This post is brought to you by our friends at Mountain House. You don’t have to sacrifice flavor for convenience in the backcountry with Mountain House’s easy camping meals. 


Do These Easy Camping Meals Really Taste Like Thanksgiving?

Freeze dried meals have come a long way since the government first began sending rations to troops overseas. Now, the need for freeze dried meals has continued to rise. Outdoor enthusiasts from every niche, including car campers, backpackers, and anglers are continuously looking for convenient, easy camping meals.

Aside from convenience, what makes these meals stand out? The taste. In fact, eating a freeze-dried meal can be a luxury when you’re deep in the heart of the backcountry. It requires very little prep–just boiled water–and each bite is jam packed with flavor.

Our tried and true Rangers on The Dyrt have taken Mountain House’s new Homestyle Turkey Dinner Casserole into the field and assessed it for taste, weight, and ease-of-use. They came back with some tips on preparation as well as their thoughts on the newest dish from this Oregon based company.

Ranger Krista Z. Tries Mountain House at Pinal Campground, AZ

easy camping meals from mountain house

Image from The Dyrt Ranger Krista Z. at Pinal Campground

Krista Z. took the Mountain House turkey dinner to the outskirts of Phoenix at Pinal Campground. While she thought she would experience a warm desert retreat, she went to bed under blue skies and woke up to a blanket of snow. However, it made her savory freeze-dried turkey dinner taste even better. “This wasn’t my first freeze-dried meal,” says Krista Z., “but it was definitely my favorite!”

The weight makes this camping meal a winner because, “the bag weighed about as much as a slice of bread.” Although the wind made it hard to start the stove, once the meal finished cooking, the bag protected the food from the wind and kept it warm for longer.

“The food itself was very well flavored, and needed no additional seasoning. The turkey chunks were moist and you could have foold me that they weren’t freshly carved from an oven roasted turkey,” said Krista. Her pro-tip? Cranberry sauce. “We opened up a can of cranberry sauce to eat on the side and it felt like a genuine Thanksgiving dinner!”

Ranger TJ B. Tries Turkey Casserole at Jesse M. Honeyman State Park

easy camping meals from mountain house

Image from The Dyrt Ranger TJ B. at Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park

Dyrt Ranger Tj B.  shared his secrets about Jessie M. Honeyman State Park: “The site I stayed at was the best yet! (259).” He added that the site provided enough privacy and access to enjoy his camp experience. He also shared what he thought about his easy camping meals from Mountain House.

“While these dinners are lightweight, they are also delicious and this meal doesn’t disappoint,” said Tj. He compiled a short video with his taste test, and mentions how you can taste each ingredient individually, “You could taste the ingredients separately, but they come together nicely as a casserole.”

Tj wouldn’t say it beats his mom’s turkey dinner, however, “it’s as good as your friends mothers turkey dinner.”

Ranger Eby H. Tests Turkey Casserole at Galveston Island State Park

easy camping meals from mountain house

Image from The Dyrt Ranger Eby H. at Galveston Island State Park

With a background in gourmet food, Eby and her husband loved the Turkey Dinner Casserole, “I’ve got a particularly snobby chef husband who was very very skeptical of this just-add-water meal in a bag situation,” said Eby.

But once they poured the boiling water into the pouch, the freeze-dried meal turned into something delicious. “Honestly,” said Eby, “it tasted like Thanksgiving. Basically a stuffing with chunks of veggies and turkey.”

The only thing she’d recommend is allowing more time for the rehydration process because the turkey was a little too chewy for her preference.” I definitely plan on trying some of their other products (I’ve heard the Mac & Cheese is yum).”

Ranger Carrie C. at Granary Springs Campground

easy camping meals from mountain house

Image from The Dyrt Ranger Carrie C. at Granary Springs

After a long day of hiking, enjoying the Turkey Dinner Casserole felt like a luxury: “How wonderful it was to eat ‘Thanksgiving Dinner’ after a long day and many miles in the desert!” said Carrie.

Although, she agrees with Eby, “I would recommend letting the meal stand for a bit longer than the 9 minutes total, the veggies were still a bit crunchy.” Other than that, she loved being able to eat an easy, warm camping meal in the desert. “The stuffing and turkey was tasty,” she said, “and I would definitely purchase this for future endeavors. Meal 5 stars!”

Ranger Mara F. at Silver Mines Campground

easy camping meals from mountain house

Image from The Dyrt Ranger Mara F. at Silver Mines Campground

Dyrt Ranger Mara felt that the Turkey Dinner Casserole was good, but it didn’t knock it out of the park like other easy camping meals from Mountain House (specifically the Spicy Southwest Breakfast Hash). “I think the name evokes ideas of Thanksgiving dinner, then when you’re not eating grandma’s turkey out in the woods, you’re a little disappointed.”

However, she did feel that if circumstances were different she’d be singing a different tune, “I’ll probably try it again, with my expectations tempered a bit,” Mara said, “Probably in the fall, after I’ve just hiked 10 miles carrying 35lbs, my brain will tell me this is better than grandma’s turkey could have ever been.”

Ranger Amy G. at Springer Mountain Shelter

easy camping meals from mountain house

Image from The Dyrt Ranger Amy G. at Springer Mountain Shelter

Amy G. decided to save her Mountain House for a time when she’d be famished: after a long day of hiking. “The package says ‘2 servings,’ but that depends on your appetite,” said Amy, “I was so hungry, I ended up eating the entire package myself!”

Three things she loved: 1) Easy to use, 2) Tastes like Thanksgiving 3) Lightweight. Amy’s a chef, and generally pretty picky about her food, but the Mountain House meal hit home for her.

“Bottom line,” she said, “if I need a few good, solid, hot meals in my bag, these are my go-to food. All in one, easy to use, satisfying, and flavorful. This one is a winner!”


You can win free gear from Mountain House and 19 other brands by reviewing campgrounds on The Dyrt. Share past camping experiences, photos, and videos to earn points towards monthly prizes in The 2018 Great Camping Giveaway!

Megan Walsh

Megan Walsh

Megan dreams of one day being a professional recreationalist, and welcomes any and all tips on how to get there. When she isn’t climbing, skiing, or enjoying shavasana, she’s drinking coffee and furiously typing away at her computer––or watching Netflix. Her work has been featured in Climbing Magazine, Utah Adventure Journal, and on Moja Gear.