Mountain House freeze dried foods has always been more of a manufacturer than a marketing company. They have traditionally passed off all marketing and sales to distributors such as REI and Walmart for outdoor camping (pouch sales) and companies like Emergency Essentials and the Ready Store for the preparedness market (mainly #10 can sales).
Over the past few years this has begun to change as they now sell products direct from their own website and offer customized or re-packaged products into different sales channels like Amazon.com and even Costco from time to time.
How it looks at most websites
Today we’re going to look at one of these newer pre-packaged freeze dried pouch meals in a bucket. We’ll look to see if it’s s a deal to buy their meals individually or in this prepackaged bundle. The name of this freeze dried food bucket in Mountain House’s line is the Just-In-Case Classic Assortment.
On their website this bucket of pouched meals retails for $89.99. The bucket contains 12 pouches with each pouch holding on average 2.5 servings of freeze dried meals. Purchasing the pouches individually at full price from the Mountain House site you would pay 92.88 (7.72 a pouch avg). Buying the entire bucket saves you $2.89. A few dollars and a cheap flimsy a bucket for free isn’t bad but we can do better. [Sidenote: we’ve seen these thin clear buckets in person and they are not durable at all. Very cheap quality bucket.]
Most resellers of Mountain House pouches offer pouched meals individually (not bundled) at lower than the Manufactured Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). I went to the Ready Store website and totaled those 12 total pouches up which came to 76.38. The same price you would pay (today at least) from Emergency Essentials for all of these pouches is 77.21. Both a much better deal buying these items a la cart than the bundle from Mountain House.
How it looks on Amazon’s site
But… it isn’t that simple, you can buy the same Classic Assortment bucket today for 75.95 from Emergency Essentials and for 68.79 (5.73 ea.) from Amazon.com. The Amazon version looks different but when you compare the contents of the bucket and ignore the different outside you will realize that they are the exact same product configurations just being marketed differently. This item is sold by Mountain House through Amazon’s site. They likely changed the look of the bucket to make it harder to compare apples to apples. Their resellers surely don’t like having to compete against their supplier on Amazon.
Either way buying it from Amazon is the way to go in this case TODAY. I wish I could tell you Amazon or a particular store is always the low price leader but it isn’t that simple. If you want the best deal you need to bookmark sites and shop around. We often post the best current deals on our site (check our Today’s Deal page) but we miss good deals from time to time so you can’t just bookmark our site either. To save the most you need to shop a variety of Mountain House resellers across the web.
Buying the Classic Assortment Mountain House bucket off sale for full retail is far from a great deal at 7.72 a pouch. Buy it from Amazon.com for 5.73 a pouch and save 25% – over $24 less than buying the pouches individually from Mountain House’s site. Doing it this way, we can now say you’re getting a deal. Moral of the story. Shop around to save money!
[NOTE: Pricing is accurate as of 7-23-2016 and of course will change with time.]