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Good To-Go Chicken Gumbo

photo: Good To-Go Chicken Gumbo meat entrée

Good To-Go's Chicken Gumbo was amazingly gumbo-like. Delicious spicy chicken and rice with lots of okra that provided flavor and texture hard to imagine in a backpacking meal.

Pros

  • Delicious
  • Generous portion
  • Packs pretty well
  • Satisfying

Cons

  • Pricey

 

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Maine made and field tested in Baxter State Park

We packed along a few bonus meals on our Baxter trips this year. One was this double portion of Good To-Go's Chicken Gumbo which we shared as a late lunch after making camp on a short hiking day. We both were happy about how that turned out so let's dig into the review.

Instructions & Ingredients: 

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In the interests of science we followed the instructions as closely as possible for a field test. We used the measuring lines on Frau Stranger's mug to get close to the requested amount of water and let the meal soak for a few minutes longer than the 15 minutes asked. We were busy enjoying the grotto and so may have forgotten to think about the size of the universe.

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We did take a moment to ponder the ingredient list. As usual for Good To-Go there were no unpronounceable chemical sounding items, just things that sounded delicious and nutritious.

Nutrition:

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Speaking of nutrition...here are the numbers. Pretty light on the sodium compared to most backpacking meals and well balanced over all. Definitely lots of carbs, but fat and protein well represented with some bonus potassium.

Dining Experience: 

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Before adding water I wasn't impressed. Lots of okra and some brown lumps on rice. I have been disappointed by meals that looked like this before, but I kept a brave front up so Frau Stranger wouldn't worry.

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With water it looked much more promising. The brown lumps had become sauce and the okra looked oddly like okra. We sealed the pouch and kept it safe while we pondered the grotto.

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Then it was time for the best part of food testing; eating!

Test Conditions:

Shared with Frau Stranger as a late lunch on one of our short hiking days this summer in Baxter State Park. Campsite was the Little Wassatquoik Lean-To and water was locally sourced at the grotto.

Conclusions: 

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Oh my, this was a real surprise! I expect Good To-Go meals to be pretty darn good, but this one actually tasted a lot like what the name said it was. That almost never happens with backpacking food. We get used to accepting flavors and textures that suggest the idea of what the label says, but it rarely is actually anything like that. This gumbo actually felt like gumbo in the mouth. The chicken felt like chicken, the rice like rice, and somehow they got freeze dried and rehydrated okra to taste and feel like okra.

We were happy that the double portion was actually generous enough to share. Both of us felt satisfied when we were finished, though this was lunch on a relaxed day. I think I'd be stuffed, but would prefer to eat the entire bag myself if using it as dinner after a full day of hiking.

Good To-Go meals come in packaging that lays pretty flat which makes it easier to pack than many packaged meals. In a bear bag or in the canister they can be stacked without wasting much space. I am used to packaging meals in zip lock bags, but these I leave in their original bags. These bags are great insulators during rehydration so that is another reason I don't mind carrying them.

Overall, I can't say enough good things about this meal. It is too pricey for me to eat frequently, but as a bonus treat on a long hike or as in this case, a happy meal to share with loved ones, I have no problem justifying the expense. Folks who appreciate good food that tastes and feels like it is real rather than a simulation will definitely find joy in this food bag.

Experience

I eat a lot of bags of food on trail. I've eaten some Good To-Go among them.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $14.75

About the Author

John (LoneStranger) enjoys both solo adventures and family escapades on the trails and waters of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Alone or with his wife and daughter the preference is always for places without people where you can hear the breeze or watch a patch of sun slide through camp. He and his family help maintain a section of the Cohos Trail in northern New Hampshire and are seasoned veterans of Maine's Baxter State Park. On his own, John likes to push himself to always think a little bigger, higher, or farther and has hopes to do some longer distance trails. If you meet him on a remote summit you'll recognize him by the Trailspace hat on his head and the cheese and sausage he's stuffing into his smiling face.

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Specs

Price Current Retail: $8.75-$14.95
Historic Range: $7.25-$14.95
Reviewers Paid: $14.75
Product Details from Good To-Go »

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