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Reviews > Food > Packaged Meals > Mountain House Pro-Pak meals > Owner Review by Dawn Larsen

Mountain House Pro-Pack Backpacking Meals
Owner Review

Name: Dawn Larsen
Age: 48
Gender: female
Height: 5' 4" (163 cm)
Weight: 165 lb (75 kg)
Email address: vicioushillbilly AT yahoo DOT com
Florence, South Carolina USA
Date: 19 September 2009

Backpacking Background:
I used to backpack in college a zillion years ago and just in the last three years have backpacked some private trails in Tennessee, Missouri and most recently South Carolina. I have been an avid car-camper for eleven years and I have kayak/canoe camped for four years, both in South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. I use a lot of the same equipment for both. I hike hilly/rocky trails especially in Tennessee and Missouri. I moved to South Carolina and am busy checking out the terrain here with my sixteen year-old son.

The Product
Manufacturer: Mountain House
Web site:
Product: Single serving entrees:  Beef Stroganoff with Noodles, Rice & Chicken
Year manufactured: 2009
MSRP: $6.00 USD
Net weight listed: Beef Stroganoff - .44 lbs (.20 kg), Rice & Chicken - .47 lbs (.21 kg)
Actual gross weight (incl. packaging): Beef Stroganoff with Noodles - .45 lbs (.20 kg), Rice & Chicken - .47 lbs (.21 kg)

Listed serving size:  16 oz (454 g)
mountain house image
Field Location
Recently, I attended Burning Man in the Black Rock desert of Nevada. There, we lived in a base camp situation where we cooked for each other and shared meals in a communal outdoor kitchen (see picture below).  I brought these two meals with me in case I either missed dinner or didn't like what was being served.  That was a smart move as there were two no-show chefs during the week.  Temperatures in the desert were around 95 F (35 C) during the day and 45 F (7.22 C) at night. I ate both of these meals on around dusk when the temperature was about 75 F (23.89 C).  We were also at a relatively high elevation, 3848 ft (1173 m).
playa kitchen
Product Descriptions and Observations
I have had other backpackers meals before, as well as dehydrate my own sauces and foods for backpacking, kayaking and camping.  Sometimes the food is gritty.  These two meals were the best tasting backpackers meals I have ever eaten.
Mountain House advertises their Pro-Pack meals: "New Compact Vacuum Pouch; Won't expand at high elevations; Takes less space in your backpack; Hearty 16oz. Serving; Convenient stand up zipper pouch."
The package was very compact except for the top portion, but I needed that for the expansion once the product was opened and the water was added.  I just folded over the top part down over the bottom and stuffed it in my pack.  It did not expand at the high elevation of that Nevada desert. They are very convenient in that I ate the food right out of the packaging.  Per the instructions on the package, after removing the oxygen packet, I boiled water, added the boiling water to the pouch, stirred, let it sit for 8 to 9 minutes, then had dinner. The package did become so hot that I had to hold it with a bandana. I also found with both meals that digging down into the bottom for the last bits caused dirty knuckles and fingers.  That might not have been so annoying had everything not been inundated with playa dust all the time. I'm sure it wasn't the only time I ingested playa dust.
Beef Stroganoff and Noodles
Of the two, this was my favorite.  It was creamy. The noodles were cooked perfectly. I could taste the sour cream.  I also thought the spices in this meal were really very good. It was not bland like some meals can be.  It was very much comfort food for me.  Some of the burger chunks were a little crunchy, but I may not have added enough water.  The package says to add about 2 cups of water and I only added 1 cups of water.  It was very filling. I had a hard time finishing the whole thing.
Per the website: Beef Stroganoff with Noodles
INGREDIENTS: Cooked Beef (Beef Flavoring, Salt), Sour Cream (cultured cream, milk, whey, sodium phosphate, guar gum, carrageenan, calcium sulfate, locust bean gum, and cultures), Mushrooms, Modified Corn Starch, Corn Oil, Nonfat Dry Milk, Dehydrated Onions, Salt, Hydrolyzed Corn Torula and Brewers Yeast Wheat Gluten Soy Protein, Lemon Juice Concentrate and Lemon Oil, Beef Base (roasted beef and concentrated beef stock, hydrolyzed corn gluten, soy, corn, and wheat protein, natural flavoring, sugar, dried whey, and yeast extract), Molasses, Spices, Garlic Powder, and Soybean Oil and Spice Extract. Precooked Noodles: Durum Semolina, Whole Eggs, and Salt. Contains: Milk, Wheat, Soy, Egg NUTRITION: Allergen here Product code: 50119 Pkg. Net Wt.(oz): 4.06 Servings per Pkg: 1 Serving Size: 1 pouch Total Calories: 520 From Fat: 180 Total Fat: 20 grams Saturated Fat: 8 grams
Rice & Chicken
The Rice & Chicken meal was very good too. The rice was a little crunchier that rice I make at home.  I also accidentally added too much water so it was almost like a thick soup.  The taste was excellent, but a little weak because I added too much water. I thought the spices in this meal were very good too.  The sodium content is a little high, but in the desert, I needed that.  I think the extra sodium is necessary for the taste.
Per the website: Rice & Chicken
INGREDIENTS: Instant Rice, Cooked Chicken, Corn Oil, Pimientos, Salt, Modified Corn Starch, Hydrolyzed Corn Soy Wheat Gluten Protein, Chicken Fat, Sugar, Onion Powder, Spices, Citric Acid, Soybean Oil, Turmeric, and Spice Extract. Contains: Soy, Wheat. NUTRITION: Allergen here Product code: 50105 Pkg. Net Wt.(oz): 4.51 Servings per Pkg: 1 Serving Size: 1 pouch Total Calories: 560 From Fat: 140 Total Fat: 16 grams Saturated Fat: 3 grams Transfat Acid: 0 grams Cholesterol: 40 milligrams Sodium: 2120 milligrams Carbos: 85 grams Dietary Fiber: 3 grams Sugars: 3 grams Protein: 18 grams
I will purchase these meals from now on, especially if I am on a trip where I am very actively perspiring.  The high sodium content comes in handy. Though, I prefer to make my own backpacking food, these two meals were great substitutions for home cooking.  I also thought the price was very acceptable.
What I Liked
They tasted great!
They were very convenient to make.
What I Didn't Like
My hands got messy digging down to the bottom of the package.
The rice was a little crunchy for me.

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Reviews > Food > Packaged Meals > Mountain House Pro-Pak meals > Owner Review by Dawn Larsen

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