I figured I would spend this week reviewing two popular choices in freeze-dried pouch foods: Mountain House and Wise Food (click image on the right to enlarge). There are certainly other manufacturers but this is what I’ve bought and have used in the past.
If you’re unaware, freeze-dried food pouches such as these are great for bug out bags and to a lesser extent, car kits. I like to keep several food pouches in our bug out bags as a “just in case” option.
Originally, I was going to attempt to compare products head-to-head but I found that I didn’t have any pouches that were exact matches between these two manufacturers, so I figured it wasn’t fair to do that. Instead, I choose to compare them using generalities in a handful of major categories as best I can…
Packaging and Weight
If you look at the above picture (you might want to click to enlarge it a bit) one very striking difference is the fact that the Wise Food pouches are much more flat than the Mountain House pouches. This is in large part due to how much lower the resealable part is on the Mountain House pouches versus the Wise Food pouches. I don’t understand for the life of me why Mountain House wastes so much pouch space.
Anyway, because of this I’ve found that I can much more easily pack several Wise Food pouches into the same space as only a few Mountain House pouches. Seeing as though space is always at a premium in a bug out bag, Wise Food wins this one hands-down. Add in weight and ouce-for-ounce Wise Food wins again. Of course, weight does directly correlate to the amount of food (discussed later) so less isn’t always better in this case.
WINNER = Wise Food (hands-down)
Cost to Purchase
Unfortunately, cost is quite a bit more difficult to compare because it not only matters how and where you buy your pouches (locally or online), but how much you purchase (bulk discounts or not) as well as specifically what product you buy since some options just cost more for a number of reasons. In my experience, however, I can generally purchase Mountain House locally at a cost of several dollars per pouch. Wise Food must be purchased online (for me, anyway) for slightly more per pouch. Looking at Amazon sort of bears this out, but it’s still not comparing apples to apples.
As for variety, both manufacturers offer a wide range of meals. Here’s a link to Mountain House products and a link to Wise Food products. You’ll quickly see there are plenty of choices for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even sacks. That said, I think Wise Food offers more “gourmet” options while Mountain House would be more “hearty” options.
WINNER = It’s a Tie! (I really cannot declare a winner here as there are too many variables to consider)
Food Quantity and Calories
In a survival situation, calories do matter… only you want MORE calories rather than less. When comparing these manufacturers from a calories standpoint (by reading the labels) Wise Food averages between 450-600 calories per package while Mountain House average between 500-900 calories per package, which is a very substantial difference. In essence, it’s like getting two meals to one when buying Mountain House.
WINNER = Mountain House (by a landslide)
Many people would say this is the most important area to consider and, to be honest, I don’t even want to declare a winner because it really is subjective (my opinion shouldn’t count with respect to your tastebuds). While taste is certainly important (if you don’t like you won’t want to eat it) I look at any emergency as a “do what you must” situation. If it were up to me I would eat just any grovel and get on with it. My family, however, won’t. As for my tastebuds, I would go with Wise Food pouches in most cases but that isn’t always true. I do prefer some Mountain House freeze-dried foods. I won’t bother to say which because it doesn’t matter what my tastebuds think.
WINNER = Wise Food (your tastebuds may vary)
If you add up the tally, Mountain House = 1, Wise Food = 2, and there was a tie in one category. If you look at just the numbers then it might seem that you should purchase Wise Food freeze-dried pouches. Like I eluded to earlier, it’s just not that easy of a call. You really do need to consider availability, per unit cost, and taste.
The best advice?
Buy some of both and test them out. Only then can you find what truly works for you. Here are two sampler packs to buy and try…
Emergency Preparedness Links
- Comparing Some Emergency Food Storage Options (thesurvivalplaceblog.com)
- Back to the Basics: The Bug-Out-Bag (thesurvivalplaceblog.com)