Foil Zip Lock Bags?

8:51 a.m. on May 10, 2013 (EDT)
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I am slowly trying to lighten my pack load on long distances, where there are 2-3 of us hiking for a week or longer. In terms of the camp kitchen, I'm trying to go with rehydrate/heat/eat meals, where a stove is only heating up water...but I want flavor & variety. 

I've seen suggestions on rehydrating and eating straight from a ZipLock baggie. I even tried it once at home, but plastic--well, I think eventually we'll discover plastic touching our food all the time is a bad thing.

So last night I was thinking about Mountain House, and how they have those great foil bags to heat food in. Then, of course, I thought, "Why can't I just buy my own foil bags and do my own MH-style meals with a dehydrator.

I found these on line http://www.amazon.com/Silver-Lock-Foil-Stand-Pouches/dp/B006LFI24E but there were cheaper ones out there.

I know these pouches would weigh a bit more than plastic bags, but I'm saving weight by 1) not needing a bowl to eat out of, and 2) only needing a coffee mug to boil water (no pot).

Anyone using something like this? Any thoughts on pros and cons.

9:38 p.m. on May 10, 2013 (EDT)
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You might have to do a lot of experimenting. Some of the Mountain House food is cut into such small pieces to allow proper re-hydration that it's virtually inedible. The bacon and eggs, for example, is like eating sand.

I don't think plastic would work, especially if the food has to sit for a few minutes to cook. If you're wiling to spend the time, maybe share a few recipes that work. 

8:46 a.m. on May 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Ziploc freezer plastic bags work fine IMO.

But what your looking for is ziplock mylar bags, this is what you linked to, but if you have trouble finding them use the keyword mylar. They are sold all over the place online. Many survivalist/prepper type sites have them.

8:47 a.m. on May 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Peter, the other day I tried Ramen Noodles in a plastic bag, and it worked great. I just didn't like the plastic softening up so much.


My last trip, we were using Harmony House's dehydrated food http://www.trailspace.com/gear/harmony-house/backpacking-kit/#review26806 We had a variety of recipes that rehydrated pretty well. 

I think the issue with MH (yeah, the eggs suck!) is they are putting together a meal that has to be preserved for months on the self. I'd be putting together my own combination of items. Of course, I just do oatmeal in the mornings. So I'll steer clear of eggs. 

10:07 a.m. on May 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Neither foil or plastic are touted as being all that healthy to cook and eat food out of.  If you go that route, at least make sure the packaging used is alleged to be designed for cooking.

Ed

12:56 p.m. on May 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Jeffery Gosnell said:

Peter, the other day I tried Ramen Noodles in a plastic bag, and it worked great. I just didn't like the plastic softening up so much.

Yeah. Other than the toxins being released by the heat, I would be worried that the bag full of hot food would burst. Another consideration is that the mylar should hold the heat in better by reflecting it back, and thus reducing cooking time. I don't know if mylar has a similar tendency to release light hydrocarbons during heating. 

6:04 p.m. on May 11, 2013 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

Neither foil or plastic are touted as being all that healthy to cook and eat food out of.  If you go that route, at least make sure the packaging used is alleged to be designed for cooking.

Ed

 I agree, Ed. I've been looking at food-grade packaging.

Let's face it, there's not a day that goes by in this country where we aren't eating something that has been stored, packed, or carried in plastic. I'm guessing someday they'll "discover" it's the cause in the unexplained rise of food alergies & cancers.

8:07 p.m. on May 11, 2013 (EDT)
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I use the steamer bags in a Dollar Store insulated lunch bag.  I usually put instant potatoes into the steamer bag with foiled wrapped chicken or salmon or tuna, then the steamer bag goes in the insulated lunch bag, then pour in boiling water, stir it up, close it up, and wait 3 to 5 minutes.

9:10 p.m. on May 25, 2013 (EDT)
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you can buy boiling bags and oven bags at the grocery store.

4:14 p.m. on May 26, 2013 (EDT)
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I've been using freezer bags with good success for a while now though I might drop dead from an undetected cancer tomorrow so no promises.

Manufacturer says they contain no BPA and no PVC.  They also say they don't recommend using in a microwave on their web site but the package contains microwave use instructions.  Logic as I've heard it is that by the time the water hits the bag and combines with the food the temp is well below boiling (microwave temps) so leaching is not a problem. 

I've never had a bag burst but I treat them reasonably.  They rest in my wool hat for insulation, get gently massaged so crunchy bits don't poke any holes and I burp the excess air that builds up from heat expansion so they don't explode.

Again, no guarantees from a health/science standpoint, but in terms of practical use quart sized freezer bags work great for single serving meals.

10:00 p.m. on May 26, 2013 (EDT)
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I think I'm going to be happy with this system. Trailjester, I like your idea. Probably cheaper. Definitely easier to buy. I'm just wondering if they would hold the heat as well. That foil bag was still steaming hot (almost too hot to handle) five minutes after I added the water. The video was shot 10 minutes after I added the water, and it was still hot.

6:17 p.m. on June 3, 2013 (EDT)
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the foil ziplock may hold the heat better. the oven bags are open ended so they may present a problem. some of the boiling bags have zips on them so they may work. you just have to try them and see. it looks like you're on to something, though.

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