Freezer Bag Cooking
A lot of backpackers will resort to using freeze dried meals such as those found at your local MEC, REI or any other outfitter. They have a tonne of calories and some are actually even pretty tasty. However, If you’re not into the taste of preservatives and would prefer to make your own meals, you can use a dehydrator to dehydrate just about any meal you would normally make for yourself at home. Just make the meal as normal, let cool, and put it in the dehydrator. When you want to eat the meal, all you’ll need to do is boil up some water, put it in the bag with the food and let it sit until it has re-hydrated, and voila! This is commonly called freezer bag cooking. You now have a home cooked meal while out in the back country. It truly is the simplest and most delicious way to eat while on a long hike. Not to mention it’s probably the most cost effective too.
Here’s What You’ll Need:
Any kind of fuel will do. Whether it’s an alcohol stove an IsoPro Fuel canister stove, or a plan old wood burning fire, so long as you have the fuel to get your flame hot enough to boil water, you’re good to go.
Right now I’m using the pot from the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Soloist Cook set, but any pot will do, so long as it can hold 2 cups of water. Or as much water as you’ll need for whatever meal you want to re-hydrate.
Ziploc Double Zipper Quart Freezer Bags are what a lot of people use as they don’t take up much space in your pack, are disposable, and don’t cost much to replace. I prefer to use the Ziploc Twist N Loc 2qt. container. While it does take up more room in my pack than the bags do, it’s not that much more. I can also put things inside the container while it’s not in use for secure, waterproof storage. I can re-use it as many times as I like, it’s easy to clean and still doesn’t cost much to replace. It will also last a lot longer than any bag will. I’ve also made a cozy out of reflectix for it to sit in so that it retains the heat and cooks longer and faster. You can do the same for the bags as well.
Spoon or Spork:
I have tried several different sporks and I’ve come to the conclusion, that I simply do not like sporks. My preference is for that of a good ol’ regular spoon. The one that I’m fond of right now is the Optimus Titanium Long Spoon. It has a long handle for getting into the bottom of the bag or container and a polished bowl, instead of the textured type you might find on other brands. The polished bowl better mimics what you’d have at home and makes eating a much more pleasant experience.
What to Eat:
Some pretty common meals that you’ll see hikers cooking in the back country this way are ramen noodles, homemade recipes ranging from chili to soups and even meats such as hamburger or chicken. Your imagination is your only limitation.
Sarah Kirkconnell has put out a pretty good book called Freezer Bag Cooking – Adventure Ready Recipes, that will help you put together your next back country meal. You can purchase it it from amazon.com here.