Up a Tree: A New View on Outdoor Recreation

Here at Mountain House we keep a keen eye open for stories to share with our community, particularly those that encourage folks to get outside and explore. And wonderfully, people are doing just that! From hiking the PCT, to summiting mountains, to discovering natural wonders in our own backyards, outdoor recreation seems to be at an all-time high. Great news, right? Well yes. But … we’re also keeping an eye open for other stories, too. Because as more and more people get outside and turn little-known areas into popular “must-see” experiences, there’s a risk that some ecologically-sensitive areas could be “loved to death.” So we want to highlight a different story, and encourage you to consider experiences that instead, love these special places to life.

Kelli Martinelli, one of our team members, recently had the opportunity to experience a cool new way to get outside here in Oregon. Her goal was to take a trip up to the top of an old growth tree, and if possible, spend the night up in its branches.  Thanks to Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center and Expedition Old Growth, Kelli got the adventure she was seeking, and then some.  She writes about the conversation she shared with her EOG tree guides while up in the canopy:

“… we discussed the language that trees share with each other. There is an unmistakable communication system, not so different from human neural and social networks. As an example, one tree in a grove could be under attack by an invasive bug. As the bug chomps on leaves, the tree releases volatile organic compounds into the air. The other trees detect these airborne stress signals and ramp up their production of a chemical defense mechanism in response, warding off attack. Makes it easy to wonder, are there signals being sent out to us that we simply haven’t been sufficiently aware in order to receive them?”

From Rejuvenation to Recreation

The Opal Creek Wilderness is the most recently protected wilderness area here in Oregon, thanks to the folks behind the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Through their efforts they have been able to conserve 35,000 acres of old growth, protecting this vital watershed and ecologically diverse gem. They now concentrate most of their conservation efforts through programming offered at the rejuvenated mining outpost in Jawbone Flats, from outdoor schools, to wilderness medicine certification programs, and even private cabin rentals in the midst of old growth Douglas Fir, Western Cedar and Hemlock. Lots of people head to Jawbone Flats during the warmer months, taking advantage of the cool swimming spots and cliff-jumping opportunities. And while those activities are certainly fun, just think about the richer experience of doing something that integrates recreation with education and conservation, so that those swim spots and big trees will continue to be around for future generations.

Gear and safety check with Damien Carré of Expedition Old Growth.

Gear and safety check with Damien Carré of Expedition Old Growth. Photo credit Uncage the Soul Productions.

No Monkeying Around. Climb With an Expert.

Expedition Old Growth partnered with Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center to offer an immersive tree-climbing/camping experience. Damien Carré, owner-operator of EOG, has been up inside trees for 17 years, possessing the technical skill to ascend and descend safely, while minimizing the impact on the trees and surrounding forest. Interested in ascending a tree in your neck of the woods? Find a guide! Expedition Old Growth, for instance, provides experienced catered climbing excursions in Oregon and Washington.

Enjoying a 360 degree view of an Oregon treasure.

Enjoying a 360 degree view of an Oregon treasure. Photo credit Uncage the Soul Productions.

Remember taking field trips as a kid? Sure there was fun in heading to the zoo (again) or to the local paper mill (maybe), but we just bet the memories that stuck around had more to do with the expert guides and the hands-on education than just the place itself. Kelli writes,

“While I can’t speak for anyone’s experience except my own, I cannot imagine you’ll return to roots-level without a newfound understanding of this breathtaking symbiosis. I’m still dizzy with elation over the experience and am challenged to reinterpret my own relationship with trees, no longer seeing them as a “renewable resource” or even “friends” — but instead as wondrous, mysterious neighbors in whom I can trust, and for whom I will strive to be worthy of theirs.”


So we want to hear from you. What gems have you discovered in your own backyard that have offered you an experience where you were able to play — and learn — all at the same time?

You can read Kelli’s full account here, Asleep in the Arms of Ancients. And yes, she did get the chance to have her overnight in a treetop. Not only that, she brought Cheesecake Bites. Because she could.


Help Us Make Camping More Accessible + Win Cool Stuff!


For us at Mountain House, this past summer has been marked by an effort to make camping even better than it already is. What could make it better? Accessibility! Finding new places to camp and explore without having to trudge through the murky reeds of the internet to get there.

We partnered with The Dyrt, an online platform for campsite reviews, to give away $8,000 worth of Mountain House in exchange for authentic campground reviews from real campers. The results so far have been incredible. As of September 1st, we’ve given away $6,000 of our summer prizes. But what’s truly invaluable is the way you all have improved the process of finding a campground by submitting your past experiences to The Dyrt (and entering the contest).

Wisconsin camper Daniel B. submitted his canoe-camping review of Big Bay Town Park, WI to The Dyrt as part of our contest.

Wisconsin camper Daniel B. submitted his canoe-camping review of Big Bay Town Park, WI to The Dyrt as part of our contest.


Finding campsites online can be a pain, and by submitting your reviews you’re helping alleviate that pain. You’re also being entered to win a slice of our $8,000 pie.

Here’s how our contest works:

  • Review campsites in one of our two contests, Illinois or Wisconsin.
  • You get points for your review. The more you review, the higher up the leaderboard you go.
  • At the end of the month, the top 10 reviewers in each state with the most useful reviews each win a 5-Day Food Kit.

June, July, and August each had their own winners. Looking ahead, September’s contest starts fresh with a clear leaderboard. It’s also your last chance to win.

If you’ve ever camped or if you camp in Illinois or Wisconsin by the end of the month, you could win 5 days worth of Mountain House just for helping us make camping even better.

Check out some of our excited winners so far:



PS – You can also get in on some prizes if you’ve never camped in Illinois or Wisconsin–it just won’t be Mountain House coming to your door. See the nationwide contest here: http://thedyrt.com/contests

A Match Made in Camping Heaven: Mountain House + The Dyrt

Mountain House is about making it easier to get out the door. Making it easier to pack up and go, without having to think about, “What will I eat in the backcountry?” Making you feel at home in the mountains, the deserts, and the forests of the world.

It makes sense, then, that we partnered with The Dyrt, a platform for user-submitted campground reviews, pictures, and videos. The Dyrt, like us, makes it easier to get out the door.
Have you ever tried to find detailed info about campgrounds online? It’s as much of a pain as planning, purchasing, and cooking a weekend’s worth of camping food. By getting users to submit their stories, tips, and images, The Dyrt is a place to go to find a campsite and actually know what to expect before you get there.

This is just one reason our partnership is exciting. Another reason? Mountain House is giving away 5 Day Food Kits through our contests on The Dyrt over the course of the summer.

We are running two contests on The Dyrt, one for Illinois, one for Wisconsin. If you’ve ever camped in either IL or WI, you could win a 5 Day Food Kit for reviewing your sites.

  • Here’s how it works:
    Review campgrounds in IL or WI. This automatically enters you into our contests.
  • Get points for your reviews. You get more points the more you share: text gives you a minimum amount of points, and photo, video, and social shares all get you extra points.
  • Get more points, and you could be one of the top 10 at the end of the month. There are leaderboards that let you track your progress.
    At the end of the month, the top 10 reviewers with the most points and most useful content from each contest win

Let us reiterate: the TOP 10 from each contest win. Not just the top 3. And all 10 win a 5 Day Food Kit from Mountain House.
Our August contest just started. It ends at 11:59 pm on August 31st. Prizes will be awarded to the top reviewers the next day. On September 1st at 12:00 am, our last contest for the summer will start.
So, if you’ve ever had camping experience in Illinois or Wisconsin, share it on The Dyrt and you could win!

Emergency Food Pioneer Mountain House Raises Shelf Life of All Freeze Dried Entrees to 30 Years

Mountain House Taste 30-year Taste Guarantee Seal

New Shelf Life is The Longest Proven Shelf Life for Freeze Dried Food in The Emergency Preparedness Industry

Mountain House, a division of OFD Foods, Inc., has raised the shelf life for all freeze dried entrees in cans and pouches to 30 years. The shift comes in response to new consumer research showing a majority of consumers view the shelf life of long-term emergency food as the time that the product will “still taste good.” Consumers will begin seeing this change reflected in the ‘Best By’ date on Mountain House packaging by the end of the year, if not sooner. Important to note is that this change retroactively affects all pouches and cans made within the past 30 years.

Continue reading

RV Camping: Preparing For Your Journey

RV camping is best with Mountain HouseThere’s nothing like the feeling of hitting the open road in a well-equipped RV, whether it’s a trusty little trailer or a whale-sized Class A: You’re free and footloose as they come, equipped with everything you need for weeks or months tooling around interstates and backroads alike.

Whether you’re going to hop between two or three developed RV parks or campgrounds for the summer, or you’re striking out for some open-ended boondocking in the backlands, make sure you’re adequately packed and prepared. Give this basic RV-camping checklist a gander, and make sure that on-the-go pantry’s got plenty of Mountain House meals in stock! Continue reading

Hit the Woods: Planning a Weekend Car-Camping Getaway

 trees camping image

A weekend camping getaway’s just the antidote for workday stress. Virtually anywhere you are, there’s likely to be some sort of campground within hollering distance, whether it’s in a county park or a Bureau of Land Management recreation site. A couple of days spent under the stars gives you the primal recharge you need to hit the ground running Monday. (Or maybe call in “sick” to extend your quality time in the woods. Just saying.)

A little planning and preparation go a long way toward making a short-but-sweet campground respite as fun and rejuvenating as it should be. Here we’ve compiled a weekend camping checklist for frontcountry adventures—a walk-through to get you thinking about the essentials. (Keep an eye out for forthcoming posts on organizing for longer car-camping expeditions and backpacking.)  Continue reading