Photo by Jeremy Koreski
My fondness of time spent outdoors runs deeper than the salt water that flows through my veins. The love of open space on land is intrinsically intertwined with my draw to the vast unobstructed views of the open ocean. An exciting yet calming sense of awe. I can't quite grasp the words to articulate the experience these places bring. Dynamic, mysterious and wonderful. It's safe to say I f*ing love camping, surfing and everything these activities embody. As someone wiser than me once said "they entail risk, require soul and invite reflection". The reward of hard won grace is immeasurable. My idea of heaven is riding a motorcycle to camp at a surf spot.
So what is this sappy paragraph of my creepy affections have to do with the picture below???
As I stated above, my love of the outdoors runs deep. My Pops took me camping since before I could remember. For which I am eternally grateful. One of my first camping memories (no joke) is curiously opening a Mountain House bag of freeze-dried (Astronaut) Ice Cream... Crunchy, delicious, malty and would stick all over my teeth. I loved it and have been a fan of theirs since. I am now older, not much wiser and share my life and adventures with a beautiful companion (pictured below). My better half, as I like to call her, has certain dietary restrictions which basically had us turn and run from any of the pre-packed backpacking/ camping food brands. The sodium, sugar and other naughty ingredients were through the roof. Some had 10x the recommended daily value in one serving. We even tried brands boasting "organic", "low sodium", "low sugar", "low &*$@#" and tasted just shy of watery organic, low sodium vomit. We were so turned off, that we decided to buy a dehydrator and start making our own backpacking meals... which lead to some very expensive shriveled up veggies, giant messes and a lot of work for little outcome. SOOoo, when I heard that my old favorite brand was introducing a new line of "Low Sodium" meals, I was skeptical yet intrigued. Decided to send a quick email to them and thought I would request a sample. I was delightfully surprised when within a few hours, a very friendly young lady replied and said they would be delighted to have me try their new product as long as I wrote up an honest review, with the hopes of squashing the "low sodium = terrible taste" stigma that has plagued the industry. So within a couple days, the ridiculously generous people over at Mountain House, kindly sent me a couple meals (above). They are literally half the sodium content as some of their other meals (which I purchased on my own for comparison) and have 1/3 the sodium of some other brands. Already impressed, but yet to taste...
Now, I have never used this blog as means to make any kind of monetary benefit or to try and sell anything or am I sponsored by any company or anything along those lines... This is the first time a company has sent me something for free and asked for honest feedback.
Last night I dusted off my camping stove, boiled some water and prepped all 3 bags (2-low sodium & 1 regular just for comparison sake). Probably the easiest way to cook a meal ever. Add boiling water, wait, eat. I followed the instructions as precisely as possible. Poured them all out into bowls and the taste test began. They all turned out just a tiny bit more watery than I had hoped, next time I'll use just a tad less. To be honest, they all tasted amazing. I would actually eat these at home on a semi-regular basis if I was feeling ultra lazy. Of course this isn't restaurant quality, but for the weight (think backpacking), cost, size, taste and ease-of-use, they can not be beat. By anyone. A+
Photo Courtesy of Mountain House
Bottom line: I was pleasantly surprised. A dash of Tabasco brought these bagged delights to flavorful heights never achieved by any dehydrated meal I've had with as little sodium and as high protein. Great job Mountain House and thanks for the dinner(s). I'm off to buy a few more for my upcoming trip to Big Sur and will be happily fed along the trail.