• ONE LAST CHANCE TO DISCONNECT

    CLICK HERE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A JETBOIL MINIMO STOVE, GOOD TO-GO MEALS AND A VOLTAIC ARC 10WATT SOLAR KIT

    When I got an email about shooting photos and writing a blogpost for a collaborative giveaway from three awesome companies, I needed a little time to interpret the theme, “One Last Chance to Disconnect”. As it’s the end of summer and many folks hunker down for the cold months ahead, packing away the camping gear and hanging up the boats and bikes, the timing seemed to work, but what did the idea mean?

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    For me, “One Last Chance to Disconnect” isn’t about disconnecting from our devices, rather it’s about disconnecting from the tether that keeps a lot of us in our places and limits our ability and freedom to roam. By carrying a solar panel with me, I can do work from the road, keep my batteries charged and leave the concrete jungle behind to explore wilderness advocate and philosopher Sigurd Olson’s notion of “One foot in and one foot out”. In this day and age it’s hard to be all-in for the nomadic, traveling lifestyle, so it’s important to find the balance maintaining my relationship with the wild while maintaining my relationship with my community, family and friends. By being able to go on extended backcountry trips and have the ability to keep: my phone charged, my Delorme inReach charged, my headlamp charged, and my batteries for my camera charged—I can share these experiences with everyone else and get them motivated, excited and inspired to pursue their own adventures.

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    The Arc10W solar kit from Voltaic Systems is a simple, rugged and reliable approach to keeping the juice at 100%. I can set it up when I arrive at camp and strap it to the outside of my pack when I’m on the go, and charge any of my devices in the sun in no time. And while I don’t always have access to a full kitchen to make delicious meals, I carry a few things with me to make me feel like I do.

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    After 20 years of wilderness travel, and thanks to Jetboil and Good To-Go, I’ve finally found the best combination for quick, easy, delicious and nutritious meals in the backcountry. With the Jetboil MiniMo, I don’t have to prime stoves or deal with rubber o-ring gaskets on fuel pumps. I just start it up, boil water and go. I don’t have to worry about things falling apart in the backcountry. All the things that make the solar panel great are what make the stove great—simple, rugged and reliable. And when it comes to food, I don’t like to make a mess. I prefer quick, easy and delicious. With a serious culinary background and simple, real-food ingredients that you know and can pronounce, the makers of Good To-Go put a lot of time, effort, thought and passion into the food they sell and we eat. All the meals are gluten-free and more than half their line is vegetarian. I usually opt for the two serving bags as I need the higher caloric intake being the 6’3’’ guy I am. It also works out well that my favorite food on the planet is Pad Thai, and it just so happens Good To-Go makes the best one I’ve ever tasted.

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    With a full belly I can recharge my internal battery while my peripheral ones charge from the sun. I can stay out longer, experience the moments that last a lifetime, and come back to share them with everyone, encouraging their own opportunities to explore, create and live a full life.  Don’t let your batteries run out before it’s too late.

    (photos and story by Brian Threlkeld)

  • ARIZONA HIKERS GUIDE

    What do you get when you mix a 4 star wielding, Iron Chef beating, New York based chef with a outdoor loving, adventure seeking husband and counterpart?  Good To-Go dehydrated meals. This Maine-based company believes that not all dehydrated meals are created equal. Good To-Go has one pointed goal, “to elevate your expectations of what trail food can taste like”. I mean, wouldn’t it be nice to be excited for your meal at the end of a long days’ worth of exploring? We think so and are here to see if Good To-Go is the company that can make us say “wow” after eating a dehydrated meal.

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    THE REVIEW

    Currently, Good To-Go makes four varieties of meals in both single and double portions. The meals include;

    1. Thai Curry
    2. Classic Marinara With Penne
    3. Smoked Three Bean Chili
    4. Herbed Mushroom Risotto

    FEATURES

    • Four meal varieties
    • All meals are gluten free
    • All meals are vegetarian (Thai Curry is pescatarian)
    • Thai Curry won the “2014 Editors’ Choice Snow Award” from Backpacker Mag as well as Gear Junkies “Top 2014 Picks”
    • Ingredients you can pronounce
    • No preservatives or additives

    My wife and I took these Good To-Go meals with us on a little desert excursion last week and had a great time reviewing and testing the product.  We left for the outdoors after finishing up our afternoon workouts and did some hiking on some pretty empty (and hungry) bellies.  We hiked for a while and then decided at sunset to make our meals.

    The directions were super easy to follow and are clearly labeled on the back of the package.  The only real difference from other backpacking meals I’ve tried was the 20 minute wait to re-hydrate the food, which I thought was a little long (but ultimately worth it).

    My wife chose the Herbed Mushroom Risotto while I had to find out if the Thai Curry lived up to its award winning status.  After the meals were prepared and ready we dug right in and let me tell you the Thai Curry was the best tasting dehydrated meal I’ve ever had… period.  I literally said “wow” after my first bite and I barely left enough for my wife to taste test.  I was quite shocked at not only the taste but also the fragrance, the texture, and the perfect amount of spices used.  I was more than satisfied with my meal choice.

    Casi and I both, on the other hand, felt like the Risotto left something to be desired.  It was a little bland and tasted more like a traditional re-hydrated meal rather than something cooked from scratch at home.

    At an average of about 375 calories, all the meals were filling, although I could have probably eaten a double serving of the Thai Curry because it was just that good! My wife was full after her meal and felt like the single serving was the right portion size for her.

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    WHAT I LIKED

    1. The Taste: The overall deliciousness of the meals were far superior than other meals I have tried.  The Thai Curry surpassed my expectations and really does live up to its “2014 Editor’s Choice Snow Award” and Gear Junkies “Top 2014 Picks”.  The Three Bean Chili was probably my second favorite.  Only one of the meals (the Herbed Mushroom Risotto) was “blah”.
    2. The Texture: Most of the time dehydrated or freeze dried meals are little broken up pieces of who knows what and one can hardly determine the contents inside the pouch.  Not with Good To-Go.  You can actually see large dehydrated broccoli pieces, mushrooms, cauliflower, and more.
    3. No Added Preservatives: Good To-Go uses no added preservatives which is awesome!  The dehydration process alone is enough to give the meals a two year shelf life.
    4. Gluten Free: My wife has a thyroid disease that prevents her from eating gluten.  Finding a backpacking product like this is a game changer for her. Nice work Good To-Go!

    WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

    1. The Time: 20 minutes to re-hydrate a meal is quite long.  Although my meal was nice and hot at the end of the 20 minute wait, I fear that if I was backpacking in harsher conditions (snow or low temperatures) the meal could get cold before it’s ready to serve.
    2. The Price: I know, I know, you get what you pay for but at $6.75 for single portions and $11.50 for double portions it is a tad on the pricey side.  Good To-Go uses only the best ingredients so naturally the meals will be more expensive but I would have a hard time spending the $11.50 for the double portion of a meal just for myself ($6.75 for a single which wasn’t quite enough for me).
    3. Wheres The Beef?: Currently,  Good To-Go only offers vegetarian or pescatarian choices.  I did read, however, that the company will start producing a new line of meals with meat options (cross your fingers)!

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    CONCLUSION

    I only had to ask myself one question when reviewing this product; Would I buy these meals?  My answer is a resounding YES…but only as a reward for a really long day of hiking/climbing/biking.  The meals are tasty enough to splurge on for a special occasion, however, I don’t think I could justify spending $7-11 dollars on one meal every time I go backpacking.  With that being said, I could eat that Thai Curry every meal for a week and not get tired of it!

    This company is filling a much needed gap in the backpacking meals space with these high quality meals. If you are looking for a superior tasting meal with quality ingredients than Good To-Go meals are a no-brainer. You can purchase them straight from their website and get free shipping on orders over $75!

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    Check out Arizona Hiker’s Guide for more great gear reviews.