These are the same great flavours as the single potions but in larger packs that can serve 2 people or one very hungry person. Single portions are 100g dry weight and Big Packs are 166g dry weight. Buying big packs is better value for money and more weight efficient as only one outer bag has to be carried.
Mountain House Freeze Dried Food is a popular brand from the US and has been used by trekkers, climbers, backpackers and campers for over 30 years. Freeze dried food is the best way to eat well on the move, offering balanced meals with the right mix of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, packed in handy meal sized portions. Mountain House food is great tasting, easy to prepare and has a long shelf life.
Quick and easy to prepare in their own expanding foil pouch, simply add hot water (or cold for desserts), re-seal the packet stir and wait for 5-8 minutes.
(V) denotes suitable for vegetarians.
Most of the meals offer just over 5 calories per gram of food carried, except Sweet & Sour Chicken and Veg Tikka which are about 4.25 calories per gram of food carried. Chicken Korma is top at 5.22 calories per gram carried whilst Spaghetti Bolognaise has the absolute highest number of calories in a pack at 716 (142g). These values are calculated from the single pack values and are not quite consistent with the big packs although they contain the same stuff! The difference is about a quarter of a calorie per gram of food.
For nutritional information please see the tables below.
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Bought this for a mountain marathon but ended up using it on a bothy trip where space and weight were a consideration on the walk in.
The flavour was a little bit strange but ok, probably needed more salt!
The pack was easy to open then I added a quantity of boiling water and set my timer for 9 minutes, and with a bit of stirring the meal was soon reconstituted.
The big pack is pretty big and although I managed the Lasagne evening meal eventually, I struggles with the scrambled eggs and potato big pack the next morning, the standard size would have been a better choice.
Don't forget to remove the desiccant sachet before adding the boiling water.
Vegetable Tikka - mixed easily with water and produced a spicy (rather than hot) rice meal. It was very filling and without a full day on the hills beforehand I'm not sure I could have finished it. It reminded me more of a Biryani than a Tikka which isn't a problem for me, after eating I felt noticably warmer as one would expect and hope. I also felt fairly drowsy - good in this case as it was time to sleep, an ideal evening meal if you're eating the full sachet, perhaps a little heavy if you're expecting to be working hard immediately afterwards. The water was fully absorbed in the time suggested (just brought to the boil and poured in) though I did stir midway through to be sure. Tasty, filling and full of calories - will be carrying this again.
These are easily the most convenient way to get hot food up in the mountains - combined with a Jetboil, you have a very lightweight setup that doesn't require any washing up, and the empty package is no problem to carry out. The big pack is enough for reasonable servings for two people, if combined with something else to make a full meal. You need a long spoon to reach the bottom of the pack - we use LightMyFire Sporks, and get messy fingers when scraping the bottom of the pack out.
Some flavours are definitely better than others though. The Spag Bol is not nice at all - a metallic aftertaste. But the Chicken Korma is excellent - actually better than some (admittedly dubious) takeaways we've had. Surprisingly to us, Scrambled Eggs with Ham and Potato is one of the best, although a few of the bits of fried potato remained a little hard even after waiting 10mins.
My tip is to use a little more water than they say, and it will come out a little 'soupy' - but this is far preferable to it being under-rehydrated. Stuff it up your fleece while waiting, to keep it and you warm. Another tip is to have some way of measuring water because they all use precise amounts and not nice round numbers like 500ml.
The large sizes seem adequate for a hungry walker. It prepared very well as per instruction and was pleasantly tasty. I will be ordering more varieties
The best dehydrated brand I've ever used. You do need the right amount of water so I've marked my pan in the correct units as some of the instructions use non metric measures. Long shelf life is a nice feature if you are buying a few of them and flavours are good. I find the big pack is ok for 2 if you pack it out with some fresh beans/vegetables or similar cooked in the pan whilst the meal re hydrates without using too much fuel (and with soup starters and cake for pudding!). Expense is the only reason for 4 rathe than 5 stars.
These are easily the best freeze dried meals I've had. If you follow the instruction on pack, the whole meal will be just the right texture all the way through. There aren't any pockets of dry powder lurking in the corners.
However, be warned! I'm a 6ft man and like my portions large. After a full day of climbing, I still struggled to get through one of these. I've now switched to taking the smaller packs. There's always a chocolate bar if I'm still peckish!
I'm actually not entirely sure what situation would suit these larger packs. They feel a little too large for one, but I can't imagine they'd be enough for two hungry individuals after a hard day either...
I have bought several of these meals in preparation for a trip to the Scottish mountains this winter. They are obviously very expensive for the amount of calories provided (although this is slightly offsetted by the facewest points reward scheme), but great for convenience and are very lightweight. I also like the fact that they come with a multitude of ingredients which means you can meet your nutritional needs without having to pack things like fresh fruit and veg which obviously isn't practical for a long trip, and the fact that you can eat it out of the bag to save washing up!
I have so far only tried the Chicken Korma flavour so far as I will save the rest for my trip. I was a bit worried that being a freeze dried meal it wouldn't taste that great, but I actually found it to be really delicious! It (the big pack) was also the perfect size to fill me up, and I just managed to finish it - I normally have quite a big appetite.
Others have mentioned the consistency not being right if not adding the precisely right amount of water. I only had a plain metal cooking pot when I was boiling my water for this so I had to guess the amount... and it turned out perfectly! Could of been luck of course but my advice would be to just add water until it looks right and you should be fine. Obviously too little initially is better than too much as you can always add more later.
Overall, I would say this is almost a perfect food to take with you on camping trips, the only downside being the cost when compared to regular food.
Just come back from a trip where we took 4 of these big meals. We took Chilli Con Carne with Rice, Spaghetti Bolognese, Chicken Tikka with Rice and Mediterranean Vegetable Pasta. The meals were large and shared between two along with another smaller dish. The packaging was good and the food rehydrated well for all three but thats where the similarities ended. The spaghetti was fairly reasonable - I have paid a lot more for worse in a french ski resort ;) The Chilli was a bit disappointing after the spaghetti had raised expectations, but was still ok for a freeze dried meal. It was a bit bland. The Mediterranean Vegetable was a major fail. Very thin in consistency and taste. Just about managed to finish this and I never waist food! The curry was a bit watery for us, but tasted absolutely fantastic. I was really surprised at the range of quality in these 4. Go for the Curry and Bolognese - These get a 5!
It mixes really well with the water and with proper time and some stirring there are no dry pockets. The portions are also pretty huge when getting the big pack.
We tried Chili Con Carne, Chicken Tikka, Pasta in Lasagne Sauce and the Salmon with potato. Of these the only one that was actually edible out of the bag was the Salmon which was surprisingly good. The others had a distinct acidic taste that none of us had experienced before with other brands of freeze dried. It might be our scandinavian taste buds because salt seemed to rectify the problem to some extent but nevertheless, a lot of much needed cals didn't go down due to that awful taste, which is obviously a bit of a disaster when out and about.
Try some at home before you head out!
I bought the chilli con carne flavour for my dinner on a mountain marathon. I hadn't used freeze dried food before and thought I would buy the big pack with the reasoning of better too much than too little. Despite being a big pack it weighs very little and doesn't take up much room especially considering it is your dinner. I found it really easy to use and it definitely took away the hassle of cooking after a long and tiring day. I didn't manage to finish the whole packet but I did also have a freeze dried dessert to get through. I liked the flavour and the hot food really helped pick me up and make me feel warm and recovered and full...would recommend it for mountain marathons and camping trips where you carry all your stuff with you.
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