Food Finds · Trail Cooking

Commercial Meal Review: Thrive Life Creamy Beef with Rotini Pasta

Thrive Life Creamy Beef with Rotini Pasta is a new meal this past month to the lineup of hiker-friendly meals that is coming out for sale. The price for each bag is $17.07 for retail, if you buy using Monthly Delivery it takes it down to $14.51 a bag. The meal has a 20 year shelf life, and are all recently produced (the one we reviewed was produced end of August and had sat in our pack for a few weeks).

Weighing in at 7.4 ounces/210 grams dry, the meal will serve 2 really hungry hikers. Fully. After years of buying anemic freeze-dried meals to review here, this new line has been refreshing. The pouch is BIG. And full. Because anyone who has eaten a lot of hiker meals knows that “2 servings” means 1 normal hungry hiker to get enough calories/protein.

Technically, the bag is 3 servings, at 320 calories/13 grams fat/14 grams protein, but if one has it instead as 2 servings it is 485 calories/20 grams fat/21 grams protein.

It will serve 2 hungry adults, or 1 adult and 2 children well.

While it doesn’t list “bag prep” on the back, I opened the pouch up, pulled out the oxygen packet, discarded it and added in the 2 cups boiling water called for. A good stir with a long handled spoon, seal the bag and ignore for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir well and dish up (or as we do….cut the top half of the bag off and eat out of the pouch. The mylar bags are the same as other brands use.

These are not necessarily cheap, but you get what you pay for when it comes to freeze-dried meals. And I feel this meal is actually worth that price. Because as I mentioned earlier, this will fill you up. You won’t each need to buy a meal to feel full. That in itself pays back.

For example, a similar type of stroganoff pasta, from Mountain House, is $9.49. It only serves 2 people (2 cups prepared, so a third smaller than the Thrive Life) with 280 calories per serving (ouch!). Mountain House’s version is also quite higher in sodium. And frankly, MH’s quality isn’t exactly high. Another similar option is Peak Refuel’s Beef Stroganoff. It retails for $13.99, and has 2 servings, with 400 calories per serving.

While the competitors may cost less, they also are far smaller for how much food you get.

The Takeaway:

I would buy this again. Even at the higher price point per bag, its quality and calorie content is far higher than competitors. The meat is large chunks, the mushrooms are fresh. The pasta isn’t too soft, nor is the meal salty. It’s also not too saucy.


FTC Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links that give us commissions on products purchased. These items are what we used in the recipes. This includes both Amazon and Thrive Life. All thoughts and opinions are ours. Product was paid for by us, to review. 

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