The Taste Factor:
Before getting into the tastes of the packs I want to state my outlook of food. I see food more as energy than as a pleasurable meal. Though I love good food when hiking I see food more on the logistic side of things.
That said I thought the foods were pretty decent. I definitely felt the proportion size was right on. There are 2 servings per pack but eating the entire pack felt right for me, remember I'm a 210 lb. guy... It was the perfect amount to re-charge and not feel sluggish on afterwards. If you're going to pack your own spice/flavorings you could touch up the taste a bit but I found them appealing for the most part, I'll rank them up below:
1 star- Lousy
3 stars- It was decent
5 stars- Spa for the tongue
For dehydrated food/MRE type food I really couldn't complain about any of the meals, I was slightly let down by the pasta alfredo but yet again it wasn't bad; just o.k. The chili-mac pack was pretty good though the noodles weren't grade A. I actually was surprised and really liked the teriyaki chicken. If I was prepping up for a nice long hike and wanted to save a good quick meal for the last day's dinner, definitely the teriyaki pack. I struggled with giving it 4 or 5 stars but decided 4 was probably a fair judgement just below the knock your socks off grade.
What I'm looking for:
Besides price point I wanted a compact lightweight food that was easily packable for those longer treks into the backcountry. Being a father of two most of my hikes are day hikes and most of the camping trips are in state parks with my kids. But, on those trips that I'm backpacking or really wanting less cook and prep time in camp and more of hiking or fly fishing the backcountry streams this would fit the bill. They are very light (just under 6 oz.) and pack very well being non-boxed durable flat packs. You grab a weeks worth of meals is a small pack easily. It gives Ramun a run for the money.
Prep Time and Ease
To make a pack you first take out the Oxygen absorber pad and boil up some water. The pack has a good seal that is almost too good. If you have a knife it's no problem to open but the "tear easy" tabs weren't very easy to open. Once open simply add boiling water, mix well, and zip up the pouch. It took me about three minutes to get everything together (not including boiling water). In 15-20 minutes you have your meal ready to eat.
If you want the exact numbers on each pack you can click here for that
Nutrition wise (no pun intended), the packs are middle of the road. I like the amount of carbs in the hiking pack. Though I haven't tried them out the granola/oats breakfast packs are higher in the protein and carb department which is needed in a high energy morning meal. The meals with any meat included are high in protein and carbs, (not a bad thing on strenuous treks) but also contain alot of sodium (51% DV in chili-mac). I'm not a foodie but I tend to glance a little at labels and these are far from bad but not your necessarily the healthiest meal that could be made either. I'm not sure how you could make a meal have a 7 year shelf life and still appeal to all the facets of meal balancing so no scruff on the WISE company there. It's energy, it's survival, it's convenient for the outdoor adventure be it fly fishing the backcountry or trekking the Appalachian. A- rating in my opinion.
The Goods and Bads
Price of Meals
I hate to say this is worth this or that's worth that because money is all relative. Some may think the price is right and others not so much, we're all different here. For me personally (financially strapped) I would back off of the meals for regular camping. If you're not on a multi-day hike, save money and go with what you can make on hand. If you're backpack/fly fishing the upper peninsula of MI and must cover ground during each day to make it out, the price with lightweight ease is starting to look pretty good. Even for someone like me.
One cool product I found (They do more than just food) is the 2 week survival backpack. You get the food for a couple weeks journey as well as the pack to carry it. I'm the type that actually somewhat enjoys the planning and prepping for outings so maybe not for me but for someone who would rather pay and be done this may be of interest:
The WISE company has a pretty large selection of products. If you're an outdoorsmen/sportsman you may find that this could be your camping emergency stash, maybe you keep them in your glovebox, maybe the hunting cabin needs an emergency prep supply, or maybe your looking at survival situations for when disaster strikes. They fit all those needs. If you buy the bulk kits (6 months to a 12 month supply) you may have a good practical emergency food source always ready. Click the red link below to see what I mean.
That's about all I could think of for reviewing a meal ready to go. If you want to more know about the WISE company and food storage let me hear about it in the comments below.