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    Freeze-dried meals have a whole host of uses, from the backcountry to the home pantry. Here at Mountain House, we’ve been leaders in the freeze-dried food industry for better than a half-century, and our delicious, just-add-water meals have your back whenever and wherever you need them.

    We’ve compiled information on some of the best freeze-dried foods that are always a favorite amongst our customers. 


    Freeze drying food, more formally known as lyophilization, is the process of removing water from a product that’s been frozen and subject to a vacuum environment. The crux of the process is sublimation, by which frozen water transforms directly into a gas form (water vapor) without an intervening liquid phase. This helps preserve the molecular structure of the food, and thereby its nutritional value, its texture, and—just as importantly—its flavor!

    What Is Freeze-Drying? from Mountain House on YouTube.

    With 98% of their water content removed (a higher percentage than conventional dehydrated food), freeze-dried meats, vegetables, dairy products, and the like are incredibly lightweight and packable. 

    With the case of Mountain House, you also get premium, durable packaging, which results in meals with an astounding 30-year shelf life. They’re incredibly quick to prepare, with Mountain House’s freeze-dried foods being the fastest-rehydrating of their kind on the market. Just add water, typically hot water, wait a few minutes and voilà! A delicious, comforting meal that’s ready to devour.



    They’re perfect for everything from camping, backpacking, hunting, and fishing trips to emergency preparedness—and those rushed, cluttered days when you just don’t have time to cook.

    Let’s run through these different activities and scenarios and highlight just why Mountain House brand freeze-dried meals are the best option for each, and which meals are favored amongst our MH customers!


    The packability, nutritiousness, and quick-prep nature of freeze-dried food makes it a great go-to option for camping trips. Their convenience makes a spontaneous weekend getaway at the local state-park or national-forest campground easy as can be (not least with our Adventure Weekender Kit), with no stress about putting together a complicated menu.

    And for longer camping trips, their variety keeps mealtimes interesting and something to look forward to. Freeze-dried pouches and kits can easily be integrated into weeklong camping menus alongside other kinds of foods.

    The space efficiency of freeze-dried meals is a big advantage when packing for camping trips. You’ve obviously got more storage capacity when car camping, as compared to backpacking (which we’ll get to in the next section) or, to a lesser extent, canoe/kayak camping. Because our Mountain House freeze-dried meals only need a few minutes of steeping in boiling water to be ready to eat, you don’t need as much stove fuel or burner capacity as you do when cooking from-scratch meals.

    Mountain House meal on a canoe.

    According to our customers, some of the best options when it comes to freeze dried meals for camping include:

    Something to consider for higher-octane campouts (such as paddle and hunting trips) are our nutrient-crammed Pro-Paks.

    Also, there are plenty of ways to exercise some culinary creativity at the campsite with our Breakfast Skillet, Beef Stroganoff, and other freeze-dried meal pouches. One idea to consider - bring some tortillas and wrap up our Breakfast Skillet meal for a quick breakfast burrito!


    For hitting-the-trail sustenance, it’s hard to top going the freeze-dried route! Whether you’re tackling a long, huff-and-puff day hike or going on a days- or weeks-long backpacking trip, you want to gravitate toward lightweight, packable, and highly nutritious foods—just what freeze-dried meals offer!

    Backpacker eating Mountain House meal.

    The speed with which you can prepare a freeze-dried meal is a big advantage when hiking or backpacking. A delicious, reinvigorating day hike lunch can be whipped up trailside in no time. And when facing the prospect of setting up camp at the end of the day after many miles of hiking, it’s a joy to know a mouthwatering dinner is just a few minutes away–without burning through much campstove fuel in the process, either! These nutrition-packed meals are also up to the task of meeting the higher daily caloric demands of hikers and backpackers.

    The diversity and home-cooked flavor of Mountain House products make them the best freeze dried backpacking food out there. Keeping the menu varied becomes a surprisingly important goal in backcountry adventuring, as limited meal options and too much repetition of the same ho-hum fare can lower your motivation and enjoyment levels big time. Check out these top meal picks our customers rave about for this type of adventure!

    Explore our full collection of freeze-dried backpacking meals.


    Everybody should have an emergency stockpile of provisions in case of natural disasters, extended power outages, and other contingencies. At the bare minimum, an emergency kit in your home, car, or workplace should include 72 hours worth of food and water. For a home disaster kit, that minimum supply should be stored for each member of the household, with individual dietary needs and restrictions taken into account. And, of course, having properly stored emergency fare for more than just three days is always a good idea. (You can learn more about assembling a disaster preparedness kit with us or Ready.gov.)

    Freeze-dried food is ideal for the purpose of emergency preparedness. And what is the best freeze-dried food for disaster preparation? Well, we’re biased, but we don’t think you can top Mountain House products, given their unrivaled shelf life and 30 Year Taste Guarantee (watch the video where a customer does a taste test on a 37 year old pouch of MH)! Our meals can be rehydrated with room temperature water, in case there isn't a way to heat the water. Simply double the rehydration time making them perfect for emergency scenarios.

    Our Emergency and Survival collection includes a wide variety of #10 Cans and Multi-Day Kits ideal for disaster preparedness. Some of the top sellers include:

    It’s important that emergency food storage is done properly, including keeping it out of direct sunlight and away from moisture and exposure to high temperatures. (Learn more about how to store your emergency food supply.)


    There’s another good reason to have freeze-dried food available in the home: It fits the bill for everyday meals as well! After all, the reality is many of us don’t always have time to cook something complicated, and relying on delivery and takeout isn’t great for long-term health or your budget.

    Delivering toothsome flavor, balanced nutrition, and the unbeatable ease and time savings of just-add-water prep, Mountain House meals serve as the best freeze-dried food for the household pantry. From running-late breakfasts to leisurely dinners where you want the focus on conversation more than complicated or drawn-out kitchen work, our pouches provide a convenient option.

    Our crowd-pleasing meals also include vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free offerings, giving you all the more options when it comes to accommodating everybody in the household. Discover more ideas for at-home meal planning with Mountain House.


    From getting ready for severe storms, floods, and other disasters to making sure you’re happy and well-fed out on the trail or down at that lakefront campsite, look no further than Mountain House for the best freeze dried meal options available! With our products, you tap into more than 50 years of industry-leading standards, including our proprietary freeze-drying process, delicious tried and tested recipes, and continuous meal development.

    Inspired for an Adventure? Check out Beef Stroganoff - Pouch and Beef Stew - Pouch