Mountain House Bucket

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Introduction to Mountain House Products

More and more people across the US are preparing for emergencies in 2023, and there are a plethora of reasons to do so. Floods, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes. Floods, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes. Some people are even still preparing for nuclear war and constant power outages! If you also decided to enhance your emergency preparedness, you need to have some crucial things such as a basement, water filtration system, air conditioning, electricity generator, and from all the gear, the most important is obviously food. 

And when it comes to food preparation for an emergency becomes a bit more difficult because you can’t just buy some usual food at the nearest Walmart and put it in your basement. You have to choose food which can be stored for a long period of time, can be easily prepared and do not take a lot of space to store. And to find and buy such food can be a daunting task. But thankfully, mountain house food is here to help. Besides having substantial survival skills and top survival gear, food is of paramount importance.

Why read mountain house reviews? For those who enjoy hiking in the mountains, this article will be of great assistance. You may never know what will happen in the mountains, away from civilization, so you had better be prepared. Among the first things to consider in any survival situation is the food factor. As you are backpacking, think about your menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner: consider taking the meals with the longest shelf life and rich in calories.

You should pack rice, freeze-dried meat, chicken, and more! Find out all about what a mountain house should have to let you stay alive longer.

A few Words About Mountain House Company

Mountain House survival food has been a go-to brand for over fifty years among campers, backpackers, and survival experts who know quality when they see it–and more importantly when they taste it.

Originally making freeze-dried meals for US Special Forces, Mountain House food buckets are well known for their reliability and delicious flavor, which can be hard to find in these types of emergency meals. This particular brand has been chosen time and again as the best all-around survival food that money can buy, no matter the situation. When failure is not an option, Mountain House is chosen.

Mountain house produces 5 stars top-quality long-lasting freeze-dried foods and car camping food, which can be stored for a long time and is perfect for emergencies and outdoor recreation such as camping or alpinism. Survival food produced by Mountain House is very delicious and convenient and can be your escape key in any emergency.

What are Mountain House products?

Mountain house produces freeze-dried food packages of various tastes so anyone can find something appealing, so let’s explore some of these packages.

General Features

The Mountain House Just In Case Classic Bucket features a total of 12 meals, enough to feed one person for three and a half days.

1. The meals included in this bucket are the following:

  • 2 beef stroganoff
  • 2 chicken teriyaki
  • 2 noodles and chicken
  • 2 lasagna with meat sauce
  • 2 beef stew
  • 2 granola with milk and blueberries.

Mountain House buckets are stackable and portable, and all the pouches inside feature a 30-year Taste Guarantee. If this quality is ever found to be lacking at any point within those years, Mountain House emergency food will replace the product at no cost to you with the same product or a reasonable equivalent.

2. Simplicity of cooking

These pouch meals are straightforward to prepare. You simply add hot water, and in less than ten minutes, your meal is ready to eat. The best part is that there are no pots or pans needed, so no messy clean-up afterward. You can prepare and eat from the same package and simply throw it away.

Each pouch contains 1-3 servings and has a 4 out of 5-star rating for durability.

  • These emergency food buckets include a total of 12 meals, in pouches, at 1-3 servings per pouch.
  • Pouches have a 12+ Year Taste Guarantee with free replacement
  • Just-Add-Water feature allows you to eat in ten minutes or less; no pots or pans are needed.
  • Great product durability and storage features.

Where to find Mountain House Foods?

So, when you finally decided that Mountain House product options would be a darn good investment in your survival, you will have to find a place where you can buy them. And this is not a hard task. First of all, you can go to the Mountain House website and order kits there. The site has a very user-friendly design, a screen-reader, and it is straightforward to shop there.

What is very convenient is the fact that the website allows you to buy not only the whole buckets or kits it also allows you to buy each meal separately so you can customize your survival menu. If you wish, you can buy all the entrees or any hot meal or order 10 freeze-dried spaghetti with meat sauce.  

Moreover, on the website, you can order Mountain House kits with free shipment even for your very first purchase ever, plus no fees!

Also, the site has a very convenient section for buyers where you can contact customer service or write a review for any product. And by the way, the site supports any type of alternative payment method.

Except for the official website, you can find Mountain House freeze-dried food in numerous local shops across the US and Canada.   

Why Consider Mountain House Foods?

Since I got several backcountry food pouches from Mountain House a while ago, I was planning to give a comprehensive overview of their freeze-dried meals for survival.

It may be useful to the readers to know that I have already made some thorough reviews of both Valley Food Storage‘s and Legacy Food Storage‘s survival meals. I was feeling excited to add another survival foods brand to this nice company. And as I already have some experience with Mountain House products, it would make more sense. Actually, back in the old days, my wife and I spent a lot of time outdoors hiking and backpacking in the distant wilderness, and our meals more or less often consisted of Mountain House freeze-dried pouches.

We started our honeymoon at Yosemite’s backcountry and proceeded to Little Yosemite Valley, then spent the following day hiking by the Merced River to ultimately get to Merced Lake. The next morning we hiked back to the Yosemite Valley with Half Dome in our sights; it was our big hobby back then.

Navigation Channel

The key point here is that spending days and nights and dinners and lunches in the remote wilderness is much more convenient and enjoyable with the top quality freeze-dried products such as Mountain House Meals. The reasons why it is so are their small size, lightweight, simplicity of cooking, and high nutritional and energetic value.

Generally, freeze-dried meals are a common option for many camping fans, tracking lovers, and backpackers. However, the question is still pondering…

Are Mountain House’s pouches a good option for survival?

Let’s find out by sorting the brand’s strong and potential weak points.

As A Way To Get Our Readers Acquainted To Tips and Hacks, We’re Ready To Send You Our Ultimate Food Planning Guide For The Whole Family.

Preparing The Meals

Now let me tell you what I was dealing with when cooking it for the first time.

One evening I took both meals from the shelf and started preparing. Whatever boring it may sound, before cooking a new freeze-dried or any other meal, the sure thing a ” boring” man like me does is carefully reading the cooking instructions (and I would advise you to do the same since there may be some cooking process-related peculiarities).

The first tip is to make sure you have poured the precise amount of water because if you pour more, do not get surprised to have a runny dish, whereas if you have not added enough water, it may not cook right at all.

Reading the guidelines was just the moment it dawned on me the most substantial difference between Mountain House and the competition –

HOW you cook the food

As you know, Mountain House has been a primary food for backpackers for a long while, so they focus on those demands and needs, and weight remains one of the core challenges when trekking, backpacking, or emergency bugging out. Pack weight is a struggle and a conflict as it is always hard to maintain pack weight down to an easy level and at the same time take enough daily stuff, necessary equipment, and meals to keep you going.

Still, brands like Mountain House chose weight reduction as their credo and are doing their best to allow us to prepare the food right in the pouch.

This Gear is Сrucial

Thus, campers, survivalists, and backpackers may prepare their meals without carrying heavy pots, pans, and bowls to their backcountry trip.

And the cooking number one rule is the following: add the boiling-hot water to the pouch instead of dropping the food into your boiling pot, contrary to many other survival meal instructions.

I would put this in bold to outline how important is adding water straight to the pouch (not vice versa) for cooking a fine meal in the wilderness.

Secondly, to boil water before pouring it into the pouch, you will surely need a solid and lightweight portable stove (I usually go with my Jet Boil).

Flash Personal Cooking System

That eventually means no mess, no stress, and almost no extra cooking gear.

In plus, as estimated, it can save you up to 2 pounds of your equipment — isn’t it a fine bonus for camping, backpacking, or bugging out? When you are loaded with heavy equipment, you eventually slow down on your way, so each ounce does matter. What actually makes it possible is the fact that the pouch has a tight and resealable Mylar bag. An airtight seal prolongs its shelf-life, prevents it from humidity, and for opening it, you only have to cut a strip off its top side.

It is obvious. You can not cook your freeze-dried meal in a pouch with no resealing option. However, some other freeze-dried products simply do not have a zip-lock sort resealing feature, which may cause a huge amount of heat to dissolve from the boiling water and ultimately result in an undercooked meal.

With the quality resealing pack as the one Mountain House owns, you can cook your pouches right in your bag-out-bag.

Mountain House Pouches

The meal is ready for boiling water (see the resealing strips on the pouch)

So, sometimes you have to be a little boring and follow the cooking instructions to get the best result.Mountain House

If you compare Mountain House to many similar survival meal manufacturers, this is a considerable difference worth mentioning once again; and that is also one of the reasons I personally prefer Mountain House among the many freeze-dried meals for my bug-out bag, my get home bag, and overall preparedness strategy.

Here you are carrying a pouch full of calories and nutrients and lesser total weight (food +cooking device) in your backpack.

Anyway, How Does Mountain House’s Food Taste?

The taste and the variety of flavors do not usually come as primary factors when choosing survival meals simply because any meal would taste great if you are starving in the wild.

For instance, plain old rice will seem amazing.

Still, we agree that putting your money into meals that tastes not good is unwise, so today, we are going to compare Mountain House’s tastes to other popular brands briefly.

Once again, I took some time to read the guidelines and then followed the instructions. Those are as simple as can be: boil some water, pour water to the pouch, stir, seal, wait for four to five minutes, stir, seal again, wait for about ten minutes, enjoy your meal.

As A Way To Get Our Readers Acquainted To Tips And Hacks, We’re Ready To Give Our Ultimate Food Planning Guidebook For The Whole Family.

Here is how my survival meal looks resealed on the waiting mode

Chicken Fajita Bowl

So, as soon as the timer told me the meal was ready, I opened the pouches again, stirred the dish one last time, and then served it up and finally called my family to dinner (my wife, my 3.5-year-old, and my nearly one year old).

Cooking Instructions Mountain House

On The Left: Chicken Fajita Bowl / On The Right: Breakfast Hash

I am almost the only one in the family who prefers spicy meals. My kids do not usually eat spicy foods, unlike me, but with the “spicy southwest breakfast hash,” I gave it a try myself before offering it to my family.

I enjoyed my Mountain Housedinner.

It reminded me of a southwest breakfast casserole, and eventually, I found myself having eaten the whole pouch alone in five minutes.

However, I still shared the second meal, which was a chicken fajita bowl with my family. And I surely wanted to ask their opinion, and my wife liked it, though added it was not as fine as the last Mountain House’s survival meal we took with us on a previous trip. In plus, her portion of freeze-dried chicken was not soft enough, she added. I thought that was probably because I didn’t pour enough boiling water on the chunk and did not stir and mix it long enough.

This way, our next advice is: make sure to properly mix the pouch before you leave it to cook if you want to avoid this slight undercooked feeling.

Another small tip for the future: to keep the heat in after it is cooked, we advise you to wrap the pouch in a warm coat or even a sleeping bag  — this way, it maintains the heat for a much longer time.

It was a tiny problem, anyway, and I am pretty sure I will avoid it next time by more thorough stirring.

But this is one of the disadvantages of preparing your food in pouches.

My daughter (very critical about food) ate a few bites and was ready to switch to fruit though the fact that she managed to eat four bites means she rated it as four out of five stars on her ranking scale.

Overall, the food tasted great, especially the survival meals – well done, for now, Mountain House.

Cleaning Up

We do not usually discuss the dish clean up much in survival food overviews as there usually’s nothing interesting to know and share. Nevertheless, with Mountain House, the cleanup was something worth telling about.

I took both empty packages and sent them to the trash bin. Then I took the plates and put them on the floor when our dog rushed to lick the dishes as he could not resist the tasty smell.Dog To “Pre-Wash” The Dishes

Chocolate Lab Clean Up Plate

It is generally that simple as for survival meals — you just do not need any pot pans to scrub and wash. The boiling pot where I used to boil the water for our dinner was clean, and I only had to let it dry and put it back on the shelf.

By the way, you know that in survival mode, water is always too valuable to be wasted for the cleaning, so here again, Mountain House outpaces its competitors.

And that is another argument FOR preparing your meals in the pouch!

Recently I strengthened up this article by making a video review of Mountain House products video —I’d be glad if you watch the review below:

In terms of water amounts, one key advantage of the Mountain House freeze-dried bag out foods is that they only need two cups of water, and that is an optimal amount when you have a Jetboil like me.

If you heat the pouched meal right in your backpack, that means you save weight and space in your bag and do not have to bother about carrying a big family pot or several bowls with you.

And every serious backpacker, survivalist, and trekker would confirm that every inch and pound matters when you’re trekking, hiking, camping, or bugging out.

Mountain House Ingredient List

What About Meal Shelf Life?

Mountain House is one step forward in terms of the products’ shelf life since most bag-out food manufacturers provide an “up to 25-year guarantee,” and Mountain House, according to recent testing, managed to increase the shelf-life of their foods to 30 years.

So, it is not funny and risky anymore to acquire and taste the meals dating back to 1990, not it will be dangerous for your kids to eat them in 2050 if bought in 2020, as Mountain House’s taste guarantee covers these 30 years.

In addition, the recent testing proved that the actual shelf life of Mountain House meals even exceeds 30 years if kept in proper conditions, which literally means the real Mountain House foods stored for 30+ years in real-world conditions still satisfy the consumers’ demands in terms of fine taste. Isn’t that surprising?

So, Mountain House is probably the only brand in the survival foods industry that can claim this with no allegations since it was confirmed by many astonished consumers of the Mountain House military food, which was stocked for up to 42 years.

Freeze-drying maintains flavor, taste, and nutrients, contrary to bulk drying, and for the foods having a 30-year-ahead expiration date, Mountain House may be proud of its surprisingly clean ingredients.

Now that the shelf life is three decades or more, I can now acquire and store greater amounts of stuff without any worries about changing my stocks systematically.

As for my experiment, the pouches had a “best before” date of July 2047, so I’d probably update this review thirty years later (if you want to know how it will taste, then stay tuned and come back to reading it three decades later).

As A Way To Introduce Our Readers To Protips, Hacks, and Clues, We’re Ready To Send You Our Comprehensive Food Planning Guidebook For The Whole Family.

Miscellaneous Review Items

So, the Mountain House’s taste test went well, the cooking process was easy, and the package was solid, too.

The durable and thick Mylar bags are not easy to accidentally puncture or rip. They maintain the freshness and keep out the oxygen so that your emergency food is likely to outlast yourself and be eaten by your kids or even grandkids.

As for ingredients, each pouch lists them all on the backside of the package. Still, some of them may cause questions: for instance, I do not have a clear notion of what “ferric orthophosphate” is.

Mountain House Ingredient List

Mountain House Ingredient List

In this case, we would recommend you Valley Food Storage in terms of the ingredients’ simplicity. It overtakes Mountain House.

Also, it is essential to mention that Mountain House has developed a gluten-free line of products for those with specific dietary requirements.

Our top Mountain House Picks

1. Mountain House Classic bucket assortment

Screenshot 9

This is probably the best Mountain House product with an average rating of 5 stars! The Mountain House classic bucket is easy to store, and it can be on a shelf for 30 years, which makes it great for emergencies or camping.

It contains zero artificial colors and flavors. And includes:

  • 3 gluten-free beef stews, made of natural beef carrots and potatoes
  • 2 gluten-free chicken fried rice, tasteful chicken, long rice, scrambled eggs, pepper, and mushrooms.
  • 2 granola with blueberries and milk  
  • 2 classic spaghetti with meat sauce
  • 3 beef stroganoff with noodles made of savory beef

Extra features

  • Moreover, Mountain House’s classic assortment bucket has not only a great variety of yummy taste freeze-dried food with bland and mealy flavors which was made without unnecessary chemicals it delivers up to 6 thousand calories which can be crucial for survival in an extreme situation or for well-being during family camping. Which effectively makes Mountain House classic bucket a must-have on your shelf.
  • Furthermore, the Mountain House classic bucket assortment has a preparation time of only nine minutes and requires solely 18 cups of water to be ready. So you can eat just a few minutes after you decided to do so. Also, the Mountain House classic bucket is very suitable for transportation because it weighs only 5.7 lbs.
  • Also last but not least, the classic assortment bucket contains so much food and calories so that you can use it not only for survival but also for successful bulk up in the gym. 

2. Mountain house emergency 4 day supply

Mountain House Emergency 4 Day Supply

If Mountain House classic assortment bucket seems to be too bulky for you. There are plenty of other packages from Mountain House. And one of them is the Mountain House emergency 4 day supply kit. Unlike the classic assortment bucket, 4 day supply contains 12 packages divided into 3 groups as breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which bring more diversity of freeze-dried food to the table and helps to organize your ratio properly.

The breakfast package includes 2 granola with blueberries and milk plus 2 gravy and biscuits. Dinner and lunch packages include 2 chicken fried rice, 2 Mexican style rice with chicken, 2 macaroni with cheese, and 2 chicken and dumplings.

Preparing this supply is also quite an easy task, just add hot water and wait for 10 minutes. The shelf life of this product is the same as the shelf life of a classic assortment bucket which is 30 years. 

3. Mountain House weekender adventure kit

Mountain House Weekender Adventure Kit

This kit is for the people who still want top-quality freeze-dry food but just for the weekend with the family in nature, not for the ultimate survival. This product is comparable to both the Mountain House classic assortment bucket a 4 day supply kit and obviously has the same Mountain House quality. The average rating value of the product is also almost 5 stars.

Mountain House weekender adventure kit includes 1 granola with blueberries and milk, 1 breakfast skillet. 2 chicken and rice, and 2 beef stroganoff with meat sauce and noodles. As usual, all meals are produced without artificial flavors.  

From the point of shelf life and convenience, this kit is just as good as the previous two. It also has 30 years shelf life from the manufacture date, which assures that money is spent right and you can go for an adventure at any suitable time. 

Shortfalls: Mountain House Survival Food

As to the average rating value, the most common critique of the Mountain House Buckets is that the food is okay but not great. Given that this kind of emergency bucket is supposed to be used in cases of—you guessed it—emergencies, I never saw this to be much of a problem.

But, it is something worth pointing out. The food is good, but many people searching for a more gourmet option might not be pleased. In such a case, you might want to try Wise’s gourmet options.

Don’t get me wrong, the Mountain House product isn’t some MRE or emergency food ration, but if you are looking for true gourmet emergency food, you might not only rate these at say—3 out of 5 stars.

Think of Mountain House as a solid in-between brand between bland MREs and extremely expensive gourmet food buckets. They are still a great choice, but it’s all in what you want.

Recommendation: Mountain House Dried Food

Overall, this seems to be a product that is worth the money spent. The durability, storage options, shelf life, and ease of preparation are definite scores for good.

The Taste Guarantee states that if this food is not as good as it should be, that it will be replaced with the same or an equivalent product, which means there’s really nothing to lose.

While some may not like the taste, they may only be comparing it to the “good” food that we all get because we’re not in actual emergency situations. Drastic times will certainly make some foods taste much better, and when it comes down to the real nitty-gritty, it’s not really that bad.

If you are looking for quality emergency food at an affordable price, you can’t beat Mountain House’s emergency meals.

Preppers Takeaway

In the past, my only favorite was Mountain House — I took it each time I headed for a hike or any outdoor adventure. As for backpacking meals and emergency food, I would either choose it or Valley Food Storage since it has an equally good stocking capacity and an even clearer list of ingredients.

Nevertheless, if we are talking about stocking survival food for the future, I would definitely include Mountain House in my shopping cart. Thanks to their emergency and preparedness-related line of products such as food kits and buckets, long-term stockpiling with Mountain House is easy and carefree.

These food supplies vary from two-day to 14-Day ones, enough to build and maintain a consistent and hearty ration with the optimal amount of portions to charge the whole family regardless of how far and how long you go. Here Mountain House is an optimal solution, so do not hesitate to add it to your bug-out bag or get-home bag if you are seeking survival food for a home stocking pantry. Plus, the 30-year shelf life guarantee of fine taste is more than just remarkable!

Cooking Mountain House products is as easy that a five-year-old child can manage it alone, and finally,  whatever Mountain House meal you take it will be a consistent and nutritious investment in your tranquility and contentment whatever the surroundings.

Among the wide range of backcountry meals, Mountain House freeze-dried pouches are worth spending a buck as they will make a fine quick bite at the camp, or maybe stockpiled for decades just in case, till the next massive emergency or a long power cut-off happens.

As for you, which Mountain House product would you include in your menu? Leave your reply in the comments.

Remember: To Prepare Is Already Half The Deal, To Adapt And Overcome Is Another One.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Do Mountain House meals go bad?

The package is robust and durable, which means it is not easy to tear or puncture; as a survival food brand, Mountain house does its best to ensure both the durable shelf life and good taste for a longer time. Still, it is advisable to keep your food stockpiles in reasonable conditions and not leave them open for years.

Who owns Mountain House?

Mountain House is owned by Oregon Freeze Dry (OFD), the parent company of freeze-dried foods aimed at easy meals for survival and preparedness; the company also owns the Easy Meal brand. The current President/CEO of the OFD is Jim Merryman.

How much water does a typical Mountain House meal require?

The process of making Mountain House meals requires adding water. There are certain facts that should be considered. First, any meal from the Mountain House requires about 18 cups of hot water.  And secondly, the hotter is the water, the less of it you have to pour into the meal to prepare it.

Is there a vegetarian version of this product?

In our article, we did not represent any vegetarian options, but on the website of mountain house, you can find a lot of them for the same price and with the topmost quality. Opt for those with the greatest average customer ratings. 

Does Costco sell Mountain House?

Mountain House Emergency Food Supplies & Kits are surely sold by Costco and other well-known discount stores. Visit its official website for more information:

What’s the shelf life of this product?

The question of shelflife is crucial in terms of survival. No one would want to have digestion issues while already facing the dangers of a survival situation. as to the lifespan, it is beyond all expectations. Any Mountain House meal product, including classic bucket, has 30 years shelf life. 

Where to buy mountain house freeze-dried food?

You can purchase it in many big stores or visit websites like Walmart, Rei, eBay, Safecastle, and so on, which offer a lot of Mountain House product options. In plus, you may browse through the affiliate links in this article or search for other products on to learn more.


A former USA Army sergeant and a highly educated survivalist and prepper with a degree and interest in Engineering and Electronics, Mike Millerson applies his extensive expertise in survivalism, homesteading, backpacking, hiking and hunting, spreading his deep knowledge about handling emergencies and prepping for them reasonably and effectively.




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