‘Iron Chef’ Backcountry Gourmet Meals

GEAR REVIEW – Good To-Go makes lightweight, dehydrated gourmet meals for the backcountry enthusiast. No longer sacrificing good bites for weight conscious adventures.

Good To-Go meals were first introduced to me by a glamp-tastic backpacking friend of mine.  It was via facetime that I got the entire company’s background and shared in my friend’s excitement as he (anxiously) awaited his delivery of his Good To-Go meals.  Once Good To-Go was in his possession and he had given it a test whirl in the Sierras, he would not stop talking about these meals.  This glamp-tastic pal of mine happens to be my best friend, whom I have witnessed spending weeks perfecting his very own homemade dehydrated meals.  His fridge is lined of mason jars containing an entire produce department in its dehydrated state, so he knows a thing or two about backcountry gourmet cooking; whereas I typically live off of GoMacro nutrition bars.

Fast forward a few months later and I am re-acquainted with freeze-dried backcountry meals at “base camp” for a push up the Matterhorn’s North Face.  The run of the mill meals were made of who knows what and took about five minutes to deliver much needed calories to our puttering engines.  They didn’t taste great but they were edible and caloric.  Can you ask for any more than that in backcountry freeze-dried meals?  Actually, YES, you finally can!!!  It took a second backcountry friend pushing me to try Good To-Go meals before I finally realized what all the buzz was about.  Good To-Go meals are actually good.

Enjoying Good-To-Go Thai Curry in the Backcountry

Enjoying Good-To-Go Thai Curry in the Backcountry

Good To-Go was founded by Jennifer Scism, an accomplished chef and successful New York restaurant owner, who’s biggest claim to fame is beating the Iron Chef himself on the TV Food Network’s Iron Chef program.  So, one can say she knows a thing or ten about fine dining and good food.

Good To-Go currently offers four meals, ALL vegetarian and ALL gluten free;  Herbed Mushroom Risotto, Smoked Three Bean Chili, Classic Marinara w/Penne, and  Thai Curry.  The Good To-Go food gurus plan to introduce meals appealing to the carnivorous bunch in the near future.  Good-To-Go backcountry meals are available in both single and double-sized portions, with each portion hitting home at 300-400 calories, and pricing being competitive with other backcountry ‘add water and go’ meals.

It is important to note that the meals do require a cook time of 20 mins, which is about twice the amount of time required for traditional freeze-dried meals.  We found Good To-Go meals worked best when prepared in ambient temps above 50F with no windchill.  The requirement for legitimately boiling water to be added to the dehydrated meals and their 20 min cook time makes it impossible to enjoy in a high alpine environment; however, Good-To-Go is a luxurious addition to most backpacking, rafting and biking trips where you no longer have to sacrifice good bites for weight conscious adventures.  Our favorite was the Thai Curry, of which I would like to order a case and eat at home for dinner twice a week.

Bottom Line –  You no longer have to compromise healthy, gourmet eating while adventuring light. 


  • Fresh, wholesome ingredients
  • Excellent flavor
  • Gluten free friendly


  • Cook time is 2x as long as standard freeze-fried meals (20 mins as opposed to <10 mins)
  • Preparing meals at altitude or in sub freezing temps (<32F) does not allow for full rehydration of food.  Water gets cold in packaging before meal can fully rehydrate.

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Raised in the ocean lined landscape of Southern California, Ilana now calls the rocky mountains of Colorado home. Ilana is a mother to an adventurous daughter, an accomplished rock and ice climber, skier, snowboarder, mountain distance runner, avid adventurer, and a Registered Trauma Nurse. A recent, near fatal accident in May, 2018, has left Ilana with a new disability; bringing her biggest life challenge to head, adapting to continue her pursuit of long, hard days in the mountains and share it with the generations to come. Ilana is the founder of Thrillseekers Anonymous, a seasoned event speaker, and has been featured in various media outlets including the February 2015 issue of ‘Climbing’ magazine, December 2013 issue of ‘Rock and Ice’ magazine, December/January 2013 issue of ‘Gripped Climbing’ magazine, Canyoneering: A Guide to Techniques for Wet and Dry Canyons (How To Climb Series) by Dave Black and Pasadena Magazine as well as a Climbing Expert on MTV’s Parental Control (Season 7 – “Heather”).

Ilana has written 121 articles for Thrillseekers Anonymous.

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