low sodium diets as well, thankfully I’ve maintained a solid dietary approach even with my less than stellar current lifestyle (lower activity) these are an emergency stash only for me and the family and we have tried them of course

      • Anonamo Also

        I will probably got thru the list for the allergens and see if there is a few i can tolerate -in re: to allergies and buy a few of those to try and for emergency meals only. will certaintly be no worse than the packet of 72 hour food that i can only eat one item of, allergen wise…
        I stock a lot of single ingredients and am pretty adept of putting together a meal from fully cooked ingredients with the addition of instant rice,potaotes, or pasta…with quick cook times…

  9. Another great %view Jesse. I have to agree on them being the best tasting. I have used MH for years for backpacking, camping and emergency reserves. We have a well stocked pantry to last a long time if at home, but if we had to leave for what ever reason, we have several of the MH buckets and boxed emergency kits. Light weight and easy to prepare, we would take all of them with us along with a number of Sawyer water filter kits.

    • Jesse Mathewson

      JAS, I do love Sawyer products as well- and yes. They are a stopgap for us also, definitely not a regular meal

  10. Mountain house is my favorite store brand, then wise, but…..Thor brand is the best !!!! LOL

  11. Grammyprepper

    IDK if it is still active, but MH has a buy one get one at 50% off on turkey casserole, gleaned from another prepper website just today. We like MH for meals. We love their breakfasts for camping. I also purchase from Honeyville (sausage and ground meat crumbles), and Food 4Patriots. I always suggest getting samples (Wise is good for that) or purchasing individual packages before investing in any larger orders or packages.

    • Hi Grammyprepper, I agree. If one is going to budget for freeze dried foods, it is a lot better to spend $7-10 each on several different foil packets first and find out what one wants to stock up on and what one wants to avoid. It’s also how to find out what is fine for one as-is and what should have extra spices or canned meat added so one can have those in stock too.

      As others have mentioned, freeze dried foods, like many canned goods, tend to be high in salt. It takes some searching to find low salt products.

      Several months ago we found out that some friends of ours had laid in a major stock of freeze dried food without doing any sampling first. Their attitude was ‘the most expensive option -freeze dried- has to be the best’ and ‘if we are in a disaster situation, we’ll just eat it even if we don’t like it.’

      While I was happy to see they have started prepping, I don’t understand that approach. Why not stock up on the products one knows one likes and avoid stuff one knows one dislikes? It wasn’t like they couldn’t afford samples: they laid in months worth of freeze dried.

      I know from our experience camping that eating freeze dried meals three times a day every day makes for very tough going after a few days. Better to find that out ahead of time.

      As for the most expensive option necessarily being the best…well…a Formula One race car is plenty expensive but I sure wouldn’t want one for taking the kids to school and running errands with the dog. Better to ask oneself ‘what is best for our purposes in our situation?’ My guess is that a lot of people don’t need to go much further than a substantial supply of their standard every day canned goods, rice, and pasta. If they do need to go beyond, better to do it thoughfully.

      • Grammyprepper

        Totally agreed! Your friends are going to be in for one rude awakening, LOL. I know sodium content can be an issue for a lot of folks, but in a SHTF situation, I think that extra sodium may actually be helpful in some cases. The taste and texture of long term storage foods varies company to company, which is why I source from different places myself. I personally don’t want to have to survive on just freeze dried stuff. It is good to have on hand, we rotate through and use it on a semi-regular basis. But planning to survive on it alone? Like you said, having canned goods (store bought or home made) is A)cheaper in the long run B)gives one much more variety.

  12. My experience with MH is a little different. Back during the VN war there was a meal packet for special operations called LRRP’s (Long Range Recon Patrol) . There was no weight to these freeze dried packs, similar to today’s MRE’s, but far better in taste. My favorite was the “Chile Con Carne” & “Corned Beef Hash”. After the war, there was a large stock pile found on Ft Bragg that was available to a select few, meaning you had to know somebody (LOL). I found out years later these were made by MH. I liked them so much I would prefer one to a steak dinner. Sadly, MH does not make them any more. Thus, my long term emergency food is made up of MRE’s, and I get them fresh & as cheap as possible from the commissary. Problem is when I started buying them, they were about $7.50 each, now they’re over $10. And, you got to be really hungry to eat that sh**, except for weight, I would much prefer “C Rat’s”. I’m big on seasoning pkt’s, and I buy the big bottles at Sam’s, one of each spice. I rotate them out by giving them to my kids every couple of years.

    • john bowie,

      I’ve had LRRPs a number of times. My favorites were the same as yours. Far better than C-Rats and MREs.

  13. I just spent an hour on the epicenter site. thanks for the link. Jesse, this is a great review, thanks.

  14. Jesse, I completely agree with you regarding the difference between Mtn House and Wise. I’ve been a Mtn House fan (my favorite is Chicken A La King) for almost 50 years–damn I’m old.

  15. Gold Nugget

    We are avid prospectors and miners with many claims in the Canadian Rockies in some very remote places. Over the years we have tried many different brands of survival food and by far MH is the best. A mere two cups of boiling water added to the pouch and you’ve got gourmet food in the bush! No urges to drive 2 hours into town for a quick burger, lol (yea, we’ve actually done that).

    There are other ways to save on storage food as well that don’t require refrigeration, which is very handy in the bush even though we do have fridges in our small truck campers. We don’t want to use propane any more than necessary which is why we don’t really need the fridge. And glacier-fed rivers are ice cold even during July and August. They’re a natural cooler. So… on with my rant.

    Meat Products
    I always wait for sales on canned meat like turkey, chicken, ham, etc. They last forever and the small tins are perfect to both carry and feed two people for one meal with other side dishes. I prefer to fry the canned meat but that’s just me. I can also eat it right from the can if need be. And of course I have the no-name brands of Spam and corned beef as well. All can be eaten directly from the can with no cooking. Average cost of canned meat is about $1.50 per can on sale in our area.

    Spices and Condiments
    Anyone that knows anything about how to make food tasty in the middle of nowhere knows that items like mayo, mustard, ketchup, etc should never be bought in large bottles. They require refrigeration after opening. I buy the restaurant packets in bulk. Even the mayo does not need refrigeration in the individual packets. I am still eating mayo from packets bought 2 years ago which have never been refrigerated because the small packets are sealed just like the big jars.

    Potatoes and Onions
    Simple… I buy #10 size cans of potato powder which can be divided into smaller jars or plastic bags. I’m currently using the last of one can that is ten years old. I buy large bags of crispy fried onions that also last a long time and can withstand all sorts of heat and cold temps with no degrading in quality. These are usually found in the Asian food aisle and are fantastic for using as either crispy or blended with other foods to add an onion taste. No need to carry around a 50lb bag of onions for long adventures when a mere one lb of the dried ones work just fine and lasts forever.

    Bread
    What is bread?… basically flour and salt with some water added. We keep flour around along with cornmeal and other things to add but the truth is we’ve never cooked bread in the bush. It takes too much time, fuel, and other issues to bother with for the calories needed. We are not bread eaters and would only bother with making it in a dire emergency. I will use potato powder to thicken a broth or other meals. Flour is highly over rated as a base food staple except in poor countries where survival is a daily grind.

    Finally, I just wanted to give a good review for MH foods. I am in no way affiliated with them. We’ve used their stuff up here in the BC Rockies and they were excellent so far. Too expensive to eat them every day but a nice break from having to cook after a hard day of prospecting and mining.

    Gold Nugget

  16. Curley Bull's Grand Daughter

    For those that have tried it, what is your opinion of Food4Patriots? To me it taste like real food, however almost anything taste better than Wise.

  17. I’d like to point out that the government placed such a large order for MH the MH reduced its sales to the public and had to build a new manufactory to meet the government orders for product. That was a few years ago during Obama admin. And, with all the reports of government underground storage facilities it make you wonder what they are preparing for. And don’t forget about all the ammo they ordered, including the .22 caliber.

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