Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
freezer bag cooking
Display Avatars Sort By:
Mike bievenour
(mrbieven) - F
freezer bag cooking on 07/16/2012 16:47:40 MDT Print View

About how many freezer bags should my crew of 12 take if we are going to rehydrate half the food in the orignal bag. I know some meals you cant do that.
Was wondering if anyone who went this year can answer this one.

Mark Rash
(markrvp) - M

Locale: North Texas
Freezer Bags on 07/16/2012 22:08:57 MDT Print View

The minimum your crew will need if you use the original packages is 66 freezer bags.

10 days of dinners = 6 bags of food x 10 days = 60 freezer bags

1 Breakfast Skillet = 6 bags of food = 6 freezer bags

My recommendation is to have each crew member carry 12 freezer bags and everyone cook in their own freezer bag. It's easier to make sure you have halved the meal into two clear freezer bags than if you use the opaque package the meal comes in.

Sarah Kuhn
(SCKuhn) - MLife

Locale: Mountainous Ohio
freezer bag cooking on 07/17/2012 08:27:29 MDT Print View

We actually cooked as many meals as possible in the provided packaging - no need to repackage for cooking purposes, but we did place the 'Mountain House' packages inside a gallon ziplock while they 'cooked' - MH packaging at Philmont usually does NOT have the zip top like the version you buy in the store - so we used the 'holder' ziplock as leak insurance and a seal to keep the dust out. (reused the 'holder' ziplock for as many meals as possible) When done the meal was divided after 'cooking' and one person ate out of the original bag and the other out of their own bowl.... less dishes to wash!!

If you are taking enough bags for each meal, don't forget the chicken salad lunch #3 that needs rehydrated (very good I might add!!), the apple dessert in dinner #5, and dinner #4 has 2 items to rehydrate - Mexican Beef and the refried beans (we dumped it all together in 1 ziplock to rehydrate)... so based on Mark's method above you are up to 15 bags PER PERSON (30 per FOOD PAIR or 180 bags for the crew).....that's alot of unecessary trash in my opinion.

You can get by with only 5 ziplocks PER FOOD PAIR (3 PER PERSON or 36 PER CREW) if you used the original packaging to rehydrate the entire meal... Trying to remember the packaging...All MH meals (Dinners #1, 5, 6, & 8, Breakfast #5 & Lunch #3) on the menu could be cooked in the original packaging and the #2 Wise dinner can be cooked in its original bag - you will definately need a bag for #3 Backpackers Kitchen Santa Fe Chicken and #10 Turkey & Stove Top (we mixed the turkey in with the boiling water for the stuffing and cooked it all together) - that only leaves the 3 Richmoor meals - #4, #7 & #9 and the dessert from #5 that may need a bag for cooking (we put all the dessert in a single gallon ziplock instead of each pair cooking... also, DON'T put in as much water as the package says... actually you need VERY little for this dessert otherwise you have apple soup!)

Seems like 1 or 2 of the Richmoor meals were packaged in bags that could be cooked in, but can't remember for sure or find pics to support that thought.

We preferred to cook the entire meal in the original container if possible for several reasons - to reduce waste/trash, reduce dishes to wash, reduce chance of spilling either while 'cooking' or while transferring to other container, reduce unnecessary items carried (8-12 extra ziplock bags per person) and meals tended to get better mixed/flavor and ingredients mixed in better if 'cooked' as a whole meal (one person didn't get all the pasta on top or the meat on the bottom) We did use a long handled spoon to mix all the bags.

To answer your question though, "how many freezer bags should my crew of 12 take if we are going to rehydrate half the food in the orignal bag"....21 bags PER FOOD PAIR (11 bags PER PERSON or 132 per crew).

Edited by SCKuhn on 07/17/2012 08:33:45 MDT.

Sarah Kuhn
(SCKuhn) - MLife

Locale: Mountainous Ohio
freezer bag cooking on 07/17/2012 08:52:59 MDT Print View

I'd suggest taking 'containers' which you can rehydrate in and reuse instead of ziplock bags if you plan to divide the meals before rehydrating... look at the ziplock bowls with lids in the grocery store (butter tubs, coolwhip bowls, or whatever)
Only 7 items on the entire menu need containers to be rehydrated in - 6 if you mix the refried beans in with the mexican beef.

Jay Lash
(jjlash) - F

Locale: Eastern Iowa
Chuckwagon meals on 07/17/2012 13:49:48 MDT Print View

And you can reduce the count appropriately if you have Chuckwagon dinner or breakfast.

Tony Ronco
(tr-browsing) - MLife
Freezer Bag Cooking (= re-hydrating) on 07/18/2012 02:06:22 MDT Print View

We sent two crews last summer to Philmont. Both crews utilized freezer bag re-hydrating

Since each dehydrated meal (dinners) was designed to feed two scouts, we organized our scouts into "food buddies"

The method we used = 1/2 of the meal would be in the original packaging for one Scout and the other 1/2 of the meal in a quart sized freezer bag for the other Scout.

Mathematically, 10 dinner meals per Scout that equates to 5 freezer bags per Scout, because 1/2 the time each Scout would be utilizing the original packaging.

For chuck-wagon meals we substituted 1 gallon sized freezer bag per scout per Chuck-wagon meal (bigger bag helped the servers do their job and there no pre-existing packaging that could be utilized)

IIRC, there were two breakfasts (oatmeal) that required re-hydrating

In the end, we decided not to "cut it close" so, EACH scout carried 10 bags TOTAL.
That worked out fine, with each scout having extra bags by the time we got back to base camp.

Here is an additional thread on this topic

Edited by tr-browsing on 08/01/2012 11:50:09 MDT.

Mark Rash
(markrvp) - M

Locale: North Texas
Refried Beans on 07/18/2012 15:28:04 MDT Print View

We went ahead and mixed the dehydrated refried beans into the entree before adding the water so it didn't need its own freezer bag. I had forgotten about the apple dessert.


We found that if you add half a packet of refried beans to the breakfast skillet it was delicious.

Also, add a whole packet of refried beans to a packet of Santa Fe Chicken and Rice, and then dump in some tabasco sauce for a delicious treat.

ed dzierzak
(dzierzak) - F

Locale: SE
MH meals on 07/24/2012 09:20:19 MDT Print View

Like some above, we rehydrated the MH meals in their packaging. It was then up to each pair as to whether to split the meal using bowls or not. We had about half of the crew just share out of the bag. (Advisors did this first. Lead by example ;)

Most of the rest of the crew caught on that the only thing needing cleaning was their spoon. Everyone loved the days with MH meals. While our Ranger was with us, we did the usual Philmont one-pot method.

Peter Griffith
(petergriffith) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Re: freezer bag cooking on 07/24/2012 11:33:11 MDT Print View

We took 18 quart sized freezer bags per person this year. I calculated a few extras to cover blowouts and spare uses for the bags. I used my bags soley for rehydrating, used no extras, and came home with 5 bags, so I used 13 bags for rehydrating at Philmont.

The refried beans were mixed in with the Mexican beef. We had no Chuckwagon dinner or breakfast.

Edited by petergriffith on 07/24/2012 11:36:18 MDT.

Kirk Almquist
(kirkalm) - MLife

Locale: Cascade Foothills
Freezer Bags on 07/24/2012 17:52:54 MDT Print View

Just got back the 22nd, during the Advisors meeting on day one it was briefed that no freezer/turkey bags be used due to the additional waste generated. We did use the bags that the meals came in to rehydrate, the boys decide how to split up portions on their own. Did four boxes of Stove Top/Turkey in a 4qt pot, added turkey at the same time as water.

Reducing by 25% the water used on all the meals except the Dinner #7 Rice and Chicken and Dinner #10 Stove-Top worked real well.


Crew 710V1

Donald Howard
(DonH) - F
Freezer Bag Use on 07/31/2012 14:46:58 MDT Print View

Are you saying that in the middle of the season Philmont decided to not allow freezer bag cooking?

I sure would like to know what they policies are so we can plan for next years trip. Is that too much to ask for?

Edited by DonH on 07/31/2012 14:49:02 MDT.

Peter Griffith
(petergriffith) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Re: Freezer Bag Use on 07/31/2012 16:37:34 MDT Print View

Our first day in basecamp was 7-6-12 and there was no mention of cooking methods in the advisors meeting. We used freezer bag cooking successfully. When we returned to basecamp after our trek on 7-18-12 we ran into our ranger and he told our boys that Philmont was no longer allowing freezer bag or turkey bag cooking. In addition, they were no longer allowing crews to use their own rope for bear bag hanging (we used Amsteel Blue). Kirk's comments above confirm the ban on freezer bag cooking. The change happened somewhere between 7-6-12 and 7-10-12.

It's hard to tell what they will allow from year to year. Most of the posts I read on BPL prior to leaving said it is highly dependent on the ranger assigned to you. This proved to be true as another crew in our council contingent had a ranger that was more by the book. This ruling, however, sounds like an across the board ban. If you plan on trying freezer bag cooking, my suggestion would be to come prepared with the gear to cook the Phlmont way as a backup in case they don't allow it. We were using two Jetboil Sol stoves/pots but our ranger made us take two extra cooking pots because he had to show us the Philmont way the first night. We had to sign off that he trained us on this and many other skills. We carried the extra pots the entire trek and only used them that first night.

Stephen Everson
(mrevets) - F
Re: Re: Freezer Bag Use on 07/31/2012 18:08:43 MDT Print View

OK. Just has I was getting my boys use to frezer bag cooking ( and they liked cooking this way), what is now the philmont cooking method? Having to take two bigs pots for a crew of 7 scouts and 2 adults. We have the 2.5L pots for our reactor stoves. Could we just get away using those and not have to carry any additional pots? Can't really take any additional pots with reactor stoves since other pots are not made for the stove.

The boys liked the idea of no clean up. I can see just using the Mountain House bags for rehydrating those meals..then put them into the personnal bowls...but I guess the stove top stuffing meal would require us to dump the stuff in the pot...thus dirtying the pot...

I have the photos of me going to philmont with the two big pots strapped to my backpack from 30 years ago. I had to fit my sleeping bag in between them. So you can bet I made sure they were clean everyday since I had to carry them.

Interested in hearing what others on this forum think... Thanks for everyone that posts on this forum

Mike Kirkpatrick
(mwkirk) - F
We were told not allowed on 7-17 Trek on 07/31/2012 22:53:52 MDT Print View

Our trek left out on 7-17 and I had all the bags divided up and handed out to everyone. We were told in the advisor's meeting no turkey/freezer bags and then I asked the ranger before our hitting the trail and was told no as well. I suppose we could have used freezer bags after our ranger left us but just stuck with the "Philmont Way". Another advisor and myself had brought JetBoil stoves which were never used. The stove we always used was a pocket rocket which was a balancing act with the big pot. Also the night we had the vegetable lasagna I remember that being an especially big mess because of the cheese and such that is in the meal. I think I did use one bag to rehydrate some kind of Apple and cinnamon dessert thing that was an extra on one of the meals.

Jon Fong
(jonfong) - F

Freezer bag cooking and Philmont on 08/02/2012 12:08:12 MDT Print View

First, I don't know what or where Philmont is but when I first read this thread my thought was " what's wrong with this picture?". Is it me are does this thread sound like people are proponents of an excessive consumption of freezer bags? I think that I must be ill informed but some enlightenment might help me understand some of the comments here. Just my opinion - Jon

Donald Howard
(DonH) - F
Freezer Bags on 08/02/2012 19:14:17 MDT Print View

I wouldn't care if we had to carry all the used bags the entire trip.
FBC is far more sanitary than any other method of cooking on the trail. Take it from someone who ate out of freezer bags for almost six months straight on my Appalachian trail thru-hike last year. Never washed a pot and never got sick.

Re: Freezer Bags on 08/02/2012 20:43:31 MDT Print View

"Just got back the 22nd, during the Advisors meeting on day one it was briefed that no freezer/turkey bags be used due to the additional waste generated"

Should have volunteered to haul it all home with you and then see what they said.
I suspect there is more to it than waste.

Sarah Kuhn
(SCKuhn) - MLife

Locale: Mountainous Ohio
RE: Freezer bags on 08/03/2012 10:16:49 MDT Print View

From "Over 22,000 Scouts and Leaders are expected to go on 12-day treks this summer. Every day, 350 arrive, 350 leave, and 3,500 are hiking in the backcountry"

At only 8 bags per person (rounded down from my figures above) even if only half the crews did the freezer bag method, you are at 88,000 freezer bags per summer!!! That's A LOT of unnecessary trash and a waste of resources. (1375 pounds of quart size freezer bag trash which doesn't decompose)

While I agree the 'Philmont method' is old-school, utilization of the provided packaging (as the manufacturer intends it - cooking in the bag) is the best compromise for trash and resources.

Regarding health issues and cooking - the less you handle any item the better, the less likely you are to introduce contaminates; another reason to support cooking in the provided packaging.

Just remember that at the end of the day its all about the boys!!! What they want, what they can do, what they do with the future...

Edited by SCKuhn on 08/03/2012 10:17:52 MDT.

Donald Howard
(DonH) - F
Freezer Bag Cooking on 08/05/2012 20:30:02 MDT Print View

There was another thread here on cooking that described the 5 common ways of cooking at Philmont. I copied that and brought it to the crew's first meeting. At their second meeting each member brought the supplies needed to demonstrate one of the methods. Afterwards they decided that they would use the Freezer Bag method. This was their decision. Next week I will inform them that they can no long use their preferred method.

Stephen Everson
(mrevets) - F
Re: Re: Freezer Bags on 08/06/2012 14:50:04 MDT Print View

That is an interesting question to poise to Philmont staff. Suppose I am going to carry out what I pack in (i.e. freezer bags that I bring, not the packaging that Philmont provides the food in), what would they say... you are practicing Leave No Trace by taking out what you take in...freezer bags compact pretty well...would need to put the "used" ones in the bear bag at night. I am sure there is someone at Philmont that trolls this forum...

Our trek is not until 2013, so I have time to figure out what/how we are going to do...but I'll need to figure out some method for this weekend for our 2nd shakedown trip.

Thanks for posting your response.