review: Backpacker's Pantry Gourmet Meal Pack (3-Day)

Reviews of Civilian MREs (Sure-Pak, aPack, etc.) as well as other civilian ready-to-eat food
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TurtleNomad
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review: Backpacker's Pantry Gourmet Meal Pack (3-Day)

Post by TurtleNomad » Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:36 pm

As part of my big freeze dried multi-day "kits" comparison, I ordered two of these kits:
Backpacker's Pantry Gourmet Meal Pack - 2-Person, 3-Day

I had read some good reviews of Backpacker's Pantry products but have never found any in local stores, and definitely wanted to try some. "Sierra Trading Post" (STP) has carried two different kits (one vegetarian, one mixed) for a while, and regularly has excellent sales, so I bought two (one to sample, one to store). The purchasing experience was very good, with no cyber scariness, and quick shipping.

Three notes/tips:
  • STP is currently out of stock of both kits. :( The vegetarian kit has been out for about a year or so.
  • Keep an eye on STP's site, as they're good at finding discontinued products and deals. I'm sure they'll find some sort of shelf stable camping food, to fill in the gap in their camping equipment.
  • Please do not pay list price for this (or any STP items) or I will be very annoyed at you. :)
The kit contains 12 pouches total, with a nice mix of 3 breakfast entrees, 3 lunch/dinner entrees, 3 desserts, 3 veggies:
  • Huevos rancheros *
  • Scrambled eggs with bacon bits *
  • Granola with blueberries and milk
  • Hawaiian-style chicken
  • Jamaican-style jerk rice with chicken *
  • Stroganoff sauce with beef and noodles *
  • Mocha mousse pie *
  • Cheesecake
  • Hot apple cobbler
  • Sicilian mixed vegetables *
  • Garlic herb mashed potatoes
  • Vegetable medley
Asterisks beside ones I've already tried. I also sent two to Adrian. :)

They were purchased late January of 2012, and the "best before" date range was 11-17-14 to 12-14-14 (almost three years).

The total calories are 5240 which is definitely not 6 person-days, but it only cost $35.96, so I was reasonably certain it was going to be closer to 3 person-days worth of food. :)
The cost per "day" was only $13.73 which is much cheaper than Mountain House ($17 - $27), and about the same as the Wise Foods and Alpine Aire kits.


Here's the very compact, nicely plain box, with a soda "fridge pack" for size reference:
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First peek inside the box:
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The lunch/dinner entrees (in the larger box that all of my STP order came in):
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breakfast entrees:
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desserts:
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veggies:
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The first entree I tried was Jamaican-style jerk rice with chicken...

Front of the package:
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Back of the package:
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Inside:
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After adding hot water and mixing:
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The first spoonful:
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Taste:
Good, with a nice mix of real chicken, rice and beans. I was expecting it to be much spicier than it was, but it really wasn't spicy. It was a lot saltier than I like, but for backpacking that makes sense.


The breakfast I had never heard of (before BP) was "Huevos Rancheros".
It's just eggs with beans and cheese, and some veg & spices...

Front of the package:
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Back of the package:
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Inside:
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After adding room temperature water and mixing:
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after rehydrating, poured into a pan to fry, partly cooked:
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after cooking:
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The first spoonful:
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Some on a plate:
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Taste:
Very good!
The beans were bland, but not a problem. They added a good bump in protein.
The total experience was neither bland nor overwhelming - it was just about right.
I definitely want to try it again. :)

It was a lot more work tham pre-cooked egg dishes, which is the only downside.


Bottom line:
This kit has a much nicer variety than most of the kits I tried!
I particularly liked the inclusion of two egg dishes, and the desserts - the eggs for a good start in the morning, and the desserts for morale. :)
The veggie packs (both in this and other kits) have always struck me as kind of an odd after thought, but I did find a great use for one of them (coming soon!). :)
I would definitely buy again, so if they return to stock, or are available elsewhere, please post. :)

I'll be adding more pouch reviews, as will Adrian. :)
The important thing is the spices.
A man can live on packaged food from here til Judgement Day if he's got enough Marjoram.
- Shephard Book, "Serenity" (the pilot), Firefly
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housil
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Re: review: Backpacker's Pantry Gourmet Meal Pack (3-Day)

Post by housil » Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:42 pm

They look good to me, nice review. :D

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