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Pack Mountain House Freeze-Dried Food to Lighten the Camping Backpack

As someone who loves to cook, dried food is rarely a go-to.. So, despite its obvious convenience, I’ve never taken dried food on a camping trip. Instead, I always cook food over the fire because, of course, it just tastes fantastic.

When Mountain House contacted me to do a review of their new low sodium line of freeze dried foods, I was hesitant for that reason. But then, I watched their video, which might just be the best PR video I’ve ever seen. Backpackers enjoying meals over gorgeous mountain views? Count me in.

What I knew before I got my sample was the benefits of freeze-drying food. Because the freeze drying removes 98% of the food’s water, Mountain House food weighs significantly less than when fresh – their website says food is 60%-90% lighter in weight. This, combined with the portability, makes a huge difference when you are packing for a many weeks long backpacking trip.

Chicken and White Bean Chili before water is added

Mountain House sent me a bag of their Chicken and White Bean Chili. The first thing I noticed was that yes, it is extremely light. The packaging, as I already said, made it more portable than fresh food. It also is designed to stand-up right, so I wouldn’t have to worry about my food toppling over and spilling onto the ground of my campsite.

When I opened the package, I was immediately impressed. I could actually smell that it was chicken and white bean chili. The process of preparing the food is super easy. Just boil 2 cups of water, stir it into the bag, and seal for 8-9 minutes. As I waited for the food to cook, I was again blown away by the smell – if someone had walked in on me preparing the food, they would have thought I was cooking fresh chili.

Mountain House is very unique in their industry because they fully cook the meals before freeze-drying them. This extra step is easily tasted in the meal – it tasted perfectly fresh and really quite delicious. The bag is meant to serve 2 people with a little leftover, but I think it could have comfortably served 3.

Because I have not tried Mountain House’s standard products, I don’t feel that I can comment as well on the new low sodium factor of my Chicken and White Bean Chili. However, I can say that the meal didn’t leave me with the feeling of being weighted down, which is a frequent problem with canned foods.

I was thoroughly impressed by the product and recommend it. While I will not be abandoning campfire cooking, the Mountain House freeze-dried meals are perfect for longer trips and give ample energy for hiking, climbing, or paddling around.