Food Finds · Trail Cooking

Commercial Meal Reviews: Dinners From Backpacker’s Pantry

Last month I picked up a 3 Day Create Your Own Meal Kit from Backpacker’s Pantry. I feel there can be a place for commercial meals. Be it as an easy grab, or to have backup food in your pack, I am not against buying meals. As long as they taste good and turn out, it can be a beneficial thing. Since I have had some success with their meals (as in liking them), I was willing to try more of their meals.

The 3 Day Kit is where you can pick what you want for 3 days of breakfast, lunches and dinners. The price does vary based on what you put into the kit. Mine came in a random box, but apparently now the kits come in a fancy box you can tuck away in your prepper pantry. I believe they give a 5% discount on the kits off of retail pricing – and I know I ordered enough for free shipping. Buying direct was the only way to do the make your own kit. They do sell pre-picked kits though on their website and on Amazon and other sources.

I have reviewed Backpacker’s Pantry meals before, and I have had mixed reviews of their items. Dinners I liked, breakfast/desserts not so much. But I like to revisit brands every few years because things do change. For example, a couple years ago, Backpacker’s Pantry changed their meal packaging to be more modern (using the lower/smaller MRE style mylar bags) and even revamping the sodium levels on some.

I really like their newer packaging to be honest. It’s considerably more modern, and easier to use than the old skool floppy tall mylar bags.

Mashed Potatoes & Gravy with Beef. It retails for $7.99.

This mashed potato meal was shrunk a little in size compared to the old version but is now considered a 1 person serving (the old version was 2 servings).

It has 330 calories, 16 grams protein, and 1570 mg sodium (so yes, this isn’t a low sodium meal by any means) (The old version has 1660 mg sodium for the bag).

The meal is simple to prepare: Boil 2 cups water, pour in and mix very well. Then zip the bag and let sit for 15 minutes.

The potatoes were actually very smooth, and airy. Not heavy and clumpy like many commercial mashed potatoes are. The beef is in micro dices, so it actually rehydrates in time (a real issue with meat in mashed poatoes in general. The potatoes are ready in 2 minutes and the meat takes 15 to 20 minutes often.)

If you like mashers, you might like this one. It’s a bit salty for my taste, but on a very hot day, the potassium and sodium combined will help you with preventing leg cramps if you got really dehydrated.

Stroganoff Sauce, Mushrooms, And Beef. It retails for $7.99. And $8 is a good price right now, as many meals are pushing $13 and up with inflation.

I have reviewed a number of beef stroganoff meals over the years (here’s one to check out). It seems that this one flavor is always popular amongst the male hunter/hiker crowd. I get it: it’s meat, pasta and sauce. It can be a great combo or really bad. The worst I have ever had was Mountain House (sue me if you want, but it was so gross).

Easy to spot the beef dices in the pasta.

This is also a 1 one person meal now. The older version contained 1580 mg of sodium. It is now 1200 mg. That is a considerable drop. It has 21 grams protein versus when it was a “2 person” of 22 grams.

Now then….my thoughts? It’s got a better texture than Mountain House, a better aroma and has plenty of beef dices in the meal. But flavor wise it was too strong for me. Had it some sour cream added, to cut the saltiness flavor, that would have improved it. I’d put it in the middle overall. It’s not horrible, but it’s not great. I am sure meat and potato type guys would love it though. It’s a personal thing for me, that the strongest flavor is concentrated beef broth and I am not a huge fan of that flavor.

Texture is good. It’s not all watery, nor is it thick.

Fettuccini Alfredo With Chicken. It retails for $12.99 . I reviewed it in its older packaging back in May of this year.

Dry ingredients. It’s easy to spot the chicken and red peppers.

This meal is still a 2 serving. The sodium has dropped from 1700 mg (for the bag) to 1450. While still on the high end for the whole bag, that is a drop. It’s using a different pasta shape now, but not a big deal. It felt like it had more chicken this time, but not that I can quantify if that is true or not. 40 grams of protein for the bag will fuel you.

I liked this meal the first time, and it is still good. In fact, this might be my favorite entree from the company. It’s light in taste, not pasty and has plenty of chicken. They do a small dice of the meat, which means it gets fully hydrated. Something more commercial freeze-dried companies should do, in fact.

I’d happily buy this chicken dish again. And give it my thumbs up for a backup/prepper meal.


FTC Disclaimer: We purchased all products reviewed, and all thoughts are ours. This post contains affiliate links. 

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