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Question about aged camp food.


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I have not camped in several years and am preparing for some trips this fall.  While I was getting my equipment out, inspected, cleaned arc. I found several Mountain House meals in my box.  These are the kind that you open at the camp, add boiling water, stir let sit then eat them.  But they expired about 6 years ago.  They are kind of expensive so just throwing them away bothers me.    I am wondering if you all think that they would be safe to eat.  I thought those things were like MREs and would last “forever”,  then I saw the “best used by” date.  Interested in you thoughts.

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Aaron Zagrodnick

I should add that I can personally verify this as well - I take meals from Mountain House that show they’re expired on the package (but are within the new retroactive shelf life range) on trips all the time - don’t notice a difference. While I definitely take a few other brands on trips as well to mix things up, with Mountain House it is nice to not have to be as mindful about taking the oldest meal(s) you might have and using them before they expire.

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I am with Aaron on this.  As long as the package is still sealed and it hasn't been in an extreme heat environment (example - Trunk of your car in the summer) I wouldn't have a problem using them.

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  • 5 months later...
On 9/5/2019 at 10:56 AM, Aaron said:

Sounds like you may be good to go! You'll just have to check the manufactured date - Mountain House has changed to a retroactive 30 year guarantee on shelf life so long as it was made after 1985:


Good Feedback Aaron, I have never used Mountain House. I never went over a week outdoors bring just my own food stuff made at home. But wanting longer durations, I was looking at other long term food sources. I have always fallen back on what I knew, which has been MRE's and what I make up myself at home prior. My wife, has never cared much for MRE's. Now to tell you how old I am the Military gave us C-rations.  We would place the cans on the vehicle engine to heat them up.

I never really gave deep thought to other food sources. Striking only with what I knew worked.

Good Feedback AaronThanks! 

Edited by Pocket
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  • 1 year later...
Michael aka Mac

MRE shelf life has changed over the years. They use to be able to last over 10 years depending on the temperature they were stored at but that changed when they stopped using all  freeze dried ingredients , and other changes. Now they tend to have a 3-5 year shelf life, depending on temperature where being stored.

With regard to Mountain House products,  only a select few of their different outdoor foods  have a 30 year shelf life. And with that said, there is a difference between being edible and enjoyable.  You may boil water to kill pathogens, but you are not going to make it taste better.

I personally had eaten a Mountain House product that was expired by only a year or so on one of my trips which resulted in me coming down with a bad case of hives. Not to mention a weird after taste when consuming it.

The question i ask myself is how much money am i throwing away when getting rid of something that is expired and how much money will I spend in hospital bills,  turns out throwing away food is cheaper and comes with less itching sensations.

I just recently threw out approximately $200 of MREs and freeze dried foods that were expired after consulting with  the companies. 

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