Letter Re: Freeze Dried Foods Versus MREs Versus Air Dried Bulk Storage Foods

I am considering making a sizable purchase from one of your advertisers. I have enjoyed your site a great deal and would value your opinion. Would you stock Mountain House foods for your own needs? I am not familiar with mountain house foods. What is your opinion of their products? How do they compare to MREs? I would like to get about a year of food put aside. I am sure you are very busy, so a detailed response is not necessary, as I said though I value your opinion. Thanks in advance, – K.

JWR Replies: Mountain House freeze dried foods are delicious and have a very long shelf life. The individually-packaged meals are the preferred foods for most backpackers because of their great taste and extremely light weight. But they do require water to reconstitute. Canned freeze dried foods are ideal for situations where you need to keep many weeks worth of food in a small space for 10 + years, and where you have water available. The advantage of MRE retort packaged entrees is that they don’t require water. However, they are both bulkier and heavier than freeze-dried. They also have only a two to five year shelf life, depending on temperature. (See MRE Information for details on MRE shelf life versus temperature.) If space and weight are not an issue, then bulk air dried foods that require cooking are far less expensive than freeze dried. (Such as five gallon buckets of wheat, rice, and beans.)  It all depends on your circumstances. If you live at your retreat full time or plan to “bug in”, then having a majority of bulk foods is obviously the way to go. But if you plan to “bug out” from an urban or suburban home, then nothing beats freeze dried foods for weight, space, and storage life.