Home / Gear / Don’t Starve in The Backcountry: Freeze Dried Meals

Don’t Starve in The Backcountry: Freeze Dried Meals

newsletter 6 15 FOOD

No matter what your style of hunting I would be willing to bet that if I ran into you on the trail you would probably have some type of food in your pack. Backpack hunters carry a stash of food that has to last for the entirety of their stay and not a day longer and day hunters need to be prepared to stay overnight if the situation calls for it. Car hunters are often prepared for the worst and a spare meal in the truck is always a good decision. A staple for all situations are the freeze dried meals from Mountain House that can be purchased just about anywhere ahead of a trip. Here are a few of our favorites that we have used for the last few years in the back country.

Mac And Cheese– Guy Eastman

Call me boring if you will, but my favorite Mountain House meal is good old classic mac n’ cheese. As a hunter, there’s just something about eating freeze dried meat in a bag. Although a pretty bland choice, the mac n’ cheese meal hits the caloric target for my afternoon meal and I don’t have to worry about the added side effect of heartburn that accompanies most of the other meals I’ve tried particularly the Lasagna and Spaghetti. Either way, I would much rather chew on a good old thick slice of backstrap than anything that comes in a bag.

Breakfast Skillet– Ike Eastman

I am a fan of meals that fill you up, are convenient, and if you don’t finish them can be eaten later. This is what makes the Breakfast Skillet my personal favorite. The best part is that I can take a tortilla or two with me to the high country and add a little variety to the meal. I like a little variety, unlike Brandon who could live off of Biscuits and Gravy alone. Most freeze dried meals are a large serving of what would be a main course for dinner. Adding a tortilla to a single course meal turns it into a filling, multi ingredient, meal. The other thing that I really like about this meal is that it isn’t strictly dinner or breakfast. Even though it is labeled for breakfast, I have eaten it warm and cold just about every time of day.

Biscuits and Gravy– Brandon Mason

When in a convenience store near Jackson, WY in the spring of 2014 and I saw a Mountain House Biscuits and Gravy meal, I thought I was dreaming or hallucinating!  I was somewhat skeptical of what a dehydrated breakfast meal of this magnitude would taste like, but being a biscuit and gravy connoisseur I just had to try it.  I was blown away at the great taste and how filling it was.  This is just what the doctor ordered for when I’m in the backcountry and missing a home-cooked meal.  This is now my son and I’s favorite meal to pack with us. Long live B&G in the backcountry!!!


Beef Stroganoff– Scott Reekers

I have to admit that any meal with a cream style sauce and noodles is at the top my anytime favorite meal list, let alone my back country meal list. I tend to eat a full mountain house pouch for dinner and the Beef Stroganoff hits the spot! The mushrooms and beef aren’t overdone and the noodles cook up just right with the proper amount of warming time. One of the worst feelings in the backcountry is going to bed hungry but that won’t happen with this meal. It’s even better when the meal actually tastes good and isn’t just another granola bar to stave off hunger. It may not quite be mama’s beef stroganoff, but it’s close enough for me!

Chicken A La King– Jordan Breshears

After spending a long day in the backcountry, whether it’s a day with my kids on a day hunt or a multi-day bivy out in the wilderness, one of the first things that comes to mind for me is dinner and rest so I can do it all over again tomorrow. After consuming thousands of calories and only snacking on light grains and trail mix all day my body is sometimes literally aching for substance. For me that comes in the form of a Mountain House freeze dried meal, and if I have the option to pick I will choose Chicken A La King for my flavor packed feast on the mountain! Packed with carbs for much needed energy, sodium to aid in electrolyte boost and peak heart performance and most importantly tons of protein! 54 grams to be precise, which helps my body rebuild faster. No matter where I go with my outdoor adventures the tender chicken meat, flavorful mushrooms and peppers garnished over a noodle bed covered with an awesome light gravy sauce bring it home for me. Chicken Ala King…it’s what’s for dinner!

Turkey Tetrazinni– Dan Pickar

After logging long days in the high country, hunger is a constant mind game that nags all of us. As the sun begins to sink in the afternoon sky I can’t help but think about  dinner. Turkey Tetrazzini. That’s what for dinner. I grew up in a less than fancy household, so at first Tetrazzini sounded urban and foreign to a simple guy like me. I’m not a big red sauce fan, so I figured it was worth a try. I hate to admit it but, the first time I tried it, it was love at first bite. Its packed with a ton of turkey, asparagus, and pasta with a light sauce that is the most satisfying mountain meal, sure to kick hunger to the curb. Protein, carbs, and fat. The best ingredients to fill up the tank. Even better, the hungrier I am, the better it tastes. Here’s to dinner in the high country and Turkey Tetrazzini.

The Victory Dance-Dessert!

Most of us in the office grin and bear a little extra weight and bring along a dessert to eat after the successful harvest of a trophy. A harvest is great but it usually means the real work is about to start! Here are our favorite “Victory Dances” to fuel the packout and provide a mental boost before the heavy work begins!

Raspberry Crumble-Scott Reekers

The raspberry crumble is a staff favorite made of chocolate cookie crumbs and a raspberry filling. The filling is very similar to what you find on the inside of a raspberry pie and if you have a sweet tooth this dessert will hit the spot. On a late evening after pulling a heavy pack full of meat out of the backcountry this meal is hard to beat!

Apple Crisp-Brandon Mason

If you have a sweet tooth (or like me, sweet teeth) then you’ll love this little slice of heaven.  Going without dessert for a week in the backcountry drives me nuts.  The desserts from Mountain House not only curb the sweet tooth cravings, but are packed full of energy as well and are a great way to wrap up a hunt.  The apples and sugar components give you that instant pick-me-up needed when your tank is officially on E.


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About Guy Eastman, Editor-In-Chief

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Following in the footsteps of his father, Guy has taken up the reins and is now at the helm of the Eastmans’ Hunting Journal and the Eastmans’ Bowhunting Journal. A fine hunter in his own right, Guy has taken several trophy animals and has become an expert in trophy hunting as well.

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  1. MRE’s from Major Surplus work for me. Variety of meals, good price. Best of all, they come with a chemical pack for heating. No fire needed!

  2. I’v been looking into increasing my winter food production and it occured to me that growing mushrooms might be worth a go. I’m just unsure as to how to go about it. I get the occasional field mushroom https://www.trufflemagic.com/blog/psilocybe-tampanensis/ which are very nice but i’d like more. Do i need to buy the spores? or can i just pinch them from the existing mushroom population? Will i need to heat the growing area?
    i’v got an old book on the topic but it insists that i need to make or purchase mushroom compost.
    any advise or experience would be much appreciated.

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