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MYOG: Freezer Bag Cooking Cozy

If you’re into Freezer Bag Cooking, then you should consider bringing along a freezer bag cozy to keep your food warm while it re-hydrates. This it particularly helpful in the early spring, autumn, and in the wintertime when colder weather will quickly cool hot water in an uninsulated Ziploc bag.

This is an easy DIY project. To get started you need a roll of Foil Bubble Insulation and a roll of Reflective Foil tape. The bubble insulation consists of a layer of polyethylene bubble wrap sandwiched between two sheets of aluminum. This stuff is easy to find at Home Deport or a well stocked Ace Hardware store.

Roll of Reflextix for Homemade Backpacking Gear Projects

Roll of Reflextix for Homemade Backpacking Gear Projects

The first step is to cut two pieces of the foil bubble insulation with the same width. The stuff is very soft so common household scissors are fine for this task. Next cut one of the pieces down about 4 inches. You want the foil bubble insulation piece to be slightly wider than the freezer bag since you’re going to tape them together to form a pocket-like envelope. I usually allow for two foil columns on the left and the right of the Ziploc and use that as a guide.

Next, stack the shorter piece of insulation on top of the longer piece, and cut three lengths of reflective tape tp join the sides and bottom together.

Apply the reflective tape to form an insulating envelope and cut off any excess around the edges. Fold the longer piece over the shorter piece and you’re done. If you want to be extra fancy, you can also add some velcro tape to the inside of the flap and the outside of the insulated envelope to keep the cozy closed while your freezer bag meal is cooking.

The weight of the freezer bag cozy shown here is 1.7 oz.

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24 Responses to MYOG: Freezer Bag Cooking Cozy

  1. pro2type September 5, 2008 at 11:14 am #

    Using your sleepingbag could be a useful alternative.

    • David Shockey January 28, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

      Unless the freezer bag leaks. Then you will regret that field expedient method.

  2. Hot Springs Guy September 9, 2008 at 7:59 am #

    Nice! My cozy isn't as cool, I'm going to have to give yours a try.

    In regard to the other comment, I don't think putting food inside one's sleeping bag is a stellar idea… animals have great sniffers!

  3. Earlylite September 9, 2008 at 8:20 am #

    I'd also be hesitant to use my down sleeping bag as freezer bag insulation Spilled/leaking water and down make poor sleeping companions when it's cold enough to need a freezer bag cozy.

  4. Dicentra September 15, 2008 at 8:44 am #

    Very cool!!! If I didn't already have a couple of the fabric ones, this would be fun to do. Great info.

  5. sarbar September 15, 2008 at 1:05 pm #

    The ones made of Reflectix work well and are very easy to do.

    While one can use a hat, jacket, etc as a cozy (since a cozies function is to insulate food so it can cook) – I would suggest strongly that a person uses a dedicated cozy, be it Reflectix or a fabric one, such as we make. That way the cozy can go in your bear bag, Ursack or canister at night :-)


  6. Earlylite September 15, 2008 at 8:16 pm #

    Definitely – you wouldn't want your Freezer Bag cozy to be your sleeping bag in grizzly country. Very bag idea and it's hard to get it to fit in a bear cannister, too.

  7. George September 16, 2008 at 6:34 pm #

    Oops, I added my comment to the wrong post earlier.

    I just made a similar freezer bag cozy out of a reflective padded mailing envelope I bought at Target for $1.60. It's probably not as sturdy or as efficient as yours, but its cheaper than buying a roll of foil insulation.

  8. Earlylite September 16, 2008 at 7:35 pm #

    Nice! – you've reminded me that you can also use a plastic mailing envelope with bubble wrap insulation as cozy too. I did this a few years ago before investing in the huge roll of reflective insulation you see in the article.

  9. Laurag September 15, 2009 at 8:38 pm #

    You can get the insulating foil stuff in the auto section at Walmart for ~$5. They are the sun blockers for windshields. No big roll leftover after the project. It is more like foil bubble wrap, but it works great!

  10. RevLee May 26, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    A couple of the self adhesive velcro dots work great for keeping the flap closed.

  11. David May 26, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    Since I already have everything here, I think I'll make one of these. I used my knit hat as a cozy but ended up as a Mac 'N Cheesehead–I guess it's good I rooted for the Pack in the Super Bowl. I don't think I'll try the sleeping bag. The first time my grandson backpacked with me at age four, he spilled a bottle of chocolate milk into his brand new Marmot down bag. I don't want to go through that kind of clean up again.

  12. Megan April 23, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    Nice. Really enjoyed your talk at the REI on the 4000′ ers.. Gearing up my backpacking season with my first DIY freezer bag cozy thanks to this post.

  13. Shane June 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    You can reduce the number of seams and amount of tape by using a single long rectangle, just fold it into an envelope shape and tape the sides. It’s probably a bit more insulating as well.

    • Tom addor January 5, 2015 at 11:35 pm #

      Wicked smaht! Love these posts

  14. Chad June 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    Our senior Scouts just headed to Arkansas this week for about 40 mile backpack and used these cozys along with my kelly kettle to make sure they ate well. Our favorite – couscous tacos.

  15. VTMike May 13, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Just built this for 2014 – used duct tape instead of reflective tape and added a couple of velcro tabs to keep it all in place. Thanks for the idea.

  16. Nathan Taylor January 28, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

    This also works in reverse if you are carrying any cheese or summer sausage for multiple days on the trail. Just keep a bottle of cold water in the cozy with the food that can spoil during the day and replace it at night and you can get the perishable food to last a day or two longer.

  17. John February 17, 2015 at 11:16 am #

    Nice idea…On cold winter days, I prefer to keep it cozy under my coat. This serves two purposes; it keeps my food warm, and warms me up while I wait. I use a spare ziplock to guard against leaks.

  18. Pamela Kammer Powell March 4, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

    Thank you for these instructions! It worked beautifully and I made a personalized cloth cover to put it in.

  19. Brad June 8, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

    I would recommend using duct tape vs. reflective tape. Reflective tape when folded often forms sharp edges which can tear/poke holes in clothing/gear – mine even put a small puncture in my water bladder and tore the hydration sleeve inside my backpack.

  20. Fabio Spelta August 24, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

    Using the sleeping bag or a down balaclava is not risky at all provided that you double-bagged your freezer bag.

    • Wayne February 15, 2016 at 9:03 pm #

      Unless you live in grizzly or black bear country. I don’t recommend putting food near your sleeping bag, tent or under clothing of any sort.

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