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Reviews > Food > Packaged Meals > Good To Go Meals stew and chowder 2018 > Test Report by Kurt Papke

Good To-Go Meals

Test Series by Kurt Papke

Initial Report - November 14, 2018

Long Term Report - December 9, 2018

Tester Information

Name: Kurt Papke
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Height: 6' 4" (193 cm)
Weight: 230 lbs (105 kg)
Email address: 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.

Initial Report

Product Facts

Product Information
Manufacturer
Good To-Go
Manufacturer website
https://goodto-go.com/
Items tested
Kale and White Bean Stew
New England Corn Chowdah
Year manufactured
2018
Country of manufacture
U.S.A.
MSRP
USD $6.95
Warranty
"Good To-Go cannot accept returns on ANY FOOD ITEM unless it is damaged or defective upon receipt."
Weight

Manufacturers Net Weight
Measured Gross Weight
Corn Chowder
3.3 oz (93 g)
3.8 oz (107 g)
Kale Stew
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.

Materials
See photo of product backside below for the list of ingredients

Initial Inspection

front
back
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.

Summary

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:

gtg03

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:

gtg04

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.

gtg05And 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.


Conclusion

Overall, this is a very good product.

Things I liked

  1. Great flavor and aroma
  2. Spice and salt nicely balanced
  3. The kale and white bean stew was particularly hardy
  4. Great addition of good tasting veggies to my trail diet
  5. Good packaging - no leaks, lightweight, reusable as trash bag

Opportunities for Improvement

  1. Required addition of a protein/fat source for a Big Guy like me
  2. 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

Reviews > Food > Packaged Meals > Good To Go Meals stew and chowder 2018 > Test Report by Kurt Papke



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