Last September I headed to Colorado on my very first elk hunt. I was 12 miles back in the Zirkel Mountain wilderness for eight days. I knew that it was going to be tough physically and my chances of a successful hunt were slim. I honestly really wasn’t worried about any of that; my main concern was what I was going to eat back there for a week. We hiked in, so I had to carry everything I would need with me. I couldn’t rely on tagging an elk for camp meat, either, so I needed to plan three meals a day, plus snacks, for the full eight days.
I am not a big fan of dehydrated meals, most of the Mountain House-style meals remind me of the military MRE, and I wasn’t a fan of those either. I ended up bringing lots of ramen and SPAM and a ton of oatmeal with almond butter. I tried to add some variety with eggs, a few different kinds of noodle dishes, and, of course, some rice and beans. I had plenty of food and for the most part it was all edible. A few weeks after I got home, I got an e-mail from a new company that specializes in gourmet dehydrated meals. It was like the food gods knew exactly what I needed, and sent the company my way.
Good To-Go was founded by Chef Jennifer Scism and David Koorits. Schism is an award-winning chef, and her career has focused on the importance of good food. When most people think about dehydrated meals, they certainly don’t think gourmet. Most dehydrated meals are designed to be lightweight and pack as many calories in as possible. If they taste good, that is just a bonus. Good To-Go meals are trying to break that mold.
Good To-Go initially sent me four meals to test out: Herbed Mushroom Risotto, Thai Curry, Pad Thai, and Smoked Three Bean Chili. Next, they sent me their breakfast samplings of oatmeal and granola, and some of their yet-to-be-released Bibimbap and Mexican Quinoa Bowl. Each meal has been a new experience for me. I am not kidding at all when I say that the Thai Curry and the Bibimbap are the best dishes I have had in a long time. They aren’t just the best dehydrated meals I have ever had (they are)—I mean they are better than most restaurant versions I have had.
Every meal I have eaten has raised the bar as to what trail food should be. Their breakfast options are insane: Oatmeal is packed with energy and eating it in the morning will jumpstart your day and push you up the mountain. If they sold the oatmeal in bulk, I could start every day off with it. The oatmeal is seasoned with a unique blend of cinnamon, turmeric, and cardamom, and it’s loaded with chia seed and hemp hearts for added protein.
Good To-Go meals are packed in single and double serving portions, and are comparable to others on the market when it comes to prices: $6.75 for a single serving, and $11.50 for the double serving. They are lightweight and easy to make: just add boiling water and to wait the allotted time. If you wanted to add in a pouch of chicken or tuna, you could easily get away with that, although a single serving portion is more than enough to fill me up. Each single serving pouch weighs 3.5 to 5 ounces before rehydrating, which makes them very packable. If I were going out on another seven day adventure in the mountains I could very easily pack 28 of these things, have enough to eat four meals a day, and still have it weigh less than 9 pounds in my pack.
I have a few dishes that I like making when I am out camping and hunting, but I will be adding Good To-Go meals to my hunting pack from now on. I look forward to seeing what else they come up with.