Everyone yearns for a treat after a long day on the trail, but it’s a little difficult to pack in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream on a thru-hike. At our last staff meeting, we did a LIVE taste test of the next closest thing... the tempting and mysterious freeze dried ice cream sold by Mountain House. Every time you're shopping for backpacking food, we get it, you pick it up and fondle the package, but never commit. No worries. We got you. We splurged and did the official taste testing.
We tested two flavors of their dehydrated ice cream sandwich: vanilla and a mint chocolate chip. Both retail for $3.99 each, which is significantly cheaper than a scoop of ice cream at Cold Stone, but definitely strikes out in terms of the chilly aspect of this sweet treat.
After tearing the package open, we were slightly disappointed by the crumbly mess... Maybe don't order them from Amazon (they were shipped in an envelope and we can imagine them bouncing around those delivery trucks!).
While the Mountain House backpackers ice cream sandwich may be a fun and kitschy treat for young kids, using it as a bribe to entice them down the trail with the "reward of ice cream", we found they did NOT hit the spot for us.
Gear Hut owner Leah best described the consistency: "It's kind of like a giant Lucky Charm marshmallow, but not in a good way. Maybe mixed with a bit of sad Oreo?"
We all agreed... for the low calories, size, and delicate nature of the bar, the entire team decided that we would MUCH RATHER pack in a baggies of Oreo cookies, Snicker Bars, or the ingredients to make a skillet pie over your Jet Boil. Literally - a fresh apple cut into oatmeal would have been more satisfying.
This is just our consensus though! If $4 is in your budget, it's worth a try for your summer adventurers... and hey, maybe after 14 sweaty miles on the trail, they hit the spot better?
If you haven't tried these and are curious about them for your next backpacking trip, stop by your local retailer or Walmart to pick one up! We recommend (1) bar for 2-3 people (and not shipping them via Amazon if you want it whole!). PRO TIP: Make sure you have WATER to hydrate! We were all SUPER THIRSTY about an hour after munching the astronaut ice cream snack.
Watch our full video and LIVE taste testing experience on instagram!
Let us know your thoughts... what's your favorite sweet treat to pack on the trail?