Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How to: Make an insulated cooking container for camping

As I've mentioned before, I am a BIG fan of just-add-water camping meals.  This method significantly reduces the mess and fuss around meal time and lightens your pack - big pluses in my book!

Over the last few years I've signifigantly extended the reach of my just-add-water meals (thanks to the help of Mike Clelland's excellent book) by making my own insulated container.  This has allowed me to branch out from easily hydrated items like cous cous and instant mashed potatoes to items that need a little more time like minute rice, polenta, and dried yams.  No food ever goes into the pot keeping it clean and ready to re-use and allowing you to choose a no-simmer stove such as a Jetboil.

You can buy an insulated bowl from a camping store, but they are often expensive and have only thin insulation.  Luckily it's quick and easy to make your own.  You'll need:

  1. A lidded bowl/container.  I chose a Ziplock brand "Twist and Lock" container.  It's leakproof, cheap, and light.  A 28oz size is perfect for Mountain Man and I to share.
  2. A thermal barrier.  I used foil faced bubble wrap, which you can find at the hardware store.  An unneeded piece of closed celled foam from an old sleep mat would work great too.
  3. An adhesive.  I used a foil tape used for ducting.  Duct tape would work too.  Anything heavy duty should get the job done.

Simply cut out your foil wrap to fit your container and attach with tape.  Ensure you cover the top and bottom of the container in addition to the sides (lacking top/bottom insulation is a major drawback of most of the insulated bowls you can buy at camping stores).

We made the bottom part of the insulation jacket removable for even easier clean up.

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