Apr 24, 2011 at 11:31 am #1272788
Ok SO I am wondering if it is possible to leave my 1.25 oz cozy at home on my next trip. I currently use it only to hold my re hydrating food for 10 or so minutes. Does anyone know if these things really do much to maintain heat or can I get away with leaving it and simply sealing my ziplock for 10 minutes?Apr 24, 2011 at 11:44 am #1728783
I don't even think about bringing anything unless the temp. is going to be below 45 F or so. And even then I use some foil and bandanna, or spare insulation. Making sure that in bear country I am not using something I sleep in :)Apr 24, 2011 at 11:45 am #1728784
Ike JutkowitzBPL Member
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
Going without a cozy wouldn't be the biggest sacrifice an ULer ever made to save an ounce. You could always wrap the freezer bag in a fleece or rain jacket. Alternatively, you could MYOG a lighter cozy. My reflectix and duct tape one weights about 0.6 oz.Apr 24, 2011 at 11:48 am #1728786
Greg MihalikBPL Member
Are you rehydrating in the pan or in a ziplock?
If a pan/pot, is it tall and narrow, or wide and shallow?
Are you using a loose windscreen or a Cone?
I rehydrate in my Keg-H, leaving it in the cone, with only an insulated lid.
After 20 minutes it is still to hot to eat.Apr 24, 2011 at 11:50 am #1728787
I rehydrate in the bag so I do not have to clean up pots ( I hate dishes in the backcountry) I use a Cone.Apr 24, 2011 at 12:15 pm #1728793
@rosierabbitLocale: Pacific Northwest
You could find out for yourself at home by making the same thing in two FB's, then add the hot water to each, wrap one in what you would use on the trail (clothes, etc.) and drop one into your cozy. Wait 5 minutes and see if there's a big enough difference to matter to you. You may just need to get a lighter cozy.
I never used to take a cozy and just used gear or clothing to wrap the freezer bags. It worked. Then I made a cozy from reflectix and noticed a big difference in how much better it insulated the freezer bag; the food was warmer and better hydrated. So now the cozy comes on my trips. It slips into the back part of my pack, so I pretend it's adding to the shaping of my pack and therefore multipurpose.Apr 24, 2011 at 12:19 pm #1728795
Good point. Currently I am using it to also pad my caldera cone and pot inside a stuff sack for added protection, thus multi-use.Apr 24, 2011 at 12:32 pm #1728798
I made a cozy in reflectix that is exactly .8oz and is lightly stitched together with minimal tape. (the tape is the "heavier" part of the reflectix cozies other make). I've found that there is a pretty dramatic difference when I freezerbag rehydrate with it in how hot my food stays, especially if it is in the 60's or lower at night.Apr 24, 2011 at 1:11 pm #1728808
@mzionLocale: Boulder, CO
Use your jacket or sleeping back to insulate the pot while you wait. Multi use FTW.Apr 24, 2011 at 1:17 pm #1728811
(Disclaimer: You all know I sew and sell cozies but here are my thoughts)
Do you always need some form of a cozy? No. But in certain situations yes.
Bear country? Use a dedicated cozy you can put in your bear bag/Ursack/Canister at night.
Cold weather? High altitude? Use a cozy. It helps a lot.
Now though if it is 85* out you can get away without one.
The one thing a dedicated cozy does do is support the bag, allowing one to easily add water and stash said bag of food in a toasty bundle while you do other things.
The main reason why I make/sell fabric cozies versus Reflectix ones is that I like being able to roll/crush my cozy and wash it periodically. Not as bulky. We use Insul Bright as our insulating layer.Apr 24, 2011 at 1:25 pm #1728813
Konrad .BPL Member
I still bring along my cozy..old habits die hard I guess. That said, I did make a fairly interesting discovery recently. On our recent sub-freezing trip, we had to find another cozy for my gf. Normally, I buy mountainhouse meals, repackage the contents into a freezer bag, and throw out the original mountain house bag. However, we saw these new vacuumed sealed "pro-pak" mountain house meals-the portion looks to be in either the same as their old single serving size, or maybe a bit more. They are def smaller than their double serving sizes. However, the bag is large enough to accommodate a zip-lock repackaged double serving meal. Anways, we kept one of these packages, cleaned it out with soap and water, and used it as our 2nd cozy. Best part, it weighed .6oz, is reusable, takes up zero space since it's flat/rollable. It was actually lighter than my own after-market cozy that I paid 10 bucks for. Also, there's no doubting its effectiveness, as this is what the meals were originally intended to be cooked in. I'm thinking about ditching my normal cozy for one, as it's essentially free with the meal itself
They look like this:
I believe the normal 2 serving bag weighs more, so be sure to look for the "pro-pak"
I also round the corners off with scissors because I'm paranoid that any hard pointing edges will damage my UL gear. (I do the same with platy bottles)Apr 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm #1728816
Be sure you round the corners of the bags (the outer MH that is) so that it doesn't rub against anything else.
You may want to also test the MH bag to a normal cozy (or hat, etc) using a digital thermometer test at 5,10, 15 and 20 minutes.Apr 24, 2011 at 1:40 pm #1728824
Konrad .BPL Member
Yes, I def agree with Sarah, trim those edges
I would be interested to see a MH cozy stacked up against an aftermarket one.. unfortunately, I have no idea where I misplaced my thermometer. However, personally, I'm not even sure I need my food to be warm for that long. My greatest concerns on cold trips is that the the boiling water retains its heat long enough to cook my food. After that, I'm usually just annoyed that my food is so hot and I can't eat it as fast as I want, since I'm usually starving by then. Sometimes I do use my food/cozy as a finger/toe warmer, so extended heat retention for that purpose would offset my hunger-induced frustrations.
I've always thought about using my sleeping bag or puffy as my cozy but I have this fear that one day the bare ziplock bag will leak or pop etc, and my sleeping insulation will be 1) disgusting 2) bear bait 3) a PITA to clean when I get home, as most of it is down insulation.
If anyone's done boil in the bag before, they'll agree that unless you evacuate all the air out of the bag after you've poured the boiling water in, you're going to see a substantial ballooning effect caused by the steam. How much these ziplock bags will expand before they pop is beyond my knowledge, but I'm not eager to find out either.
The peace of mind of having a cozy serve as another protective layer is worth the .6 ounces to me.Apr 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm #1728836
Mary DBPL Member
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
A knit hat comes to mind as a cozy substitute. I know folks who have used them. However, I have had freezer bags leak or have slopped food over the edge of the bag while stirring a number of times. Using clothing as a cozy is, IMHO, a risky business, attracting not just bears but raccoons, skunks, ants and other interesting critters that you probably don't want visiting you in the middle of the night!
You could, of course, carry an extra freezer bag to line whatever piece of clothing you use as a cozy, which should take care of the spill problem. The extra freezer bag could be rinsed and re-used. Of course, your knit hat could be rinsed out, too, but not if you want to put it on right after dinner!Apr 24, 2011 at 3:01 pm #1728852
Matthew PerryBPL Member
I just put it in my Black Rock down beanie…does the same thing as a cozy, without the cozy.
MApr 24, 2011 at 6:12 pm #1728929
Diane PinkersBPL Member
@dipinkLocale: Western Washington
I second Sarah's comments about the fabric cozies. We are using 2 cozies I had purchased from her web-site. I tried a couple of cozies from Reflectix in the interest of trying something lighter, but went back to the fabric cozies. The ability to crush and roll the fabric cozies is a definite plus. I think the fabric cozies kept the food warmer. Also, since the fabric cozies can be mooshed around, we put our freezer baggies in the cozies, seal the baggies and the cozies, then sit around mooshing our food to help stir them. No stirring spills, and we get the bonus of warm hands, which in the morning is nice. We can fold the fabric cozies and store them in the cook pot, which keeps the spoons and anything in the pot from rattling. The Reflectix cozies I had to carry in the pad pocket of my SMD Traveler to protect them, which was actually a little too much in the pad pocket and stiffened the pack more than I wanted.Apr 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm #1728963
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Just use your fleece sleeping/cold weather hat for a cozy. (Never mind the dried stroganoff sauce on it, or crusty drops from that freeze-dried ravioli dinner two days ago.) Just think of the weight you're saving!
Seriously, that's exactly what I'm doing this summer on a longer Colorado Trail backpack. The air is THIN at 12,000 ft. so I'm counting every gram. Nothing "extra" except my ancient Thermarest Lite regular mattress that I demand for a good night's sleep. (Screw Neo-Air. Can't stand 'em.)Apr 25, 2011 at 1:06 am #1729058
@babymattyLocale: Western/Central PA, Adirondacks
+1 on reusing a Mountain House package. I eat a lot of Hawk Vittles meals and the packaging is just terrible on them. once you cut it open, there is hardly enough bag left on top to fold over. I just throw it in the old MH package and seal it up. Also, if I have a wet pair of socks or something else I want to dry, I put the socks over the meal package, and put them between layers of my clothing. It can dry out a mostly damp pair of socks in the time it takes your meal to rehydrate. Keeps you toasty in the cold as well.Apr 25, 2011 at 9:45 am #1729154
@xpatrickxadLocale: Upper East TN
I freezer bag cooked for my entire AT thru a few years ago and never used a cozy. I always thought of it as just some luxury item people used if they didn't want to hold a hot bag. I just used a bandanna. I stopped using freezer bags after that hike though. The amount of trash I was creating really bothered me.Apr 25, 2011 at 11:11 am #1729188
> My greatest concerns on cold trips is that the the boiling water retains its heat > long enough to cook my food
Freeze-dried food is already cooked. You could even eat it without rehydrating at all if you had to, or rehydrate it with cold water in a pinch. It takes a lot less time to rehydrate with hot water than with cold though, and it's definitely no fun to eat when the meat is crunchy ;)
I stopped using the MH meals because of both their cost and their excess of sodium per serving. Also, the freeze-drying process sucks out the fats almost entirely, so they aren't nearly as satisfying as home-cooked food. So I dehydrate my own food, and I've found that it takes longer to rehydrate, because I don't pre-cook the vegetables, only the meats. So although I don't have a cozy right now, I do plan on getting one.Jun 19, 2011 at 8:57 pm #1751163
@5150broncoLocale: Bay Area, Ca.
I have read that cozies are efficient and help cook faster and preserve heat longer…, but how good are they really and is it work the 1.5 onces or so of weight?Jun 19, 2011 at 9:03 pm #1751164
Eugene SmithBPL Member
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
I don't use a cozy.
Usually I wrap my freezer bag meal in my Buff headpiece or a bandana, then put it inside my now empty pot, then tuck it away somewhere for my food to finish rehydrating. If I'm not wearing my insulation piece, I'll wrap my freezer bag inside my down or synthetic jacket and set it aside. A cozy is NOT an essential piece of kit for freezer bag cooking IMO.Jun 19, 2011 at 9:08 pm #1751168
Ken T.BPL Member
I'm with Eugene.Jun 19, 2011 at 9:55 pm #1751178
Christopher MillsBPL Member
Like Sarah, I think they are worth while in bear country. I wouldn't want to use my jacket or hat for fear it would pick up the smell of food, especially since I'll probably be wearing that jacket/hat that night. I can just throw the cozy in the bear can or bear bag and not stress about it.Jun 19, 2011 at 10:12 pm #1751181
I'll say it again:
If you hike in bear country please do NOT use your jacket, hat, sleeping bag, socks, etc as a cozy. Use something dedicated and small that you can put in your bear bag, canister or Ursack at night!!!!
And yes, cozies DO work. If you hike at altitude, in colder temps and/or use items that require longer rehydration times (think dried versus freeze-dried vegetables or say cooked and dried beans) a cozy becomes very important. You don't really need a cozy in August for say mashed potatoes, ramen or couscous – those all rehdyrate in a couple minutes.
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