Good To-Go Backpacking Food

Gourmet trail eats

MSRP $6.75
Gender Unisex
Best Uses Backpacking
Good To Go - shawnte

Yes, I always match my food to my headwear

Once upon a particularly dreadful time, my pathetic backpacking dinner menu consisted of pouched tuna and potato flakes, or freeze-dried meals that left a bad taste in my mouth…and digestive issues in their wake.

I fart – I mean, fear no more, because in addition to my much-improved backcountry culinary skills, there now exists a line of portable meals that escalate backpacking food far above and beyond the typical flavorless, salty offerings. Enter Good To-Go (tagline: “Real Food. Real Adventure.”), a Maine-based company helmed by professional chef Jen Scism and her husband David Koorits. When the two began dating, outdoor exploits were a big part of the equation; Jen found the traditional backpacking meal offerings quite lacking, so she developed her own recipes for the trail.

While I first noticed Good To-Go’s colorful packaging in stores, I was introduced to the actual contents during the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow in January. I absentmindedly grabbed a sample of the brand’s Thai Curry, then snuck back for a second helping. It wasn’t just good – it was freakin’ fantastic. I took a much larger portion out on the trail and was equally blown away. The meal comes with a packet of coconut milk powder that serves as a perfectly creamy, slightly sweet complement to the exquisitely spiced rice and veggies. I will cop to having also eaten this for dinner on at least one occasion, and it was just as good even when I hadn’t hiked 16 miles with a full pack.

Good to Go - curry

I had the opportunity to try three more dishes that Good To-Go sent over: Herbed Mushroom Risotto, Classic Marinara With Penne, and Smoked Three Bean Chili. As with the Thai Curry, these absolutely blow all space food…I mean, freeze-dried food…out of the water.

The penne tasted legitimately homemade – and actually, better than the penne and dehydrated spaghetti sauce leather I usually take on backpacking trips. The noodles held their shape and the sauce was surprisingly robust; to take it over the edge, I sprinkled on a packet of grated Parmesan harvested from my last pizza order. The risotto was equally tasty – thick, rich, and hearty, I could have lingered over that pouch for hours. The chili wasn’t quite as remarkable as the other three dishes I tried, but that’s not to say that it wasn’t good – I just added a bit of my favorite Cajun seasoning to knock it up a level. Good To-Go also has two brand new flavors, Indian Korma and Pad Thai, but I haven’t had a chance to check those out quite yet…although I can’t imagine they’d be any less tasty than the other meals in their line!

Good To Go chili

A slight caveat – I found that they do take slightly longer than freeze-dried meals to reconstitute once you pour in the hot water. However, if I’m really hungry, I just boil the water before setting up camp, and let everything heat (and soften) up while I’m cozying up the place. One other note is that the meals are a little pricier than old school freeze-dried offerings, although they’re not only completely in line with companies like Mary Jane’s Farm, Packit Gourmet, and Outdoor Herbivore, but also absolutely worth the cost.

Good to Go actual chili

Overall, Good To-Go is my new go-to for pre-packaged backpacking meals. While I enjoy dehydrating my own food to an almost perverse degree, I can’t help but throw these in my pack when I want something a step above what I can make at home. I seriously had a near-transcendent experience while enjoying a packet of Thai Curry during a beautiful sunset while on the Pacific Crest Trail recently. A longer boil time and a bit more pocket change buys me next-level trail dining, and when you spend as much time hoofing around the mountains as I do, that’s as good as gold.

 

Good to Go provided items to Modern Hiker for review free of charge. They did not influence the post or exercise editorial review over the writing.

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