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  1. #1

    Default Freezer bag cooking vs. cooking in a pot

    For a long thru hike, which method do you prefer and why?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

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    When I cook I prefer the Freezer bag method because I don't need to clean up my pot afterwards. I love hiking, but despise camp chores and want to do the bare minimum in camp. And if I'm not adding food to my pot and only using it to boil water, I can use a smaller (eg. lighter) pot in the first place. I will note that I only boil water for one meal a day and nothing else. Freezer Bag cooking is essentially the same as buying mountain house meals which come in a bag to pour your water in, only much cheaper.

  3. #3

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    Do some research on the problem with heating plastics as it relates to human health. I am fully aware this response wonít be popular, so I wonít say more.

  4. #4
    Registered User Crossup's Avatar
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    Pot cooking all the way because I can simmer freeze dried stuff to get more thourough hydration, I hate crunchy/partially hydrated food when I'm looking for a hearty, warm meal. Also I would rather deal with cleaning my pots than packing out freezer bags with remains in them- and cleaning the bags is about the same effort as cleaning pots.

  5. #5

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    Bags. I buy some stuff at the grocery store, pre-assemble the bags before leaving town, portioning them to size based on how far along in the hike I am and if the hiker hunger has kicked in.

    Like Crossup said, yeah, some of the dried veg I mix in to make it vaguely healthy, like peas, or green beans are a bit too crisp. Noodles specifically I avoid, as they don't cook properly in the freezer bag and they're pretty much nutritionally vacant anyway.

    I do occasionally get jealous when I see someone with a big old pot of something simmering away for 20 minutes. I just find the bags to be more convenient to clean, and my packed out waste is minimal based on how I prep in town.

    Try both methods, see what you prefer, there's not a clear advantage to either method as both have their pros and cons.

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    I like using the pot, easy enough to clean, nice to eat out of, and using bags I feel like I leave a lot behind which weights down my trash bag which means more waste.

  7. #7
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    There's some additional logistics involved in using freezer bags. Are you going to prepackage meals and mail-drop them, or just carry bags and use them with what you buy along the way? Also not all foods come out as good as regular pot cooking in my (limited) experience. The advantage with a pot is that if the rice is still a bit crunchy or the pasta too "al dente" you can just add some heat and cook it a little longer. Once the FBC bag starts cooling off, it isn't going to get much better. FBC is more convenient from a clean-up standpoint especially with meals that have sticky or cheese type sauces. For a short hike where I carry all my food from the start, it's a toss up in my mind. For a longer hike, I think I'd just opt to "clean" the pot, usually by boiling water for a hot drink after the main course.

    Then there's cooking / rehydration time of the meal to be considered, which can be an issue at higher altitudes. On the AT not a problem. On the CDT, CT, PCT it could be.

    Ultimately, it's more about personal choice. Either method will feed you.

  8. #8
    Registered User HeartFire's Avatar
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    I cook and dehydrate all my own food - freezer bag all the way!

  9. #9

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    pot - less trash, less to find in town, simple easy done.

  10. #10
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    I've been doing FBC before it had a name. If I'm going to cook it is the only way I go. The paranoid crowd will come out of the woodwork though, i.e. post #3.
    Lonehiker

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    ...... Also not all foods come out as good as regular pot cooking in my (limited) experience. ......Ultimately, it's more about personal choice. Either method will feed you.
    Freezer Bag cooking hasn't worked out well for me, food doesn't taste as good, texture is off, just not as appetizing a result as cooking at least in my hands. Even instant mashed potatoes and stuffing don't work as well in a bag as compared to a pot. I wish I liked FB cooking because it is so simple and I have tried it plenty but I eat one hot meal a day and I want it to be good. Maybe I am just too picky.
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  12. #12
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    What follows might be considered thread creep Ö

    Iím troubled by my wastage of plastic for my hiking food. I use a pot and stove. I like fiddling with cooking. I donít like eating from plastic bags.

    Another reason for me not liking eating from plastic bags is that cleaning the bags afterwards seems much more hassle for me than swilling a bit of hot water around my pot, scraping it with my spoon, and drinking it. More fluids! I canít tolerate carrying messy wet plastics bags home.

    I make most of my food from stuff I dehydrate combined with stuff I buy mostly from ethnic markets. Each meal gets packed in labelled plastic bags. Each meal may well have several component baggies such as when constituents canít be mixed ahead of time. The result is that I bring home a plastic bag from breakfast, three bags from the snacks that I nibble on during the day (jerky, dried fruit, candy, etc), and then often two or three bags from supper. Add to that wrappers, etc, and thatís an unsustainable amount of plastic for me. I wash and reuse as many bags as I can, but Ö

    Iím struggling with how to use fewer plastic bags. Iím experimenting with carrying major supplies in bulk containers, using a pantry approach. I dip into various packages to combine this amount of carbs with that selection of flavour with another amount of protein. Several larger packages of carbs, several small packages of flavour, several packages of protein. More reusable containers.

    In summary, it seems that freezer bag cooking produces waste. My old method of pre-bagging also produces waste. Do you see a difference?

    How do you reduce overall waste?




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  13. #13

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    Like FBC because it leaves my pot clean, allowing pot storage in my pack overnight. Am aware that bears can still smell fool, but feel like it lessens the chance of unwanted visitors.

    Yet, eating directly out of a bag is a turnoff. A meal consumed directly out of the pot with a cozy under it is psychologically more satisfying

  14. #14
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Cook in the pot. I don't mind cooking and cleaning the pot. I do mind the dirty bags I throw away because now I have to wash a bag out. I reuse my ziplocks. Four, five, six times, until they wear out. That's how I reduce my plastic bag use. Freezer bag cooking is wasteful.

  15. #15
    Registered User Hikes in Rain's Avatar
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    Best part is, all the freezer bag cooking recipes can be rehydrated in a pot. And vice versa.

  16. #16

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    After exclusively using the FBC method, I’m a recent convert to cooking in my pot. The food cooks faster, more throughly, and is hotter. Clean-up is easy and there’s less waste.

  17. #17

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    I use a 750 ml pot currently. How much bigger a pot would you need to cook in the pot? Seems like I'd need one about twice the size, and wider, rather than tall? Then how about my beloved little alcohol stove? Am I going to char everything at the single heat? I'm not a big fan of the gas canister deal.

    I do feel kind of guilty about my plastic bag habit on the trail, as I'm fairly good about minimizing waste at home.

  18. #18

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    I use a 0.7 qt. Imusa mug and alchy stove.

    This meal was dehydrated taco beef, rice, tomato powder, spices, cheese, Fritos. Delicious. There was no gravel consistency to the beef

    Eta...I did have to stir constantly for a few minutes to prevent it from boiling over but didnít have to remove it from the stove before the fuel was gone.
    8B5C5893-A58E-4788-9343-631219232932.jpeg
    Last edited by Traffic Jam; 04-06-2019 at 19:50.

  19. #19

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    FWIW...I had several unsuccessful attempts cooking in my older model Jetboil (but it’s great for popcorn).

  20. #20
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    Default Freezer bag cooking vs. cooking in a pot

    One thing I like about FBC is that my coffee the next morning taste like coffee, not my previous night's meal.

    Also, before today, I've never referred to it as FBC but acronyms are awesome and for that reason alone I will continue to FBC.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

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