Comparing Mountain House, Backpacker’s Pantry, MREs, Next Mile Meals, Alpine Aire, Peak Refuel, Pinnacle Foods, Stowaway Gourmet, Datrex Emergency Rations, Ready Hour, ReadyWise, and 4 Patriots

Just show me your test results! ↓

Let’s Better Define “Survival Food”

Cattail roots and tree grubs can sustain you, but that’s not what we’re focusing on in this article. Let’s just assume that you would rather eat a survival food that tastes good, is easy to transport, and easy to prepare… shall we? This narrows the spectrum of emergency food options to choose from and puts most of the survival food options we compared into the camping food, or backpacking food genre.

What is the Best Camping Food / Best Backpacking Food?

Nor here is a hot topic in forums with die hards backing their favorite brand staking claims of most calories per serving, least preservatives, most natural, best tasting, etc. Instead of trying to determine who was right through making the most compelling intellectual points, we decided to actually, you know… EAT the different options and see what we liked best. Novel concept, right?

Here are the brands we chose because of their popularity and, hopefully, ease of transport and preparation: Mountain House, Backpacker’s Pantry, MREs, Next Mile Meals, Alpine Aire, Peak Refuel, Pinnacle Foods, Stowaway Gourmet, Datrex Emergency Rations, Ready Hour, ReadyWise, and 4 Patriots

Why So Many Freeze Dried Food Options?

Freeze dried food is a phenomenal option for survival food for four main reasons:

  1. It’s super lightweight and therefore easy to transport.
  2. It lasts for upwards of 30 years. Dehydrated meals just can’t compare to the storage life of freeze dried food.
  3. The freeze drying process locks in nutrients for the long haul.
  4. It’s so easy to prepare. Literally, you just add hot water.

Pretty much the only major downside of using freeze dried food as a survival food is that it’s expensive. But, if you can afford it, and the above four benefits are desirable to you, it’s worth it.

What is the Best Emergency Food?

For emergency foods, we would recommend even more strongly the freeze dried options. In a realistic bug out situations (tornado, fire, earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, etc), mobility and convenience are HUGE. An emergency food should be easy and quick to prepare, lift your spirits, and give you good nourishment. So many “tough guys” think they are going to prove something by eating dog food or road kill in an emergency situation. Power to them. But if you talk to some of our most elite armed forces members, experienced hunters, and cross-country hikers, you will consistently hear that a great meal is worth the additional investment.

Survival Food Taste Test Results

Because many of these various emergency food makers offer similar menu options, we tried to pick meals that had the most commonality across the different survival food brands. Pasta Alfredo and Stroganoff were the most common options so we selected those. For the camping food manufacturers that do not produce these dishes, we tried to pick options that were as similar as possible.

We prepared every survival food option according to the instructions printed on the packet. When sampling, we did our best to factor taste, texture, and appearance into our ranking. Both lists below are ordered best (at the top of the list) to worst (at the bottom of the list).

PASTA ALFREDO (or similar)

RANKBRAND (+ alternate meal if applicable)PRICE
1Peak Refuel – Chicken Alfredo Pasta$13
2Mountain House – Fettuccini Alfredo with Chicken$10
3Pinnacle Foods – Herb Roasted Chicken and White Cheddar Dumplings$14
4Next Mile Meals – Chicken Broccoli Casserole$14
5Stowaway Gourmet – La Pasta Nostra$14
6Ready Hour – Creamy Alfredo Pasta$8
7Backpacker’s Pantry – Fettuccini Alfredo with Chicken$12
8MRE – #14 Creamy Spinach Fettuccini$16
94 Patriots – Frank’s Favorite Alfredo$8
10Alpine Aire – Grilled Chicken with Spinach Alfredo Pasta$9
11Datrex Survival Rations$11
12Readywise – Pasta Alfredo with Chicken$8


RANKBRAND (+ alternate meal if applicable)PRICE
1Peak Refuel – Beef Stroganoff$13
2Mountain House – Beef Stroganoff with Noodles$9.50
3Stowaway Gourmet – Comrade Doeganoff$16
4Alpine Aire – Creamy Beef & Noodles with Mushrooms$10
5Next Mile Meals – Italian Style Beef Marinara$14
6Pinnacle Foods – Thai Peanut Curry$13
7Ready Hour – Creamy Stroganoff$7
8Backpacker’s Pantry – Stroganoff Sauce, Egg Noodles, Beef & Mushrooms$11
94 Patriots – Hearty Stroganoff$7
10MRE – #13 Cheese Tortellini in Tomato Sauce$16
11Readywise – Noodles and Beef$8

Emergency Food Taste Test Summary

There you have it. Peak Refuel is what we consider to be the new standard for the best survival food on the market. The overall taste, texture, and appearance are surprisingly impressive and we feel they are on another tier from the competition. Be sure to visit to buy some yourself, even just to try one meal to gauge if you believe how much better we say it is. It really helps us out and enables us to provide more valuable content like this. This Article was NOT sponsored by Peak Refuel by the way. We tried the food ourselves when we met them at outdoor retailer and were surprised with how much better the food really is.

Mountain House is still a great option if you would like to spend a little bit less money.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *