Good To-Go Meals
Test Series by Kurt Papke
|| Kurt Papke
|| 6' 4" (193 cm)
|| 230 lbs (105 kg)
|| kwpapke (at) gmail (dot) com
|City, State, Country:
||Tucson, Arizona USA
I do most of my hiking in the desert Southwest, but occasionally get
up into the Pacific Northwest and my old stomping grounds in
Northern Minnesota. I am a comfort-weight guy when it comes to
most gear, trying to stay as light as possible but I don't go to
extremes. I normally dehydrate my own meals or assemble them
from ingredients I can buy at the grocery, but occasionally I
purchase prepared backpacking meals.
|Kale and White Bean Stew
New England Corn Chowdah
|Country of manufacture
|"Good To-Go cannot accept returns on ANY FOOD ITEM
unless it is damaged or defective upon receipt."
|3.3 oz (93 g)
|3.8 oz (107 g)
|3.3 oz (93 g)
|3.4 oz (97 g)
Note the discrepancy in the measured gross weights between
the two products. The packaging looks identical for
both meals, so my guess is the Kale Stew has an actual net
weight lower than the Corn Chowder.
|See photo of product backside below for the list of
The preparation looks pretty standard, though a 15 minute
rehydration time seems a bit long. My experience with
freeze-dried and home-dehydrated corn is that it takes forever
to rehydrate and soften up, and if the Bean Stew has whole beans in
it that would explain the longish wait times.
I can't wait to get out on the trail and make some meals! I
am headed to the Grand Canyon for a Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim hike in a
couple of weeks, and I'll likely consume most of the four meals
(if not all) on that one trip. The size and calorie content
seems appropriate for my typical lunches, so that's when I'll plan
to scarf them down!
Long Term Report
I consumed all four meal packets in one 7-day/6-night 50 mile (81
km) backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon. The highest
temperature during the week was about 60 F (16 C), and the lowest
night time temperature was 25 F (-4). It was snowing hard at
the beginning and end of the trip, rained all night one night at
Cottonwood, but occasionally the sun broke through and lifted our
spirits. Here's a photo of my food layout, days are
left-to-right, each day is top-to-bottom:
I arrange my meals this way to make sure I don't miss anything, then
I load them into my bear bag starting at the lower right. That
way my next meal is always on top of the bag.
Visible in the photo is the protein & fat source I paired the
meals with: tuna, SPAM, salmon, and a summer sausage. Why
didn't I just eat the meals straight? They just do not have
enough protein and fat for a carnivore like me. I appreciate
the rich flavor and the additional of the veggies to my diet, but
they would not have been enough as-is for a filling dinner for me.
Here's what one meal looked like just before being cooked up, with
Phantom Ranch in the background:
The meals packed well in my food bag. They were reasonably
compact and lightweight. All four made the trip with no rips,
tears, bag leakage, etc. Preparation was very straightforward:
tear off the bag top, boil some water, pour it in the bag. The
toughest part was opening and adding my protein sources, in
particular the meats had to be cut in smaller pieces.
here's the final product ready to eat at left. By the time we
ate dinner most nights it was dark out, so the picture suffers from
the poor flash on my smartphone.
So how were they? The flavor was out of this world! They
were nicely seasoned, the salt balance was nice, and the aromas
complex. My favorite was the kale and white bean stew - it was
hearty and went well with everything.
I am not such a big fan of the corn chowder. When I've
prepared my own dehydrated meals, I've always had problems with the
corn rehydrating well enough to get soft. The kernels always
stayed tough no matter how long I soaked them. The same thing
was true of the corn chowder - I soaked them longer than the package
directions, and some of the corn kernels never softened up.
Still quite tasty, though a bit monotone.
I liked the packaging. I was able to use several of the meal
bags as trash containers. The top seals back up nicely and
didn't pop open in my food bag.
Overall, this is a very good product.
Things I liked
- Great flavor and aroma
- Spice and salt nicely balanced
- The kale and white bean stew was particularly hardy
- Great addition of good tasting veggies to my trail diet
- Good packaging - no leaks, lightweight, reusable as trash bag
Opportunities for Improvement
- Required addition of a protein/fat source for a Big Guy like
- Corn is tough to rehydrate
Many thanks to Good To-Go and
BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.
Read more reviews of Good To Go gear
Read more gear reviews by Kurt Papke