November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Pre-Made Meals 101 - Newbie
Display Avatars Sort By:
Pre-Made Meals 101 - Newbie on 03/13/2013 14:09:59 MDT Print View


Would greatly appreciate some input; I am trying to put together a list of all the companies that make these things - and then hoping to figure out the differences between
them, and which ones are best? (Or are they all the same?)

Mountain House
AplineAire Foods
Natural High
Mary Janes Farm
Pack It Gourmet
Hawk Vittles

Not sure if I missed any good ones. But any advice on which brands to avoid entirely would be a great start for me.

*individual note: I am doing a JMT thru-hike in the summer, so size/weight is an issue. Will have a 900ml pot. Thanks!

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Pre-Made Meals 101 - Newbie on 03/13/2013 14:57:47 MDT Print View

I like Mary Jane's Farm. I'm thinking about trying something from Pack It Gourmet the next time I need meals though.

I don't like Mountain House, I've seen the "cheese" attach itself to a spoon with such tenacity that the spoon had to be thrown away. And try my best, the stew was always crunchy.

Although, a lot of times I just make instant rice and instant black bean flakes for burritos. With copious amounts of hot sauce, of course. Cheap and easy...


Josh Brock

Locale: Outside
food on 03/13/2013 16:31:37 MDT Print View

this is a tough one to answer due to different peoples taste

I like Pack it They have cool shakes that taste pretty good IMHO. and i have tasted several of my buddies meals and they are reall good.

I actualy will do what adam said also nothing like a good bean burrito and you its really cheap.

I dont have a problem with mountain house most I talk to dont like them.

Sorry I haven't had the others.

OFF TOPIC SORRY: Try bringing a fishing pole, if you can fish, then all you have to carry is lemon pepper and a table spoon of butter and you have an amazeiing fresh trout or what not. It has great fat and protien.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Pre-Made Meals 101 - Newbie on 03/13/2013 16:36:48 MDT Print View

I have used many different types over the years and I class mountain house as edible on one side of the scale and Packit Gourmet as very good on the other side.

I haven't use Hawk Vittles but have heard good things about them, a buddy use Alpine Aire and likes them.

food on 03/14/2013 12:50:13 MDT Print View

thanks for all the input!

Whatever trip I do (after) this summer I think I will definitely work on making my own meals / fishing if possible. Since this will be my first thru-hike, I have enough gear/logistical research to do, and just wanted to take the easy-route on food!

Stu Pendious
(Beeen) - MLife

Locale: California
Re: Pre-Made Meals 101 - Newbie on 03/14/2013 12:57:35 MDT Print View

*individual note: I am doing a JMT thru-hike in the summer, so size/weight is an issue. Will have a 900ml pot. Thanks!

Haven't tried Hawk Vittles or AplineAire, and the rest have their winners and losers when it comes to taste (opinions vary). I'd also echo the sentiment of Mountain House meals with cheese as being more trouble then they are worth because of the "cheese" vigorously sticking to a spoon.

Depending on how many re-supplies you're doing, cramming the more deluxe pre-made meals into a bear canister can be somewhat challenging, and expensive. For myself, I like to lean more towards things I can eat right out of the wrapper/bag without cooking, and supplement with a few soups and hot drinks to break up the monotony of eating bars, tortillas, nuts, candy and beef jerky.

I finally broke under peer pressure this year, and got a food dehydrator and have been making my own meals. Although, I still buy one or two of my favorites (MH Pro-Pak Pasta Primavera & MJF Lentils, Rice and Indian Spice) now and then. Mainly just for security, until I get more comfortable with the things I dehydrate myself actually tasting good.

One small bonus of Mary Jane Farms, is you can burn the packaging without too much fear of violating LNT (depending on your definition).

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Another Option on 03/14/2013 14:08:53 MDT Print View

You don't need these expensive meals to have a dehydrated meal. You can easily make your own. Buy chicken and/or ground beef in #10 cans from mountain house or other companies and add it to any packaged meal such as hamburger helper. You can customize to your heart content with Niro whole milk, olive oil, veggies and seasoning to create a calorie dense and yummy meal at a faction of the cost of a traditional mountain house meal. It can also be packed in a freezer bag very densely as well.

Steve Meier
(smeier) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Create your own meals on 03/14/2013 14:19:24 MDT Print View

AW, it's possible to put together great meals without buying expensive pre-packaged meals that are mostly tasteless and like cardboard. You can put together entire meals based on what you like at Trader Joe's, for less than a pre-packaged meal. Also there are a lot of foods at the grocery like Lipton noodles, packaged black beans, etc that are very inexpensive. Doing some Googling will get you a ton of information. I finally bought a dehydrator and enjoy my own Chili Mac, rice & beans, etc and they aren't that expensive, especially if you can find one to borrow to see how you like it. Good luck!

Edited by smeier on 03/14/2013 14:20:08 MDT.