Best bang for your buck: Freeze Dried Foods

Discussion in 'Preparedness' started by Unistat76, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    I am looking for opinions about the various brands of freeze dried meals. I have had Mountain House, of course, and generally find them tasty and filling. I have no idea about the other "camping" brands or the "prepper" brands or how they all compare.

    Basically, I'm looking for 1 week's worth of food for 4 people. I currently have this slot filled with a mix of MREs, canned food, & easy to prepare meals (pancakes, PBJ, pasta & sauce, etc.) This is my short term/emergency bug out stash. As I rotate this stuff out, I want to replace it with items with more shelf life.

    Ideally this would be something I could cache somewhere and not worry about for a decade.

    Just for info purposes and to preempt off-topic suggestions, Bug-In is my first option and I have that food situation well in hand for my prepping plan.

    What I'm looking for:
    1. Macro nutrients: A good amount of protein, carbs, and fat per meal. On par (or close to) a normal daily meal.
    2. Calories: Call it 1500 per day per person, minimum. I can supplement with Datrex bars and other things for snacks and extra calories.
    3. Shelf Life: 10-20 years for preference. I could go as low as 5 years.
    4. Taste: Of course, it has to be palatable. I don't mind MREs but my wife can't stand them. So Mountain House is the comparison here.
    5. Cost: Of course cheaper is better, but not at the sacrifice of the points above. I can buy a few meals at a time to spread out the cost.
    6. Size and Mass: I would prefer to fit it all in a couple of 5 gal buckets that a normal person could lug about, one in each hand, for at least a 100 yards or so. This point is the most flexible.

    Not a concern:
    GMO, preservatives, sodium, trans-fats, or artificial colours. This is an extremely short term diet. I'm not worried about stuff that's "bad" for me.

    So, share with me, if you will, your experiences and opinions on the freeze dried (or what have you) meals you've eaten.

    Thanks
     
  2. dads2vette

    dads2vette Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I've tried a couple WISE products...um, not so much. Compared to Mountain House they didn't taste too good and seemed less nutritious.
     
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  3. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    Thank you. This is exactly the sort of info I'm looking for!
     
  4. Butler Ford

    Butler Ford Supporter Supporter

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    Probably not what your looking for but I dehydrate my own precooked vegetables and mix them with spices. Then just keep them in the freezer. I also jerk my own meats then do the same with them. They seem to keep quite well when removed from the freezer. They are a bit tougher than the high dollar stuff and take longer to cook but cost very little, taste much better, far healthier( I control what goes in them), take very little space and enough for a week weighs next to nothing. I've never been a fruit leather fan but could be done the same way. The next time I break out the dehydrator, I'm going to give Egg Beaters a try.

    BF
     
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  5. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    I have done the dehydrated thing, mostly jerky and fruits. I quite like them and eat them all the time but they don't quite have the shelf life I'm looking for. Believe it or not, I actually looked into a home freeze dryer. Whoo boy! They start at $2000+!
     
  6. grandpa p

    grandpa p Tracker

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    I like Hawk Vittles. http://hawkvittles.com/ Not the shelf life you're looking for and not cheap but is my favorite. Large variety, great flavor. When they say "When we say double serving, we mean it satisfies two people with big appetites.", they are not exaggerating! I'm a big boy with a big appetite and a double often gives me 3 meals. Mountain House for 2 is only 1 meal for me. I've recommended HV's to friends and they've been put off by the price, but once they try it, in most cases, they are believers (and users).

    DISCLAIMER: I am not a paid endorser (money or product) nor am I connected to the company in any way. I'm just a very happy customer.
     
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  7. Medic17

    Medic17 Supporter Supporter

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    For freeze dried stuff I found Mountain House to be junk (better than Wise though.)
    I like Alpineaire and Backpackers Pantry. Stuff gets expensive so its a niche item.

    A great meal is soup.
    Flavorful, hearty, nutritional, and simple to make.

    For storm stuff and longer term backup I like having canned and boxed stuff on hand to work with.

    Pancake Mix
    Canned Beans- Better than dried IMO. Easier to cook with and on the stomach.
    With some simple stock, spices, pasta, and tomato sauce you can make a awesome Pasta Fagioli
    and other hearty soups.

    Hearty whole grain Cereals / Oatmeal

    Almond Milk (Doesn't need refrigeration.- Its not technically a milk but I can not say "nut juice" with a straight face.

    Mac N Cheese and Ramen noodles suck for nutrition but it has fed millions of college kids.
    Its cheap, agreeable, and easily satisfies the gut.

    Mixed nuts, raisins, dried coconut make great add on's for extra calories and protein.

    Ill throw a second to Hawke Vittles, its good stuff.

    Dehydrated and Freeze Dried meals are two different animals.
    Dehydrated takes longer to make maybe not as much taste.
    Freeze dried is more expensive but more options.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  8. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    They certainly have an interesting menu and prices are abut on par with MH (with more flavor, I'm sure.) One year shelf life is a little low for my purposes, but I might be able to work it. If they taste as good as they look, I may even look forward to rotating them out, lol!
     
  9. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    This is more or less what I have going now. Typical pop-up camper camping food stored in a 5 gallon bucket with O2 absorbers and a Gamma seal lid. IDK, maybe I'm already working my best option.
     
  10. grandpa p

    grandpa p Tracker

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    I keep my HV's in the freezer for 2 years. The only one I've had that I didn't like was the salmon but then I'm not a fish lover.
     
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  11. Harper

    Harper Guide

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    https://beprepared.com/

    Look at their private label, Emergency Essentials. They also have some good prices on brands like MH. Shipping is very reasonable and free when ordering the minimum quantity of any "Group Special."

    Spend some time on the site. I think that you will find what you need.

    I would stay away from Wise.
     
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  12. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    Thanks, I've been to that site before a while ago, but I kind of forgot they exist.
     
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  13. Kairos

    Kairos Tracker

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  14. Damian1690

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    I ordered a 3 month supply from The Ready Store probably 4 years ago and the price was right (around tax return season). I think I got it around $700. Since then, they have changed the portions and prices and it looks like they have a 12 month supply of their "basic" lower calorie per day buckets for about $100 more than what I paid. I remember buying from them because they had the cheapest prices from what I saw at the time and because the ratings were good.

    I know you wanted real life feedback on taste, but I haven't tried any of it because I didn't want to eat any of my supply if you get what I mean. But, for someone on a budget like me it seemed good and I think I'd still buy from them if I plan on stocking up in the future. You could probably do an online chat with them Monday and ask them what they'd recommend.
     
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  15. riverrunner

    riverrunner Scout

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    Mountain House hands down! I have been eating them for over 30 years and have liked them whole way. I have tried others and have had some good ones, but Mountain House has always been the best and the have the most experience in the business.
     
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  16. Walking Crow

    Walking Crow Scout

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    If you are putting your long-range eggs in the freeze dried basket, make sure you have a plan for getting safe water for their hydration. Depending on where you are and how things play out, safe water could be hard to come by....
     
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  17. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    Thanks, but as I said, the freeze dried stuff is only for a week or so. I am looking for something that is portable and idiot proof for any short term evacuation situations. Long term is covered by other means.
    I also have water covered very well. 150 or so gallons stored on hand plus two natural sources nearby. Water is rarely a problem in Michigan.
     
  18. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    FYI, I was looking at Amazon last night and they offer a subscription where you can get a bucket of MH meals (about 3 days/1 person) delivered monthly for about $60/month. My wife has a Prime account so shipping is free and the fist month is 20% off.

    We talked about it and I think this may be the way we go. I like MH and this way I can just budget for it. Now I can get back to planning the garden!

    Thanks all for the very helpful responses. Everyone please feel free to continue to discuss freeze dried-type food here and let us all know your experiences and preferences.
     
  19. ChrisOCLM

    ChrisOCLM Knife Addict Supporter

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    Packit gourmet is my current favorite. Good high end recipes that taste good, lots of variety, and coats about as much as mountain house, maybe a bit more.

    This is for backpacking food however, and not prepping kind of stuff, but I'd imagine it would work just fine for that as well.
     
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