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Individual Mess Kit
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Donald Howard
(DonH) - F
Individual Mess Kit on 08/21/2012 13:50:58 MDT Print View

Any recommendations on what a crew should carry for a mess kit?
I believe we will be rehydrating food in individual bowls since freezer bag cooking is no longer allowed.

For a bowl:
GSI bowl. Can you tell me what type as they make several?
ZipLock brand container. What size?
Any other suggestions on bowls?

Did crews carry cups or just use a water bottle?

Edited by DonH on 08/21/2012 13:52:45 MDT.

Arnold OSullivan
Mess kits on 08/21/2012 15:52:02 MDT Print View

We bought GSI bowls and lexan spoons and treated them as crew gear. Carried them and a folding serving spoon in a mesh bag. We carried our own aluminum pots, two-eight quarts and one four quart and rehydrated in the pots.We had an 11 man crew so the weight was not that bad.

Mark Rash

Locale: North Texas
Ziploc Medium Bowl on 08/24/2012 14:23:47 MDT Print View

For cheap and functional it's hard to beat the Ziploc MEDIUM bowls. They have a lid so you can use them to mix up drinks as well.

You can also get a ready-to-go cozy from Antigravity Gear

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
Won Ton Mess Kit on 08/24/2012 16:23:23 MDT Print View

We're using the black, plastic "margarine container" style bowls from the frozen Won Ton soup sold in six packs at Costco. The containers are boilable and seal just like a butter/Parquet tub, but will fit the cheapo-light measuring cup from a classic "Scout" clamshell mess kit. We make reflectix cozies for each, including a disc on the lid, and then toss one of those plastic cups inside.

Now, each guy has a drinking cup with measuring marks, a big bowl/cup/scoop that keeps food hot, can be held with hot stuff in it, doesn't burn lips and is super easy to clean (finger/lick, then add 1/4 cup hot water, seal, shake until the steam swells it, pop and drain/drink --sanitized). Since some of us are buying the soups anyway, cost of the kit is limited to the Reflectix.

david richardson
(drichi) - MLife

Locale: midwest
medium ziplock bowls on 08/25/2012 10:17:42 MDT Print View

I like the medium ziplock bowls. Some times going to small makes for too much food spillage. The medium size works well with a reflectex cozy. Also there are several cups that will fit inside of it.

Steven McDowell
(smcdindelmar) - MLife

Locale: San Diego
Re: Individual Mess Kit/ Our 2012 Experience on 08/26/2012 19:14:08 MDT Print View

We used 4 cup Ziploc bowls with cozies made from reflectix. I brought an extra one for our Ranger. They worked great.

Scouts split the meals before then put in boiling water (Reactor stoves). We didn't measure but had the Scouts put in water until it was about 2 inches above the amount of food they had. If it looked like not enough water it was simple to add some more later (also gave an extra shot of heat to the meal).

Meals stayed hot until they read to eat. Using Reactors and Cozy we never had any almost burned, lost of hot water situations.

Before cleaning most of the Scouts and Adults would put in a small amount of hot water and then drink the dregs. Some added Cider to the mix...

For sterilizing and cleaning we used a Philmont, 8 quart pot, it was part of the three pot kit they had. Pot could fit easily in a pack and we could get our bowls just into the pot for cleaning and pre steriling.
For cleanup we used paint filters.

For spoons we tried McFlurry spoon,99c Soup Spoon at Philmont, and the Campware long spoon. Those that had the McFlurry spoon tossed them and bought camp spoons since they couldn't keep their McFlurry clean.

Ernie Delcher
(EFD57) - F

Locale: Northern New Jersey
Re: Re: Individual Mess Kit/ Our 2012 Experience on 08/28/2012 06:59:41 MDT Print View


I've been following the 'no more ziplock/turkey bag cooking' threads. We are going in 2013 and will also be using Reactor stoves.

How many in your crew?
How many stoves did you use?
What size pots on the stoves (1.7 L or 2.5 L)?


Dan Lee
(scoutbuff) - MLife

Locale: Colorado
MESS KITS... on 08/28/2012 12:48:16 MDT Print View

We trekked earlier this summer before the "no turkey bag" decree but won't go there...

We read in another crew's lessons learned to use common gear for everyone. We found that this worked very well for our crew.

We used 12 ziploc bowls (4 c size I believe) that were about the same size as a large MSR fuel cell. (Left lids in Base Camp.) Additionally, we purchased 12 lexan/plastic spoons at Walmart for $0.50/each. By having everyone use common gear, we found that:
1. Easy/faster to assemble the "kitchen" for meals. One Scout carried all of the bowls and spoons rather than everyone having to find their personal gear. Nested together easily.
2. Cleaner. Seemed to us that the boys paid closer attention when cleaning as they didn't know which bowl they would have for the next meal.
3. Cheaper for everyone. No need for titanium, squishy rubber bowls, folding bowls, etc.

We used MSR PRs with one 6 qt and one 4 qt pot. Used cozies from reflectix for the pots as meals rehydrated. Although we used the turkey bag cooking method, I could see how you could rehydrate in each individual's bowl if you took a bit larger bowls. I think the 4 c size would be a bit small for some of the portions. Hope this helps!

Steven McDowell
(smcdindelmar) - MLife

Locale: San Diego
Re: Re: Re: Individual Mess Kit/ Our 2012 Experience on 08/29/2012 23:32:28 MDT Print View

We had 11 in our crew, 9 Scouts and 3 Leaders, and the shorter trek.
Two Stoves and an extra 9 oz can of fuel was about right. Weather was nice and we took advantage of free coffee at the camps where possible so we didn't boil a lot for drinks.

We used the 1.7L pot that came with the stove. It did about 3 meals. You could get by with one stove. If you have patience scouts....

Other things.

I wish I brought my umbrella. Storms came up quickly and it would have been nice to have one in the crew for cooking and walking back from things like evening coffee.

We use their rainfly but our sister group used a Tyvek one that they said worked great.
When I get a picture of their setup I will post..

Packs.. All were under 35 pounds. My son's was under 30 (he weights 105)

I have a Excel checklist I did if you are interested. Just send me an email to

Stephen Everson
(mrevets) - F
Re: Re: Individual Mess Kit/ Our 2012 Experience on 08/30/2012 14:51:57 MDT Print View


If I understand your posting correctly, you put the 8 quart pot on the reactor stove.

I was going to test the idea of using the 2.5L pot with 4 cup ziplocs and see if the ziplocs fit.... If so, then I could avoid carrying the 8 quart pot all together and just go with 2.5L reactor pots.

thanks for you posting

Ernie Delcher
(EFD57) - F

Locale: Northern New Jersey
Re: Re: Re: Individual Mess Kit/ Our 2012 Experience on 08/30/2012 15:42:44 MDT Print View


The way I read Steven's post is...
They boil water in the Reactor 1.7 L pot (2 stoves/2 pots), split each meal in 1/2 and re-hydrate in the individual ziploc bowls. The 8 qt is used for cleaning and sterlizing only.

Your idea of using the 2.5 L is interesting. Let us know if it works as I would also like to forgo taking a 6 or 8 qt pot.

BTW, I found a site that shows a home built flat pot (i.e. normal pot) adapter for the Reactor. It is made out of the bottom of a gas canister. It takes away some of the benefits of the reactor but allows the use of normal pots (and fry pans). Link

Steven, correct me if I got it wrong and maybe elaborate on how you use the 8qt.


Steven McDowell
(smcdindelmar) - MLife

Locale: San Diego
Re: Re: Re: Individual Mess Kit/ Our 2012 Experience on 08/30/2012 20:15:42 MDT Print View

Sorry for the confusion.
We boiled the water in the Reactors and then put the hot water into the 8 quart pot. Each bowl had to be sterilized before used for eating. The pot water was then used

After the meal, campsuds was added to the water in the pot for cleaning. To rinse we pour hot water from the Reactor into the bowls, stir it around and then poured the rinse water into the pot that was used for cleaning.

While not optimal it was the solution we worked out with the Ranger to avoid bringing two big pots.

If you can get the Ziplocs bowls into the 2.5L or a smaller bowl (the Gatorade power containers would probably fit) you can probably avoid the one pot. I was okay with the one pot since we were required to clean the bowls into something (think of the pot as a sink) and I hate putting any food into the Reactors..

Our sister group was required to cook and clean with the big pots from Philmont. While I didn't see it my understanding is they took the 1.5L pots off the Reactors and use them as stands to hold the big pots between two Reactor elements..

Hopefully that helps.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
flagged on 08/31/2012 14:33:43 MDT Print View


Steven McDowell
(smcdindelmar) - MLife

Locale: San Diego
Re: Re: Re: Re: Individual Mess Kit/ Our 2012 Experience on 09/01/2012 16:41:10 MDT Print View

I can't count, we had 8 Scouts and 3 Adults. Odd number resulted in sharing with the Ranger the first 2 days then getting an extra portion the last 3 days.

Another note. They give you plenty of Trail Snacks, most very salty. In the Pic is just a sampling..Philmont Some of the Trail Snacks

Stephen Everson
(mrevets) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Individual Mess Kit/ Our 2012 Experience on 09/02/2012 18:56:12 MDT Print View

Agree on the number of snacks they give you. It seems that Philmont went to the nearest 7-11, Rutters, Sheetz, insert name of your local big gas station/food store and decided to shop there for backpacking food.

I'll try out my idea of 2.5L pot and figure out what size ziploc/whatever bowls fit into them. I really want to avoid carrying the big pots. That was my job in 1982 during my trek to Philmont. See picture below. Granted, as an advisor I would not be carrying the pots, but a crew member would.

30 years and some things never change. :)

6:00am Aug 1982 Ready for Philmont

Donald Howard
(DonH) - F
Individual Mess Kit on 09/04/2012 19:04:02 MDT Print View

We ended up buying the ZipLock medium bowls with lids. The plan is to make an insulated cozy that will work with both the bowls and a quart sized freezer bag. We plan on going with the hopes of doing freezer bag cooking (since that's what the scouts are use to) with a back up of using the bowls to rehydrate meals in.

Steven McDowell
(smcdindelmar) - MLife

Locale: San Diego
Re: Individual Mess Kit on 10/17/2012 12:01:38 MDT Print View

Hi Donald,

If you go with the bowls, I would also bring a cheap lightweight spatula.

It will probably be lighter then the one provided by Philmont, we were required to carry.

They won't complain when you use it to scoop out that ChiliMac still stuck in the bowls..

Your clean up gets a lot easier and quicker..

Also remember to bring paint strainers versus having to use their frisbee or your own strainer. We brought a lightweight strainer (trying to avoid trash), the cheese from the ChilMac pretty much ruined it after our second meal.