When you start prepping for disaster situations, you’ll want to cover all the essentials and then some. One of the first essentials is food that is easy to prepare, high in nutritional value, and lasts for years when stored. The most popular option is freeze-dried foods, and the two most highly debated brands that create them are Mountain House and Backpacker’s Pantry. The question is: which is better?
Determining which brand comes out on top between Mountain House and Backpacker’s Pantry depends on what you prioritize in their products. Most people claim that Mountain House is consistently superior in terms of taste, while Backpacker’s Pantry has more nutritional value per serving.
In this article, we are going to put these two freeze-dried meal brands head-to-head comparison to determine which is the better option for disaster prepping and survival situations. As you read, you’ll learn the pros and cons of each brand regarding important factors, such as cost, taste, nutrients, and more.
Mountain House Vs Backpacker’s Pantry
As much as we’d like to say there is a clear winner in this comparison, it’s not that easy. There are a number of factors to consider that affect whether one is the superior choice over the other.
For the sake of this article, the factors we are going to compare regarding Mountain House and Backpacker’s pantry freeze-dried meals are:
- Nutritional Value
These are the factors we think people prioritize the most in their freeze-dried meals in survival situations and would, therefore, have the most influence on which option is the best for them.
Selection might not rank the highest on your priority list for a survivalist meal, but it certainly helps to have diversity, when possible, especially if you have specific food requirements, such as gluten-free or vegan ingredients.
Both Mountain House and Backpacker’s Pantry have a significant selection of foods that fall under the categories listed below:
As you can see, Mountain House has more categories for their food options you can choose from, including a selection of gluten-free foods for those who have this dietary need, but Backpacker’s Pantry has a category dedicated to plant-based foods for vegetarians.
When it comes to the type of meals you’ll find within these categories, Backpacker’s Pantry strives to provide a significant number of options that derive from a range of cultures, whereas Mountain House tends to stick to American classics, so determining which is best here largely depends on your palette and food preferences.
The importance of taste in your freeze-dried meals can’t be understated. While it’s easy in a survival situation to say that calories, vitamins, and other nutritional elements should come first, eating foods that taste good can have a significant positive impact on your mental and emotional state. This can help improve your mood and allow you to make better decisions throughout the day.
Taste is highly subjective, so it’s difficult to definitively say one brand is better than the other, especially when they have such large selections of food options. Arguably the only way to really compare them is to try a meal they each offer, like the Lasagna or Chicken and Rice, side by side.
The general consensus people seem to have is that Mountain House is more consistent with its flavors throughout all its meals, they’re all decent, but very few will really wow you, whereas Backpacker’s Pantry has more wildcard meals that exceed expectations.
When you’re stocking up on your freeze-dried meals, the price difference of a few cents can quickly grow into tens or even hundreds of dollars if you’re buying in bulk.
If you’re looking strictly at the price tag for these brands, you’ll find that Mountain House tends to be a few dollars more expensive than Backpacker’s Pantry with its meals generally costing $10-$13 compared to $6-$9.
If we did a more direct comparison using the Pad Thai with Chicken meals offered by both brands, you’d find that each labels the meal as containing two servings, but the Mountain House version weighs in at 3.9 oz (110g) for $10.75 versus the Backpacker’s Pantry weighing in at 6.7 oz (190g) for $12.99.
This means that Mountain House costs $2.76 per ounce compared to Backpacker’s Pantry at $1.94 per ounce for conceivably the same meal.
We briefly touched on this in the previous section, but we’ll expand on it here. Both Mountain House and Backpacker’s Pantry offer their meals in various sizes, including single serving, double serving, and bulk options like cans.
For the most part, meals offered by Mountain House tend to be a bit smaller, weighing around 3 ounces compared to Backpacker’s Pantry averaging 6 ounces.
This means that, not only are the serving sizes smaller, but you have the benefit of the packs being lighter and smaller in size, if space and weight is crucial to your packing.
A benefit of freeze-dried meals is that they tend to be very low-effort, high-reward sources of food. All you have to do is add hot water, stir up the contents, and allow the bag to sit for a period of time.
If you want your meals to take as little time as possible, then you’ll want to opt for Mountain House because meals are generally done within 8-9 minutes, whereas meals from Backpacker’s Pantry take double the time at 15-20 minutes.
Another factor of Backpacker’s Pantry that people might not like is that more of the meals contain additional packages containing seasonings and other ingredients that you’ll need to open and add to the bag, which can be more irritating and time consuming than just pouring water into the bag.
When it comes to survival situations, having food sources that are high in nutritional value is essential. By this we mean calories, vitamins, minerals and other elements that will provide energy and support a healthy diet.
If there’s any category where Backpacker’s Pantry truly shines, it’s here. While Mountain House’s meals certainly contain the crucial dietary elements listed above, they don’t do it to the same extent you’ll find in Backpacker’s Pantry meals.
These meals are particularly high in their vitamin and mineral content, high in calories, and provide a series of low-sodium options in addition to those for individuals with dietary restrictions as we discussed earlier.
In addition to these benefits, there are Backpacker’s Pantry meals that are made strictly with organic and natural ingredients, ensuring there are no unhealthy preservatives or other unnatural ingredients that aren’t contributing to your overall health.
After reading this breakdown comparison of Mountain House versus Backpacker’s Pantry, you might already know which the winner is based on the categories you prioritize most. In the end, the decision is up to you. Many survivalists and other individuals often opt for meals from both brands.
If this isn’t preferable for you, we recommend opting for Mountain House if you want small, light-weight meals with consistently great taste that cook fast, and we recommend Backpacker’s Pantry as the budget-friendly option with more nutritional value.