At the end of a long trail day, the only thing better than a gourmet meal is a gourmet meal you don’t have to cook. Good To-Go does all the preparation in advance, leaving you with trail-ready meals that don’t compromise taste for convenience.
Good To-Go Meals Details:
- All natural ingredients
- No additives or preservatives
- Four flavors available
- Pack weight: 4 oz (single serving bag)
- Price $5.75 per single serving pack or $9.75 for double
Healthy, tasty and preservative-free backcountry meals
Considering how much time we spend researching and craving the most high-tech and high-performance outdoor gear, the food we take along for the adventure is something of an afterthought. We’re typically happy to grab whatever dehydrated packets are on sale at the gear store, or we just make do with bars, jerky, or whatever else we can survive on with minimal preparation.
Until recently, having anything resembling a healthy, tasty, preservative-free hot meal with natural ingredients required schlepping a bunch of bulky ingredients and spices in the camping bin. Fortunately, just over a year ago, a professional chef decided to develop convenient gourmet dehydrated meals that are prepared with nothing but boiling water. The result is Good To-Go, a company that offers four dinner options that are trail ready and much more appetizing than ramen noodles or freeze-dried mystery meat.
The company was founded by Jennifer Scism, a graduate of The French Culinary School in Manhattan who worked at various four-star restaurants in the New York City area before opening her own restaurant (Annisa) in Greenwich Village. If that doesn’t impress you, she also beat Mario Batali on an episode of Iron Chef. In 2010, Jennifer relocated to Maine and briefly opened a catering service before deciding to combine her love of the outdoors with her passion for gourmet cooking.
Good To-Go dinners are made with all-natural ingredients including fresh vegetables and whole spices. There are four flavors available: Smoked Three Bean Chili, Herbed Mushroom Risotto, Classic Marinara with Penne and Thai Curry. All of the flavors are gluten free and vegetarian, with the exception of the Thai Curry which is pescatarian. They come in single (3.5 oz) or double (7 oz) serving sizes; including the packaging, the weight of a single serving bag is 4 oz. The average calorie count for the meals is 375 per single serving.
As to how they work, it’s relatively simple: you open the bag to reveal the dehydrated ingredients inside.
Be sure to remove the oxygen absorber packet, or your stomach won’t be happy.
You boil water separately – either in a Jetboil or a regular Coleman-style pot – pour it into the bag, stir, and then re-seal the Ziploc-style closure and let it sit for 20 minutes. In case you’re wondering, 20 minutes does seem like a long time to wait when you’re craving some good chili. The bag gets quite warm, but insulates just enough to keep your fingers from hurting when steadying it for pouring and sealing.
After the waiting is over, you’ve got a darn good meal that can be eaten straight from the bag, or if your spoon handle is too short, can be easily poured into a bowl. In our testing, we found some of the ingredients to still be a bit firm after the recommended 20-minute wait period; an extra five minutes gave everything a more even texture.
We found the three meals we tasted to be very flavorful and natural-tasting; among them, the three-bean chili was the consensus favorite. The portion size is adequate to make you feel full after a single serving, and the bag retains heat well if you want to close the seal and return a bit later to finish. The empty bag packs up nicely to trash out – just remember to include the oxygen absorber and tear-away top with the main bag.
- All natural ingredients
- Easy to prepare
- Flavorful taste
- Shorter (and wider) bags would make it easier to eat straight from the container
Bottom Line: Good To-Go
With a commitment to natural ingredients and gourmet-caliber offerings, Good To-Go may change the expectations of backcountry food for campers and through-hikers in the near future.
Buy Now: Available at REI